Atonement TN Meets the Ice Dragon

Saturday, January 5, 2018

I had the next episode of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers ready to post today.  Instead, we’re visiting Atonement, TN.  Why?  Diana Wallace Peach started a new monthly feature at her blog, Myths of the Mirror.  I caved into the temptation to play along. Click the link to learn more. 

Diana issued this lovely image as a prompt. I mistakenly thought she titled it “Ice Dragon” but that was actually the first reply to her prompt… Okay, so I’ve got a lot going on… and I’m blind as a bat too. (eye roll) So, now she has two “Ice Dragon” responses.  My bad.  What’s done is done.

stefan keller ice giant pixabay

Stefan Keller, Pixabay

I made mine part of my “Atonement, Tennessee” universe.  I’ll leave Ralda Lawton to tell you about it.

***

Shivering uncontrollably, I stiffly swung my legs off the bed.  The floor was not terribly cold, I couldn’t help being surprised to notice.

The brass bed was up to its old tricks.  

Not long after I moved into the rundown estate house in the quaint, but not so peaceful town of Atonement, Tennessee, I learned it was no ordinary bed.  It gave one dreams.  The dreams were often violent and always strange.  The trouble was that the far-fetched scenarios also had something to do with reality.

“I have got to get rid of that bed,” I muttered aloud.

Lilith, my cat, meowed in reply.  The calico was still nestled warmly in the covers, where my knees had been a moment before.

 

Lilith in snow

Dreamstime

I shuddered, remembering the dream, and not just because it left me cold.  The dream froze my heart with the pain of betrayal, abandonment, and isolation.

Instantly all the events and feelings of the dream rushed back into my mind and my body.  Sudden pain pierced my ribs.  I fell back onto my bed.

It started as another prophetic dream from that bed had begun, with Arianrhod’s silver wheel.

In the dream I hung precariously from the spokes of the wheel, taunted by voices that were not seen.  In fact, they weren’t really heard either, but I knew what they said nonetheless.

Despair overtook me and I relaxed my grip on the wheel.  I wondered if I should simply fall into the nothingness.

A gust of artic air lashed my skin.  My hands knew the pain of extreme cold.  The joints of my fingers stiffened.  As the wind howled, I lost my hold and fell.

My heart hammered wildly.  My arms flailed useless as I tumbled.

Then a fiery jolt rocked me as something hit my rib-cage.  My descent into nothing stopped.

I gasped first in pain, and again in shock.  I was flying.  Or rather the massive beast that caught me flew.

The impact to my ribs caused me to shift uncomfortably.  Then I realized that I was held in huge talons.  I abruptly stopped moving.  Even if it had not hurt to take air into my lungs, I would have been afraid to breathe.

blue claw beast-pixabay

Pixabay

My hands grasped an icy talon, desperate to hold on, in case the beast dropped me.

The midnight clouds retreated, allowing the moon to light the sky.  Tiny lights winked far below.  As the beast flew lower, I recognized the town of Atonement.

I felt a gentle shift of the creature’s muscles as its wings caught a current of air that again took us higher.  Moments later it deposited me on a ridge.  I could see the town below.  A few people were out and about at the late hour.  They were so far away that they seemed like ants.

Oddly, they carried lanterns.  Suddenly I wondered when I was.

I didn’t realize that I was crying until I felt the tears begin to freeze.  Trails of tears froze on my cheeks and collected at my chin, as if they would form an icy beard.  With the back of my hand I brushed the cold moisture from my face.

A sound like steam from an old-fashioned radiator caused me to turn.  It was the beast.

In the moon’s light I could see it clearly.  The creature’s hide was blue as if with cold.  Everything about it was either blue or white, from pale blue eyes that glittered like diamonds to the white clawed tips of its blue wings.

It snorted, causing a cloud of condensation.  Although its breath was only slightly warm on the cool night air.

Fortunately, and I use the term loosely, I’d had enough experience with the brass bed to know that I dreamed.  Else I would have been terrified, rather than just scared witless.

