There weren't always dragons in the Valley. Nobody was even aware, of course, but they were dormant. Sleeping. Hidden away from the troubles of the world, far from any sort of civilization. It'd been upwards of thousands of years since the last dragon had been spotted before they completely vanished.
And oh, did humanity rejoice. No more scaled fiends to threaten the farmers, the traveling merchants, and those outside the safety of the kingdoms. With enough time, and plenty of generations, the winged menaces had eventually been forgotten about, found only within the pages of history books. Nobody had thought to question why they'd disappeared. Not even the best scholars had wondered if, perhaps, their disappearance was a sign of something more to come.
But, as I said, they weren't dead. They were waiting. It wasn't until the first sighting since the Old Age that those in power had began to ponder why. Why had they come back now, when the world was hanging on by a thread, when dragons were simply a mere shadow in the face of what could possibly be the end of times?
The news of the first dragon sighting spread like a fierce fire ravaging an impassable forest. Deep within the Altian wilderness, a logging village came under attack by the very monsters we thought to be a myth. No one was reported to be killed, thank the Gods, but the time and work the villagers spent cutting down trees was all for naught. The dragon managed to burn most of the lumber that was meant to be sold to neighboring kingdoms. Once it decided it was finished wreaking havoc, it flew in the direction of the Valley. An area which was always believed to be where monsters first originated.
"Sivvi! You have to wake up! There's been another dragon!"
My younger sister shook me violently out of a deep sleep. Her dark brunette hair tickled my nose as I pushed on her to release myself from her grasp.
"I'm awake, I'm awake, Anja. There's no need to wake me in such a manner," I groaned.
"But there's been another dragon!"
I sat up in bed, wiping the sleep out of my eyes that still felt heavy. Immediately, all the remaining fatigue left my body, replaced by adrenaline. I widened my eyes at her. In silent response, she held out a piece of crumbled paper. I took the paper from her before unfolding it.
Indeed, it was a bounty poster.
"To my citizens, I must warn you of a dragon that passed over the territory of Urilia, which borders our own. Unless we or our allies are under immediate threat, I will reward any person or group able to slay this beast with 5,000 coin. Signed, King Mattias Fitzgerald." I read the paper aloud. then looked back up to my sister, who was grinning widely.
"You're good with animals, aren't you?" she asked, a hint of mischief in her voice.
"Anja... are you asking me to try and tame a dragon?"
"I'm just saying, if one comes close enough..."
"No, Anja. Absolutely not. Even if I could, which I don't know if I am able to, I'm not putting our kingdom at risk."
She pouted, which did nothing to sway my steadfast decision. She turned to leave the room, giving me a sad expression resembling a kicked puppy before going back to the living area.
Working with animals may have been my life's work, but I would not do anything that could put my little sister, my only remaining family, in danger.
I've been told my skill at making animals submit is... unrivaled. I would not put any animal in harm's way, but my ability to calm unruly animals, or make wild creatures yield to my presence, was quite useful, especially for farm work. Which is exactly what I did.
I made my living tending to livestock around the kingdom, and occasionally I would be called outside of my home to handle those belonging to others. It may have not been the most fantastic job, but it certainly put food on the table, and we had enough to live somewhat comfortably. It was satisfying, as well, to work with such glorious creatures and be able to study them up close. Truly, I enjoyed my work.
So when I got the opportunity to test my talent on a captured monster, I took it. And to my surprise, my presence actually stopped it from wildly thrashing about like it had been. It even allowed me to pet it. A deranged being, it resembled a wolf, but it was a sickly green, had no fur, and was shaped slightly like a potato. But it laid down and nuzzled against my hand. The opened up a more newfound potential, but I was absolutely not willing to take that kind of risk with something that could easily destroy our kingdom and take many lives.
It was if those monstrous beings read my mind.
I was journeying to another province. It was simply another day, and another job. It had been a fortnight since the last sighting of a dragon, and everything was beginning to calm down, although there was still a noticeable tension when talking about areas not protected with walls or guards. I'd been thinking about the behavior of the creature I'd be working with, an angry horse that was not too fond of humans riding it, when I heard a loud whoosh above my head.
My blood immediately froze, my stomach feeling as if it dropped in sheer terror. I heard a loud roar, and I knew I needed to flee. The carriage I was in immediately stopped, and two of the guards riding alongside me drew their bows to begin attempting to fight it. A third guard tried to rush me away, but my sister's words rang in my head. What if I could actually tame it? Surely I'd be seen as a hero.
But if I died, my sister would no longer have anyone to take care of her.
Before I could think too much about it, the thing landed in front of the guards, spraying ice at them. I covered my face before it could hit me, but I still felt it from where I was standing. It chilled me to the core, causing the hairs on my arms to stand on end, and the guard that was with me urged me to run away. I watched on as the guards struggled, the arrows barely piercing its thick hide.
Then, I locked eyes with it. That was the first time I'd gotten a good look at it. It was pale green, with white horns and claws that looked sharper than any sword I'd ever seen. Its eyes were blue, and seemed to pierce my soul with its menacing glare.
I thought, in that moment, I was done for. I would be killed, and my sister would no longer have any family. I prayed to the Gods more than I ever have in my life that I would continue living, if only for her sake.
Then, like my prayer was answered, or a miracle had happened, the damned monster backed away, and bowed its head in my direction.
About the Creator
I am an avid reader and nonprofessional writer. My dream is to one day get published. I write fiction in various genres, and am currently writing my first novel. Any interaction helps, & contributions are greatly appreciated.
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