Battle for a Dragon’s Power
A Guardian Rises
There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. After the failed invasion of Volkan the Terrible, some remained here. They found our Paradise Valley their refuge. There were months of uneasiness, but soon we learned to coexist. I even began to ride one! A rider was referred to as an Airless. An Airless would take to the sky in times of war led by the Guardian and his dragon. He called her Lily. Ironic name for such a fierce creature. Her scales and wings were iridescent. Her eyes piercing green looked through your soul with one gaze. When she let out a roar, it could be heard across oceans. The full force of her fiery breath could reduce entire fleets to ashes with one blow. She was the alpha and the beta. No one dared challenge her strength. I often fear Volkan will return for her.
It was a crisp summer day with luscious green running through our Valley. The stream trickled through peacefully singing as it wound over the rocks. Children played catch in the grass, and a pregnant Analeigha rested against a tree in her bare feet. Two months to go before our son, Argon, would arrive. Her head lay in the bark, and she smiled as she closed her eyes. Oh, if only we could stay in this moment forever!
I walked up to Analeigha, bent over and kissed her forehead. She opened her eyes and looked up at me. “He was kicking so much this morning. This is the only place he is not restless!”
“I was dreaming that he would have your eyes. Bright blue with long lashes. He will have my black hair over your brown, and he will be just as reckless as we were when we were kids.”
“Do you see the future now?” I teased.
“No one sees the future. We have no need here.”
“I suppose not. I have to take more sap to The Guardian. I won’t be long.” I kissed her full on the lips before standing to go.
“Take care,” she said softly. She rested her head against the bark again and closed her green eyes. Her long, straight hair blew gently with the wind. Her left arm came under our baby boy protectively as if she knew.
I walked several yards into the heart of the Valley. I jammed a spile into the tree and held a clear jar at its mouth. Out of it poured the sap. This tree was Lily’s gift when we survived Volkan’s first attack. We could not save everyone, but I am always grateful that we did not meet the same fate as dozens of other cities he pillaged. Still, I can’t help but think of my dad each time I’m here. He would be 56 this year had he made it.
“Why is it silver?” a voice asked.
I turned to see a young boy watching me.
“I don’t know why. It just is.”
“Do all the trees have silver sap?”
I smiled. “No, just this one.”
“Is it safe to drink?”
“You have to mix it with other ingredients. If you don’t, you become violently ill.”
“What do you mix it with?” inquired the boy.
I turned back to the jar. It was practically full. “You ask a lot of questions, kid. Had I the time, I’d stay and talk. But I must be off, and your folks are probably looking for you.”
“That’s the healing tree, isn’t it?”
“Look kid, I’ve said all there is to say. Now run along.” I removed my spile from the bark and covered the jar with a lid. I placed the tool in my pocket and walked on past the tree. I zigzagged through the other trees hoping to lose him. When I could see him no more I proceeded to the hospital. I entered the doorway and headed down the hall and to the right into the lab of my former mentor. “I’ve brought more,” I said as I placed the jar on his table. The Guardian wore short hair the same shade as the liquid. His brown eyes were intently focused on a parchment. His brow was furrowed and I knew something was wrong. He turned and looked at me.
“Arthur, I fear a great evil is upon us. Word has spread that Volkan the Terrible is back and he’s ready to try and avenge his loss. He’s gathering an army, and will likely be here at any moment.”
Hearing that name put me in a trance. My heartbeat began to deafen me. Our tranquil, lush valley on fire. Crisp trees lining the banks of the river. Children crying, women screaming and men who had hung up their armor blindsided. Our doomsday. “It’s been years. Why now? How?”
“Evil always finds a way, and I’m afraid he doesn’t just want Lily. Volkan has learned of the dragons’ gift. He knows about our healing tree. If he gets it, he will have eternal life at his fingertips. We cannot let this happen.”
“What do you require of me?”
“Do you remember how to make the elixir?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I must go to battle. I need you and Taron to take my place if I die.”
“She is not as far in her training as you were. But she knows how to uncloak the tree.”
“Yes, to hide it from Volkan, I must cloak the tree. It will become invisible to all. Only Taron will be able to undo this, and only you can make the elixir.”
“Wouldn’t it be best to teach me the cloaking spell or her to mix the elixir?” I asked.
“There’s no time. Please, if I die in battle, keep her safe. Keep her hidden,” my former mentor pleaded. “This village will die without both of you.”
“Arwin-” I began.
