Saturday, 1 April 2017

Dragon Diaries - A is for Alard - A to Z Challenge 2017 #AtoZChallenge

Dragon Diaries

elcome to my contribution to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2017:


So, what does that mean? Well, each day, I'm going to tell you about a dragon - a dragon inspired by a name that I generated randomly using a name generator (I haven't looked up the derivation of any of these names, I have just run with how they make me feel, their sound on the tongue).

I'll tell you all about my Dragon of the Day, and share some flash fic about their lives. Any genre, any character, any look - prepare to be surprised and (I hope) entertained by my dragonly inspirations :).

~
Dragon of the Day

A is for Alard

To give him his full title, Le Comte D’Alard, has not been a dragon all his life. Until 1546, he was a nobleman in Brittany.  In that year, Le Comte married, a political alliance that turned out to be disastrous, mainly because his beautiful young wife revealed herself on their wedding night to be a witch intent on position, but not a husband. Le Comte awoke not as a human, but as a living statue, a three foot high replica of the dragon on his coat of arms.

Made mute by his new condition and only able to converse through thought with the woman who now held him prisoner, Alard found comfort in books. His wife indulged his passion and he amassed a large library, his hoard.

Although she has provided him with immortality, Alard’s wife could not deliver it for herself, and when she crossed one person too many, her castle fell. Alard’s books were taken as a prize of conquest and the handsome dragon statue went with them when the thieves found they could neither separate him from the books, nor the books from each other. From then on, Alard travelled wherever his hoard went, until, finally, they both came to rest in an English country house. Alard has been there ever since, his collection growing steadily with the generations, and, although the fine black paint of his scales has long since sloughed off, he is as content as he can be as he waits for day when he finds the key to ending his immortality.

~

Hope

Wittegen Press
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The footsteps came from the back of his library and Alard opened one eye, loathed to uncurl from his comfortable position on the top of the ancient history stack, but checking just in case. It wasn’t visitor season, so he didn’t have to spend all day locked in a dramatic snarl on the plinth at the entrance to the library, but a member of the household finding their statue snuggling down over the scent of rare old leather might have been difficult to explain.

Not many people came this way, it was a bit dusty and away from the big windows that bathed the reading chairs in southern sunlight, so Alard hoped not to be disturbed. However, he was to be disappointed, because the soft pad of shoe on parquet floor came closer. He uncurled a little, flattening his long, slender body to line of the book shelf, relying on the shadows to disguise his position. Then he watched.

The owner of the footsteps rounded the end of the stack: a young woman, long dark hair flowing freely down her back, almost touching the waistband of her fashionably ripped jeans. Yet it was her eyes that Alard was interested in, since they scanned the area in a way that made him shrink back even further. He had only seen that kind of knowing once before in his life.

‘Where are you?’ the words slipped into his mind and it had been such a long time that Alard flinched in shock.

The young woman’s gaze zeroed straight in on his movement and he froze. Her stare widened for a moment - maybe she hadn’t believed the legends, but as she settled, Alard knew he had been caught.

‘Hello,’ she began again, a small smile playing at her lips.

Alard did not respond, old memories firing off all sorts of bad possibilities in his thoughts.

She stepped towards his vantage point. He backed off rapidly, claws the only thing stopping him from falling off the other side of the shelves.

‘I am not here to hurt you,’ she responded immediately, holding up a hand, palm first. ‘Please don’t leave.’

Alard hunched in place, his small wings wrapped protectively around his body as he failed to decide what to do. He felt something from this woman, he recognised magic, and that frightened him.

‘My name is Gemma,’ she carried on, lowering her hand and clasping it in the other nervously. ‘You are Le Comte D’Alard.’

‘You know my name?’ Alard could not help himself as he replied: his name had been lost for centuries.

‘I know you were once human. I know you come from Brittany. I know your wife did this to you,’ Gemma gushed, her thoughts almost falling over each other and then she admitted, ‘I have been dreaming about you - about us.’

‘Us?’ Alard checked, staring with dread into those knowing eyes.

Yet there was no malice there, he saw no darkness, no obsession with power, and slowly an emotion crept up on his that he had not felt in centuries: hope.

‘I want to help,’ Gemma told him. ‘I have to make it right.’


