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from The Gilded Knights by Elizah Godswood

Copyright © 2015–2021 Elizah Godswood

Chapter 8

“Let me get this straight; the Oracle is your sister?” The young elf looked between Seida and Sadra, dumbfound. “You left that bit of information out.”

   “Well, it wasn’t important at the time,” Seida said. “Sadra, these are my two apprentices. This is Tauren—the one I’m sure the Grand Master has told you about by now—and the one with his mouth still open is Gregorim.”

   “It is good to meet you both,” Sadra said. Gods, when had the last time been that she’d actually smiled like this? Just being able to see her sister in person made her heart soar. How long had it been since someone had called her by name? As much as she desperately wanted the time to catch up and swap stories until the sun set, they were here for a reason. There wasn’t time to waste. “Please, take a seat. I’m afraid the Mothers won’t allow us to linger here too long before they get impatient to hear what our next move is.” 

   “Of course. I’m sure they’re all anxious to see Tauren for themselves and hear the news. The Grand Master told me that there has been a startling lack of answers on why our numbers are declining.” Seida tilted her head when Sadra’s smile withered as she sat in her chair. “Is everything alright, Sadra?”

   “Everything is fine,” Sadra nodded, avoiding her gaze by reaching for a stack of parchment and her inkwell and quill. It felt wrong to lie to her sister, but she didn’t have a choice at the moment. Not even Seida could be trusted with the possibility of Kirada having abandoned the Order. “There has been an unusual silence, but it is possible her attention has merely been elsewhere. This would not be the first time in our history that she has been quiet for an extended period of time.” 

   This seemed to relax her. It had pacified everyone thus far. Sadra wasn’t sure that was a good thing. “Where would you like us to start?” 

   “The attack itself. You are certain it was Mons? There’s no possibility at all that this was a lesser dragon?”

   “Absolutely certain, yes. Would it change things if it was a lesser dragon of any kind?”

   “It would, yes. A lesser dragon attacking a village is not so uncommon. Young dragons frequently roam beyond their usual range, and some are still very bitter over the fall of the Gilded Knights centuries ago. But a Titan, especially one as old as Mons, is a big deal. It could mean the difference between action and inaction. Can you describe the dragon for me?” As much as Sadra wanted to believe her sister, the implications of a Titan attack made her sick to her stomach. Having to face the deafening silence in the ritual room again had kept her awake the last few nights.

   “He was massive, with scales darker than the onyx stones set in your jewelry. When he breathed fire, the whole of his throat and belly illuminated like coals fanned in a flame. His wings were over a hundred feet from tip to tip and brought a hot and dry wind miles ahead of him before he was even a speck on the horizon. His fire incinerated everything it touched almost instantly. I was fortunate that my wards were able to withstand the heat of the flames, and that we were not directly beneath him as he passed over. I may not be quite as well read as you, but I’ve heard of Titans from the other Scouters that frequent Elthora. It could be none other than Mons.” Seida shuddered as she spoke, as did both of her apprentices. The two boys let her do all the talking, merely nodding in agreement as she spoke. Sadra jotted her words down, looking up at her once she had finished writing for the moment. 

“Tauren, your testimony is of great interest to the Mothers as well. Can you confirm what Seida has said about the dragon? How was it that you alone managed to survive?”

Tauren looked up in surprise, as if not expecting to have to speak at all. “Oh. If it’s really important for them to hear my ...

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