It was the beating of humongous metal gongs that announced throughout the walled city of Wellshonn that the sacred ceremony was about to begin. While the desert sun slowly dipped behind the far distant peaks to the west, it cast long shadows over the lush oasis in the center of the Great Desert located in the heart of the continent known as Elzarax. In the east, twin full moons known as the ‘Sisters’ rose skyward to take their places in a sky splashed with streaks of purple, orange, and pink.
Behind the towering stone walls, the sprawling metropolis came alive with sights and smells as its citizens made their way into the huge stone amphitheater to fill its thousands of seats as dozens of attendants quickly scurried up pillars that surrounded the huge stadium to light the torches at the top which would keep back the darkness of the settling night. The regal ceremony began as a group of trumpeters blew their golden horns to herald its start. When they finished, a hush seemed to come over the large crowd as a group of holy men in yellow robes filed in through a huge wooden gate. These were the chosen ones known as the Acolytes of Broyl.
Broyl was the name of the Sunchild who all things had come. From His eternal slumber, all creation had manifested from His deepest dreams. For the Sunchild was the center of the universe. From His dreams and nightmares came the Gods of Light and Dark and everything that existed on the planet Onia. Just the presence of these devout men marked this magnificent occasion with His blessing. For only with His Blessing would the Gods of the Light continue to show favor over the people of Wellshonn.
Behind them came another impressive sight as several rows of men and women who wore suits of reflective red and silver metal armor entered followed by imposing beasts of the same colors. Slightly larger than the armored humans, they walked side by side to split away and line the wall surrounding the large coliseum. These magnificent dragons walked proudly with their heads high as their faces conveyed much intelligence.
For many generations, these Dragon Knights were looked upon as the protectors of those who served the Light in the eastern regions of Elzarax. These were humans who had magically bonded with the dragonkind to fight the forces of Dark away from the lands of Light. At the sight of these honored champions, the crowd filled the air with shouts of joy and admiration which these knights could only humbly accept.
Leading this impressive entourage of humans were a man and woman who wore cloaks of their assigned colors with the insignia of the Carnelian, for red, and the Argent for silver over their armor. As the Elite of the Dragon Knights, each held their own command beneath only the king himself. They led their ranks to a special section in the audience reserved just for them which looked down into the center of the arena.
Once she was seated, the Carnelian Commander removed her crimson helmet to let raven locks fall below armored shoulders which revealed her graceful beauty. Beside her, the older man who was the Argent Commander took off his own chrome head covering and turned to face the surrounding people behind them. Cheers grew like thunder as he gave them a wave of acknowledgement and a wide smile from beneath his grey streaked beard.
Movement from the surrounding crowd got the woman’s attention when a golden haired youth with innocent blue eyes, no older than twelve years old, appeared at the metal railing above her. A warm smile came over her face at the sight of the handsome boy, who was actually her only son. “Mal, what are you doing? You should be seated with the other squires.”
“I’m just so excited for Shalatun, mother,” the wide eyed boy shared with her.
She looked into his deep blue eyes, which were his father’s, and replied. “The holy acolytes are ready to begin their prayers.”
He had always obeyed his mother. Anything less would be disrespectful to the most powerful woman in the city. She alone had taken control of the Carnelian knights when his father, the great Galith A’gnor had fallen in battle when the child was but a babe. The A’gnor family received much esteem not only from the citizens of Wellshonn, but from all those who served the Light. So the flaxen haired boy did as she requested and went back to his seat where his large red companion waited.
There, the smiling red dragon spoke to him in Dragonspeak, the ancient tongue of his kind, “Always so anxious young Mal is.”
The red dragon’s words made the restless boy smile and make himself at ease. The beast was not only one of his teachers, but a true friend. One of the first lessons young Mal had been taught was their language and how to communicate not only with words but with his body and hand signals as well. Having learned the lesson well, Mal replied in the dragon’s tongue fluently. “I cannot help it! I am just so happy for her.”
“Shalatun will be here soon enough,” the dragon noted. “There is nothing wrong with being anxious but you must also learn patience.”
The holy acolytes began to chant over and over an ancient prayer. It was the same one the young boy recalled last year when his own Joining had taken place. A Joining was when a dragon had to choose a human to bond with. This connection was necessary for the dragonkind. It prevented the powerful beasts from going wild and terrorizing the land. For it was with only with this Balance could these ancient beasts even exist in the Inner Realm. Dragons had learned long ago, since they were not of this realm, how to keep their sanity along with their intelligence; they needed to magically bond their kind with mankind in order to survive.
It was during this Joining, that a dragon revealed its true name to the young boy or girl they would choose for the young human’s life. Since dragons had such long life spans, they went through several of these bonding ceremonies. Mal was his seventh human partner, and the red dragon knew there was something special about him from the start. The beast had never met one like Mal A’gnor in his entire life. This is why the old dragon was looking forward for him to be a knight one day.
