There weren’t always dragons in the Valley...Father said that before they were held captive to the ruling kingdoms, dragons were the guardians of The Great Scale. The Great Scale had the ability to shift the balances of the land with the power of both light and dark magic. Dark magic was forbidden to all unless working under direct command of one of the ruling kingdoms. Due to the destructive and violent capabilities that a dark magic user could harness, it also comes with damaging after effects. Not only can dark magic taint the user's mind and soul but it taps into the forces of underworld. If a Dark magic user is not regularly cleansed the magic itself will take hold of the user, over time bending their will to dangerously shift from the world of the living, to the world of the dead. The magic user’s soul will forever be tied to the underworld. Making it their soul mission to bring disease, chaos, and death to the land. Ultimately becoming a necromancer with the capabilities of building death’s army.
Since dark magic is a high risk to the peace and tranquility of the kingdoms, dark magic users that work for the ruling kingdoms live under strict regulations and purification rituals on a daily basis. Dragons on the other hand can naturally absorb any magic and transmute it to whichever is desired without any repercussions. This is why dragons are of such value to the kingdoms and are forced to reside in the Valley between them. The fascinating thing about dragons in the valley is that they adapted to the environment in which they are enslaved. Since residing in the Valley amongst humans, dragons have retained a humanlike form.
This humanlike form can be told apart by their distinct golden eyes that illuminate in the dark, as well as hand scales, and ears. In their humanlike form the hand scales of the dragon folk look as if a soft scaled glove were slipped onto the hands of regular people. Contrary to every other aspect of the dragon folk easily blending into the human world, the ears remain that of a full formed dragon. Since dragons are captive workers of the ruling kingdoms they never mixed bloodlines with humans. A hybrid of the two races would have blood in their veins that could potentially control and use The Great Scale to immense lengths, without boundaries to any natural laws. Dragons have feared for generations that humans would use a hybrid to not only control the balance of the land but for greed and to bring about war. To this day only one elder dragon has remained in the homelands of Elmorda to guard The Great Scale. This ancient dragon can take limitless forms and is looked upon by the dragon folk as a God. He goes by the name of Maolthor and he is known for being not only a harsh protector of the Scale but a dangerous and violent God to even his own people if suspected the Great Scale was in danger. In doing such actions, over the centuries the very mountain that the Scale resides in has been stained red with the blood of its persuers~
Milo wondered. For my whole life I have been mending to the palace, helping with the wood work, hunting, anything I could do while not in the castle. I grew up in the valley as a child in the orphanage until I was twelve, and bought by king Feldon to work amongst servants.. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to find out where I truly came from..
A booming and loud husky voice awoke Milo from his nap in the corner of the servant quarters' walls. He had fallen asleep after sitting down to take a slight rest from the busy and long day that was yesterday.
“Wake up, boy!” Yelled the man's loud husky voice.
Ice cold water was thrown over Milo’s head, and a bucket and mop to follow were harshly thrown along with it. They both hit Milo’s head rudely, awakening him and causing a shiver to go through his entire body from the shock. He wiped his drenched face with the back of his sleeve and squinted up at the guard as he looked at him.
“You have work to do,” Said the guard, “ The king’s daughter has soiled the bed again. Go clean it up!”
“Princess Ellena?” Milo asked confused still whipping his black drenched hair out of his face.
Frustrated the guard let out a sigh of annoyance before grabbing Milo by the collar of his shirt and forcefully dragging him to his feet. The guard then pushed him towards the door before yelling once more.
“Of course not Princess Ellena you idiot! How foolish are you? It’s the king's youngest Athena!” Yelled the guard in remarks to Milo’s confusion.
Even though the guard barely gave Milo any time to wake up and gather his thoughts he was fairly annoyed at Milo's simple question of if it was Princess Ellena, the eldest. Or Athena that he had to clean up after. Princess Ellena was King Feldon’s eldest daughter whom was close in age to Milo, other than being a year shy of 17.
Milo lowered his head at the guard’s outburst and shamefully left the room as quickly as he could before the guard had another chance to get more annoyed by his presence or yell at him any further. As he made his way down the corridor Milo could see from the faint light that it was early dusk, he had slept only a few hours but it felt as if it was only a short while. The birds talked amongst each other with their whistling voices seeping through the palace windows. Milo let out a deep breath and inhaled the cool morning air that left him with a feeling of content as he made his way over to the king’s corridor. When he arrived Milo paused at the edge of the door and placed his mop and bucket to the side, swallowing nervously before raising his hand to knock.
