Chapter Three - DaeranyxMature

The first sensation Tristan felt was a terrible dizziness flying through his brain; it felt as if every fibre of his body was vibrating, he knew he had been exposed to an unimaginable amount of power and energy that had emanated from the egg. His eyes still ached from the glow and floating blobs of colour clouded his vision occasionally.

Lukas was somewhere calling his name, he could hear his muffled voice, but Tristan could barely move. It was as if he had been knocked down by a horse drawn carriage. Then as suddenly as the dizziness had come it was gone. The alien mind that Tristan had felt earlier pressed against his consciousness but there was something completely different about it now. Tristan realised that both his mind and the mind of the alien presence were now conjoined so that he still felt its emotions and feelings mingling with his own; warily he leant forward pushing himself up by the elbows until he was aware of a large weight on his lap.

It was a small baby dragon. The same one, Tristan guessed, that had just been inside the egg. It was about the size of a dog pup really, curled up and asleep. It was a pure unbroken white covering every inch of its body like it had been covered with the first snows of winter and had not yet moved, its wings which were bigger than its body were like elegant capes folded across the crest of its back, the tail had small white spikes jutting out from the tip, along its neck were more of the small spikes set to be there for nothing more than to look extravagant. As Tristan cleared his eyes to make sure they were not playing tricks on him the dragon also blinked open its eyes which were the richest silver Tristan had ever seen and lay deep in its head so that they sparkled with a fiery glow, it licked its mouth indicating that it had already eaten however this revealed small but deadly sharp teeth in two even rows that made even Tristan a bit nervous of the beast. The next thing it did surprised him utterly.

‘Hello you’re finally awake’ the dragon’s voice was surprisingly deep considering that it had just been born it was more like that of an elderly boy almost as deep as Tristan’s own.

‘Umm hello… you can talk?’ Tristan wasn’t sure how to talk to a baby dragon.

‘Of course I can talk, I’ve been listening to you people talk long enough now to know this bland language as well as my own.’ What was this dragon talking about?

Right at the moment he, for it was a male dragon, had replied to Tristan’s question, four horses surrounded the clearing were Tristan had been sleeping. Four riders emblazoned with the white shark of House Serim of Sharkbay on their banners and tunics, their pikes pointed inward at Tristan.

After they had established there was no danger Lukas came running through the brush at full speed yelling curses with another Sharkbay rider chasing behind him.

‘Ah you’re finally awake! I thought you were out cold Tristan, that fucking light show your friend over there gave us left my head banging for the rest of the night,’ he came over but was stopped by one of the riders shafts.

‘Before you take one more step boy we need to establish what exactly you two were doing on your way to Sharkbay and with no less than a dragon in your company?’ The man blocking Lukas’ path spoke, he had a determination look on his face but a mingling of fear was plain to see in his eyes.

Tristan had to think quickly, Lukas had no problem, he could rely on his Paladin background but with Tristan there was no such luck. After an awkward silence Lukas spoke up.

‘I am a Paladin in – route  to the Paladin’s Hall in Sharkbay, this young man here is my apprentice and we are obviously reporting the discovery we have made of this dragon, how dare you intervene on Paladin affairs.’ Lukas was very convincing adopting an air of superiority immediately that made him seem two feet taller. The men surrounding Tristan dipped their halberds ever so slightly and what he assumed was the leader of the troop looked sideways, abashed by Lukas’ words. After thinking about it himself Tristan concluded that the story did sound comical and not at all true.

Gods I hope he believes us.

After a time the man’s face began to take on some semblance of a scorned officer.

‘Of course sir, I offer my sincere apologies for holding you up, I was just patrolling the road as my duty is all and we happened upon you in curious circumstances I’m sure you agree, your mission was to deliver our scaled friend here? Well there seems to be only one more option, for you to deliver the dragon to your superiors in Sharkbay, allow us to escort you too the city gates young sirs from there you may be on your way.’ The lead rider ordered the two spare horses to be brought for Tristan and Lukas to use.

And by mysterious circumstances the two men were once again on their way to the Paladin Commander in Sharkbay, their mission which should have taken them a week had in fact taken a number of twelve days and had gotten them into all kinds of curious situation. Tristan could barely believe it, a dragon! Such a magnificent creature had not been seen in Aelidar since the founding of the first Empire and now there was one here, in his presence.  Even through the impossibility of the situation he was in, Tristan could not help but think what would become of his normal life. And how in the name of the Gods am I meant to get away now that we’re being escorted by the guards? And by the Ten now there’s a dragon involved? They continued their journey on the horses they originally procured from their assailants, the riders from Sharkbay formed an oval around them while the baby dragon perched itself on Tristan’s shoulder.

For a new born dragon this thing is big I’m surprised it isn’t heavier. Thought Tristan

That’s because I can inflate the air sacks in my chest to make myself lighter

Tristan was so startled by the echo of the dragon’s voice in his head that he jolted upright and stopped his horse. He looked to the creature on his shoulder.

You’ll find that we dragons are full of surprises Tristan. The dragon winked at him.

Astonished once more by the magnificent beast before him and hoping that he hadn’t heard all of Tristan’s thoughts prior to this moment, Tristan could not help but smirk and scratch the dragons chin causing him to let out a purr almost like a cat.

So we can now hear each other’s thoughts?

Indeed Tristan, we dragons poses an affinity for magic more so than you humans. The dragon winked at him again.

It was midday by the time the group reached Sharkbay. Even miles away from the city Tristan could smell the salty brine of the rolling waves and the clean wind brought by the breeze.

Technically speaking Sharkbay is an island. A very small island but an island nevertheless, around the city is the largest and deepest moat that has ever surrounded a city, as wide as some rivers. The city itself is resting on a piece of land that has been disjointed from the mainland longer than anyone can even remember. Tristan looked over the edge of the long stone bridge that connects the city with the land and could see the creatures brought in by the swelling tide, eels the length of his body, bright fish of all hues and shades and the infamous tiger sharks and great whites for which the city was named for.

Well I suppose that’s one way to keep people out, surround yourself with sharks.

Once over the bridge Tristan and Lukas had to wait while the leader of the horsemen that found them had to explain the situation. As was bound to happen though the baby dragon caught everyone’s attention and the men guarding the gate seemed to take no notice to the rider speaking at all. When the rider managed to regain some of the guard’s attention by knocking his helmet with the butt of his staff, the man nodded, stared at the dragon once more and ordered the gates to be opened.

‘Right then this is where I leave you Paladin Lukas I trust your journey has not been too much of a trouble were I’m concerned, once you enter the city I would advise you to head straight to the Paladin Hall, follow the northern canal until you go past the White Shark Tavern then it should be on your left next to the House of the Disciples.’ With that the lead rider led his men across the bridge without waiting for their thanks.

‘Well shall we get going then Tristan I don’t think your friend here is going to attract kind attention,’ the dragon hissed at Lukas.

Now, now Lukas has a point carrying a dragon through the streets of a city isn’t very subtle, why don’t you hide under my cloak?

