This story was inspired by a pair of names, a setting of dragons, and the challenge of making the main character genderqueer. In theory, most Transgender characters can be written as their preferred genders, but a non-binary character demands to break free–from prior conceptions as well as conventional pronouns. In a contemporary story, using “they” to refer to a single person may pass, but this story (thanks to the dragons) begged to belong to my mythology–and in this world, plural pronouns don’t make sense as gender neutral alternatives to “he and “she.”
So I got creative and invented my own pronouns. They’re haphazard, but they work.
The most important thing was remembering a Trans character is not solely defined by being Trans–just like characters of color are more than their skin tone and gay characters are more than their sexuality. Torn between two cultures I’ve always been fascinated by but have written of very little, this story blossomed into a fantasy-rich social commentary that questions order, truth, and objectivity in a single tale.
Ellerin had long red hair that twisted through the air as the wind blew. The knight was dressed in finely sewn leathers that cupped around soft breasts, were belted with an iron chain, and ended in cut-off leggings that revealed sturdy muscles and a dagger tethered to the left thigh.
Kadjarti met El’s eyes, and for the first time, his gaze burned not in contempt, but in fear–he felt Ellerin’s control tightening around his heart, the world straining around them, fighting to maintain its natural state, but caving in one piece at a time. Ellerin knew they felt the world in unison, tethered in that one moment to each other, but El had seized control and Kadjarti now lay powerless. His eyes widened as El bared teeth, and with a pained howl, Ellerin’s fist dropped to his chest.
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You stand at the shoreline, watching as the water rides the sand in and out. The sky is bright and blue overhead and all around you, people bustle up and down the beach, throwing beach balls or laughing in groups or lounging around under broad umbrellas. You try to ignore all of them and soon the only thing you can hear is the crash of the waves, each the song of a siren calling you toward the deep.
or, SHARDS of the SHATTERED
Cody shuddered when the wind blew a few drops of rain onto the page: They splattered there like little drops of blood, the yellowing paper instantly discolored like Rorschach blots waiting to be analyzed. He wiped the tips of his fingers over the spots, judging their wetness and if they needed any special treatment, and then decided it was safest to close his book: The spots might leave small scars, but nothing else could be done. Sometimes the Wyrd went that way.
Cody stuffed the book into his pocket and stood up. The grey clouds, thick in places but breath-thin in others, tumbled over the skies in every direction he looked. Over the trees and bulging boulders before him he gazed at the dance of dragons in the sky promising winds beat from leathery wings and electric breath that would incinerate all it touched. Cody’s lips curled into a smile.
EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD – DAY (MEDIEVAL ERA)
YOASH, a knight in well-worn armor, carries a bloodstained URN beneath one arm and drags three large, white curving BONES behind him. A crowd has gathered in his wake and now everyone in the courtyard stares at him as well.
Yoash drops the ropes tied to the bones, sets down the urn, and raises his arms to the suddenly silent crowd.
The great dragon is dead!
“Bring me the blood and bones of a dragon,” the king told me. I braved a glance up from where I knelt some distance before him and I saw his face without humor. I looked back at the tiled flooring and awaited his reasoning.
“The blood of a dragon can make its drinker invincible in battle,” he said, “and that which is carved from the bones of a dragon cannot be broken, cannot rust or wear out, and will make its bearer impenetrable.”
There was a brief pause in his explanation. I heard a gasp from my beloved, from whichever corner she was watching from beyond me, and I swallowed nervously.
“I’ll require at minimum a pint and half and three or four bones of great length. If you can retrieve these,” my king said, “your endeavors will not soon be forgotten.”
I nodded and rose to my feet. “I have already accepted your challenge. I will not fail you, father.”
He cringed. I was no heir, born of peasantry as I was, and until the marriage, I was no son of his either. I smiled as I turned away, grinned as I slipped from the castle into the sunlight. I had some supplies to gather, a map to make, and then the world would be mine.