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Episode 520th January 2021 • Saga Kraft • Betsy Bergstrom, Gabriela Sarna, Sea Gabriel: Saga Kraft
00:00:00 00:51:05

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Sea: Welcome to Saga Kraft. Myths, fairytales, legends, stories comfort us, inspire us, and heal us. Please join us as we share stories both old and new. More than anything, we are open to the story and it's unfolding. At times it may be one story told by one person, at times it's the same story told through three different voices. In the end, we go where the story takes us, and we invite you to follow. 

I'm Sea, a writer, artist, and storyteller. 

Betsy: I'm Betsy, a medium and teacher of mystery traditions. 

Gabriela: I'm Gabriella, an artist and practitioner of folk magic. 

Saga Kraft: We are magical berries in training.

Sea: Welcome to the world of dragons. 

Betsy: My story is the dragon of Provence. 

Different worlds were created at the same time by the creator. No one world was more important or better than another. These worlds were not nesting one within another like Russian dolls, but were each equal to one another with one right next to the other. Between worlds were thin places where inhabitants from one world might find their way to cross through and enter another world, for their own reasons. There are many reasons to cross and all are dependent on what sort of person is entering into another world. 

This state of affairs was not obvious to most inhabitants of the worlds. These inhabitants were in pursuit of their daily life, trying to make a living and succeeding at it, or not. Where once they may have lived in smaller groups or bands, over time each prominent species found their way, whether it was to live in a town or a city, or to become a single hunter. 

Drak the Hunter was a sorcerer dragon in the dragon world, who considered himself to be at the top of the top. He had lived a very long time and realized that, though he never really needed to fear any greater predator because there wasn't one, his chief and only enemy was boredom. 

At first he became a collector, as dragons are prone to do, and then he developed into a philosopher. Philosophy became his chief pursuit and he delved into the mysteries of every world he could enter, and they were many. He learned many languages and hoarded rare texts and artifacts. Without realizing it, he became a bit of an intellectual aesthete. 

It may have transmitted to him partially through osmosis., because the thin place that allowed him to enter the human realm was located in a very beautiful part of France. Here, castles abounded, built on top of mountains and the Rhône river flowed fast and deep.

He found a cave under the river in the bottom of a mountain valley, and here he learned this river was the home of sorceress water fairies who claimed alliance with him and who felt themselves to be immune from his hunting. They convinced him that they were not to be eaten. He respected their wishes, not because their logic compelled him, but because they were the closest thing to being interesting that he had found for a long while.

 He focused on hunting humans who were alone, and for more pleasure, he hunted in the marketplaces of various towns, where he concealed himself in visibility and waited for a strange child or a man relieving himself in an alley after a big meal and a lot of ale.

He had something of a soft spot for human women. In this region, the fairies made many amorous conquest, and he did not want to eat a hybrid fairy and human woman. When it was necessary from time to time to consort with his own kind, a mercifully rare event, he found himself becoming quickly irritated and desiring retreat. Not in defeat, but because of boredom. Over time he could think of no great reason to connect with another dragon because they were so tedious.

He lived this way for a long while growing, ever more precise and opinionated. In the spring of his world and those closest to his, a longing grew in him that was so unexpected. It made no sense to him for quite some time. Eventually the thought came to him in full clarity. 

I want a child now.

To sire offspring required consorting with a lady dragon. Like any well set up intellectual bachelor, he began to make lists of the dragon Queens. He knew, and of their principle characteristics, which might be passed to their offspring. With this unromantic list in hand, he narrowed his choices and began his round of investigation designed as courtship. 

The Balkan queen was rejected for her extremely robust, but very dark, humor. The English queen seemed very dull and without conversation. The Danish queen was too recently widowed to be interested. The Scottish queen was strong and fiery and steeped in Highland magic. He chose her. 

She let him know that she had her own domain and would not be joining him in his, though a visit in a great while might be possible. He agreed, with relief and together they waited until the autumn to join each other and to mate.

Two eggs came from this union. One was taken back to Scotland by the queen. He took his egg to his cave under the river Rhône, where he would be a brood father, close to good hunting. 

Months passed in this way. The dragon, Drak, studied, hunted, and meditated on what his offspring would be like. He hoped that it would have the invisibility powers that were part of his magical traits. The Highland magic was yet a mystery in how it would manifest.

 In due course the egg showed signs that hatching time was near. Drak began a different kind of hunt. He went invisible and watched in the marketplace of the sunny village of B????. He saw a few women that met his needs. He stalked them all. 

One felt his presence and was very afraid. Another felt him nearby but, though she looked over her shoulder, she did not scuttle home like the others. He decided on her. He drank in her scent so that he could find her anywhere and watch, waiting for his moment.

 It came. She went to the river to wash clothes on the banks of the fast running Rhône. Her new baby, a tast, looking morsel, was in a basket on the bank, well away from the water's edge. Unseen, Drak was in the water, and he held a golden goblet glinting with gems, just out of her reach. The water fairies watched with interest. The bank was steep and a little treacherous. She reached out towards the shining cup. It seemed to move a little farther away. She braced herself and stretched her arm even farther and overbalanced and went right into the water. Her last image in her mind before she fainted in fright was of her crying baby and the family's clothes left on the river bank. The Rhône engulfed her.