I’m a dragon, I do not hide

I can see that you are going to be really stubborn but please cover yourself slightly

Fine I will but just this one time Tristan With a noise of frustration the dragon covered itself in Tristan’s cloak, but poking its head out, the white scales standing out dazzlingly against the black cloak. Shrouded in the folds of his cloak Tristan and the dragon stepped into the bustling canal city of Sharkbay. No one noticed the three of them straight away, people were too busy doing their everyday tasks, vendors who were selling mostly fish on the street sides, women scurrying about with baskets full of food or clothing, children playing games in the large open areas. Tristan looked around for a few minutes to try and gather his bearings. He looked down from the walkway, watching the slim canal boats that glided upon the broken water of the canals. They were the quickest way to travel around the city from what Tristan could see, looking for the canal that headed east. Luckily for him Lukas always appeared to never lose his sense of direction and he set off with Tristan chasing behind him. The dragon was not too noticeable but people were beginning to look again at Tristan’s abnormally shaped shoulder.  Luckily for him he could see the sign of the White Shark tavern approaching. Lukas crossed to the other side of the walkway to avoid the throng of people going in and out of the tavern. Even from the other stone path Tristan could hear the talk.

‘I heard the entire fleets been sent, all the way over by Sailors City, there’s strange ships on the tide they say,’ announced one of the canal ferrymen

‘You ask me it’s nothing but a load of pig shit, people always see “strange things” on the horizon, those bloody Altan’s have been drinking too much sea water,’ replied the man he was speaking too

‘‘Tis true apparently you could see the smoke of burning ships off the coast and bodies been washing up on the shore.’

The men continued their conversation but Tristan had walked out of hearing distance. Burning ships? Bodies on the shore? As if things weren’t confusing enough already.

The ferryman were probably wrong Tristan, how could he know what’s happening on the other side of the continent?

For a baby you’re rather intelligent aren’t you?

Oh yes we dragons pride ourselves on it. This made Tristan chuckle

The midday lamentations were just commencing in the House of the Disciples as they walked past the great green doors that distinguished the building. True to the riders words a few paces away was the white door of the Paladin Hall. Two sentries guarded both sides with blank stares at nothing in particular, but a determined stance in their shoulders.

‘United we stand.’ They both spoke.

‘But alone we shall fall’ Lukas replied.

With the correct passphrase the sentries moved their spears and hauled the doors outwards to allow the two to enter. Within the main hall were the same sights as in any other; apprentices were studying, couriers were coming to and fro and others were just taking the time to relax, an Altan with a lieutenant’s badge eyed them  curiously after talking to a Novice and decided to walk over.

‘Welcome, I am Lieutenant Paladin Shiela, you are unfamiliar to me so I assume you are not from Sharkbay?  She asked.

‘We’re here with a message to Commander Paladin Ilinus, is he available?’ Technically Lukas was feining his station of Commander Paladin, being an apprentice he was not allowed to directly ask to see the Commander but this was an exception, he knew that but Lieutenant Paladin Shiela did not.

‘Why would an apprentice want to see the Commander?’ Shiela squinted at the boys.

It appeared that Lukas’ acting was not going to help them here. Hoping that she did not ask about the package Tristan handed over the letter sent to Commander Paladin Brodir. The woman looked over the letter once, looked at the boys, then luckily for them closed the letter and did not ask about the package.

‘Come with me then I’ll take you to Commander Ilinus.’ She turned on her heel and began walking away quickly.

It took a few minutes for them to reach a door that lieutenant Shiela knocked on three times before an answer came from within. Clearly it was a reply to enter as Shiela opened the door, entered and beckoned the boys to follow. Commander Ilinus was not particularly interested at the arrival of the boys, he continued to scratch his quill on the peace of parchment at his desk until he was satisfied with what he had written, and he then folded the paper and sealed it with the wax seal bearing the golden Gryphon of the Paladins. After placing the sealed parchment with a pile of other sealed letters he finally looked up at the two boys. He looked them up and down then raised an eyebrow to Lieutenant Shiela.

‘They just arrived, sir, with this letter.’ Shiela handed over the crumpled piece of paper.

Just like the lieutenant Commander Ilinus read the letter, looked at the boys again then folded the letter, placing it on his desk.

‘Thank you for bringing these two to me Lieutenant Paladin, you are relieved.’ Commander Ilinus nodded his head in thanks. With a start that suggested she wanted to remain Shiela opened her mouth, closed it again and departed swiftly.

When he was sure that the lieutenant was far enough down the corridor Commander Ilinus dived from his seat, dagger in hand, and knocked Tristan down trying to get at Lukas. Once he had him firmly in his head lock Commander Ilinus held the blade to Lukas’ throat, stifling any movement.

‘Tell me now thief before I open your friends throat, where is the package!?’ Commander Ilinus was pressing the blade so hard against Lukas’ throat that a drop of blood rolled down his neck.

Without a moment to utter a single word the baby dragon tore himself free from Tristan’s cloak and half jumped half flew towards the Commander. With an absolute shock of awe and surprise Commander Ilinus let his grasp on Lukas go just enough for him to smash his elbow into the Commander’s lower stomach causing him to stumble back until the screeching dragon knocked him down and pinned him to the ground. The commander continued to gaze in amazement at the serrated jaw before him, mesmerized by the brilliant silver of the dragons slit pupils.

I think he’s had enough you can get of him now, thank you.

With Tristan’s words the dragon slowly withdrew from the Commander and flapped its wings to land on the desk. Carefully Commander Ilinus rose from his position from the floor, more dubious now that the dragon was glaring at him from higher up yet still wary of its presence. After a few more minutes of staring at the dragon Commander Ilinus finally turned his attention to Tristan and Lukas.

‘Well shit, I think there are a few things that need explaining, don’t you Commander Paladin?’ Lukas helped the Commander of the floor.

‘Indeed, what are your names Apprentice’s?’ He looked between Tristan and Lukas.

‘I am just Tristan, I am certainly no apprentice of yours, just your common merchant’s guard.’  He thought that this seemed a reasonable explanation of his weapons and armour, even with Lukas’ squinted look that passed over Tristan for a few minutes.

‘I am Lukas Morgan apprentice of Justice’ Lukas placed his spread hand over his heart in the traditional Paladin greeting.

‘Apprentice Lukas, explain to me how you came into contact with this man? And how you came upon a dragon, in a world where dragons are extinct?’ The Commander crossed his arms behind his back.

‘It’s quite the tale, sir.’ Tristan said with a smirk.

‘If you are not going to explain yourself then do not speak, Sera.’ Commander Ilinus gave Tristan a cold stare that chilled the room.

‘I can explain sir,’ Lukas moved towards the dragon.

‘As you know Commander Paladin you were to receive a package from a squadron five days ago now, I am all that remains of that squadron and the men that were at the intended checkpoint. Nothing seemed amiss about the night until the camp was attacked on all sides by, well it’s hard to believe sir, but we were attacked by snake-men. I know it sounds ridiculous but Tristan managed to confront one of these things and stranger still it new our language, we managed to learn that he was a Skahleel from some place called Miremel; he gave Tristan a warning that something called Wanxiao is coming. Whoever and whatever these things are they were after the object which we were originally delivering to you, so upon learning that Sharkbay was the intended destination Tristan and I took it upon ourselves to bring it here.’ Lukas paused to allow what he had said to sink in.

