z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


12+

Shadow's Rising {Wing 3} Chapter 9

by dragonight9


Chapter 9

After a quiet supper, Jarid and Airel entered the waiting room of the dragon dome. A small hall just below ground level where they would prepare for their turn to select a dragon.

They were instructed to don their flight suits and tuck their helmets under one arm. There were two instructors watching over them. One showed them how to put on the armor while the other stepped in to help if either of them were having difficulties. Once they were ready the instructors began giving them the finer details of the ceremony.

“First, you are not to put on your helmets until it is your turn. The gems connect your mind to the dragon’s as well as to anyone else wearing a green gem. We want to avoid any interruptions for the student currently trying to select their dragon.

“Second, as you have most likely already seen, the dragons are restrained for your safety, but don’t get too close until we instruct you to do so, or they may still hurt you badly.

“Third, both of your tests will be slightly different from everyone else’s. We will be administering an additional test to determine your ability to control them despite not being completely broken in.

“Finally. If you cannot make your dragon bow to you, we will bring out a selection of less resistant ones. At least, that will be the case for one of you,” He concluded ominously.

The second instructor stepped up and looked them over. His expression was professional and showed neither compassion nor dislike.

“Due to the experimental nature of this test, we will not be allowing any spectators. We will also require that you do not reveal the details of this event to anyone unless given express permission to do so by the academy commander or the head of the dragon trainers. Do you both understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“Good.”

He walked back to stand by the door and leaned out to check if everything was ready.

Not long after he called for Airel.

She smiled nervously. “Good luck.”

“Yeah… Good luck.”

He wanted to say something more to reassure her but couldn’t find the words. Then she was through the door and into the arena.

Jarid waited for what felt like an eternity, hoping for, and worrying about, Airel’s success. Then the instructor motioned for him to come forward. It was then that Jarid realised he’d been so worried about how Airel was doing he hadn’t even thought about his own trial.

He shrugged it off. No point in worrying about it now anyway. He had to focus on the trial ahead. He chuckled to himself. It seemed ridicules to be worried about asking a friend to do simple things like walk around the arena a few times.

He trusted Smolder. Even if Smolder hated humans. Jarid knew that deep down, underneath his anger and hurt, Smolder had the heart to help others. That’s what he was counting on.

Jarid smiled as he stepped into the arena.

Let’s do this Smolder. Time to prove to everyone that you are not the monster they think you are.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jarid stepped onto the arena floor with his helmet still tucked under one arm. Smolder stood on the opposite side of the nearly empty arena. He was bound in what seemed like twice the chains the other dragons had been encased with. There were also many instructors on standby in case anything occurred. Strangely, quite a few of them were wearing masks and odor suppressing charms.

Jarid walked across the arena until he was less than stone’s throw away from his friend.

“Are you ready for this?” He whispered in dragon.

“Not like I have much choice.” Smolder snorted.

Jarid smiled. Despite how nervous he was, he also felt just as excited as the day he arrived at the academy. He was so glad to have met this hot tempered dragon.

“Here we go.” Jarid said, putting on the helmet. Suddenly he could feel Smolder’s mind.

This must be like how Shadow feels someone’s mind. He thought as he reached out to connect to Smolder’s mind. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Smolder panicked.

No! Stop! Get out of my head!

He jerked back and struggled against his chains while at the same time a wall of panicked emotions came up like a wall around his mind. A mixture of pain and absolute terror filled his mind and threatened to take hold Jarid’s mind as well.

Then Jarid heard one of the instructors shouting to stop the ceremony. Fear of his own expulsion and the terrible fate awaiting Smolder turned the river of fear pouring from Smolder into an ocean of terror.

“No!” Jarid shouted, causing the instructors along the arena wall to pause. Jarid resisted the mounting fear and stood trembling before Smolder’s panicked thrashes. Cold sweat pouring down his face as he tried to control the mounting panic.

“I can do this!” He shouted, mostly to himself, but loud enough for the instructors to hear. Then he forced himself to calm down with great effort. He quickly backed away from Smolder’s mind to gain a brief respite.

Smolder had obviously learned to fear and guard against anyone trying to control his mind. As Jarid’s mind touched his it must have brought back the trauma of the trainers trying to break him.

As he was now, Smolder was too full of fear to think rationally and realise Jarid was there to help.

Then Jarid remembered how Shadow’s mother had shared her courage with him when he was scared that night.

Ok. Calm. Think calm.

Jarid took a slow, deep breath in and out. He thought of all the times he had wanted to help Smolder and let those emotions fill his whole body. Then he connected to Smolder’s mind again.

Immediately he was almost overwhelmed once more by the fear and pain emanating from him. He couldn’t share anything with Smolder while he was resisting the emotions pouring from the dragon’s mind.

