Dragon Academy: Battle and Beasts

Dragon Academy: Battle and Beasts

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

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Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 12, 2017

Reads: 54

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 12, 2017

A A A

A A A

 

The solid door slammed into place, a faint “click” determined if it was locked properly. Nothing but the sound of footsteps on gravel fade away into the distance. A very familiar sound. Once they were long gone I opened my eyes and slipped out of bed to the ground, without a sound. On my bare feet, the pebbles were cold and soft and I tried to sneak over to the dresser that didn’t even have usable drawers. Cautiously I reached my hand into the dark space and pulled out a rough, leather satchel, my hand trembled while doing so. I did not want to get caught, that man would come up with something, anything, to capture me if I escaped noticed.

 

I lifted the long strap over my shoulder and let the bag hang across to the other side of my hip. Then I headed over to the door and pushed it forward, it was not hard because earlier I had taken apart the lock and made it so it wouldn’t lock properly, for there was a band in the way. I then lifted the bottom of my pants to reveal a tiny knife clinging to my body, with that, I cut the band and let the door swing open. A long wide hallway lay before me, on each side was closed stable doors, it was terribly dark but a streak of light leaked from a crack underneath another door that gave me visibility.

 

I slowly crept over to the very last door in the building, I untied the rope that held it closed. Inside was stacks of cages containing my master’s illegal money source. Time for payback, I thought with a wicked grin. Rushing over to the silent creatures, huddled in their prisons waiting for their execution or home, I unlatched each and every one of the cages, making sure they all went out the back door leading straight outside. All with the exception of one, the ferret was born then abandoned. I had earlier taken a liking to it and gave it one of my bread slices, he now sat before me gazing into my eyes with his tiny green ones.

 

Just minutes later I was sprinting into the welcoming night with a baby ferret cradled in my arms. I couldn’t just leave it to be found by the master and let him get captured once more, and besides, I do have a soft spot for animals. The open prairie spread before me for miles to come but from small talk, with a baker in town, I knew that large mountains should appear in the distance after a night’s worth of walking. I also knew that I can not follow a paved road for my master is skilled in tracking and following a path would be suicidal.

 

So my plan would be to go up north until I reach the base of the mountains, and then take a large right to the East heading over the mountains and to the other side. I haven’t a clue of what troubles lie before me, but I intend whole heartedly to overcome them with little difficulty. I follow the North Star, that I heard rumors from sailors, in the night sky. It leads me far across the plains and past a herd resting mule deer. In their standing sleep, they swished their long, furry tails and rested their enormous antlers like a stand to hold their heads up. My mouth watered a little and my eyes followed their herd as I passed, but in order to escape, every second counted. Besides I can’t kill a creature that is almost to extinction.

 

After a long while of running, I started to make a chant in the same pace as my legs move to keep going before I collapse. Eventually, I had to take a break, I didn’t know how long I’ve been sprinting but it felt like it should dawn about then. I sat on a boulder above a patch of round tunnels in the ground that if traveled through you might find a soil faeries’ civilization. As almost every Skyemor settler knows, you do not disturb a soil faery about anything, if you do they might plant an apocalyptic vine that will take over any belonging on the ground, from around the world that you might own.

 

As soon as I sat I started to rummage through the little things that I had brought with me. There was so little that I could list every item, almonds, hempen, wooden whistle, and a small leather water flask. I fed the ferret three almonds then I popped the cork off the top of the water flask and sipped the chilled liquid. Then I tipped a little into my cupped hand and let it lap out the last bit. It didn’t feel right to call the little fella “boy” or “guy” all the time so a suitable name should be given. I watched the little red-haired ferret start to climb into my bag and start to chew on the almonds.

 

I reached out and lifted him to my chest, he squirmed and wiggled free like a snake with his elongated, flexible body and eventually escaped to finish the rest of the nuts.

“Loké,” I said aloud, “your new name is Loké. It shall last to the end of time, and forever more…” I was about to start another one of my made up legends but stopped myself in the process. I didn’t have time to daydream when I am in the midst of escaping my past fate that I no longer live for.