Commander Ilinus stared at the floor.

‘And where did he come from?’ The Commander pointed at the dragon.

‘Well sir it would appear that our journey would be stranger still. We continued our journey on horseback but we met with some unfortunate bad luck in our journey that delayed us somewhat and not only a day ago we encountered more of the Skahleel and the impossible happened, this gem we were carrying allowed Tristan to use some form of magic, allowing him to incinerate our attackers. As crazy as this sounds we continued on the horses until we were found by a group of Sharkbay riders on the outskirts of the city, at that time the dragon hatched from what we thought was a gem.’ Tristan was thankful that Lukas left out the fact that Tristan had admitted he could use magic prior to the dragon’s hatching.

‘Everything Lukas has said is true, Commander Paladin, the events which have happened in the recent months have been moving quickly, you are scared but you must trust Tristan.’ The dragon spoke up saying this, it was the first time he had spoken out loud for a while and once again the Commander was awed.

Commander Ilinus paced the length of his office; his hands constantly clasped behind his back, the look on his face suggested that he was in deep thought. Tristan could understand, what he had just said would come as a shock to any person not to mention the support from a real live dragon. Lukas decided that he was tired of standing and sat down on the nearby seat, letting out a long sigh as he did so. Tristan mimicked him; it only just dawned on him how tired he was, tired, hungry and confused. He once again thought about how he would explain this to his father and what kind of reward he would get for delivering the first dragon seen in thousands of years to the Paladin’s. But at the same time a pang of sorrow resonated within his mind, for all the little time he had spent with the dragon he would miss its presence, even now he could feel the dragon’s consciousness, the emotions of wonder and confusion as powerful in its mind as in Tristan’s own. I don’t know what you were expecting, it’s not your dragon after all.

You might be surprised Tristan. The dragon’s voice was mischievous.

After what seemed an age Commander Ilinus finally stopped pacing, he turned to face Tristan.

‘Do you know what this means Tristan?’ Commander Ilinus spoke with a dead serious tone.

‘What, what means I only came here to help deliver the dragon, what do I get out of it?’ Tristan was expecting answers not more questions.

‘Such a thing has not happened for countless centuries Tristan, you think only of material things did you know that in the times of old, when dragons thrived as much as any people of Aelidar, men and women would make pacts with dragons. Much like we fly upon the backs of Gryphons today, certain individuals flew on the backs of dragons Tristan. What the Skahleel said and meant are conversations only the Grand Knight Paladin can have with you, but this means that the first dragon to be seen in Aelidar since their destruction has chosen to fly, with you.’ Illinus looked over to where the white dragon sat.

Now it was Tristan’s turn to sit in silence, his face showed a blank expression but inside he was feeling shock, wonderment and confusion. He could not think straight, his mind was a blur, everything was moving too quickly.

Pacts.

Dragons.

Destruction.

Skahleel.

Tristan had to breathe deeply to try and settle the hornets’ nest that had been released within his mind.

Tristan try and relax, I know this is a lot to take in, be calm. The dragon’s voice was reassuring to Tristan for some reason.

Things are all moving so fast, I know, I always knew that one day this would happen and someone would have to bear the responsibility of me on their shoulders but I chose you for a reason Tristan, whatever is about to pass, we can face it together.

The dragon jumped onto Tristan’s lap and stared up at him with those crystalline eyes.  Tristan had suddenly forgotten about the burning questions in his mind, the dragon had calmed his nerves and allayed his fears he could think clearly and knew what he had to do.

‘You know I think I might actually want to keep a dragon of my own, they’ll call me the Heishi, Tristan the Heishi’ Tristan laughed deep in his throat, surprised at how much comfort the dragon was, he could barely focus on how much his life would be altered by what he was saying.

‘Young man I truly do believe you are ready for this, anyone else would have broken down in such a situation, I am impressed, well then first we must establish contact with the Grand Knight Paladin, we shall send a messenger to Crystal Gate at once. Until such a time as we hear back from the Grand Knight Paladin you are to continue with your apprentice training here at Sharkbay Lukas, Tristan, it is evident that we cannot allow you to leave as you please so I am afraid that you are to be confined to the Paladin’s Hall, do not worry we shall use all haste in contacting the Grand Knight Paladin, and perhaps while you are here you could learn as much as you can about your predecessors, it would not hurt to learn some of the ancient dragonlore?’ As if the events of the past hour had not been unusual at all Commander Ilinus sat down at his desk and continued to write upon paper in the same position as when the boys first entered.

‘You two report back to Lieutenant Paladin Shiela and inform her that you will be joining us for a time, but please endeavour to keep the young one hidden until such a time when I have informed the Hall of his existence.’ Commander Ilinus finished his letter and beckoned the boys out, the dragon enfolded himself in Tristan’s cloak once again and they were led back to the main hall.

Once back in the main hall the boys took a moment to sit down at one of the many cushioned tables before finding Lieutenant Shiela. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes until Lukas went off and returned with two mugs.

‘Thank you Lukas, well this certainly a strange turn of events aye?’ Tristan smiled.

‘You can say that again Tristan,’ as always Lukas had a sombre expression on his face.

‘I can hardly believe it, I mean a dragon!’ Lukas lowered his voice.

‘Sorry, but a dragon, here and now of all places and he chose to fly with you of all people,’ Lukas slugged back the mug.

‘I suppose in some sense a congratulations is in order eh, congratulations to you Tristan the Heishi’ Lukas got up and made a mocking bow.

‘Ah shut up you cock you’re just jealous, go on admit it?’ Tristan pushed Lukas.

‘Ha! Me, jealous, of you? Don’t make me laugh you damn arseling, if anything that dragon will be likely to eat you!’ Lukas smiled again.

‘Or maybe I’ll train him to eat Rel huh?’ Tristan gave an evil grin which suggested he wasn’t telling a whole lie.

While Tristan and Lukas were sitting at the table one of the other apprentices in the room noticed their joyous mood.  Tristan and Lukas were after all, not from the Sharkbay Paladin Hall so they drew some attention. A monster of an Altan came lumbering over

‘Greetings, you two must be new, not seen ye around before, name’s Gunnar Gunnarson, pleasure to meet Te both of you.’ Gunnar took the seat opposite the boys.

‘I’m Lukas Morgan and this is Tristan, and the pleasure is all ours.’  Tristan, Lukas and Gunnar drank together.

‘So you two are new then?’ Gunnar repeated.

‘Aye that we are, just come in from Justice,’ replied Lukas, it was probably best if Tristan just played the part of Paladin apprentice until everyone knew about why he was really there.

‘Ah! Justice! That pile o’ piss, s’all about Wrath! Surprised they let the two o’ you in together, anyway nice to meet ya, I been here at least two months now, still won’t let me fly a Gryphon, they say I’m too violent,’ The boys could believe this given that Gunnar Gunnarson must’ve been at least seven feet tall with muscles as taught as bow strings.

