“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” ― Edgar Allan Poe
The Black Dragon Returns
It was the year of the dragon in the middle of spring. Only a handful of people knew that the world order would change that day. It started with a breeze and azure skies. Offshore, clouds collected shoulder to shoulder. Perhaps it was an omen.
Light drifted through the open window of the estate near the coastal bluffs as a breeze carried the scent of hyacinth from the Koi pond into the study.
A white-haired gentleman in a suit sat by the window and looked down at the reports from the enclaves under his command. The news was always good unless the old general read between the lines. He spared his leaders the disgrace of finding fault. Instead, he coached them with his iron will.
His son also advanced in years, sat next to him in silence. He had over a million Black Dragons under his command. A small part of the force developed over the course of a hundred years.
A sound, like a hum, drifted into the room. The sound became a moan, a woman’s moan that filtered into the chamber and caused the gentlemen to look up.
“It won’t be long now, father.”
“It is always long enough.” replied the general. He returned his gaze to the reports. As he finished a page, he handed it to his son.
The moans soon rose like a gale blowing in from offshore, screaming as it scraped along the bluffs and hills. The commotion traveled down the hall with urgency. The sound of metal and fabric mingled in the screech of pain. A struggle and exhortations clamored through the door of the study and haunted the countenance of a long-bred aristocracy.
Father and son could not ignore the suffering of Lee, Kwan Che. Both men reflected on their own time in that room with someone they loved. Both were born in the same light of the same window, the same statues, paintings, and wall covers their witness. The room blurred from the mist in their eyes. Screams laced with pain and fright caused a collective winch. Collapse and resignation filled the air of the estate.
A cry echoed in the halls and minds of those removed from the scene. At first, there was a joyous noise. The sound stopped like a cord cut with a knife and fell to silence. Pain and relief washed down the halls as Lee cried. The burden of birth receded from her like the coming of low tide.
She was a high-risk pregnancy because of her age. Destiny dictated the time of her union with the heir to the throne. She had waited for her arranged marriage for 40 years. The general and his son, oblivious to the news dripping in each enclave’s report, felt a fear that destiny was not theirs to control anymore.
The men sat lost in anticipation. After what seemed like forever, a midwife came into the room with a bundle in red silk with dragons, peonies, and peacocks cascading in the folds. The hanging silk rippled in the breeze that clawed through the window to get the child.
The light dimmed as clouds jostled together. The general’s grandson walked in behind the midwife. His stature exuded strength and resolve without emotion.
He stood next to his father. Both looked on as the midwife presented the child to the general. He held the child who seemed more red than blue. He was a handsome child for a newborn. The old man took in the sight of the child and with trepidation, turned the child over and studied his back.
The midwife stepped away in fear. Her hands covered her gasp. The three generations of fathers gathered and looked. There on the child’s back was the birthmark foretold three thousand years earlier. Juron had returned to the living. The Black Dragon had arrived.
“It even looks like the Dragon,” The grandson whispered to no one.
“It is the Dragon,” The father replied.
The grandfather wrapped the child in the silk and handed the baby back to the midwife.
“How is the mother?” The general had a film in his eyes, and his voice hinted of a tremble.
“She will live. It will take time for her to regain full strength.” The midwife acknowledged the nod as her dismissal. She hurried the new Emperor in waiting to his mother.
The light through the window flickered as the clouds lifted their heads to the sun, burning their shoulders in the light as their bellies grew dark and foreboding. The wind blew harder, shifting the scent of the garden to the ionized taste of sea air.
The grandson closed the window and locked its clasp made in the shape of a dragon. Everything about their physical and spiritual world seemed tied to the dragon that now lived and wailed in their midst.
The general stood. The others assumed a stance of respect to the old man and bowed to him. He returned the bow with equal respect. The patriarch of the Black Dragons looked down the hall again, turned to the others and issued an order.
“Begin the invasion. The prophecy has come true with the birth of the child.” He walked out of the room with his thoughts as rain played a melody in the garden and against the window panes as the wind hummed its mournful tune.
The other two remained at attention until the Dragon was gone. They relaxed. The father looked at his son.
“Come. You need to go back to your wife. We must get the word out to the enclaves in secret.” The father touched the son’s elbow to urge him along.
“I’ve arranged for the birth announcement concert to play in the enclaves.” The son said. He believed in the prophecy as if it were as real as the plum wine he had with his breakfast.
“Good. Wait on the local concert until the mother can attend with the child.”
They walked out of the study. The son returned to his wife’s side. His father went to join the grandfather. They had much to discuss over the next few months. An invasion of over two hundred sovereign nations with members of the Black Dragon Society was a figure of speech. They already lived for decades as citizens in the countries that would aid them in their quest.
It would take time and the fact it had to happen unnoticed made it difficult. By the time the child was thirty, they would change the world order to that of the Black Dragons. He might live to see it, but he doubted it.
Image Source: 500px.com