An Elfish Sword
It was only four days later that I woke to a commotion. I heard thumping below me and tried to ignore it. I noticed the streams of light that were blinding me from the window and realized that Silvertongue had not been there to wake us, unless I was suddenly immune to his roaring somehow.
I got out of bed and dressed, the hurried sounds below me starting to get irritating. As I left my room, though, I saw Elysmere sitting in the open doorway of Olist's room. She acknowledged me with a little yap and I entered the room to find Valli urgently yelling at Olist to hurry. The boy was pulling on a shirt that was too small for him with difficulty.
"I can't do it with you screaming at me, Valli!" he argued.
"You'll miss it, and you're going to make me miss it, too. Hurry up!" She turned and saw me standing there, eyes wide. "Oh, Natasha! I was going to wake you too. Quick, Relia's in the dragon caves with an egg that's rocking back and forth." Without a word, I ran down the white marble staircase and into the depths of the academy, where a cluster of humans and dragons alike were beginning to form around the Spike Dragon cave. A Spike Dragon!
As soon as I entered through the crowd of people, I could hear the egg breaking, but I only got to see what was happening by the time Relia stood up with her hatchling. It was a stout and sturdy male dragon, with scales that only made him visible in the darkness because of the way they glistened. Upon closer inspection, I could distinguish the color as a dark grey blue. His eyes, however, glowed like little beams of moonlight. They were a soft light orange color. The hatchling shook out his wings, displaying them as limbs just as stout as the rest of his body. His fangs were barely visible, and his horns hadn't even started growing yet. I had never seen a Spike Dragon as a youngling, obviously, and was amazed at how different this one looked compared to Uphorus.
As soon as Relia stood she was swarmed with dragons and keepers that asked her many questions: foremost what she would name the dragon. As the group quieted she hesitated, but then whispered, "Alban." That single word caused a great uproar of joy and the dragons bugled happily in acceptance of the name. Alban jumped up in his keeper's arms and chirped at her.
We all started the day on that positive note, and after eating breakfast in a bustling dwarf dining hall, I went immediately to work. Icemoon and I went into one of the empty classrooms on the third floor, which happened to be right above the dining hall. I looked over a few books I had left there from the previous night about elves, since that would be the class we were teaching.
Judah was the first to come into the room, Aduro right on his heels. The dragon settled in the back of the room while Judah took a seat in the front row of chairs we had placed there. Sam had made all of them, and he wouldn't let me forget it when he came in next.
"Look at these beautiful chairs!" he exclaimed as he sat in one. "Who made them?" He cheekily smiled at me and I rolled my eyes at him in response.
"I think Natasha made them," Judah smirked. Sam glared at him and playfully punched him in the arm. We laughed together as Zilia, Valli, my mother, Felice, and Bella all entered with Twilight. Elysmere was learning from Silvertongue about Coleck Malathai, Valli told me.
"Now that we're all here," I said, feeling like a schoolteacher, "today you're going to learn more about the elves." I scanned the small class and noted in my mind who already knew a bit more than the others. "Can anyone here name a famous elf?" Valli's hand immediately shot up, but I waited for anyone else.
My mother's hand floated into the air, as if on its own accord. She didn't look like she wanted to answer in front of anyone, but I called on her anyway. "Yuio Vaes Noem was the first Millennium Keeper," she said softly. I nodded.
"Valli already knew that, so I wasn't about to let her answer," I chided with a smile. Valli giggled at me. It was then that I thought back to my time at the cave with Silvia, Silvertongue, and Garnet. It was before I had even found Icemoon's egg in the Forbidden Cave, and we talked about sword names. It was the day I had named Moonblade.
"Another famous elf is Van Eigen. Does anyone know about him?" Silence ensued. I tried to hold back a sigh of disapproval. "Van Eigen is in this book," I said, holding up a bound book that was so old it was falling apart at the spine. There was no title, but the dragon language was scribbled across every page, so it swirled and changed for me as I opened it. I cleared my throat before I read aloud these words:
"Out of the darkness of those days in Toyun rose a single elf that showed great physical and mental strength. He was born to one of the council members of that day, and was ranked among the quickest in learning abilities. From a young age he recognized the problems Toyun faced, and was the only one to predict that the twelve council members would split apart and each form their own respective city with the many elves that took sides. This elf, Van Eigen, was great grandson to the mighty elfish leader Toyun Eigen, the first king of the elf city. "
I looked up as Sam coughed and glared hard at him for a moment before continuing.
"Van Eigen sided with his father publicly once the council made it clear they would separate, and two years later, after his father died, he assumed the throne and became Dragon Keeper to Cirence, the Bell Dragon. From that moment on Van Eigen bravely stood for the city with his shining green sword Demelius and his shining green dragon, Cirence. He played a key role in the division and formation of the twelve elfish cities and the governmental structure of the capital Toyun. "
With that I shut the book's pages between the covers and set it down among the others I had. "Would anyone like to summarize what I just read?" I asked. To my surprise, Sam was the first one to raise his hand. I nodded at him and he described in great detail the account. I praised him for his listening ear. To me, it sounded like he was enthralled with the story.
"Van Eigen's dragon Cirence was one of the only dragons in Toyun at that time," I continued, still thinking about Sam. "That was one reason why he was so greatly respected among the elves in the capital city. He did a lot of traveling and went from city to city while the dragons still roamed the land and received honor and praise from all creatures." I was happy with myself for remembering everything I had about Van Eigen, since I read it all the night before in a rush.
Felice raised her hand. I gave her a questioning look. "Where did he get the name Demelius for his sword?" she asked. I thought hard to myself for a moment, scanning the pages I had read in my mind for any information about the elf's sword.