‘Me and Tristan here had just finished our Preliminary Training, so I guess it’ll be a while before we get a go, but anyway what’s there to see in Sharkbay then?’ Lukas was always good with conversation.

‘Well there’s plenty if ye know where ta look, there’s the White Shark Tavern but all ya hear in there is bloody bollocks, the best place in the market I’d say would be the House of Silk were the company’s good and what’s between its legs is even better har!,’ Gunnar raised his eyebrows to indicate that the House of Silk was a whorehouse.

As much as Tristan took interest in the House of Silk, something niggled at the back of his mind about the White Shark Tavern and the conversation he had heard earlier repeated itself in his head.

Why don’t you ask him about it? Suggested the dragon, cleverly hidden once more within the folds of Tristan’s cloak.  

‘I heard a weird conversation from that White Shark place earlier? It was something about the Golden Fleet sailing and bodies on the shore?’ Hopefully he doesn’t think it’s a load of bloody bollocks.

‘Ah you heard that story too, plenty o’ folk been talking about that, a rumour going round that some ships from the Golden Fleet were attacked and burned to cinders of the coast o’ Sailor’s City, suppose there’s one thing the White Shark aint the only one yammering on about.’ Gunnar took his last huge gulp of ale.

‘Any truth to it do you think?’ Lukas asked. Tristan stared into his mug.

‘Any truth to it? Ha! Not likely, Lukas yes? How do we know, s’on the other side of the continent and none of our boys been out there so ‘tis probably nothin’ but superstition I says, anyway was a pleasure meeting you two but I must be off before the Lieutenant gives me a spanking,’ Gunnar got up and stomped off down the hallway just as Lieutenant Paladin Shiela came over.

‘I see you two have been making yourselves familiar with Gunnar Gunnarson? A strong one he is wouldn’t want to piss him off when he’s drunk. On a serious note Commander Paladin Ilinus has explained the situation of our third guest and that you are to be staying and training with us until conformation from Grand Knight Paladin Orophin reaches us, if you’ll follow me.’ The Lieutenant lowered her voice at the last moment before turning on her heel again and waltzing off.

As instructed the boys followed Lieutenant Shiela past several training fields and around the Gryphon courtyard until finally stopping at a door for which she produced two keys giving each to Tristan and Lukas. She informed Tristan that he and the dragon were to attend a private session with Commander Paladin Ilinus bright and early, while Lukas was to attend a regular session at the same time within the library.

‘Hold on a second I’m not a student here, why should I have to attend any lessons?’ Tristan was used to waking up with all haste in the early hours of the morning but he was hoping for at least a day of rest.

‘Do you not possess the only dragon in existence, Sera Tristan?’ Shiela gave him an ice blue stare.

‘Well yes but-‘Shiela cut him off.

‘And do you, have any idea on how dragons grow, eat, sleep, fly, use magic, or even breathe?’ There was steel behind her words.

‘Again no but-‘Shiela didn’t let him finish.

‘Then I suggest that you both get as much rest as possible, you’ve both had a harrowing journey by all accounts.’ With that Shiela closed the door.

As soon as the door shut the boys in the dragon ripped free from Tristan’s cloak the same way he had earlier onto the Commander. He flapped his wings around in a desperate attempt to fly around the room but only achieved long jumps.  Both Tristan and Lukas smirked at the effort the dragon was putting into his failed attempts until eventually he gave up and slumped onto one of the two beds.

‘I’ll be able to fly soon and then you won’t be laughing.’ The dragon began to sulk.

‘I’m sure you will, Tristan I’ve just thought you need to give him a name.’ Lukas slung himself onto his bed causing it to moan under the sudden weight.

‘Lukas I am not some pet to be named.’ The dragon jumped on top of Lukas

‘”I am the first dragon to be seen in millennia” don’t you know and I will have a say in my name.’ the dragon was echoing the Commander’s words in a tone that made Tristan and Lukas chuckle.

It was a true statement however, this small creature was something that had only been spoken about in legend, humans and dragons flying together, and none had claimed such feats but the heroes of old. But when it came to naming the dragon Tristan new next to nothing. I suppose I’ll have to take the Commander up on his offer tomorrow morning, so much more just rewards. A few names came into Tristan’s head but when he suggested them both the dragon and even Lukas agreed they were unbecoming of a dragon.

‘What about…’ Why is this so bloody hard?

‘Tristan it’s probably best just to check the library tomorrow I think we all need some sleep, so I say goodnight to the both of you!’ Within minutes Lukas was snoring into his pillow.

Tristan could not blame Lukas, it had only just hit him that their journey had tired him out inexorably. Taking time to properly arrange his clothes in a pile and arrange his armour so that it was not just left in a heap along with his boots at the foot of his bed Tristan climbed into the comforting sheets of the small bed. Unexpectedly the dragon paraded up and down the length of the bed and much like a dog placed itself on Tristan’s feet warming them through the cover. 

Sleep came easy to Tristan that night. Dreams materialised in his mind, thoughts of impossible things come again. In it he was a gleaming hero gleaming in silver armour that shone like the moons, in the ancient times before the Empire, fighting alongside dragons against the very darkness itself, nothing could stand before his fury, unleashed upon the black wraiths with the power of a god. But all too soon the dream was over and the day was greeting him once again but this time the dragon which last night was no larger than a pup was now the size of a grown hound. As Tristan rubbed the sleep from his eyes the dragon yawned it’s even larger and more deadly jaw, wide enough for Tristan to see a glowing like the orange of fresh embers in the back of its throat. Tristan went to get changed and found that his old ragged clothing and boots had now been replaced with brand new raiment, the bronze of an apprentice’s rank burnished to a shine, but he noticed that his armour had been untouched. Well I suppose I’ll have to look the part of an Apprentice if that’s what they think I am.

He donned the new attire and strapped on his sword – if they thought he was going to walk around without it after what he had endured they had another thing coming – turned around and saw that Lukas had already woke and left the quarters. I might as well take a walk to the library to get those books.

‘And what pray tell shall I do?’ The dragon’s voice now sounded like a man in his prime.

‘You do know you’re bigger right?’

‘Why yes indeed I am! That was quicker than I expected, means I’ll be able to eat you faster now,’ this dragon is rather funny Thought Tristan.

You’re not exactly dull yourself Tristan.

Am I supposed to get used to you hearing my thoughts?

I’m afraid you’re stuck with me now, lucky you I’d say

Be quiet you overgrown lizard

What did you call me you piece of human bait?

This prompted Tristan to jump onto the dragon pinning him down. Once he was on top the beast let out a sound that suggested he was laughing, he whipped his tail around knocking Tristan off and likewise pinned him to the ground.

‘Stuck now ain’t ya?’

‘You are a little monster haha!’ Tristan eventually managed to push himself up.

The dragon then wrapped its forward legs around Tristan in a sort of velvet hug.

‘I’m glad you accepted this responsibility Tristan.’ The dragon smiled.

‘Ah, I, uh I’m sure the pleasure will be all mine, you big lizard you.’ The awkward silence stretched on until the dragon started to make a gargling noise mixed with a roar that must have been a laugh.

