Bonded [Flightbonds trilogy #1] [A Rama Empire novel]

When magic users are being chased all over the Rama Empire, the dragon riders face opposition from everywhere, because their powers are so alike the feared mages'. The Emperor no longer trust them, the people fear them, and yet they are necessary.

Esbet, the rider of the white dragon, is given a new student to train and make into a proper dragon rider, but it is not without challenges. Risa resists her on almost every point, and for the first time in her life, Esbet begins to wonder if the dragons have chosen poorly.

"The dragon eggs looked very little like the chicken eggs back home. They had roughly the same shape, but were each one bigger then Risa's head and the colour of molten caramel. The sand around them was blackened and burned, pieces of glass sticking up here and there, where it had melted from the heat. The eggs seemed to glow, as they shook ever so slightly.
Tension was thick in the air, threatening to choke her."

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3. Ch. 1 - The Hatching (Part 1)

Chapter 1

The Hatching

Velvikke, Torge

(40 p. CP)

 

“Dragon!” the shout went up from town's square, as a dragonrider flew overhead, nestled between the wings of one of the largest reptiles ever to exist. This dragon in particular had white scales and horns in an icy blue shade, the very definition of paleness and beauty. It landed on the rock podium in the middle of town, made for this very purpose and folded its wings gracefully. With the agile elegance of long time practice, its rider slid to the ground, never gracing the vulnerable membranes of the dragon's wings. The woman laid a hand against the front leg as she placed her feet on the stone and looked up with purpose.

Her eyes were heavy lidded, her black hair pulled into a tight braid, and her body tall and thick boned. Her nose was as sharp as a moon hawk's beak, but her lips were soft and rounded, and hardly fit the rest of her. She was dressed in close fitted leather, the usual garb for dragon flight, and by her side hang a long slender sword. She looked fierce, like a weapon, her dark brown skin a stark contrast to the white dragon behind her.

“Rider,” the Mayor called, hurrying from the town house to greet her. His face was flush and the fat on his bones jiggled as he ran. “We didn't expect you. Is something amiss?”

The woman shook her head, but the furrows in her brow showed her worry,

“We need three willing of your young, aged ten to twelve, to stand trial for the bond,” she said. “There is a hatching afoot and Kelvilde had not enough to try.”

“Oh,” the mayor said, suddenly unwilling to meet her eyes. “We have few young ones without apprenticeship this year,” he told her, and shifted his feet restlessly.

The dragonrider bit back a scoff. She knew all too well what he was not saying, that there were few willing to try out for bonding a dragon and become dragonriders, when rumour held that dragons had magic. Especially after the Craft Plague that all but halved the worlds population, only some 40 years ago, and was said to be caused by magecraft. All over the world, mages were hunted because of it.

“Dragoncraft and magecraft differ,” she reminded sternly. “You know that. And I did not ask for many, so fetch me three that would be willing. The Hatching will happen soon and I need to get them back to the Hold before then.”

The mayor bowed.

“As you wish,” he said.

A few feet away three boys were watching the dragon. The Mayor moved them over with one hand and then presented them with a task.

“Lan, go to the Millers and fetch their second son. Rouk, you fetch Elvikke's two daughters, and Myles, I need you to get Brandik's youngest and Nobel's oldest. You'll get a copper bit each, for your troubles.”

“A copper bit each and two more to buy the sugar cubes from Old Muck?” Lan asked and crossed his arms. Despite being no more than six, he was already learning the trade of bargaining, since his father kept him in the pottery shop while working. He knew that the worth of a gold bit was twenty silver, and that to a silver went a hundred copper. People rarely saw even silver in these small villages on the edge of the White Breath mountains, and if the group of boys could bring home a copper each, their parents would be more than pleased.

“One more, to buy sugary bread to share,” the mayor said firmly and shook hands with the boy. The children scattered all over, intent on the job they were getting paid for.

“That is five, not three,” the dragonrider noted.

“I've no insurance they're willing,” the mayor countered.

“Maybe none of them will be chosen,” the stern woman said.

“Maybe all five will be, you never know with these things,” the mayor said neutrally, She saw his hand curl involuntarily into the sign against evil, but he stopped himself before it became a direct insult.

The dragon growled, a deep rumble in its chest, like far off thunder. The mayor stayed silent after that, and they waited without words for the young to arrive. When they did, only two chose to accompany the dragonrider back to the Hold.

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