Lightwirl swoops down to the ground, landing softly on his feet. His legs shaking sightly. I climb off his back and pat his neck.
"Your getting better at landing, just a few more weeks and you'll be perfect", I say backing away so he can fly of again to his cave.
"Did it take your other dragons this long?", He asks, already flapping his wings. When I shake my head, he lifts off from the ground and soars into the air. I smile, he is a better dragon than any in the East. His wings alone, can reach speeds faster than the Shadow Demons.
As Lightwirl disappears from my sigh, I turn around and head towards the village I so gladly call home. Tenebrae. It means darkness in Latin. Travellers do their best to avoid the surrounding forests, as it is home to many ogres, trolls and dwarfs. The village itself houses highway men, drunkards and pillagers. Tenebrae isn't the safest place to live but to me it's better than nothing.
The sky is completely dark so the lanterns look like they wrap the stone cobbles in a flickering glow of light. The sound of drunken singing echoes down the main square. I follow the singing. It leads me to The Old Mare Tavern. The only building that I grew up in and it's still standing, despite the raids and ogre attacks. I place my hands on the dented wooden door and walk in.
"There she is, the great dragon rider herself", Santo Griffiths hearty voice rings through the tavern and multiple faces turn to me. Santo is the best highway man in Tenebrae. And the most wanted in the whole of the East. He's robbed at least 70 knights, 30 Lords and hundreds of travellers, but he's one of the friendliest people I know.
Suddenly I'm swept off my feet and hauled onto the shoulders of Yeda Fauna, a female Cyclops with muscles bigger than an ogres. Yeda earn her respect by slaying the goblin that attacked the village hall. Santo thrusts a frothy mug of ale into my hands as half of the tavern crowds around me.
"What all this for?", I say bewildered.
"You can't fool us Levisa, we know it's your birthday", Santo beams.
"Aeon told us all to come here tonight to celebrate you becoming 17", Yeda says, dropping me onto the bar counter. The old wood is sticky with alcohol. Yeda snatches a wooden cup full to the rim with wine and turns to the others in the tavern. She raises her cup in the air.
" A toast", She booms, "To our dear friend Levisa, the one who keeps our village together and makes our crimes nothing but rumours to the law enforcers. For 8 years she has been training our best loved dragons, the ones who are protecting our slice of the East right now. Without her we would all be rotting in some prison of the Starfall King or even the Shadow Demons. I ask you to join me in this toast for 17 years of Levisa"
"For Levisa!", The shouts sweep the room like a wave, as everyone raises their drinks and then gulp them down.