And damn did I miss a lot of apostrophes. Dratted legacy punctuation. Sod backwards compatibility, I'm writing my next story in txt. ;) ^^ It was OK. I'm just a proofreading pedant - SunKitten
Palmer has suggested that the middle bit could do with expansion. He's also the *third* person to say that the kid is too annoying :) I just can't get the next bit of story to solidify though.
"Why? Why did all the dragons have to go away?" Sobbing, Elisabeth dropped into her corner of the room. She shot her grandfather an accusing glare: "It's not FAIR." she shouted. "As if it's my fault?" the old man mumbled, then louder, "What isn't, me dear?" "The dragons. The fl_" she stopped, her eyes wide. "Now then, what have I told you about listening to those 'storytellers' at the turn?" "That you tell much better stories?" The man grumbled a while in mock anger, then - "And why are my stories better, pray?" "Because you always start riiiiight at the beginning." The girl positively simpered as she slid onto his lap. Her grandfather put down the skein he had been working on, and shifted a little to make her more comfortable. "And what have I told you, oh daughter of my daughter, about flattery?" "You said that any rich man would be a poor man if he met me," she replied absently, reaching for her stuffed toy. She looked up all innocence and confusion to her grandfather's surprised face; "That's what you told Daddy, but I -" "Alright! What story would you like to hear, oh child who hides in bushes and hears things she was not meant to?" Triumphant and satisfied, the girl announced with all the pomp of a judge: "Dragons. Tell me where the dragons went."
And he did.
In the beginning, a great many things arose in the place where the wild things are. And in a mighty stomp - and a stomp, as you know, is like a chant, only far wilder. In a mighty stomp, they created all. The great sea, the free skies, the mighty mountains and the deep forest - and everything that swims or flies or runs or crawls.
Back then, of course, the mightiest of all creatures; swimming, flying, running or crawling; was the dragon. And.. "Were there lots of dragons then, grandfather?" Elisabeth interrupted. "Yes child - numbers beyond counting. But at the same time, only ten." "But how can there be lots and only ten? That's like saying I've got lots of toes." "Well, back then, they hadn't invented time. So the same dragons could be there over and over." He saw that the girl was lost. "Ok. How many toes do you have?" "Ten!" "And how many toes did you have yesterday?" "Um.. Ten?" "That's right. And how many will you have tomorrow?" "... ten?" Laughter split his weathered face. "Let us hope so. Ten little wiggling toes, unless you want me to chop one off." The girl giggled that she wanted to keep all of her toes. Yes, even the littlest one. "So, ten yesterday, and ten today and another ten tomorrow is..." He waited expectantly as she counted toes on her fingers. After a time she answered, confidently. "Eleventy zillion!" He smiled again. "Well, that's close enough. Although maybe we should do some more counting lessons today instead." "No! Story first! You promised." "Alright, alright! The story first, but then counting, alright?" "'kay."
One day, long ago. I can't say how long ago because, as I said, they didn't invent time yet. But long ago, the mightiest of all dragons had an idea. Some say that he was given this idea by another: others say that he was always waiting to tell others of his idea. But one day Nemesis had his idea and... "Nemesis? The one who destroyed the world?" Yes child of my heart, THAT Nemesis. But his destroying the world is another story. You can't expect a dragon that powerful to only do one important thing in his life, can you? Of course not. So, Nemesis had his idea. He was fed up with having the same day over and over - and so he invented history.
It is written that he bound the dragons' control over time into a gem - but it would be better to say that he invented time for the dragons to have power over. And then he spoke to all of the dragons, who had gathered around to see what had been done.
"Dragons!" announced Nemesis - "Dragons - I give you a new thing to enjoy. History!"
And the dragons flew away in every direction, to explore this new thing that had been wrought. Elodha and his sister, the dragons of fire flew to the east and they said, "This is a fun new game." Oliwa and her brother, the dragons of - "That's my dragon, isn't it?" the child interrupted, holding up the toy she had been cuddling for his inspection. "Yes. Oliwa, the celestial dragon of air." He fluffled its ears in thought. "It was my wife's dragon, and your mother's - and now it is yours." The child looked satisfied with this.
