From the ramparts of Fyres Keep in the realm of Fyre Peaks, Skyfyre saw a dragon wheeling in the distance. He caught the Sight of gull flying overhead, and directed it near the dragon. His tutor, Meiaht the Learned, warned again and again not to attempt dragon Sight. But, oh, how he longed to see through those huge, opalescent eyes, like liquid pools of pearl. He felt as if the dragon were calling to him. The gull flew near and Skyfyre saw the object of the dragon’s attention. An army approached the dragon’s tor — an army of the Oskvernyat Empire. He could make the gull fly no closer, its native instincts overtaking Skyfyre’s control. But, he also felt the dragon’s mind, felt she — “SHE, he knew her gender! — was reaching out to him, seeming open to him, inviting… He flexed his mind and began the spells to borrow the dragon Sight… and stumbled back in startlement when Meiaht’s hand fell upon his shoulder, “Master Skyfyre, I have warned many times, you must never seize the dragon sight.”
“But she invites me. And I only borrow the Sight. It would be so easy,” the lad opined.
“Invites? Perhaps it would be easy. But dragons are sentient, wild majickal creatures of great strength of will and cunning. They are not mere creatures of instinct.” Meiaht continued, “The dragon could seize your mind and will.”
Skyfyre replied, “No bird will fly near a dragon’s tor. Father will want to know the movements of the Oskvernyat Empire’s army so near. We need to know their plans.”
“I will want you to listen to your teacher,” came J’Ramzœ’s calm, but stern voice from the arched door that let onto that section of the ramparts. “Meiaht is the most learned wizard of our time, and the most skilled. You are privileged indeed to have him as your teacher. You will obey him as you would me.”
Skyfyre bowed his head and hunched his shoulders, and scuffed the ground with his boot, “Yes, father.”
J’Ramzœ lifted the boy’s chin with one gentle finger, “Stand tall, my son. Look me in the eye when you speak. If you always act with Honor, Loyalty, and Integrity, you will always be able to look your fellow man in the eye.”
The boy squared his shoulders and looked up into his father’s face, saw the pride in that smiling face. Then he turned excitedly to his teacher, “Learned Meiaht, I could sense the dragon’s mind. She was inviting me to join her! I know I could ride the dragon’s eye!”
“She?” Meiaht and J’Ramzœ asked simultaneously in surprise.
“Oh, yes! She. It’s a lady dragon! I think she was calling to me! She wants me to borrow the dragon Sight”
“Or, she wants to borrow your sight. We know dragon’s have fought along side the Oskvernyat armies before,” admonished Meiaht. “They’ve also made random attacks on keeps across the realm.”
“Your own mother’s keep was devastated by a dragon just this dawn,” J’Ramzœ added. “Fortunately, she remains in the Realm of the Burnings Sands, settling the peace between The Hive and the Aledde.”
“There is peace at last?” asked Meiaht.
“Will she come here to us soon?” Skyfyre asked.
“I don’t know, my son,” J’Ramzœ replied, resting a hand on the lad’s shoulder. He turned to Meiaht and continued, “She messaged me only moments before I joined you both. The war is settled between The Hive and the Aledde, finally, across all the Realms. The Burning Sands was the last realm where they’ve settled the peace. Sæchèrí reports they’ve only to settle the occupied villages between them. She will be returning to the realm of the Great Empires to mediate between a dozen independent kingdoms all warring upon each other.”
“Will we join her there?” pleaded the boy.
J’Ramzœ looked him in the eye, noting the pleading expression with a pang, “No, my son. You know you must remain here with your teacher. This is where you are safest.”
“Even with the Oskvernyat attacking on our doorstep?” countered the child.
“Yes,” Meiaht interjected. “They will not take a dragon tor. They cannot.” His hand stroking his graying braided beard, Meiaht aced, “How can you tell the dragon is female?”
“The gull took me close enough to see into her eyes. When I felt the nearness of her mind, I just knew she was female,” he replied, then faltered, “I… I can’t explain more than that. I just knew.”
“Pardon me, Learned Meiaht, I would share a lesson with the lad,” commanded J’Ramzœ, his unfocused expression turned toward the dragon’s tor in the distance. “Skyfyre, See with your Dreamer’s Eye.”