“She is too young to ride. Lily is the most powerful dragon we have. If he gets her and the tree, he will be unstoppable. Our village will become a wasteland, and that’s just the beginning. If I had more time to train her I wouldn’t bother you. But we are out of time.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The quiet life I chose for my family suddenly vanished with each word he spoke. “We agreed, Analeigha and I. Our son-”
“Your son won’t have a chance of life if Volkan succeeds!”
I wanted to argue with him, but he was right.
“I’m sorry. Truly I am. I will do all I can to keep our village safe. But if I fail, you must finish her training. Raise her up to be the next Guardian, and stand in my place in the meantime.”
I extended my arm to him and grabbed ahold of his wrist. “I will do as you ask.”
Arwin wrapped his hand on my wrist. “Thank you. Ride Boron. He can carry you both. Take Taron to the underground temple.”
“He doesn’t have another Airless?”
“No. He refused the ones that tried.”
We let our hands drop. “I have provisions for you. They’re with Taron along with a sword.” I followed him out of the room and down the hall. We hooked a left to the kitchen where his teenage daughter stood. Her hair was long and pulled into a blonde braid. She wore a burgundy outfit that ran down to her ankles. She wore it with tan pants and no sleeves. She had two brown leather bags. “Arthur.”
“There’s no need to thank me. I am doing nothing less than what should be done.”
“In each of your bags you will find the last supply of the elixir. Use it wisely. Do not make any more until the danger has passed,” Arwin instructed.
“We should get going,” I said.
Taron handed me my bag and sword, and grabbed her bow and a quiver full of arrows from the table. She wrapped her arms around her father. “I love you. Please come back to me,” she whispered.
“I will try.” He paused for a moment. “You are my greatest treasure, Taron”
When they separated, Taron and I walked out the back. Waiting for us was my dragon, Boron. He wore forest green scales and lime colored eyes. His wingspan was the length of a few small cottages. He took one look at me and raised his head to the sky. He breathed out a flame in celebration. I walked up and touched the base of his neck. “I’ve missed you too, buddy. We need to fly home.”
He flapped his wings once, and I proceeded to climb on his back. I swung my legs around so I was straddling him. I reached out my hand for Taron to grab.
“Home? What about the underground temple?”
“That’ll be our next stop. We can’t carry the elixir with us. So we’ll stop at home and stash it.”
Taron grabbed my hand and climbed my dragons back. She wrapped her arms around me and we flew off. As we took to the air I could hear dragons screeching. I turned to see dragons and Airless riders take off towards the border. Volkan and his men were already here! “Taron, do you have to be near the tree to cloak it?”
“No, but father did that when we got to Boron. We need to get to the underground temple!”
“We will. But first we need to stash the elixir. We can’t have you and it in the same place.”
We flew to my stone cottage opposite the direction of the fighting. We landed on the lawn, and I slid down from Boron. Analeigha was not in the yard. I turned to Taron. “Your vials, now!” She reached in her bag and pulled out six. She handed them to me, and I ran inside. I pulled the door open and threw myself in. I was greeted with the swing of my wife’s sword. I ducked narrowly missing her strike. “Analeigha, it’s me!” I exclaimed.
“Arthur!” She exhaled a sigh of relief and relaxed her sword. She wrapped her arms around my neck and I took her waist.
“My love, we do not have much time. Volkan has returned.”
She released her grip on me, but I kept my arms around her. “Taron isn’t ready. If Arwin falls you’re the next Guardian.”
Tears filled my eyes. “This isn’t what I wanted for us.”
“Nor I. But our village needs you. You must be strong. WE must be strong.”
“I came to hide the elixir. He knows about the healing tree. He’ll come for it and possibly for Taron. I am to hide her in the underground temple. Come with us,” I pleaded.
“We can’t leave it unprotected. I’ll take the elixir and keep it and our son safe. You take Taron.”
My stomach churned. I hated it, but I knew she was right. I released my grip and dug into my bag for the remaining 6 vials. She grabbed an apron off the table and wrapped them.
“I’ll keep them hidden. Now go, there is no time to lose.”
“Wait.” I kissed her and bent down to kiss her stomach. “Be strong, Argon. And don’t you fret. Your mom and I faced Volkan once, and we lived to tell the tale. Now we’ll do it again.” I stood up and looked at her again. I wanted so desperately to believe everything would be all right.
My Analeigha, as if reading my thoughts, touched my cheek with her hand. “I love you, and this is not goodbye.”
“This is not goodbye,” I repeated. “I love you.”
