The Only Dragonrider – Chapter 5
Welcome, Fantasy Nerds! This is Chapter 5 of a collaborative fantasy story that we took turns writing. If you haven’t read the first chapter, you can find it here. We hope you enjoy the conclusion to our story!
Chapter Five – Clever
Now that the immediate threat was over, I walked over to check on the small red dragon. I turned to Arathyn and waited for him to heal her wing.
I can stop the bleeding and close up the wound, but she won’t be able to fly again.
“Why not? I saw you heal the black dragon,” I asked.
I can heal flesh and scales, but I won’t be able to connect all the muscles and spine of the wings perfectly. Even if she could get in the air, her flying would be unbalanced and uncontrolled. It wouldn’t be safe. I will do my best though.
With that, Arathyn made eye contact with the gold dragon, who nestled up beside the red dragon as Arathyn healed her. The hole in her wing closed up, but she moved it awkwardly.
I told her not to try flying yet. She may be able to test her wing in a couple of days, just to see if it’s possible to get airborn. For now, we must plan for the next assault.
“You know we will need all the dragons to fight. The soldiers won’t give them the choice,” I whispered.
They will do what they must, Arathyn replied solemnly.
Arathyn and the golden dragon began instructing the others to form a circle with their backs to each other. This way the soldiers couldn’t sneak up on us, and the dragons could keep them in front of their claws, teeth, and flames. Then, the dragons flew off in pairs to hunt, and scout the area as they did so.
The golden dragon returned with a large deer and laid next to the ruby dragon. He cooked the animal with his flames, and before taking a bite he nudged it towards her. Arathyn and I would have our turn to hunt next.
As I climbed on his back to wait for the return of the other duo, we heard a roar rumble through the air. I glanced to the sky to find the two dragons barrelling toward us. The soldiers were here.
The only sounds I heard were the puffs of the dragons’ breath and the occasional whisper of wind through the trees. The scouting dragons had spotted the soldiers a little ways off, and now we waited.
A rush of flapping wings, as a flock of birds took to the air from the forest about 50 yards in front of me. Arathyn and I would be on the front lines, with the golden dragon and the other fighting dragon, a fearsome rust-colored beast, flanking us. I closed my eyes, and my smoking midnight armor flared to life around my body.
I stretched out my arms and my deep blue magic poured from my hands. It began to weave itself in the trees, forming a foggy net across the branches. By now, I could hear the sound of hundreds of marching feet, and the trees began to shake.
The golden dragon let out a thundering roar, and soon the forest was filled with the battle cries of all the dragons. I let out a yell to join them, and Arthyn’s roar turned to a rumbling laugh.
Stay safe little one.
Soldiers ran towards the edge of the clearing, but they would have to tangle with my magic first. My net held against the first couple rows of men, who were quickly blasted to ash by dragon fire. As more soldiers leaned into the net, it began to stretch, and finally broke. A jumble of heavily-armored men fell on top of each other, and rows of soldiers behind then tripped and stumbled on the pile. I sent my magic forward with Arathyn’s moonlight flames, and for a moment the contrasting colors mingled beautifully, until the screams started. It was the first time I had instructed my magic to kill.
Soldiers tried to maneuver to the sides of the flames, but met with the dragon’s we had positioned there. Their sheer numbers allowed for some of the men to break through our fire barrier, and the sounds of crunching armor quickly joined the screams. As more men filtered into the clearing, some of the rear dragons took to the sky. They scooped up soldiers that came charging forward, and dropped their lifeless bodies with a sickening thud.
After what seemed like such a long time, my armor began to flicker. I looked around and noticed that the streams of flame were spewing less frequently. Arathyn took notice too.
Just stay on my back and maintain your armor, don’t worry about attacking for now.
“No,” I told him, “you all need my attacks. I don’t need my armor while I’m safe up here.”
I let my armor fall, and Arathyn grumbled in answer, but we both knew he didn’t have time to argue. I decided to conserve my attacks and be smart with them. I watched for a dragon’s flames to falter, and then I launched my magic to give him a needed break. I was able to provide a few dragons with a moment’s rest like this, but more soldiers were slipping through. Some of the dragons were bleeding from jabs the men got in before being crushed by claws or teeth.
A few men charged forward, and Arathyn launched his flames at them. Before he caught them all, his fire faltered. The two remaining ran at Arathyn with swords raised. I threw my magic at them, and they disappeared in a puff of red.
I was rattled by my concern for Artahyn, and didn’t notice that another soldier had slipped through to our left. He didn’t charge for Arathyn’s front. Instead, he pushed off of Arathyn’s leg and lunged for me. The last flicker of my armor deflected his stab, but he knocked me off Arathyn’s back. I fumbled for the sword that was strapped to my back, but I couldn’t dislodge it the way I was laying. I rolled to avoid the next slash of the soldier’s sword, but I hissed as it sliced my arm.
With a roar, Arathyn pounced on the man and ripped off his sword arm. Blood spurted on me and his scream rang in my ears. With a crunch, Arathyn finished him.
A painful roar followed, and at first I was confused. Then, I noticed a sword sticking out of Arathyn’s back thigh. Before I had time to process, the golden dragon shredded the offending soldier with his claws. I ran forward and gently pulled the sword from Arathyn’s flank.
The only sign of his pain was a tightness in his jawline and the steam that shot from his nostrils. He simply turned and rejoined the battle with a burst of flames. I took a couple of steadying breaths and climbed back into my perch on Arathyn’s back.
For a moment I felt my exhaustion sink in, but as I surveyed the battlefield, I saw an end to the line of troops for the first time. Arathyn read my mind and sent out a chorus of roars to signal the other dragons. The battle cry spread throughout the dragons and sent goosebumps down my arms.
I summoned my strength and pushed out a fog to slow the last of the soldiers, like I did the first day I became a dragonrider. A barrage of multi-colored flames merged with the deep blue fog, lighting it up like lightning in the night sky. Dragons surged forward, plucking the remaining men from the murky magic and finishing them between teeth and claws.
Silence fell, like the quiet after the storm. It took a moment for us to realize that we had won. And then the sun came out in the form of flapping wings and rumbling cheers.
The dragons were impatient to free the others. After patching up our wounds and only a day’s rest, we launched an attack on the few remaining soldiers at the fortress containing the captive dragons. No longer did we live in a land where dragons were kept in chains.
A few of the freed dragons found riders, though most chose not to. The ruby dragon never chose a rider because of her damaged wing, and neither did the golden dragon. Everytime he looked at her wound, he was reminded of the damage a corrupt human could do. But the two of them mated, and their dragonlings grew up beside humans.
The first of their young chose a girl with a fiery spirit and the hair to match. We often soared together through the skies around the new dragon encampment, watching over the dragons that chose to live out their lives without a rider. It was easy for us to fall in love amongst the clouds.
She even flew with me the first time I went to find my father in the village where I was born. He dropped to his knees once he saw dragonriders land in the village, and he nearly dropped again once he realized that one was his son. I never told him of the cruelty of my master. I didn’t want him to blame himself for what I went through. Instead, I let him believe that my master had kept his promise to my father, in training his son to be the only dragonrider.
We hope you enjoyed our collaborative story! Would you like us to write more stories together? Would you like to read more stories about Arathyn and the dragonriders? You might also enjoy reading The Mastermind or Dark Thoughts.
If you enjoyed this short story, we would love for you to leave a comment, or even buy us a cup of coffee! We promise to share!
Thanks so much for reading!