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The Magic TouchEdit
Sarabelle remained perfectly poised as she and her family waited outside their lovely home for her father to return. It was large, built by hand out of stone once Roran had returned to rebuild New Carvahall. Apparently Roran had originally just wanted a small wood house, but Katrina had thankfully talked him into building one that could fit many diplomats and visitors and anyone else who wished to stay.
Beside Sarabelle, Eridor kept fidgeting, uninterested and not amused by the silence that engulfed the clearing. His legs kept swiveling around, as if threatening mutiny if he were to stand there any longer.
Sarabelle waited patiently for her mother to correct him but after a few moments it was clear she wouldn’t do anything. The young lady sighed softly. It seems everything here would fall apart if she ever left.
“Eridor.” She spoke in a sweet tone, but her anger was evident. “Please stop fidgeting.”
Her younger brother gave her a long, solemn glance before crossing his blue eyes mockingly.
“Why you!” Sarabelle gasped, starting to lunge at him.
“Roran!” Katrina cried lovingly, stopping Sarabelle in her tracks.
As her father walked through the forest’s edge, his gray eyes locked onto Katrina’s brown ones and the two met in the middle, sharing a warm embrace. Her parents were so loving, it practically radiated out from between them. Some days Sarabelle could stomach it and be happy for them. Unfortunately, this was not one of those days, and the sight made her glance away for a moment, feeling intrusive.
Behind Roran was a carriage pulled by two large white horses that were not ushered by any person or treat, yet they stopped when the six elves beside them did. Each elf made Sarabelle swoon a little inside, even for the two silver haired females, for their striking beauty was beyond compare. Each possessed a handsome, angular face with nice cheekbones and alluring eyes. Their hair always fell into perfect place, and was never frizzy or dry.
Sarabelle locked onto Vanir and gave a little sigh. Even the elven males were more beautiful than her. When Vanir spotted her, he gave a kindly smile and she returned it, her heart giving a rapid thump.
“Vanir, it’s our pleasure to have you here again,” Katrina grinned, giving a small bow. “I knew you were coming, but not of your friends. Are they ambassadors as well?”
The black-haired elf nodded, motioning to the horse-drawn carriage and the other elves. “My kin behind me were just travelling through the Urgal territories,” he paused for a moment, as if unsure how to go on. “I beg your pardon, there are so many of us. There were some events and now-“
“Oh, it’s no problem!” Katrina started quickly, not needing a reason for their presence. “We have the space.”
Vanir smiled kindly.”Thank you, Katrina.” He nodded slightly and glanced over the Stronghammers. “Your family looks like they are well.”
“Is the dragon egg in there?” Eridor blurted out. His blue eyes were wide and focused on the cart that the elves had brought with them.
“Eridor, hush now!” Katrina scolded. She shot her son a harsh look, but Eridor ignored it, unashamed. “I’m sorry Vanir,” she apologized.
“It is a natural curiosity,” Vanir smiled understandlingly. “Better now than later. Would you like to see it?”
“Very much!” Eridor cried, overjoyed. He suddenly looked embarrassed by his childishness, and clapped his hands tightly behind his back. “I think it would be an honor,” he corrected himself. Sarabelle couldn’t help but beam. Moments like this made her think, perhaps there was hope for her brother.
The horses, without direction, stepped forward and to the side, turning the cart so Sarabelle and her family could see. It wasn’t particularly tall or wide, but it was thick and sturdy. Its door were sealed shut by unseen magic, made evident when one of the elves walked forward and whispered a few words in their language before opening it a crack. With one final heave, the doors flew open with a clatter, bearing a large white egg.
Sarabelle felt a familiar tug of envy the moment she laid eyes on the egg. It pulsed with a low light that came from within, and Sarabelle could not help but cast a glance at her sister, who always seemed to do the same as well. She ripped her eyes back to the egg, ignoring the feeling best she could, taking in every detail. It was a frosty white, with barely visible tracks running along the outside like veins. It was four feet across and three feet high, and it amazed her to think that the dragon inside was even larger, compressed into a tiny shell that it could burst out of at any moment.
Roran let out a low whistle before taking a few steps forward. “Bit bigger than Saphira’s, isn’t it?”
“Mother Brightscale’s egg was smaller because her mother was smaller,” Vanir explained. He and the rest of the elves showed evident relief that Roran didn’t seem to mind anything about this.
“That’s a dragon egg!?” Eridor cried, running towards the wagon. He stopped a foot away, admiring it.
Sarabelle couldn’t find it in herself to shoo him away for going so close. She was mesmerized by it, and her heart ached at it unexplicably. Magic and Dragons, she scoffed dismissively. It must cloud my mind.
“Can I touch it?” Eridor pleaded, looking back and forth between Vanir and his father.
“For humans, you must be at least fifteen to touch it,” Vanir explained with a small, amused smile. “If the dragon were to hatch for you. . . well, it wouldn’t be best at your age.”
“When I’m older?” Eridor held out his hand, trying to make a deal. The other elves found this extraordinarily funny, trilling out a few musical laughs. The sound made Sarabelle smile as it always did, filling her soul with absolute joy and sorrow as it ended.
