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Dragons Make Bad Guests

Cinder Valley

By Michael LopezPublished 2 years ago 6 min read

There weren’t always dragons in the valley. It was once a place filled with people just going about their lives. Then one day, which began like any other, they appeared in the sky. They hovered over the valley, as if surveying the land below. Then, without warning, the dragons descended on the valley like locusts—huge, fire breathing locusts!

The residents of this valley were accustomed to fighting monsters and beasts to defend their livelihoods, but those were typically of the goblin, orc, or dire wolf variety. Fighting dragons was the territory of specialists. However, even dragon fighting specialists would have balked at this scene.

The best estimates by historians suggest that there were at least fifty dragons, and possibly as many as sixty, that took the land that day. But the most remarkable thing about that day, is that anyone fled successfully from the horror of that day. For every one of the dragons launched an almost simultaneous assault on the five villages of the valley. What was once very nearly paradise on Rammar, was instantly transformed into a hellish, fiery landscape.

The dragons scorched the green and fertile valley until nothing was left but fire and ash. No one knew why they had chosen to incinerate the lush valley and its inhabitants, but one thing was certain, it belonged to the king of beasts now until they decided otherwise.

“But Elder Rindal,” interrupted a young elven girl with light green hair, “if that’s true, then how do we know what actually happened?”

“We know by accounts from the few survivors, little Ranna,” answered the elder patiently.

“How many survivors were there elder?” asked a little elven boy with light brown hair.

“Yes, yes, I was getting to that. Now, no more interruptions Tufo.”

The combined population of the five villages of the valley totaled near 3,000 in number. The humans had two of the five villages, with the populations of each between 500 to 600 people. Out of the more than 1,000 people, only 100 made it out of the valley alive, but only a total of 70 managed to arrive at the nearest point of civilization. Those 30 brave humans died fending off beasts and monsters as their people traversed the untamed lands.

The village with the many species of beastfolk faired about the same as the humans, however, due to the chaos, they were split into two separate groups. Roughly 80 people escaped their village unharmed, but only 40 head east to the agreed upon rendezvous point. The rest inadvertently went west and ended up arriving at the coast. They may as well have stayed in the village, as death comes on swift wings to those that venture near the coast unprepared.

Next, the village of the dwarves were the least hurt by the dragons’ attack, as they had created many underground escape tunnels. Nearly 300 dwarves managed to escape through their underground tunnels before they collapsed or were discovered and filled with hellfire. However, most of the dwarves remained at their evacuation point in the hills overlooking the valley. Only a handful left to make contact with other outside settlements.

And finally, the elves. The longest lived of these four races, it is our duty to continue recording and recounting history, so that the world can continue to progress forward. To that end, only about 30 elves managed to make from their village in the valley to the closest town in the east. Though elves have a natural affinity for forests and nature as a whole, that does not include the monsters and beasts that occupy the forests. Because of that, only half of those that escaped the village managed to survive.

“Were you one of the survivors?” asked Ranna innocently.

“Just how old do you think I am! The Dragon Valley Invasion occurred over a thousand years ago,” responded elder Rindal.

“You’re not a thousand years old? But my dad said you were older than dirt,” added Tufo.

The elder, who looked to be a man of middle age, was well over five hundred years old, sat there with his right eye twitching. He was fighting the knee jerk reaction to yell at these younglings sitting in his history lesson, especially with another twenty sitting around listening to his every word. Once he managed to take some deep breaths and calm himself down, he spoke once again in his usual tone.

“Please tell your father I’d like a word with him later, Tufo.”

“D-Did I say something to get myself in trouble?” the youngster asked fearfully.

“No, not at all. Tell him it’s about the village defenses and…other things.”

Tufo looked thoroughly relieved, while Ranna sitting next to him, was having trouble breathing see was laughing so hard. Tufo looked at his best friend with a questioning look, but Ranna could not see him clearly thanks to the tears in her eyes. He looked at her with a scowl for a few seconds but gave up and returned to listening to the elder’s history lesson. Eventually Ranna’s laughing petered out, and she too focused again on their history lesson.

Later as they were walking home after their lessons, Ranna and Tufo played along the way. They stopped shortly to talk to the adults that called their names but never stayed still for long. The played tag, running in a looping zigzag through half the town. No one got upset or angry at the ruckus, as only a dozen years earlier, an epidemic had passed through, nearly killing every youngling in town. So, the sight of the energetic duo frolicking about, filled all who saw with warmth and hope for the future.

Ranna and Tufo slowed as they neared their homes, which just so happened to be next to each other. They both took a seat in the shade of a small spruce tree that grew between their homes. And like usual, Ranna led off the conversation with something shocking and seemingly out of nowhere.

“I want to visit the Valley of Dragons when I come of age!”

Tufo reacted about how one would expect, especially after hearing their history lesson today.

“You’re crazy! Weren’t you listening? Elder Rindal said that anyone who goes near there is never seen or heard from again.”

“I know, I heard the lesson too.”

“Did you? It doesn’t seem like it. Seems more like you were daydreaming again.”

Ranna pouted and stuck out her lower lip, but it passed quickly since she knew Tufo was right, at least partially. She had been daydreaming, but not until Elder Rindal started answering the obvious questions by those even younger than her.

“Don’t so scared Tufo, it’s only an idea.”

“Yeah, yeah, but you don’t give up on your ideas very easily.”

“Besides, our coming-of-age ritual is twenty years away. That’s plenty of time for things to change or plan.”

Ranna gave Tufo her biggest, winningest smile in an effort to cheer him up again. Then, she remembered to remind her friend that the elder wanted to speak with his father. Tufo jumped up and ran into his treehouse to do just that, but before he entered, he called back to Ranna.

“Play again after lunch?”

“Or whenever you’re allowed to, sure.”

Tufo looked at her confused for a moment but shrugged his shoulders and entered his house. Ranna stared after him for a few seconds before turning to the front door of her home. She loved her best friend, but she wished he was little quicker on the uptake. Now, because of what he said to the elder earlier, Tufo likely wouldn’t be able to play until tomorrow.


About the Creator

Michael Lopez

Author of the original English light novel series Worlds Apart and the forthcoming prequel series Worlds Apart: The Vanya Chronicles. Worlds Apart is available to buy on Amazon.

I'm also an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, Nutrition Coach.

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