Skyfyre looked out across the landscaped. He hated these lessons. He just wasn’t adept using the Dreamer’s Eye. But he did as his father commanded. He saw hazy shapes billowing in the distance, but couldn’t clear the focus. The shadows billowed about the base of the rising mud-red height of the tor. He told his father what he saw. Patiently, J’Ramzœ laid a hand around the back of Skyfyre’s neck. Then, he saw the armies now as roiling mass, like burning insects, swarming the base of the tor. And, from the burning ranks, he saw stygian tendrils climbing and twisting about the tor like a vine overtaking a tree. He knew this was the evil of the Oskvernyat, the majicks of Razrushtel the Evil.
Skyfyre didn’t even hear his father’s lessons. He felt the terror of the dragon’s mind. Aumia. She is Aumia of Wyvernskye. Skyfyre felt the frigid, wasting grasp of those tendrils of Razrushtel’s power. He felt the dragon’s trapped powerlessness and an urgency overtook him. He was only vaguely aware that Meiaht was urgently calling out powerful but pointless spells. Skyfyre’s mind fairly leapt to the dragon’s. Suddenly, the dragon Sight was his. But more, their minds were in unison. Even before they knew they’d decided what to do, they felt the rush of the majicks of the living crystal. Still with the Dreamer’s Eye, melded with the Dragon Sight, SkyfyreAumia saw the image of the pure crystal waters crashing around the tor, sweeping away the tendrils of evil, washing away the burning insect-like mass of the army. They felt the air rush about them in the blast wave of their wings unfurled as they took flight, at last, freed from grip of evil trying to consume them. They took to the air, wheeling on the air currents. Glorious freedom! They sent a stream of brilliant crystal flame at the fleeing army as they swept low past them, then thrust upwards with breathtaking speed, wheeling into a dive, laying down a moat of crystal white flame about the tor. They flew near the keep, heard the tiny fleshlings calling, their fear for the youngling like acid in their throat…
J’Ramzœ looked directly into an eye large as himself, and intellect of such depth and feeling. He looked down into the face of his transfixed son, then back to the dragon, flapping it’s — her massive leathery wings. The dragon blinked in slow motion, then wheeled away upon the air currents. J’Ramzœ looked down at this son, saw him blink and open his glowing, opalescent eyes. “We are sssSkyfyreAumia. We could not let them take usss…” came from his mouth, in two voices. The boy blinked, and his eyes cleared, though J’Ramzœ felt he could still see an opalescent glimmer in their depths. “Father! Oh, father! I road the dragon Sight,” the boy continued wondrously, “We became one mind together. We shared the Dreamer’s Eye.”
J’Ramzœ gathered the boy into a crushing embrace, “Willful, careless child!” he scolded, burning anger in his voice. Skyfyre was confused, both by the rare and urgent embrace from his father and by the incongruous anger accompanying the embrace. “What fit punishment is there for such terror!?”
“My liege, the dragon…” Meiaht said breathlessly, nearly moaning.
J’Ramzœ looked around, then followed Meiaht’s stricken gaze. The dragon had silently returned and settled gently upon the peak of the tower. She snaked down her long neck till the luminous pearl like pools of her enormous eyes filled all his vision, her golden nose nearly touching the stones at his feet… and she blinked, languidly. J’Ramzœ felt, more than he heard her words and suddenly realized… the dragon was bowing and giving her oath of fealty to him!
Squads of guards scrambled up to the ramparts. J’Ramzœ signaled them to hold. He scrambled to his feet, pulling Skyfyre up beside him. Hand in hand, they returned the bow, as the dragon’s oath finished, “with Honor, Loyalty, and Integrity. So swear I, Aumia, hereafter of Wyvern-sss-skye Keep as long as Skyfyre reigns there.” She raised her gilded head and they followed her gaze. The base of her tor was now a castle keep. J’Ramzœ held himself still as he watched the boy skip forward and embrace Aumia’s sleek, golden neck, and she softly let her massive body down to settle on the ramparts.
J’Ramzœ knew as he watched the boy stroke her neck, and the dragon embrace him with her neck, that the castle keep in the distance was Skyfyre’s. “My liege,” Meiaht said softly, “look upon them with the Dreamer’s Eye.” When he did, the king saw that his son and the dragon were bound to each other, that their majicks were melded together. And, he saw also, that no shadow touched his son. Looking out to the new keep, to Wyvernskye, he saw that no shadow’s hold touched it. Without being told, he understood that Wyvernskye, was apart from his own kingdom still.
