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Fire Breathers: Adventures of the Last Living Dragon

Chapter One: Bonds are Forged

By K.H. ObergfollPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 10 min read
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There it was, another day gone. Many quiet winters passed and the cloud-filled sky was still a somber shade of magenta red, quite promising for the coming season’s hunt. But who were we kidding, it wasn’t like there was much left to hunt, and as things were—Muvwar slept much less peacefully tonight. He tossed and turned as Mymrynth’s loud snoring roared over the valleys edge keeping him awake. Teghrom, their only living relative and most trusted advisor slept a few feet away near the cave’s entrance—and by the looks of it, he wasn’t getting much shut-eye either.

Nearby, the rusty orange glow of dulled fire-lit embers swelled as Muvwar sent a gust of flames quietly over the rolled lava stones setting the place alight in a wash of warmth.

“The girl…the girl, we have to save her,” a slightly panicked muttering came from over in Teghrom’s direction.

What’s he going on about—Muvwar wondered as he stopped to look, keen on seeing what all the commotion was about.

“Teghrom, wake up, you’re having another bad dream,” Muvwar whispered as he shook his friend awake—“it’s the second one tonight, what’s going on?” Muvwar began.

“Who’s the girl? You’ve spent the last few nights sleeping here; Mymrynth’s starting to wonder what is wrong with your perfectly good perch.”

“Why’d you wake me, I just got comfortable,” Teghrom hissed groggily as he tried to roll over onto a cooler patch of rock but Muvwar wasn’t having it.

“Wake up Teghrom; you aren’t getting out of this that easy. Besides, I’m already wide awake,” Muvwar continued—“no thanks to you!”

“Fine, I don’t know what you expect me to say, I keep dreaming about a child, a small girl and with the hunting season upon us I’m just worried, that’s all.”

A small but understanding smiled formed across Muvwars otherwise unchanging face, “I know this is stressful for you but you have to get accustomed to going out into the woods alone. What would you do if your sister and I weren’t here; think about it…you have to prove to us you can do this. Besides, there haven’t been many humans spotted in these woods, not for decades. I doubt they would come this close to the volcanoes —that would be crazy.”

“I have thought about it and I appreciate what you both are trying to do for me,” Teghrom muttered indifferently as he finally sat up, “but it doesn’t make much difference, I still don’t like being out there alone.”

“None of us like it but as the last of our kind we have to be ready, we have to prepare and come face to face with the possibility that we are the only ones left. No one is coming to save us, we have to save ourselves.” Muvwar’s voice boomed out over the cackling fire.

“What in god’s name are you two going on about,” an irritated moan came from the dark corner of the cave; it was Mymrynth.

Muvwar had forgotten about his sleeping wife. He hadn’t heard her snores cease as he quickly set about getting her to calm down.

“It’s nothing my dear-heart; go back to sleep, roll back to the other side where it’s darker; we have a long day ahead of us and you need your beauty rest.” Muvwar’s words were so gentle that he almost couldn’t believe he had said them but it was no use.

“I’m awake now, might as well get up for the day,” she added, rolling over to join her husband and brother at the fire-side. “Teghrom…Teg…what are you scared about now—the forest or the water? You know last week it was about the rivers of lava down in the valley. I already told you a hundred times—us dragons can fly, it’s your favorite thing to do. Just fly high above the burning currents and wait for it to cool down and harden. They won’t suck you in unless you get too close. Muvwar and I have had so much fun ducking and swooping over the red rivers. We even rolled dried lava into kindling for our fire. They work so well with dragon flames; I swear the embers could burn for a hundred years or so. Once you get the hang of everything you will never want to come back,” Mymrynth gushed excitedly as she started fanning the flames higher over the dried lava bits.

“One can only hope,” Muvwar replied a hint of sarcasm dripping on this last sentiment as a cracking swat hit him squarely on the back of the head.