Anyway, the dragons flew every which way. And they all thought that this time thing was a great game. Would creatures that powerful do anything except play games all day, if they could? The girl nodded. That made sense.
But one dragon stayed behind, with Nemesis - and this was a great surprise to him. For he discovered that he had a sister. Few tell tales of his sister, for her story lasts but one day. Nemesis spoke then with his sister - and only he knows what was said. For the first time ever, no other dragons were nearby to listen and pass on the tales. So none know whether it was Nemesis' idea, or his sister's; whether they fought or agreed or it happened by accident. All that is known is this: That Nemesis ate his sister. He gobbled her all up, leaving not a wing tip or claw or scale. He took into himself every last little bit of her power.
And that is why yesterday eats up tomorrow - the creator of time made it that way.
That was the first time the dragons vanished. They left to explore the world, and watch all of the strange things that were happening now that they had time to happen in. I'm sure that you can recite all the tales of this time. How the dragon of water invented language and the dragon of earth tried to outdo him by inventing writing. How creatures mimicked the dragons, growing in their image - and yes, how Nemesis destroyed the world.
And that was the second time that the dragons vanished. Ashamed perhaps at destroying the world, they left it alone to heal. But how could dragons, used to spending their whole existence playing games, possibly stay away from the world for long? So Nemesis brought a new thing to be. He took the gem away from the dragons, and gave it to another to control. And so the dragons now had time themselves.
Rather than playing through the world as before, the dragons began to play inside time. They swam freely from yesterday to tomorrow.
"So why can't I see the dragons?" "Can you see tomorrow, child? Or can you see yesterday, perhaps? The dragons live there now. Now hush, and wrap up for bed. Your father will have my hide if he finds out I've kept you talking all afternoon." "Oh?" "Daddy!" "What's this I hear about you being kept up past your nap time?"
This was deliberate putting on the same line - trying to make it clearer that there is a new speaker. (Without adding a whole new paragraph.) I agree it looks bad, but I think spacing it more looks worse. Other suggestions welcome.
Eventually, the girl was wrapped up and lying warm by the fire. Her father reflected that it took longer and longer to tuck her in now. "G'night granpa, g'night daddy." she yawned, sleepily. "Goodnight oli." "Goodnight." "Goodnight daughter."
M-A has a couple of thoughts - I felt I was just getting into the story when it stopped. I lost the thread at He took the gem away from the dragons, and gave it to another to control. And so the dragons now had time themselves. I have no idea what that bit means. I thought that Nemesis had the gem, not the dragons...
Um, here's what the story (that the grandfather is telling) is meant to be (intending that people can say whether I communicated it or not):
M-A understood the points as indicated in italics. Ten dragons happily existing in timelessness. Yep Five sets of two. Nope Nemesis creates time, gives dragons control over it. Yep Nemesis (in role as creator of time) eats SisterSelf? thus setting in motion tomorrow after yesterday. Yep Timeless Dragons romp happily through it. Yep Random mythic times stuff - including destruction of world. Yep Nemesis gives the gem (the power of the dragons) away for safekeeping, putting the dragons inside time. (Presumably the keeper is now outside time as the dragons were). This ends the mythic age. Partly Dragons start enjoying history instead. Yep --Vitenka
Hmm.. I'm not sure how to express that thought at all, let alone in the story style. Well, guess that's the candidate for making the middle a bit longer then. ... Now if only I could think of a way to say what I meant. Or something else to say that fills the same hole. --Vitenka
Secondly, either call her "Elisabeth" or "the child" or "the girl". It's slightly odd calling her lots of different things.
The use of 'child' 'granddaughter' etc. was deliberate - I hate repetition (and it'd be her name every other line..) Of course, deliberate doesn't mean correct - you think it'd better that way?