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  • Writer's pictureJackson Sorenson

Amethyst Heart

Once long ago, there was a magical world named Dranova that was filled with light, peace, and beauty. There were titanic features like the Whitethorn Mountains that seemed to pierce the swirling sky. There were stretches of tall, winding forest, snaking over the entire continent. The ocean seemed to shimmer like diamonds and under the dirt lay secrets long forgotten. But who inhabited these lands? Why no other than the unique creatures of myth and legend.

Among the most powerful were the five dragon tribes. The pillars of the world. The rulers of Dranova. The kind and stubborn, rocky dragons of Earth ruled land while the limber and quick dragons of Sea ruled the endless depths. There were also fast, and feathery, six winged dragons of Wind and all the colors of the sky glowed bright as the blue and red dragons of Fire soared over the land.

Last of all, but certainly not least, the dragons of light, the Aether dragons. They could fly into the highest reaches of the heavens and could produce rays of pure light from their mouths. The light was so intense it could burn even the strongest dragon of fire. But, for most stories to begin, harmony and peace cannot last forever. The five kingdoms were savagely attacked by gray dragons made of smoke and darkness. Their teeth and claws were stained with a dark red. They could move through the shadows like invisible predators, consuming the world in their wake. They earned the name Shadows.

The tribes never had a chance. In a matter of days, all the tribes were decimated. For the shadows seemed to multiply as they slaughtered. The last dragons gathered at the final safe area, The Temple of Crystals. The temple was home to the most powerful artifact of the entire world, the Amethyst Heart. The leaders realized that they had to do something to stop the darkness before they reached it. In the end, they used the heart's brilliantly beautiful power and locked the shadows in an abandoned realm of darkness and despair, forever.

But, something occurred that ended any sort of joy that was in their brief celebration. It was believed that the power that the heart needed to seal away the darkness was just too great. The imbalance of power broke the once great artifact apart into two pieces. The world reflected that agony and was sliced apart. The magical land of Dranova and its wonder and brilliance was abandoned. All gifts the dragons wielded stripped away, as every living creature was pulled from the world to another land.

The world named Drakeonia became the new home to these many creatures. To this very day, this lonely world where there is little magic or beauty is where the tribes live. The day the Amethyst Heart broke was so powerful it affected all of the creatures. It earned a name in dragon history — The Shattering.

The teacher paused for a moment and looked around. A pink crystal colored earthclaw raises her claws.

The teacher nods at her nervously, “Rose Quartz, do you have a question?”

She nodded and asked, “Where did the darkness come from?”

The teacher whispers to the whole class, “No one knows. Some dragons think it came from another part of Dranova that no living creatures could survive in. Others think the shadows were made of unstable magic that wanted to kill. A few think that it was created by an evil artifact that wanted to destroy all life, unlike the Amethyst Heart which wanted to protect all life.”

The class gasped but then broke off into laughing and muttering among peers. They whispered things like, that can't be real, and she is a good storyteller. After the class, Rose walked through the large open field towards the geology hut. The school consisted of four sun dried brick huts in a compass pattern that pointed to north, south, east, and west. The geology class was in the north and the history class was in the south, so she usually had to hurry to make the class.

As she walked toward the building, she passed several dragons that cautiously shifted off the path to get as far away from her as they could. She couldn’t blame them. If she was them, she wouldn’t want to be anywhere near her. Knowing her family, any dragon would fear for their life if they were around. The Quartzes weren’t exceptionally known for their “kindness” at all.

When she finally reached the building most of the class was already there, typical. Rose had just sat down on her assigned bamboo mat when the last three students walked in. Mudstone, Rubble, Vent, Rose thought, the three trouble makers. Some students groaned as the trio sauntered over to their mats, kicking sand into the air. The teacher tapped the wooden desk and glared at the students intensely.

Instructor Limestone looks extra grouch today, Rose noted as his gaze paused, as it always did, on Rose before he closed his eyes and said with an exasperated expression, “Let's start this silty day.”

