Chapter 4 “In ancient times before men came to Allryss, dragons ruled. When you humans first arrived, traveling through gateways from the other worlds, wars were fought with thousands dying on both sides. Finally, after seeing that there was no way to stop your advance until we could close the gateways, we dragons offered a peace agreement. The humans, fearing that the dragons would kill them before they could come to an agreement used what was left of their human magic and created The Eye, The Tooth, The Claw and The Heart. After these were created, a peace of a sort was established between our races and the bearers of the eye became who would uphold the laws of those agreements. The Eye protects the wearer and no dragon can harm its wearer. After the eye was created, both dragons and humans created the tooth and claw. The tooth allows any possessing it to control a dragon close to him or her. Next to stop humans from harming dragons the claw was created. Only when all three are together can the holder open heart and control the gateways between the worlds.” Listening intently, Micah hadn't realized that the dragon had stopped talking Showing that he was paying attention and looking down at the medallion on his chest, he asked, “I obviously hold this one, who has the other two?” “The Griega,” answered the dragon with an irritated growl. “Well at least they have the tooth.” Seeing the questioning look on Micah’s face the dragon said, “They are fierce warriors who believe that all dragons should just be beasts of burden and their dragonmage uses the tooth to accomplish such. He launched this attack on Illanor hoping that it would draw you here. With me captured, the Griega hoped that they could capture the eye when you came. Then after they were rid of you, they could find the claw at their leisure and open the heart. They want to reopen the gates between the worlds and using their dragons they can take over those like they have done here. With all three artifacts of power in their possession, there will be no stopping them. Thanks to your ancestors, who, unlike some,” Micah was sure he heard sarcasm dripping from the dragon’s words, “did their duty, the dragon’s eye was transferred beyond the griegans reach. They chose a world where the griega couldn’t reach and sent the wearer of the eye there until he was needed. Twenty years ago, the griega came out of the north again and launched an all out war on humans and dragons alike. Only after the arrival of your father were they defeated.” The dragon paused, letting out another long breath, laying its head down on the stone floor. “They came again ten years ago. This time under the command of a new dragonlord, a dragonmage actually, and the destruction began again, much worse than the first time. The remaining dragonlords asked me to call for you to come and bring the eye, so that they could have someone to lead them and wield the dragon magic as your father did. But my summons was never answered and I was captured! You, Micah Williams are a descendant of the first rider and a bearer of the eye. Didn’t your father tell you any of this?” Micah found himself shaking his head. “I didn’t believe him. There was no proof, except this.” He held up the eye by its golden chain. “Until today, it has never done anything. I thought my father had made up those tales.” Micah found himself eyeing the stone warily. The dragon’s head lowered again until they were eye to eye. “If the Griega gain control of the heart, Al’sonar, their dragonmage, can open up the gateways to the other worlds. The closest are yours and their home world. More than likely their new dragonlord will start with yours. If you have an heir he will want to kill him first, that way the eye can’t be passed on to another after he finishes with you and he can retain control of it. Do you have any other heirs, Micah Williams?” Micah’s mind flashed back to his ten year old son, Jared, living with his mother and new stepfather. Slowly nodding, he also thought he heard something else in what the dragon was saying but it flew away from his thoughts as he heard the beast’s next words. “All it will take if they can’t find the heart,” the dragon said in a direct manner, “is killing you, then the stone will pass through your bloodline. A gateway will be created by your ancestors in the eye. The griegan Dragonmage can use that and follow the line to your world ending any other protectors from returning. I’m sure,” the dragon paused, giving him a skeptical eye, “since you didn’t believe the words from your own father’s mouth, you probably never passed your heritage on to your son, did you?” Shaking his head no, Micah remembered. He had told Mariynn about the stories and they both had agreed that their son didn’t need to know about his father’s deranged nonsense of other worlds, protectors or dragonmages. Realizing that possibly he might not be dreaming, Micah decided to take a chance. “And since I am supposed to know you and obviously you know me dragon, what is your name?” The great dragon eyed him carefully and to Micah’s eyes it felt again as if he was being measured from head to toe and then some. Finally the beast answered, “My name, Man of the Blood, is Noraxxis.” “Norraxxis,” Micah echoed, the name sending him back years in his head again. At first he didn’t know how far but as the long ago memories of his childhood resurfaced he remembered the name of the loyal and fierce dragon his father had told him about. “You’re the dragon that serves the protector of the holder and acts as the guardian of the gate. I know about you,” Micah whispered in fascinated awe. “I know your story.” Noraxxis drew back, regarding him with