Author's note: My book is split into dragon and human parts, each twelve chapters long. This is the first dragon part but is actually part 2 of my book. I was having too much trouble editing part 1 since, when I originally wrote it, I had way too much exposition. So I decided to simply go through the dragon parts of my book for now. So if anything is unclear please point it out so I can be sure to include the explanation in part one.
I will also have any exposition from the first part here so you know what I've already noted and so you can grasp this story better.
In this world magic is an energy that flows through the world which dragons and a few other monsters can manipulate. Humans use the magic they produce inside their own bodies to bend the elements rather than manipulating the mana in the air. There are 7 dragon tribes, each affiliated with an element. Fire, Storm, Ice, Stone, Tree, Air, and Night Wings. They generally live in mana zones (areas of concentrated magic usually associated with the same element as the dragons who live there), though they can still use magic even when not in a mana zone.
Jarid raised Shadow and taught him everything his mother wished. Shadow is now 10 years old. In dragon terms he is no longer a hatchling but still considered a child (a dragonet). Unfortunately Shadow cannot leave dragon valley for fear of him being hunted by other humans. Wanting to explore the world with Shadow and not have to hide him, Jarid leaves to Dragon Rider Academy so he can receive a certificate that allows him to register Shadow as his mount, and thus cannot be hunted.
Jarid tells Shadow to train and become strong so that when he returns they can explore the world together. They share a tearful goodbye leaving Shadow alone. At least, at first...
Shadow woke and stretched. His giant yawn showing off all his pointed teeth. He groaned and rolled over wishing he could go back to sleep.
Usually, Jarid would have already rushed down into dragon valley and woken him with a playful jab or tackle. Then they would play a bit before he left to the human village for the day. Shadow had gotten used to keeping himself entertained. Waiting for Jarid to come see him at the end of every day, but now he had been alone for almost three months. Compared to this, the time he had spent waiting every day felt like nothing at all. Of course, there were many wonderful days when Jarid was able to escape from work. On such days, they would spend the whole day playing, training, and (Shadow’s favorite) flying.
It felt amazing to soar through the sky with Jarid on his back and nothing to stop them from going where they wanted. He had seen the village Jarid was from when they were high enough that no one would recognise him. He knew the whole forest from above and below the trees. Even going so far as the foot of the Dread Mountains. He still remembered the days when he had planned to go visit them secretly. Sadly, before that day could come, Jarid learned that the other Night Wings had been wiped out by human dragon hunters less than a year after Shadow was born.
Despite that, Shadow still wanted to go visit his homeland, but there were too many scary stories about monsters and the constant terrible weather in those mountains for him. Besides, it wasn’t like he never got to see any dragons. There were a few dragons that periodically flew around the forest.
A shiny blue dragon, a large brown dragon, and a fast grey dragon. He made sure they never saw him though since for some reason it seemed like the Night Wings had wanted to kill him. Unfortunately, the knowledge about why they did wasn’t included in the memories Shadow’s mother, whose name they later found out was Umbra, gave Jarid. They did include that most dragon tribes didn’t like other dragons though. So, it probably wasn’t a good idea to show himself.
Shadow sat up and blinked to get rid of the sleepy blurriness in his eyes as he looked around the little clearing he called his home. Jarid had named it dragon valley and Shadow loved it. On the far side was a clear, cool stream which flowed out of a small tunnel that went underground. Beside the stream were many flowers but the floor of the clearing was mostly just smooth grass. Shadow had long ago picked out all the sharp rocks and sometimes he would just enjoy rolling around in the grass. It was also where he and Jarid spent most of their time playing and wrestling. On the nearer side was Jarid’s workshop where he made many cool human tools. He had made a large table to work on and Shadow often used it for writing. Many books and pieces of paper were strewn across it.
Shadow stood and stretched before walking over to the table and looking down at some of the pages he had been working on. He had gotten a lot better at writing. His letters were getting neater, and he could read them easily enough. Maybe he would do a bit more practice later. Shadow stretched his wings as he walked over to the stream for a drink where he paused for a moment to look at his reflection.