 She woke to find herself dripping wet and in a crystal cave, with a pair of large emerald eyes watching her. Shuddering and fright, she saw they belonged to an enormous scaly bronze colored dragon. The glimmering cup was there between them. 

Her panic increased, and she nearly fainted again. A palpable energy emanated from those emerald eyes and she found her panic subsiding. She watched as her memories of her family, her sun splashed village, and her whitewashed house began to fade and disappear like scattered dreams in the light of dawn. 

She heard the voice of Drak in her head, humming and soothing her. He just turned to an egg, enthroned on a pile of velvet cushions. His humming song, his emerald eyes, and the glinting watery light of the crystal cave all were lulling her into a sense of calmness, and somehow of purpose. He wove the emotions and love that he found within her for her baby, and drew them to the egg with his intentions. With his voice and eyes and the heat spiraling from his body he wove a spell that touched her heart and mind and bound her to the egg.,the leathery looking oblong egg, which was rocking back and forth, back and forth, hatching. 

When the little and fragile dragon emerged from the broken shell, Drak felt the most enormous love. The dragonling was iridescent and mewling. Drak gestured to the woman and she obeyed his unspoken command to pick up and cuddle the dragon. The voice of the dragonling had its own power over her. She bared her breast and began to nurse her new child.

Gabriela: Betsy, that was absolutely lovely. Thank you so much.

Sea:  Yeah, that was very fun. 

Betsy: Thank you. A very well-known dragon in his region of Provence. Sometimes shows up as a female. 

Gabriela: See, would you like to share your story? Your dragon story?

Sea: Sure, thank you. 

I just really need to pee. I'm curled up, guarding my hoard for nigh on to an eon without a scheduled potty break. Gerdy, my compliment, is held up on the other side. Some liminals are exhibiting bad behavior in an attempt to protest the passing of time, just as some carnates are protesting the agreements that deter them from tearing down our magical forest to build a community of mud houses.

I know she'll be here as soon as she can, but I am getting a little anxious. It's several miles to the protected glacier nearby. Exhibitionism is not my thing, as it were. 

I usually enjoy my incarnate shifts, after all I just lay about and watch for requesters then administer the appropriate tests. Are they courageous? Are they cunning? Are they chivalrous? Then I set up a scenario in which their failings are teachings, and they get another chance, up to a point.Some succeed and are called heroes. A few, as few as I can manage, need a little bit more time. They're called bad examples, a kind of martyr, if you will. After their failed tests, they go through a magical initiation process, much like an enchanted version of your baptism, and spend a millennia or so in a liminal form, taking on challenges and lessons to ensure their successful completion of the questing process.

It was not permanent of course. Nothing is,hence all the protesting. Eventually the initiates are returned to their current forms, though, by that time they find themselves many generations further up the branches of their family trees. 

So here I am, legs crossed thinking dry thoughts and hoping for a swift, peaceful resolution on the other side. I'm asking the wind to let Gerdy know that I'd really like to see her sooner rather than later, when the knight comes crashing through the trees. He is wearing silver armor and jewels and stands with a dignity he could not possibly have earned. He thinks he's here to prove something. I know he's here to learn something. No one approaches like this and goes away the same. 

He leaps from his horse, loosens his spear, and charges at me without so much as a hello. Clearly, he is an eldest son, and I am in no mood. I don't want to get up until I can make it to the glacier. So I tightened my thighs and bat him away with my wings, sending him flying into his horse.

This is intentional. Horses are soft compared to rocks and trees, which are his other options. The horse turns to offer a soft belly, then neighs. The knight bounces to a stop before leaping up and charging at me again. I find the faster they charg, the slower they learn. I spit a little well-named fire at him, just enough to melt the sword and scorched the beautiful sheen off his armor. I'm hoping it will distract him and he'll spend a moment or two buffing it out, but no.

 He attempts to bellow "Die, you beast!" Even he knows the effect is lessened by his coughing as he fans away the smoke. 

He puffs himself up to almost a sisteenth of my size and strikes a dramatic pose. I look around searching for a beast.

"Me?" I asked pointedly, trying to feign my usual easygoing nature while the pressure rises in my bladder and I put out another, more urgent, call to Gerdy.

At that he looks around, suspecting that it came from elsewhere. On second thought he may be a middle son. 

"Me?" I say again, more assertively this time, pointing at my chest to help him reconcile. "Did you call me a beast after you eschewed all social niceties and greeted me with a charge?"

"AAAAAAAAAAH!" he thoughtfully replied, retrieving a spear from his horse and heaving it at me. I like the horse. Maybe she'll help with the training. 

I deflect again, this time with my tail, but the movement threatens leakage. Thankfully, I feel Gerdy just on the other side of the scribe.

 "One moment" I say "I believe we can come to an arrangement. I invite you to look at my hoard. Window shop for your future boon, while I excuse myself for a moment. My colleague will arrive promptly to assist you. Agreed?"

"I shall reign down upon you as an eternal blight, foul demon!" he passionately replies. 

