Like everyone else they’d both heard the rumours. The Dragons were back. Although that did mean admitting that the Dragons had existed in the first place, which was something no one had done for centuries. When they disappeared they left no trace of themselves behind, no history, no bones, nothing whatsoever, and that meant that there had been no proof that the stories everyone had read since the rumours started were more than that. Yet that was all beginning to make sense, as much as everyone hated to admit it, if the Dragons had been kept as slaves since the end of the war and those who were close to death chose to use the last of their life energy in order to hide their city.
Sadly, even though the question had been asked more than once, no one knew who had started the rumours or if they were true. Everyone knew that magic changed things, the way it had when they first travelled to Arkal, and there was no doubt that it would do the same due to the return of the Dragons – they just didn’t know what would happen and that was the scary part. There were other rumours, rumours that people with Dragon blood would turn into Dragons, which was the greatest fear. From the stories that had been written everyone had been terrified of the race who had come from another world, so becoming one of them… it was something they all hoped wouldn’t happen to them.
Adara had told Jalen of her fears, because he was the only person she trusted enough to. There were, the same as with his family, stories that there had been a relationship between someone within it and a Dragon. Of course no one knew if they were true or not. Unfortunately they were beginning to realise too late that they knew too little about a race that had been thought of as mythological. Had anyone believed those stories were true they might have had a place to start at least, but it wasn’t something they had any way of knowing until the time came when someone started the rumours that the Dragons were real, they had been trapped for centuries, and they were annoyed with the world for doing it. By then it was far too late.
Too many families knew that there was a chance one of their children might turn out to have Dragon blood. It was another of those things everyone had come to think wasn’t real and that meant it didn’t matter. Not until the day when it turned out that the Dragons might well be alive. Adara ran a hand through her hair as she studied herself in the mirror. She didn’t feel like a Dragon, but she had no idea what she would feel like if she was one. Wouldn’t she feel stronger, more powerful, more magical? One sign that she was different, that the day was coming when she might shift for the first time, was something that she wished for more with every day that passed. Just so she knew.
“Dara, you’re not going to see the Dragon within you just by staring at yourself.” Jalen squeezed her shoulder as he moved to stand behind her. “I don’t think we’ll have any warning before it happens.”
“What happens if one of us is a Dragon?”
Jalen shook his head. It was a conversation they’d had before, more times that either of them really wanted to, but whenever Adara was at her most worried she was certain that he’d walk away if it was her. Why would he still want to be with her if she turned into a Dragon? They’d all seen pictures of what they were supposed to look like, and they weren’t exactly pretty. She stared at him, into his eyes, wondering if he could see the emotions she felt when she looked at him. Before they started dating they hadn’t been friends, but one day something changed. Neither of them had any idea what it was, exactly, but they knew then that they were meant to be together.
“It’s not going to change the way I feel about you.” He bit his lip. “This is something I haven’t brought up before, because I didn’t want to worry you, but what if the reason we came together the way we did is due to the return of the Dragons? Before that day we barely knew each other, didn’t have a reason to get to know each other, and then something happened, something made us feel like we were supposed to have some form of relationship, which meant things changed between us. First it was a conversation, then it was the hand touching, and finally the part where you kissed me.”
Even though she was beginning to feel uncomfortable with what he was saying Adara found herself smiling. “Actually it was you that kissed me, Jalen.”
“Really?” Relief filled his eyes. “I am going to have to disagree with you there. You were definitely the one who instigated the kiss and during our only real conversation.” He shook his head once more, this time in mock disbelief. “As far as I could tell you didn’t seem to be the type of girl to do that sort of thing.”
Her smile turned into a grin as Adara turned to look at Jalen. Gently she kissed his lips, in much the same way that he had kissed her the first time, although she did have to admit she had been about to do the same thing. That was why they’d met in the middle and that was why they knew they both felt the same thing, but it wasn’t something they could explain to themselves or to anyone else, so they simply hadn’t tried. Instead they ignored all the questions that their friends were asking, focusing solely on each other, because they knew they had a lot to learn if they were going to be in a relationship.
“Do you truly think that?” Adara asked, her grin fading. “Our relationship has something to do with the return of the Dragons?”
