Eyes of Jade

Eyes of Jade follows the story of Jade, a young viking girl on the island of Dard. Jade has a serious hate for dragons, but who doesn't on this island?
Maybe her most trusted uncle Bjartr?
Will Jade learn to trust and love the dragons? Or will they fall in a burning heap at her feet?


1. The Truth

BAM! The sound was as loud as it was life-threatening. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I do now.
A tall, redheaded woman came rushing in. She was still in her bedclothes, and a worryful look resided on her scarred face. Quickly and swiftly, she grabbed me and wrapped me up in a soft pelt, clutching me close to her chest.
Another large boom hit our shelter, causing the roof to crash down upon my old resting place, but she was already running down the steps to escape. A loud sound, a roar if you may, followed us down the steps and through the front door.
Black flames.

The scene before us was monstrous, proud and strong vikings fending off a clan of flame and air dragons.
It was everywhere. All of it.
“Dagny! He’s right behind ya!” Screeched a muscular man wielding an axe and covered in blood. He started running towards us faster than a bolt of lightning, fear engulfed his face.
We looked behind us to see a pitch-black dragon with blood-red eyes running after us. And of course, we were no match for his speed and agility.
My mother, Dagny, quickly buried me in a cart of hay and ran away, leading the ferocious beast.
From my little cart, I could see her trip on a rock. She fell, her head falling against another, even larger, rock. The beast snarled and stood above her, her head between his massive paws. His massive jaw opened to show teeth as sharp as a newly-sharpened sword. The creature reached down and grabbed her by the torso, picking her up and tossing her up in the air for fun. “DAGNY!” screamed the man as he threw an axe at the beast.
The axe was little help, only landing across it’s right eye, making a terrible scar. The beast raged in an uproar, rearing up and clawing at the air before it. Fiercely, it grabbed my mother and flew away, the man shouting curses at it.
The fight raged on as I could only shiver from my hay cart, watching people I knew die and burn alive. Watching dragons bleed to death. Hearing the scream of both man and beast.
When the tragic dance was over, the man who attacked the dragon came and held me carefully. His eyes trained on the spot where mother was taken as if it was still happening. Like he could still do something about it.

“Bjartr! Where’s my wife?!” Another muscular man jogged up to us, frantic, bloody, and sweaty. He had dark brown hair and a strong, scarred face.
“She was taken Arnbjorn... Taken by Nameless, the Black Plague. Left little Jade here in this cart.” Bjartr handed me over to Arnbjorn, my father.
Then fire engulfed them all...
I woke up sweating and panting, scared from the nightmare. I dreamt this at least once a fortnight. Mostly twice.
Wiping my forehead off, I looked around the room. The house was rebuilt in a more secure location ever since the raid of Nameless and his plague. But I can remember and replay every single moment in my head, I can
see every panic-filled moment as if it was happening all over again. The village healer claims I just need to calm down and move on with life, and I should rejoice on the fact that she passed when I was of three years and not now, where I am of sixteen years. I would’ve had so much more time to bond if she passed right here, right now, rather then when I was mindless.
I got up and stretched, trying yet again to follow the bitter man’s advice.I put on a simple pelt attire made from mountain lion fur. It was formal enough for the daughter of a cheif, yet loose enough to move around quickly in.
Grabbing my bow and quiver, I walked down the wooden steps and out the door.
The bow was taken from a merchant ship a couple years back. It was made of a tree called maple, and had a nice, easy draw. Well, it was easy for
me to draw back, after all the practice, how could it not?
The town was abuzz with morning activities, men and women fishing, selling, buying, packing, repairing, making, you name it. The town was doing it.
I trotted down the front steps of the house and started running to my uncle Bjartr’s house. Uncle Bjartr was more than just a uncle, he was my trainer and possibly even my best friend if Huld didn’t exist.
And today, he would be teaching me my ‘most important lesson I will ever get ever’. And he said that I may fail and I may succeed, but either way the goal is to change the way I see the world and it’s inhabitants.
I ran up to his door and opened it slowly. Uncle Bjartr was an unwedded man, his house was unkempt and so was he. He taught me how to survive in the wild and how to fight like a man, as well as how to keep undetected for long periods of time. Truth be told, he was more of a father than my real father is.
Uncle Bjartr was sitting on a wooden chair, carving a youngling dragon. Uncle Bjartr was always a really good carver, he claims to have been carving since he was of five years. What else can you do when you’re bored off your mind on a ship?
He smiled when he saw me, setting the dragon down he stood. “Jade, I see you’ve spared no time getting here.”
“Well uncle, when you’re learning the most important thing in your life, you don’t want to be late.”
He ruffled my hair and smiled “I’m glad you’ve realized the importance. let us take our leave now and go to the woods.”