 

With my food gone and myself still hungry I searched a marshy area for a few edible plants growing among the grass. The deeper the water got I found a few cattails that I pulled the head off and started to chew on the stalk. While doing so I continued my travel North, with Loké roosted on my shoulder. I walked for what seemed like days, my head hung low,  my feet cut up and wrinkled like a plum. Never again am I going to travel barefooted, I mentally complained. Just then Loké started to squirm around on my head, dooking out of control.


 

I  reached up and grabbed him around his thin body and pulled him into my arms, then I looked up and almost started to dook myself. There in front of us was town. It was still dark so it was not filled with people and most of the building dark with no light, but a few seemed to remain open. This greed for sleep pushed me onward to a sprint into the town. Then as I neared I slowed so I could read the signs that hung from wood bars. Butcher, farmer...houses...trading shop, closed, more houses...and…there’s an Inn! I thought as strolling down the dirt path leading over to the other side of the town’s perimeter. I found the Inn lit brightly with lanterns and candles, a bar was also connected inside with men and women gulping and sulking.

 

It reeked of alcohol but I did not show signs of any emotion.

“Welcome to the Cave Bear Inn...rooms are available” a shallow breath “...drink is sold out...what can I do for you?” a man asked. It seemed as if he was struggling to breathe. He was very thin, his long brown hair fell down like it was wet, his skin also shone like it was moist too. Small brown hairs grew from his chin, and he scratched them vigorously. I walked over to the counter he stood behind,

“I’d like to borrow a room for the night till morning” he leaned down and pulled out a fat book with loose papers, then he opened it and pulled out a quill dipped in black ink.

 

“Name!” he ordered, I flinched slightly “E-Erika” I managed to stutter. He looked up “All of it…” he asked expectantly. I thought a moment and couldn’t decide on one thing he could have meant. “What do you mean sir?” I asked, curious myself I wanted to know what else he wanted.

“I know you weren’t born yesterday, I need your first and last name to register you in.” He stared at me as if I were an ignorant child.  Now I was irritated and just wanted to get my room and sleep.

“I don’t know what you mean, now my name is Erika and you need nothing else.” He wrote down my name on one of the lines, or what I think was my name. I don’t know how to read or write very well, my master didn’t believe in schooling his slaves, but the baker in town also taught me the basics.  

 

“So where is my room?” is asked impatiently, the man now rolled his tongue around in his mouth and chuckled, “You pay me ten silver and you get your room…” he looked at me and smiled mischievously “unless... you don’t own any money. If that’s the case then no room.” The tips of my mouth curved down, I didn’t have a single coin, nor did I ever think about making money for myself.

“Now get out! I don’t want to see your face until you have coin!” he pointed to the entrance. I huffed out of there making it clear he was being unfair and unkind for a poor fifteen-year-old girl that has no way of making money.

“You’ll regret this!” I shouted as I made my way out of the entrance. I didn’t know exactly how he would regret it but I knew I was going to do something to get him back.

 

I looked up at the backside windows of the Cave Bear Inn, Loké scrambled out of the bag I had hidden him in earlier and let out a little squeak, sounding unsure about something.

“I know this is incredibly stupid and overreacting but I really need to get my frustration out on something,” I told him, and in this case someone. I felt my way along the stone wall and found strong vines that could hold me. I stuck Loké back in my bag and started to climb. It was fairly easy, for I had climbed a lot in the trees and up the stables for exercise, along with a bit of self-training in defensive combat. Up to the second story I went, to the first window I could reach, stretching my arm out I tried to push the window up and open. It didn’t budge.

 

I pulled my body up higher and peered inside, the room was lit with one small candle and a silhouette of a person lay on the only bed. I sidestepped to the next window. Occupied... The next... Occupied…

It took five windows and finally on the sixth, an empty room. I separated my legs and stuck them firm, one in a crack, the other between two thick vines. With both my arms and all my strength I lifted the window up, it resisted at first but then shot up, slamming the top. I whole body froze, not a breath was taken, not hair moved. A grunt of someone still sleeping found its way out the neighboring window but not a soul had shifted.

