A Reincarnate's Memories
Growing up was a pleasant experience. As a reincarnate, I am lucky to have any memories of my previous life, let alone good ones. Those who know me now tell me that it is a good thing I do not remember so much, because of the war and all that bad stuff that went on. They told me I died a horrible death, murdered. Someone had cut my wings to ribbons and then threw me off a cliff.
But as for growing up, I am very glad I remember that. My earliest memory is somewhat foggy, being so long ago. By long, I mean that if I had not been killed I would presently be twelve hundred and ninety-two years old. It took me a few hundred years to be reincarnated, so I'm still young in my current condition. And still growing up.
I remember, though, living in a mountainous area. My father and mother, both beast dragons, were there with me. This was before my brother was born, too, so it was at least as old as I would have been. My home was pleasant in many respects, and had a large lake in the vicinity. This memory has nothing to do with the lake.
It is more to do with my parents. When I was young, I always wanted them to tuck me into bed. My father and mother would always oblige. This particular time, I remember my mother giving me a kiss goodnight. Her breath was warm on a cool night, and her voice was like music in my memories.
I know her now too. After I started remembering my first life, I started remembering people. Surprisingly, they kept in close contact with me when I reincarnated, and I know quite a few of them now. My mother, she is gray now and her mane is not the vibrant yellow gold that it used to be. But her voice is still musical and young. I love my mother very much in this life as well.
My father—he was a bit harder, but still good. He had put his paw on my head that night, giving me a blessing and a good night. I wish he were still alive today. Sadly enough, the war killed him, and I do not remember much about him.
After our goodnights, they shut the door. The memory becomes foggy here, because after this next part I cannot remember much else about that night. I looked up into the stars, for I had a skylight in my room at the time, and I remembered seeing some of the stars. One of the moons showed its light as well, and there was this inordinately bright star right in the center. I remember wondering what star it was.
That is where that memory cuts itself off. I probably dozed and fell into dreams, but I do not remember any of those either. Again, I wish I did.
Another memory, though, of my childhood was of my first hunt. I was something like the age of twenty when we went into the woods that day. My grandfather, one of the Great Dragons of that era was with us. The day itself only lives in my past life, though I am sure that if I keep trying I will remember it eventually. However, that night stands out to me.
I had just caught my first marmor, sort of a large rabbit type creature and extremely fast on its feet. One has to sneak up on them, extra quietly in fact, to even get close, and then strike before it has the chance to hear you. It was my fifth try and, though I was desperate to get one, I was as quiet as ever.
I sneaked up on the animal, avoiding crunching the leaves under my paws. (I too was a beast dragon). There was a small snap in the bushes behind me, my tail barely getting caught on a twig. The thing looked in my direction but did not see me. The snap must have sounded natural to it. I decided then that I had to pounce on it before it got too wise to the hunter's tricks.
I did so; it struggled under my weight and was nearly free. I sunk my fangs into the flesh around its neck and I felt the rush of poison enter the animals body. It died not too long after, quickly. It occurs to me now that I was glad that my father and grandfather were immune to my poison, otherwise they would have suffered the same fate as the marmor upon eating it.
After that, and until we began eating that night is static in my mind. But after the static comes crystal clear visions of the past. It was night, the tent was pitched and the fire was roaring like a Great Dragon's battle cry. There was a hefty chunk of meat roasting over the open flames for my grandfather.
My father and I preferred our meat raw, we were carnivores to the extreme in that respect, cooked food having a terrible effect on our bodies. We had already dressed the marmor and seasoned it according to our liking. Grandfather had done that, for he was an excellent cook. Then he told us stories of what he had done in the war and of some of the places he had been and would be going. He sang to us that night as well, while we sat and waited for the meat to finish cooking.
He sang to us the stories of the old world, before the Golden Age ended. I longed to see the way the world was before then. Grandfather knew how to keep our interest, and had told us his fights with other Great Dragons, and told us the stories of Keeper and the Founder Dragon, who had founded our capital. The story behind the statue was the greatest among them. He had been turned to stone and his body was now preserved within the statue.
