Falling for Fire

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Chapter 2: Brone- Green Leaf Soaring

“Brone!” My mother called out from the mouth of the cave. “Come help me with Knoth!” I sighed and banked to the left, allowing the thermals of the winds to carry me upwards into the blue sky. Why do I have to get stuck with that chickling? I thought with exasperation. I felt the leaf-green scales on my back warm as the sun shined down on them. I was having my alone time; today was the day of the Hunt. When a generation of dragons comes of age they go to the human’s land, called Dracobane, to capture their first human.

The other drakes and dragonets who’ve participated in the Hunt say that the taste of human is the best there is, but I’m the only Drake who opposes the practice of human hunting. No one else knows about that, though. Now don’t get me wrong- the humans are the most evil beasts alive (even if they’re much smaller than the average dragon). They hunt us ruthlessly, and many of our kind have been killed without reason.

They’re known to us as ‘Satan’s Servants’. They fight with each other over petty things like money, land, and even themselves. Probably just to gain the favor of the devil.

“BRONE!” Mother roared, apparently now in her dragon form. “Alright, alright! I’m coming!” I roared back. I banked to the right and headed back to the cave. My mother is the head of our clan, the Valentaria. You could say we’re a ‘royal family’ of sorts, ruling over our country which is called Draconia, but we still live among the commoners. Social status may be pointless, but that doesn’t mean it means nothing to us.

I arrived at the cave and shifted into my drakeman form, which is a form that’s half human and half dragon; my wings, claws, horns and tail are still there, but everything else is human. We have the ability to shift completely into human form, but we prefer the halfway point, hence the term we’ve given it- Drakeman. Our cave is a small one- just big enough to fit seven drakes in their dragon forms (that may seem huge to a human, but it’s really small by dragon standards), a small river flowing through the back, twelve alcoves further back into the cave for sleeping nooks and a large pit of melted rock and metal in the center of the cave, courtesy of the Metal Drakes in Ore Canyon.

Our food supply is in an even deeper part of our cave, where a small waterfall flows from a fountain, another gift from a clan of river dragons, the Flowheart Clan. We don’t eat raw meat, contrary of what those despicable humans believe, nor do we roast it with our dragon fire until it’s beyond recognition. We always prepare the fruits of our hunts- for fish we clean them, for deer we skin and prep the meat, keep the bones for needles and the skins for blankets when sleeping in our dragon forms isn’t an option, so therefore we don’t waste any part of our prey. We’re not complete carnivores either; our life drakes and dragonets keep the fruit and vegetable supply in pristine health.

“Brone, I’ve got to go settle matters with the Wyverns in the Planes. Take care of Knoth for a bit, okay?” My Mother is a Windspeed dragon, part of the fastest dragons of our kind. “Fine,” I said, looking to the side with irritation. “But why can’t you get Sandscale to do it?” “Why do you ask?” She inquired with a raised eyebrow. “You have something better to do?” I jumped a little and felt smoke rise from my nostrils, as what always happens whenever I’m embarrassed or shy or frustrated. “N-not really. I just need some time alone, that’s all” Mother looked at me for a long time, then shrugged and waved me away. “Go on, then!” I ran to the mouth of the cave. “Just be back in time for the Hunt!” she called back. “I look forward to seeing you with your first kill!” I grimaced at the thought. I jumped off the ledge of our cliff side cave and shifted as I fell. “Oh don’t worry, I’ll try to be there,” I muttered.

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