It was still dark out when I was awoken by a gentle tap on the window. A smile spread across my face before my eyes could even open, I knew it was Alorah trying to wake me up. I climbed out of my bed with a stretch and yawn. I grabbed my coat and game bag while trying to get dressed and out of the cottage as silently as possible. My father would not approve of my pet disturbing his sleep. I still could not believe that he allowed me to keep my black tip dragon I found years before in the woods. I guess he really wasn’t as callused as he appeared. My father was the elder of the former dragon tamer clan and since the fires that drove almost all those winged beasts from the Anadoie Woods we called home or clan numbers were dwindling. Without the income from breeding, taming, training and selling of our dragons, the men have had to learn to take care of their families in other ways.
The night air is chilly but calm. Alorah strides over to me, she has grown to the size of a Clydesdale since I found her as a hatchling in the woods but has not yet lost her adolescent pinkish glow in her scales. She stretched out her gorgeous wings and nudged for me to climb onto her back. Within moments I am whisked into the air with the wind breezing over my face. Happy chirps emanated from her throat as we glided making our way to our favorite water fall.
Our early morning outings usually started off this way for Alorah to catch fish for her and my family’s breakfast. We were swishing through the air making our way to the babbling stream where I first found this beautiful creature. Now that Alorah was in my life, I couldn’t imagine how humans live without dragons; they are wonderful protectors, hunters, gatherers, and friends. Sighing to myself with gratitude for my companion, I hug her neck a little tighter.
I land on a cool, flat rock and go our separate ways. I go to the blackberry bushes to pass the time while Alorah dives into the water to grab our game. The sun is just starting to peek over the tree line when I hear the happy chirping of a successful hunt from the water’s edge. I pluck a few more berries and make my way back down into the sunlight making sparkle on the water. I breathe in this gorgeous day and begin to put the fish into my pack.
Before I know it, home is in sight. The cute little cottage we called home was simple, made from morder, stone, and dawned a thatched roof. Inside it was always warm and inviting. My mother took much pride in always having lovely flowers in all of the windows and delisious tea boiling in a pot. Except for the late night, smoke was striding continuously from our chimney.
I climbed down from Alorah’s broad back and send her into her corral, filling her trough with planting of fish. Before I can even get my hand out of the way, she dives in to start munching on carp and trout. After cleaning and fileting the rest of the catch, I made my way in to say good morning to my mother and sister. Ridgey was playing with her rag doll next to the fire as I strode in through the door. I could smell the mint tea that was in a pot, just about to boil. My mother’s warm smile lit up the room as she started to walk towards me. She explained that I had just missed my father and brother but they would be back soon. I help my mom season the fish and put it in the pot to go over the fire.
Ridgey always begged to ride Alorah and mom finally agreed; I was shocked at how wonderful of a mood she was in this morning. While the fish boiled, I took my baby sister’s hand and led her to the corral. Alorah chirped with excitement for the attention and was very gentle while walking in circles with Ridgey on her back. I knew my mom would kill me if I let Ridgey fly this young and I did not want to push our luck.
I could hear deep voices coming from the distance and hurried to get my sister down from my beast’s back, my father was not as soft hearted as my mother when it came to his children’s safety. We both stayed hand in hand petting Alorah until the men got into view. Ridgey broke from my grasp to run into our father’s arms. A huge smile spread across his face as he lifted his youngest into the air and twirled around a few times. Rorne was happily carrying a handsome turkey over one shoulder, waving over to me. Even though we were twins, Rorne was taller than me with soft eyes and sandy blonde hair. I was lanky, a little short for my age, with mousy brown hair and jet black eyes. The contrast in our features made for everyone to this I was not truly part of the family.
Clapping my on the back, my father asked how fishing went with a suspect grin spread slowly. I blushed and gave all of the credit to my pet and reminded him of my clumsy, load nature that made hunting for me nearly impossible.
My mother called from the kitchen window that breakfast was served and hastily we all crowded around the table. There was nothing better than fresh cod and black berries in the morning hours surrounded by my family. My brother entertained us with the story of finding the gobbler this morning in the trap he had devised for the first time on his own. My father beamed with pride listening to his son boast at his newly learned skill, drinking his tea and holding my mother’s hand tightly.
After the story was over and my brother finally took a breath, my father started telling me one of the most horrible things I had ever heard. With a glowing smile my father informed me that he had good news for me, while my heart started to break. He had put words out about Alorah to the trainers in the north, she would fetch a high price at market up there and that they would be coming for her in a week’s time. Ridgey and I broke down right at the table, my heart was sinking and I begged for words to come from my heaving chest with no avail.
I burst through the door and out to my companion. Without even realizing what was happening, I could feel cool wind whisking through my hair. Alorah chirped deeply, carrying me to our familiar spot while hot tears stung my eyes, trying to figure out how to make the inevitable terror of losing my best friend go away.