“Gentle Lady Aumia,” he said to the dragon, “Yon keep is free of the evil that always shadows this kingdom. That it remains free, I must decline your oath. You have freed the prince of the shadows. Into your care, friendship, and defense I commit him. Suddenly, Skyfyre looked up, moved to go to his father. The king held up his hand to stop him in the same instance that Aumia drew him back to her. “My son, you are the first of my kingdom ever to be free of the shadows. You are the blood of our people and the freedom we all crave. You are with Aumia now. A king in your own right.”
“Father…” the boy’s breath caught. He took a deep breath, knelt before the king with his head down to hide his rising tears, and declared, “I obey, my liege.”
“Meiaht, I will not make it a command. But, I release you from your oath to me and ask you to make an oath-bond with King Skyfyre and Aumia of Wyvernskye,” J’Ramzœ turned to the wizard.
The wizard bowed low in acceptance. Then, he knelt before the boy and held out his hands. King Skyfyre held his small hands around the wizened hands of his mentor. Meiaht opened his mouth to begin his oath, but held himself rigid as the dragon reached out and ever so gently cupped both their hands in one of hers. Simultaneously, Meiaht, Aumia, and Skyfyre’s eyes flashed crystal light, then glowed with pearlescent light. Smiling in wonder, the wizard made his oath, “I, Meiaht, Wizard of the Living Crystal, having no bonds upon me, take solemn oath of fealty to SkyfyreAumia, King of Wyvernskye to serve the kingdom and all its subjects, allies, and bonds with Honor, Loyalty, and Integrity for all my days.”
SkyfyreAumia responded with their unison voice ringing in everyone’s mind and ears, “We accept thy oath and bind thee to serve Wyvernskye unto thy last breath. We do pledge to regard what thou takes unto thy protection. And, we pledge never to plunder thy oath nor use thy will unjustly.”
The last statement of the answering pledge was not part of the traditions of Terashan kings and emperors. J’Ramzœ wondered over the phrase a moment before the dragon retracted her hand and the pearlescent light faded in Skyfyre and Meiaht’s eyes. But, as he faced them both, he saw a hint of dragoneye still in the depths of their eyes as he spoke to them, “I can no longer speak to you as your king, my son. As your father, I still command you to honor Learned Meiaht as you would myself.”
A forlorn look in his eye, and feeling he was losing the only person he loved more than life itself, though to a bright future, overwhelmed him momentarily. Then, J’Ramzœ commanded that a ceremony to honor Aumia and for the investiture of Skyfyre.
“Come all, to Wyvern-ssss-skye,” came the dragon’s voice, felt by everyone on the ramparts. As if he’d always done so, the boy pulled himself up onto the dragon’s back, settled between armored ridges and extended an imperious hand to Meiaht. All his 70 cycles weighing upon him, but with wonder shining from his expression, the wizard gingerly climbed up behind the boy.
“We await you at Wyvernskye, father,” announced Skyfyre as the dragon’s great golden leathery wings snapped open with thunderous wave of sound. She flapped them mightily once and rose from ramparts. The gust of wind from her wings pressed them all to the nearest wall, some to the flagstones. A moment of frozen wonder held as they watched the dragon wheel on the air currents with her riders, then bank toward the newly formed Wyvernskye Keep.
J’Ramzœ personally dreamshifted the Princess Consort, Sæchèrí to his court, but left J’Ordon and his squad of dream mages to gather invitees for the investiture. Kings and emperors came from all the realms to attend, to glimpse the dragon, gape at her golden glory. Some few others followed the young king. Still others from distant kingdoms stepped up and made their oath to the newly crowned boy king. On the final word of the investiture, J’Ramzœ saw the shadow fall away from every new liege-sworn of his son. By their reactions, many others were also watching with the Dreamer’s Eye. All who were gifted with the Dreamer’s Eye, were able to see that the new kingdom was free of the Terror and that the new kingdom was realm bound in the realm of Fire Peaks. It could never move as other kingdom’s are with the aid of dream mages. Sæchèrí’s face was proud, though her eyes were moist. But, J’Ramzœ worried over the realization that Skyfyre too was now realm bound. He would rise or fall with the fate of Wyvernskye.
Aumia of Wyvernskye
Photoshop painting created 28 October 2019, by D. Denise Dianaty
Find the preceding passage here: https://steemit.com/writing/@momzillanc/the-saga-of-terashan-and-the-crystal-empires-chp2-pt2
Follow the continuing story here: https://steemit.com/writing/@momzillanc/the-saga-of-terashan-and-the-crystal-empires-chp3-pt1-wyvern
Story © 25 October 2019, by D. Denise Dianaty