There weren't always dragons in the Valley. At least that's what the stories say. The stories tell us of a world now lost to time, where magic roamed free and great beasts had the ability to cross time and space, and step through rifts into other worlds. Kings hunted them, desperate to have that ability. Their greedy hearts wanted to rule dimensions, not just their own kingdoms, won by bloodshed or birthright. That was a millennia ago. Those days are long gone. Magic has long since left our world, and sealed us from the World-Walkers, leaving the dragons behind. No one has ever dared venture into the Valley, and those who were stupid enough to try, never returned. Until me. I am Nova Amara, and I am the first Dragon Rider in centuries. It's probably wise to start that the beginning, so here is my story.
I grew up in the Plains, near the Valley. The Plains are a huge... well, plain. Rolling grasses as far as they eye can see, and beyond. The Plains are home to farmers and that's what my parents did, and still do, albeit much slower due to old age. Up until I was 18 I helped my parent tend the farm. We raised cattle, pigs and chickens, and grew fruit, vegetables, and grains. My parents were gifted a huge patch of land at the edge of the Plains, and now have the largest farm the Mafiel Kingdom has ever seen. I'd almost feel bad for the other farmers, if they weren't such pricks. One early winter morning, as I'm bringing the food out to the animals, chickens swarming my feet, a carriage rolls along the road to our farm. Looking closer, I notice the Queen's sigil engraved on the front.
"Och," I huffed, tossing the feed onto the ground, "What do they want now." I strolled over to the carriage as it slowed to a stop, suddenly aware of how disheveled I looked. I ran a hand through my hair as the Crown Prince, Erik Barin, stepped out onto the grass. His mother, Queen Adalie Lidia and her second son, Ekon Brandn, followed him out of the royal coach.
"Erik." I said, addressing my childhood friend, who sneered at the mud now on his boots. "Picky as ever I see."
"Is that any way to talk to your Crown Prince, Nova?" Prince Erik grinned at me.
"Your Highness," I bowed to the Queen, ignoring Erik, " What brings you to the farthest reaches of your kingdom on such a horrendously cold morning?"
The Queen smiled softly as she explained, "We have heard reports if the dragons stirring, and were wondering if you had seen anything."
"You rode all the way out here to ask me if I've seen a dragon? You could have sent a messenger." I replied, "Either way, I haven't seen or heard the dragons, not since..." I trailed off, not needing to remind the Queen of what happened to her husband 5 years ago. The Queen winced and the unspoken reference, bit hid it quickly as she said,
"I'm glad. We came out to see for ourselves, and to make a quick visit to our dear friends."
Right then, my mother Ayshlin Madysun, and my father Alastor Cessiar, walked out of the house and smiled at our guests.
"Adalie, it's so nice to see you again. It's been far too long." my mother said, embracing the Queen.
"Yes dear cousin, it certainly has been." Yep, you heard right. The Royal family are my cousins. Weird, right? Seeing as my mom chose a life of labor and her cousin chose a life of royalty.
"What brings you this far from the castle?" My father asked, embracing the Queen as well.
"As we just told Nova, we came to see if there were any reports of the dragons coming down from the Valley. We know that we made a truce with them a millennia ago, but it has since been broken, with the death of my husband. They know not to come down from the Valley and we know to not go there, but messengers have sent word of sightings." the Queen said, worry flickering across her face.
"As I'm sure Nova told you, we haven't seen nor heard-" my father was cut off by a loud and very angry roar, rippling off the mountain peaks. The Royals and my own parents went pale at the sound.
"It seems, those reports were right." I said, straining to keep my voice from shaking. Another roar sounded, closer this time, and more answered it. Suddenly, a host of dragons launched over the mountain, shooting down towards the fields.
"Run." I whispered, setting everyone into motion. The Royal family whirled around, and practically threw themselves into the coach, and the driver cracked the reins, spearing towards Mafiel Castle, towering in the distance. My parents ran, opened all the barn doors and ushered the animals inside, while I shot towards the stables, and threw open the only three stalls. I didn't take the time to saddle my horse, Kelsie, as I jumped on her back, and commanded her to run. My parents rushed in a moment later, and jumped onto their own horses, racing after me. Kelsie jumped the fence, and turned hard, churning up dirt behind her as I chased after the Royal coach, my hair flying wildly behind me. I dared a glance behind me, and wished I hadn't. 40 dragons had reached the Plains and were flying towards us, faster than I would have liked. They didn't stop to burn the barn, or freeze the fields. They didn't call down lightning or hurl rocks, they just flew, hard and fast.
"Go Kelsie, please." I begged my horse, her breathing going ragged as she picked up to a breakneck speed, giving her all to outrace those dragons to the castle. To safety. I turned once more, only to find a dragon's face mere yards from mine. My mother cried out as the dragon opened its jaws, closing in on me. A ball of flame was pooling in its gaping mouth, and all I could do was scream as flames erupted out of the dragon.