Fandom: The Dresden Files.
Title: Not a dragon, not a monkey.
Rating: PG13 (mild)
Summary: A glimpse into Ancient Mai. Her POV.
Warning: (a few bad words in this)
also archived at: AO3
Bottomless wells can and do exist. So do their storage-related cousins. But the mind is neither one of them nor in their family. Unless one’s name was Archive, The, learning as much of magic as I have learned…it has left me no option but to excise some of my personal memories. The demands of the High Council, for one, has left me with tatters; and no one knows.
Even Harry Dresden believes what he has been told. You would think that the son of a famous stage magician would realize what I do. Catch the eye and draw their attention to something that, really, isn’t that important in what’s about to happen; and always tell the truth.
I remember watching our menorah be lit, one more little light each…And I remember sitting with my family as we remembered the flight out from pharaoh.
I remember learning commandments about honesty. Honesty…
As I said, I’m not a trained monkey, though I have been called that and worse, by those of my race and by those of my faith. 19th Century California was not a lot of fun.
Magic was permissible, I was taught. ‘As long as there is a recognition that all power ultimately comes from G-D,’ the nearest rebbe would say to me. So I appointed myself the town golem for the same reason Rabbi Low made one - to protect. My story nearly ended the same way as his golem…but my predecessor arrived and offered me a way out. At a cost: I would have to lie.
I am no dragon - the closest I come is that my mother’s family name was Lung - I am as fully human as Morgan. My predecessor was a dragon, was all the things Dresden said; I have pretended to be her ever since she came into my life - it was the condition she would not debate.
Save lives wherever possible. Keep the world from erupting into war. Obey G-D. My faux dragon life and their rules are not entirely different from the rules I remember from my childhood. Unlike then, I am a great power, a woman of standing and influence. But, like then, I know there are greater things than I. And even the Courts recognize the existence of G-D and His angels.
Once, I attended a seder at the home of the Astounding Dresden, a contest prize. The High Council believed I was in attendance to get a closer look at the man who was courting the Morningway girl - that was a part of the reason, not the entirety. I went also to partake in an experience I had not had in over a century. It was good.
As I try to be, even now. For I am Ancient Mai.
reference: National Geographic Channel's Living at the time of Jesus series episode Healing the Sick:
'[So if 2,000 years ago, you wanted to engage in some magic], That would depend on who you go to see about it. Generally speaking, the magic stuff is frowned upon, but if you had a big rabbi and he says, you know, I have access to a certain remedy or cure which is a tradition handed down to me that most people don't know about it, you're welcome to do this, fine. But it has to come from a recognition that everything comes from a higher power.'
-Rabbi Ken Spiro.