I knew what dragons were much before I knew what I was. My name however, I recall it as far back as the oldest memory I have: Ephira Ashbluff.
Ephira from her non-dragon resemblance. Ashbluff from her “mother’s”. Not by blood, obviously, but from heart, it was her mother or rather leader and guide —Ashbluff the great dragon.
Ashbluff, was it really the best decision? Her eyes met the moon, before looking to her side and opening her mouth.
“Spica, how do you feel about it? It was the best outcome... right?”
She said it almost whispering as the mildly cold breeze on the balcony passed through her thin clothes. With her belly exposed, she could really feel the chill in that calm night.
Spica couldn’t respond with words, after all he was a dragon. Despite that, he could communicate very well with people by the look of his eyes, the stiffness or relaxation of his body, basically by the emotions he was transmitting. For Ephira however, it went much farther than just those sight related aspects, it was like an aura.
She could sense so much of each dragon’s personality that she could sense an aura that would tell much more than a relaxed or stiff shoulder in a dragon’s body. By living so much with that kin, she was able to connect much deeper with dragons than anybody else.
Ephira felt a huge satisfaction from Spica, as well as hunger and a little bit of laziness.
Well, I guess it was the best outcome after all. To see a small species as Spica just being lazy, it really means that it was for the best. Back in the wild, he would be hungry and angry, very hard to approach and might even be dangerous to any living piece that chose to stand near it. Yet we are here, standing calmly on a balcony, enjoying the breeze as two good friends.
That’s right, we are not competitors for food, or space in the wild. We are friends. Something that was very weird to a dragon before was now such a casual thing.
As she thought about the past and the present, Ephira wondered how much time until the fireworks were left. That was a very special night after all, to celebrate the unionship of humans and dragons.
All folk from the capital of Oluran were reunited in the castle’s square, where dance, music and food was being shared — it was a huge festival, making it a very loud and lively night.
As the night went on darker and colder, it would only get louder and more lively as at midnight the fireworks would start.
It would happen every year since the dragons came to Oluran’s walls. The fireworks were first used to show a different side of dragons to the humans: their beauty. People saw those, until then, as enormous beasts that shouted danger, but now they would make a spectacle with what was thought to be their biggest weapon — their fire breath.
Blue and red explosions in the sky, making the city bright despite being the middle of the night. The faces of the people in the cold felt warm as the fire was extinguished much before it was able to touch the floor. A show not only for the eyes, but mainly to the heart. That was how it went the first time the fireworks were in the sky.
In the same week as the first festival was being held, it was announced that the city would be allying with the dragon kin. Many had their doubts about it. Many had fear.
The dragons. Their wings, Their huge body, claws and teeth. Their fire breathing. People had fear over those things.
But the same coin has two sides. “If the dragons are with us then the enemy should be shivering!” was a common thought. Then again, fear struck their minds as a more common thought was “What if they wreak havoc? How can we control them?”
When the fireworks blasted, its colors shone through people's heart in a warm tone of red, and made it in ease with people’s mind through the shades of bright blue. As they saw just a little kid bring all kinds of beasts together to show off such radiance, it was a turning point to the folk.
That simple kid, now standing in adulthood was there again, waiting for the fireworks to start, but this time as a simple viewer — she was not required anymore since other people could do it now. Other people have connected to the dragons, being able to fly them with grace.
For that Ephira stood on the balcony with her friend Spica, a small and slithery dragon, with yellow scales that made him look bright despite the dark and quite friendly honestly. His teeth didn’t look especially sharp, he was pretty round overall, despite being very thin and a bit long. Even his tail didn’t have a sharp end.
It was a common thing for Ephira to be in the company of just dragons, rarely really opening herself to humans and always preferring being alone or with the presence of a friend with scales.
In fact, Ephira would usually be in the company of not Spica, but another dragon called Lurgus. He was pretty huge and, for that, also clumsy. He couldn't fit properly in the streets, so whenever Ephira wanted to go to a cafe or tavern to have a drink, Lurgus would drop her there and fly far above to the sky, wandering alone until he listened to a particular whistle.
When the signal came, Lurgus would point his dark navy blue body downwards and dive. His scales that almost looked like someone drew an arabesque on him would create a flash in the sky and before crushing on the ground the flap or his strong wings would make him stop.
That night Lurgus stood still sleeping in his room in a tower connected to the castle. This tower was more like Ephira’s private house that had enough space to live in harmony with Lurgus. The tower was one of the few places Lurgus didn’t have much trouble being.
As Ephira wondered what Lurgus was up to and if he was going to at least watch the fireworks, she asked Spica to go check him out. Wings were faster than legs for a fact and despite Ephira having 2 horns, one on each side of her head, she did not have wings at all.
And as asked, Spica went in a zoom to talk to the tower East side of the castle.
The time went by, little by little, but Spica was nowhere to be seen.
Ephira’s mind while waiting was pretty quiet so time flew by when she realized it had been about 10 minutes since Spica went there. It would usually take 2 minutes to get there and 2 minutes to get back. Spica was not quite empathetic with Lurgus since “he was scary” according to the little yellow one.
Her mind started to wander off.
