Rhagtan Chanu Gwynt keened into the night, sorrow filling her heart. Handel had passed from pain into serenity taking a piece of her soul with him when his body died. Falling upon his body, dragon tears soaked the bedding.

“Out! Out!” another human called, pushing upon Ragta’s hide. “Your racket would make a dead man deaf. NOW OUT!”

Whimpering Ragta lumbered out into darkness, away from the building in which Handel’s burnt body had been tended. It had been her that’d burnt him. A misjudged wind and her flame had shot back not forward. By the time she’d landed it was too late and all they could do was soothe the pain. Ragta wailed as she leapt into the night air beating her wings and flying higher and higher.

I will fly to the orb that glows in the night and never return!” she thought, aiming at the moon.


The bellow of the elder dragon’s mind stopped Ragta’s wings mid flap and she faltered.

Return to the dwelling of your birth at once,” the elder commanded.

Ragta looked once more at the moon before sullenly turning back towards the ground. If Handel had been there, she would have continued to fly. At least until he had convinced her that the elder was right. Swooping low over the compound in one last act of defiance, she landed in front of the dwelling of her birth. The elder did not look amused. Ragta keened.

Enough!” he told her.

Ragta swallowed her next keen, but tears still streaked from her eyes.

Have you not yet learned to keep a rider?” His mind voice was harsh, cutting at the fresh wound and opening older ones. “You are confined to this dwelling until we find you a new rider.”

Bowing her head Ragta shuffled past him into the darkness of the cave. There she curled up, weeping hot dragon tears until at last sleep over came her.

The Elder looked back at the youngling. He had seen more winters than the two legs could count. His riders had numbered many and his last had ridden him fifty winters ago. Old age had finally claimed that man’s life, as it had many other of his riders. This youngling though, the Elder shook his head.

What are we going to do with you, runt?” He thought at the sleeping form. “Three riders in twenty-five years when one should last fifty. You'll be a thoughtless beast before you've lived two hundred winters.”

The End

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