He looked a bit soft for a dragon, with a streamlined body and face. He had black scales along the top of his body which were smooth and reflected the light like polished obsidian. His underbelly looked like light black leather. Instead of horns he had two soft flaps that helped him sense changes in the wind and increase his hearing. His eyes were a crimson red which he thought looked really cool against his black scales. He spread his wings to examine the dark and smooth skin underneath. Jarid had once told him that, as a baby, they were nearly see though, but now they were dark black, leathery, and strong enough to carry both himself and Jarid easily.
Shadow sighed. It would be a long time before he could carry Jarid on his wings again.
Jarid had taught him math and language in both dragon and human. Luckily Jarid didn’t have to do much actual teaching since Shadow could just see the lessons in his mind. Soon after Shadow learned to speak Jarid realised that he could read minds just like his mother. Sometimes they would just sit across from each other like they were meditating, but in reality, Jarid was calling forth the memories Umbra had given him. Shadow loved looking through those memories and had memorised all of them. He could feel his mother’s love saturating each one. She loved him so much she had died for him, and her love always felt like a warm blanket of safety. Whenever they were done learning something he always had tears in his eyes.
Shadow smiled sadly. He stood by the water and started to sway as he sang his favorite song since he was a baby. It reminded him just how much she loved him. It was called “Rockabye” by a human group called Clean Bandit.
“Call it love and devotion. Call it a mom’s adoration. Foundation. A special bond of creation. For my mom out there. When I sing let her hear…
She works the nights. By the water. She’s gone astray so far away from my father’s daughter.
She just wants a life. For her baby.
All on her own, no one will come, she’s got to save him…
She tells him “Oh love. No one’s ever gonna hurt you love. I’m gonna give you all of my love. Nobody matters like youoooo.”
She tells him “Your life. Ain’t gonna be nothing like my life. You’re gonna grow and have a good life. I’m gonna do what I’ve got to dooooo…”
So, rockabye baby. Rockabye.
I’m going to rock you.
Rockabye baby. Don’t you cry.
Somebody’s got you.
Rockabye baby. Rockabye.
I’m going to rock you.
Rockabye baby. Don’t you cry.
Tears burst forth as Shadow sang and danced to the song of love and devotion. He could feel how much she loved him as he thought of all she must have given up just to save him. He was nearly shouting the words as he sang out his love for his mother, and his sadness at loosing her, to the whole world.
“Rockabye. Don’t brother cry. Lift up your head, lift it up to the sky.
Rockabye. Don’t brother cry. Angles surround you, just dry your eye.”
Shadow whispered the final lines as he slowly stopped dancing and wiped the tears from his eyes. They burned slightly from crying, but he was glad. He was so grateful for his mother and his brother Jarid who had taken care of him. He missed them both terribly, but he had to keep going even when they were not with him.
Shaking himself, Shadow unfolded his wings to their full length and promised to become the strongest flyer in the world before Jarid returned. With that he pumped his wings and soared into the sky.
He trained almost every day but there was only so much training he could do before it got boring. Hunting was fun but he didn’t like hurting the animals if he wasn’t going to eat them, so he only hunted if he was hungry. Soon after Jarid had left he had begun exploring the forest in earnest while also sneaking around near the edges to listen in on the thoughts of humans passing by. He had become a (self proclaimed) expert at sneaking around the forest. It almost felt as though he was made for it. The soft pads on the bottom of his talons muffled the crunch of leaves and twigs while his lithe body was able to twist over bushes and under branches to avoid making the slightest noise.
Even during this exploration Shadow never went up into the mountains but there was a stream that flowed from them and disappeared underground soon after entering the forest. It probably traveled underground until it came out in dragon valley which he thought was cool. During one of these trips, he had stumbled upon his greatest form of entertainment yet. Honestly he might have gone crazy with boredom if not for this amazing discovery.
