"There weren't always dragons in the Valley," Taaglon stated quietly as he gazed out across the verdant expanse, seated atop a moss-covered boulder. Rimmed by high, majestic mountains, cut long ago when titans ruled the world and fashioned it according to their whims, the Sauchill Valley had drawn what was left of his kin.
"So, what drew them here," Kailee asked, the redhead seated at his side had become a dear friend over the years.
"Hiding from mages wishing ingredients for their alchemical creations," he explained with a hint of sadness in his voice. "This is about as far away from the Kuzin lands as they can get."
Nodding quietly, she sighed. "I'm sorry it happened this way."
"Not your fault," he glanced at her, his strong frame nearly twice her size, even though she was well into her twenties. "You had no idea what had been going on, you had troubles of your own to deal with."
"Still," she sighed, her vibrant, jade green eyes misting as she gazed out and motioned. "Seems they know you're here."
Following her attention, he noticed the distant shapes whose long, slender frames glided on the wind in their direction. Sunlight picked out their dark blue scales, shimmering along their strong bodies as they effortlessly flew high over the highland pine and oak. Straightening a bit, he smiled. As he enjoyed watching them approach, Kailee grabbed his arm and pointed.
Far to the right and below, a streak of orange light streaked into the air, catching one of the dragons in the side. Roaring in pain, the blue dragon recoiled, angling his long neck downward to see the source of the firebolt.
"Come on," Taaglon leaped to his feet and concentrated on the area where the intruders should be. Taking her hand, he soaked in the energies offered by the land itself, then vanished with a brilliant flash as a purple, fiery ring encapsulated their bodies and then sank back into the ether.
Within moments, they emerged in the forest, surrounded by deep browns and greens as birds took flight, racing away from the pair. Quietly listening, he soon felt the rush of wind blowing through the upper boughs as both dragons swooped down, one blasting a cone of lightning into the forest, consuming the foliage beneath them. In a thunderous shockwave, trees exploded, showering the area in splinters and sending branches in every direction.
Once the tumult subsided, Taaglon and Kailee raced in the supposed direction of the intruding mage, using his keen eyesight to soon notice movement far up and to the left. Struggling to rise, the figure in dark green robe grunted in pain, his clothing and light leather armor smoldering. Having a target now, the large, muscled male in human form sprinted to the mage before he could escape, or cast another spell.
Surprised, the dark haired male spun, eyes wide at the sight and raised his hands to defend himself.
Gripping his tunic, Taaglon lifted the mage up and slammed him into a tree, knocking the wind out of him. "Who sent you?!"
Wincing in pain, the mage's eyes refocused, weakly gripping Taaglon's strong hand. "Their parts fetch a high price back west," he sighed, trying to remain defiant. "But, you know who sent us. He's willing to pay a king's ransom for you and your remaining siblings. Your Highness."
Leaning in, Taaglon's gaze narrowed in anger. "Unfortunately for you, you're not going to collect that bounty."
"Maybe not, but someone will. Eventually," he stated, then eyed Kailee. "Llandielo's also eager to meet you, god-touched."
"I wasn't sure what his name was, but thank you for informing me," she replied, then returned to scanning their surroundings for more threats.
Tired of this game, Taaglon backed and drew the man to him again, then slammed him into the tree again. The muffled crunch of bone preceded the mage going limp in his grasp. Dropping him unceremoniously to the ground, he sighed. "I was really hoping for some peace, for once."