Then Jarid came to a decision. He stopped resisting and let his friend’s fear and pain flow into him while letting his compassion and love for his friend flow out. He stopped caring about avoiding the pain his friend was feeling and instead focused on how much he wanted to help him. As Jarid felt more and more pain flowing through him his desire to help only grew.

I am here for you Smolder. It’s ok. It’s ok. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I’m here for you. Jarid repeated over and over as tears started pouring down his face.

Slowly it began to pierce Smolder’s panicked consciousness.

Jarid? Do you really want to help me? You won’t make me do something terrible? You won’t take anything from me? Smolder whimpered through the mire of fear and despair.

Yes. I will never take anything from you. I will never hurt you. I will never force you to do anything. I am your friend, remember?

Suddenly it was like a cloud lifted from Smolder’s mind. He stopped thrashing and collapsed in exhaustion. Then he took a deep shuddering breath.

“Thank you. My friend.” He whispered as he shakily got to his feet.

Of course. I promise that no matter what, I will not use this gem to control you.

Jarid breathed a sigh of relief. Now that Smolder had calmed down, the instructors backed off slightly.

Try talking to me using the connection in our minds. We should get used to talking like this while we are here at the academy.

Smolder nodded, still trembling slightly. Very well.

I’m sorry to ask you to do this so soon, but the fist thing the instructors asked me to make you do is bow to me, so they know I’m in control.

Smolder looked at him with a scrunched up face as his fear seemed to grow dull. Replaced by a feeling of incredulous sarcasm. Are you serious?

Jarid nodded awkwardly. He could feel Smolder’s internal sigh at the idea.

Ugh, fine. Whatever you say, dragon rider. Smolder thought sarcastically as a slight smirk crossed his face.

He bowed. The fear and panic from just a moment ago seemed to have vanished, though Jarid could still feel slight traces of nervousness under the sarcasm.

Jarid knew the sarcasm was just a way for Smolder to protect his soft heart, but he found himself longing for the vulnerable side of Smolder he had just glimpsed. Even so, he was glad to have his friend back, and grateful for his cooperation.

Thank you Smolder.

“Alright. I’ve got him under control!” He shouted to the instructors nearby. One of the non-masked instructors walked up with a clipboard in hand.

“Alright. I’m going to give you some instructions for your dragon. You will have your dragon follow the orders I give you to pass the test.”

“Yes sir.”

“Very well. First we will have him raise his right front talon…”

The instructor gave very simple instructions for Smolder to follow and Jarid relayed them to him.

Smolder did as Jarid asked although he had some sarcastic comments about what they were asking him to do. Mostly about how they were dumb, too easy, and how only a human would come up with something like that.

Then the instructor tucked his clip board under one arm.

“This will be your final test. This dragon has been aggressive to humans for the entirety of it’s time here. If you can keep him from attacking someone then it will be proof that he is safe for you to command.”

Jarid nodded. He was fairly certain that Smolder wouldn’t attack a random person unprovoked.

One of the masked instructors carefully removed the chains around Smolder’s mouth and neck. Then stood back as another one of the masked instructors walked up to stand directly in front of Smolder. Then he removed his mask.

It was Brom.

The one who had personally attempted to break Smolder for the last few years.

Smolder hadn’t recognised him standing outside his cell when he and the commander had found Jarid sleeping in there. But now Jarid felt an old and deep-seated hatred welling up inside Smolder. Like a volcano about to erupt.

This was the one who had put him through such torment, and now there were no chains preventing him from burning his torturer to ashes. Nothing to stop him from taking revenge for all the pain he had inflicted.

Jarid knew there was no way to convince him not to attack the one person he hated above all others. Even if it were possible to calm him down there wasn’t time now.

This wasn’t about being expelled anymore. Jarid couldn’t bear the thought of the fate awaiting Smolder if he took his revenge now. He couldn’t allow the one trainer at this academy who gave dragons a chance, to see Smolder as a monster.

With no other choice he calmly stepped between them just as Smolder was about to unleash his fire. Smolder’s view of the one he hated was blocked out by the serious face of his only human friend.

“Stop.” Jarid growled quietly but sternly. The command echoed like a wave through the mind gem connecting them.

Smolder coughed and sputtered as his fire breath caught in his throat. Then Jarid quickly, and firmly laid his hand on Smolder’s snout. His own eyes tearing up as he stared into Smolder’s.

I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to force you like that, but I couldn’t let you hurt him either.

I know that man has done terrible things to you but that is only one side of him. He was willing to give dragons a chance when nobody else would. Not only for his sake but yours as well, please don’t do this!