 

I was so relieved, I climbed through the window, with some effort, and let my tense muscles relax. “We’re in” I whispered. I searched around the room for anything that would come of use. A bench stood on the other side of the small, dark room with a carved chair and two candles. With that four matches lay in between them,  and a finger-sized bundle of lavender. At the back of the table, three books leaned against each other. I leaned in to read the titles in the dark, they read… “Diamonds in the limitless night.”... “Academy Legends”...and “Encyclopedia of the Realm of Skyemor”.

 

Interest caught me on “Encyclopedia of the Realm of Skyemor”. I rested my finger on it and removed the book from where it was standing. Then I flipped through the pages, “History of Skyemor…” I murmured, “Tall tales of Skyemor...”, “Legends...Royal Family...Language...laws...oh” I had found a map of all the kingdoms and Realm of Skyemor. It lasted many pages that folded out but I managed to tear out one unharmed. This page contained the far East coast of Skyemor and most of the kingdom I lived in, Toska Empire. ///I scanned the contents, I saw every city, mountain, trail, road, and water source there is. This might come to good use, I thought. Then I rolled it up and tied it with the little string I had, then it went into my bag, close and ready for use. The candles and matches went with it, I started to step away but thought again, the lavender united with the candles in the pack also.

 

 

I lifted the strap of my side pack over my head and hung it on the bed frame. Then I slowly and silently climbed under the tattered cloth blanked. My cold, damp feet started to warm up almost instantly, my body shivered at a touch of warmth. There was no pillow and no sheets on the bed but I didn’t notice because I was beyond exhausted. My head touched the top of the bed as I laid all the way down and fell asleep within mere moments.

I slept deep until dawn, if it weren’t for the whistle that sounded through the hall I wouldn’t have woken up. As soon as it did, my eyes exposed themselves to the bright daylight. It was cold, colder than before. I looked over to the source of the light and saw that I left the window wide open, I grumbled to myself and slowly crawled out bed.

 

Underneath the blanket, Loké was curled up in a little ball, I poked at him a little, but he did not budge. So I used both my hands and set him in a pocket just about his size on the outer edge of my pack. It seemed peaceful and it was the perfect morning, no yelling, no work, no master...then I heard loud and fast footsteps creeping in closer to the room I occupied. It didn’t take much thought to sling my bag over my shoulder and climb out the window as fast as I could go. Climbing was not fast enough so I let go of the vines and jumped outward. My feet hit the ground so hard that if I had not rolled I might have taken damage to my ankles and knees.

 

Thankfully before I rolled on top of Loké, he found his way out of the bag and scurried along the grass. I got up and waited for him to climb on, once he did I started to sprint through the town. Since it was day, it was full of life, men, women, and children paraded through the street, along with chickens, goats, dogs, pigs and horses. I slowed down to a fast walk so I wouldn’t seem suspicious and while at it, I watched the townspeople live their daily lives. In return I got a few looks myself, not in the eye but more like eyeing my clothing. I looked down at myself, bare feet,  baggy pants, torn T-shirt, and muddy skin. I felt my head, neck short, messy, grungy, greasy hair. Oh.

 

I went from person to person, asking if there was a place for me to get free clothing. Nothing. Almost everyone either ignored me or told me there was no way anyone would give to a beggar. “I’m no beggar…” I would say, “You don’t understand…” still nothing. Being after being I asked and got no answer, I then pulled out my map and looked for another city or town I could travel to. The closest was going back to my hometown, not a chance, the next was a city that looked very large on the map, called Dragon Academy City. I thought it was a strange name but I didn’t care, I needed to find myself a place to stay and a job of my own as soon as I could.

 

“Dragon Academy it is,” I told Loké, who was then rolling himself in the red dirt. “Dragon Academy you say?” asked a voice behind me. I twisted around and held my hands ready to strike. I soon found it was a chubby woman with long hair tied in a bun, she wore an apron and a dark blue dress. I didn’t answer her.

“If you are in search of Dragon Academy then you might say that it lies that way…” she pointed in the direction of tall sierra in the distance, “You’ll find what you looking for on the other side of those. Though let me warn you, it is a long hard journey on foot. Many feet of snow and countless animal trails, follow the wrong one, you might as well be dead already.”

