“There Be Dragons” Contest – Entry # 6 – Unspoiled Offering

by disperser

Unspoiled Offering

By E. J. D’Alise (Disperser)
Copyright February 2013

“But why us?  Why our daughter?!?”  Ernin looked at Saven, daring to see hope, but finding none.

“You know the agreement . . . they guarantee our safety, and in return, when their leader’s eldest comes of age, they feed on the youngest of our unspoiled daughters.”  Saven could hardly get the words out.  Just thinking about it hurt beyond belief, but voicing the fact made the pain unbearable.  

He looked at the parchment from the elders, the words seemingly hovering above the paper . . . he knew it was an optical illusion due to the red letters on the blue background, the colors of official edicts.

“Where is she now?” Saven asked.

“She is with Serten, out by the cliffs.”  Ernin sat as she spoke, an air of resignation settling upon her.  “Oh . . . Serten . . . he will not let her go without a fight!”  

The words carried renewed hope, but their flame was but a flicker.  Ernin knew the elders would keep Serten from interfering.  

“I will go talk to them.”  As he spoke, Saven headed to the cliffs.

~

“The sky is magnificent!”

Serten was content to just look at Evare, letting her infectious enthusiasm and good mood wash over him.  They had grown up together, and had been inseparable since they had come of age.  As soon as he could settle on his own plot of land, he would ask her to be his mate.

Evare turned to him, her smile touching her eyes, and brightening the very air around them.  She knew of his plans, and thought about their future every moment not spent learning, or doing chores.  As she lost herself in his green eyes, she saw a change in his demeanor, saw him stiffen, and watched him lose his smile.

She turned, and saw her father coming toward them . . . as he neared, she knew something was wrong, and she feared something had happened to her mother.

~
Saven, Ernin, and Evare stood facing the circle of elders.  Imposing they were, but they echoed the family’s pain.  Most of the clan was in attendance.  Serten stood well back, his dark visage made more ominous by the shadows cast by the Home Tree.  Two elders stood at his sides.  It was obvious they were not there to comfort him.

“Per the agreement at the end of The Great War, Evare, youngest of the maidens, is to be offered to the Leader’s oldest son.  This sacrifice symbolizes our resolve to abide to The Truce agreed upon by our ancestors, and in exchange grants us the right to inhabit these lands.  So it is written, so it is done.”

The eldest of the elders finished speaking, and nodded to the two who would deliver her to the sacrificial altar.

Evare offered no resistance as they gently led her from the group.  No one spoke.

~

Standing on the altar, she looked down at the gathering.  Her own kind were forbidden from this place, and she found no compassion, and no pity, in the faces of those gathered for the occasion, the Leader and his oldest son among them.  Hideous creatures, they bore themselves with little grace, and shuffled along as if on the verge of toppling.  

She resolved to face her end with dignity and grace.  She glanced at the butchering pit . . . she had been told she would be mercifully killed before being dismembered.  Closing her eyes, she could not cast the image of her body being torn asunder from her mind.  

She opened her eyes, and watched as the Leader urged his oldest to start the feast.  He looked weak . . . she hoped he would be strong enough to finish her in one blow.  Despite her resolve, when he jumped up on the altar, she took a half step back.  Then she caught herself, resumed her station, and stood tall even as he neared.  She closed her eyes.

~
She waited for the blow, but what she felt was a rush of warm air, and the comforting heat of fire.

She opened her eyes.  Serten was hovering above the altar, a determined look in his eyes.  Even as his powerful wings held him in place, his tail impaled the Leader’s eldest, and without breaking station, he belched a stream of hot liquid that vaporized the Leader and his guards.

As he settled next to Evare, the rest of the humans broke rank, and ran.  Folding his wings around her, he looked into her eyes.  “Are you alright?”  His voice was strong, confident . . . capable.

“Yes, but . . . won’t this mean war?”

Serten looked at the humans running away.  “For too long we have suffered as no more than pack animals for these humans, even as they grew soft and indolent.  We had won the right to be treated as equal, and now it seems we will have to fight for that right once again.”  

He looked over his shoulder.  Evare followed his gaze, and saw a swarm of dragons of the South clan heading toward her Home Tree.  She had heard stories about The Gathering, and could hardly believe she was alive to witness it.  

“Join me,” Serten’s wings unfolded, and with one powerful beat, they lifted him into the air, “as we fight to regain our rightful place in the skies above this land.”

Evare briefly worried about the coming conflict . . . then smiled, and she lifted to join Serten.  This was, after all, what dragons were born to do.

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5 Responses to ““There Be Dragons” Contest – Entry # 6 – Unspoiled Offering”

  1. I love an upbeat story! The humans certainly had it coming.

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