Starlyn lay by the glow of the small fire by her guardian’s hut staring up at the constellations in the
night sky. Homesick, tears glittered in her eyes, mimicking the stars above. She missed her Daelyn’s attentions and her mother and father.
“Ti-ti,” Starlyn addressed Tala affectionately, “I like it here, but I miss my dragons. When can I go home?”
Busy mashing Datura root to add to her apothecary, Tala felt a tinge of sorrow for the tiny girl. It had only three days had past, but she was obviously homesick for her family.
“I’m not sure, my little dove,” she answered the melancholy child,”You know they’re on a very important mission to rid Kilacomb of the very same monster that put those wounds on your back. It takes very careful planning to kill monsters.”
“Yes, I know,” Star said, “but what if something happens? What if they don’t come back?”
Tala had been been ruminating on that very question. What if Star’s dragon parents never returned? What would happen to Star? She would of course stay here, but would Star seek out other dragons or be content with to stay here with her?
“Let’s stay positive and not think along those terms, okay? They are coming back and they will be just fine.” Tala told her. “I keep hearing the name Dae, who is he, Star?”
“Dae is my brother, Ti-Ti,” Star’s face lit up with happiness, “He’s the funniest, strongest, most handsomest dragon in the whole world!”
“You sound like you love him very much,” Tala observed, “and he sounds like a wonderful big brother.”
“Oh, he is!” Star gushed, “He does everything with me! He teaches me about the stars and the moon and about the whole world! He protects me from monsters and never, ever yells at me.”
“What a wonderful big brother you have, Star!” Tala agreed, “but you do realize that you had human parents, don’t you?”
“Yes, Ti-Ti, I know,” Star said, “but my real parents died. Now I’m a dragon girl.”
Tala laughed at the child’s reasoning, “yes, but perhaps you have relatives elsewhere that would love you and miss you.”
“Relatives?” Star asked, confused, “What’s a relative?”
Tala smiled at her young mind. Pushing aside the wolf pelts, she held out her hand to Star and led her to talking logs that were placed strategically around the fire for family and friends to have conversation. Sitting down with Star by her side, she picked up a stick and drew two adult stick figures in the dirt.
“Let’s learn about relatives, Star,” she told her, “Let’s pretend this is your mother and father.”
She pointed at the figures and drew two more adult figures next to each one.
“Now these people are your mother’s parents,” she said, “and the other people are your father’s parents, they are YOUR grandparents.”
Star thought about it for a minute and her then her face lit up with understanding.
“Oh! I get it!” she exclaimed happily, “So Elder Astor is my grandfather!”
“Elder Astor is a dragon?” Tala asked, knowing the answer.
“Yes, Ti-Ti, he’s a dragon, a very Old dragon.”
“No, my dear child,” Tala corrected her, “Astor is not your grandfather, only in name. Your grandparents are human, love, not dragons. Now let’s teach you about brother’s and sister’s.”
Rafa sat high on the ledge of South Peak Lookout staring thoughtfully at the clear night sky as he listened to his son. Ark explain the bizarre relationship between a human child and the son of one of his father’s most hated enemy, Baylor, from the Shadow dragons. Just the name alone was enough to put him into a rage. Come tomorrow night, all of Kilacomb would pay for banishing the Atranoch to Darkmoon. He’d make sure of it.
“Father, you have to see it to believe it,” Ark divulged, “it was like they were brother and sister or best friends.”
“How soon will my army ready to move?” Rafa inquired, “I want them rested, fed. and ready to go when the moon is high. I don’t want to see a single dragon or human left standing tomorrow! Not one!”
Ark watched his father stalk back into the cave on the Peak’s north side, a little overwhelmed by his sire’s raw hatred. Unlike most of his kind, he didn’t feel the need to slaughter every living thing. He could understand the need to kill when hungered, but the senseless bloodshed wasn’t something he agreed with. Even his mother had a love to spill blood. Was there something wrong with him? Although his kind didn’t worship any higher powers, he looked to face on the moon and asked for guidance, for some kind of a sign that would put his heart at ease. When none came, he turned towards the cave with a heavy heart. Tomorrow he would be expected to kill for the sake of killing and he didn’t know if he had it in him. He lay down on his fur bed and fell into a troubled sleep.
After the lesson with Tala, Star yawned big and lay down on her furs in the hut, feigning sleep. Listening to Tala lay down on her own bed of furs, Star waited until she heard the tell tale sound of her guardian’s soft snoring, grabbed her gathering bag and tip-toed quietly out of the hut. With only the moonlight to to guide her, she ran barefoot to the horse enclosure, quietly ducking under the fence. Because Starlyn spent so much time with the animals, the horses barely pawed a hoof at her arrival. Grabbing a blanket and a rope halter she went straight to Rane, her favorite mount and stroked the mare’s velvety muzzle. Slipping the halter over her head, she led her to the wooden fence where a thick log lay. Standing on the log, she threw the blanket over the horse’s back, jumped down and led her in silence to the edge of the woods.
“We need to find something I can stand on, Rane,” she told the horse, “Your going to help me find my relatives because Ti-Ti said I have a grandparents and maybe aunts and uncles, too. She said I wasn’t a dragon even though I want to be a dragon.”
The child and the horse walked deeper into the forest until Starlyn found a tree stump just perfect for mounting the grey mare. Climbing up, she wound her small hands into Rane’s silver mane and heaved herself up onto the horse’s back.
“Take me to my relatives, Rane,” she commanded, “and if we can’t find them, take me to Dae.”
Rafa watched the sun kiss the horizon, his body tense with the anticipation of sinking tooth and claw into warm, giving flesh. His army, denied food the day before, were ravenously hungry, ready to tear into anything living and breathing. Except for the girl; per Rafa’s orders. The girl was obviously someone very important to Baylor and before Rafa killed her before Baylor’s eyes, he wanted to know why. Killing something Baylor loved would be extra sweet and he’d savor every tasty morsel. He turned to Hadrian, his second in command.
“Have you seen Ark?” he asked, “I haven’t seen him since he told me about the human child. Find him and tell him and the other to gather near Broken Rock in one hour. It’s almost time to shine.”
© 2016, RissRyker518. All rights reserved.
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