York of Tression was a young man inspiring to be a Dragon Rider when he grew up. He ran away from his village of Tression, stowed away on one of the river barges, before jumping off and swimming ashore, reaching the Dragon Fortress, where dragons were bred by the Empire and where Dragon Riders are born.
To be bonded with a dragon, it mostly involved luck and of course influence and money. For a penniless youngster with just his clothes on his back, he couldn't bribe his way past the dragon handlers. The young dragon hatchlings bonded the easiest during this period, thus many noble families sent their scions to be selected, presenting themselves to the best dragon breeds to be bonded.
He managed to be picked up an Imperial recruiter, looking for adventurous and brave young men to fly as part of a dragon crew. York signed up immediately, earning a single gold coin as a signing bonus, which he spent on a pair of boots and a short dagger.
Earlier, he clung tightly to the rope nettings secured around the belly of the dragon. The wind screaming in his ears, his eyes protected by Imperial issued, crystal goggles. He and his fellow crew mates of eight others sat in baskets on the side belly of the heavyweight dragon called, Blue Thunder, with another forty odd heavily armed and armored fierce looking soldiers.
At an age of twelve, Blue Thunder was still a baby considered by ages of dragons. A typical dragon of the Spitfire dragon breed can live up till a hundred and ninety years.
Yet Blue Thunder was fully grown, its.head to tail measured at 23 meters and a with a wingspan of 16 meters. The Dragon Rider or Captain Qon as the crew called him, was the son of some noble whose father bribed his way into been selected to enter the hatchery.
Captain Qon was just fifteen years old when he bonded with the two-year-old Spitfire hatchling and named him Blue Thunder from his thunderous roars and color of its scales. They lived and trained together for nine years before recruiting a crew and further training together with the crew for another year.
York remembered the months of running and climbing in the cold mountain air, their trainers wanting them to get used to the cold air and high attitudes. Now they were flying into battle, freshly joined the 26th Imperial Dragon Corps a few months back.
His crewmate consisted of him as part of a four-man rigger team, in charge of securing the nets and rigging, which constantly got loose by the stress of flying and maneuvers. A Sergeant at Arms, in charge of the four gunners who carried heavy crossbows, the navigator in charge of finding their way, a lieutenant as the second officer and finally Captain Qon.
York was excited at the prospect of going into battle at the start as were the whole crew. Captain Qon even bought them drinks back then. Now Captain Qon face was white with fear, and Lieutenant Fowl was gone. One moment he was yelling something at them, the other he was just gone. Some of the fierce looking soldiers that sat at the passenger harnesses at the back and sides of the dragon were also missing, the netting and rigging were torn or loosen during the stress of the mad dive and dodging maneuvers.
Somebody shouted and pointed, York turned and looked, his eyes widening in horror as the right wing of Blue Thunder was ripped and torn, gaping holes appearing in the wing membrane.
York turned and looked at the dragon which breathing appeared to be laboring. He then noticed several bleed cracks in its flank scales and some of the soldiers strapped to the side had body parts like arms or legs missing and appeared to be dead or dying.
The past ten minutes was like a ride through the thirteen hells. Their wing dragon, a senior heavyweight Spitfire called Ravager, suddenly stalled in the air, it's magic barrier artifact specially prepared for this mission, shattered and while everyone was wondering what happened another heavyweight dragon suffered the same situation.
When it happened again, everyone realized that it was a long-range magic attack. The flag dragon roared out, commanding the rest of the dragons to scatter from the formation and take evasive maneuvers. But it was too late for the 26th Imperial Dragon Corps's Ravager.
Something hit its back spine, tearing its tail and a large part of its hindquarters out, spraying hot dragon blood across the sky. Everyone was shocked and the next ten minutes was hell. Every dragon took flight in several directions, but still, another heavyweight was hit by a spell, sending them crashing down.
Then suddenly a sound like hundreds of bees buzzing passed them loudly and when York looked around, they were already in this situation.
He prayed, hoping that this nightmare would come to an end, remembering his parent's words forbidding him to ever join the army or the dragon corps. He wished he had never run away from home then, a dark stain appearing in his pants as Blue Thunder slowly tilt over and spiral downwards, and those still alive started screaming.
York slowly opened his eyes. He felt like he had been hammered by a Troll followed by an Oerkin. He slowly tried to sit up but found himself dangling at the side of something scaly. His mind slowly refocused and he slowly remembered Blue Thunder crashing.
The hammering sounds slowly became roars of thunder, and he found himself in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by bodies and bits and parts of things he didn't want to find out what they belong to. He tried to unbuckle himself down, but his weight was pressing against the buckle, so he used his dagger and sawed against the leather, slowly parting it and falling down a short distance to the hard surface.
Moaning in pain, he pushed himself against Blue Thunder and rested. The constant loud roars of thunder increased his headache. As he closed his eyes against Blue Thunder resting, suddenly someone crouched next to him. He looked up and found a fierce looking soldier with scars all over his face next to him.
"What happened?" York asked timidly. "Where are we?"
