Secrets of a Dragon
“It is our honor as the Kingdom of Amniar to officially open the festival of Lisouc. Let the festival of light, sound, and color commence!” The King raised his arms up as music, fire, and colorful powders filled the air.
“Wooooo!” Kai and Damen cheered as they watched from the rooftop.
“I’ll race you down!” Kai ran forward and jumped down from the ladder. He walked back to give his cousin room to jump down, but he saw movement in his peripheral.
“Damen, Stop.” Kai braced himself and was about to collide with the man until he realized who it was.
“Kai! Quick, in the alley.” Kalibrian, his father’s second in command, ran to him in a panic. Damen jumped alongside them as they ran into the alleyway..
“What’s going on?” Kai noticed the look of panic in his eyes. Kalibrian fought right alongside his father in battle. If he was worried, it meant danger was nearby.
“There’s no time. Get out of here.” He tried to push the boys back to the center of the festival, but they resisted.
“What’s going on, Kal? We can help.” Kai persisted.
“Kal, let us help. We just passed our Paladin Exams.” Damen added.
“This is not an exam!” Kalibrian spit out darkly. A side neither of them have seen before. Kai sensed the shadow just as he finished the sentence. He shoved Kalibrian against the wall as a sharp sword split the center between them. Kai side kicked the attacker without hesitation, sending him back into the darkness before Kalibrian sprung forward.
“Damen, go find your uncle.” Kalibrian commanded over his shoulder. Both boys knew there was no time to panic. Their training was all about action, and that is exactly what they did.
There was a flickering old light that made the shadows dance across the wall as Kalibrian tackled the man. Kai saw the sword clang to the floor and rushed to pick it up as Kalibrian pulled the body back against the store wall before facing Kai. “Follow me.” He looked down both sides of the alleyway and took off. Kai matched his long stride, the adrenaline pumping up his speed. They rounded the corner and slipped into another alleyway before Kalibrian stopped.
“We don’t have much time. Here.” Kalibrian took the sword from Kai as he exchanged it for a small package wrapped in brown paper.
“I need you to run as fast as you can to the Commander. Tell him I sent you. I will try to keep them away from you as much as I can.”
“Stall who? What is going on?” He stopped to look at Kai, and the worry was evident in his eyes.
“A lot of bad people are after that package. You must not let anything happen to it. Do you understand?” There was no time for a reply. Two dark figures jumped out of the shadows and attacked.
“Go! I’ll hold them back!” Kalibrian kicked one into the wall and threw the other off of him. “Do whatever it takes to protect it!” Kai didn’t wait. He took off in a sprint.
“Go. Go. Go...” Kalibrian’s words pounded in Kai’s ears with every step he took. He felt numb against the wind. Weightlessly he pushed forward, running ahead of the menacing shadows. He turned into another alleyway when a group of four men cut his path. He turned to run, but two more rounded out the back.
“You aren’t from around here are you.” Kai said rhetorically, knowing he wasn’t going to get an answer. “Well I’m just going to go perform, you know, as part of the festival.” He tried to walk forward, but they moved closer.
“Oh, you guys must be fans. Here, I’ll give you a preview.” He shifted his weight from left to right as he popped his body to the invisible music. The men started to advance but Kai transitioned his body into a front kick, pushing the front guy into the other three. He dipped down touching the floor and lifted himself so that he double kicked the guy right behind him.
“You’re dead, you little brat.” One of the men stumbled forward and leaped at Kai.
“Sa’di!” Kai cursed as he dodged the swinging sword. It lodged itself in the wall right above his head just as he felt a pull from behind. Stumbling backwards with momentum he twisted around and drove the man hard into the ground. He rolled off to the side but lost all air in his lungs as a heavy foot ran into his stomach.
The guys laughed, but it was short lived. One of the men started writhing in paralyzed pain with an electrified Azhedef arrow sticking out of his shoulder.
“Run!” Kalibrian’s voice boomed across the walls. Kai stumbled forward holding his stomach. A whizzing arrow rushed right past him as he ran forward.
“Go, go, go…” Kai repeated in his mind, matching his pace. He felt his chest constrict his breathing, but he couldn’t stop. He slowed down once he hit the main street where the dense crowd hid him entirely. “The Commander’s office is only ten minutes away. I can make it.”
There were enough distractions to hide him on the street for now, but the crowd was thinning out in this part of the city. Kai shifted to the side walls and slipped into a shortcut he used for school.
He cut through one of the garden parks in a slow jog. The building was in sight, but he knew it wasn’t over yet. He sensed a presence up ahead and slowed down to a cautious walk. Expectantly, a figure stepped out from behind the shadow of a massive oak tree.
