“I promised to tell you a story a long time ago, didn’t I?”
Bemused, you stared into the Divine Keeper of the Sapphire Flames’ eyes.
“How unlike you to bring me up from your past,” you chuckled.
As this wasn’t exactly Tino or Berwald’s journey, the other dragons had offered to stay behind with Mathias. Everyone had decided that you and Lukas should finish looking for Emil together. At long last, the two of you were back to travelling alone. In the time that you had been walking, your travelling companion hadn’t said anything until now.
“You've long asked about my title,” Lukas said.
"Yeah, I have,” you smiled.
The dragon snorted. “It seems so long ago that we started out for Eldur Mountain together.”
“Mm-hmm,” you agreed pressing your lips together.
“Would you like to hear one?” Lukas asked.
“Why would you ask me something like that all of a sudden?”
The dragon shrugged. “It could pass the time for whatever lies ahead.”
You smiled. “Sure, go ahead.”
“Alright, I’ll tell you a story of adventure, tragedy, and a sprinkle of romance.”
This got you interested.
“Romance?” you repeated. “Lukas, since when are you interested in things like romance?”
“I never said it was related to me, did I?”
“Er, no,” you answered feeling rude for thinking such a thing.
“Once upon a time, there was a lonely sorcerer—”
“Is this how it’s going to go?”
“It’s a fairytale?”
“There are no such things as fairytales, just heavily modified history lessons of times long forgotten by disposable species such as yourself.”
“Well!” you exclaimed.
“Do you want me to continue or not?” Lukas frowned. You noticed he was walking a little faster. He had been going at your pace not too long ago.
“Of course I want you to continue!” you quickly replied.
“No more interruptions?”
“No more interruptions.”
“Right, then let’s keep going,” Lukas said slowing down just enough for you to stay by his side.
“There was a sorcerer who held the burden of the world on his shoulders—not literally. That would crush him.”
Obviously… you thought.
“He was tasked with guarding the world’s life source: a single glowing light that gave off the most beautiful colors known to anyone, yet the problem was, there was no one there to see the light for if a normal human’s eyes looked upon the light, their very soul would burn up. As a result, the sorcerer never had any human company.
“To pass the time, the sorcerer made friends with the local dragons who would visit from time to time, curious at what sort of beautiful light was coming out of the mountain that held the light.
“While the dragons did not particularly like humans’ company, they had a soft spot for the sorcerer for while he was isolated from others, he was very knowledgeable and benevolent. The dragons would often tell him stories of the world outside, of what he was missing. In exchange, they were offered shelter within the tall mountain far away from the humans where they could live in peace. And…for a long time, that peace remained in the balance.
“However, like all good things, the peace had to come to an end. The sorcerer, while powerful, was not immortal. Time had caught up to him, and he was beginning to die slowly but surely. The dragons, saddened that their good friend was in such pain, wanted to at least fulfill his long time wish of being able to go outside even if it was just for a little while.”
There was a pause in Lukas story as the air about him changed.
“That was a terrible mistake,” he said in a low voice. “Once the sorcerer left the mountain, there was no one who could control the light’s power. With it becoming so unstable, the entire mountain’s interior collapsed and erupted into fire.”
He then paused to look at you.
“Can you guess what mountain that was?” he asked.
“It was Eldur Mountain…” you breathed.
“Very good,” Lukas nodded. “You’re not as dense as I thought you’d be.”
You wanted to throw the snide dragon a crude remark, but you bit down on your tongue after remembering you said you wouldn’t interrupt him.
“The dragons who had remained at the mountain began to panic,” he continued. “They did not know what to do for their magic was different than the sorcerer’s. When their dying friend did return, he was grief stricken for a great deal of young dragons had been buried in the terrible fire and crumbling rocks. But the problem didn’t end with the mountain. With the fire growing out of control as well as his old age, the sorcerer wasn’t strong enough to hold back the impending destruction that was about to destroy Eliatha.
“As a last resort, the sorcerer was able to bring back the flames into its original slumbering power. However, even though the fire was under control, the sorcerer would not be around long enough to continue protecting the flames. In all of the years he had stayed guarding the flames, he had never thought to think ahead when his time came.
“So, in the place of the sorcerer, a dragon had offered to guard the light in place of the sorcerer. The dragon did not have the proper magic to keep the light stable on its own. As another noble act, the dragon told the sorcerer to seal the light within his heart.
“The light, interestingly, took on a different form while residing in the dragon’s heart. As dragons’ souls are born of fire, so the light took on the form of a brilliantly colored flame reflecting the purity of the dragon’s soul.
“After the sorcerer died, the dragon continued to carry the flame inside his heart, but despite all of this, the flames were unstable. It came to a point where the dragon could not contain the flames any longer, and his body began to whither away. While on the verge of death, the dragon remembered something the sorcerer had said before dying, himself: the light would consume the dragon’s very heart and soul if not finding another body to migrate to—but not just any other body—the body of a human.