He announced after that that his food was finished and blessed the meal, thanking our Creator. I remember taking my first bite, thinking how wonderful it was to eat the flesh of my first prey. My father told me he was proud of me, and that he would never let the night slip away from his memories. I wished that it could last forever, but it did not.
My grandfather was also killed in the war, by something unknown. He became famous for his stories and for his ability to bring up morale in our ranks, and I was proud to serve under him before he died. I was in the war too, but I do not remember that.
I do remember another instance in my growing up, when I was maybe in my sixties. Father and I were out on the lake, he had found a way to make himself more humanoid and had taken up fishing as a hobby. While I did not quite enjoy fishing as much, I still went with him just to talk to him.
He had caught that day about five large fishes. I cut and dressed them, gutted them and whenever I came across a female with eggs, I took the eggs and made bait for my father. He always sat with his tail drooping over the side, into the water. I did too and I remember that it felt good to have that touch of cold on the warm days of summer.
About the middle of the day, father told me to fillet one of the fish and make some sandwiches. I took out the basket we had with us, that contained our foodstuffs and set to work. I was thankful for long claws that I could use to slice the fish and make our wraps. We had with us some vegetables, which we could eat in small amounts, that I would use to stuff the fillets with.
I finished with the sandwich wraps and told my father that we could eat now. We did, and during the time he told me about his childhood and going out with grandfather on the same lake just to fish. He had been like me, not very interested in the fishing. While we ate, he finished his story too late to notice that our fishing pole had gone overboard with a tug of a great fish.
The last memory I have of childhood is my favorite, I think. I was forty-five, my brother had just been born and required constant attention from both our parents. Since my wings had come in, I had enjoyed flying with a passion and would still enjoy flying if I had wings.
I remember flying on that crisp, autumn day, just after the end of summer. The feeling of the wind beneath my wings still haunts me to this day, the wind whipping at my mane and making breath deep. I had a grand view of the premises, the lake. You could see all the way through to the bottom, even through the glare of the sun.
I locked my wings into a diving position, from a high altitude. It was cold that day, as I dived and dived. My speed increased to a speed that I do not know and I could hear my body whistling as it fell through the atmosphere. Just before I would hit the ground, I pulled up, spreading my wings as far as they would stretch and arching back into the sky.
As I pumped, I headed straight up, vertically perpendicular to the surface of the lake. The sun did not hurt my eyes much; I was a light dragon back then. I corkscrewed up through the air again and leveled out before descending to a lower altitude. My wings were not in the slightest tired, and I could still feel the air rushing past them, cooling them as my hot blood coursed through my veins. I looped about and dived again toward the lake.
I did not gain as much speed as before, which was good because I had not planned on pulling out of my dive. I remember shutting my eyes as I hit the water, holding my breath after hyperventilating so that I could stay under even longer. The water was warm too, as I dived deeper and deeper under the water. When I opened my eyes again, a world of color had been painted before me.
Waves of bright choral and algae splattered against the rocks and the lake-floor. I sensed that this must have been a new world. It was the most beautiful thing I had seen. Even as I paddled along, using my wings under the surface to propel me, I stayed under. It was incredible, seeing to crystalline pebbles that lined the bottom. Some I recognized as carbon crystals, others I knew were volcanic glass.
My time under water was running out, and I kicked toward the surface, lightly as I still wanted to see as much of the lake as I could. I swam through a school of small fish, which darted away from me and looked like billions of stars in the night sky, the sun above looking like the pale moon through the diffusing effects of the aquatic environment.
I broke the surface then, streaming into the sunlight and gasping for the life-giving air I needed. My lungs filled and then deflated as I exhaled. I was warming from the sun and I shook my wet mane out, even though I knew it would get wet again as soon as I started swimming for the shore. I swam, folding my wings tightly about my body to reduce drag and using my tail to propel me as well as my arms and legs. I came ashore and laid on the sand for a while, dripping and hoping the sun would dry me before I went inside the house. I am not sure it did, but I still enjoyed that day.
After that, I do not remember much. My memories of my past life fail me there, and I only have a few lucid moments of remembrance now. I am forever trying to regain those past events in my past life. Sometimes it seems like a myth to me, and then I remember the fishing and the marmor and know that it was real. Things have changed now, and will never again be the same. That is why I cherish those memories.