10.Stories of Before.10
It wasn't long until the guards gave up, seeing as I had a dragon and went to the forest where Darkbloods could hide and ambush Lightbloods. The dragon was also a marker of wealth, which probably meant that they were going to lay off assuming I was either rich or allied to someone rich. Kai and I joked about how useful he was, despite having one wing, as he wandered into the sea of green.
"Hey Kai," I began aloud, using my voice since there was no one around to eavesdrop, "how old are you?"
There was a warm chuckle in my head before the answer came. Older than Queen Amara by hundreds of years, was the answer that gave me a shock. I gasped, craning my neck to stare up at his purple eyes. "Really?"
The dragon laughed again, maneuvering through a tighter section of trees. Yes, Storm-Cloud.
I sighed, leaning into his neck and looking up at the canopy of leaves. "Why do you never call me Cloud?"
Kai paused for a moment before answering, shaking out his wing. I knew a dragon named Storm-Cloud once. You remind me of her.
Smiling, I leaned my head into his smooth scales. They reflected the sunlight, causing him to glitter like a dark sapphire. "What was she like?"
An amazing fighter. Clever too, but had many brain farts when it came to the simplest things. She was almost never awkward around other dragons, and she craved a mystery.
"You sound very fond of her," I pointed out, nudging him with my shoulder. He scoffed, rolling his purple eyes.
Storm-Cloud was my older sister, Kai chuckled, shaking his head as he approached a stream, minnows swimming through the tiny bit of water. We watched them for a minute while I processed what he said.
"Is she... does she work for another kingdom?"
Kai shook his head. Storm-Cloud was headstrong. She was never tamed, and remained a full Darkblood.
"I'm sorry," I said, hugging his neck. "You probably miss her."
The dragon let out a sigh before continuing on, stepping over the stream. A hundred years ago, the war between bloods wasn't as bad. I still got to see her. Now, it is different.
Frowning, I spoke through my pout that had been on my face ever since I brought up the subject. "I thought the war was ageless."
It is, sort of. Before, it was only battles between tribes of the different bloods until Lightbloods claimed the upper hand. They should've won decades ago until their offspring began to recieve supportive power instead of offensive power. That's what made the war ageless. Lightbloods won't give up, even if Darkbloods are killing them and effectively gaining on them.
"So you and Storm-Cloud are on different sides of the war," I concluded, scratching absentmindedly at his scales, feeling their tough texture. He purred, and I noticed that he loved to nip at blades of long grass whenever he passed by them.
Yes. But I don't miss her anymore. Dragons live long lives, I may see her again or I may not. While the past was peaceful, this present is what my life has come to. I don't regret allowing the Prince to tame me, Kai admitted, craning his neck to look at me in his peripherals. Lightblood lives may seem pointless, but it is an easier life than that of a Darkblood.
Easier, I thought, keeping it to myself, but not better.
I nodded, and he continued to wander through the trees. We fell silent, my imagination taking flight as I imagined the tribes of before, where small battles were preferred to a full out war filled with assassinations.
When I was your age, Kai suddenly began, my sister decided to teach me about Darkbloods. She took me to a village of them, filled with what you call vampires, werewolves, warlocks and witches. Women bent fire to their will, men and women became large wolves, people drained Lightbloods of blood, and other men were able to control the earth as they saw fit.
The memory painted itself in my mind, projected by Kai. I smiled as I saw it through his eyes, people way smaller than him dancing around together as magic flashed and moved, never hurting anyone. They seemed absolutely, genuinely happy.
"Darkbloods always seemed so unkind," I confessed, staring at the ground passing underneath us. Kai moved with the grace of a slithering snake, his tail and wing never catching on anything as he slipped in between trees.
They are. But their magic brings them together. Like Lightbloods, they cherish magic. That memory is from a Festival of Blood, a Darkblood tradition when they come together to celebrate their gifts.
One day, you may be able to attend one. Even Lightblood tamed dragons and other creatures are welcomed back for the Festival. Anyone with their blood is.
"Even a halfing human like myself?" I prodded, a dry laugh following it. The dragon sighed in my head, smoke coming from his nostrils as he huffed.
The Darkbloods would worship you, Storm-Cloud. Believe me, Kai responded flatly, causing me to fall silent. Perhaps the subject of Darkbloods should be kept on the past and not the present.
"How long has Kyra lived for?" I wondered, flipping to the subject of the red dragon who'd done her best trying to kill me. Kai picked up on my thoughts, and a wave of anger toward the other dragon passed through the telepathic bond.
A half century longer than I, Kai responded gruffly, snapping at a thin three. His sharp teeth dug into the bark, and he chewed on the trunk for a moment. She's a real stuck up bitch sometimes.
At that, I began laughing. His laughter joined mine in my head, and we dissolved into giggly messes as his chew toy broke in half and sparks flew from his mouth as he snickered. We continued to chat, me speaking aloud, him in my mind, the smile never leaving my face. As the day grew warmer, and my stomach rumbled, Kai began to mock me.
Let's just get home, Storm-Cloud. I have my own path up the mountain.
I nodded, settling down further and wrapping my arms around Kai's neck. The dragon shot off, sliding in between trees and clearing bushes and logs as he switched directions, heading for the Valley and Mythic Mountain. My grip tightened, but I was more excited than nervous, and I cheered as he increased in speed. Problems and thoughts melted away, until all that remained was the telepathic communication and the speed, the wind and the joy of riding a dragon, whether it be on the ground or in the air.
This felt perfect.