The Dragon Prince: Reflections
Written by Devon Giehl
Illustrated by Caleb Thomas
Let me tell you a story.
Like all the oldest tales, time has bent its shape and blurred its color. It is a fable whispered on some tongues and shouted on others. While one may say it ends with a sunrise, another will insist it ends at nightfall. Yet at the heart of the story is a single, simple truth…
A star fell from the sky.
It happened long ago, when humans had only just learned to hold fire in their hands without burning. They nurtured their precious primal flames secretly—in the dark of night, beneath shadows and shrouds—as cultivating its glow drew the eyes and ire of monsters. Eventually, for the audacity of their fire, they were hunted, and—though they looked to the stars for salvation—the stars, too, looked down upon them with disdain.
Humanity had been given something it was never meant to have.
And so there came a calamity.
The sky opened its maw and spat from its black jaws a tiny star. Small as it was, it gleamed with all the searing brilliance of a diamond—brighter and more beautiful than anything the humans had ever beheld.
The falling star plummeted, down and down and down, until it struck the breathless world below. With its impact came a long and terrible night: The earth bled! The seas churned! The sun and moon hid for weeks behind the sky’s screaming storm!
And in that endless dark the humans despaired.
We are doomed, some cried. We will perish for our transgressions!
It cannot be, wept others. The stars would not betray us!
Patience, whispered the wisest of them. The world will change.
The humans huddled together, scarcely daring to breathe, awaiting the rise of the sun. And when the long, dark night had finally passed—for the sun must always rise, mustn’t it?—they gazed out upon an unfamiliar landscape.
The world had changed. Mountains had crumbled and left in their wake a vast new sea. It was as though the land had been dealt a great wound and bled a hundred years. Terror washed across the remnants of humanity like a wave: What power could fell mountains? Turn all the world dark, and bleed a sea from stones?
The wisest of the humans looked upon the water. His own reflection smiled back at him, and he dared to imagine what such power would feel like in his own hands, should he be allowed to hold it. Imagine, he thought, if I were more than what I am.
With a trembling hand he touched the surface of the water. Ripples spread from his fingertips.
The human could not see it, of course, for he did not know the stars as I know them. He did not know their arrogance, how they had rejoiced to look down upon their newborn sea. Where once they’d watched errant flames burn with pride and undeserved power, there was now only stillness. The stars looked down upon a perfect mirror and saw their own divine reflections.
No, the human could not know it. Not yet. He could not see how the slightest touch—a breath in the wind, a spark before a flame, a mere teardrop in the sea—could change the world forever.
Such elegant simplicity, such power. For ripples grow: They collide, they churn, they drown. They rise like waves or drag into the darkest depths below.
I hope the stars were watching. I hope they saw it: the moment their perfect reflections turned warped and ruined, churned to chaos by the touch of a single human hand.
In this, the humans taught me another lesson.
And so I touch the surface of the water. I watch the ripples spread.
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