Fiction logo

The Blessed Ones

Meeting an Ancient One

By J. L. GreenPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 9 min read
The Blessed Ones
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

There weren't always dragons in the Valley.

Though there are varying species, nearly all dragons have one common trait; they are reclusive. Some nest in the high mountains or in sodden caves, others in thick brush, but it is rare to come across a nest unless one is actively seeking them out.

After over a century, one was spotted in the village. A small blue water dragon with a spattering of pearly scales, sitting among the doves in Mrs. O'Connor's bird bath.

According to the morning post, her shrill cry had alerted the neighbor that something was wrong. Once the neighbor realized what the fuss was about, the news spread as swiftly as wildfire during a drought.

DRAGON SPOTTED IN ASHVALE!

He was but the first of many.

A dragon, roughly the size of a stout dog, was found to be nesting in a huge oak tree, it's bark-textured scales blending in near-perfectly. This one did not breathe fire, or at least did not feel threatened enough to. It merely rested.

The small water dragon from Mrs. O'Connor's bird bath had a family, and soon there were no more spots left on the rim for the doves at all. Those dragons made a nest nearby and Mrs. O'Connor kept the water filled.

Mr. McKean's stable boy let out a screech one morning when he found the horses in a frenzy and every pen held a hissing, red-eyed dragon. These ones put even the mightiest stallions to shame with their size.

After six months, just about every breed of dragon had made their way in and around Ashvale Valley. Once the shock of it all wore off, the people moved on. They learned to live with the beasts, because no force in their arsenal was going to uproot them.

Besides, the local Dragon-Blessed (or Blessed One for short) was kind enough to keep the peace between the creatures and the villagers. There are a rare few Blessed Ones left after all.

Legend says that at the beginning, the dragons were revered by humankind for their might and magic. Though as the human population grew, so did their envy and greed. For the flight of their winged companions, their riches, knowledge, and healing were something to envy. Something that they believed would make their lives easier.

Humans launched a campaign of battles against the dragons; their persistence and cunning were astounding to their foe, who’d yet to face a war they could not win. Nor had they faced foes who could adapt as well as humans.

After a year of fighting, there were such massive losses on both sides, that the human generals and ancient dragons forged a peace.

For the dragons, humans would find their own territories, never to return to their homelands, or face a fiery death. The dragons, who had lived for millennia before the humans arrived, held no such restrictions.

For the humans, a select few deemed worthy would receive a blessing from one of the seven ancient dragons. It was promised that the blessing would be a gift, not a curse. A single member of fifty family lines were chosen by the ancient dragons themselves.

While the blessings did differ based on which dragon gave it, some gifts remained the same among them. An affinity for magic, an immunity to certain magics, and the permanent ability to communicate with other intelligent creatures.

With both parties satisfied, the war was done.

Unfortunately, as would happen throughout history, the Dragon-Blessed wanted to keep their gifts pure. They would marry among other fire-line's, and with such a small breeding pool, the lines started to die out.

When the Blessed One’s began to wed outside the fire-line's, their gifts did indeed weaken. All the grand magic they could wield slowly petered out and nearly vanished for good.

Needless to say, in the current times, the Blessed Ones are still renowned. And Ashvale's Blessed was the last known one in the five surrounding territories.

Sitting alone at a table for noon tea, she observed a flock of peacock-sized bottle green dragons fly across the village, and her flat look turned down.

"Beautiful creatures, are they not, Corynn?" Mrs. Reedy, proud owner of the White Lily tavern, said in passing.

"Indeed, quite beautiful."

But what is making you all move so suddenly?

It was not the first time she's thought this. While the emergence of dragons was seen as a sign of good fortune by some, it brought her nothing but unease.

"Aye, your father would have loved to see this, dear. All of these creatures in our Valley," Mrs. Reedy said, stopping by to top off her cup.

"Oh he certainly would have," Corynn said.

It's a bloody shame he up and left then isn't it?

She's still bitter about his moving, even after three years.

The hard clopping of hooves came as a familiar set of voices shouted, "Corynn! We need you!"

Those dratted McKean boys. Sixteen-years-old but still acting like children. If they've upset another one of those stable-stealing cave dragons, Corynn would let them have a taste of its toxic miasma. She’s already dealt with several incidences of the day and its barely noon.

She didn’t even glance up from her teacup as their heavy, ragged breath drew near. Like they’d hopped from their carriage to reach her faster.

"I am quite tired of appeasing all the towns dragons for today, boys. You'll just have to apologize and leave the beasts alone. I’ve shown you the proper way to."

"Corynn." Oh, Mr. McKean was with them as well. This did spark her attention, as did the worry lines creasing across his face. It’s not often Mr. McKean frowns so deeply. "You'll need to see this. It’s no ordinary dragon."

She was on her feet without thinking, tossing a few coins on the table as she followed the trio to their carriage. She settled in the seat beside Mr. McKean as he urged his horses on, heading outside of the village.

"What do you mean by not ordinary?" She asked.

"It's huge, humongous. Easily the largest dragon I’ve ever seen."

"And it's scales? Coloring?"

Simultaneously from the seats behind them, Lowell said "red" while Richard said "black".

"It depends on the light," Mr. McKean clarified.

Then, in perfect unison, the boys said, "It did have a yellow underbelly."

That description...It can't be. She jolted a bit, just enough for Mr. McKean to notice, for he gave her a side-long glance. She gave a single shake of her head to clear the suspicious thought.

"What is it doing?" she asked.