a flat eyed stare. “You are the fiercest and most dangerous of your kind and are considered to be one of the greatest dragons ever hatched.” Slowly another memory surfaced and Micah found himself saying something his father had made him memorize. “However the danger falls, your loyalty will always be to the bloods call.” Micah didn’t realize where the words came from exactly but the change they wrought on Noraxxis was instantaneous. The anger that had seemed to sustain the dragon faded as if it had never been there. Almost reverently the large beast lowered its spiny head until it lay in front of his feet. “So do I serve and always to the blood am I a servant in the service to all.” The dragon paused and regarded him thoughtfully. “I believe I misjudged you Micah Williams. I doubted you were a rider but your words are those of the foresworn and the words of a servant to the eye. Only a Man of the Blood can speak them while wearing the eye.” Now it was Micah’s turn. Regarding the dragon, he flushed a little at the change, but now he felt no anger towards this creature and realized that if he was supposed to be here maybe he was also supposed to be doing something. Looking around at the chains holding the dragon in place Micah asked, “I’m sure that we, or I, am supposed to be doing something here if you have all been summoning me for so long?” “It’s been too long, eye bearer,” answered Noraxxis in a melancholy tone. “Our lands and people have been defeated, the Griega have defeated almost all the Dragonlords. You have arrived too late. The only reason for you to be here now is for you to die. Most of the people of this land would like to see that happen since you never came when called. But if that happens, it will allow Al’sonar to travel to your world and kill your heir. Then he can return here, find the claw and open the gateways. If that happens I will be powerless to stop him.” “So what you are saying is that I have to find a way out of here and recover this heart and return back to my world?” “Sort of,” growled Noraxxis, “in order for you to do that though you would also have to abandon all of us here and somehow recover the tooth and the claw. Without them you can’t open the heart, that’s also why you were summoned.” Noraxxis threw a glance around at his surroundings, “All that has to happen is for you to be captured and killed. Al’sonar can take possession of the eye and he too can open the heart. But,” Noraxxis said at the end, “he doesn’t have to have the heart if he kills you personally and takes control of the eye. Like the portal that brought you here, he can follow it back.” Micah sensed that Noraxxis was leaving out something, he knew he was missing it but wasn’t able to figure it out and asked instead, “So how do we go about freeing you, if those chains are magical and you can’t break them what are we supposed to do?” Noraxxis lifted his head and stared back at the chains holding him in place, “You are the only one who can set me free, and that in itself is a trap.” “What do you mean I’m the only one who can free you?” “The chains are runeworked, they are linked to the dragon’s eye through the bond of blood and magic. Only one possessing the eye or a Man of the Blood can work the magic needed to release me. But,” Noraxxis paused, glancing about the chamber, studying its doors, “whenever you do, I’m sure it will alert the dragonmage who placed them.” Staring at the dragon’s massive body, Micah found it hard to believe that anyone could ever subdue the giant beast. “How did you end up being captured anyway? I don’t see how it’s possible.” Noraxxis turned his head in another direction and didn’t look him in the eye. Deliberately he began examining his surroundings. Micah sensed somehow that the dragon was embarrassed and after having been teased and tortured by him he couldn’t resist, snidely he asked, “What did they do catch you while you were sleeping?” Snorting, Noraxxis faced him and growled irritably, “Actually, yes.” Fighting to keep a smirk off his face, Micah nodded his head. Not wanting to know all the details, he said, “We will worry about what to do about them after we free you, but for now we need to do that, how should we go about it?” “Before we even think about that, there are some things you need to do first,” replied Noraxxis. “See that door off to your right?” Micah nodded following the dragon’s eyes to a stout wooden door that was covered in dust. “You need to recover what is rightfully yours. You can’t expect to approach the other dragonlords without armor or equipment and it’s impossible for you to ride on my back without a brace saddle.” “What the hell is a brace saddle?” “It’s what keeps you in place and prevents you from dying while you’re on my back. Now go in there and get it. I’m not sure how much time we have. It’s possible the dragonmage who captured already knows of your arrival, but if he doesn’t, I would like to be far away from here when he does. You aren’t ready yet to handle him and I would rather not have you killed yet.” “Killed yet?” Micah asked throwing the dragon a questioning look. Noraxxis fixed him with a look that could have had several meanings and said, “Don’t worry, you will grow into what you should be. Until then though,” the dragon smiled a smile so wide that it split his whole face, “I will lead you by the scruff of the neck, like all good hatchlings. I will keep you near the nest until you are ready to fly and try to keep you from any harm.” Micah glanced sideways at the dragon, sure he thought as he crossed the room that he had heard sarcasm in his voice, but when his look fell on the giant red beast, Noraxxis’ scaled face showed pure innocence.