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Kiernan and The Beast
“What are Dragon Speakers? That question has haunted us since they first appeared in these lands. With luck from the gods I was able to speak to them and learn their ways, a great privilege in itself. Dragon Speakers, by definition are a race of Elves, blessed in the arts of both ancient and present magic. They also have the ability to speak with the Dragons in the Draconic language. They live in clans, with the dragons, in the caverns that are in the Darastrix Mountains. Their purpose in short, is to protect dragons from us and protect us from dragons with evil intent.” –Exert from “The lives of Dragon Speakers” by J. Ashton; apprentice to the heir of Merlin.
“A child born of the golden eye,
a girl of power, the council she will try.
Both parent and child posses powers strong,
though she will live in darkness and live long.
Favored by the gods the girl will be named,
and by replacing the council will she be famed.
An enemy encountered time and again,
death will she bring to the councilmen.”
-Prophesy by Keturnan, the Gold Dragon in the 999th year of Light.
Darkness, it was her world; she was its queen. She hadn’t always lived in darkness; in fact there was a time when she remembered light and wonderful things, such as her family’s cavern and her parents smiling faces. But her world was plunged into darkness the day she saw The Beast.
“Run Kiernan! Don’t’ look back just run.” Yelled her mother as the ground beneath them trembled like a frightened child. “Keep running even after you’ve reached the edge of the plains.”
She did as she was told and ran, the hem of her robe up over her knees in the most unladylike fashion. She didn’t look back, didn’t see her mother fall, and didn’t see her father go back to help her, not until it was too late. She had stopped at the edge of the plains and turned to see how far back her parents were. What happened next would be a memory that would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Just as she turned around to see where her parents were, a beast, The Beast rose from the sand dunes of the plains, like a mummy from its sarcophagus. It was taller than the dragons that she interacted with daily and much more dangerous.
No one knew exactly what The Beast was; just that it was the ruler of the Kigonea plains and that it would kill anyone who dared intrude on its domain. It was the reason no one lived with in three leagues of the plains and it was why the wars among the tribes had ended so abruptly.
The Beast, with feline grace, ran at her parents and in one fluid motion picked them up in its pincher like claws, piercing their skin at the neck and injecting them with its poison. Their cries were horrific, but hardly compared to the cry of The Beast as it made ready to shred its victims, making them easier for it to devour. In a shower of blood and spittle her parents were no more. Kiernan let out a shriek as The Beast turned its multi-eyed gaze towards her. It emitted a low throaty gurgle, like it was hacking up a hairball made from the hair of its victims. It managed to bring up its poisonous spit and hurled it as Kiernan. She didn’t see it coming until it hit her face. She fell to the ground, pain engulfing her face. In seconds she lost consciousness and would soon be another victim of The Beast.
It was only by the grace of the gods that she was saved. A man from the village of Lii, passed by just as she fell into unconsciousness. He was passing by the plains on his way back from the city where he had been trading his wares. He managed to get her into his cart and get far enough away, before The Beast could make a move to attack. He took her back to his village and placed her in the care of the village’s healing woman.
After a week of caring for Kiernan and getting her back on her feet, the healer sent her back to her clan’s cavern. She was not fully healed, she never would be. The toxic spit from The Beast had left her blind; darkness was now her world.
She had been eight when she had first met The Beast, now ten years later she was a beautiful young woman. She had silver hair that fell past her knees and was controlled by being kept in a braid. Her sightless eyes were the color of golden grain and as clear as the breeze. The powers that resided within her, unlike the other Dragon Speakers, were great and feared by many, especially the High Dragon Council. She wasn’t only feared but also envied. Her beauty was incomparable and her outlook on life, on death and on everything was surprisingly positive if one put into consideration her past. But her beauty and outlook were cast into the shadows of jealousy when it came to a certain man. He was as handsome as she was beautiful and just as wise. Girls longed to be held in his powerful arms that even though they were powerful they were gentle enough to hold a newly hatched dragon and not harm it. His name was Sage and his love was hard to come by, even though he was loved by many. His love was hard to obtain because it belonged to one special woman, who of course could never see how much he loved her nor could she see how jealous it made the other woman.
Sage had devoted his life to protecting Kiernan when the council sent her on their death missions and now he trailed her as she began her way back to the plains, back towards The Beast.
