Dustin nodded. He remained silent for a few moments, then began to speak. “Gaze into the fire and watch its dancing light. Gaze into the fire and listen, my friends, as I take you on a journey to the past, to the time of legends.“In those days, Berstru was still young, and many places had not been explored. Even the great ports of Beylend were barely more than small towns. And at this time, there lived a young man in Uldea-”“Hold on a minute!” Hunter had looked up from the fire to frown at his brother. “It was Hoaka, not Uldea.”Dustin shook his head. “No it wasn’t. It was Uldea.”Hunter crossed his arms. “It’s always been Hoaka and you know it.”Dustin scowled. “I’m the one telling the story and I say it was Uldea.”Hunter shook his head. “Da always said it was Hoaka, and he’d know.”Dustin let out an exasperated sigh. “Da was born in Hoaka. Of course he claims the hero is from Hoaka. Anyone who told the story would claim that the hero was from their region. If someone from Shidu was telling the story, the hero would be from Shidu, never mind the fact that Shidu wasn’t even established at the time. Now, do you want me to tell the story or not?”Hunter sighed. “Fine. I still think it was Hoaka, though.” He returned to staring into the fire.Dustin shot one last glare at his brother, then also turned his attention back to the fire. He began to speak once more, manipulating the flames so they reflected his words. “And at this time, there was a young man in Uldea who was the only one brave enough to enter the Dragon’s Roost Mountains. You see, these mountains were filled with ferocious dragons who refused to allow anyone other than their kind on their territory.“However, the young man was skilled at evading the dragons’ watchful eyes, and he would often venture into the mountains, both for hunting and pleasure. He learned the mountains like the back of his hand, and though he had a healthy respect for the dragons, he did not fear them.“One day while the young man was out hunting, he spotted a young dragon trapped at the bottom of a rocky gorge. The dragon’s wing was broken so it could not fly, and every time it tried to climb out, the loose rocks on the sides of the gorge sent it tumbling back down in worse shape than it had tried to go up. Eventually, the dragon lay exhausted at the bottom of the gorge, unable to move.“The young man, however, went down into the gorge, finding the best possibly route. He picked up the dragon, which, being young, was small enough to carry. He then made his way back up the gorge and set up his camp not far away. There he tended the dragon’s wounds and cared for it until it was well.During this time the young man and the dragon became strong friends. When the dragon was well and able to go back to its kind, both were greatly saddened at having to part. So, in an effort to not loose the friendship they had built, they made a promised to remain friends as long as both were alive and to meet as often as they could.They sealed this pact with the mingling of blood, and whether it was the mingling of dragon and human blood or the strength of their friendship or the blessing of Elohim or a combination of all three, something amazing happened then. A bond was forged between the two, stronger than ordinary friendship. The two were given a connection by mind and heart and could contact each other with their minds at any time, much as the dragons could do with one another. In addition, the young man was given a few powers like those of the dragons: the ability to read and communicate through minds, a healing ability, and the power to manipulate fire, as the dragon was a fire dragon. Thus they became the first Rider and Dragon.”
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