I imagined my frozen corpse buried beneath the snow, decaying all along and unknown. The woman smiled and beckoned me to follow her, “If you are going to make that trip you're going to need proper clothing...” I followed her towards a row of cottages behind the shops and crowds of people. “...and I have just the thing for you.” she stepped into her home, but I waited outside. From all the accusations of false assaults, I have learned my lesson to leave other’s belongings be.

 

A few moments later the woman came out with a small stack of clothing and a pair of hand-me-down fur boots in her arms. I took them gladly and thanked her once for her kindness. Then after waving her goodbye and adding a “thanks”, I left, heading towards the mountains she had pointed to earlier. When I got out of town I stopped by a patch of thick bushes to get changed. Once I was finished I took a moment to relish that feeling of nice clean clothing of my own. I wore the boots, of course, a pair of cloth leggings, a long blue shirt, and a very long vest with a thick belt at my torso. They were men's clothing no doubt but I didn’t mind, I thought maybe it was better for others to think I am a man, they respect and treat them much more exceptional.

 

With Loké, new clothes, a destination, and a motive I hiked towards and in the snow covered mountains for many long and exhausting hours. I was so glad that that woman gave me the fur boots, my feet would have fallen off from frostbite if she hadn’t, but even with them I still got cold and tired very fast. I thought about still traveling off trail but thought better and stayed on the path, I didn’t even want to imagine what would happen if I hadn’t. Loké on the other hand, he didn’t have a problem with the cold, he bounded and leaped on the snow surface all the way, sometimes purposely jumping into a hole to play in.

 

It later started to get dark quickly, and in the distance dark gloomy clouds rushed in. Pretty soon Loké and I were huddled together in a snow dug out hole right along the pathway because of the intense blizzard. If we tried to go on we would either freeze to death or get lost in the vast mountain range. I tried to get some sleep while at it, but it was no use and way too cold. I just crouched there and stroked Loké softly with the tips of my fingers, my body shivering violently, my clothes cold and wet. We sat there with all intentions to wait out the storm until we heard a distant voice and many others.

“Are you sure we can’t wait out this wretched storm?!” one called to another. “Of course not! Master gave strict orders to capture her, and to bring her back at any cost-” a short breath was taken, “or he would have our heads!” the man finished.



 

Master? Her?! Panicked thoughts rushed through my head, I had to get out of there right then right there. My master had sent a search party to take me back, he would probably strip me, whip my body till there was no skin left to see, soak me in his disgusting alcohol with thick rags, then light the rags and watch me burn to ash.  I could try and get out and run anywhere and hide but then I would die for sure, so I decided to start digging. I dug with my bare hands into the freezing snow, then I used it to pack the tunnel entrance. There was a chance that if the group stepped on top of my hide out it might collapse. Just in case I dug deep and wide so if it did, I still would have breathing space.

 

I could hear steps searching for where I disappeared, they thought about splitting up but then chickened and decided that the blizzard covered my tracks. Later I heard their steps fade away in the distance but I didn’t reveal myself for extra caution and some distance between me and my enemy. That patient waiting went on for far too long, I got so bored of just sitting there and doing nothing. I crawled up and dug my way out. As soon as my hand broke through the snow wall light came crashing though with a touch of warmth. The sun rose just over one of the mountain peaks bringing light and relief to the world. I took a few moments savoring the good feeling, then I set off once more through ice and snow.



 

It was about midday and the snow started thinning out and melting as I descended the mountains into a valley below. I was just about to enter, but I couldn’t help but notice in the distance, not too far, a camp was set up in the valley. Men and women gathered things and rushed all around with loud orders and shouts, they wore heavy armor and didn’t look like they were in the mood for chatting. I crouched down behind a tree and thought of every possibility that could go wrong, it all added up until, instead of passing though I would go around. It would NOT be worth it if I got caught. It was very irritating and tiring to go all the way around the valley on the other side of yet another snow-covered mountain (like the many before). I managed, all the same, it also cost me an extra day without any meals and rarely a bit of rest.



