A Cloud of Dragons
© 2018 CC-BY-SA Frank Wilcox, Jr (fewilcox)
Before mounting his dragon, D’tan clasped arms with D’lar, his second in command – and oldest friend – as they have since their cadet days. As he vaults into his saddle, he can’t help noticing that his men are afraid. He stands in his stirrups and calls out, “Dragonriders! I know we have never faced a threat this large, but we can’t allow these invaders to destroy our homes. Our people depend on us, so let’s GO!” Spurred by their cheering riders, the dragons lept into the air, the buzzing of their wings creating a deafening drone as the sunlight sparkled off their shimmering multi-hued hides.
The Dragonriders form up into ranks in the air, half of them, lead by D’tan, ready to charge the larger invader, while D’lar organizes the rest. D’tan catches the eye of his dearest friend, both smiling to hide their fear and reassure their men – and each other. Shouting as one, they lead the charge.
John and his teenage son, Robert, were hiking though the woods when they heard a swift-moving creek off to the left, and veered off the trail to refill their canteens, having no idea what lay in store for them. Approaching the creek, they are startled by a sudden intense buzzing from the tall grass running along it, and even more so by the dark cloud rising up directly ahead of them. John turns to Robert, “I’ve never seen dragonflies swarm like that.” Then surprise turns to fear as the cloud races towards them.
As the Dragonriders swoop in at their faces, the hikers at first cover their faces with their arms, then stumble slowly back away from the creek, flailing their arms blindly in hopes of getting a few lucky hits on their aggressors.
At first the Riders are jubilant as they drive back the invaders while deftly avoiding the flurry of giant hands. Then catastrophe strikes: D’lar is just a split second too slow, and a collision with the back of Robert’s hand sends him crashing to earth.
D’tan screams in anguish. “Enough! To arms!” The two forces reorganize, giving the hikers a brief moment of respite, as half of them draw their bows, and the other half their long spears – mere toothpicks from the perspective of the humans. Attacking anew, the Dragonriders are merciless as they repeatedly pierce the hapless hikers with their weapons, the spearmen darting in and out as the archers provide cover.
“I didn’t know they could sting”, Robert managed to gasp out, trying to avoid falling as he scrambled backwards with increasing panic. “They can’t”, was all his dad could reply before a spear punctured his lip. Giving up, he grabs Robert’s shoulder as he turns, and they both flee. Let the damn dragonflies have their water.
The Dragonriders cheer as the humans flee, but D’tan’s only thought is of his fallen friend as he slowly circles down, loneliness and grief drowning out the excitement felt by his men.