Verse of Estoria Ballad of the Heavens

By Octavius
  • 07 Jan - 13 Jan, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Fiction

Pink fireflies dance around lit paper shade night lamps as an orchestra of crickets fill the canopy. As they walked, Drake hears soft beating wings and turns his head to notice three figures flying past him. Two tengus carry a hidden figure covered in a black cloak from head to toe. Hearing sobbing coming from underneath, drake could tell that it was a male. Brown feathers pour from below the cloak like autumn leaves as an unnatural odor wafts by.

“Hey,” Drake asks pointing to the group flying deep into the canopy. “What’s going on with...”

“Were approaching the library,” Jasmine interrupts unwilling to answer Drake.


What was that all about? Drake thinks suspiciously eyeing the young princess.

Drake shakes his head away from the question and continues towards an intersection on the branch. Jasmine walk straight ahead and down to see a wooden hut perched upon a branch. Big enough for only two people, Jasmine and Drake enter to see two rows of bookshelves standing opposite of each other with a small table perched between the two. A paper shade lamp hangs above as a picture of a four winged harpie spreading its wings over a green landscape sticks to the wall.

“This is it?” Drake asks looking at the two bookshelves.

“Yes,” The princess replies, running her finger along the fabric spines. “Is something wrong?”

“No. But,” He stammers as she scratches the back of his head. “I figured this place would be much larger than I expected.”

“Land dwellers forget easily so they rely on their writings to record their history. We on the other hand orally pass down our history and knowledge as we remember everything that happened in our lives. The only books that we tend to read are fables written by bards all over Endina.”

“What’s that picture about then?” Drake asks nodding his head towards the painting on the wall.

Jasmine turns her head towards the painting and turns back towards the bookshelf, running her finger across the leather spines.

“Here it is.” She says as she pulls out a book and holds it out to Drake.

Drake eyes bounce between her and the book before taking it. On the book cover, it read: Dancer of the Heaven in gold letters.

“What’s this?”

“The answer to your question silly?” She says in an endearing voice.

Drake opens the book and it reads.

Her wings beat against mountains,

And her song carries against the wind

As she calls for all her children,

To come and play together once again…

To bridge the divide of the mountains

And return them to ranges of beauty

Where gardens rest.

“Hm, so she’s the mother of the harpies and Tengus?” Drake says, closing the book.

“Amazing isn’t it?” Jasmine smiles as she bashfully twirls her finger in her green hair. “Some say that her beauty can’t be surpassed. And tales speak that her feathers can keep a maiden young forever.”

“That is amazing,” Drake says handing the book back to the princess. “So where is she now?”

“I’m not sure,” Jasmine replies shaking her head. “These are tales of old. Since before I was even born. Some say she went on a long journey while others say she’s far away in the stars.”

“Are the tengus and harpies the only ones with a matriarch?” Drake asks.

“Sort of,” Jasmine replies with a shrug. The dragons have the All Dragon; I know because they had to seal him away.”

That’s the second time I’ve heard of him.” Drake says folding his arms.

“Dragon of the dragons,” Jasmine says. “The most dangerous of their kind. He primarily attacks other dragons but will obliterate you if you dare get in its way.”

“Noted,” Drake says.

“It’s getting late,” Drake says staring out in the dark night as the cool winds rustle the canopy above. “You should get home or your father will worry.”

“What about you?” Jasmine asks as Drake pull another book from the shelf.

“I slept for three months,” he says flipping through the pages as his eyes scans pictures of birds’ dragons drawn inside. “I have some…catching up to do.”

“Well, tomorrow lets…”

A red bolt slams onto the branch bursting into flames and smoke. The shock jolts the small hut and the bookshelves tilt forward on the two dwelling inside. Drake wraps his arms around Jasmine head as books spill onto his covering them. Smoke fills his nose as crackling fire eat the leaves on the branch.

“Ugh, what happened?” Drake asks shaking a book from his aching head. He pushes himself up and elbows the book shelf off his back. Now on his knees he looks down to see Jasmine prone half buried under books.

“What was that?” Jasmine says with a despondent look on her face.

Then several more bolts slam into the forest erupting in flames and the hut tilts nearly on its side. Drake quickly reaches and grab’s jasmine’s hand and pulls her from beneath the rubble and the two stagger as the hut leans.

“C’mon this hut is about to fall.” Drake shouts.

Wood groaning and boards snapping, Drake pulls Jasmine by the hand and escape the collapsing hut out into the chaos outside. Drake turns around to see the burning hut descend into the darkness below. Then a loud screech tear through the night sky sending a cold chill up Drake’s spine.

“Oh no,” Jasmine says looking up at the dark sky. “Wyverns!”

Then a barrage of red bolts rains from the sky as wing beating creatures whoosh over Drake and Jasmine’s head. Sparks pop from colliding bolts and swelling flames follow as screaming residents fly away in panic.

Numerous alarm bells ring throughout the forest as the barrage continue to wreak havoc on the tree town.

“GET TO THE PALACE!!” A voice shouts throughout the tree town. “There’s safety there!”

“We have to get to the palace,” Jasmine says pulling on Drake’s arm.

Drake looks towards the distance and sees a burning home with a broken branch barring the front door.

“HELP,” a voice of a little boy shouts as he coughs from the smoke.