Smolder growled and hissed at Jarid even as Jarid held his snout to prevent him from breaking eye contact.

“Never! He is a cruel, evil human. He sees us as no more than animals! He beat me and all the other dragons without batting an eye,” he retorted as images of all the terrible things Brom had done flooded into Jarid’s mind.

He knows dragons better than that. Let me show you. Jarid replied.

He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead into Smolder’s. He brought up his own memories of finding Vapor in the torture chamber, how his friends had tried to help her for his sake, how Brom had been willing to give dragons a chance, and how he used his authority to end Vapor’s suffering.

As Jarid came back to the present he noticed that Smolder had stopped pushing against him and the raging inferno of Smolders anger had dimmed slightly, though not completely. His plea may have helped Smolder bring the raging blaze under control, but the slightest spark could easily set him off again.

Jarid leaned back, releasing Smolder’s snout, and was about to speak when Brom came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. Smolder hissed at him again but this time it was more protective than vengeful.

Ignoring Smolder, Brom looked down at Jarid with a wide smile.

“Congratulations! He may need a bit more time, but I can see that you will be capable of preventing him from harming anyone else. That is more than enough to convince me you have passed this test, and not only that. You have proven to me that it is possible to tame a dragon without force as well. Though, your friend was proof enough of that.”

Jarid spun around. “Airel passed?!”

Distracted by the thought of his friend overcoming her trial he missed the murderous gaze Smolder was fixing Brom with.

“With flying colors,” Brom said, smiling. “Oh, I still need you to keep our little deal and the results of the ceremony a secret though. The commander and I still need to convince a few others to get this approved. I’ll allow you to share the results with the rest of your squad but no one else. Understand?”

Jarid nodded excitedly.

“Good. Now why don’t you get your new dragon to his stables, hmmm?”

Jarid grinned and turned back to Smolder. We did it Smolder! We passed!

But Smolder couldn’t share Jarid’s joy at the achievement. His eyes never left Brom. His rage still simmering just beneath the surface.

Good for you, he growled in his mind with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Then Jarid realised that Smolder what Smolder was probably feeling and felt terrible for being so happy after what he had done.

I’m sorry. I was just… he sighed. Not knowing what else to say.

As he led Smolder to his pen in the dragon den Jarid tried to explain himself.

I want to help you and be there for you because I know what it’s like to feel alone. I don’t want you to have to feel that way. I’m sorry. There will be times that I’m going to make mistakes and you’ll have to forgive me, but I promise that I will always do my best to help you in any way I can.

Smolder wouldn’t even look at him.

Now that they were alone Jarid tried again using his words. “Listen, Smolder, I’m sorry, ok? I understand how painful it must be to see him.”

Smolder turned and glared at Jarid with barely controlled rage and pain still clear in his eyes.

“Don’t think you understand me, human. You may think dragons and your kind can work things out, but you don’t understand our pain. Don’t promise that you will always be there for me. Because you won’t,” Smolder hissed.

“When it comes down to it, you will always choose to side with humans like him! You always see the good in others. Even when it’s not there. How could you possibly understand how I feel?!” He roared.

Then Smolder lowered his head with a dejected sigh.

“Sorry. I know it is not your fault. I’ve just had a long, hard day and I need some time to rest and think. Alone.” Smolder crawled inside his cage and curled up on the straw covered floor.

Jarid wanted to say more but he couldn’t find the words. In the end he decided it was best to simply let him rest. With a sorrowful goodbye Jarid left the dragon den.

When Jarid got back to the dorms the other members were asleep, so he simply dragged himself up to his room.

As he flopped onto his bed he thought over everything that had happened. The more he thought about it the more self-hatred built up within him until he finally punched the bed in frustration.

I promised that I would never use that stupid gem to control him, and what happened? I forced him not to attack Brom just a few minutes later! I couldn’t even keep my promise for one day!

He wished he could punch himself for promising something like that. Sure, it was what he wished for, but now he had betrayed Smolder’s trust. And just when he was finally starting to open himself up too!

“Arrrgh!” Jarid vented his frustration into his pillow. As the short burst of frustrated energy drained away, all he was left with was a lingering sadness.

Jarid took out his scale necklace and rubbed it sadly. He really wished Shadow was here. Maybe then he wouldn’t have betrayed his friend.


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
4226 Reviews

Points: 290766
Reviews: 4226

Donate
Sat Jun 08, 2024 2:21 am
View Likes
KateHardy wrote a review...



Image

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm Kate and I'm here to leave a quick review!!


First Impression

Well that went actually way worse than I thought it was going to which is a great thing because you actually exceeded all the hype that was built up here. Very excited to see how this is going to play out.