With that he tapped on the ink-stained desk and quickly looked around.

Calmly, he asked, “So, does anyone know from yesterday's torture… I mean lesson… where are we on the map?”

After Limestone finished speaking he rotated a shale plate onto its side so it showed the map of Drakeonia. He looked back at us and stomped over to the door to yell at some nosey upper class dragons. As Limestone stopped yelling, whatever he was yelling at them, he turned to see a talon raised. He gave a low growl and looked at him impatiently.

He snarls, “Yes? Mudstone?”

Slyly, Mudstone said, “The worst place in the world?”

Several students laughed and a few snickered. Limestone walked to the desk and from where Rose sat, she could see his claws digging into the hard earth.

“Can’t argue against that,” He snarked under his breath. Rose knew that if she didn’t interfere, class wouldn't get back on track. She gave a low sigh.

“I would stop,” Rose tells Mudstone while ignoring her teacher, “I think my father was coming to a conference today.”

At that, every dragon shut their snouts and sat down while Limestone looked a little horrified. He stared at Rose and slowly nodded his head, understanding what she was doing, before continuing with the lesson. Her father had previously come to see why his son was failing this class and a student made a harmless joke to another student. So naturally, Rose’s father had promptly beaten him to a pulp for "distracting" his son and making him fail. He had so many injuries that he had to be taken to the healing springs in the Aether Kingdom. Ever since then, Limestone watched Rose carefully and cautiously.

After the class, as Rose was walking out of the building, Limestone stopped her to say thanks before she left.

“Oh,” Rose squeaked, “No problem. But my father is here….”

Limestone gave a small smirk but turned before hurrying away. Rose began the small trek home. As she walked through the town she could hear dragons fluttering about. She saw a guard playing with several small dragonets. They knocked him backwards and he fell with laughter as they gently attacked his scarred back. When they saw Rose, they froze in fear. But Rose gave a gentle smile and put one of her talons to her snout. The guard took a deep breath and paced over.

He whispered, “Thank you, Rose.”

Rose nodded and continued home. After a bit more walking, she was passing the mail hut when she heard her dad's voice. She pressed her ear against the rough door. After a minute, she heard her dad roughly say, “Geothermal, can you repeat that?”

Geothermal repeated nervously, “Yes Sir. This is from the southern village. We have been attacked… not another tribe… the… eyes… get....”

Rose struggled to hear the end of the message when the door was flung open suddenly and smacked her in the face. Her father rounded the corner and hissed as he saw her.

“Rose Quartz,” Tiger Quartz booms, “Go home… NOW! You don’t need to be sneaking around and being a creep! Also, your darling mother asked me to have you go to her to get prepared for the Moonlight Festival, and you of all dragons should know not to keep her waiting!”

She sighs and nods but lashes her tail in visible anger as she walks away. Her father, compared to other earthclaw Dragons, was very controlling and distrustful. Not to mention stuck up and exceptionally cruel. Her mother was not any of those traits, but instead, she was very self absorbed and always had to be the center of attention. When she got to her house, the sun was setting. Her black eyes locked with the wood exposed in the clay. Unlike most houses, which were made of sod or dirt, their house was made of adobe, a sandy clay wood mix that could be used for multi-floored buildings. Rose opened the door and was surprised to see her brothers sitting in the kitchen with a deer cooking on the metal bars over a blazingly hot oven.

“I thought you were supposed to be in school till sunset. Don’t you have extra classes?” Rose questioned.

Carnelian smiled, “For some reason the pathetic principal let us leave school early.”

Rutilated laughed, “Tell our sis the truth! We were bored so we forced the principal to let us go home. After securing a hundred on our language test!”

He snickered and Rose sighed, of course. Her brothers were nefarious for skipping and cheating, but no sane dragon would ever admit it.

A voice shouts from upstairs “PINK! GET UP HERE NOW, YOU MUTATION!”

