A writing exercise I did June 11, 2021.
An old man tending a fire on sandy beach of the windswept coast.
Jarl’s bones ached. They always ached in protest of the cold wind coming ashore. The northlies were bitter this tim eof year. The little fire he had built was barely taking the chill off. With out the rock wall at his back both of their flames would be out. Him from the cold sapping the very life out of his body. The little fire snuffed out by the howling monster winds.
The tide hadn’t reached his camp in living memory. Or dead memory for that matter. When the ice piled up high enough it must have used the sea for it’s water.
And the ice has been thick across the northern landscape for as long as anyone or the legends can recall. So thick it would take days of treacherous climbing to get to the top of even a small sheet. The big ones? Why bother? Nothing lives up there anyway. Nothing worth eating or mating with. Not that Jarl was looking for a mate. Food on the other hand was nice when he could gather or kill it.
His years have piled up like the ice. No, companionship might be nice but children he couldn’t provide for. He could barely feed himself let alone a mate and offspring. If it wasn’t for the Calling he doubted he would live long.
The cycle of life, wheel of fortune or fate. Everyone is tied to that particular wheel. But some learn to listen to the road it travels. Feel the bumps and see the landscape to the side.
With practice the road talks back. The wheel is alive in a way and enjoys the company of a travel who can carry on a conversation. This is how Jarl stays alive in the barren wasteland of sea and sand.
He calls for fortune when he is hungry. See fate when he is ill. They call back to him with gifts of a fish or bird he can eat. Maybe he is led to a plant to heal what ails him. The sea will toss a gift from the depths.
So he sits in his shack on the beach. Mutters a curse now and then when a shell edge crumbles ruining this or that project. The wind will play with him in a most unappreciated manner. Losing his roof in a rainstorm is a sure path to a foul mood.
Along the way Jarl has learned all things which happen occur in balance. If he remembers what is true and real he usually does fine.
True and real. Yes, those are tricky little words. Sneaky they are.
ON this beach, in this land, true and real don’t always mean what most think. Jarl suspected for a while his age was affecting his mind. Not anymore. He is sharper now than ever.
No, the day the beach gave way to the egg was no trick of advancing senility. The egg glimmered like a pearl. There was no way to stop looking into the shimmering colors of shell.
If the egg hadn’t cracked open he might well have starved to death in wonder. Crack open it did though. Thick curved egg fragments made a fine addition to the shack shedding wind and rain and not blowing away in the formidable gusts.
I suppose the egg shell is really not the point of telling this story is it. You offer your time and patience and here I am trying both with trivial matters. You are here to learn about Turtle Dragon.
Yes the stories are quite true. Mostly. Stories do grow in the telling over time. Turtle Dragon is no different. For the most part the stories are not that far from truth.
Turtle Dragon is such a fantastic beast. A fantastic creature for whom exaggeration has a hard time keeping up with the truth!
We’ve all heard of Turtle Dragons adventures. Some have heard of the old man. Few though, if any, know what happened the day they both disappeared off that lonely windy beach.
Did I mention Turtle Dragon could fly? Remind me to tell you why this detail is important later.
Let’s get back to the beach and the day the egg cracked and gave birth to the legend.
The first thing to know is Jarl had been walking that stretch of beach for more years than he could remember. He really had no idea how long he had been living on the beach. Visitors were few and far between. The closest settlement was a good afternoon walk to get to when the weather was agreeable. No point going when not.
So you might not be surprised to learn Jarl was startled when the sound of hammering woke him from his afternoon nap.
“Goodness!”, Jarl cried out clamping his hands over his ears.
“What is that racket?”
Not know if he was about to be beat against the rocks or be sent to the next world by some other painful circustance he donned his robe and hood to look about the encampment.
“Everything looks stable. No rocks rolling or teetering. What was that racket?”
Then he looked to the sea. Just off to the left near the tideline was what looked exactly like an egg!
Whether it floated there, was layed there, or was uncovered by the wind and waves was difficult to tell. Partially buried suggested it had been buried. But by who or what and when? The mother of whatever this was had to have been both huge and long lived. Jarl would have noticed such a creature laying this particular egg!
The hammering started up again. Yes, the sound was definitely coming from the egg. Jarl crept cautiously toward the noise. Two thing occurred to him. One this egg was huge. Two, whatever was inside was going to have quite the appetite.
Not wanting to be this things first meal was the biggest concern for the moment. Jarl backed off a few hundred paces up into the tree line by where the rock wall sloped down and met the sand.