Dragonblood

Dragonblood by Anthony D. Franklin Read Free Book Online

Book: Dragonblood by Anthony D. Franklin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anthony D. Franklin
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flight and in combat. Strength, grace, agility, and power had to be shown during the movements. Even as he practiced the forms, his Bondmate drilled him on the old tongue. Tallon’s parents watched, bemused, as he rehearsed over and over the required movements and speeches.
    At last the thought came, “ Sleep well tonight, Tallon. For tomorrow you must travel to my home. It will be an arduous journey and the climb will be challenging. My naming day is in two days. You must be there or all is for naught.”
    “I will not fail you!” was Tallon’s fervent reply.
    Sleep did not come easily for the young man, but it did finally come. The next morning he bid his parents farewell and left on the journey that promised to fulfill the changes which had already occurred in his life. He carried only a backpack with food and water, and a blanket for the chill of the night. Honing in on the growing connection, Tallon used his awareness of his Bondmate as his guide. So intent was he on his destination that he did not feel the eyes that watched him from a hidden place as he left.
    * * *
    The young dragon went over the details of his plan again and again. He’d taught Tallon all that the young human could absorb in their limited time. Still, he worried he might have overlooked something. Some small thing which would bring his house of straw falling down on their heads. Cloudia tried to comfort him, but he would have none of it. Between preparing for his naming day and trying to avoid Smort, his days were worrisome at best.
    More and more, Smort seemed to begrudge him for some unknown trespass. There was no telling what had gotten under Smort’s scales. Hate was a thing long forgotten among dragons. However, if he had to put a word to it, hate was what he felt from Smort. And no use asking what was the matter. He’d tried that once and nearly had his head bitten off for his trouble.
    “A hindquarter for your thoughts, Snooter.”
    The young dragon was startled out of his reverie. “ Cloudia! I thought you were at the lake.”
    “I was,” she said, “But Smort was there. There is a... wrongness about him. Something... I don’t know.”
    “I feel it, too.” He said. “ I thought it was just towards me!”
    A shadow passed over them and they both instinctively looked up. Smort had passed over them at such a close distance as to be deemed rude. Courtesy counted for much among dragons and such an act was unheard of. Now, he flew in lazy circles above them.
    “So,” he sneered at them both, “ I should have known I’d find you with HIM!”
    The pair looked at each other and then back up at the spiraling Smort. What was he ---?
    “You have ignored my overtures in favor of this no name with shell fragments still clinging to his scales!”
    The young dragon stared incredulously at Smort. Overtures? Cloudia? The insult about his age went unheeded. He had loved Cloudia for as long as he could remember. Could she really feel the same for him? He turned to face her and was surprised to see her eyes shyly cast downward. Slowly, she brought her head up and her eyes searched his. He did not have to hear her thoughts to know it was true. She loved him, too. He wanted to roar for joy! For a moment Smort was forgotten. Then ---
    “SHARDS AND SHELLS! YOU DID NOT KNOW!” Smort bellowed. “ Burn you both to ashes!” he muttered, as he flew off in frustration.
    Later, when they could look away from each other and think clearly again, they thought perhaps they should be a little worried about Smort, and what he might do. Later still, they would wonder why they did not see it coming.
    Tallon walked steadily through the day and night. He ate and drank as he walked, slowing only to wrap the blanket around his shoulders to fight the chill of the night. During the day he’d enjoyed the surrounding woods, appreciating the beauty of nature. His general good feeling was marred only by a vague sense of being watched. It worsened during the night,

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