The sound of his knocking lightly echoed through the hall. Milo expected another outburst to come booming through the door but was surprisingly greeted with silence. Unsure if the King was deliberately quiet or if the room was empty Milo decided to quietly open the door. Announcing himself while entering the room Milo gently cracked open the door to the King’s corridor and swiftly stepped in before clearing his throat to speak,
“ Your majesty, one of the guards has informed me that the young Athena has soiled her bed. If the maids have already attended to the Princess.. May I enter her bed chambers to attend to the cleanup?”
The king glanced over to Milo with a light grimace on his face before taking a swig of wine from his goblet and setting it down on the table in front of him. Without saying a word, the King motioned with a gesture of the hand and a slight nod to Milo silently instructing him to go about his way and clean the mess. Milo bowed to the King before making his exit and quietly stepping back out of the corridor and closing the door behind him. Grabbing the bucket and mop he swiftly made his way over to Princess Athena’s chambers. As he walked down the hall Milo passed a few palace maids that had already attended to getting Princess Athena changed into fresh clothes. Only female maids were allowed in either of the Princesses' rooms. Naturally for caution and protection of the royal family.
Though in his case it seemed a bit odd to Milo that the King did not state if he were to go into the room with Princess Athena or wait for her to exit. Perhaps this time the King would rather have the mess cleaned before any of the other servants were to awaken and find out about this embarrassing event for the princess. Whichever the case maybe it did seem that The King disregarded his usual rule of thumb of females only when it came to who was allowed into the princess's chambers on this occasion. Even though Milo himself was a decently strapping young man, he posed no threat to that of the royal family. King Feldon must have taken this thought into account when calling upon Milo for the task. No matter how out of the ordinary it seemed to him Milo knew better than to question any actions of the King, especially if he were to keep himself under the radar with the long standing friendship that he secretly had with Princesses growing up.
None were aware that Milo knew Princess Athena and Ellena as closely as he did. Growing up they would secretly meet in the gardens behind the place to play with the dragonflies and lighting bugs when they were all little. Even though both of the Princesses adored Milo, they could never let anyone find out that they had such a close bond with each other. This was due to the Princess's wishes. It was understood throughout the kingdom that Athena was not allowed to have any friends other than her elder sister, and for Ellena strictly only ladies of the court. Royalty must stick with royalty and King Feldon kept a close eye on the Princess's interactions with anyone in the castle. As he feared that even something as small as the male gaze would corrupt their innocence. He wouldn't dare risk the chance for anyone below his standard to disturb the Princesses in any way. Not by looking at her in an unruly way, admiring their beauty for too long, or simply being what he viewed as beneath them. King Feldon would be sure that anyone who didn't meet the standard would be swiftly punished. These are the rules set by the king, and in doing so has made it difficult for Milo to stay in contact with Ellena ever since her 17th birthday. She already drew enough attention as it is from men with her soft olive skin, and light freckles that kissed her nose and face. Along with her long dark onyx hair and striking green eyes, she was a sight to behold. Ever since she became of age Milo only had Athena to help keep their friendship and communication connected.
As Milo approached Athena’s chambers he once again set down the bucket and rag to the side of the door. Lightly knocking on the door he waited for a response but heard nothing. After a short while of standing in silence, Milo heard the small and shy voice of Athena answer.
“W-who is it?” She asked her voice muffled behind the closed door.
“Young Miss, It is Milo. I was sent to clean u-” Swiftly cutting himself off he rearranged his wording so as to not upset or embarrass Athena.
“I was sent to help you, Athena.” He said, “May I enter?”
For a while, Athena did not respond to Milo’s question when she realized it was him behind the door. She must have been embarrassed knowing that it was her friend who was sent to assist instead of another female servant. Milo wished there was a way he could spare her the embarrassment but he couldn’t refuse the King’s orders, that is unless he was up for par with a well deserved beating afterward when he returned to the servant quarters later. Finally, Athena responded to Milo by inviting him into the room.
“You-...You can come in Milo…” She spoke softly.
Relieved Milo politely opened the door into Athena’s chambers keeping his head down in a docile manner as he entered her room. Slowly he lifted his head to take a peak and gave a soft smile to Athena. She was standing by her window near the bed holding her doll to her chest. Looking with tear soaked eyes as she tried to smile back at Milo. Getting more upset and embarrassed after seeing Milo she pulled her doll up to cover her face and started to softly cry. Her dark brown hair fell over her head as she buried her face into her doll.
Speaking in a mumble as Athena spoke, “I didn’t mean to wet the bed...I had a nightmare…”
“That’s ok Athena.” Said Milo, “You don’t have to feel bad. I have nightmares too.” he said with a light smile and shrug.
