Coming of Age
A boy sat impatiently with his mother in a cold, dusty room. The boy’s excitement grew as he waited in the half-light of the torches. He began to tap his foot against the leg of the stool he sat on. The boy was becoming increasingly frustrated because of his impatience.
“Mother,” the boy spoke, his words sounding flat in the still air. “How much longer will they take?”
The mother gazed at her son with an affectionate expression, and kneeled in front of the boy. “Soon, Roy,” She crooned, kissing her son on his forehead. The mother saw a tuft of the boy’s velvety, dark brown hair sticking out of place. She licked her fingers and was about to smooth the unruly spot of hair down when Roy ducked out of her reach.
“Mother, please,” Roy growled. “For the Gods’ sake, I’m 16 years of age; I’m not a child anymore.” He squirmed even more when his mother quickly held him in a tight embrace.
“You’ll always be my child,” The mother said sweetly and in a teasing tone at the same time. She continued to hold her son until he stopped wriggling about like a worm caught by a bird.
Roy smiled at his mother, and she returned the gesture. They sat in silence for a few moments longer until the opening of the door caught their attention. A dark shape stepped into the room. The figure was tall and dignified as it walked toward Roy and his mother. As the figure stepped more into the light, its features became more distinct. It was a man; he was young but not old. Roy saw the man’s eyes were a deep shade of blue, framed by thick black hair that was neatly trimmed. He was donned in a white silk tunic with a leather undershirt and leggings. A cape billowed around the man’s shoulders as he strode forward. The man’s face was a fair color, slightly tanned by outside work. His chin was finely pointed and his cheek bones were rounded. The man smiled at Roy, his grin spreading wide across his face.
The mother stepped forward and greeted the man with a kiss upon his cheek. She then bowed her head slightly, affection prominent in her eyes. “Dearus, my king and husband, you have finally come.” Roy’s mother smiled as she stepped back from the king.
Now the king spoke, his voice clear as pane of glass, and smooth as a lake’s surface in the morn. “Come I have, my dear Ismarella,” The king said with a gentle tone. Dearus turned his attention to Roy, his voice rung out clear like a bell. “My son, Prince Roy, you have finally come of age to meet the dragon you shall be bonded with. Are you prepared?” Roy nodded eagerly. Roy stood and the king placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Dearus’s eyes softened as he smiled. “Today my son becomes a man. It is truly a momentous day.” The king went over to a self in the corner of the stuffy, dark room and pulled an object down from it. Dearus placed the object in Roy’s hands.
It was heavier than Roy expected. The object was oval shaped, and roughly a foot and a half long, by his best guess. The object was a translucent orange color, with darker orange veins running across it. Roy knew what this object was: a dragon egg. Was the hatchling inside the one he was to be bonded to? Of that, Roy was not sure. He sat in silence, holding the orange egg in his arms. After several long moments, nothing stirred within the egg, and King Dearus took the orange egg from his son’s hands and replaced it with a purple one.
The purple egg had the same reaction as the orange egg, as did the three dozen other dragon eggs that Dearus handed his son. Roy began to feel despaired. What if none of these dragons would want to join him in Vervasa? That’s ridiculous, Roy thought to himself. I’m the prince; one will hatch for me eventually. Several dozens of eggs later, there were no eggs left in the store for Roy to see if he were to be able to bond with. Roy felt panicked, but kept his fears to himself. He turned his gaze to his father, who seemed frustrated. If king felt any other emotions, he did not show it. Roy stayed quiet and waited patiently for his father to speak.
After what seemed like an eternity, King Dearus spoke. “I do not know why none of the eggs have hatched for you, Roy.” The king sighed and rubbed his face with his hand as if he were stressed. “But do not worry my son; several of the female dragons are expecting eggs, so we will try again as soon as the next dragoness lays her clutch.”
Roy nodded solemnly and made his way out of the egg room, followed by his mother. Ismarella followed her son for a time as they walked through the castle gardens. She stopped as her son halted near the large square-shaped pond in the center of the gardens. Ismarella placed her hands on Roy’s shoulders. The prince avoided his mother’s gaze as she looked at him.
“Do not fret, my son,” Ismarella said in a quiet, loving tone. She kissed her son upon his brow, and strode away from Roy, leaving him to his thoughts.
Roy slowly paced around the pond, watching the sky as he did. He found a stone bench located next to the pond and he sat upon it. The prince stared forlornly at the vast blue sky as a dazzling emerald green dragon flew past. Roy watched the dragon until the trees from the gardens blocked it from his sight. He sighed and picked up a pebble near his leather boot. Roy examined the smooth, weathered pebble. It was brownish-white color and was the size of his palm. He attempted to skip the pebble across the water, but his mood worsened as the pebble plopped into the water with a small ker-plunk and agitated the fish swimming below.
Roy was deep in his sour thoughts when he felt the ground rumbling slightly and heard heavy footsteps behind him. He turned to see a majestic snow white dragon approaching him from behind, watching him with deep icy blue eyes. The large dragon pawed over to Roy and lay down next to the boy.
“What do you want, Whitefang?” Roy questioned sourly. He wanted to be alone in his depressed mood even though his father’s dragon’s presence comforted him greatly.
I came to see how you were feeling after the events of this morning, young one. Whitefang said, his voice booming, yet gentle and wise in the thought-speak that the dragons used. He shifted his position which caused the sunlight reflect off his scales in a dazzling light show. The white dragon dipped his head so he could look Roy in the eye.
Roy placed his hand on the dragon’s large head. “How else would you expect me to feel?” Roy growled. “None of the eggs hatched for me; me, the Prince Gealmeara, He who will someday be King. If I’m not bonded with a dragon, I won’t be able to succeed my father.” Roy huffed as he sat up from the stone bench and instead seated himself on the ground, leaning against Whitefang’s thick left foreleg. Roy glowered as he picked up another pebble and threw it into the pond with all his strength. A small wave rippled from where the stone fell. There was more splashing as frightened fish swam away from the pebble.
No progress was ever gained by taking one’s anger out on fish. Whitefang remarked as he made a hurr-hurr sound, which was dragon laughter, as he watched the young prince. You should not let your anger get the best of you, young one. Anger is a poison that can spread throughout one’s body, and eventually make them grow mad with rage. Do not be too upset about not finding a hatchling to join you in Vervasa today. Allow the past to be in the past, and live in the now. You will find the right partner when the time is right: no sooner or no later. With that, the great white drake pushed himself to his feet and strode away, leaving Roy to himself once more.