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

Risa stared. She could not help herself. She felt unsafe and alarmed, and in front of her was a mountain hall larger than the mayor's mansion, and a dragon. And several eggs in a nest of sand. And too many strangers for her to ever be comfortable. She had been given a choice, to stay in Velvikke and be a nothing forever, or- or take the chance to become a dragonrider. A prospect that seemed too huge to be true, frightening, and yet drawing her. It had never been a choice.

The dragon in the middle of the cavern hall was the largest Risa had ever seen. Its head was wider than the dragon who had flown them to the Hold, and it looked distinctively different. This one was brown like freshly turned earth, where amber lay speckled, though the colour faded over its snout and down its throat and belly to a soft grey. It had two horns above its slitted orange eyes, which curled down towards its neck. It had claws on all its feet, the claws large enough to split the belly of a deer with one small movement. It lurched over its eggs and rolled its eyes possessively as it glared at the gathered kids.

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.

As she watched, the mother crooned her neck and opened her mouth, releasing a column of fire upon the eggs. Their glow intensified from the heat, as they started rocking together. Their mother's flames seemed to have excited the dragonets within the eggs.

There was something about that warmth, that energy, that drew Risa in, and took her breath away. Her ears were buzzing.

When one of the eggs tipped over, a dragonrider next to the mother, reached up and caressed her snout with gentle motions, pressing and turning her head away from the eggs. Coaxing and cajoling, the rider began luring and calling her away from her eggs, and through the entrance to the stables, The dragon carefully stepped around her nest, reluctantly walking with heavy steps to her rider, her tail dragging in the sand behind her. The man laid a comforting hand against her front leg and whispered something to her.

Risa was too far away to hear what, and too enraptured by the eggs to care. Too caught up in another whisper, another call.

As another egg tipped over and rolled a few feet across the sand, she had to fight the urge to go to it and help it. Only a look from Esbet, the stern dragonrider who had brought her, made her stop. The eggs were hatching. A few more tumbled, and one fell towards Risa.

A lizard snout broke through the shell, pushing away a flake, and making room for grey claws to render the thick material. Pushing and twisting, the dragonet crawled out of the egg, glistening and wet, the size of a half grown goat. It mewled in distress, looked around for its mother, and found that she was not there.

It got up on its claws with a few stumbling steps, tail sliding over the sand and getting covered in tiny corns and stones, clinging to its dark brown scales.

The tiny creature with the triangular head staggered a few feet over the sandy cavern floor. It whirred it's head in confusion at this very first meeting with the world, and blinked ever so slowly. Risa stared at it, her insides quivering with tension, as it took another step towards her. Those amber eyes met hers, the pupil suddenly narrowing, as the stumbling dragonet set forth with a fierce decisiveness.

Never in her life had Risa been so taut and so still at the same time.

It came closer and closer, its steps growing more secure, and yet still clumsy with newborn life. And still, it kept its eyes on hers.

A thousand tiny hooks took hold of her heart and lungs, tugging at her spine and stomach and head, rummaging through her innermost thoughts. The amber eyes of the dragonet widened, and Risa felt her own eyes follow along as she was sucked into those golden depths. Something started burning inside of her, glowing warmly, spreading like brandy through her veins, and for a second, she saw double.

Then the feeling faded, not completely, but enough that it was only a vague sensation in the back of her mind.

The little dragon snuggled up to her leg, pressing against it like a cat, and growled. On pure reflex, Risa slid down on her knees and took the creature into her arms, allowing it to snuggle up to her chest instead.

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