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Don’t miss Chapter One of My WIP, Bloodlines of Fire.

Fire has a tendency of attracting the most vile of creatures.
A proverb.

Sitting on a large stone in the garden, Ryla let a small fire dance from her fingertips. The flame swirled around in her palm and disappeared. She looked up to see Benjamin Childrere step out from behind a bush.
“Benja, Benja.” She teased. “What has my young general brought me?”
“Princess Ryla?” The young man actually looked nervous. He shuffled toward her and held out a bouquet of daisies. “For you… my… my lady.”
She held his eyes for one moment, just long enough to let her disdain show. Holding her hand out as if to take the flowers, she instead released a torch-sized blaze that reduced the flowers to ashes. “I only take dragon flowers.”
Benja’s expression was almost enough to break her stone glare. He frowned and looked down… His massive shoulders slouching… then shaking. With a great cry, he burst into peals of laughter.
Ryla just watched him, a merry gleam in her eyes. After the last of his ebullitions ended, the young man plopped down on the grass of the garden.
“Your dad would be mad if he knew just how often you used your fire.” He said, adjusting the sword that hung at his hip. “You know he doesn’t like it outside your training.”
Ryla frowned. “I didn’t singe you, did I?”
Benja looked down at his hand and too quickly answered, “Nope.”
She slid off the rock and crouched in front of him. The tip of the sword she had slung over her back touched the ground when she did. “Let me see.”
“I’m fine.” Benja insisted, but she grabbed his hand.
“I hate it when I burn people.” She held his hand up. “You look fine. What were you complaining about?” She dropped it.
“I told you, you didn’t burn me.”
A shriek broke the air. Over the castle walls, they could see an half-tamed dragon-raptor dash into the air with a terrified jockey hanging on for his life.
“Princess Ryla, you simply must do something about those horrific screams.” Benja clicked his tongue. “They do disturb the peace of this garden.”
“You know. We should go make them stop that horrible noise.” Ryla said, already striding out of the courtyard. “Or at least join in the fun.” She said under her breath
Benja followed her. “I couldn’t agree more. So long as your dad doesn’t find out.”

Ryla and Benja found the royal dragon-raptor breaking grounds a mess. Benja put his hand on the hilt of his sword.
The spacious area was filled with shrieks from the caged raptors, most of which were beating against their cages.
Dragon taming was not an easy job.
Most of the work was done in a large circular arena set deep into the ground. A chain net draped over the top to keep any of the wild raptors from flying out. This, however, didn’t keep them from trying.
A raptor in the arena smashed into the chains, teeth flashing and wings beating against the metal.
Benja strode up to the arena until he could see its full contents below him. A man raced about wildly with a leather harness in his arms, trying to get it on the dragon. The raptor chased him about, leaping from wall to wall, bursting forward with short flights.
“Do you think he’ll live?” Ryla joked.
“Probably not.” Benja retorted. “No one can handle these things like your father.”
The man dropped the harness and started to run for his life. He dove through a trapdoor set into the dusty floor of the arena. The raptor tried to follow close after, crashing into the ground.
“Somebody get Ruper out of the underchamber.” A man bellowed to his team as he approached Ryla and Benja. He wore a stained set of leather armor and his long brown hair hung damp with sweat around his face. “Princess Ryla.” He bowed to her. “General Benjamin.” He bowed again.
“Dragon Trainer Toker.” Ryla scolded. “We come to you in the name of peace. Your outrageous screams are breaking the silence of the royal courtyard.”
He bowed again and wiped some sweat from his forehead. “Yes, your highness. Please forgive me. We’ve had a harrowing time with these raptors from the cliffs of Asawal.”
“Perhaps I shall forgive you.” Ryla said, turning back to the cage. “You simply must tame these beasts.”
“We’re doing our best, your highness.” He glared at the raptor, now alone in the arena. “But no one can cow these monsters like your father can.”
“How hard can it be?” Ryla asked.
“Ryla!” Benja said. “Don’t you dare go in there.”
It was too late. She was already slipping through the chains. Releasing her grip, she dropped into the cage.
“She’s going to die.” Toker observed bluntly.
The raptor turned its attention toward her, a steely eye fixed on the strange approacher. Even from the distance, Benja could see her flames licking between Ryla’s fingers as she steadily moved toward the raptor. “Ryla, if you get out of there alive.” He grumbled. “It’s going to be because you use your fire.”
Benja then did what he’d done to get himself promoted as general. He acted without thinking. He acted on instinct. Stepping forward, he slipped through the chains and dropped into the arena.
“Ryla!” Benja called, keeping his voice low and subdued. “Move toward the trapdoor.”
“Benja?” She cut a glance at him. “What are you doing? I’ve got this.”
“Ryla, you’re crazy. You’ve never done this before.”
“I have shockwaves, Benja, I’ve got this. If it gets too close, I’ll blast it.”
Benja didn’t have to remind her that she’d have to deal with her dragon of a father if she did so. “But I’m going to try not to.”
She was moving for the harness that lay on the ground near the raptor, all the while keeping her eyes on the raptor in case it chose to move, but it didn’t stir a feather. Its cold eyes were locked on Ryla and Benja was almost certain that it didn’t even know he was there.
Suddenly, it leaped toward her.
Ryla screamed and released a shockwave that punched into the raptor and Benja at the same time.
The raptor recovered before he did and, teeth flashing, loped toward Ryla, who was ducked on the ground
“NO!” Benja threw himself to his feet.
At Benja’s cry, the raptor stopped short.
“No.” He repeated, stepping toward it. “BACK!”
The raptor turned and fled to the farthest corner of the arena.
“Through the trapdoor, Ryla.”
She rolled and dove for it, disappearing. Benja jumped and dropped into the hole behind her.
They found themselves in a pile of hay in a small chamber lit only by the sunlight streaming in through the open trapdoor.
“That was terrible.” Benja said, standing up and brushing himself off. “I thought you were going to get—”
The raptor crashed into the trapdoor, trying in vain to squeeze its massive body through the small hole. “Eaten.” He finished.
“Thanks, Benja.” Ryla mumbled, standing up. “I thought I had that thing.”
Benja laughed. “You need to work on your shockwaves, because you blasted me.”
“Yeah.” She admitted, massaging the back of her neck. “Sorry.”
“Uh… that was still awesome.”
“My dad is going to cook me when he finds out about this.”
“Oh really? I thought you Fire-Bloods couldn’t burn each other.”
She smacked him on the shoulder. “You know what I meant. How did you do that back there?”
“Do what?”
“You stopped that dragon. It was going eat me.”
Benja laughed nervously. “I thought you had your eyes closed.”
One of her hands went up in flames. “General, don’t taunt me.” She held her flaming fist close to his face with mock anger. “I can have you thrown to the raptors any moment I like.”
The fire went out. “But seriously,” she said. “What was that back there? I’ve only ever seen… my father do something like that with those man-eating monsters.”
Benja shrugged.
“Speaking of your father.” Benja said. “I think you’ve made him mad, royal princess.”
“I like to make him mad sometimes.” She grinned. “It’s good for his health. What do you think he’s more mad about, my using my powers in front of the others, or my almost getting killed?”
“RYLA? Come out of that hole so I can talk to you!” Her father bellowed again.
“Does it make him mad when you kiss me?” Benja asked.
She kissed him quickly. “Yes it does.”
“I feel much braver now.” Benja said. “Let’s face this monster.”
“Protect me, brave general, and lead the way.” Ryla laughed.
And her laughter was a merry sound.

Do you like it? Good! You can read more of my writing on my fiction page.

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