A DRAGON’S FATED HEART
by Beverly Ovalle
Coming soon to Ardent Books
Ari stirred, sniffing the air. It was different again, cleaner. He wondered how many years had passed since his last awakening. He set his head back on his hatch mates back. Raising his head up again, Ari glanced around, his golden eyes whirling with color. He no longer had a desire to sleep.
Ari stood, sniffing and stretching. Looking around he noticed some of his hatch mates also rising.
“It smells different.” Juevatorj rumbled. Her eyes were whirling, sparkling in the darkness of the cave. “It is clean.”
Ari sniffed the air again and rumbled in agreement. Crag stretched his wingspan to full-length. All around wings were stretched and tested. Air moved quickly with a half a dozen of them waking up to the world again.
“Not everyone is waking up.” Ari peered at the ones still curled up together. They blinked at those of them moving around and closed their eyes, not yet interested in the outside world.
Juevatorj bumped heads with Ari. “That’s okay.”
“Yes, that is okay.” A deeper baritone wound through the cave. All of those awake turned their heads toward the sound. “Come my little ones. I will explain.”
Ari, Juevatorj, Crag, Belisa, Hark and Rog lumbered off after the sound of the voice coming from a tunnel that wandered through the cave. At one point they had to swim through the lava. Warmth wrapped around them and they played until they were sharply called to follow. The second voice was a lighter tenor, firm and instant; one they knew better than to disobey. At once, they ceased their games and continued the circuitous path, sniffing at the gold and silver, and collecting bits of colored gems they dug out of the walls.
Ari was the first to stumble out. Rearing back, he was shoved from behind, pushed into the light as his eyes whirled in the too bright sun. He rolled forward, his momentum stopped by a rock. He and his hatch mates chirped in distress, the sudden light harsh against eyes that had spent centuries in darkness, relieved only by the glow of lava.
Deep trilling sounded as they all came to rest outside. Their sire and dam were laughing at their less than graceful exit.
“Juevatorj, come out of the cave.” Their sire spoke and Juevatorj crept out, belly against the ground and head tucked low. “Do not be afraid.” They had learned to trust that voice since before even hatching.
“Use your first lids, protect your eyes.” Their dam spoke.
Ari and his siblings rumbled happily. Her voice was one of their first memories in the egg.
Their sire and dam spoke often to them, comforting them in the shell. Letting them know how wonderful they were, how beautiful and strong. They greeted them upon each awakening.
Ari blinked and discovered that the light was not as bright when he opened his eyes again. He trilled in triumph, arching back and spreading his wings in joy. His siblings too, let forth their joy as they learned to control the brightness.
“Very good, my little ones.” His sire had a look of contentment on his face. “We can once again join in the world. We have been sleeping a very long time.”