“There weren’t always dragons in the Valley,” she exclaimed as the wind rushed through her long golden hair, “They came after The Battle of Curado. So helpful, aren’t they?”
I nodded quickly so as to not draw attention to myself. My job was to get her where she needed to be, not ask questions, and not be a hassle. That’s what Mr. Barker told me before I was taking this new route and new client.
This lady had a lovely voice, and with her gorgeous hair and detailed blue robe, she exited her carriage. As she moved forward, I noticed something was left behind on the cushion. A small coin purse embroidered with gold thread.
I exclaimed, “Miss, it seems like you’ve forgotten something!”
“Thank you, darling. Since you graciously noticed, why don’t you keep it?”
“Are you sure?” I replied.
The woman gave a small smirk and nodded. Before she turned around to leave again, I gave a little bow and then proceeded to get back atop the front of the carriage to pull it around back.
This was the first time I had worked for her. Little did I know that I would be her permanent guard for the next few months.
Once I was around the back of the palace, I grabbed the small coin purse that I had placed carefully in my pocket. Feeling the thread of the embroidery against my calloused fingertips, I opened the coin purse and found a single golden coin. The same color as her hair.
I saw the back of the coin first; there was a dragon’s tail raised up with the words, “The Battle of Curado” fancily engraved above it. I flipped the coin over, and there she was. The woman who had just gotten out of my carriage.
But the Battle of Curado spanned over one hundred years. And it ended 250 years ago.
I was at first, speechless, but then came to consider that it is likely her ancestors. When royalty is as high above the citizens as they are, they tend to…keep the genetics intact. I don’t really need to say more about that, but still, it was remarkable how much it looked like her.
When I circled to the front gardens three hours later to retrieve her, whom I had not yet been given her name, she exited the palace with a new outfit. Much to my surprise, she was wearing a fur cloak with a train and now a red gown underneath.
Why had she chosen me to escort her to this event?
Regardless, I hopped down from my seat and proceeded to walk her back into the carriage.
As I reached out my hand, she smiled, “thank you.” That’s the moment I spotted a birthmark on her left cheek. Seemingly insignificant, but this was no normal birthmark. In fact, I had seen this birthmark before, it was on the coin. A small engraved mark on the same left cheek.
I had thought that maybe it was a nick in the metal. But no, it was purposeful. It was her birthmark. This is the same woman on the coin that dated over 250 years back.
My hand trembled as I seated her into the carriage. I had hoped she hadn’t noticed how nervous I had suddenly gotten, but I’m sure she did.
It was a long, sweaty, and silent ride with my heart ticking faster than the clock, faster than the dragon below me could fly.
Halfway there, the woman cheerfully stated, “You’ve got a good one,” motioning to Fredric, my dragon.
“Ah, yes,” I said plainly, “Fredric was trained by the best.”
“Oh, and who would that be? Seems like I could use a person like that on my side.”
I quickly scrambled for words, my head was racing as I knew I was not supposed to be conversing with her. We’re supposed to be separate. Especially with a client such as herself, as Mr. Barker noted multiple times. He said this over and over but failed to mention who this client was. I was now beginning to understand who was sitting behind me in my carriage, but I still had to respond. I couldn’t just leave her hanging.
“Well, miss,” I cleared my throat, “Ahem, um, that would be me.”
There was a pause.
A long pause.
“Very well. I must get your information from Mr. Barker. I need a new trainer out in Erodi. Where did you learn?”
It clicked. Erodi. Erodi, the land won in the Battle of Curado. This land now is only occupied by the Yolem family…I had thought it was a myth…the ageless family. There are a few of them that were said to have never died after the Battle of Curado. I thought it was just a story. But here she was, sitting right in front of me. Well, behind me.
No longer thinking about Mr. Barker or the silly rules, I responded, “I learned from my father, who learned from his father, and passed all the way to my great-grandfather. My great-grandfather was one of the few trainees who learned from Mr. Regit. They passed on the teachings to me. I still train most of the time, others I work with Mr. Barker and my own Fredric.”
“Yes, Mr. Regit. What a good man, wise man. I learned a lot from him,” she replied.
There it was. Confirmation of all that I had been thinking. Mr. Regit passed away some 225 years ago. And she knew him. Personally.
This seemed like something she shouldn’t be telling me. Didn’t she know that people don’t believe in the Erodi Yolem myth?
Or did she want me to know?
Getting ready to halt Fredric as we were coming up to the front gates, this woman who I now believed was Agatha Yolem, spoke once more.
She said, “Thank you for the ride.”
“I was serious about you coming out to work for my family in Erodi. I’ve had my eye on you. Now I know you’re just what I was looking for.”
I smiled and nodded but was thinking, “She knew who I was before she stepped into my carriage this morning? Was this what Mr. Barker meant when he said I was specifically chosen for this job? Surely there is nothing I could do for her that other trainers couldn’t.”
“And yes,” she continued, “it needs to be you.”
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.