Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

#fridayflash 70: Vaalea's Story

After publishing Jezina's Story (as I still think of it and wish I'd never changed the name) I've been asked a few times for what happens next, and occasionally, for what happens before.    Well before was an easy chapter to write -- it's here if you missed it :).   However, after....   Well after was a challenge.   I've written a bunch of random chapters.  Jezina and friends heading out to the town where the dragon was supposed to leave Vaalea, only to discover (spoiler alert!) neither of them ever made it (you can't possibly be surprised by that).   But, tbh, it didn't really interest me.  We'd seen the characters and the places in her first journey.  Going back to almost the start -- well, if it didn't interest me, odds are, it wasn't going to interest you :)

But then I got to thinking, Jezina's travels were driven by prophecy, but a prophecy that was really quite simplistic.  But maybe it was simplistic because it was just the introduction to the grander one.  These things do tend to run in families :).  And it's clear any prophecy with Vaalea could not have occurred had Jezina failed in hers.   And so I introduce a start...  A page really...  Of Vaalea's story :).

Thanks again to all those who read and support my writing.  Comments keep me going!  

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Vaalea's Story:

Stories are often told of princesses being rescued from dragons; as far as I know, I’m the only princess who had ever been rescued *by* a dragon. I was so young – I didn’t really understand all that had happened, or have any understanding of all that would happen. My sister, who I’d only just met, called the dragon, Drazul, and I climbed on. I was fearless and he was amazing. He spoke to me and made me laugh. And away we went.

It took forever to get there. Days? Weeks? I don’t know. It seemed like forever, but I was a child -- a year is a lifetime then.   He told me all about the special school I was going to; a school for people like me. We landed on top of a mountain. Slowly the mist cleared to reveal a castle, whose sides shimmered as though a mirage. Drazul directed me to head inside, and I was so excited – I’m sure I bounced.

There were other kids, and for the first time I could remember, I was allowed to play with them. My roommate, Adalyn, was the same age as me, but she seemed so much older. She was calm, always organized, “well put together” my mum would’ve said, and never got into trouble with the rest of us. But somehow, we still became friends.

We played, we learned, and we grew. Every once in a while, the dragons would bring us a new student. They would wander in; some were excited, but most were terrified. And thus we learned about the outside world, where magic was at best feared and at worst hunted. And so we stayed where we were safe, and we learned, and we practiced. And over time, we became strong.

But eventually, I grew up. And as I did, I wondered. I remembered so little of my life before I’d come. Why had my mother or my sister never come to visit? Drazul flew me here, surely he could’ve flown them. And I started to think that maybe it was up to me to go find them.

My first thought was to call Drazul and ask him to take me. He’d flown me here so many years ago, and stopped by at least a couple times a year since. We’d talk and play and sometimes he’d take me flying. But he never answered my questions of home, always just said I was better here. And eventually I stopped asking. Unfortunately though, I’d never learnt to call him; Drazul came when he wanted to and left on a whim – he never stuck around for long.

I slung my backpack over one shoulder, everything I valued inside. There were no rules against leaving – we could go at any time; the only rule was that once you left, you could never return. It was an easy life at the school. One where I knew everybody and was known. I could be myself and practice my magic, and perhaps one day even teach. It was a good life. But it wasn’t the life I was destined for, and somewhere, deep inside, I knew it.

I had said my goodbyes, but purposely not told anybody exactly when I would leave. It would be hard enough without a crowd. As I slid through the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw Adalyn carrying her matching bag. “You didn’t think you’d be going without me, did you?” she asked.

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If you've been reading my stories for a while and the school seems vaguely familiar -- a, credit to you for an awesome memory!  And b - that's because it first appeared in The Road Less Travelled.  I didn't know then that that's where Vaalea was hanging out, but it made perfect sense when I went looking for her ;)

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