A Cry Shakes The Morning Dew
The meadow flowed like a sea of green over the hill side, flecked with the purple of lavender and the gold of daffodil. The two feet deep grass waved in the afternoon breeze, which flowed gently over the landscape. There were tracks running along in the mud, holding memories of parents who had given up on their hope, leaving it crying in the arms of the meadow. A baby lie whimpering in the grass, wrapped in a white cloth, only stained by the tears falling from the little girls eyes.
Up in the sky, the clouds part ways to allow passage for a golden stream of light. The wind passed over topaz scales that shine in the sunlight, while the dragon's muscles flex underneath and propel it through the sky, moving smoothly like a river through a valley. A loud cry floods the ears of the beast, as it's head cocks to the side to allow better perception of where this sound was coming from. The cry echos again, as the sadness in it's voice strikes deep down within the dragon's heart. It continues on for several minutes, and the sound amplifies with every passing second inside the dragon's ears. It sounds as if a baby is crying...I know I am not supposed to interfere with human affairs, but maybe I should check on this. It would bring me great grief if I were to ignore a helpless life crying out for help. It thinks to itself as it's body becomes one with the light; taking on a translucent golden appearance giving it the ability to travel seamlessly through the sky at incredible speeds.
The noise brings the dragon to a meadow surrounded by forests on both sides, filled with crowds of oak and birch trees. The dragon lands gently on the grassy knoll, as it body reverts to its normal appearance. It's long serpentine body stands as a spotlight against the grassy backdrop, as it peers down on what caused it's heart to be so troubled.
It's eyes landed upon a soft face, with a smooth jaw, blondish-white hair, and radiant green eyes that were clouded by tears. Wrapped in a swaddle cloth, the baby only had it's hands and face poking out, but from the delicate features and desperate expression, the dragon knew that this little girl had been left for some time now. The golden beast lifted it's front leg and slowly lowered a talon towards the baby's face. With the most delicate and precise placement, it used it's talon to wipe a falling tear making it's way down the rosy cheeks of the girl. Startled a bit, the baby paused it's cries and began reaching for the claw in front of it's face. Grabbing hold, the baby wrapped it's tiny hands around the dragon's talon and looked at it with wonder.
Dropping it's head down, the dragon leaned in to get a closer look at the creature before him. Long hair hung down from the dragon's chin, as the beard tickled the skin of the little girl and made her erupt out in a giggle. This beautiful sound warmed the heart of the dragon, and seeing such a radiant smile solidified it's decision to rescue this baby. "Well hello there little one, my name is Zhulong. It seems as though you have been left here all alone, is that right?" The dragon says as he wiggles his claw, seeing that the little girl has finally stopped crying. She now wears a smile from ear to ear at the new found company of this illuminating dragon.
"Ah, that is much better child. A smile is the light to the soul, you should wear it always. But with that I will say that it is ok to cry too. Tears clear our eyes to see the bright future ahead of us." He looks upon with saddened eyes at the misfortune of this baby, and knows deep down that he cannot leave it alone to suffer anymore. "And trust me young one, you will have a bright future. I will not let any more sadness fill those emerald eyes of yours. I will do my best to care for you and teach you all that I know so that you can shine as bright as the sun." Zhulong lies down and encircles his long body around the baby to keep it warm for the upcoming night. Exhausted from the tears she shed, the baby let out a yawn as her eyes became heavy with sleep. The sun began to set softly out in the distance, as both dragon and baby settle in the meadow for the night. The fireflies twinkle as Zhulong peers out in the moonlight covered grass; sensing that there is no scent of human life anywhere near, he shuts his eyes and lets out a deep sigh. I will take care of you little one...for the greatest gift in life is the one we give to others. He opens his eye slightly to gaze upon the sleeping baby. Don't worry child, I will protect you. My little ray of light...my Theia.
A Step Towards A Bright Future
"Come child, it is time to rise and shine. Today is a very important day." Zhulong spoke as he gently nudged the five year old girl sleeping next to him. Squirming a bit, the blond haired girl slowly opened up her eyes to reveal those emerald gems that Zhulong has come to love so much. Sitting up with a yawn, the girl stretched her arms towards the sky and stood to feel the warm sunlight reach her skin as it gently crept over the horizon. Wiping her eyes of the sleep still present, she groggily says, "Good morning dad. Must we always get up at the first sign of light..?"
