Gharveyn’s Tales

Gharveyn’s Tales (a work in progress…)


Gharveyn had a secret dream.  Among dragons, having a secret was a very bad thing. 

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn curled up dreaming

Madrigal shared Gharveyn’s secret dream.  Madrigal and Gharveyn were soul mates, deeply in love with each other, they shared everything.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal curled around Gharveyn sharing their dream

Madrigal was a tree and sea dragon.  Tree dragons lived high up in the trees of forests and jungles where they built nests in communities with other dragons.

ILLUSTRATION: Tree dragon community

Gharveyn was a sky and sea dragon.  Sky dragons built their nests on floating islands that drifted through the skies.

ILLUSTRATION: Sky Dragon community

Sea dragons had no nests.  They roamed the seas in tribes like schools of fish.  They were safer from the huge sea monsters that way; there was safety in numbers.  As a large group they could overpower any larger creatures that might otherwise eat them if they were caught alone and defenseless.

ILLUSTRATION: Sea dragon school fighting a sea monster

Land dragons were much like sea dragons, roaming the land in tribes rarely nesting for long in any one place.  The land monsters were rarely as large as the sea monsters, but many land monsters were still much bigger and more dangerous than any dragon.  Land dragons must be prepared to move on if a land monster moved in too close.

ILLUSTRATION: Land dragon community retreating from a land monster

The only other dragons with permanent nests which were not tree or sky dragons were the tunnel dragons.  Tunnel dragons lived deep below ground where the really big monsters were rarely found because most tunnels and caves were too small for them. 

ILLUSTRATION: Tunnel dragon community in a large cavern

The dragon world was a very dangerous sort of place for dragons.  Dragons were very special creatures in their world.  While many different creatures lived together in groups, dragons had the most civilized societies.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragons partying

All the creatures of the dragon world where Gharveyn and Madrigal lived were telepathic.  This meant every creature could read the minds of every other creature.  It was very hard to keep a secret in the dragon world where Madrigal and Gharveyn lived.  This is part of why Gharveyn and Madrigal were so worried about Gharveyn’s secret dream.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragons sharing thoughts

The other reason they were so worried is that secrets were not allowed in their world.  A dragon with a secret was considered to be sick.  If a dragon had a secret they could be cast out of their tribe and clans.  Being cast out was one of the worst punishments imaginable.

Dragons are very social creatures.  Dragons depend on their social networks for their health, comfort and security.  Being cast out was a terrible ordeal for a dragon.

ILLUSTRATION: A dragon skulking away from a group of stern looking dragons

In the dragon world where Madrigal and Gharveyn lived a secret was always something other dragons did not know.  But since all the dragons of their world are telepathic and can read each other’s minds, secrets were very, very rare. 

ILLUSTRATION: Dragon group mind with a dragon hiding a secret

The dragon cultures of Madrigal and Gharveyn’s world were very conservative.  This meant that they strongly resisted change.  They did not like new ideas.  Anyone with a new idea was thought to be mentally ill.  Dragons refused to share the new ideas of other dragons because then they would appear to be ill too.  So if a dragon ever had a new idea they promptly tried to forget about it so that they would not seem to be ill, because if they were ill they could be cast out of their clans and tribe.  Usually this worked, and new ideas were quickly forgotten.  It took a long time for dragon cultures to adopt new ideas.

Ideas do not just pop up in a dragon’s mind.  It takes new experiences to have new ideas.  Nearly everything was already known in the dragons’ world where Madrigal and Gharveyn lived.  Or so it was believed.

But there was one mystery that dragons feared.  What lay beyond the skies?

ILLUSTRATION: Illustration of a dragon peering up at the clouds

In Gharveyn and Madrigal’s dragon world the skies were always cloudy.  It had always been that way as far back as anyone could remember.  The collective memories of dragon cultures were some of the longest memories of all.  There were very few memories in which the clouds yielded to show the sun or moons or stars.  Those memories were dismissed as mental illnesses because they did not fit in with what was already known about their world.

Most dragons that saw beyond the cloudy roof of the sky chose to forget the experience; it was too scary and too dangerous to remember.  If they did remember what they saw beyond the clouds they risked being immediately outcast or killed by their tribe or clans.

Dragons cannot really be killed on their world.  Like all other creatures of their world, dragons are made of groups of smaller creatures that join together into a single larger creature.  So long as all the parts of a dragon remain together a dragon is immortal.  But dragons can be dismembered. 

When all the parts of a dragon are pulled apart from one another that dragon may seem to cease to exist.  This is as close as a dragon gets to being killed. 

ILLUSTRATION: Dragons tearing another dragon to pieces

Being eaten by a large monster is the only effective way to completely tear apart all of a dragon’s pieces. 