“We have to help them,” Drake says as he darts across a burning branch. He holds his arms out to balance himself as the sturdy branch curves upward towards the house. He stops near the branch and look up into the night sky. Several faint winged figures sweep above the canopy as their beating wings fanned the flames around him. Drake wraps his arms around the coarse tree limb and used all of his strength to pull. The young man strains, huffing out of his mouth as the broken branch inches away from the door. Arms trembling from the strain, he pulls the branch away allowing it to descend to the depths below. Drake huffs in exhaustion as he leans against the door as the thin air leaves him breathless. He bangs his shoulder against the door bursting into the burning house as the black smoke blind his vision.

The smoke fills his lungs and he drops to his knees and covers his nose. He scans the living room with as a burning board snaps off its foundation and clomps onto the ground. Bellowing flames lick up green curtains but feathered rugs remained untouched. Drake drops onto the floor to get a better view and he sees a little boy lying unconscious with smoke rising from his singed wings. Wasting no time, drake stands and rushes down the hall through the flames and ducts beneath a burning beam. He slides next to the youth scoops him up in his arms and rushes towards the exit. Cradling the youth, he can feel the faint pulse in his arms as he kicks down the burning beam in his way. However, the roof collapse and burning debris clatter into the hallway barring his path. Drake stands aghast as he holds the dying youth in his arms.

“If I don’t find a way out of here...”

“DRAKE THIS WAY” Jasmine’s voice booms through the wreckage.

He turns around and rushes towards her voice as she continues to call out to him. Seeing a wall of fire in his path, he wraps his arms around the boy and charges through as his body absorbs most of the flames. He exits from the back where a black-haired woman grabs the youth from his arms.

“My boy!” she sobs as she cradles the youth in her arms. “Please say something.”

“Hurry.” Jasmine says motioning with her hand towards the palace. “He can receive aid there.”

The woman nods and rushes off on the large branch leading towards the palace.

“We need to go too.” Jasmine says turning towards Drake.

Drake nods his head and walks toward Jasmine but, another bolt slams into the branch and it throws him off.

“NOOO!!” Jasmine shouts as she leaps off the branch after him.

Drake flails about as he plummets down towards the darkness. Heart racing in panic he reaches towards Jasmine as feathers grow from her arm morphing into her harpy form. He hits numerous branches and his body spins uncontrollably. Jasmine spins around the branches, beats her wings further down and clasps his ankle with her talon. She speedily flaps her wings to slow their descent but she bangs her head into a branch and both slam onto the leafy forest floor.

The distant alarm bell still rings in Drake head as the ground tilts about. He takes several sharp breaths as his blurred eyes glimpses numerous glowing green mushrooms on the forest floor. As his eyes regains its focus the aches in his stomach, arms, legs, head and everywhere else becomes more apparent.

“Oh god,” he groans in pain as he pushes himself to his knees. “Feels worse than falling off a cliff.”

He huffs on all fours, staring at the worms slithering through the dead foliage as he waits for the aches in his body to calm. He sits on his hind legs and gazes at the towering trees with large knee length mushrooms growing from the ground and the base of the trees. Varying from orange, blue and iridescent green the glowing fungi gives the forest floor a memorising hue as Drake inhales the wet, moldy smell. Looking up, the towering trees disappear into the darkness above as an orchestra of chirping crickets and hooting owls dominate the area.

“What is this place?”

A mild moan sounds nearby and he turns to see Jamine lying on the forest floor. He crawls towards her and removes her green hair from her sweaty face to see blood on her temples.

“Oh no,” He says as he places his hand on her forehead and his ear to her chest. He hears her breaths but they were dangerously faint as her forehead felt cold and wet.

Panicked, Drake lifts his head and looks around in search of any survivors.

“Hey! Is anyone out there?” His voice booms through the forest.

No answer.

“If I don’t do something, she may not make it. But where am supposed to go?”

Drake takes another look at the princess as her eyelids bob. She moans as her finger and thumb clenches on the fabric of his trousers.


she mumbles faintly.

Drake sighs in frustration as he scoops her up in his arms. Planting his feet firm into the ground, he groans in pain as he rises with her in his arms. His legs burn in pain as his sore arms tremble from the weight.

“C’mon Drake,” he says huffing. “You can do this.”

He stomps through the forest inhaling the faint berry perfume from Jasmine’s outfit as her limbs dangle from his grasp.

“If I just go in one direction...” he says picking up his pace. “Then It’ll take me to the edge of the island. Hopefully I can find someone.”

However, a misstep twists his ankle and he collapse to a knee.

“I can’t…” he huffs. Sweat pours down his face as aches course through his body. “I need to rest.”

A few moments pass as he holds the unconscious maiden in his arms while he catches his breath. He allows his pounding heart to calm and his aches to mildly abate. A snapping twig alerts him and he turns towards the noise. He sees a small dirty foot retreat behind the tree.

“Hey,” Drake shouts “Wait! She needs help. She’s a princess.”

Drake anxiously waits for a response as his echoing voice vanishes. After a few moments a young girl with long black hair steps from behind a tree. Barefooted, she wore a long tattered tunic.

“Hey, Drake says calmly trying not to scare away the youth, “Are you alone?”

The innocent girl nodded her head but didn’t utter a word.

“Are there others?”

She nods her head again.

“This person is hurt and needs help,” he says as he rising to his feet with jasmine in his arms.

“Can you help me?”

The girls brown eyes bob between Drake and Jasmine in apprehensive silence.

to be continued...