The council had sent her on this death-crazed mission, trying once again to kill her or on the occasion that she lived have her acquire for them an orphaned dragon egg. The reason for wanting her dead pertained to an old prophecy made by the great dragon Keturnan and the purpose for her retrieving the egg stayed hidden in the darkest regions of their demented minds. This mission was a death sentence, that was clear in so many ways.
“The Beast will kill her for certain,” said the head of the council when they had been planning her death.
“Not if she kills herself first,” said another member in a hopeful tone. “After all she has seen The Beast before and has tragic memories from it.”
“Let’s hope that gods don’t favor her again and plague us by letting her live,” put in a third. “True her name means ‘favored by the god,’ but that doesn’t mean that the blasted thing has to flaunt it and come back successful from every mission we send her on. By the sea and stars I’ll kill myself if she succeeds.”
“Don’t jinx yourself, Jin,” chided the head.
They hoped that she would die on this mission, but if she was spared, they’d kill her themselves, personally, with their own hands.
‘For a blind girl, she sure does move swiftly,’ thought Sage, panting for air and fighting himself to follow her and not reveal to her that he was stalking her. It was the third day of traveling, a little past eight in the morning and the plains were in sight, they’d reach the plains by noon if Kiernan kept her pace up.
‘By the sea and stars, why am I doing this?’ Kiernan wondered, pausing for a second to catch her breath, before continuing on towards the plains. As she started walking again she answered her question. ‘Because it is my duty to the baby dragon to save it from harm, it is my duty as a Dragon Speaker.’ She slowed, remembering the last time she had been to the plains, because of her duty. ‘They want me dead, just as they wanted my parents dead. That is the reason behind why the council sent me on this mission.’ She thought before picking up her pace again, giving a heavy sigh as she did so.
By noon she had reached the edge of the plains and now carefully, following an unseen path, made her way across the plains, guided by the call of the egg, something only she could feel. Sage knew not to follow her onto the plains; he didn’t know where to step and would wake The Beast if he did tread onto the plains.
The egg rested on the cliff side of the plains and could only be reached by crossing the plains.
Unknown to her and Sage, a henchman sent by the council had followed her. He, shrouded in a cloak of tan that blended perfectly with the sands of the plains, readied himself to hurl his body onto the plains and by doing so calling The Beast forth from its sandy bed. He waited for the right moment before flinging himself into The Beast’s domain.
Seconds after the scum landed on the sandy plains, the ground began to shake. Kiernan screamed knowing all too well what was going on. Seeing her panic, Sage leapt onto the plains and ran towards her, this bow in his hand and an arrow nocked, ready to be fired from its wood and sinew cord prison.
The Beast rose from the dunes, ten feet away from Kiernan, within arms length for the leviathan of the plains. It reached for her, but grasped only air. Sage had reached her in time and tackled her to the ground. The Beast let out an irate wail. It lunged for both of them, pleased that it now had two morsels to feed upon instead of just one.
Sage drew back his bow, aimed and fired. His arrow landed in the middle of The Beast’s head, where it had been aimed. The Beast fell back for a moment, stunned, it let out a deafening roar after a few seconds, the arrow had little effect on it.
“Sage, do something!” Kiernan screeched, clinging to him.
“Just wait,” he whispered calmly. “It’ll be fine.” He put a loving and protective arm around her, watching The Beast with interest, wondering what the creature would do next.
The Beast moved to attack again, but just as its rigid and bloodstained claws wrapped around the pair, it vanished.
“See? I told you it’d be fine.” Sage said brightly. He stood up. “Let’s get the egg and go back to the cavern. The Beast is gone.” He held out his hand to her to help her stand back up. Kiernan gratefully took it and stood up.
“Where is it?” She asked, going towards the egg. “What did you do?”
He smiled. “The arrow I shot it with was equipped with a spell. It sent The Beast to the council room back at the cavern, no doubt it will enjoy eating seven plump councilmen over tow thin Dragon Speakers.” He said laughing and taking her hand. “The Beast will die from the shot after it finishes its feast. You’ll be safe now and take over the clan as it was prophesied.” He sighed; looking at her, her silver hair looked a light blond color as the rays of the noon sun, reflected off of the sand and onto her hair. “I love you.” He whispered.
“ I know.” She murmured softly, blushing lightly.
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