Anyway let's get right to: Kate's Line by Line Reactions;

After a quiet supper, Jarid and Airel entered the waiting room of the dragon dome. A small hall just below ground level where they would prepare for their turn to select a dragon.

They were instructed to don their flight suits and tuck their helmets under one arm. There were two instructors watching over them. One showed them how to put on the armor while the other stepped in to help if either of them were having difficulties. Once they were ready the instructors began giving them the finer details of the ceremony.

“First, you are not to put on your helmets until it is your turn. The gems connect your mind to the dragon’s as well as to anyone else wearing a green gem. We want to avoid any interruptions for the student currently trying to select their dragon.


Well looks like that helmet has an interesting on off switch there but given they are gems it does make a lot of sense. Well let's see this finally get fully underway here.

“Second, as you have most likely already seen, the dragons are restrained for your safety, but don’t get too close until we instruct you to do so, or they may still hurt you badly.

“Third, both of your tests will be slightly different from everyone else’s. We will be administering an additional test to determine your ability to control them despite not being completely broken in.

“Finally. If you cannot make your dragon bow to you, we will bring out a selection of less resistant ones. At least, that will be the case for one of you,” He concluded ominously.


Well that was unnecessarily ominous again but I've gotten used to this academy being far too comfortable with literally threatening the students in it. I really still hope this place burn to the ground.

The second instructor stepped up and looked them over. His expression was professional and showed neither compassion nor dislike.

“Due to the experimental nature of this test, we will not be allowing any spectators. We will also require that you do not reveal the details of this event to anyone unless given express permission to do so by the academy commander or the head of the dragon trainers. Do you both understand?”

“Yes sir!”

“Good.”


Well Valdur the Moron and Brom the Dumb are doing their best to control a lot of variables here, looks like they have quite a lot riding on this whole thing, no pun intended.

He walked back to stand by the door and leaned out to check if everything was ready.

Not long after he called for Airel.

She smiled nervously. “Good luck.”

“Yeah… Good luck.”

He wanted to say something more to reassure her but couldn’t find the words. Then she was through the door and into the arena.

Jarid waited for what felt like an eternity, hoping for, and worrying about, Airel’s success. Then the instructor motioned for him to come forward. It was then that Jarid realised he’d been so worried about how Airel was doing he hadn’t even thought about his own trial.


Oh dear well it looks like we're not going to get to see Airel's trial play out which to be completely fair make sense because of how competitors work but I would really like to see how that went there with Vapor. It must have been quite the moment.

He shrugged it off. No point in worrying about it now anyway. He had to focus on the trial ahead. He chuckled to himself. It seemed ridicules to be worried about asking a friend to do simple things like walk around the arena a few times.

He trusted Smolder. Even if Smolder hated humans. Jarid knew that deep down, underneath his anger and hurt, Smolder had the heart to help others. That’s what he was counting on.

Jarid smiled as he stepped into the arena.

Let’s do this Smolder. Time to prove to everyone that you are not the monster they think you are.


Well it looks like the big moment is going to unfold now. I am so excited to see how this is going to play out. There's definitely more than a few things riding on t and even in the final moments here is getting just a little bit nervous, understandably so.

Jarid stepped onto the arena floor with his helmet still tucked under one arm. Smolder stood on the opposite side of the nearly empty arena. He was bound in what seemed like twice the chains the other dragons had been encased with. There were also many instructors on standby in case anything occurred. Strangely, quite a few of them were wearing masks and odor suppressing charms.

Jarid walked across the arena until he was less than stone’s throw away from his friend.

“Are you ready for this?” He whispered in dragon.

“Not like I have much choice.” Smolder snorted.


Well this is going to be something else entirely. Given how much suffering Smolder has gone through Jarid's really going to have bring on the A game of the quiet talking if he's going to pull this off.

Jarid smiled. Despite how nervous he was, he also felt just as excited as the day he arrived at the academy. He was so glad to have met this hot tempered dragon.

“Here we go.” Jarid said, putting on the helmet. Suddenly he could feel Smolder’s mind.

This must be like how Shadow feels someone’s mind. He thought as he reached out to connect to Smolder’s mind. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Smolder panicked.

No! Stop! Get out of my head!


Welp there we go, that was more immediate than even I suspected it would be there. Smolder really has been through a lot and with a bit of a capital L there the poor thing. The more we learn here the worse it looks for poor Smolder.

He jerked back and struggled against his chains while at the same time a wall of panicked emotions came up like a wall around his mind. A mixture of pain and absolute terror filled his mind and threatened to take hold Jarid’s mind as well.

Then Jarid heard one of the instructors shouting to stop the ceremony. Fear of his own expulsion and the terrible fate awaiting Smolder turned the river of fear pouring from Smolder into an ocean of terror.