“Who―  Why―” I stammered unable to find sufficient words for the many questions that collided in my mind.  “Are you a― an―”

“Dragon?” it supplied.  “An ice dragon?

The steam sound came again in a quick succession of hisses.

“Are you laughing?” I was startled into asking.

The giant pale blue eye nearest me blinked.  I could have sworn I saw the glint of mischief there.

eyes forest aqua fantasy-pixabay

Pixabay

“Look down there, Esmeralda,” it began in a rumble.

The creature instructed and jutted out its icy bearded chin as if pointing toward the town below.

It worried me that it named me Esmeralda rather than the shortened “Ralda” that I claimed for my name.  In my experience up until then with my new town, that didn’t bode well.  The supernaturals were the only ones who insisted on calling me Esmeralda.

“I borrowed Arianrhod’s wheel to speak with you, and though her power is nothing compared to mine, I will only borrow it, not take it.  Of course, I could have used the Queen of Winter to relay a message… but the wheel amuses me,” the ice dragon rambled in a reflective tone before getting back to business.

“But I digress.  Where was I?  Oh yes.  On occasion I give in to an odd, altruistic impulse.  So, I have brought you here to impart something important,” the dragon told me.

I was much too close and it was far too large for me to be able to see more than the one eye.  However, that eye narrowed slyly.

“I probably should not tell you, but where would the fun be in following rules?  You, Esmeralda,” it used my given name again and the tone suggested it knew the thought I had about that a moment before.  “If you want to break the cycle that keeps giving you rebirth into the same betrayed, embattled situations.  If you want to one day be born into a safe, loving existence, then you must learn and understand your origins.”

I stopped breathing.  With ice in the pit of my stomach, I knew that dream was just as prophetic and just as real as the first dream ― the first time I dreamed in the brass bed.  I also knew the real events that would result from the dream would be equally dangerous, and worse, full of detestable fae magic!

“But Esmeralda, that is not enough.  The Queen of Winter could tell you that much ― although she would make you earn the knowledge, probably through that willful mirror.  What you also must learn and understand is the origin of the town itself,” the dragon added.

Abruptly, rough gusts of cold wind battered me.  I staggered backward.  The ice dragon lifted into the night sky.  I stared up at the darkness.  Then I looked down at the tiny lights of the town below.

I jerked convulsively when the hiss of laughter was again at my shoulder, through whatever kind of magic the dragon held.

“Esmeralda, you must comprehend that some inhabitants of Atonement are not there to atone.  They have a fundamental relationship with the place.  If you want to survive, you need a better understanding of the townsfolk, like the Metatron sisters.  And you must, must understand why the wings of Cael Adriel are black, rather than gold,” the dragon finished emphatically.

gold angel on black pixabay

Pixabay

The huge blue eye glittered playfully.  It blinked and the dragon was abruptly gone.

Now wake, Esmeralda!”

Shuddering, gasping, I tried to shake off the aftereffects of the dream.

“Coffee… I really, really need coffee,” I muttered.

Lilith jumped down from the bed and went to the door.  In her mind, coffee meant breakfast for her.

I gave a different kind of groan when I sat up on the edge of the bed.  I lifted my pajama top and looked in the mirror.

A wide bruise purpled across my ribs.

