Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Flying Dragons and their Riders

A Story From The Early Days of Iranigami: Reindeers aren’t the only Imaginaries that can fly. Many species of dragons are also great fliers. The problem with dragons is they’re among the wildest of the Imaginaries, as well as not very bright, and therefore largely untrainable.

Back in the ninth century, when Iranigami first came into being, dragon-riding was considered an impossibility, until a dragon-keeper named Grip, a great-grandson of Horm and Brimbhall, became obsessed with the idea that one day somebody might actually learn to ride a dragon. Grip, a dragon-keeper himself, opened an apprenticeship to twelve of the bravest, strongest, and most able people he could find at the Peregrine Dragon Preserve in Norway. Among those who came to seek an apprentice were eleven boys and one girl, Edwydda, a great-great-granddaughter of Horm and Brimbhall. Although Grip didn’t want her in his program, his Great-aunt Kat prevailed upon Grip to take her in, saying that she had an extraordinary way with all kinds of Imaginaries and she deserved this chance.

Most of the apprentices tried to approach their dragons from behind, running up quickly and attempting to leap onto their backs before the dragons could turn around, but those early attempts usually ended in disaster. Four of the apprentices were killed or eaten during the first week, and three more survived a little longer – several months, perhaps - before their dragons killed them as well, one by fire, one by trampling, and one, who managed to get airborne on his dragon, by falling off from a great height. Of the remaining five, two needed to retire from the program due to loss of limbs, and one was too severely burned to continue. That left only one male apprentice, named Arlsgard, and Edwydda.

Arlsgard survived his dragons by slaying them before they could kill him. At the end of the first year of the apprenticeship, he had gone through 43 dragons, and finally surrendered his apprenticeship by the end of his second year, having never succeeded in riding a single one.

Rather than try to muscle her way onto the back of a dragon, the shy and almost fragile Edwydda chose a different way. She asked to be given a very young dragon, no more than a hatchling, whom she named Alais. Edwydda raised her dragon by hand and spent hours with her, grooming her scales, gathering food for her, taking her everywhere with her, and even sleeping beside her at night. At the end of her third year with Alais, when the dragon was large enough to support her weight, she simply lay across the dragon’s back until Alais chose to fly, carrying Edwydda with her. From that time onward, Edwydda never walked if she could fly, and if people happened to look up at the right moment, Edwydda might be glimpsed soaring overhead on her dragon, traveling the length and breadth of Norway.

Edwydda and her dragon stayed together for the rest of their lives. Edwydda was devoted to her, tending to Alais’ needs, guarding her eggs, and protecting her from dragon-slayers. In return, although it is said Edwydda bore many burns on her arms, the mark of all dragon-keepers, Alais never intentionally sought to harm her.

Edwydda outlived her dragon. After Alais died, she never tried to ride another, but retired to write her memoirs, all but a few fragments of which were unfortunately lost in a flood a few hundred years ago.

Edwydda’s success with Alais taught Grip that those who were to become dragon-riders must form a permanent bond with a single dragon, and stay with that one dragon only throughout their lives. For the next few centuries, only a handful of people in each generation were chosen to follow the path of Edwydda and Alais to become the dragon-riders of their day. - GWYNEACH, Iranigami Annalist (U.K.)


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.