"It hasn't moved. And it sets fire to the forest when we get close."

"I see. Did you happen to notice anything else about it?"

"It had golden eyes," Richard said.

"Yeah, and...it looked like it had a yellow jewel near it's crown," Lowell added.

That just about confirmed it. She'd have to see it in person before she could be positive, but she had a feeling...

The ride took perhaps two hours by carriage and would have taken half a day on foot. They were at the midway point between Ashvale's territory and Moonfall's; a large expanse of mountains and forest from Moonfall with a lovely view of Ashvale’s Valley at the right spot.

When they cleared the corner of a mountain, a cloud of black smoke covered the sky. The darkness of it meant that the fires were being battled successfully at least.

"We're nearly there," Mr. McKean said.

Within a few moments she could see the large serrated scales poised along the dragon's back, the color shifting between the deepest onyx and the richest crimson as they moved.

It's sheer size alone. It just had to be...

"Mind yourselves, gentlemen, we may well be in the presence of an ancient dragon."

***

She was out of the carriage before it could come to a complete stop.

The beast was breathing fire alright, for a small group of men tried to get nearby. It was enough of a blast to light the three closest living trees, but the dragon stopped once the men retreated. A circle of charred husks surrounded him.

She gave a huffing sigh and turned to Mr. McKean.

"Please keep the villagers back. I'll see if I can reason with him."

Upon her approach, she watched in awe as the dragon's long golden neck start to light from the inside as he prepared another blast.

She paused and held out her hands. The hum of magic started in her head, focused right near her crown, until it traveled along her arms to her fingertips. Her once aquamarine eyes would be glowing with a tint of orange, as a flame in the hearth.

When the mighty dragon before her still hadn't released his breath, she dropped to one knee.

"Please calm yourself, divine Ancient One. I am Corynn, of the Goldenfire-line. I would like to help, if I may."

All at once, the light in his throat dimmed.

They are gone.

His voice, a deep timbre that rumbled in her bones, floated through her mind. The sorrow in his tone.

"Who are, Ancient One?"

My brothers. My mate. My young.

He unfurled from his tight ball and for the first time, Corynn was struck with a horror that rooted her to the spot.

This stunning, mighty beast...had been ripped to shreds. His wings, easily the span of the Valley, were in tatters. Half of his tail was gone, as well as one hind leg, leaving bloody stumps in its wake. There were several dripping patches where his scales had been ripped and fleshy ravines sat; too many to count.

It looked as though something had tried to…devour him.

Without another thought, Corynn rushed forward, her hands glowing brighter than ever.

He hissed at her sudden approach, but the gentle soothing of her healing magic calmed him to silence. It certainly wasn't powerful enough to do much for the wounds, but she could ease his physical pain, so it would have to do.

"I am sorry for your loss; I cannot fathom such heartache it must cause. But, Ancient One, what in the world caused this damage?"

I do not know. It's no creature I have ever beheld, but it is powerful, and it is destructive.

Ancient dragons lived long enough to have seen it all. For this creature to be a mystery to this mighty beast; it was worrying.

Her palms began to sweat beneath the warmth of her magic, but not because of it.

"Where did it come from?" she asked.

Again, I do not know. But I fear it has found a mate, for smaller creatures of its likeness have emerged.

"Is there anything we can do?"

Humanity had the audacity to come face-to-face with us and managed to survive. No, humanity has thrived. It is why I have travelled all this way, searching for a Blessed One. I will ask something of you, child. Mind, it is no small task.

Bollocks.

This thought was entirely her own, but she banished the contempt before it could plant a seed of doubt within her.

Because whatever this monster is that could harm the ancient dragons, it was enough to scare every other dragon away from their homes. Which meant it wasn't going to stop, and it was getting closer.

"Please, Ancient one. What can I do?"

The dragon tilted his head far enough down for her to see into his shimmering, golden eyes; she saw all the wisdom of over a thousand years, and, perhaps for the first time for him, fear.

Your magic is weak, Blessed One. To complete the task, I will bestow upon you all the power and knowledge I have left. I pray you are strong enough for it; I fear I will not make it far enough to find another of you. In return, you will gather more of your kin and mine to destroy the vile creature and all of its kind. Do you accept?

Corynn had never dreamed of greatness. She had her cozy cottage, her meager healing and magic, and a job she quite enjoyed. Then these dragons had to show up and, dammit all if she wasn't the only Blessed One within a hundred miles.

(A hundred miles it appeared this Ancient One dragged himself through on broken wings for his search.)

Her father had always said that Blessed Ones were meant for more. He'd have fallen over himself for this chance...which means she'll have someone on her side. If she can find him. It’s a start at least. What choice does she have?

She met the dragon's eyes, took a deep shaking breath, and nodded.

"I accept."

The Ancient One shut his eyes and bowed his head, gently pressing the bottom of the yellow gemstone adorning his forehead to hers.

Take a deep breath, child. This may hurt.

"Of course it will."

In an instant, the power of the heavens themselves erupted through her. Every nerve in her body was alight with a sharp, burning pain. It was too much, unbearable, nothing she'd ever experienced before in her twenty years. And it lasted a lifetime.

Before she could take another breath, her consciousness gave up, throwing her into sweet, empty darkness.

Fantasy

About the Creator

J. L. Green

I've been writing for fun since I was a preteen and haven’t stopped since. I tend to favor the darker/angsty/thriller type of themes. Here’s to hoping readers enjoy my work, and those that don't find something they do.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    J. L. GreenWritten by J. L. Green

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.