‘Well I suppose you’ll have to stay in here till I come back from the library, don’t worry I won’t be too long, these Paladin are so stiff you’d think they’d all have sticks shoved up their arses, anyway we’ve got to meet with Ilinus later.’ Tristan said as he left.

I’ll try not to burn anything down  

The dragon sat back up on the bed and began to stretch its wings and bear its claws to test their sharpness. Tristan locked the door behind him, he started to make his way to the library which he guessed was located in the western part of the Hall considering how many people were coming to and from that direction with copious amounts of books. With some luck he would see Lukas while he was there.

Before he got the chance to get to the library Tristan’s stomach began to howl in hunger, he decided to take a quick detour to the main hall to see if he could find any food. He sat at a table for the best part of half an hour feasting on boiled eggs, sausages, warm bread and goat’s milk. When he had finally consumed what felt like the first breakfast he had eaten forever he managed to rise from his bench and continue on to the library. When he entered he tried to do so without making a single sound, unfortunately for him the hinges of the great wooden entrance door had not been oiled in many a year and it creaked in agony, attracting the eyes of all within. Tristan apologised with reddened cheeks and proceeded to ask about any books on dragon physiology and lore. As he guessed there weren’t many texts on the subjects, at least none that had been written in the last thousand years, he did manage to find three books called: Dragons: A Study on the Draconian Origin, Habits and Abilities of Dragons and Great Beasts of Aelidar.

Well I guess these will have to suffice, let’s just hope there’s a name that we can find that he’ll like. Once Tristan had concluded that Lukas was no longer in the library, and he had consulted the Keeper on the withdrawal of the books, Tristan retraced his steps back to his quarters.

Once back at his dormitory he unlocked the door and was greeted by the dragon still lying upon the bed but now he was trying to gain some semblance of uplift by once again attempting flapping his wings in a vain attempt to fly.

‘You’re wings aren’t big enough yet you know?’ Tristan asked.

‘Well you can’t blame me for trying, it’s not just my wings too, I can tell you that I have air sacks in my chest and either side of my stomachs that allow me to hover in mid-air let’s see if that’s in any of those books.’ The dragon flopped back on to the bed once more to rest its head on Tristan’s lap.

We can’t read for long Commander Paladin Ilinus is expecting us in an hour.

Well then read the Great Beasts of Aelidar one that’s bound to have some good names in there.

Tristan opened the index page to look for dragons and found that they made up the majority of the book, he began to read out the names and exploits of each recorded dragon to see which one would satisfy the dragon. There was, Lucaevar Fleshrender who killed the Corpse-King, Fal’din Silverbreath who horded so much treasure it filled an entire chasm under the Godspeak Mountains, Xiantun Irontail the smasher of Stone Golems, Juraem Bonebreaker who lived upon the skulls of his enemies, Vysemera the Wise who wrote over one thousand scriptures within the library at the Pillars of Enlightenment and Tyraegar Goldeneye who sparkled so brilliantly he blinded anyone before killing them. But none of these legendary dragons was good enough, the dragon on Tristan’s lap clearly did not feel that any name suited him.

Okay I’ll go through the list of the lesser dragons and then we’ll have to go alright?

Yes alright Tristan.

Okay, by the Ten there’s hundreds I’ll just read them out until you find a name you like, Oisin, Sinjan, Coijinma, Pazhunan, Makoto, Gorou, Daichi, Akira, Hirsoshi, Kazuaki, Minoru-

I’ve got it!

What Minoru? Bit of an odd choice don’t you think?

No, not that one you idiot, I’ve thought of it myself: Daeranyx. At this the dragon raised itself on its two back legs and attempted to roar, managing only a little growl.

Tristan could not help but throw back his head in laughter, he found the sight increasingly amusing, the dragon, or Daeranyx, narrowed his eyes at Tristan which suggested that he did not find the situation funny.

‘Alright then, haha, alright I am sorry, Daeranyx, I think you’re right it does suit you, you would have thought I was knighting you or something,’ Tristan reached out to pat Daeranyx on his nose.

On contact with the dragon’s rough nose an electrifying shock reverberated up Tristan’s arm, Daeranyx recoiled back from what must have been a similar sensation. Something had passed between the two but neither knew what.

‘Shit, I mean uh, damn we need to get going, not that I need any training this Paladin can provide but I think it’d be best to keep up appearances and who knows he may be able to tell us something we don’t know, the only problem is how we’re going to hide you.’ While Tristan hurried to think of a plan on how to hide Daeranyx three sharp knocks on the door disturbed his thought.

Tristan and Daeranyx shared a quick glance before opening the door. Standing with his hands behind his back was none other than Commander Ilinus himself, a sombre look on his face.

‘Are you ready to present yourselves to the world young Sera’s?’ Ilinus spoke with the coolness of an executioner.

‘Reveal ourselves, what in the name of the Ten do you mean? I thought you said to wait till the Grand Knight Paladin sent word?’ It was Daeranyx who questioned the Commander.

‘The Grand Knight Paladin is here, by what seems a turn of fate.’ Ilinus gestured for them to step out of the room.

Well shit, there’s no going back now, damn I’m sorry cursing is something I’ve had to live with.

Don’t worry Tristan, like I said I know your language, you can say the word fuck around me occasionally. Tristan found it amusing to hear Daeranyx curse, probably because he had only been born three days ago.

Well then there’s nothing for it, and I thought I’d be with my father again by now.

You’re what?

Before Tristan could explain who his father was, Ilinus let out an exaggerated cough that put an end to their mental conversation. Walking slowly out of the room, Tristan noticed that Daeranyx had what must have been a worried expression for a dragon. In all honesty it looked like he was about to kill something. Daeranyx, you’re normally the one to tell me to relax, it won’t be all that bad.

It’s not announcing myself as the first dragon in thousands of years that is worrying me Tristan. Daeranyx said without the decency to hide his sarcasm. You said you’d be back with your father, but surely you know that your father is dead?

Tristan stopped dead where he was, but Ilinus was behind him now and forced him to carry on.  Dead what the fuck do you mean dead? My father is the Captain of the Infernal Terrors no man can kill him easily, what do you mean Daeranyx? Tristan turned to look at the dragon but winging his head around he realised that they were in the dining area of the Paladin Hall and what must have been the entire city was crammed in, staring at him and Daeranyx.

Tristan tumbled in his step and let out a weak cough in order to distract from his stumble, standing to his right he realised was none other than the Grand Knight Paladin, Orophin Helanwë. The Seldun was of the same height as Tristan, unusual considering his advanced years and the snow white hair that was cropped short. The man stood with his hands clasped behind his back as Ilinus did but now he had turned to face Tristan, glancing down at Daeranyx with a dazzling sensation of wonder in his sky blue eyes that vanished as quickly as it had appeared. He squared his shoulders, directing his look back to Tristan which he met with steel. The two simply looked at each other, one measuring the other, the old sizing up the young like two lions competing for the leadership of the pride. Eventually the tension broke like shattered ice when the Grand Knight Paladin extended a leathery tanned hand towards Tristan. He shook it with only a little vice and put on his most welcoming smile possible.