With that I left. I walked back to Boron and Taron. I climbed up and wrapped my legs on each side so I was straddling him. “To the temple!” Taron wrapped her arms around me as my dragon flapped his wings. We took to the skies. We headed south towards the end of the village on the edge of the valley. As we flew I looked down to see my neighbors and friends running frantically about. Some were getting their belongings to leave. Others were gathering their bows and swords. Retired Airless dawned their armor to go to battle. Children were crying as their bedtime stories came to life before their eyes. Fires raging, evil men known for their ruthless nature. Dozens of cities before ours reduced to ash. It was thanks to Arwin that we survived the first time. What will we do if he dies? Am I really strong enough for this? My thoughts want to drift to Analeigha, but I won’t let them. I can’t. We’re two miles away from our destination when Boron veers sharply to the right. I grab his neck to hold on. Taron’s grip gets tighter. A flame flies by narrowly missing us. I turn to see a few of Volkan’s men on dragons flying towards us.
“We have to take them out before we get to the temple!”
“I can do it if we can get upright again!”
I held Boron’s neck and leaned to the left to level him out. As I did, Taron loosened her grip. She grabbed her bow and took an arrow from her quiver. “They’re firing again!”
“Hold on!” She wrapped one arm around my waist as Boron turned further to the left. I watched as two fireballs blew past us. I leaned to the right to level him out again. Taron released her grip and grabbed her bow. I could feel her pulling back an arrow and letting it fly. A man let out a yell, and I turned to see him fall to the ground. “Nice shot.”
The other two didn’t think so. They pulled out their bows and started firing. The third dragon sent fireballs to avenge his fallen Airless. Taron put her bow around her and held tight. We banked left and right trying to evade their barrage. Flames and arrows went by. When we leveled out Taron wasted no time firing off arrows in return. “Aim for the front of the dragons’ chest. They’ll pursue us after their Airless are done for. You may not kill it, but that’ll slow them down.” We were one mile from the underground temple and back up. “We aren’t far now!”
We flew and weaved in and out of the sky until another dragon came at us in front. She breathed a great fireball and landed a direct hit on my beautiful dragon. He flew downward, and as he did the other dragons proceeded to follow. We were half a mile away. Boron landed in a green field. The minute he did, Taron grabbed her bow again. She let loose an arrow with a red feather and pierced a soldier’s heart. Down he fell. Boron blew fire at him for good measure, and blew fire around us. I could hear the other dragons snarl in response. Smoke quickly rose, turning our blue sky blackish gray.
“Four against one is not great odds. How many arrows do you have left?”
“All right. We’ll fly up. The minute we do, start firing, and keep firing as much as you can. There will be more arrows at the temple.”
As she pulled back her bow to get in position, two arrows came flying hitting us both. We fell off the back of my dragon and hit the ground. I pulled the arrow out of my shoulder and stood. As I did, one of the dragons charged at Boron pushing him backwards. A second dragon did the same and soon Boron couldn’t protect us. I unsheathed my sword and stood ready. I could hear another arrow being released. I turned to see it heading towards Taron. I ran and swung my sword. The sound of our metal clashing rang in my ears. Another arrow came, and I deflected that one as well. Taron stood. The arrow had pierced her shoulder as well, but she could still shoot. She grabbed another arrow and stood ready. She shot in the direction of the last arrow. When she did, a gust of wind knocked us over. One of the dragons put out part of the flame, and two men stepped forth. I stood and charged at them with my sword.
The first man pulled out his sword and charged back at me. Sparks came from our metal clashing. I pushed him back and swung again swinging my sword to the right towards his head. He bent over backwards and swung his sword at me. I ducked and repositioned my sword in my hands. With the handle to the left and the sword pointing right I lunged toward him with the silver blade. He spun around with his sword deflecting my attack. He brought his arms around to bring his sword down on my head. I repositioned my sword again to block his attack. He kicked me in the ribs and I stumbled backwards. We continued to swing our swords at one another until we both ended up with our swords at each other’s throats.
“You lose this round,” he stated.
My heart sank. Between the smoke and the fighting I was nearly out of breath, and my arm felt like it would disconnect from my shoulder. I had been so focused on the guy in front of me that I almost forgot Taron. “No.”
“You have both fought well. The Guardian should be pleased. Tell him if he ever wants to see his daughter again, he’ll relinquish the tree and the dragon. He has 48 hours, or she dies.”
I felt something hit the back of my head and I fell to the ground. The last thing I saw before I lost consciousness was Taron being carried towards a dragon.
About the Creator
Desiree T. Young
Writing is how I make sense of the world. It is my retreat, my bridge, and my sword.
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
Rousing beginning - lots of action. I like the way the dragons are portrayed. Dialogue is clear and precise
Good flow in storytelling and good dialogue.