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

103 thoughts on “Atonement TN Meets the Ice Dragon

  1. Pingback: January Photo-prompt Round-up | Myths of the Mirror

  2. Pingback: Atonement TN Meets the Ice Dragon – e-Quips

  3. After reading this story, Teagan, I’m sitting here slack-jawed. I continue to be in awe of where your imagination takes you. Even more, how real you can create a scene and its characters in so few words!! … and in typical Teagan-style, a cliff-hanger of an ending!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know you must be sick and tired of me saying the same thing, but good grief…..where does it all come from? Your imagination is incredible, but again your ability to have the reader visualize everything will never cease to amaze me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you kidding? Kirt, that’s music to my ears — and it’s my favorite song! 😀
      I really hope that soon, all those stories in my head will finally get the chance to flow freely and pour out into books. Possession Sound… that’s still making ping noises in my head. LOL. Thank you so very much, my friend. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are so kind, Deborah. Thank you. 🙂 If nothing else, writing this helped me solidify in my mind the core components I want to address in book 3. I’m starting to see a path to telling the story. Dan commented something about all the street corners in Atonement, TN. That’s also giving me a mental-path boost, but I haven’t figured out how to map it yet. 😉
      Happy New Year hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Teagan! That is one heck-of-a-way to rise to Diana’s challenge. Ralda has endeared herself to me and I love her character. She’s quirky, brave, pretty and most of all, not afraid to face extraordinary in a most ordinary way. Great job with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly Staci.
      Diana is easily as good as any of the greats of the fantasy genre. I couldn’t resist. But I hope next month’s prompt looks like a more pleasant temperature. LOL. My feet get cold with this one! 😀
      I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s.
      Happy New Year hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed this story very much, Teagan. I’m impressed with how well you know the world you’ve created. I like how you can spin adventures off in every direction, from every street corner in Atonement, as it were. The stories are good on their own, but they have an edge. For those of us who have been to Atonement, they’re just a little more real.

    Very nicely done! I hope you have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jacquie. I suppose Ralda was looking for some kind of guidance… But with “the brass bed of dreams” it can be a “be careful what you ask for” kind of thing! 😉
      Thanks so much for sharing! Have a sublime Sunday. Chin-rubs to Harley. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you kindly, my friend.
      Haha! 😀 Michael, there’s a joke that says “To find a prince, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.” Later someone came back with a second joke that she was still kissing frogs, but not finding a prince anywhere.
      I look forward to seeing Diana’s prompt for next month. She always finds such wonderful images for her posts. So I know the prompt images will continue to be great. Wishing you a wonderful new week and a perfect 2019. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ooooh. I’m so glad you took up the prompt, Teagan, and it fits perfectly into the world of Atonement and it’s magical dragons. I love the danger and the prophetic advice. Makes me want to read more. I can’t wait to share this! Thank you so much for playing. ❤ Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fabulous, Teagan and love the picture prompt as well. Well, there are dragons already so that makes sense… And it sounds as if the third book is knocking on the door! Perhaps at the new place? 🙂 To a year full of wonderful stories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Olga. I hope the new place gives me energy to finish nearly done novels like The Guitar Mancer, and The Delta Pearl, and create new stories as well. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Great big hug!

      Like

    • Good heavens, a planned story? o_O 😱 Well, clearly I just dashed this off quickly. I realize it shows, even if I had not mangled the part with thinking the title was part of the prompt. I’m not going to make any excuses for myself.

      Mine gave voice to some of the things I want the next novel to include. Although the “ice dragon” may not fit with my mythology. So, I’m not sure if there will be more of this one.
      I know yours will be well thought and fabulous, Robbie. I look forward to seeing it. Will it be at your new blog, or at Robbie’s Inspiration?
      Happy weekend hugs!

      Like

    • LOL that’s a good (weekend point) but not in the way you’d expect. I’m working 7 days a week desperately trying to coordinate everything for the “2000 mile Great Agoraphobic Challenge.” It would go better if I could stop freaking out.
      I’m happy you enjoyed this. I had a better picture of “Lilith” lounging that seemed appropriate for the scene (where she’s in bed). But it was bright and sunny, and just didn’t seem to fit the post. So I went back to the snowy one which had nothing to do with the story. (I shrug. It just felt right.) 🤷‍♀️ o_O
      Thanks for visiting. Mega hugs right back!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Teagan, this was delightful! A nice blend of scary and magic. The Ice Dragon told Esmeralda what she needs to do to live in Atonement and understand the people. So, Esmeralda’s baffled, was it a dream or reality. Love the ending! Have a peaceful weekend, my friend! Hugs! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s lovely to see you, Christine. Thank you so very much. I really felt I made a mistake in sharing this at all. I dashed it off quickly — a last minute impulse. You’ve made me feel much better. 💙
      No peace here — but it’s all good, because adventure is afoot! 🚛🏡🏜
      Happy New Year, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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