“I don’t want to leave just yet,” said Silmavalien to Noren and Keya. “I never told you, I think, about the obsidian rock, but before Minth hatched I found a black rock which spoke to me and told me it was the Avenger of the Dragons. It also told me that it was not the right time for it yet. But what if it is now? I mean to look for it. I think it’s a black dragon.”
“All right,” said Keya. “We can do that.”
Several minutes later, Silmavalien and Noren found the obsidian rock under some burned bushes on the side of the stream that flowed by Treas. It was just as Silmavalien remembered it: shiny, jet black, roughly oval, slightly irregular in shape, with bumps and dimples. They had been led to its place, through blackened and crumbled branches, by a kind of hard tapping sound.
Carefully, Noren lifted the egg out of the burned bushes. The burn was still recent enough for there to be hot, or even burning, spots left. He laid it on the ground, a few feet away, and both he and Silmavalien knelt down to watch it hatch.
Slowly, a crack opened in it. This egg was hard as rock and the line was sharp. The egg wobbled, shock, and rolled as its inhabitant struggled to make its way out.
“Should we help him?” Noren asked into the air.
“I know no reason to do so,” said Silmavalien.
“Does that mean we should not help him?” asked Noren.
“I wouldn’t,” said Silmavalien.
The crack became jagged, running through the irregularities of the rock-like egg. The cracks divided and ran in different directions. One triangular piece had one tip pushed out, but remained attached to the larger portion of the egg.
The egg began to roll down towards the stream and what remained of the bushes. Noren darted after it, intercepted it, and brought it back to where he and Silmavalien were watching it.
The cracks had widened while he carried the egg. In a few moments it began to split. The two Dragonriders got a glimpse of black scales.
In a few more moments a dragon emerged, far more proportionate than any of the other dragons had been, though the creature did not look flight-worthy. The webbing of the dragon’s wings was brown. From the dragon’s nose down to the tail ran a patch of brown scales. The patch grew wider or thinner more or less proportionately to the thickness of the dragon’s body. His eyes looked like red jewels, dark but bright, and glittered.
Silmavalien expected him to turn and eat his egg, like all the other dragons had. Then she remembered that he could not. His egg was as hard as a rock.
“Silmavalien, you asked me before to come with you and protect you. I told you then that it was not the time. My time is now beginning.
“My name is Onyxalis.”
Silmavalien stretched out her hand, palm up and out. The dragon stretched out his neck and touched her palm.
The connection had never felt like this before, which made sense. This was an obsidian dragon, a creature very different from other dragons, even if he was descended from them. She felt like liquid fire flowed between them. Her palm and the dragon’s snout grew warm, even hot. A spark flashed. She felt like she was immersed in the heat of a volcano, swimming in the midst of that acrid, maddening smell.
Simultaneously, both she and the dragon pulled back.
Next, Onyxalis turned to Noren. “I have come for you too, Noren,” he said.
Noren acknowledged Onyxalis with a nod. Tentatively at first, then more confidently, Noren extended his palm towards the black dragon.
Silmavalien watched, not thinking anything at all, but perceiving, and feeling an overflow of excitement and happiness from Noren and the dragon.
This was different from anything she had imagined before. Then again, she had always known the Obsidian Guardian was something else entirely. He had never been like the other dragons.
Silmavalien did not know what the connection between Noren and Onyxalis was like, but she doubted very much that it was anything more like his connection with Elninya than her connection with Onyxalis was like her connections with the other dragons. It was a completely different thing.
When Noren and the dragon withdrew from each other, Noren and Silmavalien’s eyes met, with an expression in both pairs of eyes of something more or less like, “What?! That?!”
Silmavalien realized that, for once maybe, Noren was more shocked, more surprised, more taken off-guard than herself. He may have made far less assumptions about the world than she had, believed far less that was false, and so never have had her experience of realizing nothing was the way she had thought it. However she had more experiences which might have prepared her for Onyxalis. Meeting Onyxalis was new and strange for Noren in a way in which it was not so for herself.
“I am hungry,” said Onyxalis. “If I am to grow, I must eat.”
Silmavalien looked behind them, and saw Keya standing a little ways away, watching. Their eyes met. Keya smiled a smile like water under a blue sky with the sun in it.
Silmavalien stood and walked towards her.
“Tanz told me,” said Keya, “but I heard that. He is really different, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” said Silmavalien. “But I told you once about the Obsidian Guardian.”
“Well, even if the way the nightmare creatures do things is different from any way I understand,” said Keya, “I still don’t want to stay in this burned-out village overnight, and I doubt you or Noren want to stay here anymore.” She considered something, paused, then turned to Onyxalis. “It is late enough in the day that I would like it if we can look for another place to stay now. Perhaps, while some of us do that, you could ask another dragon to hunt for you?”
“Yes, Keya, that will do nicely.
“You do not have to speak out loud to me. If you think to me, I will hear you. I am a dragon.”
“Silmavalien and Noren won’t, though, so if I want to include them I must still speak out loud. But will you hear me if I think to you however far away we are, like the dragons hear each other?”
“I will hear Silmavalien and Noren, and they will hear me, wherever we are. I do not know about you, Keya,” answered Onyxalis.
Several of the dragons settled on a ridge overlooking Treas and several hundreds of feet higher. Noren took Onyxalis on Dance, and they flew to the ridge. By the time that everything was set up, Noren said it was definitely too late to look for the horses. Onyxalis was eating away on the meat Veine had brought.
Noren motioned to Silmavalien. “I want to talk to you about something,” he said.
She followed him and they walked along the ridge. Keya came with them.
Standing on a high spot, from which they could look down either direction into the valley, they stopped. After admiring the view for several minutes – the blue of the oaks showed beautifully against the blue of the sky – Noren said, “I can feel power from or around Onyxalis.”
Silmavalien and Keya both looked at him. They knew he would say more.
“I and Elninya were captured by a bewitched net. I don’t think that net would have been stronger than Onyxalis. Do you remember when I said that we needed to get away as quickly as possible unless you knew how to counteract witch-craft? I think Onyxalis can.”
“He told me years ago that he would be the avenger of the dragons,” said Silmavalien.
Excerpted from DragonSword, Copyright © 2019, 2020 by Raina Nightingale
Release Date Dec 1st
Paperback: $9:99 USD Ebook: $2.99 USD