As Shadow flew he scanned the forest looking for a tree top he had snapped off to mark the location of this discovery. Seeing the tree, he quickly found an opening in the trees and landed gently in a clearing nearby. Here the ground sank down into a sort of valley and as he was passing through one day, he thought he had heard the thoughts of many creatures seemingly out of nowhere. At first, he was scared and dove into the bushes to hide, thinking a group of dragons or humans would come crashing through the trees at any moment. But nothing happened. Then, as he continued to listen, he quickly realised that whoever’s thoughts he was hearing were not looking for him.
In fact, they weren’t even in the forest at all!
Somehow, he could hear the minds of many people who were living underground! After recovering from his initial shock, he had become fascinated and curiously listened to their thoughts for hours.
Hearing a person’s surface thoughts was automatic for Shadow. If they were talking to someone else or even to themselves, he would hear them even without meaning to. Especially if they were thinking or talking about him. However, if he focused a bit he could hear the inner monolog going through someone’s mind.
He had never tried anything more than that though since it felt wrong to invade someone’s mind like that. It felt the same as looking through someone’s clothes without their permission. Though there was a more practical reason. As Shadow and Jarid experimented with his powers Jarid realised that the deeper Shadow looked into someone’s mind the easier it was for that person to feel Shadow’s presence in their mind, which could lead to all sorts of bad situations.
As Shadow listened to the minds of the different dragons he realised that he was able to feel the difference between them. Over time he had managed to figure out that there were eight different people down there, but they weren’t just any people…
They were dragons!
Shadow didn’t understand why dragons would be living underground, but as he continued to listen, he began to figure out more and more about these strange dragons. Five of the dragons sounded like they were about Shadow’s age and were all from different tribes.
Boulder the Stone Wing,
Gale the Wind Wing,
Hailstorm the Ice Wing,
Aurora the Tree Wing, and
Tempest the Storm Wing.
Three of the dragons were adults and had been given the task of guarding the five dragonets by some secret group called the Wings of Protection. Apparently, there was a prophecy about these dragonets saving and uniting all dragons. Not that Shadow, or the dragonets, really cared. They were much more concerned with dodging homework, playing around and wishing they could go outside.
The guardians, as they were so aptly called, were also from different tribes. There was a storm wing called Surge who had the worst temper out of all the guardians. She taught the dragonets combat skills and magic. Many of the dragonets believed that all storm wings had a bad temper since Tempest was always the first to talk back or get into a fight whenever the guardians did something she hated (which was often). The second was a sand wing named Quake. He oversaw their history, math and dragon language both spoken and written. He was a firm, military dragon who didn’t care much what the dragonets did so long as they followed the rules and did the work he assigned them. However the dragonets quickly learned to stay on his good side because disobeying him meant long hours of torturous work lugging rocks around the cave or being forced to wake before sunrise and do homework until long after sunset. Finally, there was a wind dragon named Shear. She was the dragonet’s favorite because she always brought back the best prey and sometimes found new scrolls or tablets for them to read. She also showed them the coolest aerial moves and even played with them if they asked nicely. She was the only guardian who didn’t seem to hate them and often laughed off their silly pranks. She oversaw teaching their flight and hunting training.
The guardians were fun to listen to sometimes, but the dragonets were far more interesting to Shadow. They considered themselves to be siblings even though they were not related by blood. They squabbled, fought and insulted each other like most siblings did, but if any of the guardians picked on one of them, the whole group fought back. This seemed to be the biggest reason why they all got in trouble when one of them did something wrong, and one of the many reasons why all the guardian’s heads were full of less than stellar comments about dragonets.
Today Shadow could barely hear the dragonet’s thoughts. He was concerned for a moment before realising that it was because they were all still asleep. It was strange though. The guardians usually woke them up before now to do lessons on one subject or another. So Shadow switched his attention to the guardians.
“What do you mean he’s coming to inspect the dragonets?! I thought the flame wings didn’t trust us to take care of their precious dragonet. Something like ‘Oh the wings of protection are far too weak to protect our poor dragonet.’ The fools. Do they really think they can do any better?!”
