The Rowan

(Thanks to NamesFromGraves for the beautiful cover, your hard work is always loved :) )
Before the Falling, there were Dragons.

Dragons who's breath could set a forest ablaze, who's wings could cause hurricanes, who's claws made canyons in the rocky earth, who's scales shone like glass and who's bones were made of gemstones. Fearsome guardians of all elements.

There were no humans who could tame such beasts. Not until The Rowan.

The Kingdom of Tiber was a harsh place, where magic was outlawed, and even the Dragons were on the verge of extinction. But in the middle of hide, the last pair of Dragons find a human baby, cold and alone, left to die with their strange appearance.

As the child grows under their care, a war begins brewing, something ancient stiring beneath the surface, and a prophecy to be fuffilled by The Six Branches, a band of six adventurers who must give up their lives to go and complete training to save their kingdom from destruction.

But they sent the wrong six.

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3. The Sixteenth Old Moon

The sixteenth moon was upon the Dragons already, and Julij had grown much more.

Her hair, still the same pure white, each strand almost translucent reached down to her waist. Her skin pale and but roughed by years of play amongst the rocks and climbing over rough Dragon scales, as well as the harsh winds as they flew with the Dragons on hunting trips. Eyes still as red as the rowan berries that grew outside the Sanctuary, but now, in the sunlight, it was not uncommon to see them with leather straps surrounding their head and two thin peices of onxy stones, laced with bands of blue infront of their weak eyes, an advantage that allowed Julij some relief from their inability to see. From years of work climbing the mountain-sides, they had gained muscles that seemed like bands of iron underneath their skin. Julij carried themself highly, standing tall compared to the common man, though their frame remained almost petite in nature.

Wyrim and Dracia had asked several moons ago, whether Julij wanted to be known by certain pronouns, but they had refused, claming that they were simply Julij, and did not want to be known as anything else. Julij also firmly belived that they were a strange form of Dragon, despite the slight protest from their carers.

Julij had been known to wander to the valley bellow by the cover of night and steal away items of clothing that the villagers that made homes amongst the blackened stones of the mountains, one particularly that used to breath fire just like the Dragons. Though it seemed that despite Julij's lack of sight, they stole clothes that were hardy and suitable for the harsh weather that the mountains brought. Julij always said that they could tell by the thickness of the materials that they grabbed.

The talk of war amongst the humans had grown stronger, with more worry amongst all the communities of the Kingdom of Tiber. The Night-Feeders prepared to hide away from humanity forever, their island growing ever more quiet. The Skinless were less heard of, and their dark forest retreats were less ventured, no sound came from them, even when the moon was full. The Magicals and Burners had ceased their war, and both had fallen silent with bated breath as all waited for the humans to move.

The six Branches had begun to train their heirs several moons ago, all of them bragging that humanity would keep the Seal from breaking in the north. The Silver Forest.

The Silver Forest had been forbidden entry for centuries, as the Dragons remembered. The original Branches had sealed away something dark... something that would not stop until it consumed the world as the Tiberian races knew it.

Word came from the Magicals who kept an eye upon the Seal, it was begining to fade and falter, the evil inside stiring. Waking.

The Dragons had all but fled Tiber, like rats waiting for the ship to sink. They had urged Wyrim and Dracia to flee with them, but both knew that Julij would not be able to make the journey, for although they were strong, they would need to feed far more often than the Dragons that they flew with.

Looking down at Julij, Wyrim purred softly. He knew that he could never leave them behind, they meant too much now. What was once a squirming bundle left to the cold was now a young person who carried the heart and soul of a Dragon contained within their human chest.

No, they would not leave. Dracia grew older and her wings wearier as each year passed, leaving Wyrim to care for both her and Julij. Here, there was too much at stake.

Tiber's Dragon's would not die out.

They would not cower like the rest of them.

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