“The sorcerer had hoped that even as he passed away, he would be able to leave behind a reason for dragons and humans to coexist. If the dragons could look inside humans’ hearts and if humans could look into dragons’ souls, then perhaps one day, the two species could be friends just like the sorcerer and the dragons had been.”
Lukas sighed. “The details are fuzzy, but it was either the sorcerer or the light or both that made the dragon’s bodies perishable. In order to renew their bodies, the dragons would first have to migrate into the hearts of humans. So the dragons did just that. They did not, unfortunately, account for what types of vessels they had chosen. Some dragons had become corrupted by the dark souls of the humans. Some had grown so attached to the humans that they did not want to leave the human world.
“And then there was the dragon who held the flames inside his heart. While as a human, this dragon had taken interest to a young human woman. It grew to a point where the dragon did not want to carry the burden of the flames in his heart anymore and wanted to live alongside the woman as a human, himself. In order to give up the flames, the dragon first had to find someone worthy of such a task. He did not feel that the flames should be so foolishly given to someone irresponsible. Finally, he decided to hand the flames to a young dragon, one with innocence in its eyes but possessed an honest and worthy soul.
“The cycle continued, dragon after dragon, but in that time, the dragons had yet to coexist with humans. The humans who had been used as vessels were marked. If they tried to tell their stories of the dragons, they would burn up into ashes. At first, it was to prevent unworthy human vessels from telling the wrong people, but it spread to all humans no matter how pure their hearts were.
“The flame, if not passed onto another dragon, will die out along with the dragon. Should that happen, a terrible thing would happen to Eliatha. Alas, as you can see, dragons are nearly nonexistent. Fortunately, there is one exception that can be made: if a dragon fails to carry the burden of the flame, then a proper human vessel will do. Though…it can’t be just any human. It has to be a human pure of heart, strong in the mind, yet honest in intentions otherwise, just like when the flames were a light, the human’s heart would combust. That human also has to have been a dragon’s vessel at some point so it would have some of the dragon’s powers.”
“But…” you spoke up disregarding your earlier claim to not interrupt. “I thought once a dragon’s soul leaves the human’s heart, that human isn’t supposed to have dragon powers anymore.”
“No, but did you forget of the exceptions?” Lukas said.
Your heart stopped.
“The Dragonhearts…” you whispered.
“Correct,” Lukas said. “There has been a rare case where a Dragonheart has taken the responsibility of keeping the flames inside his heart in the place of a dragon. In fact, his lifespan greatly surpassed that of a normal human being. Who knows? Maybe he would have lived forever. Alas, he wasn’t immortal, he just happened to be able to live for a long time. The Dragonheart’s life was ended after a freak accident of which the details have been obscured.
“With that, the burden of carrying the flames fell upon dragons once again.”
“Hey!” you exclaimed making Lukas jump in surprise.
“Gh—! What is it?” he impatiently growled.
“If we can find that dragon with the flames, then shouldn’t I be able to hold the flames, then? I mean, I’m a Dragonheart, after all.”
Lukas hopelessly shook his head.
“Even after that story, you still haven’t figured it out?”
“Well, there’s still the question of whether or not you’re really pure of heart,” Lukas explained. “Dragonheart or not, your heart would burn into ashes if tainted.”
Your face fell. “And how are we supposed to figure that out?”
“I don’t know,” Lukas answered.
“So…” you continued to speak. “…How long has it been before the last time the flames were passed on?”
Lukas shrugged. “Perhaps a few hundred years or so. It’s been a while as far as I’ve known.”
“Oh! Wait—! Do you think the dying flames are connected to Dragonfall?”
“Perhaps…” Lukas answered ambiguously.
“Hey, hold on a second! Why haven’t any of you guys told me this stuff before?”
“Because I didn’t think you were worthy at the time,” Lukas huffed. Then, just as quickly as his haughty attitude built up, it fell straight back down again.
“Aside not knowing if you were worthy or not, there’s also knowing what happens to the dragon once the flames are given up.”
Lukas swallowed and made a face. “It’s one thing to give the flames to another dragon, but it’s another to give it to a human,” he said.
“What’s the difference?” you asked. “Besides being completely different species, that is.”
“The dragon...” Lukas mumbled. “The dragon would cease being a dragon.”
“Why? That sounds stupid.”
“It is stupid,” Lukas agreed. “That’s why it’s almost never done. As far as the stories have gone, there has only been one account of a Dragonheart bearing the flames, but in that account, the dragon who gave up the flames also gave up his dragon powers to ensure that the flames could continue to remain stabilize.”
“I’m so confused…” you groaned.
“Ha,” Lukas dryly laughed. “You’re confused? Imagine having to live with that knowledge your entire life and then hoping there would be a way around it. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were more dragons in the world, but as it stands, the only dragon capable of obtaining the flames would be…my brother.”
“Emil’s the flame bearer?!” you cried in complete shock.
“You idiot! How dense can you get?!” Lukas yelled.
“What the heck! He’s not?”
“No, rock-head, I am!”