There was something special about flying on top of a dragon, Breel thought.
There was no freedom like it, just the wind rushing through her hair as she guided Naydiala with her mind, with only the clouds for company. The wind was light today, the currents gently carrying Naydiala as she soared above the fields.
You are much like your mother, Naydiala murmured in the corner of Breel’s mind. Breel chuckled.
Thank you, Breel replied, you know how much that means to me.
Every girl was partnered with a dragon on her coming of Age ceremony, watched on by the entire village. It was the time when they grew from a Youngling to a warrior, a protector of their people. Breel’s had been many years ago, overshadowed by her mother’s premature death at the hands of the Izas. Breel remembered the day she stood at the centre of the village circle, watching the dragons circle high above her. Naydiala had no reason to choose her above anyone else, the maternal line did not guarantee that a dragon would choose you as its Warrior.
Of course, Naydiala replied. Her tone always had a mothering hint to it, like Naydiala was mothering Breel in the place of her own mother. Dragons were known to care for their Warriors, after all a Dragon’s lifetime was many hundreds of years. They would know many Warriors during their course of their life, whereas a Warrior would only know one dragon during theirs.
Breel nudged Naydiala towards the coastline, noting the dark shapes on the horizon. It had been a few months since the last attack of the Izas, but that never meant they wouldn’t attack again.
You want me to put a call out? Naydiala asked.
Not yet, Breel said, just circle them high. I want to make sure it’s not a trading federation group.
Naydiala murmured in agreement, tilting her wings so they could get the cover of the cloud. The sun would be high in the sky for those on the ships below, they wouldn’t be able to see them if they hid in the clouds, outside of the direct line of sight of the sun.
Breel pulled out a sightglass from her instrument strap that hung round her waist. It was only small, but it had been imbued with magics to allow the holder to view further than they normally could.
Breel pressed it to her eye as Naydiala lazily glided across the air currents. Now the mass of black blobs on the horizon were clear as if Breel was standing next to the ship itself. She could see the Captain, a burley woman with scars crossing her face, at the wheel as her first mate directed the crew to pull on the sails. Some of the crew were hanging off the cross beams on the mast, watching the world from up high.
Something doesn’t feel right, Naydiala murmured in the corner of Breel’s mind.
“It’s like they’re trying too hard,” Breel said, pointing her sightglass at another of the vessels. It was the same picture again, just a normal ship, with a grizzled captain and the crew working the boat.
The Captains look like they have seen war, Naydiala said.
“I agree,” Breel said, twisting the glass so she could get a closer look at one of the sailors on the masts. He looked like he was pointing up to the sky, up to them.
Climb, Breel thought, throwing herself against the saddle as Naydiala pumped her wings to get air. An arrow flew through the sky where Breel had previously been sitting moments before, barley missing Naydiala’s wing membrane by inches.
Naydiala roared as an arrow struck her side, quickly bearing away to get as much distance as she could away from the ships. Breel unstrung her own bow from her back, the runes on it flaring up as she commanded it to life. Every Warrior was given a dragon weapon, and hers had also been her mothers. This bow was powerful enough to send a bolt of magic through the side of a ship if she was close enough.
Pulling round, Naydiala said, arching round to give Breel a clear shot of the closest ship. Arrows continued to fly past them, but Breel ignored them as she took aim at the base of one of the ships masts.
I invoke the Powers, she thought, as the magic coalsed out of the air to a thick, crossbow head bolt which she pulled back to aim.
Now, she thought, as she released the bolt. The magic hissed as it flew from the bow, the runes burning Breel’s skin as the magic flared up. It flew true, smashing into the base of one of the ship’s masts with the force of a thunderbolt.
Naydiala pulled away instantly, preventing Breel from seeing the true effect of the bow. However, the shouts that came from the ship were loud enough for her to hear this far away, as well as the cracking of timber as the mast began to collapse.
That was normal. The explosion wasn’t.
What the f-? Breel thought, as Naydiala craned her head around for a look.
Carrying explosives, Naydiala said, as she turned towards the coastline and flew a direct line back to Erawth, the capital, they weren’t trade ships, they were designed to blow up Erawth’s port.
I know, Breel said, as she slung the bow over her shoulder, the runes dying as she did so.
You want me to put out the call? Naydiala asked.
Breel looked over her shoulder at the burning remains of the ship, and the other four which continued to sail towards Erawth.
Yes, Breel thought, we need all the help we can get.
Naydiala raised her head high and roared into the sky, the sound reverberating through the clouds to every other dragon and their Warrior who was scouting the area to look for threats.
They would all come, and they would fight. The Izas would not be able to destroy the Erawth docks again.