And now I have this to deal with. Why? Rose slunk upstairs and into her mother's room. She had to narrow her eyes as she entered. The room was filled with jeweled mirrors and different kinds of gemstones. Inlayed into the walls were some diamonds that bounced light from stone to stone, giving Rose an instant headache immediately as she entered the room. A necklace with some emeralds and rubies embedded into an onyx stone lay on a desk.

Agate clicked her tongue, “I have been waiting for HOURS for you to arrive you ungrateful brat. Put this on and wash up.”

She throws a heavy gold armband to Rose and she fumbles with it for a minute.

“Now where is that opal?” She mutters while shaking dust from the desk, somehow forgetting that Rose was standing there.

Rose looked at the armlet and saw a purple gemstone. Looking at it a little more intensely, she realized that it was purple jasper. Rare. If you didn’t know better you would have thought it was amethyst. But that was impossible because there was no amethyst in Drakeonia. She also realized that the jasper was surrounded by tiny jewels of smooth obsidian. The band gave an unnatural glare for a moment before returning to normal.

Agate snorted, “Can’t have my hideous daughter look like dirt for the most important celebration in all of dragon history.”

Rose snaps the uncomfortable armband onto her arm and says to her self-absorbed mother, “Oh, I wouldn’t dare to displease you.”

In reality, she would dare, but just didn’t want to be called an ungrateful brat again. Or pink. That was just as bad. She walked out of the room after a minute of watching Agate adore herself in one of the mirrors. She shook her head to clear it as the bright lights had almost dazed her.

As she made her way downstairs, she could feel the tiredness settling on her like a warm blanket. She got to the bottom and saw that her brothers were lying on some blankets. The deer was cut into strips and hung on a drying rack near the fire. Rose realized what her brothers were doing. They were trying to bribe Tiger Quartz for something. Her father loved deer jerky.

She shook her head and went over to her sleeping blankets and lay down. I’ll just take a quick nap, Rose thought as her eyes closed and her mind slipped into the world of peace and quiet.

She began to dream that she was soaring over a clear lake in the middle of a forested tundra. She let out a laugh as her fears left her. Finally, she felt truly free. No awful parents. No looks of fear or uneasiness. Just her, the sky and the sprawling ground below. She felt something brush her wings and she turned with a smile that turned into a horrified screech. She nearly fell out of the sky at what she saw.

It was a dragon Rose had never seen before. The large mysterious dragon was surrounded by a thin layer of black fog. So Rose couldn’t really tell what tribe it belonged to. One of its eyes had a red crimson crystal instead of an eye that seemed to glow. It smiled as the landscape below started to wither and die. Soon the whole tundra was a decayed wasteland. Rose opened her mouth to call for help but no sound made itself known. The dragon swooped towards Rose and seized her inside of its claws. It studied her face for a moment.

“Peculiar,” The shadow dragon whispered with a menace filled voice, “Not the reaction I expected from you.”

The world seemed to fall apart as bits of the land fell into a dark void.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” The dragon shook his head while smiling with glee, “See you soon….”

Suddenly the dream whisked away; Rose felt herself falling. She screamed, dropping into a black abyss. She righted herself and saw an odd mist in the air. It swirled together until it formed three dragons. Two of them looked to be the same age as Rose; the third looked younger than her. The mist rapidly dispersed and swirled together to form two shards of purple.

Rose felt a shock run through her body and awoke in a cold sweat. She had no clue who or even what that dragon was. Why did it say that it was going to see her soon? As Rose sat on the mat, lost in thought, one thing became clear. Something would happen that would change the course of Drakeonia. Rose looked out the window and realized it was almost night. As the moon appeared, Rose felt uneasy.

Who were these three dragons the mist formed, Rose thought as she gazed at the moon. She shook her head. The festival was about to begin. She stretched and washed off some dirt from her scales. She left the house and made her way towards the glowing village. As she walked towards the festival she knew that everything was going to change. For the better— or worse.

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