Dragons are the epitome of magical fantasy stories

jonsnow_dragonThe last two episodes of Game of Thrones has excited many fans of the series, especially those of us who love dragons. Seeing dragons in all their glory, fighting against armies, attacking on the orders of the dragon queen is amazing to watch. I think this is why dragons are, to many fantasy writers and fans of the genre, the heart of magic.

Dragons have been portrayedin literature, movies and televisionas the villain, evil and vile with contempt for humanity and a lust for gold. Dragons are, in fantasy and mythology, a force of nature. They create, as in the mythical “Rainbow Serpent” Aido-Hwedo, and they can destroy, like Smaug from The Hobbit. The stories of St. George and the Dragon and The Dragonriders of Pern, movies like Dragonslayer and Reign of Fire and the Game of Thrones TV series each have their own interpretation of dragons.

In the Forever Avalon series, I use dragons for the basis of all magic. Dragons and unicorns are creatures of pure magic and, in their own way, are the source of magical energy. Both are born with that energy in them, but a unicorn’s magic comes from life, the power that resides in their horn throughout their existence. Dragons, on the other hand, comes from death. The death of a dragon results in the magic collapsing in on itself and forming an ingot of concentrated magic … A dragon stone.

Dragons are the most awe-inspiring, feared creatures in all of magical fantasy genre. I love being able to immerse myself in a world of dragons. Their majesty is only matched by the terror they possess. To show you what dragons mean to me, here is an excerpt from The Dark Tides illustrating the relationship between dragons and the people of the world of Forever Avalon.

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BRYAN FLEW ON GAMORG UP THE MOUNTAINSIDE OF EMMYR AND INTO one of many entrances into the mountain. These caves were home to the dragons of Emmyr. Bryan laid down low on Gamorg’s back as the dragon folded its wings around him so he could maneuver through the tunnels, deep into the interior.

Bryan grasped the ice jewel in his hand—the same one given to him by Archie all those years ago—to protect him from the intense heat inside. Once Gamorg reached the inner chamber, Bryan was overwhelmed by what he saw.

For the first time since he arrived on Avalon, all of the dragons were gathered inside, either on the floor of the cavern or up on one of the outcroppings in the cave. They were all mourning over Nihala and Kragmar, who lay quietly on the cavern floor. One would think a dragon couldn’t look sad, but they do. Bryan could feel it when he entered the room … An overwhelming sense of sadness and despair.

The dragons give way for Gamorg and the Gil-Gamesh as they make their way over to them. Bryan dismounted from Gamorg and thanked him for bringing him. He stepped forward and knelt before Kragmar and Nihala. Kragmar, King of the Dragons, lay still and quiet, barely breathing. Nihala raised her head ever-so slightly to speak.

“Thank you for coming Bryan MoonDrake,” Nihala gasped, her voice weak and raspy.

Bryan looked up at them as he tried to find the words. “It is the least I could do for my oldest and dearest friends.”

“Do not grieve for us Gil-Gamesh. We have lived a long and fruitful life,” Nihala wailed. “Our children will carry on to the next generation, but we do not have a lot of time. I know you are conflicted. If you don’t retrieve the broach for Morgana, your daughter and your grandson will die and Avalon will fall into chaos. The future is very bleak indeed.”

“There’s got to be a way to defeat her and save Avalon,” Bryan asked. “The Queen said something about ‘five spears’ as did Percival. Do you know what they are talking about?”

Nihala was quiet but the cavern became loud and thunderous with the sound of thousands of dragons roaring in disapproval. Gamorg gave a breathtaking roar that immediately silenced them.

“We do not speak that name … To do so would be the death of us all,” Nihala explained.

“Please Nihala, I need to know.” Nihala closed her eyes and sighed. She knew she may regret this but it may be the only hope for Avalon.

“Very well … Step forward Gil-Gamesh.” Bryan stood up and walked toward Nihala.

She bowed her head down so he could touch the gem on her forehead. Bryan reached out tentatively, bracing himself for the instantaneous flow of information he was about to receive. He touched it gingerly but it’s different this time. Instead of a flash of images, he found himself in staring into a pit of total darkness.

From within the darkness, five different sets of eyes appeared randomly. The eyes are different shades of color with no iris or pupil, just glowing eyes. “Who are you?” the red eyes spoke. The voice was deep and hollow, rippling with power with each syllable spoken.

“I am Lord Bryan MoonDrake, Gil-Gamesh of Avalon!” Bryan said, both in his mind and in the cavern that all the dragons could hear him.

“Why are you here?” the green eyes spoke in the same hollow voice as the first.

“I need your help to defeat Morgana le Fay! She is threatening the Dark Tides on Avalon! She …”

“Morgana le Fay is not our concern, she is a mortal concern!” the blue eyes interjected.