ILLUSTRATION: Dragon parts being fed to land and sea monsters

But a true dragon is ultimately able to survive this fate.  It may take a very long time for the pieces of a dismembered dragon to escape from the bodies of creatures who ate them, but the strength of dragons is to remember themselves is so strong that all of their pieces will have a single common instinct, to find each other and pull themselves together again. 

All strong dragons can survive dismemberment, chewing, and ingestion by other creatures.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragon parts fleeing from various monsters to reunite themselves

Being dismembered interrupts the most recent memories of a dragon.  Dismemberment is therefore an effective cure for nearly any mental illness.  By the time a dismembered dragon can pull all their parts together again, they will have forgotten most of what happened in their earlier life, before their dismemberment.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragonets merging

Neither Madrigal nor Gharveyn wanted to be dismembered, nor did they want to be cast out of their tribes or clans.  These were fates that every dragon feared.  So Gharveyn and Madrigal were very, very worried by Gharveyn’s secret dream.

Gharveyn’s secret dream was about another world.  A strange world populated by strange creatures called humans; a world very different from the dragon world where Gharveyn and Madrigal lived.

ILLUSTRATION: Humans in their world with clear blue skies

Gharveyn could feel an urge to travel above the clouds.  Gharveyn wanted to find this strange dream world. 

But no dragon could fly above the clouds.  Dragons who tried it dismembered themselves.  It took too much energy to fly so high.  Any dragon who attempted it disintegrated, consuming itself from within as it starved to death in its efforts to ascend.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragon disintegrating high among the clouds

There were rumors of an ascended race of dragons that lived above the clouds, but no dragon could remember ever actually having met one of these ascended beings.  No one really knew if the ascended ones truly existed; the notion that they might exist was very ancient.

ILLUSTRATION: Dragon fairy-tale of ascended dragons, sun setting, stars & moons appearing

When Gharveyn first acknowledged having dreams of another world the mythical ascended dragons seemed like a possible explanation.  But the world of Gharveyn’s dreams had open land, how could there be any land like the lands in Gharveyn’s secret dream, high above the clouds in the sky?

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn curled around the dream land high in the sky

Even more frightening than open land, Gharveyn’s dream world had open skies.  Sometimes the clear skies were very dark and were full of strange tiny lights.  At times these strange skies were full of a beautiful clear blue light similar to Gharveyn’s beautiful blue scales.  A brilliant glowing orb lived in the blue skies, it was so bright it was hard to look at it.  A dimmer orb lived in the skies as well, Gharveyn had dreamed about it as it moved through both the dark skies and the blue skies.  Gharveyn had no idea that these were stars, the sun or the moon.  No one in Gharveyn’s world knew anything about such things.  Or if they did know, they kept the knowledge secret because it was too dangerous to know such strange things.

ILLUSTRATION: A dragon with a vision of the shining orb

As time passed Gharveyn’s dream grew more and more detailed.  Gharveyn could feel someone in the dream world calling for help.  Gharveyn wanted to go help them but Gharveyn did not know how to travel to another world, and there was no one Gharveyn or Madrigal could turn to for help because in their world no dragon should ever know anything at all about other worlds beyond the skies or how to get to them.

Madrigal and Gharveyn spent more and more time alone together as Gharveyn’s secret dream continued.  This way they could avoid the company of other dragons who might discover their terrible secret.

Gharveyn and Madrigal flew out over the seas where the strong weather made the skies harder to live in.  They dove into the seas to hunt when they grew too weak to fly, and ascended back into the skies when they finished feeding.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn flying together above the sea


ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn flying together above the sea

Madrigal and Gharveyn’s clans and tribes were worried by their long absences.  Gharveyn and Madrigal could feel those worries growing, even when they were very far away from all of their friends and families.  Gharveyn and Madrigal could not hope to keep their secret very much longer, and they knew that when their secret was discovered they would be torn to pieces so that their parts could be fed to many different monsters in many distant lands and seas.  It would take them nearly forever to pull themselves together and then find each other again. 

Gharveyn and Madrigal loved each other very much and did not want to be separated for such a very long time.  They spent all their time alone together exploring Gharveyn’s secret dream; they both yearned to travel to Gharveyn’s dream world, to escape the fate that waited for them if their secret was ever discovered.

ILLUSTRATION: The probing thoughts of their clans disturbing Madrigal and Gharveyn

When Gharveyn first began dreaming of the strange world with clear skies Madrigal had helped Gharveyn research what little was known about what lay beyond the clouds. 

