It had been seven years since My hatching, and in that time, I had learned many things. For starters, this world is cruel, and we are all better off dead. Much like my brothers and sisters. They’re the lucky ones, dying at the age of three. My Mother and Father didn’t last much longer after them. Died near the end of the ‘Dark Wars’ as everyone calls them, killed by a small group of… Monsters, beasts who wanted nothing but to kill, kill, kill, and to render our world lifeless. It might be a little too early to delve into my oh so ’traumatic’ past. So let’s start instead with well, now.
My home wasn’t too bad, not as good as my old one, but it got the job done. It might have been a small cave with just two rooms, in a mountain, but it was mine! At least it’s on one of the largest mountains in our world... The view was pretty good from there, even if it was only halfway up the mountain. A lake rests at the base, fed by a small stream of water that flows from the north. I liked to rest there some days, studying my own form in the lake’s reflection. Black scales, with a line of golden ones running along my side starting at the back of my deep umber eyes to the tip of my tail. With little white freckles just below my eyes running from one side of my snout to the other. My horns curve downwards with small and flexible spikes running between them down to my shoulders, where my two wings rest. If you haven’t guessed it by now, yes, I am a dragon, and my name is Jewel.
There’s really not much around me in terms of civilization, I live on a small continent off the south-western coast of the oh so great ‘Kingdom of Drakes.’ They have a colony here but chose not to extend it to where I, and many others live. We were forced to fend for ourselves. If it weren’t for the Wyrms off of our northern coast, the only dragons that would be alive here would be the ones under the Dragon Empire’s control. We’re not completely uncivilized, thanks to the aliens who came to our world seeking refuge, some small towns and villages had cropped up here in my homeland, such as the one I liked to visit down south a little ways.
“Enough self-exploration…” I had sighed to myself before getting up from my favorite patch of moss next to my lake. “Time to head into town,” I sighed to myself. I really hated being around other dragons. It didn’t take very long after taking to the sky using my wonderful wings to reach town, only twenty or thirty minutes, depending on the weather and where I started. The town isn’t too big, I don’t even recall it having a name. Most of the dragons here live in the forest, mountains, or wherever they please, so most of the buildings are mostly a part of the market.
Lucky for me, I really only needed to go to one merchant, and even then, not very often. I’m probably the reason he’s even still in business, most dragons here don’t have a need for the goods he sells. I never liked walking among crowds… even when there isn’t one, like today, so I just fly straight to my destination at the far end of the marketplace. Drove’s stand is a pretty basic one, with a simple backroom blocked off with a sheet of fabric, where he stores his merchandise. The outside area has little to no decoration, with just some colors splashed in to help catch someone’s eye. No blues though, the pigments for that color probably would cost too much.
“Ahh, Jewel! My favorite gem! What can I do for you today?” An older, and larger male dragon with dark grey scales, horns that curve upwards, but the right one is cracked in half and muted yellow eyes. “Good evening Drove, I’m just here for this,” I said as I placed a small scroll onto his stand along with a few coins that I had collected over the years. “Off on another one of your adventures then? Let me take a look at this,” He said with a pleasant smile as he took the scroll and coins. As he unrolled the small piece of paper, his face scrunched up as he concentrated on reading what I was asking of him. “If it’s too hard to read, I can rewrite it,” I said, shuffling on my talons. I never liked making him read if I could help it.
“No, no, it is quite alright, I need the practice anyways. Hmm, give me a moment I might have what you need,” He said before heading into the back, bringing the scroll with him. This was always the most awkward portion of buying from Drove… having to wait for him while he looked in the back… alone… Don’t look weird, don’t look weird. I would frequently think to myself, self-conscious of myself being the only one at this booth. I always got nervous when in public, never liked being stared at, even if no one ever did. “Hmm please hurry,” I had whispered to myself, getting antsy sitting alone.
Finally, I mentally huffed once I saw Drove walk out with more, larger scrolls held under his wing. “Here we are, three maps of the world plus your special request of tribal borders dating back about three hundred years or so,” He proclaimed, raising his chin with pride. “Thank you, thank you!” I said with glee as I took the four scrolls from him, as well as dropping off an additional talon full of coins to show my gratitude for his help before taking off again to fly straight home in order to get away from all the peering eyes as fast as possible. While in the air, I took a deep breath and released it in a sigh of relief, savoring the feeling of the air as it brushed against my scales. I was always glad when I got to leave town.
On my way home, I took the time to catch one of the goats that live on and around the mountain I called home. They’re easy enough to see given the sharp eyes us dragons have, but catching them can be difficult at times, but after scanning the landscape, I latched my eyes onto a nice plump one that was fairly far from any form of cover. I wish cows lived near me… I sighed before diving at the goat, after living off of them almost exclusively for nearly four years, their taste has become boring. As I descended, the goats caught a glimpse of my shadow and begun to panic, heading towards any cover they could find. The one I was aiming for though, chose poorly, diving for a crevice in the mountainside that was still open to the air, making it easy to pluck from between the rocks. It only was able to let out a few screams of terror before I had used my rear talons to snap its neck.
