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.
After we exchanged rings I realized how afraid I was to wear it. What if it slipped off and I didn’t notice and lost it forever? What if someone saw it glinting like platinum in the moonlight and tried to steal it? What if they succeeded? I tugged it unconsciously, spun it constantly, couldn’t stop looking at my hand, just to see it was there, even while I felt it.
On the subway, smiling at each other, we tapped our rings together and he said, “They’re like rings of power,” and I laughed, thinking back to Saturday mornings with my eyes against the TV while my five friends chanted, “As our powers combine,” and the theme song to Captain Planet began playing. “They are,” I agreed, and grinning, he added, “Just so long as they don’t turn us into Nazgûl.” And have I told you before that Tolkien is my literary idol? Have I told you before I dream of writing a world like his? Have I told you before there could have been no better way to end our engagement than those softly spoken words as we hurtled under the earth?
Now I wish they were Rings of Power. I wish I could spin it on my desk, a white light engulfing its silver surface, and be able to talk with my love as if he were in the room with me. I wish I could tap it three times on the door and open it to step inside his room. I wish all I’d need to do is put it on to teleport beside him and take it off to come back home.
But it’s only a ring. A silver band with imperfections just like mine. I can’t appear beside him at will. I can’t whisper here and he’ll hear me there. It’s only a ring.
And I’m no ringwraith, no chosen one. I’m only a man.
Neil crouched with his camera tilted high, snapping pictures: puffy white clouds tumbled through the heavens, somersaulting in shades of pink and vermillion, silver linings curved around voluptuous breasts and fingers stretching through the sky to touch them.
In his dark room, Neil dipped blank pages into one solution after another, their liquid tombs undulating as they sank to the bottom, splashing along the sides of every bin. Soon he hung them on a taut piece of string strung from one side of the room to the other like a thread of lightning marrying the heavens to the earth. The saturated paper dripped, splashing like raindrops beneath him. Soon this wouldn’t be the only rain he could create.
ISAAC, a red-haired sixteen-year-old with freckles and a strong builds, sits in the sand just past the water’ edge while WANDA, Isaac’s age with amber hair, drifts in the foamy water, holding tightly to a black rock rising from the sea.
Lightning strikes behind me. I waver at the sound of thunder, the vibrations that pulse through my veins and throb against me like giant hands shaking me backwards and fore. I teeter upon this edge I stand. I struggle to maintain my balance when all the world is chaos in my midst.
There is a pool beneath me. It is an enchanted pool, one of wonders too deep to be probed by man’s mind, too profound to be made sense of by philosophers or astrologers. What resides within it is beyond all belief.
They call it Sela Dor. And when they speak of it, they tell this tale.