‘I would hear your name young man, to know who among the millions of this world has claimed the title of Heishi in days such as these.’ Tristan noticed that he had angled them towards the mass crowd as if to address them.

‘Grand Knight Paladin, my name is simply Tristan.’ There was a stir among the crowd which was quieted by Orophin’s upraised hand. He knelt to give Daeranyx the same reverent look of wonderment that Tristan had seen earlier.

‘Many are the titles given to the dragons of old, Flamebringer, Those Who Ride the Air, The Fierce People, but may I know you’re name mighty dragon?’ Orophin showed an exaggerated grace when talking to Daeranyx.

‘I am yet to rival the Fierce People in ages past, Grand Knight Paladin, but I have been named Daeranyx, by my Heishi Tristan.’ Daeranyx spoke as if to an equal.

Orophin rose from his position and turned once more to the crowed spreading his arms wide and showering them with a face of stupefied happiness.

‘Lo have the great heroes come again, the first dragon to be seen in millennia, we name him here Daeranyx The Magnificent, and lo comes with a dragon none other than his companion who like the champions of the Age of Shadow has bonded with Daeranyx The Magnificent, I present to you Tristan the Heishi.’ The crowd burst into wild applause, for what Tristan was not wholly aware.  What did Orophin call me? What does this all mean?

Do you know nothing of the history of dragons? I suppose you wouldn’t but he invoked the names of legend, you are my Heishi, Tristan.

What the fuck is a Heishi? And I’m not done asking you what you meant about my father being dead?  While waiting for Daeranyx to answer Tristan scanned the crowd and noticed that Lukas was standing to the far left smirking and clapping slowly.

Tristan forgive me for what I’m about to do. It was Daeranyx’s voice that Tristan heard but before he could ask any questions a familiar pain lanced across all aspects of Tristan’s being, the feeling of hammer blows to his skull, as if to sunder it from within, his skin searing as if on fire, his bones under the pressure of a thousand tons all of it amplified in a thousand ways. With the pain came the memories he had forgotten he had. Whatever Daeranyx was doing it had opened the floodgate that had penned up all of Tristan’s life. His real life he realised. Deigmar was not his father, he knew his father had died when he was just a boy. And his mother. The rage that built up on seeing the death of his mother resurged inside him with the heat of a million suns, but Daeranyx was there, experiencing Tristan’s life unfold as if he had always been there. With the moment of Domitius’ memory wipe spell racing through Tristan’s conscious again, he could handle no more and crumpled to the floor.

The myriad of memories plagued Tristan’s dreams once again. However no longer was he combating the shadows, he was standing within darkness, nothing was within his view but the infinite black. From far away, yet just behind him Tristan could hear voices, whispering beyond eligibility.

‘Hello who’s there?’ Tristan raised his sword, for the first time realising that he had a sword and that it was the only possession he had. He was naked.

‘Show yourself you fucking cowards,’ the dreams had never been so real before.

The voices seemed to intensify, as if they were looking at him while they continued to snicker and taunt him. Tristan took a step forward and the darkness was pierced by a point of blinding white light. The voices scurried and fled from the burning glow, screaming in agonizing pain. Another voice replaced those that had vanished, singular and deep resounding into the plains of eternity.

‘Heishi Tristan Aldred, the Bold, I call to you now, I herald you as my champion and saviour.’ Tristan looked at the light for all but a second, he thought he saw the outline of a man behind it but his eyes could not be trusted.

‘Who, who are you? Why am I here? What do you want with me?’ Tristan’s own voice seemed pale in comparison.

‘You dare question the Divine Creator! You would ask The Architect, who made the bones of the Earth and the very air you breathe? If you were not the Chosen I would smite ye were you stand.’ Tristan was crippled by the might behind the words, he bent even further so as to avoid looking at the blazing white light.

‘I name you The Chosen, Tristan Aldred, I command you here and now to save the Blessed People of Aelidar and vanquish those who would bear you ill and seek to reject the Faith of the Ten.’ The voice spoke as if to a misbehaved child.

‘Go now and do my bidding, I bless ye The Chosen, with the power of the Ten, go forth now.’ The piercing light vanished and Tristan was once again left in the darkness, but silence stretched on into the void.

The dreams faded from Tristan’s mind to be replaced by the numb feeling of dreamless sleep. When he woke he found that he was in the same bed he had been given on arriving within the Paladin’s Hall but to his surprise Daeranyx was not at the base of his bed. He was not inside the room at all. Tristan could feel the thread of connection between him and Daeranyx and reached out to talk to him.

Can’t talk now. Busy. Will be there in a minute. With that Daeranyx cut himself off from Tristan to turn all his efforts on something. Tristan got up, he was still in the fake Paladin’s Apprentice clothing. His own clothes had been returned to him, stacked up on the trunk at the back wall he decided to change into them. Not like I have to pretend anymore, that fool Orophin – It all came flooding back to him so quickly that a migraine sprouted like an oak tree. The memories of his villages brutal murder caused him to unconsciously touch the Essence, reminding himself to resist the temptation to burn the building down he focused on what the Grand Knight Paladin had said. He had named Tristan a Heishi, whatever that was and proclaimed him and Daeranyx before the vast crowd that had gathered within the Paladin Hall. As the ache between Tristan’s eyes was beginning to dull there was a thunderous crash outside the door, the ground gave a slight tremor that shook the floor boards. Cautiously Tristan walked towards the simple wooden door of the room, glad to see his sword resting against his bed post, he picked it up, sliding the blade from the scabbard slowly.

The door slid open on oiled hinges and Tristan slightly poked his head out through it. What he saw caused him to drop his sword to the ground in stupefaction. Between the pillars that supported the roof was a bare patch of ground that the Apprentice’s used for sword practice, but it was now dwarfed by a vast white creature that stared at Tristan with a silver gaze. He walked beyond the pillars and was even more surprised at how much he had to crane his neck in order to look into those eyes.

‘Daeranyx?’ Tristan knew it was the same dragon the instant he had seen him.

Daeranyx had more than tripled in size, before he could just curl up onto the edge of the simple bed in their room, now Tristan was sure that he would struggle to fit half his size in the room. The dragons’ talons were as long as short swords but sharpened to a needle thin edge, the body of the dragon was now thick with cords of muscle and the scales had taken on the look of tempered metal while still remaining a pure white. The spikes on Daeranyx’s back were the full length of swords, stopping short where his wings spread out like two ship mainsails, thinner than silk.

‘Daeranyx, what happened? You’re huge! How did this happen?’ Daeranyx lowered his neck to stare at Tristan at his level.

‘I am hardly the size of my elders, but you are right Tristan, much has happened, you were in a coma for a week.’ Once Tristan got over the thickness of Daeranyx’s teeth and the glow of fire at the back of his throat, he almost stumbled back.

‘A week! It felt like hours, bloody Ten, how did you get to be so big?’ Tristan looked round Daeranyx’s head to gauge how long he was and was not surprised to see the dragon’s tail coiled up against the far wall.