Every time I remember entering my home, I’m reminded why I preferred to be out by the lake most of the day… The cave was a dark, damp, uninteresting place. The only things that showed that someone was living there were the small mat of moss that acted as a bed, a wooden table that was beginning to show its age, the remains of goats, and a pit used for fire, that was currently not lit. I placed the goat next to the fire pit, I wanted to keep the maps I acquired from getting covered in its blood once I gutted and cooked it. I wasn’t fully in the mood to eat, so I just waited until later to cook and eat my meal. Instead, I placed my scrolls on the table and unraveled them to examine the several markings on the paper.
I chose to refresh my memory of the world as it is, so I placed the newest map in front of me. Down in the bottom-left corner, or south-west, was my continent, it was the second smallest, only slightly larger than the continent to the east. North-east was the largest continent and home to the Kingdom of Drakes, the only empire on our world, and the Snow-Drake kingdom. East of them, was the Wyvern kingdom. North-west...ish… of them, and North of me, is the Wyrm Kingdom. The map also showed the approximate borders of the kingdoms and even the tribes and clans that exist. The most frustrating thing about where I live is if I ever wanted to go to another continent, I would have to go through the Dragon Empire’s land to do so, something that I couldn’t avoid.
I spent the remainder of the day studying the maps, searching. “Where could it be…” I had said mid-yawn, night had come and my body was urging me to lay down for the night. “Hm, maybe a refreshed mind will make it more obvious to me,” I said to myself as another yawn had snuck up on me. Am I crazy for talking to myself? Probably. A thought that has become fairly common when I stay up late, and a question that I still don’t know the answer to even now. I was so excited that I’m surprised I was even able to fall asleep, but when I did, my dreams were amazing.
I dreamt that I was at the base of a grand shrine, with marble pillars and walls to hold it all together, and large, wooden doors with a pair of dragons carved into it. Inside was a wide-open room with several other rooms connected along the left and right sides. In the center was a stand with a majestic looking sword. “Woah… Beautiful…” I had said in awe, fully immersed in the dream. Around the stand were several mats for dragons to lay and sit on while visiting whoever lived here or to admire the sword. The sword itself wasn’t really anything special, It was just a common Draken long sword used by warriors, but that’s not what mattered. What mattered was the name engraved into the base of the blade. As I took the old weapon and begun to unsheath the blade, the name had become visible to me. It said-”Ohhh Jewel…”
I jumped awake with a chill running down my spine as a smooth female voice called my name from the entrance to my home. “Oh great…” I groaned, hoping the visitor would go away, choosing to try and return to my dream, I covered my head with my wings and pretended to still be sleeping. Not much longer and I felt something heavy land onto my back with a thump. “Drove told me you were gonna go on an adventureee,” the female dragon proclaimed into my ear as she laid on top of me. “Good morning to you too, Nuri, and I never said anything about going out to Drove, he just likes to spread rumors.” Once Nuri had gotten off of me, I finally opened my eyes only to be blinded by the incredibly colored dragon that sat in front of me. Her eyes were a wonderful shade of emerald green, with the underside of her wings blue, and her scales were a mixture of brown and purple in such a majestic manner that it was hard to focus on much of anything else.
“Nooo, he speaks the truth and you know it! Besides, why else would you head into town? All you ever buy are maps from his shop,” She said, rolling her eyes. “So. When are we leaving?” She asked, looking at her talons. “Wait, ‘we’? Who’s ‘we?’ Besides, I never said anything about leaving to anyone, least of all, that old Draken,” I said, alarmed and finally sitting upright. “Oh c’mon, you and I both know you’ll probably leave by the end of the week, and I for one, will NOT take ‘no’ for an answer. It gets boring when you’re gone,” she replied, getting up and heading towards the fire pit that she had apparently decided to ignite, not like we needed the extra light.
I had grabbed what was left of the goat I caught the previous day and offered Nuri a portion of it, in case she had skipped eating to catch me before I left. She didn’t need to, I still wasn’t sure where I was going, let alone if it would be worth leaving in the first place. Drove provides good maps, but they’re not always good enough to give me any ideas as to where my family’s clan’s old village might be. “I really might not be going anywhere Nuri, I’ve had zero luck so far with these maps…” Nuri has been the closest, and longest friend I’ve ever had, she’s been with me before I even lost my old home and family. If there’s anyone in this world I fully trust, it’s her. Nuri and Drove are also the only two dragons who know what I’ve been looking for for the past three years as well.
“Perhaps a fresh set of eyes will do you some good?” Nuri asked as she took a large bite out of the goat leg I gave her. “Knock yourself out, I’m going to see if I can find something more sweat to eat,” I said before heading to the exit of the cave. “But I’m already here!” Nuri had giggled as I walked away. “I’ll be back later,” I groaned before jumping into the air.
