The land and the sea both belong to my tribe, The Aldrnari. Well, not exactly my tribe. Our Chief is a brave and all-powerful Viking by the name of Eyvind the Vehement. He took over Dreyrugrfell after slaying the dragons that had once inhabited the area. He had fought alongside many great men, though over half had lost their lives. My father had been one of those misfortunate. But after a struggled year of battling the mighty creatures, Eyvind and his remaining men won. After living on a ship for a year, the women and their children made way onto the desolate land. I had only been a little girl at the time, barely three. And together, the tribe continued to grow as our village was built amongst beautiful hills and mountains and fields. People came from all over on boats, joining our tribe, others wishing to battle to take over. But we continued to increase in size, no matter how many lives were lost.
But dragons started to flock the area after years of silence, becoming the biggest threat once more.
“Runa! Get over here this instant!” a panicked female voice calls from behind. It’s a voice and a frightened noise I know very well. The sound of my mother pleading for me to not go out there. Not when there’s danger. Not when she knows I’ll be heading straight towards that danger. My long legs carry me farther away, though, driving the sound of her now furious begging into the greater distance. A smile spreads across my dirtied face as the resonance of roars strike me. I was getting closer to the scene. My sense of smell let me know this as well. Smoke hits with overwhelming force. It’s an aroma I’ve grown accustomed to. The dragons have been attacking our villages for almost two years now. But we always fight back.
I pick up my speed, pulling out a dagger as I bound over a large rock. I twirl the weapon and lunge, gearing for battle. Today will be my day. Today I will kill my first dragon. And I skid to a halt as it comes into view.
The best cranes its neck towards the darkening sky, opening maw wide. Balls of fire are shot from its mouth. Each flaming orb nears the gray clouds before arching back downwards. Upon impact with the earth, they explode. Several men are tossed aside, burnt and injured. Others avoid the sparks and debris. I am one of the lucky ones who manages to tuck and roll away. Grasping tightly onto my dagger, I find my chance. The dragon still holds its head up, needing to recharge from its last attack. It is wide open. And I am the closest one to it. Reaching the end of the cliff, I jump.
I hear someone shout. They scream. But what? Adrenaline pumps through my veins. Through my entire body. The rush moves through my ears. I hear only the pounding of my heart. My dagger begins to near the neck of the dragon. It’s so close.
My eyes widen as the scream comes through. “RUNA!”
As I soar through the air towards the dragon, dagger extended, I feel something. It hurts. But I can’t scream or anything.
I’m not in the air anymore.
I’ve hit the ground.
I hurt so much.
I can’t move.
I can’t cry out.
I want my mom. Where’s my mom?
The figures that stand over me become blurred colors against the dull atmosphere.
And then I lose myself.
I gasp for air as I jolt upright in my bed. I glance around the dimly lit room, eyes squinting as the fire nearest to me becomes unbearable for a moment. I rub the sleep away from my eyes and produce a loud yawn. Stretching, I rise to my feet, kicking away the fur blanket. As I get ready for the day, I touch the large burn patch on my back, and close my eyes. The day I had almost killed my first dragon, there had been another one behind me. I had been careless. And I wouldn’t let that happen again. Getting dressed, I am careful to not wake my mother as I exit our small home. The sun brushes against my skin and I inhale deeply.