“She will bring about the death and destruction of all of Avalon if she is not stopped!” Bryan said adamantly. “Without Avalon, all that is magic will be gone forever. The Dark Tides destroys everything it touches … Elves, sorcerers and dragons alike.”

“Nothing can destroy dragons!” the yellow eyes shouted defiantly. “Dragons are immortal as the stars in the sky! Nothing can kill us!”

“But even stars can die. Look at Kragmar and Nihala … They are dying because of Morgana and the Dark Tides. She will spread this evil until everything except her and those serve her are turned to dust.”

“We do not serve anyone! We answer to no one!” the white eyes screamed at Bryan.

“We do not believe you Gil-Gamesh. Your ilk has lied to us before!” the green eyes stated plainly.

“If you don’t believe me then look into Nihala,” Bryan said. “Reach into her mind and see what happened. See for yourselves what the Dark Tides can do.”

The eyes grew silent and closed as darkness enveloped the Gil-Gamesh again. Then the eyes opened and spoke as one. “We will help you Gil-Gamesh but we require payment for our services!” the voice explained.

“Payment? What kind of payment? Who … Who are you?”

“Look into our mind and know us Gil-Gamesh!” the voice announced as the eyes started to glow brighter and brighter, blinding Bryan. His mind was overwhelmed until he realized who he was speaking with.

“Oh God, it’s you … isn’t it?” he asked sheepishly.

“Yes Gil-Gamesh, you know of us,” the voice exclaimed to Bryan, holding him within the light.

“We require payment for our services. What do you offer?” Bryan thought about what they were asking of him. He whispered something into the air. There was silence for what seemed like an eternity and then they speak to him again.

“We accept Gil-Gamesh. Call us when you need us and we will do as you ask.”

Back in the cave, Nihala’s gem exploded with energy, throwing Bryan across the room and into Gamorg, falling to the ground. His breathing was heavy and labored, as if he couldn’t catch his breath.

“Oh God,” he stammered. “Dear God … Alright, I understand. I understand.” Bryan stood up, still muttering to himself, until he noticed that Kragmar was gone. “What … Where is Kragmar? What happened to him?”

“He has become one with Avalon,” Gamorg told him. Bryan walked over to where Kragmar once laid. All that remained of him was a single dragon stone, glowing brightly. Bryan turned to see Nihala nearing the end of her life. She sparkled with magical light, like fireflies in the night, as she slowly began to fade.

Gamorg stepped forward as he lowered his head and touched his forehead to hers. In a blinding flash of light, Nihala disappeared and the gem, which was once in her forehead, was now centered on Gamorg’s. He had grown in size, almost as big as Kragmar was, and his green scales now glistened with a golden hue. All that’s left of Nihala was a dragon stone. Like Kragmar, it glowed brightly with magical power.

“Take them Gil-Gamesh … They wanted you to have them,” Gamorg explained. Bryan picked up the dragon stones and held them in his hands. They are warm and stimulating to the touch, magical energy pricked his skin like static electricity. It felt very familiar to Bryan as he reflected back to when Kragmar and Nihala lent him their power to fight Morgana. That same power now flowed through these stones.

“All hail Gamorg, King of the Dragons!” came a call from in the cavern. The other dragons roared in approval for the new king.

Bryan placed the stones in his belt pouch as he stepped forward and knelt before Gamorg. “Your majesty!”

“Bryan MoonDrake, you do not kneel before me,” Gamorg said as he reached his head down and nudged Bryan to his feet. “You are my friend Gil-Gamesh and friends do not bow to each other.”

Bryan hugged Gamorg around his head, something he’d always done with his friend, to show him he understood but then he stepped back and composed himself. There wasn’t time for formalities.

“I have a request for the Dragon King …” he stated, “… I need your dragons to assist with what remains of my fleet around Avalon. Morgana’s forces are threatening chaos and I don’t have the forces to stop them.

“The dragons of Emmyr would keep them from expanding their foothold outside of Idlehorn. Keep some behind to protect Emmyr, but please send out whomever you can. Without your help, we will lose so much.”

“No we won’t!” Gamorg growled. “They dared to come to our sacred home, kill our king and queen mother without a thought … No! They will not be allowed to spread their evil any further.”

“Dragons of Emmyr!” Gamorg shouted to all within the cavern. “Go now! Spread your wings and fly out across Avalon! Let those who fly the banner of Morgana la Fay know why we are to be feared! Bare your claws, rend their flesh from their bones, burn them to ash … Show them who rules the skies over Avalon! Not pirates! Not goblins! Dragons! Dragons rule the sky!”

The sound was deafening as dragons roared in approval! One by one, they moved out through the vast caves outside their mountain home. From down below, people saw something they’d never seen before. The dragons of Emmyr were pouring out of the mountain and flying away from their home all at once, spreading out across Avalon on a search and destroy mission.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Chapter 3 of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

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