By Alicia Steen
Parkr. Dragon Field, Gathrya. Year After Shadow Two Thousand Ninety Seven.
“It’s the day you’ve all been waiting for, the finale of the Magic Games. Scale Wars!”
Huff is as excited as ever, and for good reason. Scale Wars is not only the highlight of the Magic Games, it’s the most anticipated event of the year.
“All our promising young wizards are lined up with their teams, ready to race for the scale field. What new combinations of magic will we see this year? Will our reigning champions, the Three Princes, dominate the field again! Your thoughts, Puff?”
“All fourth year wizards and several third years have developed their strategies entirely with the Three Princes in mind. With everyone on the lookout for them, not to mention the added pressure of both their last Scale War and previous victories, I’m not certain our Three Princes can rise to the top this year.”
I grin at Puff’s words. Through the mental connection James has already set up, I reply, “If all their focus is on us…”
“We’ll make sure of it,” Mykl finishes. We knew after last year’s Scale War that this would happen.
“The naysayers only add to the legend,” James chimes in. Our connection is in sync. We are so ready for this. Time to show them all what this past year has taught us.
Huff cements our focus. “The Master of Riders is ready to signal the starting roar.”
I fix my eyes on the scale field beyond the short rocky sprint. It’s a large depression in the middle of rocks and pale blue-green shrubs where all our dragons shed their scales. The dragon scales themselves are about the size of a lady’s hand, with some being as large as a man’s head. Their color, while mostly clear, depended on the dragon that shed them, and streaked at odd angles when tilted into the light.
The shaking earth causes us all to surge forward. Mykl jumps the three of us to the entrance of the field, marked by large twin boulders a dragon’s length apart. As we’d practiced so many times, until we muttered the spells in our sleep, we quickly set up a barrier spell.
“Oh my! Mykl shows off his new skills by jumping the three of them to the entrance all at once!”
“To be expected. Our Three Princes always keep their best and newest a secret. It’ll only give them three moments head start at best.”
A half and two, actually. That’s how fast Bluster could sprint the distance when properly motivated. Plenty of time, since the purpose of our barrier spell was not to keep people out but to give us control of the space.
“Parkr!” James signals. Mykl jumps me right in the way of our running schoolmates. As I land, I explode the air to stop them in their tracks.
“You’re not getting past us.”
They definitely hadn’t expected this, but the shock was soon replaced by determination. “Let’s find out!”
“What a declaration! Parkr just claimed the entire field for the Three Princes!”
“It’s allowed in the rules, but if even one person slips past them, their strategy falls apart.”
“Grab the edge of your seats; you won’t want to miss a moment!”
Among the spectators, in the highest seat, laughter fills the air. “Those are my sons for you! They overturn expectations with strategies none others dare to consider. They’re always a cut above. What do you think, Sranus?”
The aged wizard beside the king replies, “I’m not certain their plans can be called strategy. Their determination and daring eclipses all others.”
“Naturally! They are my sons as well as princes of Gathyra.”
“You have done well. Gathyra’s future will be safe in their hands.”
The king’s proud expression sobers. “And the past?”
“That is for them to decide.”
Read the next story! Festival of Scales