~

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47 comments:

  1. I look forward to the next installment. Great start!

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  2. Really like it. I especially like the idea of the horde of books that can't be separated from its dragon. Fantastic idea :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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    1. Thank you - I've been doing the stories in order and Alard took me a while to get going, but I liked him once I'd finished :)

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  3. Wow - Soph, now I know why you were working so hard yesterday. Great dragon! You're basing the hoard on all our friends aren't you ;)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

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    1. LOL! Well maybe there was a little inspiration there!

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  4. I love the idea- creating stories from a word, or a small idea and seeing where they go can be so fun :)

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    1. It can, I agree. And I found it fun not to even look up the name's derivation, but to just go on instinct - I may be way off, but I wanted the sounds to be important to me, rather than derivation this time around :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Love, love, love this!
    So glad I found your blog and fantastic A-Z theme!

    Poor Alard!
    Though... I can think of worse curses than being forced to spend eternity in the company of many books! Sounds like a pretty cosy (if somewhat lonely) life to me.

    Looking forward to following along with all these wonderful dragons and learning about their lives!

    Believe In Fairy Stories - Theme - Folklore & Fairy Tales

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you like my theme :)

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  6. Wow. I knew this would be a great A to Z Topic, but you started it off with a bigger bang than even I expected. Great job. I was into the Dragon before the flash fiction, which left me wanting to know if she saved him.

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    1. I have enjoyed writing these flash fics - I think some of them might evolve into longer works. :)

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  7. I think someone mentioned this before, but this is going to be great material for role-playing games! ;-)

    Alert, Nunavut, Santa Claus' Next-Door Neighbour

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  8. Hi Sophie - what a wonderful tale to tell - loved reading it and I was visualising the whole thing too .. excellent telling ... now I need to know what happens ... A for Alard definitely doesn't want to stay in his dust guise ... cheers Hilary

    A for Aurochs
    Today’s A - Z Challenge 2017 post

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    1. That's the problem with flash fics - there's so much more to write ;P

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  9. Love it, a romance from the past? Interesting. I do love me a dragon!

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    1. A righting of wrongs :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I love it! A dragon with a book hoard :) Now that's my kinda dragon... I hope he is okay in the end :)

    Weird Things in Folktales - Shrew blows nose into snout

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    1. It could certainly made long life more amenable :)

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  12. Interesting tale. While it's not necessarily my genre of a read, it does make me curious to know the ending.

    ~Mary
    #AtoZChallenge #BOTB 1970's Billboard Hits - A is for...

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    1. I kinda just let the creative juices flow with this one, so I'm not quite sure how it ends yet :)

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  13. I love this. Alard sounds like my kind of dragon. Also Alard is such an excellent dragon name. I'm now feeling a little sad I don't have a library with an Alard dragon in it. ;)

    Magical and Medicinal Herbs: Ash

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  14. Love the story. I can't wait for the B. Hope Gemmacan keep her promise.

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    1. A few people are asking for the next part - I'll have to write it after the A to Z, since I haven't connected by flash fics.

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  15. Now I need to know whether she can help him make his escape. He would probably still want to take his books though!

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    1. I haven't decided what the implications of going back from stone to human would be for Alard, after all, he is centuries old. I think he'd hang around his books even if he was a ghost!

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  16. The dragon and his inseparable hoard of books - love the idea.

    @Raesquiggles - Abbeys - a long history
    The Quiet Writer

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  17. Can you imagine someone spilling coffee, or worse a sugary drink, onto his hoard. *shudders* That's not the point of this story though, it seems.
    Love the start of this. Looking forward to more.

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    1. Now that creates an image in my mind - really angry 3 foot high dragon ;)

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  18. Love this one. The tale you've gotten here is intriguing.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  19. Love that story and wondering if I'm turning into a Kindle dragon given the hoard on there.

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    1. A virtual hoard - it's a lot easier to carry around :)

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  20. I love the idea of a dragon hoarding books instead of gold! That would definitely be me. Love the flash, hope she manages to help him!

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    1. My dragons this month have lots of different hoards, and I just had to have one with books :)

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  21. I've been captured totally by your words - beautifully written and I can feel the emotion coming off the screen. Looking forward to the rest of the alphabet.

    Days of Fun

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  22. Oh this was just wonderful!

    Looking forward to all the lovely dragons! :D

    Anna

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Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)