THE SIGHT OF dragons soaring was something Mhysra doubted she would ever get used to. After a long and fun game of wingtag – which Cumulo had declared himself the winner of despite no one else regarding it as particularly competitive – she and her friends had continued their trip around the mountain until they found what they were looking for. Rhiddyl rushing up into the bright spring sky, her scales flashing almost iridescent blue in the sunlight. Directly in front of her, Reglian was a storm cloud in motion, the deep jet black of his scales lightened only by flashes of gold on his wings and ridges. The blue dragon was long and sinuous, the other vast and bulky, but both were magnificent in the sky.
Thunder boomed with laughter as Rhiddyl caught up to Reglian, flying circles around him like a shimmering ribbon. The air snapped as lightning flashed, then it was the younger dragon laughing as she darted away from the elder, who roared in pursuit.
One by one, the miryhls dropped down along the ridgeline beside a scrubby old hawthorn tree, happy to sit back and watch the dragons play. Not only because of the magic involved, but because of the sheer size difference. Even the vulardis were swift to get out of the sky when the dragons swept near.
“Now that is something you don’t see every day,” Stirla whistled with appreciation. Although all of them were watching with awe, only Stirla and Derrain had their eyes wide and their mouths agape. They’d been busy crossing the Heighlen in the depths of winter when Mhysra, Lyrai and Corin had been travelling with dragons and collecting disapproving officers along their meandering route to Nimbys. The sight of dragons wasn’t completely new to them, but this was probably the first time either of them had seen any in flight.
“Imagine trying to fight three of them,” Corin chuckled.
Derrain shook his head, while Stirla’s lips quirked up in a half-smile as he turned to Lyrai. “Why do you always get to have the best adventures?”
Lyrai didn’t smile back. “Some adventures I could do without,” he said softly, resting his hand on Hurricane’s neck and smoothing his hand downwards as his miryhl turned to nuzzle his Rider’s boot.
Mhysra shivered at the memory of seeing Hurricane flung against a cliff and falling limply onto the beach. Gods, they’d all thought him dead, and Lyrai had very nearly joined him as he took on the offending dragon in single combat. If she never had to live through another adventure like that, it would be too soon.
“Aye,” Stirla murmured, falling quiet at memories of his own. They’d all had plenty of adventures over the last year that they would rather have lived without – and would likely have many more before this year was done.
“And there you go again, lieutenants,” Corin said, with enforced cheer. “Raising everyone’s spirits and dwelling on the brighter things in life. I can’t bear such happiness. Stop it. Stop.”
“Mocking your officers again, student?” Stirla chuckled.
“I don’t think I ever stopped, sir,” Corin replied with a cheeky salute.
“Well, I don’t know about you lot, but I didn’t fly all this way to stand around and watch,” Derrain suddenly announced, urging Zephyr towards the edge of the ridge. “As impressive as watching those dragons may be…”
“We came to fly,” Cumulo agreed, as Wisp bounded forwards.
“Then let’s fly!” Lyrai and Hurricane shouted together, brushing against Cumulo and Mhysra’s sides as they launched first.
Screaming with outrage, Cumulo shot after them, drawing the attention of the dragons. Rumbling with amusement, Reglian swept down upon them and a whole new game began.
BY THE TIME night fell and the Riders and miryhls had returned home, Rhiddyl curled up in her solitary cave with a smile on her face. Life amongst humans might not be turning out quite as she expected, but it certainly had its good points.
As she drifted on the edge of sleep, her mind carrying her back to the green mountains of her Clanlands and the long ago friends of her youngest days, a soft chime sounded inside her head.
“Are you awake, Rhiddyl?”
“Elder Goryal?” she murmured sleepily, speaking aloud and opening her eyes. Darkness surrounded her and there was no scent of the Starshine near, so she closed her eyes again and sent her thoughts towards them. “What is it?”
“The humans will be leaving soon, but I have a task for you. If you wish.”
Curiosity and the chance to actually do something after so long hidden away like the worst of secrets, Rhiddyl stirred herself further away from the edge of dreams and stood up. “Of course. What is it?”
“I need you to carry something to Aquila for me. Something fragile and precious. It will be tricky to carry and you won’t get much rest. You’ll be on the wing almost the entire way.”
A truly difficult task indeed. Rhiddyl scurried from her cave and flexed her wings. “When do I leave?”
“How about now?” she countered, springing from the rocks and into the night, the sound of Elder Goryal’s approving chuckle chiming all the way to the city.
~ Next Chapter ~