Azura soared above Telinor, with Letty clinging on tightly to her back, adrenaline rushing through her veins. Flying, Letty thought, was the best part of being a Rider. It gave her a feeling of freedom, for here in the sky, there were no barriers. No gates or locked doors. Rivers and seas could not stop them from crossing from above. Usually, flying with Azura could calm her thoughts and help her forget the worries which would occasionally consume her mind, but today it was not to be. Both were in deep thought, pondering over what they had overheard between Master Eragon and the elf queen Arya during their last lesson.
Soon after their conversation had ended, Master Eragon noticed Letty still in the room with Azura’s head poking in through the window. Upon seeing their worried and slightly nervous faces, he apologised for the disruption in the lesson and assured them everything was alright. When Letty had asked if there would be another war, Master had answered ‘No.’ a little too quickly and the youngsters were unconvinced. Without giving Letty any homework, Master Eragon concluded the lesson and Letty and Azura were asked to leave.
Letty wondered what it would be like to live in Alagaesia now. It had been two years since Azura had hatched for her and she had been taken to Telinor. She remembered the events very distinctly in her young mind. She was playing in the streets with her brother Herb, running around playing Magicians and Soldiers. She’d been a soldier and was running away from her brother, the Magician, when she ran into something. That ‘something’ had turned out to be a noble-looking man, with oddly slanted eyes and pointed ears. Not soon after, she had found out he was an Elf, and had come with a dragon egg.
There was much commotion in the village that day, while many were excited by the visitor and the prospect of their children possibly becoming a Rider, there were also quite a number who avoided the scene altogether. They lurked in the shadows, cursing the non-human being for bringing the cyan coloured stone to our village. The children lined up in the city centre and one by one walked in a slow procession past the dragon egg. There were seventeen children in Letty’s village, between the ages of six and sixteen, and Letty was the twelfth in line. She’d counted.
Finally, after eleven failed attempts by the children before her to bond with the dragon inside the egg, it was Letty’s turn. She walked past Vanir, the Elf, up to the large egg which lay on the table set up next to him. Unsure of what to do, she gazed around at the adults who were spectating. They gave her no answers, apart from expectant smiles – and frowns from those who opposed the idea. Staring back at the egg, she whispered, ‘Hey dragon, my name is Letty. Please hatch for someone today, please don’t let everyone down.’ After a few moments of stillness, she heard a sigh escape Vanir’s lips, and knew it was time for the next child to try their luck.
But before Letty had stepped away, the egg began to wobble and little cracks appeared in the previously smooth texture of the shell. These became larger fissures and eventually a little snout protruded from a hole, with the rest of the dragon’s body soon following. Instinctively, the nine year old held out her hand to the cyan coloured dragon and the moment its snout touched her palm, a cold shiver went through her body. When she pulled her hand back, there on her palm was a silvery mark - a mark that was unmistakably the mark of a Dragon Rider.
‘Letty!’ Azura said, speaking in her mind,‘We are not alone’.Coming out of her reverie, the girl spotted a large sapphire blue dragon flying towards them, with a Rider on her back. It was master Eragon and Master Saphira. She felt her Master’s presence in her mind, ‘Tomorrow Saphira and I are going to Alagaesia, would you like to come? I know you’ve wanted to visit your family for some time.’ Letty answered with an affirmative and Azura let out a roar, as she shared Letty’s happiness in being able to see her family once again, and entered a dive to return to their home in Telinor to pack some belongings.