“Look, here she comes,” the boy excitedly called out!
A young girl about his age entered through the same wooden gate the holy ones had entered seated on a silver pallet being carried by several attendants in matching gowns. With mocha colored skin, she wore a shimmering silver gown that seemed to reflect the torch light around her. Shalatun’s long black hair was pulled into an intricate braid adorned with strips of silver that hung below her waist. She had a serene look upon her face as the men who carried her lowered the silver chair to the ground in the center of the filled auditorium.
Shalatun held a brave front, despite the fact she was very nervous at this moment. She had good reason to be. The cries of the silver dragon that was chained below could be heard as it struggled with the iron restraints which held it in place. Madness had begun to set over the enraged beast and the glorious creature would have had to been put down by its own kind if it did not choose the young girl tonight. It was the way of the dragonkind. Without a bonded human, the dragon would become a serious danger to all very quickly.
More attendants rushed over to open the steel grate that kept the snorting beast in its pen below while more began to crank the winches that would bring the silver beast up into the open night air. When it rose into view, Mal could see from the stands that it was a beautiful female. His dragon companion, much like the other dragons, looked on with concern. This Joining was important for the female dragon to survive; if not her kind would have to act quickly.
“She has been unstable for too long,” the red dragon noted. “And she has only had two Joinings, if this does not happen, my kin will have no choice.”
“Shalatun is the one, I feel it,” the boy stated. “This is her time.”
“I agree, young master. However, I am worried about the silver sister.”
Straining at the heavy iron chains that held her down, the silver female looked about with a wild look in her eyes. A strong magical muzzle kept her from releasing the deadly cold dragonflame she possessed that would kill those near her quickly. When the she dragon’s blue eyes looked upon the young girl seated not far from her, she paused. That’s when Shalatun rose slowly from the silver chair and began to approach the beast with both arms spread wide open to calm the silver female.
When the silver dragon’s deep blue eyes locked with her green ones, indeed a gentle calm began to come over them both. Unafraid, Shalatun came closer to reach out to touch the female’s chained foreleg gently. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply the silver beast’s presence. Legend tells how all dragonkind came to be into existence from the dreams of the Sunchild as wild creatures until they discovered that mankind had an inner Balance the dragon’s could share.
It was through this bond that made the greatest champions to ever exist in the lands of Elzarax. Without it, dragons would have destroyed this world a long time ago. A silver glow began to emanate from the dragon’s hard scaled skin. The warm energy began to expand to envelope Shalatun as she felt herself being drawn even closer to the calmed creature. It was at that moment she began to hear something within her head. At first it was very faint and then became louder for her to hear. What she heard was the most beautiful word she would ever hear in her entire mortal life.
The female silver dragon shared with young Shalatun her true name. The name all dragonkind kept to themselves because with it came power over these marvelous creatures. She revealed her name as D’rall. It was at that moment that their Joining was complete. The madness inside the silver dragon had been swept away and she stood with a renewed kindness in her blue eyes. That’s when Shalatun suddenly fell to the ground.
Attendants rushed in with a flurry of movement. Few began to release the silver dragon while others attended the young girl as she struggled to her feet. Up in the stands, young Mal began to cheer with joy as all those in the seats around him did so as well. Another squire had come to be and the Wellshonnians were elated. Shalatun quickly recovered and climbed onto the silver dragon’s back. Now free, the beautiful beast spread her silver wings wide and began to take flight into the night sky.
With a loud approval from the huge gathering of Wellshonnians, the pair flew upward towards the twin full moons. Mal hooted and whistled while they flew several laps over the open amphitheater. He looked at his own beast and with a friendly nod from the red; the anxious boy climbed onto his bareback and took to the sky as well. Catching up to Shalatun, the two young friends flew over cheering citizens before they headed out over the vast desert beneath the light of the full moons.
They bolted away from the oasis metropolis and flew faster over the rolling sand dunes below. Shalatun was a natural rider and he almost lost sight of her when she raced ahead leaving him behind. The dragons soared above the desert for awhile before the silver dragon finally descended onto a rocky plateau and touched down lightly flapping her great wings. With an amazing forward flip, her young rider dismounted barefoot to land on the warm sand. Mal finally reached her and as soon as his red dragon landed, he jumped off his back to run to join his lifelong friend.
She ran into his arms with the biggest smile on her face. “Oh, Mal this has been the most wonderful night of nights!”
“I’m glad we were able to share this night together, Shala.”
Her laugh was like music to him, while she exclaimed, “I never want this night to end!”
The golden haired boy looked up innocently at the star filled night and thought to himself that he didn’t want it to come to an end either. Mal watched while she spun around in circles and her gown reflected the Sisters’ moonlight. He closed his eyes and wished upon the twin moons that no matter what, they would never forget this special night.