What if something had happened to Spica? Even if nothing bad happened and he just got distracted, still I will be in a bad shape since I won’t get to know what Lurgus is up to…
Well, I guess Spica is just fine by himself, but I better check Lurgus cause I won’t forgive him if he just ignores such an important moment. That airhead, always a savage and far from anything you would call decent! He better get up!
These thoughts ran in her mind as she started running towards the tower. Each step felt easy on the floor, as her boots rather than stomping it were barely touching it. She was in a hurry.
Ephira’s heart started to run faster, not just by running, but she felt something was off.
I’ve got this bad feeling in my stomach and I really can’t seem to get a grasp of the usual “yawny” aura of that dumb dragon.
But… what is this really?
She suddenly felt a shiver that came not from the cold, but from her heart.
This aura… is Lurgus’ aura. But why is it so aggressive?
Ephira recalled her past when she was surrounded by this kind of aura. It was the one of a dragon trying to survive in the wild, a dragon that was hostile in order to protect himself.
Her legs started to move faster and the ground was now being really pounded by each step. Her heart racing faster and faster at each moment as she approached her tower’s door.
It was midnight already, and the bell had started.
Her hands opened the door and she rushed to the wide room that Lurgus would normally rest. There he was standing with his wings open, increasing his size to double or triple the mass it would have when the eye first met it.
To the left and right of the dragon’s body, about 2 or 3 guards would stand with weapons ready, trying to fight the beast. They had spears with sharp ends pointing to Lurgus, and shields standing strong compared to a human, but a mere leaf compared to a huge dragon. They would spike the spears into Lurgus body, but it would be deflected by his metal like scales.
All of that battle was happening while Ephira would only stare at the eyes of her companion. Cyan and neon eyes were glowing sharply. It almost hurt to directly look at it, but Ephira was gazing at it like someone hypnotized.
Are they crazy to attack him like this? To they know what is bound to happen if his rage is unleashed?
It had struck her heart for real. The possibility of that happening was real. Lurgus couldn’t rage inside Oluran’s walls, not having his heart far away from Ephira Ashbluff.
The 2 of them had a bond that went deep down the soul of one being. They were connected and could really interfere with the mind of one another, that is, if they are close to each other. It would usually be by dragon mounting that they would bloom their bond.
Ephira was far away from Lurgus, at least 20 meters inside that very spacious tower. Lurgus was almost exploding in rage and the guards were standing between them.
“Lurgus! Stop that! You can’t just let it go wild! Not now, not today!”
He didn’t even flinch to respond, as he continued to wail his body deflecting the spears.
“She is here! Ephira is here!” said one guard pointing to her.
“What is happening here! You all stop it!”
Ephira shouted with the top of her lungs, but all seemed to be worthless efforts.
“Now!” a male voice shouted and right after the guards started a flurry rush towards Lurgus, who seemed to be trying to not attack, but only defend and parry those attacks.
Right after that shout, Ephira felt a blue blink in her vision, as if something had struck her from behind. Her vision started to blur and everything felt slower somehow. Each movement in her eye left a trace with an after image and she couldn’t really understand what was happening anymore.
She heard the bell one more time before collapsing.
After falling to the floor she heard a big roar and with little to none brainpower left, she knew it was Lurgus’ roar.
Laying on the floor she heard the bell ringing some more times, really trying to keep her eyes open.
“Lurgus… please…” she briefly said with her last consciousness remaining as the midnight bell stopped ringing and soon after explosions started blasting.
The fireworks had started and all the folk from Oluran were cheering that night, that moment. People had no idea what had been held inside the western tower. Lurgus raging and Ephira being struck by something that made her almost faint.
In her last efforts to stay awake, Ephira couldn’t keep her eyes open and let the eyelids touch.
When light shone through her eyes again, it was daytime, she wasn’t inside any tower, or rather structure. There was grass underneath her, touching her back, arms and legs.
Where… am I? What happened?
Ephira recollected her thoughts, remembering step by step what had happened last night.
Lurgus… I need to save him!
She briefly thought, while standing up a bit groggy from her “sleep”. Trying to do one step at a time and regaining control of her legs, she stood heroically and started to walk towards any direction. Ephira had action in herself, but lacked any sort of plan.
Still she had determination to solve any problem that would be ahead of her.
But then she made a realization that could change all of that visage.
As she looked through the stone walls that she found by wandering aimlessly, she felt her blood run in the opposite direction and her hands were now in a sheer cold. Her vision started to flicker a bit and her breathing was off.
Ephira knew those were Oluran’s gates to the outside city. It had one particular characteristic, a rule to be said. She had proposed in her first year in Oluran that dragons would stand every day, every hour at Oluran’s gates to prevent any attack from outsiders and make people feel safer. That was how Oluran went for the rest of the days.
Ephira couldn’t sense any dragon’s aura in the nearby surroundings. That meant there were no gates. That meant an order by the king was not being followed. That meant something really big was off.
That is the reason why Ephira was so anxious. As far as she knew and felt, the probability was very real.
She was afraid that her only company wasn’t there anymore.
Ephira Ashbluff was afraid that the dragons were gone.