Swallowing, Jalen nodded. “That doesn’t change the way I feel about you, and I’m going to tell you, for the last time, that I’m not going to walk away if you are a Dragon. Honestly it makes me think that it will happen to both of us, because if it wasn’t I don’t believe we would have both felt that urge to be together.” He stared at her and she could tell that he was worried what her reaction to what he was saying was going to be. “It’s something I’ve been noticing more. Knowing what happened to us makes me certain it will have happened to others, if I am right.”
For a moment Adara wasn’t sure what to say. “That makes too much sense.” She reached out and took Jalen’s hand. “I don’t want it to be true, because I don’t want to be a Dragon, but at least if it does happen we’ll be going through the transition together.”
The sigh of relief he breathed, one that she wouldn’t have noticed if she didn’t know him as well as she did, told her that she had said the right thing, and she realised then that she wasn’t lying to him. Going through the transition with him, even though she was going to hate what was happening to her, would be much easier than doing it alone. When she first heard of the return of the Dragons she knew that there was a reason the knowledge had been passed down from one generation to the next, which, thinking of the woman who’d been the lover of a Dragon, must have been because she had some idea that they weren’t gone for good, no matter what anyone said.
“What happens when we both become Dragons?”
“I’ve been studying the stories, trying to work out what might be true, it seems to me that the Dragons all lived together in the first circle of their city. The only reason our families weren’t trapped within them when the dying Dragons unleashed their last spell was the fact that they’d been sent away because of the war. Each one of them was sent back to their families, and if their whole families were within the city they were sent to somewhere the Dragons had created just in case.” Jaden smiled. “Although I think their just in case was more that they knew it was likely that the time would come when they were attacked by someone, at some point, so they had places ready for anyone within the city who wasn’t one of them. For their safety and the safety of their children.
“However the more I look into the war the more I believe that whoever it was had no interest in the Dragons that might be born. I think their plan was to make certain that they wouldn’t be Dragons and there would never be any Dragons again, but I don’t know exactly how the managed to do it. That isn’t something that’s been in any of the stories I’ve read.” He smiled. “Victors write the history, so I’m certain that all of these stories, the ones we’re permitted to read, were either written or edited by the winners of the war, the ones who never wanted us to have any idea whether the Dragons existed or not. Instead of removing them from our history they made them a myth, something that wouldn’t be questioned by us in the same way that their entire deletion would have been, especially as we’ve all heard stories that have been passed down in our families, from the time when the Dragons might have been alive.
“Of course we’ve always thought they were a part of the myth. It makes sense that our ancestors would have been alive at the same time, so for them to have had Dragon children makes sense, and the work that was done meant that we never wondered if they were true or not. We simply accepted what we were told, because it made much more sense than the existence of a race of people that could shapeshift into dragons, especially if you take into consideration the fact they were created by another race.” He sighed. “Now that I know it’s possible I might well be one of those Dragons I’ve stopped thinking that anything I have read about them isn’t true.”
“You’re going to believe all of it’s true until the time when one of the Dragons tells you that it isn’t.”
“Exactly.” Jalen squeezed her other hand. “There’s so much we’re going to have to learn in the future about the Dragons, but the one thing I do know is that they live forever, unless they’re killed by someone, and…” As he trailed off Adara could see the fear in his eyes. “I don’t like either of those options.”
She freed one of her hands and reached out to brush the hair off his forehead, their eyes still locked. “We take it one step at a time, Jalen, and that’s all we can do, because otherwise we’re going to think too much about this.”
Jalen smiled at her. “You’ve already thought too much about it, Dara. We both have.” She nodded, wishing she hadn’t, but finding out that the Dragons existed and that she might be one of them had changed her entire life. “It’s understandable and it’s not going to stop, just because we want it to – because we might well be Dragons and that’s going to affect us, whether it happens on not.” Adara sighed, leaning her head on Jalen’s shoulder, and he wrapped an arm around her. “Our relationship is a sign it already has, even though I’m glad it happened, as we wouldn’t be together if it wasn’t with for the Dragons.”
“Is that something you’ve read about, in the stories, connections like ours?”<<< The Fae World: Arkal: Erin: Saving the Dragons***