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Raising Victory

by Matt Bryan about a month ago in Fantasy
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By M Bryan

There weren't always dragons in the valley. In fact, once they had never existed at all.

On a clear night, with no moon and thousands of stars hanging in the heavens, the outline of a person could be seen as he walked to the edge of a cliff. As he sat down, a gust of wind caused him to shiver and hug his arms to his chest.

He sat at the cliff edge, his legs dangling over the side. off to the east, a slight red tinge was starting to appear in the otherwise black sky. It would storm later that day.

As the sky slowly brightened with more shades of red, orange, and yellow, the man sat in silence, letting the cold air sweep past his face. To him, it helped to clear his mind after long stretches of thinking or planning.

A while passed. Nothing moved, save for the branches on trees and the hair on the mans head due to the wind.

As the sun breached the horizon, a great black thing streaked past the man out of nowhere. It was the size of a small airplane, but it moved with greater speed and agility without any of the noise. In fact, the only sound that could be heard was the wind whistling as the creature flew, and the flap of great, leathery wings as they pulled it along.

Once some distance had been put between the creature and the man, it became clear exactly what it was.

A dragon.

The dragon swung her head from side to side, seeming to search for something. Her eyes narrowed, keenly sweeping for her objective. Then, she looked back and saw the man sitting on the cliff edge.

With a great cry, the dragon pulled herself above the cliff edge, wings straining to pull a tight u-turn to move in the opposite direction - to start going to where the man sat.

She descended towards him, speeding faster and faster as it streamlined its wings against its body.

At the last second, the dragon spread her wings, slowing down sharply, and pulling up at the same time, streaking mere feet over the mans head. She landed with a great crash, her four legs absorbing much of the impact from the fast landing.

Through it all, the man hadn't moved, other than to turn his head to watch the dragon make her approach. It was clear that this wasn't a new routine to him.

Nor was it new to the dragon, it seemed. Rather than try to eat the man as you would normally think happen with most great, scaly beasts, she instead walked over to him, lowering her head so that the man could scratch her chin where she had an itchy spot.

He obliged, quickly scratching his nails over her black scales. On her chin, the scales were smaller and rounder than they were on her back and sides, where the scales were much larger and shaped like birch leaves.

After he had scratched for a few seconds, the man stepped back and laughed. The dragon gave him a questioning look, seeming to want an explanation for the sudden outburst.

He grinned. "It's just that you've gotten so much better at flying than when you started. I remember it like it was yesterday. Remember when you crashed into the neighbor's mailbox?"

The dragon storted. She remembered, all right. The event still embarrased her when she thought about it, even 8 years later.

The man saw her discomfort and changed the subject. "You know, Vic, it's a long walk back to the house. You think I could hitch a ride?"

The dragon looked up suddenly, moving her head up and down in a motion that some would consider a crude nod. She loved a challenge, and flying with the man on her shoulders without crashing was definetely a challenge she enjoyed.

The man enjoyed it, too. With a grin, he ran to the woodline, where on the ground lay a leather abomination that, if you turned your head sideways and squinted, could almost be imagined to be a saddle.

Apparently, that's what it was, because the man walked it over and started strapping it around the dragons front legs and torso.

It wasn't so much a saddle as it was a series of straps that held the man in place. Instead of sitting like with most saddles, the man had to lie down along the dragons back so that he wouldn't throw her out of balance during tighter maneuvers.

Once he had the saddle strapped on, the man started to strap himself to the thing. First, he strapped a pair of suspender-looking straps on himself. They ran from his belt to his ankles. where they were pulled tight so they wouldn't slide up or down. Near each ankle was a little hook clip which could be quickly attached to loops on the saddle.

On the belt was similar clips, only they were hooked on either side of his belt and attached to the dragons saddle using loops much like the ankle fasteners.

Lastly, there were two wristbands, each of which attached to hooks further up on the saddle, near the base of the dragons neck.

Once the man was fully strapped on, he patted her shoulder with a big, goofy grin on his face.

"Alrighty, Vic. Ready when you are!"

Vic looked back at him and gave her siginture nod. Then, with a cry, she looked forward and began to run.

She ran directly towards the cliff edge, quickly picking up speed and she ran faster and faster. She spread her wings, ready to catch the air and pull herself off the ground.

But, instead of flapping her wings, she did something a little differently today. After all, there was a perfectly good 200 foot tall cliff right there. Why not have a little fun?

She jumped over the edge, her jump quickly turning into a dive as they rushed towards the ground below. At the last second, she pulled up, only to turn aggressively to the right due to the other cliff that made up the valley standing in her way.

At incredible speed, she speed along, dodging this way and that with the valley. It was incredibly dangerous - the slightest mistake could send her and her precious cargo smashing into the rocks. But she knew her limits. She confidently navigated the valley with greater agility than even the most impressive fighter jet.

The man on her back whooped with excitement. Oh, how he enjoyed this! The wind in his face, whipping past so quickly that if he was standing on the ground he would be blown backwards, tearing up his eyes so fast that if you looked at him, you would think he was crying.

As they neared the end of the valley, where the sides started to get too close to Vic's wings, she climbed effortlesly out of it. Once she had cleared the valley, she continued to climb, pulling herself higher and higher until she was above the lowest clouds. Once she got there, she glided along, letting the wind keep her aloft while she got her breath back.

She looked to he passenger, who was still strapped firmly to the back between her wings. He glanced up, giving her a grin and a thumbs up as far as his restraints would allow. Vic then gestured downwards with her head, looking back to the man to ensure he knew what she would do next.

He looked perplexed for a second while he tried to think about what she wanted. Then, it seemed to hit him.

"You gonna dive?"

A nod.

"Well then, let's do it!"

She grunted, nodding her head and forming what could be described as a big, toothy smile with her mouth. Then, she pumped her wings once... twice... and then tilted down, tucking in her wings to be as streamlined as possible.

They screamed towards the ground. The wind peeled at their faces, causing the man's cheeks to ripple like clothing hund on a clothsline.

Faster and faster they plummeted. The ground rushed up to join them, seemingly wanting to greet them in a deadly embrace.

Then, at the last second, Vic tilted her wings and started to pull up. Agonizingly, they slowly started to level out of their dive. The man grew concerned. They were pulling up too slowly!

Vic strained, her great muscles straining to keep her wings and tail angled properly. Veins bulged along her wings as she struggled to lift herself out of the dive. For a moment, the man thought that they would crash into the ground and leave only a crater behind. It was too slow! They wouldn't ma-

Meerly inches above the treetops, Vic pulled level with the ground. In fact, one hind foot whipped a brach as they glided along. Triumphantly, she let out a roar, complimented by the mans howl of adrenaline. They were alive! And unscathed, no less. The only thing was that Vic's wings felt a little sore from pulling up so aggressively.

As they flew along at a more liesurely pace, the man gave thanks that he had mannaged to bring Vic into the world with his experiments. It was hard to imagine that time nearly 10 years ago when he was struggling to even put food on his plate. Now, his hard work and dedication had paid off in this great gift that he had appropriately named (so he thought, anyway) Victory.

Fantasy

About the author

Matt Bryan

I enjoy writing, although I intend to keep it a hobby. I firmly believe that the things you enjoy shouldn't become a job. That sucks all the fun out of it!

Speaking of jobs, I work as a cop. I love the ocean, the woods, and videogames.

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