“Don’t say such things, not with the way things are going for us. We can’t afford to lose any more dragons, especially not kin,” Mymrynth cried.

“I didn’t mean it, Teghrom—you know I didn’t mean it like that, right?” Muvwar asked as he rubbed the knot forming between his scales.

“He was joking Mym, I don’t know why you have to get so uptight about things, can’t take a joke. Besides, I was thinking I might just take your advice and head out earlier than usual this morning, I’m hungry and I think it feels good outside for once and the volcanoes are quiet thus far,” Teghrom began as he got up to leave.

“Just be safe, I feel it’s been much too quiet and you know what that means, it’s always calmest right before the storm,” Mymrynth added as she began putting cuts of meat over their makeshift spit.

“See what I mean, always worried, always,” Teghrom said shaking his head.

“Just pay attention, don’t dawdle too long in the woods and don’t stick too close to the ground, stay up nearest the tree tops. The lava eruptions rain down furiously; don’t want to get caught when it sucks the trees into its burning inferno.” Mymrynth rambled nervously as she turned the searing bulbous red meat onto its side for the flames to evenly heat every square inch.

“Geez Mym, put a lid on it will you, he’s just going out for a little morning walk…” Muvwar hissed as he shooed Teghrom out the door—“be safe Teg, just keep your head up, that’s all.”

By Elion Jashari on Unsplash

“They always nag and worry, always,” Teghrom said aloud as he made his way down the side of the mountain through the leafy trees and towards the edge of the cliff as he picked up speed before throwing himself over the side in large, graceful swooping leaps.

Teghrom knew his sister and her husband meant well but it was all too much for him to take on. Everything was a problem; everything was something he had to look out for. He could never relax and just live.

He felt free as he soared closer to the tree tops and felt them buckle, swaying beneath each gust of his powerful wings. This was his favorite thing to do, flying as high or as low as he fancied without a care in the world. Little did he know how fast his life would change. Below him were the tiny remnants of long-abandoned homes, he was the only living soul around.

The sun peeped through the smoky clouds, beating down on him as pops of something hot covered his skin. At first only one or two but pretty soon it was like the stinging salt of a wild ocean’s spray, peppering his body, singeing his scales with a fury unlike anything he had known.

It was like rain, the hottest rain he had ever felt. Almost as bad as that time he accidentally set fire to himself; one of the first times he tried breathing fire as he watched it fly out of his mouth uncontrollably, setting everything ablaze around him, including his own talons.

Teghrom looked down once more; only this time—the trees began to move, swayed not by his might but by something else as they seemed to almost erupt beneath him.

Ashy lava-filled embers drifted furiously towards the sky. A few of them burning holes into his otherwise bronzed colored skin. He slowed his flight as he realized the skies around him were blackening. There was nowhere for him to go but skyward.

Teghrom tried with all his might to fight against the dense billowing smoke but it was no use. It became harder for him to breathe as he blew his own waves of furious flames into the dark plumes of smoke in a failed attempt to clear the air. The valley had never, ever, ever in all the years of living there become eclipsed by such swift moving darkness.

For a few moments Teghrom thought his world was ending, caving in on him. Off in the distance he could hear wailing screams as a loud explosion erupted nearby. He turned, knowing that was where his sister and her husband’s cave had been. There was no time to panic, no time to go back and save them. He knew he had to get as far away as possible, but there it was again, crying; the distinct sound of a little child crying.

Teghrom sprang into action, soaring as closely to the trees as possible without getting burned. The cries grew louder, more desperate with each passing second until he came to a clearing where he saw a little girl. All around flames and rolling oceans of lava formed a perfect circle around the child, threatening to swallow her with every hissing pop. The heat was becoming unbearable but Teghrom had no choice, he had to save her.

By Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash

Teghrom swooped as low as he had ever gone; pushing his sisters beckoning voice out of his head. He only had one shot at saving the girl and it was all or nothing. He flew high above before tucking his wings tight against his body and nose-diving as fast to the ground as possible, waiting until the very last second to protract his claws and pick the little girl up.

