I initially didn’t think I had a story for the 2014 Mormon Lit Blitz when I heard the call for submissions. But when I read William Morris’s steps of How to beat me in the Mormon Lit Blitz, my subconscious started needling me. “It doesn’t have to take a long time to write,” it said. “And fantasy can work. Look at his prompt- Parley P. Pratt: Vampire Hunter”
“But I don’t like vampires,” I said.
“Hey, if Naomi Novik could have Napoleon ride a dragon, then you could have Brigham Young, or people in the Book of Mormon do so, too.”
“Hmm… you know, we don’t know what cureloms are anyway. Why not describe them as dragons?”
And so I looked through the book of Ether for a story to tell, and decided chapter 7 verse 18 would work very nicely.
18 And it came to pass as he was about to put him to death, the sons of Shule crept into the house of Noah by night and slew him, and broke down the door of the prison and brought out their father, and placed him upon his throne in his own kingdom.
It was short – and so would fit in under 1,000 words. Also, it had plenty of action that the dragons/cureloms could help out in, and that’s one of my strengths as a writer.
From there, writing went pretty smoothly. A lot of the flavor came from the fact that I was playing Fire Emblem: Awakening at the time. The main change I made in revision was with Omer’s character. I knew from the beginning that he would feel overshadowed by his father’s accomplishments, but it wasn’t until the ending that it came out that he was afraid to rule himself. So I had to put that in the beginning to give him a nice character arc.
If you find the reference to hours jarring, here is my reasoning for including it. Not only is dividing the day up, and marking via sundials and other methods an ancient (4000 BC) concept, but the book of Ether itself refers to the fact that the brother of Jared was chastened by the Lord “for the space of three hours.” (Ether 2:14) Plus, trying to describe how long the flight from Moron was by mentioning the beginning and ending positions of the sun was way too convoluted.
This story was one of 12 finalists in the contest. Much thanks to fellow finalist Emily Debenham for beta-reading this story. I dedicate it to my father, who was the one to introduce me to dragon riders.