"I'm not sure," I said with hesitation. "The name could have come from anywhere. Any more questions?" The question about Demelius sparked an idea in me for the end of the class. "We'll continue with another famous elf, one that Valli knows much about." She smiled at me and I winked at her. "Yuio Vaes Noem was one of the first elfish Dragon Keepers, and therefore special enough to be the Millennium Keeper. Valli, would you like to come up here and tell the class a little bit more about him?"
Even though she was fully prepared in every way, I had taken her by surprise. With her usual shyness she bowed her head and approached me silently, turning to the group with a little bit of fear in her eyes. My first reaction was to think it silly, since she was the Millennium Keeper and all, but I tried to understand where she was coming from.
She took in a rattled breath before beginning. "Yuio Vaes Noem lived in the same era as Van Eigen. He was an elf raised in Toyun and was already a true Dragon Keeper by the time the city divided. He ended up traveling from city to city, but mostly stayed in Intemen. He made an alliance with the dwarves, who only trusted him as a Dragon Keeper. Yuio Vaes was with the dwarves when he died, and his dragon Zephelan stayed with them for the remainder of his years."
"Do you know what gem belongs to the city Intemen?" I interrupted. Valli turned to me, thinking hard.
She shook her head. "The only one I know is Toyun's: the diamond."
"Very well," I said, indicating her seat with my hand. Once she was settled I took in a breath to continue, but Sam stood suddenly. His chair grated against the floor and he swung the door open, standing in the hall. Everyone watched him go, then turned to me when the door closed. Icemoon's eyes met mine, and I gave him a slight turn of my head. He followed Sam outside.
I cleared my throat. "I have an assignment for each of you. Over this time I have taught all of you, I've found that there are certain key subjects each of you lack in. Every one of you will be given a subject to research, and I want a single sheet of paper describing that subject by next week." I looked over each person.
"Valli, I want you to read about the twelve elf cities and their respective gems. By next week you should be able to recite them from memory. Felice, you asked about the sword Demelius, so I want you to see if you can find where the name came from." I caught a flash of movement outside the door, but ignored it. "Judah, you don't seem to know as much about your own dragon as others do, so research more about Snow Dragons. As for my mother," I added with a slight smile, "there's very little you have yet to learn until you know as much as Silvertongue." Everyone laughed. "Since we've all been taking time to know more about Coleck Malathai and what it does, ask a more experienced dragon to take you there to see it and teach you about it."
"What about me?" Zilia asked softly. I turned to her. Twilight's neck arched over the seats from his spot in the back to look at her.
"You need to work more on the dragon language. Learn at least ten simple phrases that you can recite from memory by next week." I turned to the smallest in the group, Bella, who was sitting very quietly in the second row. "Bella, you still have much to learn, so I want to give you the task of learning about another important elf. Find something that you have in connection with him or her, preferably one that was a Dragon Keeper." At that time I looked out into the hallway through the small window in the door. I could only see Icemoon's tail flicking back and forth. Sam was the only one left I had to give an assignment to.
"You are all dismissed," I said quietly, and waited while everyone filed outside before going myself.
Sam was standing in front of Icemoon, obviously conversing with him through the mind. Just after everyone departed and we were alone, he crouched and held both hands to his temples. "There it is again!" he exclaimed.
"What's wrong, Sam?" I asked. He glanced up at me before standing.
"I keep hearing a sound in the back of my mind, a high pitched squeal. Icemoon says that it's a dragon calling to me from its egg, but I'm not going to be a Dragon Keeper." The suddenness of those words made him wipe the tears from his eyes. My brother didn't want to be a keeper; he was just as stubborn as I had been.
"Sam, you have to trust Icemoon. This is what happened to me before he hatched. You'll get a dragon today." He shook his head and angrily formed fists before another cry raked through his mind and he doubled over. "Sam!" I cried, leaning down beside him.
"I'm okay," he muttered.
I put a hand on his shoulder. "Listen, Sam. A dragon doesn't hatch for someone who isn't ready for it. It's your time to become a Dragon Keeper." He took my words to heart and stood up. I led him down into the recesses of the cave, and he followed the sound of the crying in his mind until it was a piercing whistle. Oddly enough, the dragon cave he stepped into was one directly beside the forge, the place he loved so dearly.
It was the Bright Dragon cave.
For as many Bright Dragons as I knew (a whopping three), I had never seen a hatchling of the same species. It was exciting for both Sam and I as we walked into the cave and saw a glowing blue egg rocking back and forth ever so slightly. Silvia was already present, as she was doing her part to shade several of the dragon nests with her wings as it needed to be. She had already seen the egg and was sure someone would come.
I urged Sam forward with an encouraging nod of my head and he took the egg in both hands from the nest it was resting in. He's ready, Silvia murmured in my mind. I looked over at her and nodded, smiling proudly. Sam sat down and did his part to break the egg, and then his dragon hatchling was revealed.
It was a light blue dragon, covered in beautiful darker swirls of color on its bright scales. It was shaped like a miniature Silvertongue, a male, and had eyes that took my breath away: they were milky white in appearance. He curiously looked from Sam to Silvia to me and back to Sam again. It yapped happily and slow, long smile grew on Sam's face.
I came over and held my hand out to the Bright Dragon, which sniffed at it and squawked at me. "He's yours, Sam," I whispered. Sam nodded. As soon as he spoke, the flames in the dragon lanterns bounced and leapt into the air.
"His name will be… Demelius." I smiled instantly at the name.
The sword of the great elf Van Eigen, Silvia murmured in our minds. We both turned to her as she reared her head and blinked. What? You thought I didn't know about him? I was living here soon after the elves separated into twelve legions. I laughed at her. Demelius is a perfect name, Samuel. Silvia always liked to call my brother by his full name.
My brother Samuel smiled at her, and then looked back to his little dragon hatchling.