I wrote Chapter 2 yesterday but was too busy to upload.

I Won’t Forget Your Kind Smile or Your Eyes Hidden with Sorrow

 Denair settled back in his cage and watched his master trudge around looking for something.  In the years since his capture he’d learned only a few words in the language of his demon captor.  He’d learned the words for “sing” and “eat” and “sleep” but little else.  He wasn’t spoken to except by commands.  More often than not, the demon merely bounded on the base of his cage and screamed at him.

 When his master left him alone, as he was now, Denair’s mind flew back to how he’d come to be in this situation.  He wondered if any other dragens even realized how many of their people had been taken as slaves to the demons.  He certainly hadn’t heard anything of the sort.

 Denair let his eyes drift shut as his mind wandered back to that fateful day ten years ago.  A day that had changed his life.

Denair sighed as he looked up.  His master had found what he’d been looking for.  Denair had followed the other dragen’s advice and sung the moment the door had opened.  He’d been taken as a songbird for this demon almost immediately afterwards.

 He would never forget Tifferin though.  He hoped the other boy, with his soft, gentle smile and sad eyes had made it through safely.

**

We Are But Weaklings Pretending to be Tough

Of all the dragen clans, the stone dragens were the worst hit by raids during the demon war.  Martel had heard this since the time he was a fledgling.  His clan had been among the worst hit by the war.  The light dragens had been among the least impacted.  The ice dragens had taken the bulk of the casualties from the final battle.  The other clans had various similar claims but the stone dragens had been a favorite target of the demons for their raids.

 The elders had discussed the reasons during the war and had come to the conclusion that it was because the stone dragens could clutch from such an early age.  Martel only knew all this because his mother was the stone clan elder and he’d overheard her speaking about it late one night with his father.  Stone dragen dams could clutch from the time they were fledged.  The other clans couldn’t until about a decade later.

 He hadn’t known until then just what the demons did during the raids.  His parents had always hidden his sister and him in the root cellar during the raids.  They were barely fledged so their parents were very protective.  He’d asked his father about it the next day.

 After initial shock at the discussion being overheard, his father had told him that demons fed on energy.  Dragens, since all were magic in one form or other, had that energy.  The demons could get it in various ways.  They could leech it out of certain spells.  They could devour young dragens, or even older ones.  Finally they could eat the eggs of the dragens.  Apparently the demons got the most energy from dragen eggs so they never missed a chance to eat them.  They would even force production if there were none to be had.

 As young as he was, his father didn’t explain how the demons could force production of eggs.  He hoped to spare his son the gory details of the process that often left young dragens crippled or dead.  Unfortunately it was not to be.

 Now, armed with the knowledge of just what went on during a demon raid, Martel had been chosen as a sentinel of the worldgate.  He would be among the mages that watched for rifts that meant the demons would be returning.  The thought of being so close to the gate terrified him.

 Martel should be honored, he knew.  He was the son of the elder and would be elder when she died.  However he couldn’t help but be terrified.  If the demons came through the gate, those watching it would be among their first victims.  He knew there were warning systems set in place now but a part of him worried that they wouldn’t have time to flee before the demons arrived.

 He didn’t want to go.  He wanted to stay close to home, safe from harm.  But such wasn’t the place of a prospective elder.  It was bad enough that he had chosen the path of a mage; a scholar, and not a warrior like his parents.  Now he wanted to shirk the very duty to which he’d been trained out of nothing more than fear.

Now he was going to be living out on the edge of the territories, near the base of the Winter Mountains.  Mages from all the dragen clans took shifts watching the worldgate.  It was his turn.  He would only be there for three years.  In all likelihood his mother was right.  The demons were still securely sealed in their dark world.  He couldn’t keep back the fear, or the loneliness.

 Since his sister’s death, he’d only sought the company of his parents.  Now he would be far away from them.  He would have to talk to, to interact with strangers who weren’t even from the same clan.  He dreaded that thought most of all.  They couldn’t learn what a coward he was.  Somehow, he would have to hide his fear from them and appear normal.

 “Thanks, Mother,” he said softly as he stepped back.  “I’ll write… often.”

 “You’ll be so busy, you’ll hardly notice the time pass, dear,” she said.  With a gentle smile, she handed him a carry-sack and hugged him goodbye.

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