Far away and long ago…
In her human form, Fire bowed low to the Rí, the king of the dragons. The king’s black scales grated against the tiles of the forecourt as he shifted his bulk.
“To what do I owe this honor, my Lord?” she asked formally.
The walls of Red Dragon’s Keep stood grim and dark sentinel as evening fell around them.
“The time has come, my daughter,” his voice echoed in her mind. “We and the humans have won against the Ciardha. The humans will become strong and look askance at our dominance. We must withdraw to the strongholds to avoid the conflict that I see in the future. I cannot compel you. You must choose.”
Cold wind swirled over the walls and into the forecourt. The short hairs on the back of Fire's neck lifted. A shiver raced down her spine. Hair escaping the braid down her back fluttered around her face.
“Know this. If your choice is to stay, you will lose all knowledge of what you are. Magic shall still be yours but you will not know why you have it, nor any of your history. You will be locked from dragon form until the need is so great that you must take it. The choice is yours.”
Fire gazed at the huge black dragon who was her king, her father. She knew the law. Each of the dragons was free to choose whether to stay or go. Most had chosen to go.
Stubbornly she dropped her eyes and shook her head. “My Ri, I choose to stay. The Arachs shall need my help in the times ahead. I am bound to them as you are bound to the human King.”
The great black dragon closed his eyes and bowed his head. “As you will it.” Pain filled his voice. “Long life, daughter.”
He spread his great wings and slammed them down once…twice, shoving dust and dead leaves heaped around the forecourt into a whirlwind. Thunder rumbled. He rose above the Keep wall with its red dragon laid out in stone and turned to the west.
In time to the rhythm of his flight he wove his magic. His voice echoed in her mind again. “As I fly, all knowledge of your past slips free. Farewell, my child.” Then he was gone.
Fire, pale and sick at heart, watched him dwindle away.
She felt oddly out of focus.
Why am I in the forecourt?
She frowned and glanced around, searching her memory.
She shook her head, trying to clear it.
She turned and walked back into the Keep.
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