“Sometimes we find ourselves in new places. We meet new people – some friend, some foe. Just remember who your allies are. When you’re afraid, just know you aren’t alone.”
All was quiet in the world of dragons. The sun had set long ago, and the only source of light to guide weary travelers through the pitch darkness were the occasional fireflies that flickered about the woods and perhaps a lantern every mile or so. Occasionally, you could hear the hoots of owls and the howls of wolves owning the night. With the rising threat accumulating, most dragons thought it unsafe to be out any later than 6 o’clock. So by this time, they had retreated to their caves for slumber – all except for one.
Sitting cautiously in the grand Master Temple, the dragon’s main stronghold and beacon of hope, was a large, red dragon who looked as if he had been sitting there for centuries. A slight wrinkle curled his cheeks, and a battle scar draped his right eyelid all the way to his snout. His once orange crests had now faded to a dirty yellow, and cracks had begun to chip away at his tail spike. Despite his appearance, the dragon actually had a very esteemed role in society. For you see, he was one of the four elemental masters that guarded this sacred land – the guardian and teacher of fire, followed by his colleagues of water, air, and earth.
However, he seemed to be quite troubled. The dragon was perched by a window, overlooking the magnificent forest below, filled with wildlife. But with every crackle, every cricket chirp, he would be surrounded in paranoia and constantly check his surroundings. Little did anyone know that the dragon was protecting something.
In the back of the room on a pedestal safe from harm sat a brilliant, crimson egg the size of his palm. It sat on a pillow top, and, with every little noise, the dragon feared it would fall off. Any normal dragon would see it as just any old egg, but this one was different – one if its kind, really.
At the bottom of the shell, the reds began turning to oranges then to golds in an unusual pattern never seen before. Not only that, but the dragon’s mating season was not until after summer, so there was no telling where it came from. Nevertheless, the master knew the egg was special and vowed to protect it with his life. He thought he was the only one who knew about it, but he was still paranoid beyond belief…
Suddenly, the woods began burst to life as birds thrashed around, fleeing from an oncoming light that flooded the darkness and destroyed the calm. The dragon gasped as complex vehicles of tire and spikes began pouring from the green, sending trees tumbling in their wake. In the foreground, he could make out what could only be described as a bipedal lizard with the head of a vicious snake.. and they were surging by the hundreds.
They’re here… he thought.
The dragon jumped as a sudden explosion of glass launched out of a nearby window, digging into his back. Before he could turn and face the intruder, he was struck on the back of the head. He slumped over and gazed, quite dazed, at his assailant.
“Magnus, Magnus… Pity to see you here. I figured the wrinkles had caught up to you,” said a rather large lizard abomination, holding a large mace as if it were nothing but a toothpick. He was covered in dark, steel armor, which he carried around like paper mache.
“I’m afraid it’s not my time yet, Scar,” retorted an injured Magnus as he slowly stood to his feet.
Scar looked around and then began circling his prey. “You have something that is ours. We want it back!”
“I won’t allow that, it’s not yours!” said Magnus as he looked around the room, noticing it was now filled to the brim with those creatures.
“Oh really?” Scar asked sarcastically. “Boys?”
The lizards started to approach the crimson egg like hungry predators. One reached to grasp it.
Magnus growled and quickly tried to attack, only to be whipped across the face by Scar. He fell to the ground once more in defeat.
“You’re a pathetic, old dragon, Magnus!” laughed Scar loudly, “And you always will be!”
With a savage yip, the monsters snatched the egg and began carrying it away in victory.
“No…” moaned Magnus. With one courageous shout, the dragon leaped to his feet once more and unleashed a wall of fire from deep within his core that flooded the entire room, setting most of the lizards on fire except for Scar, whose armor was fireproof. The lizards screamed in agony, trying to desperately to put the flames out. The one holding the egg became preoccupied and dropped the treasure to the ground.
Magnus gasped and quickly dove to the floor, narrowly catching the egg within his paws. He slumped to the ground, out of breath.
