10 Years Later
Central Empire of The Dragon, Sinroz
Citadel of the Dragon, Draconia
The morning sun shone down upon the vast farming fields, lands of plenty surrounding the just as great city at their centre.
Three sets of massive white walls, magically raised as mana flowed through each brick and marble, glowing a blue hue as the sun’s rays met them. Statues of great draconic beings stood tall above the rest of the city, built upon each tower of the walls, magic twirled and swirled about their eyes too.
Buildings filled the inside, tall and beautifully formed out of marble with a mixture of pale yellow bricks. Each roof, curved and a bright red, the buildings’ corners also rising like spikes. A mixture of Roman and Renaissance styles.
Amongst them, busy streets of civilians and vast markets of merchants were rousing. All getting ready for their daily routine, their lively hood within the centre of Faetera. As through the gates came more, travellers and adventurers alike, people came from all over the world to visit this jewel of a city.
More than usual walked through the gates today though, as there were more guards roaming the growing streets. Wearing gleaming white armour with a dragon’s head for a helmet, more than just Xilfir took the post of protecting their home.
As along each street and over each building, all sorts of festive decorations began to build up.
From veils of thin white cloth being hung out of each window, the Empire’s emblem in gold within. Long straps of white, gold, black and red then hung from building to building, embedded with common metals of similar colour which gleamed under the sun’s light, scattering a cascade of lights upon the street below.
Sound filled the city as it awakened.
Taverns burst with guards, adventurers, mercenary and workers alike. Loud boasting and cheering mixed in with the street roaming groups of bands outside. Music filled the city as the city itself shined.
Children ran through the colourful and fantastic sounding streets too, their imaginations going wild as they roamed behind the bands or joined the crowded city markets.
All but one child, high above it all.
At the city’s centre, the castle rose high up over a hill of stone and trees. Gothic in form, yet bright white with edges of gold and silver, it shone like a gem below the solar rays. Massive, yet so small compared to the great city around it.
Around the top, within a tower’s window, one child gazed down upon the bustling city with gleaming eyes of wonder.
Long light blue hair and bright golden eyes, the young child, no more than ten, glanced from street to street as crowds formed, as the streets themselves seemingly moved.
As the city came alive, in her eyes everything was coming towards her.
Draconia was slowly forming towards the centre.
“It’s almost time,” Came a voice from behind her, as a hand settled upon her head, ruffling her hair.
She glanced upon, “Already? But I wanna watch some more…Please auntie?” she asked Makaela.
“Ah-” Makaela was about to scold the child, when two young elves rushed into the room, chasing a small terrified wyvern with sponges and water buckets. “Boys!” Makaela exclaimed in elven, and the two of them came to a sudden stop. The wyvern cub, rushing to hide behind her feet, trembling.
Both having short white hair with strands of gold, their ears pointed but ending with golden scales.
Their eyes golden, focused into thin anxious slits as she stepped to them, with hers narrowing.
“Ziethael, Erael, what did I tell you about running?” Makaela asked the two twins.
“Not to?” Ziethael mused.
“But uncle told us to fetch-” Erael began to say as he gestured at the wyvern.
“Forget the cub, go get yourselves ready!” Makaela exclaimed, suddenly but gently slicing her hand down upon each of their heads before either could react.
“Y-Yes mom…” Both boys whined in unison, rushing out of the room whilst trying not to spill the water.
Makaela sighed, “Ah I swear Thea has it easy with you…” she mused, returning to the other child. “You can watch from below, get a closer look even, so come before that wyvern ruins your dress.” She told the young girl, gesturing at her beautifully ornate dress of white and mixed in gold, shaped as droplets.
“Fine…” She agreed, taking Makaela’s hand, she allowed herself to be lead out of the room.
But not before slyly propping open the sweets cabinet in her room, winking back at the wyvern as they left.
Makaela led them both through the castle’s vast corridors, decorated with all kinds of meaningful history. From paintings of great Dragons of old her father told her about, to the true heroes the world should hail and tell stories of.
She even saw images of her aunts, uncles and her own mother.
Yet not one, not a single piece of art within the castle depicted its king.
And as they walked through these long hallways, she remembered the answer he had given her when she asked, why?
(“An Emperor only needs his mirror, as paintings and depictions of old are only that, old.”) Smiling to herself at that wise yet also funny phrase, she then carefully descended the steps alongside Makaela, as the two twins appeared out of nowhere once more.
Slowing down their pace, Ziethael and Erael now followed them towards the final door, usually locked and guarded it now lay open and bare.
Showing the throne room on the other side, into which they walked.
As almost everyone they knew waited there for them. From the merchant lords to the nobles…
From guard commander Pyra, to the four generals, Nerick, Ascal, Zentha, Kailu and each of their retinues.
Even foreign powers were present, the children recognising wise king Sol and his adventurer’s guild masters. The Order of Sinbeni each of which was a Dragon or Drake. The Fae Lords from Pepputia, alongside the High Priest of S’Sern, leader of the newly allied Mer people. Even the Elven King of New Druv and the Dwarven Lords of Seeri had come.
Zrosa’s royalty having joined as well, albeit standing at the corner of the hall and afar from the Elves and Dwarves.
