Friday 18 November 2022

Flash Fiction - The Burning Attar of Alabast by James Moran


The Burning Attar of Alabast

by James Moran



“I don’t care what they say,” said Omphus, King of Alabast.

The Leadarden Priest considered this. “You are not concerned with a revolt?”

The king shook his head. “I’m not sure what you are used to in the Alliance of Halifax, but my people wouldn’t know how to revolt from my rule. My rule is the attar that sweetens every courtyard in Alabast, they often say. And even if revolt was a reality, the dragon I dreamt of will arrive much sooner than any revolt.”

“And you are certain it is a dragon that threatens your kingdom. Could the dream have been symbolic?”

“I am certain of nothing but a dire feeling that grows with each passing minute. When I requested your station in Alabast, even then I sensed something was not as it should be. I confess I called you here because I sensed danger. Now perhaps you can tell me if the dream I had last night was symbolic. What divine register do you make of it?”

The priest spent some time in thought. At length he returned to the conversation. “Do you have at hand an article of your battle armor?”

“Yes. My armor is in my chest and my helmet is upon my desk.”

“I do not pretend to command the king, though would the helmet be here in our hands we might have a clear line of sight upon your enemy.”

“Please, your holiness, relay it to here.”

The priest rushed and placed the helmet between them. “Please, your majesty, look into this metal and tell me if you see any reflection there. Fire? Smoke? Let your mind go back to where it was in that dream. Does the metal ring with a sound? Does it carry a scent?”

The king held the helmet in both hands and stared at it from a far-away place. “Smoke and darkness,” he said. “Not an ordinary dragon that flies. This one comes to us oily from under the rock and earth beneath our kingdom.”

“See the future, king. See the match this armor shall meet.”

“It is a dragon. Reptilian, yet almost insect-like. It is a larvae that is completing its maturation process even as we speak. It gains limbs and a hunger.”

“Enter into the battle. Enter through this armor. See what must be done.”

“I must fight this beast alone. The era of the attar is over. The attar must burn now, providing a fuel that is sour, but will allow my people to rise, to rise in the way heat from a flame rises, to create a new kingdom among the cloud mountains, where they will come upon new discoveries. New discoveries that will further their campaign against this dragon, for I will not defeat it. I will merely awaken its strength by sacrificing myself to it in battle. Eventually it will sprout wings and come after my people and they will have to meet it in battle with their best strength. This is the way it must be. Can you smell that?”

“I can smell it, king. The sour stench of burning oil.”

“I am weary.”

“Go within and gather your strength. I am here. I will not leave. Turn inward now. There you will find your strength. Your heart will know what to do. When it is time I will be there myself to see you off.”


James Moran is a professional astrologer who regularly publishes articles, fiction, and poetry.

His published works can be found at

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