“Of course.” Vanir returned the handshake heartily.
“So I may touch it?”
All eyes turned to Ismira who was holding her hand in the hair confidently. This irked Sarabelle. Was her sister trying to cut her out? Was she trying to establish to the elves that she was braver or had more potential? Well, Sarabelle would not be outdone. “Myself as well,” she volunteered.
“My children,” Katrina shook her head, frustrated. “This can wait until tomorrow, when our guests are well fed and rested.” Sarabelle gave her mother an annoyed glance. Couldn’t she see what this was really about? How important this could be in the balance of power? Ismira would not prove herself to be better, of that Sarabelle was absolutely certain.
“Do you want to be Riders?” Roran asked. His brows were pushed together, confused.
Sarabelle bit her lip nervously, waiting for her sister to respond. She had no good reason to want to touch the egg, just to not be outdone, and she certainly wouldn’t be saying that outloud.
“I do not. I simply wish to see what it is like,” Ismira said simply. “Seeing a dragon egg is not something that happens every day.”
The elves behind Vanir exchanged looks. “We strongly prohibit ones who do not wish to be Riders to touch the eggs. Being a Rider entitles responsibility of your actions, and if you do not wish to take responsibility for a dragon, then we must object.”
Vanir raised his hand gracefully in a diplomatic way. “It is fine. Curiosity is natural among all races. Please girls, step forward.”
Ismira went first, much to Sarabelle’s disappointment. She laid her tiny hand, which appeared even smaller on the massive egg, down lightly. She traced along its sides, absorbing the texture and feel. “It’s so smooth,” she murmured. “And warm. Very warm.”
Sarabelle huffed, trying to hint to her sister that it was her turn. “Excuse me,” she finally huffed after a moment.
Ismira pulled her hand away, flashing her younger sister an outraged glare, but Sarabelle paid no heed, quickly placing her palm onto the egg too. The instant she made contact, the egg leapt backwards and she yanked her hand away. Confusion swept over her. She wasn’t strong enough to move that egg. What was happening?
The egg made a large cracking noise, and Sarabelle hopped a foot in the air, scared. “Did I break it?” she cried. Her desperation became even greater as the elves seemed to refuse to listen to her, transfixed on the egg.
The white egg rolled towards Sarabelle, landing with a hollow thud onto the ground. Fissure lines appeared all over and Sarabelle began to cry. Had she just broken a dragon egg? What a disgrace! Could she ever live this down?
“You’ve done nothing of the sort, Sarabelle,” Vanir whispered. His eyes were hungrily watching the egg quiver back and forth. “The dragon is hatching for you.”
Sarabelle stopped weeping for a moment, taking a deep breath of shock. Hatching? Why?
“Ismira,” Roran called his eldest daughter. His voice was tense and strained. “Take Eridor inside.”
“Why?” Eridor demanded, stamping his foot down angrily. “I want to see the dragon.”
Ismira was not so curious as she grabbed her brother by the hand and whisked him away, all the while ignoring his pleas to remain outside.
“‘Curiosity is natural among all races!’” he cried, quoting Vanir. “I’m natural! Natural!”
Sarabelle jumped again as another cracking noise came from the dragon’s egg. Warily, she turned around to face the elves and egg, almost wishing she had broken it. What is going to happen to me?
Katrina took a step forward, as entranced as the elves. The cracking noise came again, louder this time. Something pushed at the split in the shell, causing a spiderweb of lines in the egg's pristine surface.
Sarabelle was beginning to panic now. She was finding it difficult to draw breath and looked frantically from her father to Vanir and the other elves. Roran was incredibly still, tensed as if he expected to be attacked. His hand was tightened in a fist at the side of his hip as if he were unconciously groping for a nonexistant weapon.
A pure white something was pushing at the walls of its prison. It rocked faster while it broke apart and the thing sort of slumped out, wet and still partially encased in the thin membrane attatched to the shell. Some soggy little grayish protrusions (Sarabelle realised that these were its wings) spread a little bit and it blinked in the bright sunlight.
The elves looked on silently at the spectacle, and Vanir broke the silence, twisting his hand over his chest and speaking some sort of greeting in that musical tongue the elves use. The rest bent their heads slightly in its direction and mimicked his gesture of respect.
Sarabelle stared at it in shock, and it seemed as though an hour went by like that, everyone present afraid to break the spell of silence. It began to make odd scuffling, crooning noises like that of a newborn as it sniffed the air.
"Shur'tugal, you should approach your dragon." said one of the elves.
Sarabelle started, and looked at her. "What?"
Vanir stepped forward. "It seems that this dragon has chosen to bond with you. The first contact that a dragon makes with its rider forever joins their minds and markes the rider's palm with magic. In doing so, you will become a dragon rider."
She looked at him blankly. "I only touched it."
The elves looked at her shrewdly and with contempt.
"Well, you should do so again now." He said slowly.
"Go ahead," urged Katrina. She motioned her daughter forward, her eyes gleaming.
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