“But who wets the bed at 10 years old Milo?" She complained, " I’m so embarrassed..” She cried before throwing her doll on the ground and squatting to her feet, burying her face into her knees.
Milo cautiously scanned the room before walking over to Athena and kneeling beside her. He gently set his hand on the back of her shoulders as he tried to warmly comfort her before speaking.
“You know if it makes you feel any better,” He said.
“I technically wet the bed this morning as well." He said in regards to getting drenched with water earlier that morning.
"So your not alone.” He finished
His remark successfully made Athena giggle a little as she raised her head and whipped the tears from her eyes. A small soft smile began to peak from the corners of her mouth as she continued to listen to what Milo had to say.
“I’m not brave like you.” Said Milo,
“ Would you believe me? If I told you that when you were five and your big sister Ellena started sneaking you out to play with us in the garden. She would have to chase all the dragonflies away for me so I wouldn’t get scared and leave?” He asked, his head tilted as he leaned into Athena and playfully nudged her with his elbow.
Confused Athena giggled in disbelief,
“ What? You're scared of Dragonflies?” She asked.
Never had she seen Milo be scared of anything, let alone when they were younger and all played in the garden together. Though when she looked back at it she realized that she also never saw any dragonflies in the garden when Milo was around.
“Oh yes," Milo continued, “Dragonflies! They were very scary to me.. You know how they say that dragonflies are the messengers of the dragonfolk?” He asked.
“Yes I do remember that tail but it’s only a myth, Milo." Said Athena, " Know one has ever been able to prove that they Truly do speak the dragon tongue, because no humans can hear them. ” She said.
“ Yes you're right” Milo answered laughing lightly as he shook his head. He knew how silly it must sound to her that he was scared of something so small as a dragonfly but he also wanted to make her feel better about the circumstances so that she wouldn't feel embarrassed around him, so he continued telling her about his fear of dragonflies,
“ I’m not anywhere near as brave as you because even though I’ve never heard the dragonfly's whispers, I always had Ellena to chase them away for me beforehand.” He remarked with a shrug.
“ So.." He said in conclusion, "In these circumstances you shouldn’t be embarrassed Athena. If your sister is stronger than me? Then you're sure as heck going to continue to be braver than me, just like her. Even after today.” He said with a smile and a wink as he stood up and brushed off his pants from kneeling.
Offering his hand to Athena he helped pulled her up to her feet off the floor. She grabbed hold of his hand as they both smirked at each other and began to laugh. It was silly of Athena to be embarrassed in front of Milo. She knew deep down that he wouldn’t judge her for something that happened beyond her control, he was her best friend.
As they continue to laugh together Milo couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about not telling her the full story. Even though he told Athena the story to comfort her, he knew that eventually one day he would have to tell her the truth. In reality, there was a night when Milo and Ellena were out in the garden and he did hear a dragonfly whisper echo through the bushes. Ellena was too preoccupied with picking flowers to notice that something had caught Milo’s attention. He took the opportunity to leave for a brief moment, knowing that Ellena was unbothered. It seemed that he was the only one that could hear the voice of the dragonfly as he made his way through the garden as the full moon shone above him. He followed the dragonfly's whisper to a rose bush near the back of the garden, where the pond met with the castle. When Milo finally caught up and spotted the dragonfly his deep golden eyes flickered with bewilderment as his gaze locked onto it. The dragonfly could sense Milo's eyes lay on it, as it immediatly flew up to his face the moment his gaze fixated on it.
It stopped only centimeters away from Milo's cheek, so close that he could feel the light air brushing against his skin from its small and fragile tiny wings.
What Milo heard the dragonfly whisper to him that day struck fear deep inside him more than he had ever felt before. Because of this, Milo ran back to the other side of the garden where Ellena was still picking flowers by herself. Frantically he explained to her what had happened and what he had heard from the dragonfly. Ellena was shocked when Milo told her that he heard the dragonfly whisper, but even more scared when he told her what it had said to him. As she began to become just as frightened as Milo thoughts came rushing through her head as to what danger this meant for Milo's future. Determined not to let fear get the best of her she grabbed his hand and cuffed her pinky with his, making it a promise that this would be kept secret between them. Ellena also promised Milo that she would look out for him no matter what and that she would make sure nothing bad ever happened to him if anyone else were to find out that Milo could understand the whispers of the dragonfly. After that day, Ellena always made sure that there were never any dragonflies in the garden when she would sneak out to meet Milo. She didn’t want there ever to be a chance for any dragonflies to speak to him again or risk any of the palace guards to notice if they were ever caught in the garden together.