“No!” Jarid shouted, causing the instructors along the arena wall to pause. Jarid resisted the mounting fear and stood trembling before Smolder’s panicked thrashes. Cold sweat pouring down his face as he tried to control the mounting panic.


Oh dear, looks like that classic PTSD attack coming in hot for this one and its going to be a tough one to deal with. Maybe this will be a bit harder than even I thought it was going to be.

“I can do this!” He shouted, mostly to himself, but loud enough for the instructors to hear. Then he forced himself to calm down with great effort. He quickly backed away from Smolder’s mind to gain a brief respite.

Smolder had obviously learned to fear and guard against anyone trying to control his mind. As Jarid’s mind touched his it must have brought back the trauma of the trainers trying to break him.

As he was now, Smolder was too full of fear to think rationally and realise Jarid was there to help.

Then Jarid remembered how Shadow’s mother had shared her courage with him when he was scared that night.


Well looks like this is going to be a tough fight. Its going to take a small miracle to actually get this to work, no wonder these dragons become untamable, the more they try to break them, the worse it gets in terms of actually being able to tame the dragon.

Ok. Calm. Think calm.

Jarid took a slow, deep breath in and out. He thought of all the times he had wanted to help Smolder and let those emotions fill his whole body. Then he connected to Smolder’s mind again.

Immediately he was almost overwhelmed once more by the fear and pain emanating from him. He couldn’t share anything with Smolder while he was resisting the emotions pouring from the dragon’s mind.

Then Jarid came to a decision. He stopped resisting and let his friend’s fear and pain flow into him while letting his compassion and love for his friend flow out. He stopped caring about avoiding the pain his friend was feeling and instead focused on how much he wanted to help him. As Jarid felt more and more pain flowing through him his desire to help only grew.


Well looks like this is going to be a tough one but a possible maybe if Jarid had some help from an older moment there, wasn't expecting that but Shadow or Shadow's mother definitely seems the type to be able to teach something like that.

I am here for you Smolder. It’s ok. It’s ok. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I’m here for you. Jarid repeated over and over as tears started pouring down his face.

Slowly it began to pierce Smolder’s panicked consciousness.

Jarid? Do you really want to help me? You won’t make me do something terrible? You won’t take anything from me? Smolder whimpered through the mire of fear and despair.

Yes. I will never take anything from you. I will never hurt you. I will never force you to do anything. I am your friend, remember?


Well looks like that finally got through, the power of love coming in once again there, if I do say so myself, its a little cheesy but devastatingly effective when it comes to moments like this. Well let's see how the rest of this will actually play out now.

Suddenly it was like a cloud lifted from Smolder’s mind. He stopped thrashing and collapsed in exhaustion. Then he took a deep shuddering breath.

“Thank you. My friend.” He whispered as he shakily got to his feet.

Of course. I promise that no matter what, I will not use this gem to control you.

Jarid breathed a sigh of relief. Now that Smolder had calmed down, the instructors backed off slightly.

Try talking to me using the connection in our minds. We should get used to talking like this while we are here at the academy.


Well this is good, Jarid immediately thinking about the fact they need to be careful how much the academy actually finds out. They are most definitely one hundred percent idiots and also very evil. Not a good combo.

Smolder nodded, still trembling slightly. Very well.

I’m sorry to ask you to do this so soon, but the fist thing the instructors asked me to make you do is bow to me, so they know I’m in control.

Smolder looked at him with a scrunched up face as his fear seemed to grow dull. Replaced by a feeling of incredulous sarcasm. Are you serious?

Jarid nodded awkwardly. He could feel Smolder’s internal sigh at the idea.


Looks like this is going to be something else trying to convince Smolder to go through a whole bunch of submissive moves and arghh the amount it grates us as readers to have to see Smolder go through with this but its all that can happen.

Ugh, fine. Whatever you say, dragon rider. Smolder thought sarcastically as a slight smirk crossed his face.

He bowed. The fear and panic from just a moment ago seemed to have vanished, though Jarid could still feel slight traces of nervousness under the sarcasm.

Jarid knew the sarcasm was just a way for Smolder to protect his soft heart, but he found himself longing for the vulnerable side of Smolder he had just glimpsed. Even so, he was glad to have his friend back, and grateful for his cooperation.

Thank you Smolder.


well that seems to be going okay for the moment. We'll hope that the rest of the commands that need to be given out aren't going to end up being as bad as that one. So far it looked mostly okay from what we witnessed earlier.

“Alright. I’ve got him under control!” He shouted to the instructors nearby. One of the non-masked instructors walked up with a clipboard in hand.

“Alright. I’m going to give you some instructions for your dragon. You will have your dragon follow the orders I give you to pass the test.”

