Kati and I sat by the fire, flickering orange and reds highlighting the trees around us. Two chickens were slowing turning over the fire, cooking and sizzling.
"You know, Kati," I started, breaking the silence, "I've never met a girl like yourself. In my village, all women are cookers." She gave me a rather spiteful look with an eye brow raised.
"Are you saying I can't cook?"
"No! No!" I muttered, "What... I'm saying is that I have never seen a woman in my village who knows how to bare a sword, is all."
"Well, you can't have been out of your village much." she giggled. "Sigi's a woman and she's the greatest sword master I've ever met."
"My old teacher. She taught me everything I know about using a sword. She's known all through Kantor, is your village really that desolate?"
"Like you can't begin to imagine." I expressed," Do you think I left much? There was nothing else to do outside of the village except to fish more rotten sea life. It was always, fish, fish and more accursed fish! I was sick of them!"
"Ha. I bet you are. Up in Noranka there's not much either if I am all too honest. Outside the citadel the ice stretches for miles upon miles. The food there's not great either."
"I've heard tales of Noranka. That the ice stretches to the edge of the world and it glistens in the sun light. I presume you grew up there?"
"Yes. Well, most of the time. Sometimes we'd have to travel around on state visits and such, but Noranka always felt like home."
"Travel. Hm. A word I can't say I have done before. This is the first time I've even stepped out beyond the village. All because Markida told us all it was dangerous."
"She does seem very controlling. What happened if people rebelled against her, or didn't do as she said? What did she do to gain so much power?" Kati asked eagerly. I paused, not knowing really what to say. I twisted my head slightly to look at Karina, who was gazing at the rotating chickens and licking his lips.
"She came from the south east in Sulia." I petted Karina on the head, yet he took no notice. "She saw our village and started giving orders to everyone. My parents still remember when she first came. She certainly helped us... but a pain."
"And people just let her order them around?"
"We weren't the brightest of people. Caelin is proof, the poor chap. Kind, but stupid. She put in education, order and better living standards. So people started to follow her ways, saying it would help us all."
"I see... Did she teach you magic, then?"
"Aye, she did. In fact, she tried teaching all the boys how to do magic, but most just dropped it. I was the only mage in Minestone." I tore the leg off of one of the chickens, munching down. "Ever tried magic yourself?" I said, swallowing.
"Yes. I can do the simple spells," she too grabbed a drumstick, "but they don't come easy so I never had much patience for it, much to the dismay of my teacher."
"It's tough. I know that for sure. Takes all of my energy, but I've heard of the mages that can cause earthquakes and shoot fire from their mouths like dragons, so I've always aspired to be like them. Speaking of dragons come to think of it, I'd love to see a real one out here." Karina hissed at me, only taking his off the meat for a short second. I chuckled at him, taking another bite. "Not that your cat isn't a real dragon, but I mean a proper dragon! The big ones! The ones I hear that stand as tall as trees, ones that breath fire as hot as the core of a volcano and blot out the sun with their wings!" I cheered, standing up with drumstick in one hand. Kati laughed at me, she too taking another bite.
"If you stick with us maybe you will. They truly are magnificent as the legends say. The stories don't even compare to the older ones." I sat back down, staring at Kati as she delicately chewed on the bone.
"Do you think I may be able to tame one?" her head did not move, only her eyes gawked at me. "I know it might be a big ask, but I-I'd very much like to ride one..."
"Hmm." she rubbed her cheeks with her hand, "Maybe. I know it's possible to teach someone how... However, you'll want to start with a small one though. You could try with Karina. I'm sure he won't mind. You won't accomplish the same bond I have with him, but you'll be able to communicate at least." my eye squinted in bewilderment.
"Hold on, you can talk to him? Really?"
"I'm not sure talk is quite the way I'd describe it. It's more like a series of images. The greater dragons use words though. You won't be able to constantly be in Karina's mind like I am. To have that you have to share your... How shall I put this..." she paused. "Soul. Everyone's soul is unique, and it fits with a dragon somewhere. Like two sides of a coin. You can still tame dragons, but the feeling of companionship isn't there. I was lucky finding Karina when I was so young."
"Wow, I wouldn't of thought training dragons would be so... spiritual. Well, I think we should get some rest. We have a long ride tomorrow."
"That sounds a good plan." she replied. I scoffed down the last of the chicken leg, laid my head down on the spongy ground and linked my two hands together on my chest. "Good night Kati." I called blindly.
"Night Telion. Oh, and Telion," I pulled head up to look just over the horizon of my chest, "I know it was a hard decision to come with me, but thank you." she smiled, and I smiled back at her.
"No, thank you for getting me out of that place." I giggled, putting my head back down.