“Predictable, don’t you think? Always going back to what we know. The paths we take in life.” Akio said as his golden eyes turned silver under the moonlight.
“Not everyone is born to defy the rules and make it up as they go.” Kai slowly advanced forward, watching the moves of the Nadaren- one of the gifted. “We used to be so close.” Kai thought to himself.
“That’s the exciting part. Everything is a possibility.” Akio’s mischievous smile hit a sore nerve within Kai. He’s seen it enough to know that he’s up to something, and his plans never go wrong.
“A possibility and an opportunity.” Kai stopped right in front of him. The familiarity stabbed at him with betrayal, knowing that there was no going back. Their friendship felt like it was part of another world.
“I always keep my word. Unlike you. I never leave someone behind.”
“Maybe you should stop taking everything so personal.” Akio replied, stepping closer to Kai.
“Oh, just like when we were younger? You
“No, you left me long before that. You don’t know anyone’s agenda, Kai.” Akio said, but Kai knew him well.
“Allow me to guess.” Kai grabbed him just before he turned invisible as he held on to his throat.
“Look who still knows their best friend so well.” Akio’s teeth showed in a deadly smile.
“You are giving me no choice right now.”
“How exciting. I’ve been waiting for a rematch.” Akio broke away from Kai’s grip and disappeared.
“You forget who always won.” Kai narrowed his vision to see the faded blue glow off to his right.
He swept his leg down low in a circle, tripping the invisible form, but this time he didn’t wait. He took off right away, counting the few seconds he had as a head start.
He looked back to see where Akio was, but felt himself get hit by something hard. He flew into the air and fell to the ground as the world spun around him. He reached blindly for the package and jumped on whoever tackled him, but then he saw her eyes. Different colors faded in and out of her dark eyes, capturing the likeness of a galaxy.
“That’s new.” Kai thought to himself just as she kicked him off. He saw Akio grab the package out of her hands, but she had thrown a knife before Kai even realized she moved. The knife had hit the package and it stuck itself in the trunk of a tree up ahead.
Akio reached it first and disappeared to Kai’s dismay. He searched desperately, trying to see a sign of the blue glow. He heard something and turned to see the girl chanting something. All of a sudden, Akio appeared on the floor, struggling to maintain his solid form. Kai saw the package and ran straight for it once again. He ignored everything else around him and just ran as fast as he could, but something made him slow down. He felt like he was running through dense water and noticed that he was barely moving. “What is happening to me?”
“Ahaleh entera rikorsi la nu.” The girl spoke and the scent of flowers strengthened as she moved in front of him. She looked all around and made sure there was no one else before taking the package and started to unwrap it.
Kai felt the panic strangling him, but he fought through it. The desperation felt like claws against the density of the air around him. She exposed part of the contents, but saw the struggle in Kai and for a second seemed confused. It was the only chance Kai had left. He used every ounce of power he had to lunge forward and found himself grabbing the package, twisting around her, and running straight for the door of the building.
“Why is my hand burning?” Kai looked down and saw the package glowing a deep red. The package disintegrated in his hand, and Kai stumbled to the side dropping what appeared to be a stone disk. Intricate carvings began to glow all around as it started to levitate in front of him. He stepped back from it, barely noticing the girl fighting off Akio.
“Kai…” He heard the voice as though it was a whisper against the wind. His body was being pulled toward the blazing fire stone and he let it. He felt the heat emanating from it and reached out with his hand.
Darkness strained his eyes as he heard rhythmic drum beats from within him. He saw a light whirling around in the distance. It started off white and darkened into a deep red that started to swirl into a circle. Its fast movements spun around and Kai could almost see the shape of something.
“Is it a dragon?” He reached out his hand and the glowing red ball of energy sliced through the air and slid into Kai’s palm, surging through his body.
He screamed with pain from the burning sensations as the energy tried to seep into each part of his body. Brief relief came when his body went numb, and everything around him started to glow in a faint light.
The light brightened and he found himself standing in the middle of a meadow with two doors. He tried one, and then the other, but neither would open. He turned and saw a mirror in the distance. As he got closer, he saw his left arm and eye glowed in a deep red with burning tattoos carved into his left arm.
“Choose wisely.” The reflection said as it smiled back at him. He looked down at his glowing hand in a panic and realized that it was his own reflection staring back at him. He was the monster.
“No!” Kai screamed as he stumbled and fell back. He felt the rock beside him and threw it forcefully at the mirror. He watched himself shatter into thousands of pieces, falling and breaking into particles until it turned into sand. He was being buried by the burning sand of the Humza desert until he finally woke up gasping for air.
About the author
As an artist I feel driven to share what lives inside of me. My goal and passion are to bring experiences to the people around me and to bring the unspoken to life if it's through writing or art. I live for experiences that can be shared.