“Yes sir.”

“Very well. First we will have him raise his right front talon…”

The instructor gave very simple instructions for Smolder to follow and Jarid relayed them to him.


Well looks like this is going to go fairly okay, most of these are hopefully just going to be jokes between the two more than anything massive that could lead to more panic.

Smolder did as Jarid asked although he had some sarcastic comments about what they were asking him to do. Mostly about how they were dumb, too easy, and how only a human would come up with something like that.

Then the instructor tucked his clip board under one arm.

“This will be your final test. This dragon has been aggressive to humans for the entirety of it’s time here. If you can keep him from attacking someone then it will be proof that he is safe for you to command.”

Jarid nodded. He was fairly certain that Smolder wouldn’t attack a random person unprovoked.


Well I am tempted to think this isn't going to work out well because you know they're going to not just present a random person. This has to be catch that we've been waiting for through this entire trial more so even than all that PTSD.

One of the masked instructors carefully removed the chains around Smolder’s mouth and neck. Then stood back as another one of the masked instructors walked up to stand directly in front of Smolder. Then he removed his mask.

It was Brom.

The one who had personally attempted to break Smolder for the last few years.

Smolder hadn’t recognised him standing outside his cell when he and the commander had found Jarid sleeping in there. But now Jarid felt an old and deep-seated hatred welling up inside Smolder. Like a volcano about to erupt.


Oh well there we go. I thought maybe it would be someone horrible or someone throwing some taunts but this is much worse than I predicted. Oh dear. There's no way Jarid's going to be able to actually convince this one surely. Its going to take a literal miracle to pull that off. No wonder the threats were so confident.

This was the one who had put him through such torment, and now there were no chains preventing him from burning his torturer to ashes. Nothing to stop him from taking revenge for all the pain he had inflicted.

Jarid knew there was no way to convince him not to attack the one person he hated above all others. Even if it were possible to calm him down there wasn’t time now.

This wasn’t about being expelled anymore. Jarid couldn’t bear the thought of the fate awaiting Smolder if he took his revenge now. He couldn’t allow the one trainer at this academy who gave dragons a chance, to see Smolder as a monster.


Well this is not going to go well, Jarid making touch decisions in his mind makes me think he's about to break his promise to Smolder a little bit here. I have a feeling it might affect their friendship if Jarid can't actually try and get across an explanation too.

With no other choice he calmly stepped between them just as Smolder was about to unleash his fire. Smolder’s view of the one he hated was blocked out by the serious face of his only human friend.

“Stop.” Jarid growled quietly but sternly. The command echoed like a wave through the mind gem connecting them.

Smolder coughed and sputtered as his fire breath caught in his throat. Then Jarid quickly, and firmly laid his hand on Smolder’s snout. His own eyes tearing up as he stared into Smolder’s.

I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to force you like that, but I couldn’t let you hurt him either.


Well looks like the explanation is in progress although this is going to be a tough debate to try and win, given Jarid is arguing on some very flimsy grounds where Smolder no doubt has so many horrible memories to be falling back on to prove his point.

I know that man has done terrible things to you but that is only one side of him. He was willing to give dragons a chance when nobody else would. Not only for his sake but yours as well, please don’t do this!

Smolder growled and hissed at Jarid even as Jarid held his snout to prevent him from breaking eye contact.

“Never! He is a cruel, evil human. He sees us as no more than animals! He beat me and all the other dragons without batting an eye,” he retorted as images of all the terrible things Brom had done flooded into Jarid’s mind.

He knows dragons better than that. Let me show you. Jarid replied.


Well this is not boding terribly well at the moment, the argument is starting to be lost. Hopefully Jarid can come up with something here or this really is not about to end well at all.

He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead into Smolder’s. He brought up his own memories of finding Vapor in the torture chamber, how his friends had tried to help her for his sake, how Brom had been willing to give dragons a chance, and how he used his authority to end Vapor’s suffering.

As Jarid came back to the present he noticed that Smolder had stopped pushing against him and the raging inferno of Smolders anger had dimmed slightly, though not completely. His plea may have helped Smolder bring the raging blaze under control, but the slightest spark could easily set him off again.

Jarid leaned back, releasing Smolder’s snout, and was about to speak when Brom came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. Smolder hissed at him again but this time it was more protective than vengeful.


Well that worked out okay there. A bit of a miracle genuinely having the extra spicy magic sauce to be able to stop Smolder's anger doing its thing but I think the negotiation really worked out better than expected.

Ignoring Smolder, Brom looked down at Jarid with a wide smile.