Shadow immediately recognised the first voice as belonging to Surge. Her mind felt troubled and angry more often than not.
“Keep your voice down Surge. If you roar any louder the dragonets might hear, even in their sleep.”
That voice had to be Shear. She was the only guardian who was that gentle.
“Yes, they refused to let us raise him before, but now that he is ten, they must be reconsidering. They want him to have a say on what the dragonets decide so they have to let him join us eventually. Their representative is just coming to inspect our hideout to ensure nobody else can find it and harm their dragonet.” Shear explained calmly
“And what’s the point of this place being a secret if they’re just going to lead people right too it?!” Surge roared again. Though quieter this time.
“This is a representative of Queen Sear. They have every right to check what kind of conditions we live in before sending one of their dragonets to live here. You wouldn’t send one of your dragonets somewhere you didn’t know about.”
This deep voice belonged to Quake. He always felt emotionless and hard on the surface, but deep down Shadow could tell he still cared about others.
“Well, I wouldn’t have stupid dragonets in the first place! They’re annoying, they talk back, tug on your tail and seem to know exactly how to make you want to rip your horns off! No thank you.” Surge huffed.
Then she sighed. “Fine. When will he be coming again?”
“Some time in the next few days. It should take them at least that long to prepare to fly halfway across the continent, and they’ll probably be a bit slower than messenger they sent ahead.” Quake replied.
“I’ll go make sure the notes we’ve made on the other dragons in the area are in order. Because I’m sure he’s going to ask. Even if it’s just to be annoying.” Surge said as she left.
“I guess I’ll go get the brat’s started on their history for today.”
Quake groaned. Most likely he was getting up to go wake the dragonets.
“Why not let them sleep a little longer? They had a hard day yesterday between combat training and aerial maneuvering, so I’m sure they could use a little extra rest.” Shear suggested. Shadow could feel the compassion and concern in her voice through her thoughts.
“You need to stop coddling them Shear. They need to be strong. Once they leave here, they won’t have time for sleeping in. The fate of all tribes rest on their shoulders, and their wings need to be strong enough to bear that burden. We don’t have time to keep treating them like hatchlings.” Quake said indifferently.
“But they are still dragonets and the fact that they have to bear such a burden means they need all the rest and support they can get right now.” Shear argued.
Quake snorted before replying, but Shadow wasn’t really paying attention anymore. He was more concerned with Surge’s comment about their notes on suspicious dragons in the area.
Could they be talking about him? He didn’t think so from the bored sound of Surge’s comment, but he wanted to be sure. He listened closely for Surge’s deeper thoughts as she walked away from the others.
Secret prophecies, hiding in caves, raising other dragon’s dragonets! By the great sea why did I get into this mess. For some hot flame wing, are you serious? Urgh! The prophecy may not even work anymore since the Night Wings all up and died or went into hiding for some reason. I should have called it quits right then before getting stuck with these annoying brats.
Screw the inter tribal conflicts and political dung. I should have just run away with him the moment he said he liked me. Hmmm. He said he liked me. Mmmm.
Surge’s mind suddenly was washed with warm fuzzy feelings and her thoughts went a little hazy with images of her flame wing love interest.
Shadow cringed and backed away. He didn’t want to hear any more of that. When he was younger he had thought such things were gross but now it made him feel strangely uncomfortable. That kind of stuff was probably personal anyway, so he didn’t want to intrude. Instead, he kept listening to her surface thoughts until she began checking off the notes in her mind.
A few flame wing hunting parties but that’s it. It’s not like the wings of protection would put us anywhere near other dragons. Whatever. It’s only few more years…
Shadow stopped listening and breathed a sigh of relief. The other dragonets were probably still asleep, so he decided to go train and hunt while he waited for the dragonets to wake up.
end of Chapter 1
Picture of Shadow: Drawn by FrostieGreen. Commissioned by me.