The House of Jet

Book 2- The Book of Nyoke

Chapter 1- Arrival

Nyoke stood on the crest of the hill with his face towards the sky. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Finally, finally he was here. Finally his life was really going to begin. Down there in the valley were the most amazing creatures. Down there were the Houses of the Dragons, the great Houses. His entire life Nyoke had dreamed of dragons, his entire life he had gazed up at the clouds wishing he could soar amongst them. And now here he was, at the end of his journey. Soon he would be down there with the other new recruits, ready to become a member of the House of Jet. In his opinion the greatest and fiercest house in the entire valley.

It was hard to believe that only a few weeks ago he had been back in his home town with no idea what life had in store for him. Then he had been his father's disappointment, the only son who didn't want to follow in his footsteps. Nyoke wasn't cut out to be a blacksmith and never would be, although he had always been intrigued by the fire. His days had been spent day dreaming and looking up into the sky, even in the forge his mind had wandered as he stared into the flames.

Then one day they had arrived, the dragon riders. They swooped down and filled the village square. Within moments the tables were set up and the crowds gathered around. Nyoke had stood for sometime just looking at them in wonder, these majestic beasts. He couldn't quite believe it: They were here, they were actually here. He had never seen them up close before, never seen them like this. He could see then, here, now. He could walk up and touch one, know that it was real, that this was not a dream. As if in a trance he moved forward, towards the swarming tables. One creature near the end drew him on, it was larger than the others and black, jet black. Its glistening black eyes dared him forward, it watched him move ever closer this beautiful thing.

Finally he reached its side. Lifting a single hand he moved to touch its head. Around him everyone else had stopped, staring in disbelief and morbid fascination. The all secretly wished that it would take his arm off, but he didn't notice. The dragon lowered its head slightly and emitted a gravely purr as he scratched it behind one ear. From that moment he was lost. This was what he had been dreaming about his entire life and his destiny was set.

Lost in his memories, Nyoke descended the slope slowly. That had been the best day of his life. It was as if his eyes had been opened for the first time that day, as if he could finally see, his life had finally begun. As if in a trance he moved towards the masses of people gathered bellow. Yes he knew that not every recruit became a rider, and no one ever talked about those who failed, though he knew they did not return to their villages. He knew that he was giving up his old life to be here, but he didn't care. As far as he could see, if he wasn't a dragon rider, he wasn't anything. If he couldn't live there in the House of Jet, he wouldn't live anywhere.

There were hundreds of people standing in the field, waiting to be escorted to their new homes. Nyoke picked his way through the crowd until he reached the black flag slightly off to one side. There seemed to be hundreds standing here, their trunks by their sides, but he saw only one. Amongst the nervous and excited faces there was one girl leaning up against the flag pole. She wasn't glancing around at the others, or watching the other houses nervously. She wasn't bragging about how great she was going to be, or worrying about what her new life was going to be like. She seemed different from the others, detached, up and far away from them. He couldn't figure out why but he could see she was different. There she stood against the flag pole with a dusty book in one hand oblivious to everything else. Her long dark hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her cloak hung over one arm.

As he dropped his bag onto the ground, Nyoke greeted those around him. They were all in the same boat after all; they were all as nervous as each other, and all setting out on their journey into destiny. All except one. The girl hadn't even glanced up from her book as he approached, and he noticed with some amusement that she completely ignored every attempt at conversation that was thrown at her. She just stood there reading her book detached from the world around her. This was Nyoke's first glimpse of Narya, future Lady of the House of Jet.