“Congratulations! He may need a bit more time, but I can see that you will be capable of preventing him from harming anyone else. That is more than enough to convince me you have passed this test, and not only that. You have proven to me that it is possible to tame a dragon without force as well. Though, your friend was proof enough of that.”

Jarid spun around. “Airel passed?!”

Distracted by the thought of his friend overcoming her trial he missed the murderous gaze Smolder was fixing Brom with.


Well this is not going to go down too well I'm imagining still because Brom the Dumb can't be just super happy about the lack of force but then you just never know. We'll see what comes of this.

“With flying colors,” Brom said, smiling. “Oh, I still need you to keep our little deal and the results of the ceremony a secret though. The commander and I still need to convince a few others to get this approved. I’ll allow you to share the results with the rest of your squad but no one else. Understand?”

Jarid nodded excitedly.

“Good. Now why don’t you get your new dragon to his stables, hmmm?”

Jarid grinned and turned back to Smolder. We did it Smolder! We passed!


Well it looks like a brief moment of celebration for now because once again we're still not entire sure if the goon duo have anything terrible planned. On the surface it looks like its all going smoothly and Jarid's dreams are actually going to get somewhere.

But Smolder couldn’t share Jarid’s joy at the achievement. His eyes never left Brom. His rage still simmering just beneath the surface.

Good for you, he growled in his mind with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Then Jarid realised that Smolder what Smolder was probably feeling and felt terrible for being so happy after what he had done.

I’m sorry. I was just… he sighed. Not knowing what else to say.

As he led Smolder to his pen in the dragon den Jarid tried to explain himself.


Oh dear that's also going to cause of a bit of a hitch in that relationship there because I mean naturally Jarid has to pretend to be all happy for Brom there too but Smolder after going through all of that is never going to want Brom to be anything but a delicious snack.

I want to help you and be there for you because I know what it’s like to feel alone. I don’t want you to have to feel that way. I’m sorry. There will be times that I’m going to make mistakes and you’ll have to forgive me, but I promise that I will always do my best to help you in any way I can.

Smolder wouldn’t even look at him.

Now that they were alone Jarid tried again using his words. “Listen, Smolder, I’m sorry, ok? I understand how painful it must be to see him.”

Smolder turned and glared at Jarid with barely controlled rage and pain still clear in his eyes.


Oooh love this again. In the moment Smolder consented just to make sure that Jarid wasn't going to be expelled but that very much is still a betrayal in the promise that Jarid made at the start and now Smolder is probably feeling even worse for trusting Jarid.

“Don’t think you understand me, human. You may think dragons and your kind can work things out, but you don’t understand our pain. Don’t promise that you will always be there for me. Because you won’t,” Smolder hissed.

“When it comes down to it, you will always choose to side with humans like him! You always see the good in others. Even when it’s not there. How could you possibly understand how I feel?!” He roared.

Then Smolder lowered his head with a dejected sigh.

“Sorry. I know it is not your fault. I’ve just had a long, hard day and I need some time to rest and think. Alone.” Smolder crawled inside his cage and curled up on the straw covered floor.


Well that's about as well as you could expect Smolder to take it. I appreciate Smolder having the nuance to not fully blame Jarid for it, once again I have so too many instances of forced conflict through something like that and I appreciate that its just going to be some time that needs to pass.

Jarid wanted to say more but he couldn’t find the words. In the end he decided it was best to simply let him rest. With a sorrowful goodbye Jarid left the dragon den.

When Jarid got back to the dorms the other members were asleep, so he simply dragged himself up to his room.

As he flopped onto his bed he thought over everything that had happened. The more he thought about it the more self-hatred built up within him until he finally punched the bed in frustration.


Well Jarid getting that guilt is also very natural there after that moment, he really did end up doing a big ol' bit of betrayal there, no doubts about that and I'm glad he's feeling the consequences for what he had to do even if it was justified.

I promised that I would never use that stupid gem to control him, and what happened? I forced him not to attack Brom just a few minutes later! I couldn’t even keep my promise for one day!

He wished he could punch himself for promising something like that. Sure, it was what he wished for, but now he had betrayed Smolder’s trust. And just when he was finally starting to open himself up too!

“Arrrgh!” Jarid vented his frustration into his pillow. As the short burst of frustrated energy drained away, all he was left with was a lingering sadness.

Jarid took out his scale necklace and rubbed it sadly. He really wished Shadow was here. Maybe then he wouldn’t have betrayed his friend.


Well Shadow being there would definitely have improved matters, people able to communicate from both sides as proper ambassadors is definitely the only way this problem at large can ever be resolved from its root.

Aaand that's it for this oneee!!!

Overall

Overall I think a wonderful addition here as we storm past the halfway mark and properly towards the actual endgame. Looking forward to seeing how that's going to go down here.

