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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4. Ch. 1 - The Hatching (Part 2)

Wing Valley Hold, White Breath Mountains

(40 p. CP)

 

 

Esbet swung down off of Ilara for only the gods knew what time that day, and patted the white dragon's shoulder in thanks. Ilara had landed at the entrance to the dragon caves beneath the hold, that being the fastest way for them to get to the hall.

"Down here, young'uns. There's work to do and its yours. The hatching is already on its way, and I need to get you to the cavern hall," she told the two kids on the dragon's back, as Ilara did them a kindness, and laid down. This way the two only had a few feet to the ground, instead of a quarter dragon length. Ilara's head alone was almost as long as her rider was tall.

The Miller's second son, Leren, made it to the ground without falling and looked around in wonder. The girl, Risa, was of heavier stock, and staggered a few steps before she got her footing secure. Esbet cringed on the inside at the sight of them. Leren had that typical second son temper, despite being coved by the nearness of the dragon, his eyes already shone with competitiveness, and she had heard his muttered comment to the girl, that he was certain to be the only one of them chosen. Risa on the other hand looked insecure, and her eyes flickered too often in distraction and freight.

Poor stock this year, the dragonrider thought sadly, as she held back a sigh.

"This way," she said, leading the way. "The mother of the eggs is a rockclaw, and the father a pinewing, so don't expect them all to hatch. Don't go near the mother unless her rider has given the go ahead, or she will scorch you, and don't chase the dragonets, they'll come to you, if they want to."

The boy hurried in her footsteps, the girl following a few steps behind him, and Esbet noticed out of the corner of her eyes, that the latter was walking on the front balls of her feet. Interesting, she thought to herself at the sight. Looks uncomfortable, but she doesn't seem like she even knows she's doing it.

They passed deeper into the caverns, under the warm orange mage lights and past the large carved columns. The children stared with wide eyes on the scorch marks on the floors, and when they passed the dragon stables, she saw the girl twitch.

The caverns were almost full this day, due to the hatching, and although they could not see the dragons when they passed the entrance, they could hear them. The sounds that to Esbet were comfortable and homely, had to be strange and alarming to the two kids. She led them further into the mountains, and into the great cavern hall. When there were no eggs resting there, it was usually used for practice and sparring.

Right now however, a large rockclaw towered over her eggs, chest almost glowing from the fire she was keeping under her skin to heat her eggs. It was Mrikla, the Hold Leader's own dragon who had birthed them, and Esbet knew the great beast to be of a temper. At her first hatching, the brute had actually swiped her spiked tail at one of the vying kids, trying to imprint one of the dragonets.

Esbet reminded herself to keep the two littlelings at a distance from the eggs untill Mrikla had been led away.

The stern dragonrider found herself smiling as she looked at the eggs, and in her heart, she knew that Ilara shared her feelings. She remembered only too well another Hold, another large cave, and a white dragon hunching over only two small eggs. One of those had been her dragon, and the emotions that had rocked her entire world when Ilara hatched, still filled her with warmth and love. If she could go back, do something over and over, that would be it. Meeting Ilara for the first time.

She looked back at the two kids she had brought to the hatching, and again, the smile tugged at her lips.

Maybe it would not be so bad if one of them were chosen.

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