Stephen Pepper

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The night was cold, calm and stars that glistened over the kingdom were being admired by a girl sitting by a windowsill. “Dinner is ready little one.” called an old man cooking over a fire that illuminated the small house. “Such a peaceful evening isn’t it?” he asked as she made her way to the table. “Yes it is! I love the kingdom. I feel safe here.” “I agree little one,” the man said as he dished out the stew. “But the kingdom wasn’t always peaceful.” “What do you mean Grandpa?” They sat down at the table and began to eat. “I think it's time you knew more about our history, the story of Arghonyrr and Bolldvigk.” “Arghonyrr?” asked the girl, “Do you mean the King?” “Yes, little one.” he answered, “It all happened before your birth.” Eat now. I will tell you what I remember...”

Arghonyrr was not dealt the best of cards. His father died before he was born and his mother in childbirth. He started life alone with only a strange mark on his back.  It was small and shaped like a candle flame. He grew up in an orphanage. The kingdom was ruled by King Hydvinn who had assumed the throne by killing dragons that infested the land. Hydvinn was known for mastery in linguistics, persuasion, and sorcery. Growing up, Arghonyrr became skilled in thievery, but never stole for himself. The soldiers often found him stealing food. He would give it to those in the orphanage, when their keeper refused them dinner. He never outgrew it and was arrested for stealing from a nobleman. When asked why, he simply stated “I don’t like seeing people suffer. If that is a crime, lock me up.” He was thrown in jail. One thing was engrained in his mind.  It was the people he passed by on his way to prison. They were suffering, most homeless, hungry and some dead.

Arghonyrr was in jail for months until the fateful night that would change history. It was late when he awoke to an explosion, followed by screams. He looked out the barred window and saw a bright blue fire burning. Another explosion hit the side of the prison shaking the fortress. Outside, someone yell, “Dragon Attack! Man Your Positions! Let Arrows Fly!” Dragon attacks were not unheard of, but never in the kingdom. A burst of fire hit the prison destroying the cell next to his. It left a hole from which he escaped.  He dashed out into the street. Though pitch dark he could make out flying objects in the sky. He ran through alleys, ducking flames and falling wood from burning buildings. In front of him, he watched as soldiers preparing to shoot were engulfed by flames and instantly disintegrated. He turned back and ran through the red and blue blazes. As he darted between houses, another explosion occurred, causing large pieces of debris to fall, knocking him down. His leg was stuck and he struggled to free it.  It was too late as a dragon landed on a house spitting fire at the soldiers. As Arghonyrr struggled, the beast noticed him and came to land near him. The dragon crept forward into the light exposing his jet-black scales and blue lines on its skin. “Ush Davik Silan.” uttered the beast as he looked into Arghonyrr’s eyes. “Can it be?” Just then a black orb flew past the dragon's head and exploded onto a wall. Behind the dragon stood a figure in black armor, King Hydvinn himself, and a handful of his soldiers. “So, you’re alive?” Hydvinn said in an eerie voice. “You will soon be extinct, and no longer a threat.” Hydvinn threw another orb at the dragon grazing it. The dragon spat fire creating a wall of flames. Arghonyrr started to fade but the last thing he remembered were the dragon's claws reaching out to him.

When Arghonyrr became conscious, he was lying in a dark cave next to a blue fire. The mouth of the cave overlooked mountains in unfamiliar territory. It was still night. He wasn’t sure how he got there, but the fire was comforting. From the shadows of the cave, the dragon revealed himself to Arghonyrr. He backed up against the cave wall, not sure whether to be scared or relieved he was still alive. “Does fear strike your soul as you look upon me human?” the dragon bellowed. “No. Not entirely.” Arghonyrr said calmly. “You’re not as big as I thought a dragon would be.” “I am no mere dragon boy! I am Bolldvigk, one of the last of the Dalvikaii in this world.” “What are the Dalvikaii?” Arghonyrr asked, never having heard the word before. “Bah!” Bolldvigk said disgustedly, “It makes sense that you humans forgot about us. You, my friend, have been deceived.” “What do you mean?” “We, the Dalvikaii, are not evil. We are guardians of the land and watch over all life. We keep balance and protect all life from threats of devastation... but we failed.” Bolldvigk explained. “Protectors?” Arghonyrr questioned defiantly. “You attacked the kingdom, and its’ people! What kind of protection is that?” “Aye, but you are mistaken.” Bolldvigk corrected. “We did not attack innocents. We advanced solely on Hydvinn’s legion.” “What do you have against the king?” Arghonyrr asked. “He may have you fooled, but we can see past the mist. Hydvinn, is not human, he is one of the Dalvikaii. He is a master of deception and blinded by power. He disagreed with the order set by the gods and revolted 1500 years ago. Since then, he's driven to destroy the remaining Dalvikaii” Arghonyrr paced for a minute, walking to the mouth of the cave. “What did he have against the order? How could that drive someone, whatever you are, to such an extreme?” he stated. “Aye, it may seem that way, but in truth, it makes much sense.” Bolldvigk said. “In times of old, there were twelve of us, including Hydvinn. Now only four remain. The gods gave us a duty to watch over all life, especially humans. We were each assigned a section of every year, and we were to watch over those born within that time. We were not to interfere with how humans decided to construct their society. Hydvinn disagreed with this. He wanted us to rule over humans and felt by giving them free will, the gods were putting humans above us. Over the years he became mad, power hungry and eventually went rogue. His hatred comes from feeling abandoned by the gods. He wants revenge. You only have to look in the streets to know he cares not for the people.” Arghonyrr thought for a moment. “So the king is a dragon, and wants you all dead?  Why does he hate humans so much?” “The gods bestowed a gift upon humans, but one that is rare. Mankind was created weak. They had no special abilities or power, only basic skills. So, the gods created a brand, a crest of sorts, that when given to a human, allows them to possess the elemental power of their guardian dragon... like the mark you carry.” Arghonyrr hesitated. “How do you know about the mark? You can’t even see it.” he asked. “I don’t need to see it, I feel it. I sense the power resonating from you. You possess the mark of eternal flame, just like I do. With my guidance, you can tap into that power. You have probably guessed by now that I am your protector, you fall under my keep."

“Wow! Are you serious Grandpa?” asked the little girl. “You’re saying Arghonyrr could possess the power of the dragon!? What kind of power was it?” “He possesses the power of the eternal flame. Once he reached full realization of his power, he could move like wind, create and harness a blue blaze of fire, or so the story goes.” the old man explained. “Then what happened, Grandpa?” “It took Arghonyrr time to accept what Bolldvigk had said.  He decided to train with Bolldvigk, and once he was ready, they took the fight to Hydvinn.” The man paused for a second. “I remember witnessing that fight. Two mighty dragons with Arghonyrr to tip the scales, the fight lasted for hours. One dragon fell from the sky never to get up. Arghonyrr returned to the city and revealed the truth. They crowned him King, and the kingdom has thrived ever since. His first step was to help the poor, which is why he is love by so many. That’s enough for today little one. Run along, I’ll clean up.”  “Oh, alright Grandpa!” the little girl said as she returned to her windowsill. She continued to look into the sky admiring the stars and the big dragon soaring above, keeping watch.



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