As always remember to: Take what you think was helpful and forget the rest!

Stay Safe and Have a Nice Day!
Kate


Image




User avatar
310 Reviews

Points: 60594
Reviews: 310

Donate
Thu Apr 25, 2024 4:46 pm
View Likes
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

This chapter was incredible! There was so much tension, so much anxiety, so much emotion -and it was all written so well! The struggle that both Jarid and Smolder showed was incredible, and the result for either of them was sad but understandable. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

As is usual for this series, I have nothing to complain about for content! And impressively, in that lengthy chapter, I only spotted one potential error:

Then Jarid realized that Smolder what Smolder was probably feeling and felt terrible for being so happy after what he had done.


I think "that Smolder" was unneeded here. Relatable, though, I get botched sentences like this all the time from editing lol. That's all, great writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Okay, this section will be lengthy, even after I tried to cut back, haha. Firstly, more information on the gems:

“The gems connect your mind to the dragon’s as well as to anyone else wearing a green gem. We want to avoid any interruptions for the student currently trying to select their dragon.


Interesting! I see why that could be useful in some specific cases, but also why that could become a serious risk, considering how *some* beings like to use these stones...I also thought it was also strange that they were asked not to talk about the details to others. I don't know exactly why, but it had me wondering.

Anyway, getting to the test itself...

It seemed [ridiculous] to be worried about asking a friend to do simple things like walk around the arena a few times.


[Minor thing I didn't notice at first, ridiculous was mispelled], this really was deceptive staging. It sounds so simple on the surface, indeed, so when things started to go haywire, it really made it that much more shocking. I enjoyed that. And a first, I liked this bit as it shows Jarid's familiarity with telepathic forces, but then...

This must be like how Shadow feels someone’s mind. He thought as he reached out to connect to Smolder’s mind. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Smolder panicked.

No! Stop! Get out of my head!


Smolder had obviously learned to fear and guard against anyone trying to control his mind. As Jarid’s mind touched his it must have brought back the trauma of the trainers trying to break him.


That was heartbreaking to read!! The trauma that Smolder showed, and as soon as he felt the gem, made it more than obvious how familiar he was with it, and Brom's methods of getting him to "submit" to it. That revealed what could be an unexpected obstacle in Smolder's and Jarid's progression, and I really hope Jarid can help him through it. He seems to be on the right path, with this bit:

He stopped resisting and let his friend’s fear and pain flow into him while letting his compassion and love for his friend flow out. He stopped caring about avoiding the pain his friend was feeling and instead focused on how much he wanted to help him.


Especially when you brought up the parallel to Shadow's mother doing this, I thought that was a really sweet moment and it turned the grim situation into a slightly better one that gave us a lot of hope...And further supports my theory that these gems aren't evil in and of themselves (had to say it lol).

Jarid nodded awkwardly. He could feel Smolder’s internal sigh at the idea.

Ugh, fine. Whatever you say, dragon rider. Smolder thought sarcastically as a slight smirk crossed his face.


I love the growing dynamic between them. Jarid, somewhat awkward but very caring and trying his best, and Smolder giving him a bit of a hard time by putting up a bitter and sarcastic front.

When Brom unchained Smolder, I was almost literally cringing; I thought that might genuinely be the point where everything went wrong. And the method by which he pulled through creates a genuine conflict. On one hand, Jarid is technically protecting everybody -including Smolder- by forcing him to stop, but also broke that promise knowing how Smolder feels about these gems. So that is a really hard situation to judge, and the aftermath of the test was enough proof of that conflict in goals/perspectives. At least Smolder was able to vent, then apologized and calmed down, and Jarid understands how what he did was hurtful despite the justifications he gave, so they're on the right path? Maybe...I hope...

Ah, and finally...

That is more than enough to convince me you have passed this test, and not only that. You have proven to me that it is possible to tame a dragon without force as well. Though, your friend was proof enough of that.”


Yes!! Forward progress! Though he caused a lot of damage, this and giving Jarid's method a chance boosted him in redemption points.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, another awesome chapter! I'm honestly shocked at how fast these chapters are coming out, and how good they all are! Good on you, and nicely done! :D

Image




dragonight9 says...


This is one of the chapters I'm most proud of.

I want my story to be realistic as much as possible and it actually gave me more opportunities to provide character development between Smolder and Jarid. Rather than "oh they passed the test and now they're best friends" I know that real relationships don't work that way.

Honestly I don't like it when characters just 'get over' their past trauma or are treated as such.

Sorry for the rant, I'm again so grateful for all your comments. They always give me new ideas and an idea of what is working in my writing so far.



RavenAkuma says...


No problem! I also get what you mean, and I agree!




It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
— Albus Dumbledore