"Boy, we are in the middle of the nest of rebels," The veteran smiled, "Just where we wanted to go."
Did Blue Thunder landed them at their objective? York reached out and patted the hard scales of the dragon. "Good work, Blue. You have done well."
"Yeah, that's all good and touching. Now, this thing is the only thing keeping us alive from those cursed thunder spells," The veteran said, his head looking at all directions constantly. "We need to move, boy, or when those cursed rebels come around with those bloody thunder spells we will die here."
York groaned as he tried to stand up, but his leg was broken. "My leg, its broken I think." He sniffed, trying not to cry in front of the Knight. "I won't be-be much help to you, Sir."
"Good lad," The veteran Knight smiled, his fierce expression looking more kindly. "Stay here and don't move, you did your part. Now it's time for this old man to do his." The Knight turned and yelled something, and getting a response from someone else which York couldn't see.
"Alright, boy, keep your head down, and play dead," The veteran Knight cast a quick healing spell on his broken leg, "This should help take the pain off a bit."
"Than-thank you, Sir!" York looked upon the Knight with wonder.
"See you at the Gates of Heaven, boy!" The vet grinned and stood up yelling a war cry brandishing his sword and shield, "For the Empire! Charge!" Other cries and shouts joined him, and the survivors of the crash charged over the body of Blue Thunder, and fire and thunder greeted them.
York dragged himself over the side of the dragon, peeking out and watching the last heroic moments of the Knights. Domes of Protection spells covered the dozen ragged looking Knights as they charged towards the Gate, and almost immediately, hundreds and hundreds, puffs of smoke and sparks erupted all over them, and when their Protection spell failed, they fell on the spot no longer moving.
York couldn't help but cry, seeing the heroics actions of the Knights and the old veteran reached the Gates, leaning against it and stopped moving. "No!"
Sawtooth Mountain Pass, Wall Beta
"Cease fire, cease fire!" Sergeant James yelled over the gunfire, chopping his hand horizontally, signaling his men to stop firing. "Damn, they sure die hard." He saw the last warrior charging to the Gate and died as he touched it. "Brave sons of bitches."
He nearly had a heart attack when the dragon slammed down in front of the courtyard, which shook the entire Pass. There were some survivors who threw spells at them, which mostly were negated by the defensive runes and spells built into the Walls. His men returned fire, forcing them to take cover under the dead dragon, but that last banzai charge was hardcore crazy.
Suddenly explosions shook Wall Beta, and a massive shadow covered the firing slits. James did a quick peek and saw another massive dragon, hovering above its dead kin, spitting balls of fire at Wall Beta. He quickly dodged as he saw the dragon's head turn his way, feeling the scorching heat and smoke coming in from the slits. "Get the firemen into action now!" He yelled, "Fucking dragons! I WANT ONE TOO!"
Private Lorner had joined the Marines as the first batch picked from the remnants of the Goldrose Army. He was skeptic about it at first but soon grew to love the magical weapons the hoomans introduced. He volunteered immediately when the fearsome hooman Master Sergeant Pike asked for volunteers for a special team called 'Fireman'.
He thought it was something to do with fighting with fire and he wasn't exactly off the mark. Now dressed a hot and stuffy full body suit of a silvery white material, with a full transparent face mask. Lorner and his buddy, Private Entor dressed similarly, charged out, dragging along a heavy hose. He and his buddy aimed up at the dragon spitting fire at random targets and braced themselves.
Just as he was about to pull the charging handle down, the dragon spotted them in the openings of the wall and spit a ball of fire directly at them. The two of them screamed as the fire covered them, and they keep screaming even when the fire had extinguished. "WILL YOU TWO BITCHES SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Pike's voice screamed into their earpieces. "You can scream all you want when you get butt fucked! BUT SPRAY THAT FUCKING DRAGON NOW!"
That's when Lorner and his buddy realized that they were still alive and they barely felt any heat at all. "Gods in all heavens, we are still alive!" Entor yelled excitedly. "Damn this armor is great!"
"Yes, you dumbfucks! You better wish you are dead if you make me come over there to tell you to spray that dragon again." Pike's angry voice cut in their comms again. "Don't make me come and make you scream!"
"Oh shit," Both Entor and Lorner cried, "Yes Top! Engaging dragon now!"
They both gripped the hose tightly shot a spray of thick foam at the confused dragon who roared, trying to spit more fire their way, only to swallow firefight foam. The choking dragon tried to flap its wings to gain attitude but the thick foam covered all over its body, and it gave a wet cough before flopping belly down on the hard concrete courtyard, cracking it and shaking the whole Pass.
"Good work!" Pike yelled in their comms, "Now spray the fires and put them out!"
The dragon and its surviving crew and elvish cargo were all covered in firefighting foam, blinded, confused and bruised from the crash landing. The dragon kept coughing and sneezing, trying to force out the foam coating in its throat. Each time it coughed or sneezed, the crew onboard was shaken so badly, that some were thrown off its back, the rigging torn from the violent sneezes and coughs.
"Ooo, I like this job," Lorner grinned, "Firemen are awesome!"