It’s hard to believe that it’s been a week since I roamed Yellowstone Park with my 19-year-old son, Robin. Our trip was so much fun. We explored the country, had the opportunity to meet people I’d only met online, and see family. You can read about it in my last post. On that 6,496 mile trek, I learned a lot about my own writing and the Dragon Courage series.
First off, as I began the process of packing and getting ready for the trip, I began to understand Duskya in Dragon’s Cure. She realizes that she needs to go on a trip without Cerulean. At first she’s ready to fight for the right to go, but Cerulean, just like my husband, readily agrees that she can go. Then she the night before she leaves, she begins to doubt herself.
Duskya did not sleep well. It wasn’t that her bed was uncomfortable, but the fact that she realized it would be the last time she would be in it for at least two moons. She curled up next to Cerulean, trying not to keep him awake. She sighed, wondering what this trip would bring. She knew she had to find Serena; she hoped that in the process Carryn would learn to truly forgive. Just before dawn, she drifted off to sleep.
I could so relate to the mixed up emotions of my character. I wanted to go. I was excited about going, but at the same time, I was nervous. I had never traveled so far completely on my own before. I always had someone else who was responsible with me–either my parents, grandparents, or even my husband. This was the first for me to drive across the US on my own.
Dragon’s Future in Eastern Oregon
As we passed through Eastern Oregon along I-84, I listened to Robin chat about his world. He has a very intricate fantasy world that he’s written about. I expect at some point in time he’ll get them published. A sign pulled me out of his world and into the realm of Dragon Courage. I saw the turn off for Wyeth, Oregon. As those who’ve read Dragon’s Future will know, Wyeth is Ruskya’s dragon. He had his start from this very sign six and a half years ago. About an hour later, we passed Philippi and Blalock Canyons and then Woelpern Rd. All of which triggered memories of places in Dragon’s Future. Twenty miles further on Robin’s story telling was interrupted as he noticed Three Mile Canyon and asked if that was where Three Spans Canyon came from. I smiled as I thought of the dragon riders from the north. The next day, we drove along US Highway 395. As we wove our way through the canyons of Eastern Oregon, I wanted to go back to Three Spans Canyon and Woelpren and tell another story. Who knows, maybe a story will surface from that area. For now, I had to focus back on the road as my son took on his first mountain pass as a newly permitted driver.
Pushing to Make It Home
Several times along the way, my leg and foot cramped up as I drove not wanting to waste time in stopping. In so doing, I was reminded of Kyn, in Dragon’s Revenge. After his trip to the El’Shad’n and then to the Carr, he finally returns home. As I stumbled out of a vehicle to be greeted by Heather Huffman Bodendieck, her son, and four dogs, I felt much like Kyn. When I finally made it to my birthtown, my sister’s home, and finally my own house, I understood Kyn’s eagerness to make it home.
The day was uneventful, and by the time his legs were cramping, they were almost within hailing range of Three Spans Canyon.
“You really should take a break,” Wylen scolded Kyn. “You will not be able to walk when we get there.”
“Then you can land outside the door, and I will crawl inside. We are too close to stop now.”
Wylen huffed a puff of smoke. “You are stubborn today, little one. Why is that?”
“Because, I see those clouds. They are ready to spit snow. If they do, we will be caught out here. I don’t want that.”
Wylen nodded. “Fine. We’ll get home.”
Awhile later, Ruskya was mentally calling him. “Youngling, it is good to have you home. Why not come here for a meal?”
“What if this storm turns into a bad one? Do you really want me there for a day or so?”
“Youngling, you know nothing of the love of a family if you have to ask that. Of course we want you. We’ve missed you like crazy since Braidyn’s wedding. Besides, we’ll probably stay up all night talking anyway. It’d be like it was when you were a newly chosen youngling.”
Kyn smiled. He was home. Ruskya wanted him; Ma and Da needed him. He belonged.
“All right, then, but I’ll warn you, you may have to help carry me inside. I haven’t had a break all day. I flew straight here once I saw the clouds.”
“Younglings!” Ruskya said with exasperation and yet affection in his voice. “I’ll have Carryl make you a tea. Just land in one piece.”
Kyn laughed. “Make it a large pot. I ran out of tea several days ago. I had to actually drink that brew they make where Braidyn lives. It was disgusting!”
When Kyn landed, the wind had picked up and snow was spitting at them. Ruskya met him and helped him off of Wylen.
“You weren’t kidding when you said you wouldn’t be able to walk, youngling.”
Kyn grinned. “What can I say? I just wanted to get home.”
“Well, you are home,” Ruskya agreed.
Where Dragons Live
As our journey took us across fifteen states, Robin and I discussed the possibilities of our dragons living in the various areas. In the hills east of Grand Teton National Park, his dragons could hide as a whole hill. Whereas the dragons of the world of Dragon Courage would rather live in the rugged peaks of Colorado Springs or the Grand Tetons themselves. I wondered if there was room for these kinds of mountains on my map of the Dragon Courage lands.
I, also, realized that even though I had a specific set of canyons and hills in mind when I wrote Dragon’s Future, there are a number of states that have similar places. I added Kansas, Wyoming, and Missouri to the list of places that would understand what I had in mind when I created Philippi and Three Spans Canyons.
Through Wyoming, I saw numerous horse ranches. The wide open plains call out to be riden. As I drove, my mind began to wander. We have tales of cowboys and horse tamers. What about a world where dragons are a nusance and steal livestock and harrass ranchers. Wouldn’t a dragon whisperer come in handy? What would it look like? Who would be the hero or heroine? Any ideas? I’d love to hear them. It’s the side comments of “What if?” or “Hey, you should write a story about…” that often tickle my imagination and then end up growing into a story.