It was very dangerous to ask other dragons questions about such things.  They had sought out the outcast dragons of their world and the monster dragons for help with understanding Gharveyn’s dream world.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn searching for orb worshippers

Among the outcast dragons there was a small community of dragons who worshipped a shining orb.  These dragons had been cast out or dismembered when their experiences of the shining orb became known to other dragons.  It had taken the outcast and dismembered dragons a very long time to come together and form their small community.  Their community lived in fear of other dragons.  Other dragons considered the worshippers of the shining orb to be a menace to the stable order of conventional dragon cultures.  If their secret community was discovered then all the worshippers might soon be dismembered because the conservative dragons would wage a war against them.  The worshippers of the shining orb could not hope to win such a war, they would be vastly outnumbered.

ILLUSTRATION: Orb worshippers building their community

Nonetheless, Madrigal and Gharveyn were eventually recognized by the orb worshippers as potential kindred outcasts rather than as threats.  Gharveyn and Madrigal slowly became accepted among the orb worshippers. 

At first it seemed like all the answers to Gharveyn and Madrigal’s questions must be known to the orb worshippers.  But they quickly learned all of the orb worshippers’ secrets and the orb worshippers cast them out when they discovered the details of Gharveyn’s secret dream.

The orb worshippers had all seen a shining orb, and their memories of the shining orb were very similar to the shining orb in Gharveyn’s dream world.  But none of the orb worshippers knew anything about Gharveyn’s dream world and they followed the instincts of dragons everywhere and cast Madrigal and Gharveyn out because any knowledge of Gharveyn’s dream world was forbidden knowledge, unacceptable even among outcasts!

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn and Madrigal being cast out by the orb worshippers

When Gharveyn and Madrigal visited some of the monster dragons they were disappointed again. 

The monster dragons were creatures that had once been dragons or had the potential to become dragons but had gone too far.

Ordinary dragons become dragons when two dragonets merged together.  Dragonets are like little dragons except they have only two wings and two legarms.  A complete dragon has four wings, two legarms and two armlegs.

Monster dragons have six or more wings and pairs of armlegs or legarms for each of their pairs of wings.  Monster dragons cannot cope with the tension of trying to integrate so many parts.  They go crazy and cannot function like ordinary dragons.  The few monster dragons that survive their own madness and do not spontaneously disintegrate live on isolated islands in the sky where they call their prey to themselves.  

The monster dragons are masters of illusion.  It is very dangerous to approach them because they will try to consume any creature that comes within reach. 

ILLUSTRATION: A monster dragon, sleeping on an island in the sky, calling prey in dreams

Nonetheless Madrigal and Gharveyn sought out the monster dragons, hoping that these terrible creatures might have some knowledge of the world of Gharveyn’s secret dream.

Unfortunately they learned very little.  Monster dragons are consumed with their own internal struggle to survive and have no interest in forbidden knowledge of any sort.  But the monster dragons all understood that Gharveyn and Madrigal were looking for something and they pretended to know what Madrigal and Gharveyn were looking for in order to lure them into their monstrous maws.

ILLUSTRATION: Monster mimicking Gharveyn’s secret dream to lure Madrigal and Gharveyn

Fortunately Madrigal and Gharveyn did not fall for their tricks and managed to escape the clutches of the monster dragons they visited.  They learned only a few things by visiting the monster dragons.  They learned that the monster dragons had been fed the parts of many orb worshippers and therefore had some dim memories related to the shining orb. 

ILLUSTRATION: Dismembered orb worshipper being fed to a monster dragon

They also learned that the monster dragons had also eaten many flight-exhausted dragons seeking to rise above the clouds, and that many of these had flown at night and seen something in the skies even more terrible than the shining orb.

ILLUSTRATION: Monster dragon luring an exhausted dragon charmed by the stars

Dragons who had seen the shining orb all told much the same stories.  They had been flying out over the seas when a terrible storm came and tore the clouds apart.  They had dared to watch this wondrous event rather than flee from it or hide their eyes.  When the clouds had been ripped open they had each seen a blue sky beyond in which a bright shining orb lived high overhead, perhaps far too high to fly to.

ILLUSTRATION: An orb worshipper memory of seeing the shining orb

The stories of the shining orb all began in daytime, when the clouds of the sky should be brightest.  In these stories told by the orb worshippers the bright skies suddenly grew darker just before the clouds were torn apart to reveal the shining orb, but it was not the natural darkness of night that made the skies grow dim, it was a darkness made by storms.

In some of the monster dragons’ tales the skies were also torn apart at night.  The shining orb was never seen then, instead something more terrible appeared.  A huge black monster filled the skies above the clouds. 

The terrible dark monster had so many tiny little eyes that it seemed it must be able to see everything below it.  The eyes of this dark creature were very hypnotic, anyone who saw their eyes could not resist their charms, and they would try to fly out to the dark monster, drawn by the charms of its many twinkling eyes. 

ILLUSTRATION: A dragon hypnotized by the dark monster with many eyes

Some of the monster dragons whom Gharveyn and Madrigal approached had been lucky enough to lure some of the dragons exhausted by their efforts to ascend above the clouds into their maws, in this way they had learned those exhausted dragons’ secrets as they ate them. 