My brain reels. So many places to go. By foul, is he making a speciesist reference to my wings? To the domesticated airborne lines of my extended family? And demon? Is the rustic youth honoring me as the inter realm creature that I am, or inferring the vilified representation of the christian god shadow? Is blight meant as an allusion to the magical forest creeping invasion of suburbia?

But the word that wraps my attention, breaking through the confusion, is rain. I leap from my seated position directly into the air, desperately clenching my pelvic muscles as I begin not so subtly spewing a torrent of bodily fluids directly into the misguided and inadvertent initiates. 

I shall not share the details of this unfortunate event again, suffice to say that now Gerdy and I have a new charge. He is doing well in that he lives and breathes, but he is not yet what one would call teachable. He will be in time. They all are. Look for him in about two thousand years. 

Betsy: I love the Dragon's point of view, thank you. 

Gabriela: I would love to be friends with this dragon. I believe I would be friends with this dragon. 

Betsy: And now, your dragon story, Gabriela.

Gabriela: I'd be delighted to share it. 

Some people will claim that the sharing of the story I am about to tell you is forbidden. I am breaking all kinds of oaths by speaking some of the names and secrets that were kept for so long. Knowing all this, I must tell the story, for it as a story of where I came from, of my people and of a great power that still binds many destinies together to this day.

My name is Darisi and I was born in a small fishing village on the coast of the Black Sea, in a land which was then called Thracia. I never knew my mother, for she died bringing me into this world and my father never forgave me for it. 

He was a blacksmith. The best in the village, from what I was told, but that was long before I was born. He had lost all hope for work and life after my mother's death and was in no condition to care for a child. I was raised by my grandmother who was a stern and superstitious woman, but did her duty and raising me the best she could.

 She, just like my father, never spoke of my mother. Only to say when I grew a little older that I looked just like her and that my eyes shined with the same strange golden fire. When she spoke of this it was not with admiration, but with a sense of dread. I could tell she did not care for my mother or for my amber colored eyes.

Some people said that my mother was a sorceress from a far away land, who'd be witched my father so she could become pregnant and have a child. Other say that when she came to our village she was already with child, seduced my father and made him believe that I was his. I still don't know which was true, but I always felt deep in my bones that my mother came with a great magical power. This great power and magic also lived in me and what I dreamed at night. I could hear a voice calling me from across the land. Comforting me, telling me to wait, telling me that somebody was coming for me, somebody great. 

A few days before my ninth birthday, a strange traveling woman came to our village. I knew the moment I saw her that my life was about to be forever changed. She demanded to speak to my family, and after a short deliberation, my grandmother shared with me the news of my fate. She seemed relieved to tell me that I would go away to live with my mother's people, far from here. I didn't resist or cry, even though I was leaving the only home I've ever known. I heard my father's heavy sobs in the next room as the strange woman wrapped her cloak over me and led me out. He didn't come out to say goodbye. And I have not thought about this until just now, remembering that day.

 The woman who came to claim me was Zaskia. And she was the oldest of the dragon priestesses, sacred fire keepers from S.,as my people called it, or middle mountain. My mother was also a fire keeper of this order. Her name was Kaya and she was the first oathbreaker of our sacred ways, but her reasons for doing it were more important than the oath itself. 

Zaskia shared with me the story of and the nine fires. The story was the most forbidden to share because it's also the one that is true. For thousands of years are people worship the night skies and the stars, long before they knew that some of those stars were dragons. They built blazing fires on top of mountains and on sea shores, to announce to the great ones above that they were paying attention, looking for signs, and interpreting them accordingly. 

One day, one of the younger star dragons felt a great curiosity for the earth and dove down to meet the ground for the first time. This dragon was the youngest daughter of an ancient and powerful dragon who came into being long before people did. The dragon child was found by a young peasant woman who was sleeping at the edge of the forest nearby when she heard a strange piercing scream. She came upon the dragon in the field by the forest, and knew right away that she was destined to either die in that moment or become somebody new altogether, somebody great.

She cared for the dragon child and fed her, even though her arms would blister from the fire the dragon breathed and her lungs would be thick with smoke. She knew she had to do it, for the dragon child was not able to care for itself on earth and would perish in this unknown world. She also knew that she had to hide the dragon, for if found, it would be bound and enslaved for its great power, so she led it to a cave to keep her safe.

 Azdaha, the young ones mother, watched from above. She was surprised to see a human risk her life to care for one of her own, and she decided she would reward the human in gratitude. She offered the peasant woman the gift of the nine fires. This was no small gift, and even though it was a great blessing never before offered to a human, there had to be an exchange in order to contain the gift without destroying the receiver. 

The nine fires needed nine hosts. Nine women who would commit to this honor entirely for as long as they lived. These fires also came with other gifts and strengths, like a very long life, health, abundance, and great luck, and as long as they were used for good and shared with others in balance, they could keep them. 

The peasant woman, and first carrier of the fire, was the same woman who has come for me, and the woman who initiated my mother into the priesthood. By the time she came to find me, she was over one thousand years old. As the first, she held the fire of lineage and had the power to find and...




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