“Phew,” Teghrom whispered as his sharp talons dug into the snake-skin outer-garments the little girl wore, a scraggly vest over what little patches of fabric covered her body. Her soft peach-colored skin was dirtied with ash as reams of red-blonde hair whipped around her face.

Her eyes glowed a soft honey-brown; almost as intensely as that of his own. He barely had time to wonder what she was as he fought to steady himself against the thick smoke—carrying them higher and higher over the cliff-sides to escape the fires.

As he neared where his own cave was he stopped near a watering hole—an untouched spot of land where the bluest water flowed peacefully against flowering lilies and smooth moss covered rocks.

Teghrom dropped the little girl into the cool water with a splash as he-himself dipped his body, fluttering his wings as he set about fanning her off.

“Much, much better my dear, you were quite a mess,” Teghrom cooed; turning to shake off the excess water, wondering if she understood what he was saying. The little girl was no longer covered in resinous grime. Instead she sat quietly, a smile forming across her face as she inspected her tiny fingers.

By Tim Zänkert on Unsplash

Just then a set of hiccups escaped from her lips and tiny bouts of flames erupted.

Teghrom nearly fell back into the water.

Did he just see what he thought he saw, there’s no way.

He inched closer to the tiny girl. The color swelled in her cheeks under the beating sun as she hiccupped again and more flames shot from her lips, nearly singeing the ground nearby.

Teghrom jumped, picking the girl up as she laughed sending more errant flames into the air.

“Stop it, stop it, stop it…you are going to cause another fire,” Teghrom cried, moving her back to the water’s edge.

“I will have to teach you how to properly breathe fire, can’t have another mishap happen on my watch,” Teghrom muttered to himself as he looked back down over the valley, it was nearly swallowed in drying lava and simmering flames.

But first they needed to find somewhere safe to practice; this was not as easy as it looked. Teghrom knew he would have to take her back to his cave; at least there she would be far less likely to set anything else on fire. He looked up towards the top of the rolling cliffs. His perch was at the highest peak, about a half-hours flight upward; if only he could keep her occupied enough to make the trip without any hiccups. He would have to hurry.

By Johnny Briggs on Unsplash

Teghrom paced around the watering hole for a few moments.

“What to do, what to do,” Teghrom mused peering curiously at the girl who looked quite content as she sat amidst the purple flowers.

“Seems you’ve calmed down some, we’re going to go on a small trip, a ride. Can I trust you to not catch anything on fire,” he asked, stooping down low enough to be eye-level with the small girl as he showed her how to blow her boiling flames into coiling reams of milky black smoke—his jaws opened wide, so she could see his tongue pressing firmly against the roof of his mouth. “Just do this and breathe out your nose,” he said, raising his voice, trying his best to give instructions but it was no use, the more she tried to stop the flames, the redder she grew in the face until finally a hurling ball of fire spewed out of her mouth sending her into a fit of flame-filled coughs until she couldn’t produce any more.

“We’ll work on it later, good-enough,” Teghrom muttered, picking the small girl up in his arms, placing her carefully so that she faced the open air for any wayward flames she might expel.

“We will wait until the volcano stops to see if we can find your parents,” he shouted over the whirling winds as he felt the hot surge of fire over his shoulder. “Hold on tight, just like a birdie, we are going up to my nest,” Teghrom declared, a smile forming on his face for the first time in ages. He felt the warmth flood over him as he took the little fire-breather up to her new home away from home.

AdventurefamilyFantasyYoung AdultShort Story

About the Creator

K.H. Obergfoll

Writing my escape, my future…if you like what you read—leave a comment, an encouraging tip, or a heart—I’m always looking to improve, let me know if there is anything I can do better.

& above all—thank you for your time

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (1)

  • Carol Townend2 years ago

    Your story is beautifully written.

K.H. ObergfollWritten by K.H. Obergfoll

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