The sun had finally reached up all the way into the early afternoon sky as Milo was finishing mopping the floor of Athena’s room. Athena was sitting on top of her bed with her legs crossed so she wouldn’t get in the way while Milo was cleaning up for her. After he finished mopping the floor of her room he tossed the mop into the bucket and grunted as he stretched his back from hunched over for so long.
“Thank you Milo!” Athena said as she hopped off of the bed and skipped over to Milo, hugging him.
Warmly he welcomed her hug as she stood on her tippy toes to reach him. Suddenly, as if all in worst timing the door to Athena’s chambers burst open and a guard stepped into the room. His eyes greeted with the sight of Milo and Princess Athena mid embrace. They both could feel the fear running through their bodies as the guard coldly looked at them frozen in place. Never had Milo, Ellena, or Athena in all of the years of their forbidden friendship had they been caught together... Today, all of those years had been crushed in a mere matter of seconds.
Drawing his sword the guard pointed to Milo as he shouted for the other guards,
“ I need more men in here!” He shouted,
“Step away from the Princess!” He ordered Milo as the other guards ran in behind him to assist.
Another guard had slipped past Milo and Athena before either of them noticed as he firmly grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her away from Him. The other guards closed in on Milo as he threw his hands in the air, the sword from the first guard standing in front of him resting before his throat. Frantically Milo tried to explain his innocence but to no prevail. He could overhear Athena yelling and screaming in his defense across the room as they whisked her away and out into the corridor. Panicked Milo knew that this could very well be the end of his life...no. It Would, be the end of his life. Milo had full knowledge from witnessing himself, as well as from word of mouth that King Feldon was known for executing any man that had simply looked or made a remark about Princess Athena and Ellena. Knowing that the Princesses were never to associate with anyone below their class let alone a male, and even more so someone a lowely as Milo in the eyes of the king. Milo wished that there was a way that he could say goodbye to Athena and Ellena but those days are no more. Doing the only logical thing that he could think of to keep from being killed, Milo saw an opening and rushed the guard closest to him breaking threw their defenses and dashing out into the corridor. Stumbling on the way out he ran as fast as he could over the sounds of his heavy breathing. Milo could hear the guards shouting and yelling as they followed after him, their armor and swords clanking as they chased after him.
Milo made a sharp turn out of the corridor and into the yard as the guards continued to pursue him. Behind him he could hear more and more guards joining to capture him as he fleed from the palace. Thoughts came rushing through his head as he scanned looking for a way to make his escape as he continued to run. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest as he neared the open palace gates and ran off into the deep woods in hopes that he could lose them through the trees. Milo had no time to think about where he was running or for how far he thought he had to go to get them off his trail.
After running for what felt like forever Milo collapsed to the ground exhausted as he gasped for air trying to catch his breath. He had lost the guards some while ago when he first entered the woods but kept running further until he was sure he was safe, where he had collapsed. Rolling over onto his back he rested his hand on his chest continuing to breathe heavily as he tried to catch his breath, laying on the forest floor had finally given him time to rest and collect his thoughts. As he lay there Milo started realizing that he was completely and utterly alone, he began to feel sadness pouring into his body at the realization that he might never be able to see his friends again. His life within the palace walls was no more, and as he stared into the blue sky he pondered at the thought of where his life would lead him now.
Laying there all afternoon the sun was beginning to set as the sky dimmed and the sun illuminated its orange glow. Reaching his hand out towards the sky Milo looked at his hand as the light reflected off his tanned skin. He could see all the small cuts and bruises that he had collected in his escape from the palace. As he lay there staring at the back of his hand a dragonfly flew over and gently landed on his index finger. Milo knew that he had been avoiding this fated encounter to happen ever since Ellena and himself were in the garden that spring night. As a child he worried that this encounter would separate him from Ellena and Athena, ruining his life within the palace walls that he called home. Now that life has already been stripped away from him. There was no reason to fear what was already lost he thought, as he stared at the dragonfly on his finger waiting for it to deliver its message.
As the sun continued to set the silence grew between them and the tension thicken the air. The dragonfly flickered its wings and tilted its head before finally speaking to Milo. The dragonfly had delivered the same message to Milo that it did that night in the garden with Ellena, when the moon was high in the sky. As Milo reminisced on that far back memory the dragonfly spoke,
“ Hybrid child your fate is sealed. Come to the Valley and seek refuge with your kin. For a great war is on the horizon and your blood alone can turn the tides as the creator or destroyer of the new world.”
© 2022 Tamara