 

I came across many troubles along the way without a path to follow, one time I found myself walking on the edge of a tall cliff which was my way out but the steep slope was piled with loose soil and stone. If I were to try and take that path I would have a high chance of making an avalanche that would instantly bury me alive. So I instead backtracked and went around the bottom, it cost me precious time but at least it was not my life. All night and all day I pumped my aching legs on. As I passed a large rock I found a spiky bush with bright crimson berries sprouting from the tips of the thorns. I looked around the bush, drops of red liquid on the snow, dead bird at the base of the bush, red stains on---my stomach moaned.

Following up I was coming around the corner of the mountain, mouth chewing, red stains around my lips. Without any hesitance I swallow a handful at once, my throat refused to take it at first but on the third try it gave in. Within a few seconds my body started to shudder on its own, then from inside growing outward, I started to heat up like molten. Steam seeped out of my flaming pores, I freaked and dropped to the ground and rolled around in the snow to cool me down. When I thought that it might actually be working I paused and looked down, the snow was melted to my surprise and flowing out of the way. I frantically rolled all over the place clenching my mouth sealed, if there was one extreme sense I hated the most, it would definitely be heat and fevers.

 

I tried to stop it any way I could but it was no use, the heat would not subside, even Loké jumped off with a screech. So instead I sucked up my urge to sprint and shout for help and went on, head held high, my eyes watering uncontrollably. I went on like this in the remote, and very dry plains, toughing it out, it didn’t bother me to not do anything about it after a while because if there was one thing (among many) that I did learn with my master, is that there is no use in complaining or asking for help when all humans do is take pity on you and do absolutely nothing or make it worse.

 

I was so occupied on controlling the pain that I didn’t notice that if I looked up I would see the most incredible thing in my life. After a long while worths of walking, I saw a huge shadow cross my path in the ground if was so fast I couldn’t tell what it was so I looked up.

My mouth dropped straight down, never had I seen such a graceful creature. Soaring through the sky, with many others, were massive dragons.  Large bat-like wings, both thick and thin tails, spikes and horns, shimmering scales large and small, all colors, all sizes, all forms, all amazing. A loud, booming roar came from one, a sharp screech from another. As one tilted into a turn I saw something even more amazing, someone was riding it, with a saddle and all!

“I want one,” I said through gritted teeth. I gasped a little, even my breath and words came out hot and steaming, my tongue burned.

 

Once I looked down I witnessed something almost as amazing as the beasts in the sky, a city unlike any other. This city was perfectly round, with buildings and towers all throughout, but the one thing that would catch anyone’s eye was that it was dented into the ground, steep cliffs circumferenced around the whole city about three or four miles deep. I looked forward and headed down sloping stone stairs that lead into the city entrance below. Not only dragons but also other creatures of the sort seemed to roam the streets alongside humans, they seemed as if they were celebrating something. The streets were decorated with flowers, fabric, and paintings of many things.

 

I tried to figure out what they were celebrating but the decorations were so random. Pedals covered the floor and hanged on the edges of roofs, paintings of people, animals, and items alike, and stitched patterns on tapestries and canvas. Children chased each other, sellers shouted out the newest of their things, men drank and told jokes to each other, women crowded in little groups and chattered about their life and belongings. It looked so alive and cheerful, I almost wanted to join the fun but my priority in that moment was to determine how to heal my...uh...complications.

 

Once I started recalling what had happened the pain arose once more worse than ever. It was like I was bathing in hot springs that gradually got hotter, pretty soon it would get to a scorching hot point and at that time my senses won’t  be able to keep up and adapt correctly in time. I scanned the streets, more like street, the city had two main roadways that crossed each other in the center of the city. Small streets connected to them and sprawled out like fingers in all directions, on these streets were houses, shops, bars, statues, inns, et cetera. I wanted to browse through them all, I roamed the main street searching among the people of the city.

 

The place was cramped with people pushing each other around to get into buildings, but because of my red hot skin, I was avoided most of the time. I wanted to ask where a healer, alchemist, or even a novice herbalist might be at this time, but I didn’t because I only know the results. So instead I searched on my own. After a while the heat got even more intense, my breaths turned to a wheeze, my blood pulsed rapidly, the agony made my senses of vision and sound drain away. I found my way off the main road and into an alleyway between two tall buildings with not a soul to be found, that’s when I collapsed.



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