It was the dead of night. The three girls had hidden themselves very well in the darkness and shadows of the castle and through the city. They had to leave the castle in the first ring of the city where the royalty lived and enter the second ring. It wasn’t hard for them to sneak away from their room and into the scribe’s archives. They were glad that of the three rings, the round sections of the city, the Second had less guards than both the First and the Third. They knew exactly when the old man and his apprentice blew out their candles for the night and when they could sneak past the guards.
Not that they needed to. They could have said that Queen Lorina wanted the scribe to record something and that they had been sent to retrieve him. No one would know that they were lying and no one would question them either. They had convinced every one of their loyalty and now they moved to put their plans into motion. They had learned to go about their business unnoticed. Not ignored so much as overlooked by most unless they made their presence known. Trained shadows that served the Queen. It had worked well for them, but tonight going unnoticed would not be enough.
They hadn’t heard from the knights that they had sent into the mountains. Which they knew was a good thing. Now they had to search for the last of the records of the dragon war. They were looking for where the Lords had last been sighted. They run through the halls with bare feet and as they come to the door of the archives they slow and kneel down in the shadows. The guard posted there was sitting on his stool wide awake.
One of the girls frowns in the dark at her sister who shrugs her shoulders in response. The other rolls her eyes and pulls out a long, thin hollowed piece of wood. She brings it to her lips and blows a dart right into the man’s neck. He reaches at it surprised and as he pulls it out falls to the ground unconscious. They stand and walk to the door the first picking the keys from the guard’s belt and quietly unlocking the door. They drag the guard inside and close the door behind themselves. It was good that he was not blessed with an affinity for magic. Those that had were called wielders and the city was full of them. Wielders wouldn’t be so easily taken down by the poison on the darts. And the skirmish that would follow would certainly draw attention.
“I thought that you said the guard would be asleep!” The first girl hisses at the last.
“Normally he is!” she hisses back.
“Enough.” The second interrupts them as she finishes lighting the torches on the walls. “I just used the last of the darts on him so we have to be out of here quickly. Idie search the east wall and Ida search the west and look thoroughly. I’ll take the north wall.” The girls follow the second’s orders without question and start to look through the tomes on the shelves. There were many so they quickly skim through them placing them back on the shelves without disturbing the dust left there from years of neglect.
“I’ve found it.” The second says. They each stop what they’re doing and walk quietly over to her. They huddle together to read under the torch she holds. Inside they read about the final battle between the dragons and the city of Avion. It had been recorded and put onto a shelf to be forgotten.
The girls quietly read the passage together. The following pages have been recorded by the fourth scribe under the King, Marius IX reigning king in all of Sidus, in his own words during the winter of his forty-ninth year. I was growing weary of the constant war. Our push against the dragons has lasted generations. We are no closer to ridding ourselves of them than they are of burning all of our cities to the ground. Over time we had found that gold couldn’t cut their impervious scales but could deflect their sweltering flames. We still battled the dragons just as fiercely as they attacked us. I had called for the retreat to the cities and fortress a fortnight ago and since then we have lost our outposts and warning towers.
The dragons have begun another assault on the city and I am unsure of how long we will last. I have sent my wife and daughter to hide deep within the castle and my son and I ride out to face the dragons. The Master Wielders have found magics that can protect our city for a time. They revealed how to recreate it myself with the little magic that they have bestowed upon me and they are now leaving us for Divinity. I should have sent my wife Lorina and my daughter with them. But I cannot bear to see them depart.
The battle lasted all day and well into the night. The dragons saw that they could not enter the dome the wielders had created and retreated. My son and I rode back into the castle and prepared to face them again tomorrow. It was early the next morning that my scouts returned from their searches in the forest. They had spent three days riding to bring me news that one of the Lords had appeared in the forest and that it was making its way here burning fortresses and outposts to the ground.
I have called my Generals to a meeting in the castle and we discussed tactics in order to stop the Fire Lord. My son offered to take his men into the forest to do battle with it but I forbid it. I decided that the best option was to call the Wielders back to our city and bind the dragon to slay it. Then seeing that we were more powerful make our final push against the dragons in the mountains before the winter is over.
The Generals agreed and sent messengers to bring the Wielders back. I discover later that my son has left to battle it against my wishes. I wait two days and by the time the Wielders are prepared a messenger returns to the castle from my son’s group. He tells the Generals that the Lord has massacred the entire party and that he had been the only one to survive, a sign of their power. Part of me wanted to believe that what he had told us was true but I didn’t.
Later that evening I call him back to my chamber. He knew that his story hadn’t fooled me. Lorina was still weeping as he entered and was angered by his presence. I command the truth from him and I learn a great deal that night. The Lords want peace as well. They are bound by magic. The dragons are more than most creatures because the Lords live. To slay the Lords is to create chaos amongst their kind. Savagery. But they will never surrender. So instead they would use my son as leverage.
We learned that they would hold him captive in the mountains, alive, as long as we end our war against them. I have to agree. I send word to Divinity telling them that the war is over and then announced it to the citizens. The messenger went back into the forest and to tell the dragons of my agreement. The dragons will retreat to the Dracul Mountains where they have created a utopia and return to slumber within its heart.
The girls stop reading. They had found everything that they needed to know. They had quite the journey ahead of them but they were prepared to do whatever it took to find the Lords. They knew with conviction that they were meant to rule over the land. They had already convinced those had been treated poorly by the cities to follow in them and they very nearly had an army. So they quickly put everything back as it was. They prop the guard back on his stool and walk silently back to their room.
“Well, sisters,” the second tells them a smile on her lips, “I believe that we have what we need.”