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Tadres Prologue

by S. M. Risdon 6 months ago in Fantasy
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A dragon to bring darkness and death

There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. Midsong Valley, I mean. That is where I live, along with about 2200 other people in the town of Haedleigh. The Valley resides high in the Tauntrie Mountains, the only mountain range in the country of Aleusen. The dragons love it here for the location—high altitudes so it stays cold year round. Since their bodies run hot with the fire in their blood, the brisk air keeps them cool.

However, the dragons have only been back in the Valley for the last 20 years. They hid away from the world of man so they wouldn’t have to watch us kill each other off with constant wars. Thankfully those have been few and far between since their return. Long ago, dragons and man used to coexist—needed each other to survive even. The dragons didn’t know this back then, though. They thought leaving would be the best option. That they could live in peace without humans.

But their numbers began to dwindle. Eggs stopped hatching and dragons that should have lived centuries took ill and died after only a couple of decades. Which terrified them, but not as much as an old prophecy of theirs that said, with the hatching of the golden dragon, comes an era of darkness and death. If eggs weren’t hatching, then their species would continue on one way or another.

Still, hoping to avoid extinction, back to the humans the dragons went, even though they feared this prophecy. Those that were ill got better once they returned to the Valley. Dragons soon began to live long lives again. However, eggs didn’t start hatching right away. For years after their return, no one could figure out why the eggs wouldn’t hatch. Until a caretaker’s seventeen-year-old son came to help out his mother one day and touched an egg. It hatched and the first Bond was formed.

That day became known as Hatching Day and is now an annual celebration. Every year, seventeen-year-olds come from all around Aleusen and travel up the Tauntrie Mountains to touch an egg and see if a Bond is made. Even with the thousands of people that attend Hatching Day every year, only three eggs on average hatch every year. Not for lack of trying, though.

The Bond is difficult to describe as I haven’t felt it, but I’ve heard stories about it. It’s a connection between the dragon and human that allows them two communicate without ever opening their mouths. It creates a feeling of being whole and complete unlike anything else one could experience when the Bond is accepted by both. If not accepted, the dragonling dies. I’ve witnessed teenagers be displeased by the dragon that hatches, from size to color, and refuse to accept the Bond.

The cry that emanates from the dragonling as it passes away is excruciating to hear. As is the sorrowful moans that come from fully grown dragons that have to witness the death of their younglings as they struggle to regain their numbers. This process is called the Bonding Ceremony. It is what Hatching Day is all about, and it takes place in the Temple. It was built to house the eggs throughout the year and expanded to include the Bonding Ceremony once eggs began to hatch again.

The Temple is a gorgeous building erected when the dragons returned and made completely of gray and white marble from foundation to roof. The entire structure is hand carved with dragons of all shapes and sizes to honor their beauty. Marble was chosen so the eggs would stay comfortable in the cool, damp atmosphere while waiting to hatch.

As I approach the Temple for the Bonding Ceremony, I spot about fifteen people off to the left picketing. ADC, the Anti-Dragon Commission, is doing their best to deter those of us that believe dragons and humans should coexist where the Commission believes the Bond is unnatural. But how could simply placing a hand on an egg be anything besides natural?

I’m excited because this year, I get to participate in Hatching Day’s Bonding Ceremony since I turned seventeen less than a month ago. I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life as I grew up watching others Bond with these amazing creatures. I never thought that out of the hundreds of eggs and thousands of people present this year that I would be one of only two participants to from a Bond. I hoped but didn’t expect, or even consider the fact. I also wasn’t expecting the dragon I Bonded with to be completely gold in color.

So, I stand with my back to the anxious crowd that waits to see my dragonling, a being no larger than my palm. As I stare down at it, it stumbles around in my hands and I can’t imagine how anything so precious could ever be evil. My thoughts bounce around as I watch the dragonling struggle to stand, but I keep going back to how innocent it looks.

Are you my Master?

A voice, male and childlike, cuts through the cacophony in my head. It’s the dragonling speaking in my head through the Bond. It snorts as it speaks in my head, a plume of smoke billowing from its nostrils.

Are you my Master? He asks again.

“Yes,” I tell him, accepting the Bond.

A feeling of being full, complete, whole, washes over me. The stories are true. I’ve never felt anything like this before and it is exhilarating.

What is your name? He asks me, looking up at me expectantly.

“Astryn,” I say. “What’s yours?”

Tadres, Defender of Man.


About the author

S. M. Risdon

A mom with a love for writing. I hope to be able to have my books published and see them in bookstores around the world!

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