Iowa Writes

SARAH PRINEAS
The Dragons of Fair D'Ellene


The cliffs of Fair D'Ellene blush pink in the evening, just as they did when the dragons dropped from them like falling stars, flaming in the last darts of light from the setting sun, falling until the wind was caught within the great sails of their wings, and up they soared over the sea, the last of the sunset gilding their bellies.

Too heavy to launch themselves from the ground, they had to live on the cliffs, you see. They had to fall before they could fly.

When I was young, my mother took me. We borrowed a dory and sailed around the headland. My mother's strong hand guided mine on the tiller; the wind made the boat buck like a pony and I licked spindrift from my lips. In the water below the cliffs, we turned the boat into the wind, dropped the sail, and waited while the sun rolled down towards the horizon. When the rim of the sea took its first nibble of the sun, the dragons began. Only a few at first, then scores, falling and flying, until they filled the sky like—like nothing else at all. You had to have seen to understand what they were, and now they have gone and you can see them no longer.

The cliffs of Fair D'Ellene blush pink in the evening, just as they did when the dragons dropped from them like falling stars, flaming in the last darts of light from the setting sun, falling until the wind was caught within the great sails of their wings, and up they soared over the sea, the last of the sunset gilding their bellies.

Too heavy to launch themselves from the ground, they had to live on the cliffs, you see. They had to fall before they could fly.

When I was young, my mother took me. We borrowed a dory and sailed around the headland. My mother's strong hand guided mine on the tiller; the wind made the boat buck like a pony and I licked spindrift from my lips. In the water below the cliffs, we turned the boat into the wind, dropped the sail, and waited while the sun rolled down towards the horizon. When the rim of the sea took its first nibble of the sun, the dragons began. Only a few at first, then scores, falling and flying, until they filled the sky like—like nothing else at all. You had to have seen to understand what they were, and now they have gone and you can see them no longer.

When they finished, when the sun was gone, we sailed for home, my mother and me. We rowed when the wind died. The sea cradled our boat, humpbacked waves rolling around us. Clusters of stars gathered in the sky, flocks of glittering birds that guided our way home.

My mother is gone now, as the dragons are.

Atop the cliffs now stands a battlement. Stark, gray, slotted with cannons and dotted with squat towers. Soldiers bearing arms pace the wall, their bleak eyes turned outward, seeking enemies.

We are safer, now. But the dragons have gone from the cliffs of Fair D'Ellene.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


SARAH PRINEAS

In addition to working at the University of Iowa's Honors Program, Sarah Prineas is a writer whose stories have appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Paradox, and Cicada, and in the Hugo-nominated online magazine Strange Horizons. Three of her stories have been honorably mentioned in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin Grant.

This page was first displayed
on May 13, 2006

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