The Dragon Era

Chapter 1: The Burning Execution

"…it is said that only the Dragon Stone can keep the balance between worlds…

Brethilil sat cross legged in her cell. It was a dark, damp cell, with iron bars covering both the window and the archway, stopping any means of escape. From the gaps in the window she could hear the crowd outside cheering, it seems that another person had been hanged, probably another Knight of the True Cause, as they were called.

The Knights of the True Cause had been in a long standing civil war with the Knights of Order, a small group that had broken away from the "True Cause" as it was called. This dungeon was full of True Cause Knights, a recent battle had been fought, an attempt to take Hillside Castle itself, a mighty fortress on top of a tall hill, controlled by the Order Knights.

No one in the land of Pamea knew who was winning the war; most of the kingdoms had chosen to stay out of it, with a few small ones taking sides, but overall, the entire land was in a bad shape.

Brethilil opened her eyes and saw the man in the opposite cell, his face pressed between the bars. "Elf, you're finally awake," he said. Brethilil, as you guess is an Elf. But not just any Elf, an Elven Princess of the Eldar clans, her hair reached a full meter and was blonde in colour. If she had eaten well her face would have been full and beautiful with red cheeks and bright blue eyes.

"At least you can state the obvious" she replied to the man, he moved his head from the bars. "Knight, what is your name?" Brethilil asked, looking at him with interest. He looked well built, and well over six feet tall, with shoulder length brown hair and he also wore a blue tunic, one that any True Cause Knight would wear under his armour.

"My name is Farin, milady" he said politely, remembering to add "milady" at the end, just because there is a war doesn't mean manners need be forgotten, he then bowed his head slightly. "And what is yours friend?" Farin asked.

"Just because we are in the same dungeon doesn't make us friends" Brethilil said harshly, "but you may call me Brethilil."

"We are all brothers and sisters in binds now Elf" Farin retorted.

Brethilil stood up, outside another cheer erupted from the crowd as another trapdoor dropped open on the gallows. Brethilil saw another man in a different cell. It was a different cell however, instead of just iron bars there were chains and locks blocking his escape route. He was a muscular man but wearing not a tunic, but very expensive noble clothes, with fur and blue silk too.

"What's wrong with him?" Brethilil asked Farin, noticing the well dressed man had a look of frustration and deep thinking. "I advise you to watch what you say Milady, you're speaking to Lord Advar, the leader of the True Cause."

"Lord Advar?!" a voice from down the hall cried "they'll kill us all just for being in the same dungeon, no whipping or anything!"

"Quiet horse thief! You may live longer that way" Farin commanded, sensing the man's fear.
"Quiet?!" the horse their yelled back "if you guys didn't attack the castle when you did, I would have taken that horse and been halfway to the Floating City by now!"

Brethilil shook her head, "I swear I'm the bravest here and I'm a woman." Then she laughed to herself, Farin also smiled slightly. There was a groan in the cell next to Brethilil's, Farin immediately ran to his cell bars and stuck his head out as far as he could, "Bolger! You okay big guy?!"

"So…hungry" a deep voice sounded, Brethilil could feel the man's voice vibrate through the stone walls.

"Don't worry bit guy, we'll be with the Gods soon enough" Farin said. At that moment the far door opened, eight guards walked in and began opening the cells, pulling out the horse thief, Lord Advar, Farin, Bolger and finally Brethilil. Brethilil saw Bolger for the first time, he was a giant of a man, at least seven foots, fat, with giant muscles and hands, most of his face was hidden under his long black beard and shaggy hair. Four of the soldiers held him, while one held the others each.

They were guided outside on their weak legs into the courtyard, where another soldier stood with a roll of parchment and a quill. The crowd cheered as the prisoners were guided into the cloudy daylight. Farin who was standing next to Brethilil pointed out a well dressed man on the balcony opposite the gallows. "Lord Tiberius, the leader of the Order Knights, he likes to watch his prisoners die a slow death."

The man with the parchment began calling out names. "Lord Advar of the Knights of the True Cause" he read, the entire crowd laughed. Lord Advar silently walked up the steps to the gallows. "It has been an honour Lord Advar" Farin said proudly.

"Amir of Hillside Fortress" the soldier read.

"No!" the horse thief yelled "I'm not with them! You can't do this!" the thief shook his guard loose and ran. "Archers!" someone yelled, two arrows hit the thief in the back and he fell down dead.

"Anyone else feel like running?!" the soldier yelled. He then held out the parchment again, "Brethilil the Elf."

Brethilil walked up the steps to the gallows. Once all the names had been called out they all stood at their nooses. The soldier walked up, "all of these captives are responsible for crimes against the Knights of Order and their ally kingdoms! Two knights," he said, indicating Farin and Bolger, "their leader" indicating Lord Advar, "a thief" indicating the dead thief on the floor, "and a murderer," indicating Brethilil.

Farin's head turned to Brethilil, a look of surprise cast upon his face. The noose was tied around Brethilil's neck first. As the executioner placed his hand on the lever, a mighty roar sounded all over the fortress. "What the hell was that?!" one soldier shouted.

"Sentries! Can you see what that was?!" Lord Tiberius stood up on his balcony and shouted.

Then a shadow cam over the entire crowd and the gallows. Something huge landed on the guard tower over looking the gallows. A dragon, mighty and red, landed on the tower and roared again. The entire crowd began to scream and panic, while the sentries and other soldiers began stringing arrows and drawing swords.

The dragon roared again, fire erupted from its mouth, covering the entire gallows with fire. Brethilil's noose caught fire around her neck, and she screamed in pain as the flames scorched her neck. Then she felt the noose being pulled away from her neck, Farin threw Brethilil over his shoulder and he carried her at his fastest pace, back into the dungeon.

Lord Advar and Bolger took their chance and ran to the door opposite the gallows, just under the balcony. "Was that really a dragon my Lord? Aren't they supposed to be extinct?" Bolger asked, almost breathless.

Lord Advar, who had already taken two swords off the nearby weapon stand, threw one to Bolger. "Extinct creatures don't burn down fortresses." Lord Advar stated plainly.