With a hardy laugh, the dragon retorts, "But it is seeing the sunrise that reminds us that it is a brand new day. A day to leave the worries of the past behind and make the present something worth smiling about! And this day is already worth smiling about, for today is your fifth birthday Theia. The day I promised I would teach you the ways of magic."
With a quick bounce on her feet, Theia's face lights up, "Oh my gosh! That's today! I can't wait! I love seeing all the mages performing their magic when you let me go wander through town. It is so beautiful, yet so powerful..." She clenches her fists and punching the side of Zhulong's long serpentine body, letting out huffs of air each time she strikes the hardened scales. "I want to be able to shine brightly like you dad, and use my magic to protect people too!" The smile and determination is clearly visible in the girl's face as she gazes out with the dream of tomorrow.
Using two of his claws, he plucked up Theia by the collar of her shirt and placed her in front of his snout. "Well I won't be able to teach you if you keep beating me up. Now sit child, there is a lot to explain first before we dive into using magic." Zhulong instructs as Theia plops down in front, interlacing her fingers and sitting as straight as possible to show that she was excited to learn.
"What you first must understand is that magic is present all around us. It is composed of Ethernano, and dwells inside all living organisms and throughout the atmosphere. Each of us houses a specific container inside of us, so to speak, that holds this magical energy that we gather from the atmosphere, as well as our own innate magical energy. In order to use this ethernano, one must mold this magic into that of what they desire, and recite an incantation to bring a spell into being. Now this incantation is only important for humans, us dragons are able to bring about our own magic without reciting a spell. Like so..." Zhulong then takes in a big breath, while a faint light could be seen shining beneath his topaz scales. Opening his mouth he release a large beam of light up into the sky.
Theia watched wide-eyed with amazement as the light traveled up into the sky with amazing speed, casting shadows among the clouds. "Wow! And I'm going to learn how to do that, right dad?" Theia asks, her voice full of hopeful wonder.
"Yes, of course Theia. I am going to teach you all I know, so that one day you can go on to illuminate this dark world. But know, that magic, this magic I am teaching you now, takes home in only those who are pure of heart and continue to let their light shine brightly inside them. Light Dragon Slayer magic is not for those who have let darkness poison their soul."
Theia nods, but looks at him with a sense of hypothetical confusion. "But Zhulong, what if someone does something really bad that I can't forgive? What if they hurt someone I love and I want to fight back? Will that make me lose my magic, since I wouldn't be pure of heart like you said?"
Zhulong softly smiles and uses his claw to ruffle the hair of his adopted child. "Oh young one, it is true, letting in the darkness will mask the light you have inside you. But a true heart can take the poison of hatred without being harmed .For darkness does grow in the void, but always yields to purifying light. So your intentions must be pure of heart, or your magic will not be strong." Theia nods her head with a smile, and brings her fists up to her chest. "Don't worry dad, I will do my best to make you proud! I am ready to shine!"
Every End is a New Beginning
Theia's long hair swishes around as she slashes at a birch tree within the meadow; her fists covered in a golden white light that streamed up her arm like a flickering flame. The bark from the tree splinters off, leaving a hole that cuts through half of the trunk. She follows the slash with a circling backfist; knocking out another half of a tree. She then pauses, facing the rest of the forest with a determined expression. She shouts out into the depths of the forest, "Light Dragon..." taking in a deep breath, gathering the magical energy in her throat, "Roar!" Finishing the spell's incantation she unleashes a large beam of light that destroys the small section of meadow in front of her.
Panting heavily, Theia drops to the ground and gazes up at the sky in defeated exhaustion. She then sees a large figure head blocking her vision, cooling her from her previous exertion. "You have improved greatly child. In only eight years you have been able to master the wide array of spells I've taught you." The deep voice booms from over Theia's head.
Theia smiles softly and sits up, crossing her legs and facing the dragon before here. "Thanks dad, but I have a lot of room to grow before I am as strong as you...My Dragon Claw's light isn't moving at a high enough speed, and my Roar isn't nearly large enough. I was only able knock down four tree's deep..." She says and gestures to the section of meadow where she was just training. She takes a deep breath and plops back down with her back on the grass. Small beads of sweat roll down her forehead, causing the stray hairs to stick to her skin. She brings her her hand up and notes the irritations and scratches on the skin's surface from using her magic up to its current limits. She clenches her fist in determination for a better tomorrow and then turns over to face the dragon who is patiently lying down in the grass beside her.