Scar roared, “Fools! Get him!”
The lizards who were fortunate enough to survive the flame began to encircle the dragon with vicious intent in their eyes.
Wounded and out of shape, Magnus looked down at the egg and did the only he could do.
“Mesmer-al-zale-afguhn-suta…” he quickly muttered, a spell he had picked up from a friend long ago.
“No!!” shouted Scar in anger, who began darting towards the fallen hero.
But it was too late. When the last word escaped his jaw, the dragon watched as the egg became surrounded by light. Within seconds, the egg had vanished from thin air!
“Where did you send it?!” barked the lizard king, gripping Magnus by the face.
“I’ll never tell…” replied Magnus, smiling victoriously.
Scar roared and smacked him across the snout. Then he turned his attention to his minions and ordered, “Get him!”
The lizards began encircling Magnus once again, except this time there was no escape. Magnus watched as the monsters began piling on him, tearing and beating. He soon slipped into unconsciousness, with his last glimpse being that of Scar, looking down at him triumphantly.
The dragon family was surprised to witness a flash of light unfold in their home deep within the Zaley Forest. Each one of them stared astonishingly at the prized egg that now laid before them. Its shell rested perfectly still in the straw bed of their four-week hatchling Dazzle.
The mother, a majestic brown dragon with a look of kindness only a mother could possess, was quick to approach the disturbance.
The father, a well-built blue dragon with courage the size of an army, was ready to guard his family from any threat. He held his son back behind his paws protectively.
Dazzle, their cute, little, blue hatchling gazed cowardly behind his father’s legs.
Zaley Forest had been quiet for years. The only excitement they had seen was their son’s birth two weeks prior. The dragons lived in solitude and believed themselves to be the last of their kind, the rest having been hunted to extinction by man. So it was no surprise that the dragon family was shocked to find another one of their kind lying before them.
“Careful, honey,” advised the father.
“Oh, Ross, it’s fine. Let Dazzle go,” replied the mom as she inspected the egg for damage.
Ross reluctantly released his son from his grasp.
Dazzle approached the crime scene wearily. He had never seen such a thing… and especially not in his bed! Very slowly, he bent over to sniff the object…
Then it cracked!
Dazzle jumped back in fright. His parents watched in awe as a paw emerged from the wreckage… then a horn and a tail! Within seconds, a small, red hatchling emerged from the egg and sat quietly on the floor, looking around confused and covered in yolk and egg shell.
Dazzle began to re-approach the threat, but he soon retreated when the intruder made a hiccup. His parents chuckled lightly at the sight.
The family had no idea how this hatchling had gotten there or who its parents were, but it was very clear they weren’t the only dragons left. Still, the baby had no home – no place to go. So, it was then that the parents agreed to adopt the young dragon as their own.
“It’s OK, Dazzle. He’s just a baby,” assured the mother with a kind smile.
Dazzle looked again at the hatchling with wondering eyes.
To their surprise, the new-born raised its head, burped, and proceeded to squeal, “Daazzlee…”
“Oh!” laughed Ross, “His first words. You’re lucky, son.”
Dazzle didn’t quite know what his father meant, but he decided the little dragon wasn’t so bad after all. Soon, the two boys began to run around and play like long-time brothers.
“What should we call him, Cybal?” inquired Ross, looking at his wife.
Cybal spectated the hatchling carefully. “I’m not sure…”
Dazzle stopped to watch as his new friend sat down. They had become too tired to play around anymore. To his surprise, the newborn suddenly sneezed and, with it, released a crackle of fire from his snout that sailed into the wall. The sneeze knocked Dazzle square on his back, who ran away in fright.
The parents laughed together.
“Fireball,” answered Cybal, “His name is Fireball.”
And so the family adopted Fireball as their own. It didn’t take long for Dazzle to forget the event of that night and believe Fireball to be his real brother. The parents kept the secret to themselves; they worried of what the truth might stir. The days went on like wind.
All was calm, and everything was good… until that day twelve years later.