Madrigal and Gharveyn presumed that any dragons that had not been accidentally caught by a monster dragon simply disintegrated themselves by starvation as they tried to ascend beyond the clouds in their efforts to reach the alluring many-eyed dark beast that charmed them.

ILLUSTRATION: A dragon ascending in darkness and disintegrating

Occasionally, Madrigal and Gharveyn would discover untenanted islands floating above the seas and they could feast on the smaller creatures inhabiting these islands instead of diving into the sea.  But such islands inevitably drifted closer to islands inhabited by other dragons and so they were never able to nest on such an island for very long.

Nesting is a powerful urge among dragons.  Each time an island where they nested grew too close to other dragons they had to abandon their home and head back out over the open seas.  Madrigal and Gharveyn often cried as they abandoned their nests, but they could not afford to risk meeting other dragons for fear that Gharveyn’s secret dream would be discovered.

ILLUSTRATION: Tears flowing from their eyes, leaving their nest, dragons in the distance

One night, as Gharveyn and Madrigal were flying over distant seas Gharveyn heard someone calling from above the clouds.  Gharveyn had heard such calls before, but since it was too risky to ascend above the clouds to answer such a call Gharveyn had always ignored them.

Perhaps the fables of ascended dragons were true and an ascended dragon was now calling out to Gharveyn to join it above the clouds. 

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn imagining ascended dragons calling

This time Gharveyn wanted to answer the call so badly that it was all Madrigal could do to hold Gharveyn back from an ascent that could only lead to starvation and disintegration.  Madrigal could not guide Gharveyn down into the seas even though they needed to feed.  There were no islands nearby where they could hunt or nest.  They were at risk of starving if Gharveyn would not soon give up trying to ascend above the clouds to answer the beckoning call.

Worse yet the dark night skies were growing darker, a storm was coming.  By the extraordinary darkness of the sky Madrigal knew this would be a very bad storm.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal pushing Gharveyn down as they fly through the darkening sky

Gharveyn seemed excited by the storm.  Perhaps the storm would tear the skies apart and Gharveyn could finally see whatever it was that called from above the clouds so urgently.

Madrigal was being torn apart inside by instinctive urges for survival that fought with a love for Gharveyn so strong that her own disintegration would be a welcome blessing if Gharveyn were to disintegrate by trying to ascend above the clouds to answer the summoning call.

The skies all around Madrigal and Gharveyn were growing increasingly violent as strong winds tore at them from all directions.  Suddenly the clouds above them parted and the dreaded dark beast of many eyes appeared in the sky overhead.

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn and Madrigal together as the stars appear in the sky

Madrigal and Gharveyn were both captivated by one single glowing eye among all the many eyes of the dark beast.  They began their ascents together.

In the back of their minds the voices of their constituent parts gibbered in terror.  But Madrigal and Gharveyn were mighty dragons who could command all their parts no matter how strongly those parts struggled against them.  They flew onwards and upwards into the great dark gulf between the clouds.

Madrigal could now hear the same beckoning call that Gharveyn had been trying to respond to for many years.  Madrigal and Gharveyn were being summoned to their doom.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn ascending together answering their summoning call

But as they rose higher and higher a great peace descended upon Gharveyn and Madrigal.  All their fears seemed to disappear as they rose ever higher and higher.  When they seemed too exhausted to continue they carried on, energized by the powerful call that summoned them from beyond.

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn ascending together surrounded by a glowing light

Gharveyn and Madrigal heard a voice speaking to them within themselves.  A voice they had never heard before.  It was not the voices of their tribe or clans, voices that often spoke to them within their minds, nor was it any of the voices of any of their dragonet parts.  The voice that spoke to them was alien and while they knew they should be afraid they did not fear it.

The voice explained what they must do next to answer the call that summoned them.  It explained how worlds are made from songs.  Change your song to change your world.

“Change your song to change your world.”

Gharveyn’s secret dreams had been teaching Gharveyn and Madrigal the song of a different world.  Now if they sang that song within themselves loudly enough to drown out the song of their dragon world they could leave their dragon world behind and enter into the human world that called to them.

Madrigal and Gharveyn listened within themselves for the song of their own world and saw that it was true.  Their entire world was created by a beautiful elaborate song!

ILLUSTRATION: Madrigal and Gharveyn world composed of songs

They quieted the song of the dragon world that filled their hearts and let it go.  The song of the human world filled their hearts completely and they discovered themselves flying in clear blue skies beneath a shining golden orb.

They had left their world behind.

Below them and all around them was the world of Gharveyn’s secret dream, a human world.

ILLUSTRATION: Gharveyn and Madrigal high in the skies of the human world


The End

# 41 Illustrations described – text on even pages, illustrations on the odd pages???




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