"I see the perseverance within your eyes. There is no need to worry Theia, you will continue to grow stronger, for life is never stagnant and you will push yourself harder than anyone else." Zhulong says as he looks on his adopted daughter with admiration. He then looks towards the sky with a contemplative look. "Theia, there is something I must share with you... It seems as if I will need to go away for a couple days..." Says the dragon with a short sigh as he glances back down to gauge his daughter's reaction. He is met with tilted head and perplexed stare, silently asking him to explain further. Taking in another deep breath, the dragon explains, "You see, problems arise in this world that are unforeseen and unwanted. Being creatures of longevity and power, dragons have taken on the responsibility of protecting this world from those problems." Standing up from the reclined position on the grass he uses his claw to sweep the loose hairs from out of his daughter's face, then begins to wander to the top of a nearby hill, gesturing for Theia to follow. "Now just as you humans have a leader to follow, us dragons have a king as well. Now in only times of great uneasiness does the dragon king call a meeting, but it seems as if something has left him unsettled, for he has called an emergency meeting as of this morning. This urgency has me concerned, and so I must leave today to for the convocation."
"Don't worry dad, things will be alright! I am sure the dragon king is just taking precautions in case something actually does happen, so you shouldn't worry so much." Theia says with a forced smile and a light punch to the dragon's scale covered leg. Deep down she was rather worried herself. It wasn't the fact that Zhulong was going to leave her alone, she had adventured into town by herself many times before without the dragon's help and knew how to take care of herself. It was the fact that Zhulong rarely ever was uneasy or fretful, and so the fact that this summon by the dragon king had him so rattled meant that something big was going on. Doing her best to leave the dragon with little worry while he was gone, Theia reassured him, "Well while you are at your little meeting, I will be doing my best to train hard and get even stronger! Maybe I will even go into town again and see if I can find someone who will spar against me! That way I can impress you when you get back! Speaking of, um... when will you be getting back?" She inquired while rubbing her arm in a bashful admittance of worry.
Smiling slightly at his daughter's 'subtle ways' he looks out over the field of green. Admiring the way the sky begins to blush with hues of orange and red as the sun sets, Zhulong looks down as he becomes lost in the thoughts of the future. "There is no real answer to that my child, I apologize. I have no knowledge of what the dragon king has foreseen, and so I do not know what needs to be discussed. But I will promise you that if I do not return by the night of the second sunset, I will send out a light of my own into the sky so that you know I am okay." Zhulong says as he nudges Theia with his snout, eliciting a giggle from her. "No need to worry about me, your dad can take care of himself." He says with a boisterous laugh and he nudges her again in a playful manner.
Tired from her training, Theia throws back a few soft punches to her father's face before she collapses on the bridge of his snout, hugging him in adoration. Although only a fraction of his size, Zhulong feels the radiating emotions coming from the love of his child. Theia speaks up softly, "I love you dad, and I know I will see you again soon."
Leaning down to slide the girl off of his nose, the dragon smiles at his daughter as the sunset begins to cast a sense of warmth over all of her features. "I love you too my child, but I must be going. Remember to look to the sky if you ever feel lonely. It is the sun and stars that holds our strength and love. It is that same light that shines within you and I. It is what connects us. Remember that Theia." He gives her another warm smile as he lifts off the ground and begins flying into the outstretched sky.
Theia nods as her eyes begin to well up with tears. She doesn't dare speak, for fear of letting her emotions overrun her composure, but she is saddened at the fact that her dad might not come back. The world she lives in doesn't think too fondly of dragons, and only sees them as means of destruction. It is out of this fear that dragon's are being hunted out into extinction, not only by humans, but by other dragons as well. The dragons who help humans are seen as vile creatures who betray their own race, and so dragons such as Zhulong are a big target out in the world.
But Theia knows in her heart what the truth is. She knows that not all dragons are destructive. That they aren't vile creatures. That they are powerful and cogent, but loving and harmonious. She knows that Zhulong would never threaten any living creature, and will fight till the end to protect this world. Theia knows this to be true. And she knows that he will come back to her. He has to...