Old Prologue

Lisbeth knew that she was only dreaming of flying. She knew that the clouds wouldn’t actually feel soft, and that the mountains that peeked up through them wouldn’t be covered in green meadows. Eventually Lisbeth got bored with swooping through the clouds and leaping from mountaintop to mountaintop, so she settled in a meadow. The meadow was filled with wildflowers of every color imaginable, some that didn’t even exist, but that didn’t matter either since she was dreaming. She decided to make a crown of flowers of different shades, impossible to tell where one color began and another ended. When she was done, Lisbeth idly spun it around her index finger, deciding what to do with it. Eventually she decided to leave it in her sisters dream; Lisbeth knew her sister always liked it when she visited. She threw the crown up in the air one more time before stepping out of the dream, at least that was the plan, but the man caught the crown before it reached her outstretched hands.

The man was not a dream, and he was immense. He stood in the field on top of the mountain and was looking Lisbeth in the eye, but he was larger than the mountains and taller than the clouds. It didn’t make sense, dream logic.

“It’s rude to enter a dream unannounced. Who are you?”

The man laughed. It wasn’t the laugh of a human, it was the laugh of the wind flowing through the wildflowers, it sounded just like her daddy.

“My apologies dearest, I am a dragon.”

In that moment, the man changed. He was still immense, and he was still looking Lisbeth in the eye standing before her. He was also a mighty silver dragon curled around her mountain, his head resting in the field, wearing the crown Lisbeth meant for her sister.

As much as Lisbeth was annoyed by this unwanted intruder in her dream, her daddy had taught her well. ‘Always be polite to things that might decide to eat you.’ Inside or outside a dream, be polite to dragons. Lisbeth did her best curtsy, grasping the hem of her impossibly frilly yellow dress.

“My name is Lisbeth, would you like some tea?”

The dragon responded with his name. It wasn’t a name that could be spoken, it was a feeling, it was a shifting of the fabric the dream was made from. Lisbeth knew that even in her own dreams she would never be able to repeat it, but she would never forget. The name was carved into her soul, and he would forever be bound to her just as she would be forever bound to him. Immortals didn’t tell humans their true names. The dragon didn’t seem to care about what was or wasn’t done, as he sat down in the gazebo to accept her tea and hospitality.

Lisbeth was unsure of what to do next, but she knew to always offer hospitality to a welcome guest. The man wasn’t particularly welcome, but he was a dragon and that trumped how unwelcome he was. What were you suppose to say to a dragon anyways, especially one so rude as to enter a dream unannounced and force his true name upon a girl? So for a time they sat in silence, the dragon drinking his tea, Lisbeth drinking hot chocolate since she didn’t much like tea. Finally the man spoke, his voice rushing through the wildflowers and dancing among the clouds.

“Would you like to be an angel?”

Lisbeth’s daddy had taught her about immortals and offers as well. ‘An immortal will offer you the world and ask nothing in return. They will give it to you too, but it will be a world of ashes. Always remember they only do it because they get bored.’ A dragon’s word could be trusted to be true and honest without any attempts to mislead, but only their word.

“What would I do as an angel?”

“You would grow up if you wish, you would fall in love, but that’s really not up to you, you would learn what makes this world ugly, you would learn what make this world beautiful. Ultimately, you would watch the world spin, you would watch it burn, watch it regrow and you would never be alone again.”

As the dragon spoke the dream shifted; Lisbeth aged, grew old, and died, only to return to her young body. The wildflowers grew tall and out of control, then they burned, and from their ashes more flowers grew different flowers. The new flowers were alien to the original field, but from a distance no one could tell the difference. Throughout all of the changes the man sat there, unchanging.

“That sounds like fun, what’s the catch?”

“The thing about angels,” the man said with a reptilian grin, “is that they always have a god.”

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