It was almost midnight when Avalon finally managed to find sleep, and the dragons returned in her dreams.
Every night, she'd lie there, so happy and free, as she'd soar the skies over the kingdom of Rolädyn, astride beautiful dragons with glorious wings and glistening scales. Every night, she'd dream of her paradise, filled with mystery and glory, and everything that her own world lacked. She'd see the land that she yearned, riddled with castles and knights, untouched by the cruel hands of pollution.
This majestic world was all Avalon could ever want.
But then she'd wake up, to the cruel, harsh world around her, where freedom meant nothing, where 'magic' was a mere card trick, where the only dragons were her spiteful, miserable teachers, where knights were spoken of only in legends. Avalon had been born to this world, but she could never truly belong. She didn't fit in with the cars and the trains, and the busy cities full of business workers. She despised that world of modern filth, yet was cursed to live there, always seeking the real Rolädyn, where she could be happy and free. The land she yearned for was so different, for the people had not yet ruined everything, destroying nature and everything else that stood in the way of the obscene, hideous cities that they called 'beautiful'. What could be beautiful about towers of concrete and glass, surrounded by more towers, standing in the midst of a maze of monstrous roads, lined with cars that could easily be proclaimed more foul than any dragon? What was beautiful about that?
Avalon was perfectly aware of the intelligence of humans, and yet she knew that they were more stupid than any animal she could name. If mankind was so advanced, then why did they slaughter each other, destroy their own home, alter nature as it should have been? And sure, she respected those who assisted animals, and then said that they were 'helping' the enviroment, but were they not helping, but repaying a tiny ounce of the debt they owed to nature?
Humans are foolish, Avalon thought, as she slung her bag over her shoulder, and opened the front door. Her eyes were glistening with yearning, yearning for Rolädyn, yearning for the dragons and freedom of flight.
'Dusk, why do I have to live among these people?' she asked her dragon. Her dragon. So many would consider her delusional, if she had told them about Dusk, the dragon in her mind. Sometimes, she could hear his voice speaking to her, only in her head. And so she always spoke to him, using her mind to communicate thoughts.
When she was feeling truly miserable, the thoughts from the back of her mind haunted her. That Dusk wasn't real. That Dusk was only there to make her feel like she was needed. Because without the dragons, without her unique power to speak to a dragon, then who was she, but a nobody?
And then she'd recover from her depressed state of mind, and the reality that she had a dragon, who would speak to her through telepathy, came back to her.
'Soon, Avalon,' the deep, comforting voice assured her. 'Soon, you will come to my world, and freedom will be yours.' Avalon gave a tiny smile, shutting the door behind her. Freedom. What did the word even mean? To her, it meant Rolädyn, to others, it meant peace.
'Don't keep me waiting,' she told the dragon, hearing only a gentle snort in reply. She trudged along, her blazer flapping in the wind. Rain lashed relentlessly at her face, stinging like tiny needles. I'm the Dragonstar, she told herself. I'm not so weak that I'll let the rain hurt.
The Dragonstar. Yet another name for herself that Dusk had told her of, yet another way for her mind to tell her that she wasn't just a nobody. So many times, Dusk had promised her that she was the Dragonstar, that she could save Rolädyn. Most of the time, she believed it, and it drove her ambition to be strong, to learn to be more agile, and conquer the art of fighting, and of strong mind.
But she couldn't do any of it. On the days when she was miserable, and the real world caught up to her, the thoughts always engulfed her, that if she was this almighty Dragonstar, then why couldn't she fight, why was she not strong or agile enough?
But today, she wasn't quite so depressed, and her mind was subconsciously denying the cruel reality. Instead, she let her mind fall prey to Dusk's promises of Rolädyn, and allowed herself to be content with the lullaby of her dragon's voice.
'Soon,' the word rang through her head, a promise sung by the dragon in her mind. 'It won't be long until you're free.'