As the black soot strangled the earth, nothing and nobody stood in its way, fire had ravaged even the parts that fire could not travel, corpses lay upon corpses as the earth groaned under the dead bleaching into the soil; and oh how the moon cried as its light tried to shine through the vale of blackened clouds.
The whole earth had died and last remnants of life had retreated underground or into the deepest caves away from the carrion and surviving scavengers, taking with it the last bastion of hope…an egg and within the egg…a saviour of the living age…a dragon.
The keeperess nursed the egg between her soft warm hands; whilst inside the dragon grew, feeding on the liquid in the sack and the warmth of her hands and voice…a bond was being formed between the two and naught should rent them asunder. The jewel in her headpiece glowed softly providing light, a soft welcoming light into the gloom. Her staff resting against the corner of the cave but within arms’ reach while her horse, her white horse long since gone to the otherworld.
In the corner of the cave slept her draug, as white as snow in, naught that snow could be remembered, her familiar; as she protected the egg so the draug protected her.
She knew it would soon be time for the dragon to break free of the confines of its surroundings and breathe for the very first time. Beside the egg in the nest lay a stack of small rodents, mice mainly although the odd rat did creep into the equation and thrown as the land was still poisoned. Each mouse was fresh each day and then discarded upon the sound of the division bell that heralded a new day as the moon reached its zenith and the sun or rather what was left of the sun decline to its zenith on the far side of the world, and hopefully the birth of a new saviour.
But yesterday was not the day, neither is today, and probably not tomorrow, nor even the day after that as the moon was now on the wane and the new moon not due for a few days hence. The new moon signalled the arrival of newness, a new birth; the old guard, the blood guard having passed during the last twenty eight days and a new guard in preparation for the forthcoming.
Even in the confines of the sancturific cave she knew the old guard had gone into passing as the days became fresher and the sky albeit still black became a softer black, the middle summer was fast approaching and with it coincided the new moon over Amaranthian on the ancients’ holy day of Faradome, the summer solstice and the feasting day of St John the Baptist. Neither Pagan nor Christian was she; she was the last of her kind, last of the old ways where myth and magic lurked with swords and dragons, hidden from the light save for her face and hands she was a healer, a fallaner and a warrior, an ohtar, the Queen of her, of her people long forgotten and long since gone west and having found eternal sleep, one of the Nandaror.