Saphira lay basking in the sun on the hot sand at the edge of the lagoon. She stretched her purple iridescent wings and watched how they glowed in the sunlight. Her brilliant green eyes took in the entire expanse of the lagoon and she thought how lovely it was to have such a spot all to herself.
Saphira began to doze, enjoying the peace and solitude when she heard someone calling her name. “Saphira, are you down here?” came the voice. Saphira sat up with a start and called back, “Hey, Emily, are you finally home?”
Emily was Saphira’s dragon rider and they had been together ever since Saphira’s hatching over twelve years ago when Emily was just thirteen. Saphira thought back to that moment, cracking out of a hard egg, shaking out her very wet wings, staggering around the hot chamber lined with 12 and 13 yr. olds, and suddenly spotting Emily. It had been love at first sight and now twelve years later the two were still very close.
Emily came running down to the lagoon. “I missed you so much,” she cried. “I don’t know why you couldn’t come with me, but the king wanted only the riders. It just wasn’t fair,” she continued as she stroked Saphira’s long neck.
Saphira said, “How did it go? I understand that the king is being pressured to outlaw dragons.”
Emily became very still. She wanted just the right words to explain what happened. “All the dragon riders vouched for their dragons and told the king that no dragon was responsible for the stealing of Baron Geldsmith’s cattle, but the Baron wouldn’t listen. He got all the other nobles to agree with him and King Jacob was really powerless. He needs his nobles to help him defend his kingdom.”
“But,” Saphira cried, “He needs his dragons and dragon riders as well! We patrol the borders of the kingdom to insure that no one crosses without proper authorization.”
“I know,” said Emily, “and believe me all of the dragon riders presented some very strong arguments, but when the nobles threatened to remove all funding for the throne, King Jacob caved in to their demands. All dragons are to be banished from the kingdom and if spotted, they may be shot on sight.”
“No,” cried Saphira! “Our kind has defended this land from the beginnings of time. How can King Jacob let this happen?”
“Well, don’t panic yet,” said Emily. All the dragon riders have banded together and we won’t let anything happen to any of the dragons. We think that Baron Geldsmith is up to something and that he is in a plot to overthrown the throne and put himself on it. And we think he has aligned himself with our enemies and is getting support from them. Obviously, if he is entertaining nobles from Havenshold, he couldn’t allow the dragon patrols. That’s what the dragon riders think, anyway, but we have to have proof.”
“How are we going to get that proof if the dragons are banished,” asked Saphira.
Emily replied, “Well, it won’t be easy, but we are meeting at Crag’s Head up in the mountains on the border of Havenshold, and we will take turns patrolling. If we stay high enough, we probably won’t be spotted. And we have some camouflage wing covers so that even if we are seen, the nobles won’t be able to identify which dragon or which dragon rider it is.”
“Ok,” said Saphira. “That part sounds possible, maybe, dangerous but possible, but will that be enough. The Baron is no fool and he has obviously thought this through very carefully and he has managed to gain the allegiance of the other nobles as well. What about that?”
“Yeah, we thought of that also,” replied Emily. “We need to get spies into the Baron’s castle and we also need to talk with some of the nobles on their own to find out what sort of pressure the Baron brought on them all. In fact, the dragon riders met with King Jacob after the nobles left, supposedly to get our orders for the banishment, and we told him our suspicions. He had the same worries but is powerless at the moment. However, he gave us his blessings to find out what is going on. He even gave us the name of the head of his personal bodyguards who does have spies in all the major castles. It will be tough, but we are determined!”
“So what’s next?” asked Saphira.
“We need to get back up to the cave and pack. As soon as it is dark we will fly out heading to Crag’s Head by a circuitous route, just in case the nobles have watchers out. Once we have all gotten to safety, then we will plan our next phase.”
TO BE CONTINUED!