‘The Essence is strong in my kind, Tristan, it enhances our growth so that we are large within days of our hatching, though now the process will be slower, lest I grow too large for my young mind to stray, or at least that’s what the Grand Knight Paladin says, he seems to know an awful lot about dragonlore for a human.’ Tristan turned to the sound of approaching footsteps and it was none other than Orophin Helanwë himself. The old man was alone and bowed to Tristan and Daeranyx in turn before speaking.

‘Heishi it is good to see you awake, hail Flamebringer, how do you feel Tristan, no doubt you have many questions that need answering.’ The Grand Knight Paladin stood in the familiar Paladin’s position with his hands clasped behind his back, a slight smile on his face that did not reach his eyes.

‘You’re bloody fucking right I do,’ the smile faded instantly.

‘I see that the revelation of your façade of banditry did nothing to curb your tongue, listen young man, no matter what you may be, I shall be spoken to with respect.’

‘I’m not one of your Paladin’s, Grand Knight Paladin, I don’t have to show you anything, now explain to me what in the name of the bloody Ten were those things you were calling me?’ Tristan had crossed his arms and Daeranyx had placed his head next to Tristan to stare at the Grand Knight Paladin.

‘Very well, if you are so eager, I cannot blame you for your ignorance. I am assuming that Commander Paladin Ilinus explained some of the basic dragonlore to you, that in the Old Times men and women would be able to magically bond to dragons with the Essence? Oh so you did not even know that much? Well then let me educate you. You and Daeranyx The Magnificent, are the first pair to forge the Joining between man and dragon since the cataclysm which eradicated the Fierce People from the face of Aelidar, it was an ancient thing, recorded from the Age of Shadow before there even was an Empire of Aelidar. These people who could ride on the backs of dragons were known as the Heishis, thus I named you for you are Tristan the Heishi, not a boast but a gift.’ Orophin paused a moment, clearly to let this sink in.

‘You now know the reason as to why you can control the Essence and why Daeranyx The Magnificent  hatched for you and none other, in all the years that we had possession of his egg and he chose you, meaning no disrespect Flamebringer – ‘

‘What is that? “Flamebringer” and “The Fierce People” and “Those Who Ride The Air” What do they mean?’ Daeranyx answered Tristan.

‘They are honorifics for a dragon, Tristan, although the Grand Knight Paladin graces me with the name Flamebringer when I have not summoned fire, they are names for dragons, we are known as the Fierce People and because we may fly, Those Who Ride The Air.’

‘You are fortunate to be Joined with Daeranyx The Magnificent, his knowledge of dragonlore is extensive.’

‘I have the memories of my forefathers and foremothers within me Grand Knight Paladin, but I thank you.’

‘Wait, what does this mean Grand Knight Paladin? I know you do not think me much of a suitable companion for Daeranyx, so why me?’ Tristan met Orophin’s stare.

‘Who is to say, none but the Gods may know.’ Tristan remembered the dreams.

Daeranyx I must tell you something –

I know about the dreams Tristan, I have seen them in your memories already, we are Joined after all. I do not know what they mean I can only hesitate to guess, perhaps it would be a good idea to address the Grand Knight Paladin?

I’m not too sure Daeranyx, he doesn’t like me, I can tell and all because I’m not one of his fucking precious Paladin’s.

Tristan eventually thought it best to tell Orophin about the strange dream, which it turns out had comatose him for a week. The Grand Knight’s Paladin’s eyes narrowed with each passing minute, it was clear that he had a hard time believing Tristan’s words and thinking back to himself neither did he.

‘These dreams are of a grave nature I’m sure you can agree Grand Knight Paladin, I share Tristan’s memories and they haunt my thoughts as much as his.’ Daeranyx’s voice caused Orophin to open his eyes to their normal shape.

‘I can only speculate, Flamebringer, but it sounds to me as if Heishi Trsitan was touched by Ullmarin. It all points to it, the light you saw named itself as the Divine Creator and The Architect, the epithets of the God of Time and Justice. There can be no other explanation, but this naming you as The Chosen means nothing to me.’ Tristan noticed the tone of respect that he had used to address him instead of contempt.

‘What are we to do then Grand Knight Paladin?’ Tristan used the title to humour Orophin.

The Grand Knight Paladin did not respond, he lowered his eyes, knuckling his chin in concentration. Tristan thought about what it all meant. To be contacted by Ullmarin himself! The Chief of the Ten. Tristan was not anybody, he grew up in a village in the backend of nowhere, secluded from the tales of great men that he had so quickly fallen into.

This makes no sense, why me?

I have no better understanding of this situation than you do Tristan, I do not know why the Divine Creator chose to visit you in your sleep.

But why chose me Daeranyx? Why hatch for me, even when you knew what Domitius had done to me? I didn’t even know who I was and yet you still hatched for me. Tristan felt the mix of affection and worry that Daeranyx radiated.

There was no choice about it Tristan, until I found you I did not know I would ever hatch, I thought I was doomed to wander within my shell for eternity. And then there you were and I thought to myself how I could have ever thought that I could not hatch for anyone else. It was a natural instinct, it was the Joining of ancient times that called to me Tristan and I cannot explain it.

Tristan stared up into the gleaming jewels of Daeranyx’s eyes and smiled, he knew of what Daeranyx spoke off, even now he could feel the connection between the two of them, it was so strong that he thought if he looked hard enough he could see a thread of the Essence connecting them. He was right, Tristan knew that Daeranyx spoke the truth and that it was his destiny to become a Heishi. But what for?

The Grand Knight Paladin had begun to pace between the outskirts of the training area and Tristan. After pacing to the edge of the ground ten times he spun on his heels and looked between Tristan and Daeranyx.

‘There is only one option that I can see as being the logical action. You say that you have been visited by The Architect in your dreams, Heishi Trsitan, there is only one other person who can have a connection with the Ten. It seems you must travel to the Oratory of the Ten and commune with the High Officiant Gamaliel Narcissus himself and he can tell you what the Gods wish of you.’ Orophin held a flat stare at Tristan.

‘The High Officiant! I must travel to meet the fucking Voice in person? But there’s still much that I do not know? And what about the Skahleel and his threat, I do not know who or what Wanxiao is, but shouldn’t we be preparing for something? Anything?’ Tristan could barely come to terms that he would have to travel to the Pillars of Enlightenment, a journey which took two months by horse. But then he did not need a horse.

‘A journey on dragon back would be much shorter I’m sure?’ The Grand Knight Paladin raised his eyebrow at Tristan.

Tristan looked up at Daeranyx and tried his best not to show a daunting look, there was nothing to hold onto the dragon’s smooth scaly back except the three foot spikes that could impale a man.

What, are you worried I’ll drop you? Daeranyx extended his front leg to make a muscled stairway to the nape of his neck.

Tristan shook his shoulders to shake the stillness from his body, he was suddenly very nervous. Climbing onto Daeranyx’s back, Tristan noticed the true scope on how large the dragon had grown. Looking from where Daeranyx’s shoulder blades met, Tristan could see over the roof of the Paladin Hall. Now maybe just a little –

With a surge of wind that made Tristan’s thoughts tumble in the wind the ground fell away in a rapid blur of houses and chimney smoke. Tristan had clamped his eyes shut and just barely avoided gouging his left eye out on the front spike of Daeranyx’s neck. He clung onto the same spike as if his life depended on it.