But also, speaking with Royal Councillor Kayle, Empress Thea who was the young girl’s mother, and two other beast-women looking individuals they did not recognise. Most of all, one figure caught the children's attention, as she stood aloof nearby the throne.
Her humanoid form having grown and changed accordingly.
World-renowned explorer Ivyieth turned to the children with a wide smile and just as open arms, “Kiddos!” She exclaimed as the Ziethael and Erael rushed her, grabbing each by the waist she raised them over her shoulders, barely breaking a sweat with her draconic strength.
“Sister Ivy! Where have you been?” The young girl exclaimed, also rushing to stand by Ivyieth’s feet.
“Everywhere and nowhere!” Ivyieth replied, “Ah, but that’s a story for another time!” She said, then putting the twins down.
“Pfft, I’ve got better stories anyway.” Shizuka mused.
“You wish kitten,” Ivyieth said, and the two glared at one another.
“Ah, here he comes.” Thea said, ending the debate before it even started and gesturing for her daughter. Who rushed to stand by her mother’s side, as did the boys, being pulled over by Makaela to stand straight.
As all chatter fell silent, when he entered.
Donning his signature white draconic armour, and a long dragging cape of gold, alongside a gleaming crimson crown with embedded white and gold precious stones.
The Emperor, Erik walked out towards his throne, two beautiful wives and three children. Briefly shaking the hands of Shizuka and Quinn, “Thank you, for coming.” He said.
“We wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Shizuka replied.
He then turned to Kayle, “Is everything ready?” he asked.
“It is, everything has been prepared.” Kayle responded and Erik turned to the rest of the hall, glancing briefly at the young girl whose eyes lay wide as she stared at him, he quickly winked at her before turning to his guests.
“Well then, let us not leave the people waiting. Open the gates.” He announced and the guards began to push the massive doors open, revealing the outside, as the throne room had been moved long ago to allow this exact purpose.
Slowly, the most important individuals on Faetera, began to walk out onto the plateau.
Below them, the entire city spanned beyond. A gathered crowd of citizens watching from the streets, they gazed expectantly at the platform of stone peeking out from the hill’s trees.
“Do you hear it?” Erik then said, as he took both Thea’s and Makaela’s arms, “The silence.” He said, glancing at his two sons and one daughter. “This is their respect.” Beginning to move then, they descended the throne’s steps and moved down the now emptied hall.
As the silence persisted, not an instrument, not a voice to be heard other than the birds which filled the sky.
Not even the Wyverns who guarded the plateau, they made not a grumble, not a growl, and barely a breath.
As he and his family stepped out below the sky, all bowed.
Making their way to the plateau’s edge, they stopped there and gazed down at the city.
The silence then breaking as Erik raised his arms, a cheer quaking through the air as he did, then silence once more when he lowered them.
“For a decade, we’ve grown. For a decade we’ve built…all this and more.” Erik began to speak, his voice echoing out into the city below. “And today, ten years later, we celebrate what we’ve accomplished. What you, have accomplished.” He exclaimed, smiling widely at the beautiful world before him. “Drink, dance, sing and boast! Same as we did on that day, ten years ago, we shall do so now once more as we shall ten years in the future!”
Taking a deep breath, Erik’s wings then burst open, encompassing his family.
Erikathyr roared out, “Let the Draconia Festival, commence!” he announced and the silence disappeared.
Joy and craziness then filling the streets, as the shouting, singing and music continued.
Pulling his wings back in, Erik turned to his guests, “So, shall we join them then?” He asked, receiving some scornful glances from the Elves and Dwarves, but mostly a unified cheer.
As Kailu’s scythe suddenly shuddered in his hands.
(“Oh yeah, let’s get crazy!”) Z exclaimed within the general’s mind.
All then beginning to descend the hill, each with their own retinue of guards, Erik needed none as he and his family also joined the boisterous streets below.
“Go ahead,” Erik told Thea, Makaela and the boys as he rested his hand over his daughter’s shoulder, “We’ll be right there.” He said, and they walked on ahead.
Erik looked down at his daughter, then up at the city ahead. “What do you think?” He asked her.
“It’s more colourful and amazing up close…louder too though.” She mused back, causing him to chuckle.
“Yes, yes it is. And in time, it will be yours.” He told her, “Being the oldest, this city, these people…This empire, is your right, but also…Your duty if you choose it.” Erik said, ruffling her hair lightly, as she promptly began to fix it. Pouting in annoyance as she did.
“That is, if you want it.” Erik said, kneeling down next to her, “I give you my empire in your future my daughter, but is it the future that you wish for?” He asked, meeting her eyes which matched his.
As she glanced in between him, and the city, pursing her lips in deep thought. “I…don’t know.” She said.
“Good,” Erik mused, “Take your time, decisions should not be rushed unless needed.” He said as he stood back up, “Today, we enjoy what our people have achieved.”
“Why not what you have achieved father?” She then asked.
Causing Erik to grin widely, “Because, I couldn’t have done it alone. Nobody can do anything alone. Come now, Erika, let’s join the celebrations, shall we?”
“Okay…” Erika said sheepishly, gazing at the dancing and singing, at the musicians and playing children.
“And let this day, be not our best, but our best yet.”