Kamis, 10 Januari 2013


In the beginning, there was darkness. It surrounded him, comforted him. The dark was everything. It filled time and the Space around him, along with a bright, soft lump. It was hard to say how long he remained huddled there in the darkness, but he knew what he heard and smelt outside him as he grew older. He could discern more about the dark around him as well, and learned that it hid a curving barrier that encompassed his entire world. Outside the Barrier, though, was everything else. He could see periods of dark and not-dark that went on there—he chose to sleep during the not-dark because it was painful to look at—and detected other happenings as well. He could see shapes in the not-dark when the noises woke him, and smell more things outside: sharp, woody, musty, acrid. There were also, he found, more lumps outside that smelled the same as the one in his Space. It took him a while to realize that the lump was him. It moved when he told it to, and grew as he grew. It was beginning to take up too much of the Space after a while; crushed against the Barrier, he could see that it was only a thin layer between him and the Beyond. He could watch other creature-shapes come and go around him, their size unfathomably large. They were always nearby, and kept his Space warm for him. They would leave sometimes, but always came back before the light changed. He was watching one of the shapes when it left him, moving beyond his range of sight. He squirmed to try and see, but all he could do was hear: roars, snarls, groans, and screams from the Beyond. They stopped after a while, and he was glad, because they were not pretty sounds and made his head ache. He was happy when one of the creature-shapes came back to him. It stayed crouched a little away from where he was, but he could still feel the warmth from it. Then it came over to him and breathed on the outside of his Space. The heat intensified, and he could hear crackling and popping from where it touched the Barrier. It stiffened around him, and clouded up until he could no longer see through. He didn’t mind, though; he knew the creature-shape was still there. He closed his eyes and sank into sleep, and when he awoke, the creature-shape was gone. The comforting warmth had left with it, and he was afraid. He thrashed around, struggling to see through the Barrier as he once could. It was no use, but he heard it crack as he fought it, and give a bit when he touched it. The Barrier was going to let him out! As he continued to claw at it, he could hear similar struggles from next to him. Another must have its own Barrier and Space in this very cave. Maybe they could help him. He redoubled his efforts, and at last he struggled right through the Barrier, out of his Space and into the Beyond.

The two dragons were all alone when they hatched. They had no one to feed or nurture them, no one to shelter or protect them. There was no parent to comfort the hatchlings when they wailed when the too-strong smells, too-loud sounds, and too-bright light overwhelmed their senses. They were far too frightened and weak to venture outside of their cave and forage, too helpless to survive for very long. They would have been dead by the end of the week had it not been for the birds. They had seen everything from a safe perch in a nearby tree. They’d seen the two adult dragons dart into the hidden cave with their immature eggs in tow. They’d seen the creatures that had hunted them finally catch up. They could do nothing but watch as the dragons were finally brought down by those fearsome creatures. The mother was able to return to the cave after the father drew off the creatures. She breathed fire onto the eggs, causing them to expand and turn brittle so the hatchlings could escape, a process the dragons called Namabrok (“fire shaping”). She was dragged away from the eggs and presumably killed along with her partner, but she had fulfilled her duty: the hatchlings had survived. Not for much longer, though, at the rate they were going. The birds did not quite understand why predators stayed away from the cave; what did they have to fear from two helpless newborns? However, the dragons’ scent would protect them, and they could prove useful later. So the birds patiently looked after the two dragons, bringing them scraps of meat and roots to eat. They soaked moss with water, too, and the two quickly recovered from their malnourished state, growing at an alarming rate. Talons lengthened, height increased, scales hardened, muscles strengthened. To the birds’ astonishment, the two nubs that the dragons had borne on their backs since hatching grew into feeble wings, not quite suited for flying just yet. They soon learned to speak and hunt for themselves, so the birds had less to worry about after a few years. They called the male Feirog, for his flaming set of scales that glittered in the sun; the female was Jura, for her coldly gleaming blue ones. Neither bird nor dragon knew that this fulfilled a prediction that had been made centuries ago. But one day, Feirog and Jura spoke in the language of man. At first the birds tried to convince themselves that it was a simple mistake, but they soon had to face the truth: these dragons were as cunning and resourceful as humans, a bridge between the feral and civilized worlds. Who knew if they were as vicious, as brutal? Not wanting to be eaten in payment for their services, they flew off one day and never returned. Accepting this new development—they’d known the birds would have to leave some time—the two dragons continued to fend for themselves until their wings were strong enough to fly.

(Lecturer: DEVI ARYANI/Subject: Tulisan 4)

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