Hushed murmurs and the tunes of common folks from the land of Aradia
Scribed by the hand of Stephen Johnson
Prologue: “A Looming Peril”
For ages, Aradia had basked in the tranquil embrace of peace, its people finding solace within its protective boundaries. But as time coursed forward, Drakonia, its neighbor, began its ascent to dominance and sway. Under the ruthless grip of its monarch and a formidable corps of dragon-borne warriors, Drakonia stretched its dominion, subjugating all who dared defy it.
Within the hearts of Aradia’s people simmered a long-standing dread that the hour of Drakonia’s aggression would eventually knock on their door. This dread transformed into grim reality as whispers of the Drakonian war machine’s mobilization echoed through the land.
Chapter 1: Guardians of Dragons at the Threshold
The realm of Aradia had been bracing itself for war’s ominous specter for weeks, yet the abrupt arrival of the Drakonian forces at their borders sent tremors through their core. Lillian, Aradia’s youthful princess, stood atop the castle battlements, her gaze fixed upon the encroaching adversary. She witnessed the ominous silhouette of dragon-riders casting obsidian shadows upon the earth below.
In the midst of Lillian’s contemplation, a herald broke her reverie. “Princess Lillian, the Drakonians have breached our initial defenses. They advance swiftly towards the castle walls. Your father seeks your presence urgently in the war chamber.”
Lillian’s heart raced, dread clawing at her chest as she hastened to the war room. Within its confines, King Aric, alongside his foremost military minds, huddled around a sprawling map of their realm.
“Father,” she pleaded, “we must summon allies to our side. We cannot face this force in solitude.”
King Aric bore a stern countenance as he responded, “We’ve already pondered this, Lillian. We cannot weaken our standing by dependence on others. Our military might shall vanquish the Drakonians.”
“But Father,” Lillian entreated, “they command dragons! Our soldiers have never confronted such a menace. We need the support of allies.”
One of the generals interjected, aiming to quell Lillian’s apprehension. “We have our own defenses—archers and catapults that can fell their winged beasts.”
Lillian shook her head, disbelief clouding her gaze. “Do you truly believe that will suffice? We must seek assistance, Father. I implore you to reconsider.”
Yet King Aric held steadfast. “We shall not beckon for aid, Lillian. We shall defend our realm by our own mettle.”
The battle ensued, both sides enduring grievous losses. Yet, it swiftly became evident that King Aric’s confidence had been misplaced. The Drakonian force, larger and more adept than Aradia had anticipated, pushed back the defenders, inching closer to the castle walls.
As darkness enveloped the land, the cacophony of warfare still reverberated within the castle’s keep. From beyond the walls, the agonized cries of the wounded and the fading breaths of the fallen resonated. The kingdom teetered on the brink of disaster, and Lillian harbored the dire notion that perhaps it was now too late to sway the tides of battle, courtesy of her father’s obstinacy.
Amidst the bedlam, Lillian discerned a faint clamor approaching from afar. As it swelled in volume, she realized it was the galloping cadence of steeds. Suddenly, a troop of knights charged through the enemy’s ranks, their swords gleaming beneath the moon’s pallid glow.
“Reinforcements!” Lillian cried out, relief flooding her.
King Aric, his expression a blend of astonishment and gratitude, turned to Lillian. “How did you manage to secure these allies?”
“I didn’t,” Lillian replied, her heart brimming with thankfulness. “They arrived of their own volition. They declared that they couldn’t stand by idly while an ally was in dire need.”
Chapter Two will be posted on Monday, September 18