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Hidden Rubies and a Line of Salt

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They say his blood runs cold. They. He, who scurries like a rat. Who hops like a flea.


The dragon waxes hot in faction. In fraction. Infraction. In battle grown cold. Fighting not as they fought in the brave days of old.

Then, claws sank into the soft yield of flesh. They all yielded then. Spurted their rubies and slick with such sweet sweat. Then teeth sank into the tight. Into the gulp of princes. Such long coiling idylls with kings. Tasting of the land that beat the rhythm of their season. Wheat and apple trees. Such long digested idylls. The swallowing of lost seas. Wine dark. Where they weren't barley beer bright as the young sun shimmered its hot ripples across the waters of the deep. Sinking into the cold of those depths. Burning. Steaming an ocean into rain that fell a constant touch on the land.

Now he banks. Smolders. Carefully tends the hate of his heart like the ember of the phoenix before they killed her that last time. Tumbling in the dark. An arrow in her breast.

The scales of his belly, of his breast, are soft. Easily pierced. He'd meant to draw him there. New to this land. This king. This conquering-taking-chaining king. Meant to idyll his rubies. Salt below the line of his sweat with swift flickers of tongue. Flip his coin and roll the bone of his dice.

Snake eyes. They say he has snake's eyes. They. He.

He breaths out the exhale of the cave and whispers his despised's name.


They say his blood runs hot. They. He. Penned. Flapping. Flying. Chained as the great serpent that he is.


The king tempers with cold in layers. In folds. Inlaid to his hilt. While with his blade he sank down. In court grown hot. Fighting as he ever must against the touch of the chaos days of old.

Now none is for the party. All is for the state. He is the state. The land that spreads itself wide, his skin. The water that thrusts to the sea and the waves that brush against his shores, his blood. His.

He'd heard once that a hero slew a monster and made the land from its bones. The oceans from its blood. A blessed-bright sword pierced a heart to make this land. The monster gave the hero the blade and the hero made this. These subtle glade mountains. These deep plunge valleys. These enfolding forests. These hard won gold of farms. Earned with axe. Sword. Home. His. He took it. He made it. He built the castle with its white walls. White as Igraine's smile. Penned the serpent, the tempter, safe beneath that skin. Named himself on that deed.

He's grown old in this fight. Bones and eyes and skin and heart.

Unsafe. From that voice that whispers in the cool of night.

Nights when the moon smiles white as Igraine once did, he follows that whisper. Glutted on hate. On state. He sweeps through his corridors. Down the labrys spiral of his stairs. Dizzy with the speed of his decent into what is his. Its all his.

Even him.

Always the air exhales out cold. Even on a cool spring night with the inconstant-constant moon smiling down. But the moon in her sky is a hard press of earth away.

Here the sky is stone. His stone. His iron chain. His monster in the dark.

But standing on the ledge, the king knows the lie. Stares across the void into His serpent eyes gleaming their cold against the king's heat.


They say nothing.

There is nothing to say. Kings are not what they were in the melting-yielding-spurting days of old. Dragons neither if truth be told.

They tell no truths here. This is not for telling.

The tempter smiles to see the pitiful flicker of a torch. Like a flicker on the tongue that tastes. Tastes the air brush against skin. Sweet sweat and rubies. Always hidden rubies that are withheld. And the king calls him the tempter.

The king smiles to see the cold iron encircle an ankle that pens such flight. Such wings that once enfolded the sky.

They do not banter. That time is past.

There are no prophesies left for them. They, who said such things.

The dragon does not pull the king to his breast. Does not tenderly part flesh from bones. Does not give great suck and marrow down. Does not gulp his conquering taking consume. Does not offer the bright blessing of his breath.

The king does not slide fingers over scales grown dull with damp. Slick scales. Soft webbed wings between the jut of bones. Sharp claws. White flashing teeth. He does not sink his blade into the soft yield as he once did. There was no finish to it. His blade is unblessed. Unbright. He is not a hero. He is a king. But his hand still remembers the sweet push.

They stand in the dark and do not touch. Do not talk. Do not.


The land says nothing. It has no mouth. Its mouth is the cave. It listens. It waits. A patient romantic caressed by the sea and blanketed by the sky. No hero killed it. Made it. It transforms itself in its own slow season. The smiling moon is hidden by clouds and the rain falls soft. Then hard. A beat, beat, beat of raindrops that thrust into the dark earth and slide across stones. And the land says nothing. It waits.