Zuldryn was worried. Again.

Young Calun could not sleep tonight either. Not since the death of his father, the king who was lost to the Fire Mountains sudden explosion. The eruption of the mountain volcano took many things from the dragons of the Fire Realm; their families, their home and their hope. Zuldryn was one of these dragons.

He was standing at the entrance of the young kings hut – which was nothing compared to the original castle of the royalty, that was lost to the volcano. Still, it gave a sense of security to the young prince, and Zuldryn was also calmer knowing that the young dragonet was not sleeping under the stars, exposed to the dangers of the world.

The sun was rising. Zuldryn took a deep breath and stepped into the hut.

The interiors of the circle-shaped building were only a few treasures, scrolls and books saved from the libraries of the old city. Zuldryn could still feel the terrifying smell of ash and smoke on them, reminding him of his homes loss.

In the middle of the hut was a pile of dried grass, and on it the king was sleeping. The young dragonet twitched in his dreams, telling Zuldryn that he was having a nightmare again. Zuldryn stood next to him.

”My King, it is time. ”

Calun opened his eyes slowly. His eyes glared at Zuldryn for a second, and then he slowly looked around himself.

”I dreamed about the same thing again, ” he said with a disappointed voice.

”We all do, my King, ” Zuldryn told him.

”Is there a way to stop it? ” Calun looked at the older dragon.

”Im afraid not. ”

Zuldryn could hear the devastation in his own voice. All the dragons living in the area were refugees from the lost Fire City, longing for their past. They were all having the same, painful dreams every night. And during the day, they could not escape the nightmarish reality they had to live in. Zuldryn always tried not to show his own emotions in front of the king, but even he failed at it sometimes.

”Im sorry I asked stupid things again, ” the dragonet said suddenly.

”No need, my King. Knowledge is the wisest tool of all, but none of us are born with it. ”

”You learned that line from a scroll again, ” Calun said with a hint of playfulness in his voice.

”Perhaps. ”

Calun got out of the grass bed and stretched his wings as far as he could. The tips of his wings scratched the low ceiling made out of branches. Zuldryn turned to the huts wall, where a number of artifacts hang. He took a golden necklace that had shiny black gems attached to it. He put it through Caluns head and turned it to fit on the kings neck perfectly.

The dragonet was more than a head smaller than Zuldryn, but in the sacred royal jewellery, he did resemble the greatness and pride that once his father and mother embodied. Once they got out of the hut, Caluns appearance filled Zuldryn with hope. Both the black gemstones and the dragonets eyes reflected the early sunshine of dawn, giving him a majestic look. His scales were the color of granite stone, fitting well with the night-black gems.

Calun followed Zuldryn without a word or hesitation. He knew how important his royal duties were, and always did them gracefully.

But outside, he was still a youngling. And Zuldryn took an oath to guide him until he becames and adult, ready to reign on his own.

The sunlight also gave them a clear look at the village. Caluns hut stood on top of a small hill that gave enough elevation to give a scenery look at the other dragons and their small huts. Zuldryn examined the hundreds of small buildings made out of wood and stone from afar, each of which had at least one dragon sleeping underneath. Some of them were already awake, ready to go on a hunt to feed their younglings.

They walked through the village as silently as they could, but those who were awake immediately bowed when they saw the young king coming. Calun sometimes looked at them and tried to reassure them in these times.

The ground on which the village stood was mostly covered in ash. The frequent rains have already washed away most of the grey matter, but it was still everywhere, making the scenery look like a pale, almost lifeless desert. Only almost.

The vegetation already started to grow out here and there, saplings and grass were starting to fill the land with life. The eruption of the Fire Mountain only happened four mooncycles ago, but life was already taking back the Realm. As did the surviving dragons of the capital who were learning to adapt with the new home. It wasn easy, however, they had nowhere else to live. The smaller islands of the Fire Realm were even more devastated, and this island was the only habitable one among them.

Zuldryn and Calun reached the edge of the village, signaled by a tall rock with smooth surface on top of it. Zuldryn jumped up and expanded his wings ready for flight. Calun did the same.

They were invited to a special meeting in the Woodland Realm. The rulerless Realm had meetings with other kings and queens from time to time to ensure peace. The meetings topic remained secret, but Zuldryn assumed it had to do with a new rulers election. The Fire Realm was not interested in claiming the empty throne, but still, Zuldryn was sure that their presence was crutial for the future of their broken Realm.

Before they could have departed, he looked at the dragonet again. The little necklace stones reminded him of the dragons father suddenly.

”The gemstones on your necklace, have your parents ever told you what they are? ” Zuldryn asked while pointing his index talon at Caluns necklace gemstones.

”No, they never did. ”

”They are special, more special than you might think. Those shiny, black rocks are obsidian stones. They were mined from the Fire Mountain many many generations ago. They are said to have the powers of the Erlders. ”

”The Elders? ” Calun repeated excitedly.

”Yes, the Elders, the first dragons of Draonia. Their ancient magic might life in the stones, which were always worn by the kings and queens of our realm. Your father, your grandfather, and every father before them wore the same stones that you wear today. ”

”Its almost like… they are with me right now, ” the young dragon said.

Zuldryn smiled at him.

”Yes, it is. ”

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