Several hours later…
As I was walking home, deciding that I wanted to take in the surrounding forest views, and wanting to relax by my lake for a while, I saw Nuri sitting at the edge of where my cave’s entrance was. She had the impatient look on her face that she has whenever she wants to talk about something but can’t just quite yet. I was half tempted to make her wait a little while longer but decided against it, so I flew up to see what she had to say. “I think I found it, buuut…” She said in a manner that really meant that there’s a catch or some kind of problem. Regardless, the spines along my head and neck had begun to stick upwards in excitement.
I didn’t care if it was in the ocean or not. I’d start working in the Empire to get coins to hire someone to get what I wanted or not… But it would be nice if the place was still on dry land and standing, and it would be extra nice if others from my tribe were still alive. It would be pretty depressing if I really was the last of my bloodline. “Buuut…?” I asked once I landed next to her, my anxiety beginning to flare up in anticipation.
“Well, I wasn’t one HUNDRED percent sure… soooo I asked Drax to come take a look…” She said once I landed, holding her wings in close, knowing how I would react. “WHAT?!” I yelled, my spikes now sticking up so much I could feel them tugging on the skin below my scales. “Nuri! You know how I feel about that! It irks me to no end when others know about what I’m trying to do! Why wouldn’t you at least ASK ME FIRST?!” I said, shocked that my closest friend wouldn’t even consider waiting to ask me my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, Drax isn’t a bad buy, he’s annoying, yes, but still. “I’m sorry, but I wanted to surprise you when you got back and we got to tell you that yes, I did indeed find it!” She said, raising her talons during her apology. “Ugh… What all did you tell him anyways?”
I asked, still seriously annoyed with Nuri… Even though that feeling wouldn’t last long. “Nothing major, I just asked him to help me find an old temple that you and I were looking for, that’s all,” she said as she got up and went inside. I grumbled to myself as I followed her inside, where I saw the dull-colored wyvern sitting at my table, his wings outstretched on the ground while his spike-covered tail swayed back and forth behind him.
I never was a fan of the grey and dull browns of some other dragons, but Drax’s scales were an extra dull and bland color. He made up for it with a nearly constantly moving mind, always seeming to have five or more things going on in his head. I could hold a conversation with him while he talked to four other dragons at the same time all on a different subject. Not that he ever talked about anything interesting, that is. He only ever cared about rocks, history, and other boring things like that. The only interests we shared were maps, and only because I needed them, not because I liked them, he does. In fact, if he could, he probably would marry one.
As I got close, he turned his hornless head towards me, showing the only colors on his body, his bright blue eyes. “Hello Jewel, didn’t think you the type to be a treasure hunter, what makes you so interested in the Risenfall tribe’s old home?” He asked as I came by to sit next to him… if being a wing span’s length away is ‘sitting next to him’, that is. “Does it matter? You’re probably only here to drool all over my maps,” I said, trying to avoid answering the question. “As a matter of fact, no. Drooling wouldn’t be good for the maps, so why would I want to ruin perfectly good ones?” He said so blandly I almost punched him in his face. “Ugh, well, are you going to show me where on the map the old tribes at or not? I’d rather get your five-hour long lecture done and over with,” I said, rolling my eyes and moving to a spot that I could better see the map from. Nuri chose to sit next to me, probably tired of standing already.
The wyvern just looked confused for a moment before diving right into his boring speech… but for once, I actually liked it. Not because I secretly like history, no, but because it’s about the tribe. He didn’t mention anything really important, just events that happened, and the history behind the tribe’s village’s upbringing. What I really wanted to know was where it’s located. “So, near the end of their era in time, they settled in right around here,” Drax finally said, laying one of the three talons on his wing on a spot on the map…
The tribe’s village was located on the northern continent in an area controlled by the Wyrm kingdom but was just outside of the Empire’s land. “Looks like we’re going to have to pass through the colony and get a ride from their mainland to reach the Risenfall village,” Drax said, lifting his head up from the map to look at us. “Wait. ‘We’? Again, what makes the two of you think I’m even going? Let alone with someone?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at the wyvern. “Oh c’mon, this could be a major historical find! Why would I NOT want to go? Plus, WE did help you find it!” He said as he crossed his wings and turned his head to one side. Wyverns really do look goofy when they do that. “Besides, You’ll need me to get onto a boat to get to the Kingdom of Drakes anyways, I do live inside of the colony, after all,” He said, shooting me a sideways glare.
I groaned again… Sounds like they’ll go even if I don’t… looks like it’s settled then… I had thought to myself. “FINE, I guess I’ll go then… When do you plan to leave? Assuming you have a plan, that is,” I said, rolling my eyes. “How about now? I don’t have anything better to do anyways,” Nuri suggested, shrugging her wings. “Now? Like, now now? I would still need to gather some of my items, this won’t be a simple one day trip!” Drax said, probably on the brink of a panic attack of his own. “Fine, how about in two days?” Nuri said, her posture lowering… “That will work,” Drax replied, with a stupidly big smile… “Fine, it’s settled then… two days,” I confirmed, now just wanting them to leave me to be alone while I rest, plan, pack, and figure out WHAT IN THE WORLD I just got myself into….
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