Tristan open your eyes.

Slowly, Tristan opened his right eye to let a wink of his surroundings show. He opened the other and his jaw in an instant. Daeranyx had risen above the chimney smoke and smell of Sharkbay and had circled around the houses below which looked no larger than his thumbnail. The sun seemed to blaze at the same level which they flew, a golden globe of molten fire, lighting the country for miles around. Tristan could see for leagues in every direction, the hues of greens and blue becoming blurred when Daeranyx dived, turned suddenly or rose to catch the warm air. So this is flying…

Magnificent isn’t it?

It truly is Daeranyx, it truly is.

They spent what must have been two hours flying back and forth, up and down, always with Sharkbay in sight, enjoying the splendour of flight and indeed the simple pleasure of one another’s company.

Eventually the sun crept below the horizon of the Sea of Illusions and Daeranyx began to spiral his descent towards the Paladin Hall. Well there’ll be no secret about a dragon now. When Daeranyx landed on the training ground once again, the Grand Knight Paladin was sitting in a folded out wooden chair, seemingly in the same place where Tristan and Daeranyx had left him, nearly three hours ago.

‘Ah you have returned, finally, you should know that since the time of your departure I have organised your journey to the Pillars of Enlightenment, you shall be leaving in two days hence with a full squadron of Paladin, a certain Apprentice Paladin begged to be a part of the squadron, one Lukas Morgan? Nevertheless you shall travel first to Sunbeam, the capital of Seldus, meeting with the Chevaliers of Seldus including the Viscount himself and then you shall continue on to the Oratory of the Ten.’ The Grand Knight Paladin said it all so matter of fact that it took Tristan a while to think of the arguments against such additions to their journey.

‘Do we really have to include all that bloody, well there’s no better word for it than sight – seeing, the Viscount of Seldus? Why can we not just fly straight to the bloody Pillars and be done with it?’

‘I am aware that you are ignorant of the distance that a Gryphon can fly, and while Daeranyx The Magnificent  could no doubt cover much more distance than the strongest of our beasts do you believe that you will survive nearly twelve hours in thin air, without a break?’ Tristan looked up to Daeranyx who shook his head.

‘He is right Tristan, I thank you for believing in my flight capabilities, but remember that I have only just learnt to fly and I could not last half that time in the air lest I fall to the ground.’ The Grand Knight Paladin smirked at Daeranyx’s answer.

‘It is decided then, you shall leave in two days hence, I shall have to journey back to Crystal Gate to notify the Empress on what has occurred over the past two weeks, for now continue to rest, on the morning of the 23rd Wildfire I will come for you.’ With that the Grand Knight Paladin bowed slightly and turned to leave.

Once Orophin was out of earshot, Tristan let out a long sigh. The recent events where becoming a tangled mess that left his head pounding. As if from nowhere he had been thrust into the arms of power and fate without knowing which way is up. Surprisingly the only thing that was calming to Tristan was Daeranyx’s companionship. Like flotsam in a storm without Daeranyx, Tristan would surely have gone mad.

‘Oh please Tristan, you’re too modest, I think you would have handled the situation well enough up until this moment, then you probably would have gone mad.’ Daeranyx bared his teeth in a smile and Tristan let out a singular laugh of mirth.

‘Well I’m not sure about you but this talk about how important I am makes me want to get some bloody sleep, only, what will you do Daeranyx? I think the option of you sleeping at the base of my bed is out of the question.’ Daeranyx lowered his head to be the same level of Tristan’s head.

‘Oh don’t worry, it appears that there is a retractable tarp that extends between the roofs, I’m assuming for Gryphons who sleep here, I shall be dry and comfortable Tristan do not worry get some sleep.’ With that Daeranyx reached up to a hook on the roof which before seemed to have no use before, Daeranyx stretched a leather tarp that seemed to come out of an invisible slot within the roof to cover the training patch.

As the dragon curled his tail around himself, resting his head atop his front legs, Tristan made his own way back to the mattress of his room. When he entered he saw that Lukas was there, apparently they had not been separated on account of Lukas’ rank.

‘Well hello to you Lukas, what are you doing here?’

‘What you thought because you’re Heishi Tristan that you’re too good to share a room with a Paladin Apprentice, you cock,’ Lukas grinned.

‘Ha, once again your jealousy amazes me, have you seen how big Daeranyx is now? Big enough to eat a fully grown Rel wouldn’t you say?’ Tristan could hear Daeranyx’s rumbling laughter from outside.

Lukas looked towards the door with the same grinning expression on his face.

‘How could I not have seen him? The two of you put half the city on edge and the guard very nearly launched ballista’s at you, you’re lucky the first thing Count Riker did was send a messenger to the Grand Knight Paladin asking if he had any idea what you were,’ the grin did not fade from his lips as he began to clean his nails.

‘Well I hope he didn’t tell him too fucking much, you wouldn’t believe the things that I’ve been told Lukas, and it’s crazy.’ Tristan sat on the bed and stared at the floorboards, reminiscing on all that had transpired.

‘Oh but I know, heck the whole city probably knows by now, you are Heishi Tristan, the first of an ancient brotherhood to be Joined with the first of the Fierce People to be seen in thousands of years, the Grand Knight Paladin kind of made a speech about it remember?’ Lukas looked up from his nails to arch an eyebrow.

 ‘Oh but if you didn’t think that was enough there’s more.’ Tristan began to tell him about the dream he had experienced and Lukas’ face became more serious by the minute.

‘Well, bloody Ten, I mean Ullmarin himself, the Divine Creator, what the fuck was he thinking?’ Tristan threw a pillow at Lukas muffling whatever he was about to say.

‘Anyway I heard you begged to come with me on the journey to the Oratory of the Ten, not such bad company am I?’ It was Tristan’s turn to raise an eyebrow.

‘You wish, I’m just not going to miss an opportunity to get out into the world rather than being stuck here with my training, besides I get the feeling you’ll fuck up somewhere along the way without someone to give you a hand.’ Daeranyx’s thunderous laughter shook the rafters.

And what are you laughing at?

Oh nothing, I just happen to think that Lukas has a very good sense of humour

Well aren’t you just lovely, overgrown lizard

I’d be careful if I were you, I could rip the roof of that little room and you’d be sleeping in a wet room in an instant

Tristan thought it would be best not to test Daeranyx.

‘Well whatever happens Lukas, we’ll but up to our ears in pig shit, so enjoy it while you can.’

‘Oh I plan to my friend, I plan to very much.’

Tristan shed his clothes down to his breeches and enveloped himself in the warmth of the bed’s thick wool blanket. Sleep came easy to him, it was a blessed sleep free of dreams and visions from God’s and when he awoke Tristan found that it had not all been a dream, across the room was Lukas, half hanging out of his bed and at the very back of his mind, he could feel the half consciousness of Daeranyx’s dreams, filled with thoughts of the hunt and flight. For that brief instance time was still and peaceful.

The End

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