The Mountain of Atreyu
There weren't always dragons in the Valley
There weren't always dragons in the Valley. Grandmother told the stories of the time before, when our people were at peace. The Mountain of Atreyu had been prosperous. In the hills, we mined for treasurers, and in the Valley sat our village. The roads had been lined with shops, selling jewelry made from the gold, a gift from the steadfast mountain. The Aeetes River flowed, carrying with it ships meant for far away places, with the gold stored safely in their hulls.
Yet there were those who coveted our small piece of the Earth. They came in the night, setting fire to everything in their path. While our village burned, the people ran to the ships. Many were abandoned that day, a great stain on the good history of our people. Their deaths lay heavy on the hearts of our people; their souls beside us always. They cry out, begging those still living to return to our home and restore our city. We must not allow their deaths to have been in vain.
We found safety and struggle in the flatlands- growing food and yet we starved. There was no aid to us, no one to provide us with the refuge we once sought. We stood alone, against an enemy none have defeated. The invaders brought with them a weapon men cower from. The dragons.
They came from the North, a cold and desolate place. Now, they walk the streets my people once did, hoarding the gold we relied upon. Their leader, a pitiless man, remained high up in the mines, overlooking the men he working below.
Our village was never meant for such wickedness.
The elders speak of the day we will return to our true home. They say a leader will find us, one brave enough to stand against the invaders and their dragons. This day has not come. I don't believe it ever will.
My life has been one born out of this struggle. As a child, I spent my days laboring in the wheat fields and tending to the few animals our village possessed. None had possessed the knowledge needed to maintain our people this way. What little community we built was fraught with the turmoil caused by this inexperience.
I learned on my own the workings of the plants, and our field grew to be the largest of all under my care. Yet there is still the hope, as there has always been, that one day my knowledge will not need to be spread, that we will live within our Valley again.
The plants have called to me from the moment of my birth. Their delicate roots forming under my careful hand. They grow and transform until it is time for them to become the sustenance our people need. This is the great gift of the soil, a gift that cannot be taken from us.
The seeds fell gently from my hand as the Spring sun crept over the horizon. There was stillness in the dawn and a sense of peace in the work. Mother would wake and begin her routine of bread making. We worked as a team, she and I, as the other members of our small village relied on our growth to fuel their aching bellies.
"Someone's coming! Someone's coming!"
A boy, Finnian, shouted while running through the fields surrounding our meager home. Once he saw he had gained my attention, he turned back toward the homes of other villagers, still shouting as he went.
An outsider has never entered our new village. All of my seed bags fell to the ground as I hurried to find my mother.
My mother, Marian, was seated at the table, kneading the dough she would soon place in our ovens. Her back bent over, face concentrated on the task at hand.
"We have to go, now." The nerves in my voice caused her to rise quickly, abandoning her bread as I had my seeds. She knew I would only be interrupted from my field by an emergency. Together, we found ourselves rushing to the small town not far from our home.
"There's someone here, mother. Finnian came and said that someone is coming."
Our pace quickened until we reached the village. Townspeople out of their homes, the sun lighting all of their dull faces. A man stood tall at the center of the crowd. Although he couldn't be much older than me, his face held an age far beyond his years. A scar stretching from the center of his hairline, curving to the left, through his left eyebrow and down his temple, was not preventing him from standing proudly- wide shoulders back, head raised, facing us all head on.
"I'm seeking Ansel," he said, eyes glancing over every member of the crowd. He took us in, determining our worth with his calculating gaze.
Ansel, our leader, stepped forth. The top of his head coming to the shoulders of the strange man. Ansel's eyes met the man's and he spoke slowly, as to ensure every member of the crowd understood.
"You have come here uninvited, Stranger." A man of few words, yet always fair.
The crowd grew antsy as the newcomer remained silent. Women hid their children behind them, never taking their eyes away from the spectacle. Men began to form a circle around the Stranger, as his eyes continued to scan the group.
His voice rose above the crowd, "I am Thelius, the son of Heles, who stole your land. My father has destroyed enough. Taken enough. We must stand against him."
About the author
Writing has been a passion of mine for roughly twelve years. Within that time, I have never had the courage to make my stories public, however, this site has given me the boost I need to take action.
I hope you enjoy!