We walked deep into the forest, I was quiet, waiting for his words of wisdom.
He finally stopped and a little lake and sat down, I of course, did the same.
The lake was beautiful, it was as clear as air and sparkled in the rising suns rays. Birds sang little meaningless songs in their trees as if the world around them was as kind and clear as the lake.
But I knew better.
I know that plagues kill those unworthy of it's effects, the rich eat and live well while the poor struggle for a crumb. I know that we are constantly at war with nature and ourselves. Animals get harmed, buildings burned, people injured, people killed.
Lives ruined.

But the birds continued their happy song while Uncle Bjartr and I watched the lake.
"Story time Jade." Uncle said humorously while still gazing at the lake.
I smiled and nodded, and like magic he began.
"When I was of seventeen years Jade, I wa adventurous as you may have guessed. And so a couple friends and I went 'cliff hanging'. Cliff hanging is where we crossed a long dirt bridge and tried to stay away from the currents. It was fun because we would always get across safely and become cooled by the water sprays. But one day, I slipped. The water took me into it's merciless depths.” He said solemnly
“ I blacked out not too soon after. I woke up on a sandy beach, not one of our beaches, for this one had black sand. I didn’t know what the bloody hell I was, but I didn’t intend on staying much longer. I gathered up some debris from what was probably old ships, but i had nothing to hold them together! I went into the nearby wooded area in search of something strong and tieable, and walked off with something better.” He smiled and looked at me “I encountered a water dragon eating a strange pile of meat, I assumed the gal stole from a village. The meat was even seasoned! I grabbed a nearby sharp rock and snuck up on her, I aimed for her head while holding my breath. But before I could throw it, some crazy girl tackled me! She held a dagger to my throat and growled. After some explanation, I figured out that she trains and rides dragons. I thought it to be crazy at first, but she soon showed me that dragons aren’t really that bad. Jade, why do you think we kill dragons?”
I looked at him like he was stupid “because they are dangerous and vicious, we need to protect our food and our people.”
He sighed, “I know you might feel like that Jade. But the real reason why is that we don’t understand them. We think of them like that, but in reality, they are just like us. Trying their best to survive and let their kin survive.”
“But they
kill uncle”
“What do we do to our sheep?”
“We sheer them and kill them.”
“Why? For fun?”
“Of course not! But we need warmth and food! We need to survive!”
“What about fish? Why do we kill the fish?”
“To survive, to live, to eat.”
“Why do dragons kill people and sheep?”
I thought about it. They don’t just steal the sheep for fun do they? “For food. Survival.”
“How is that any different from us killing sheep and fish?”
“We are humans! They are dragons! DRAGONS!”
“Jade” he sighed “dragons are far more superior than we are. We are but nothing compared to them. The dragon’s mind and body are far more complex than we are, they feel more emotion and are far more intelligent.”
“I don’t understand uncle. How are they?”
“Let me just tell you another story. The woman assigned me a beautiful air dragon yearling, his name was Wind.”
“How creative.”
“Shush. Wind was untrained, unruly, and a pain in the arse to train. She handed me a saddle and reins, and told me to saddle him up upon first meeting him. I tried and tried, but he wouldn’t even let me near him. She would just giggle and watch. Finally, she tossed me a basket and told me to experiment with it. I first dumped all the contents in a big pile without even checking them. I tried hiding and waiting for the dragon to come near, throwing it at it, even trying to play fetch. Nothing worked. The dragon got near the pile and sniffed it, stealing a apple. For a half a fortnight I gave it food, experimenting with what Wind liked. Eventually, he let me saddle him up. The next thing though was training him, dragons are more intelligent than you think Jade. He already knew what to do, you just have to give him a little nudge. A fortnight later and we were soaring across the skies. She then aided me here, telling me to take care and spread the word. I released Wind into the forest to roam and be free.And you are the first person I’ve ever told.”
I looked at him, trying to find a hint of joke or trickery. But his face was as serious as a death note. “But uncle, how did the dragon not attack you?”
“The dragon knew I posed no threat to it. If I started attacking, he’d attack too. But instead I gained his trust.”
I nodded and we sat there for a while, he let me think through all that I’ve learned and we sat there.
Finally, he stood and looked at me “Jade, I hope you take what you’ve learned today and use it in your future experiences. Especially next fortnight.” He winked and helped me up.

We walked back to the village and practiced melee combat skills for the rest of the day.
The whole time I couldn’t stop thinking of Wind and uncle Bjartr.

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