Sometimes you don’t realize how free you truly are until you aren’t free anymore, until you no longer have the choice to fly whenever you want, or hunt when you want. Only when you have to follow rules do you realize what freedom is. I learnt this lesson the hard way. Kata and I had one mission; to free the draconic’s under the Military’s rule, and we failed. Now Kata is dead and the rest of us involved with the operation have been arrested. I do not know what will happen to them, whether they will be executed or left to rot in prison like me.
You see, I was saved. Kata’s old friend has power amongst the Military’s higher ups and somehow managed to convince them to let me, a Rebellion leader, live. Not that I would consider this living. Humans come by occasionally to feed me. Some ask me questions that I don’t answer. Like they think I’ll just give away the Rebellion’s secrets just because they managed to beat me. The secrets I keep will die with me, and nothing will change that.
It’s been years since our failed mission, and everyone involved has been executed for their crimes. All except for me. I still live in the cell I was put in. I hear the soldiers arguing that I am just a worthless mouth to feed, that they should just kill me already. The jokes on them, because if I could, I would kill myself just to be free once more. I’ve accepted that I’ll never see the sky again. That I’ll never feel the sun on my scales again. That I’ll never fly or see my friends again.
Until now. I can hear voices outside of my cell, young voices, one unsure and the other determined. A boy and a girl. The girl’s voice sounds familiar, but I cannot place where I know it from. They must be a part of the group of orphans the Military ‘rescues’ from burnt down villages. But what are they doing here? I know for a fact that the young ones aren’t allowed near the prison cells, so why are they here? I look through the pitiful excuse for a window, and am surprised when I see the girl looking straight at me. She probably can’t see anything except for my eye, what with how black my scales are and the lack of light within my cell.
“What’re you doing?” I hear the boy cry. Before I can even question what is happening, the unthinkable happens.
My cell door opens.
My cell door opens.
The light blinds me, and I close my eyes against it. My instincts kick in before the rational part of my brain can stop them and I step through the doorway, blinking harshly against the sunlight. The sun is warm and I can feel it warming my scales already. I stretch and shake myself, my body tense and cramped after being locked away for years. Finally my eyes adjust and I stare down at the two children before me.
The boy looks at me with terror on his face, but the girl shows no fear. Instead she looks pleased with what she has done. As I stare into her eyes, I feel something… it reminds me of when I--no, no way. I will not let my thoughts even go down that path. In the distance I hear the Military’s sirens going off. My cell door must’ve been alarmed in case I had ever tried to break out. It won’t be long before we are swarmed. I don’t even think and lunge towards the two children, shouldering them onto my back before I begin to run. As is the case with all wyvern’s, my land movements are clumsy. I need to get into the air, and fast. I growl at the children. I cannot speak with them because of the band around my jaws, but they get the hint once I climb the nearest building. They take a wing each and begin to remove the cuffs around them. Moments later, they fall to the ground with a thunk.
I spread my wings.
I push off with my legs.
I beat my wings.
And lift off.
I am flying. I have missed flying. Missed feeling the air flow around me as I soar through the air. I have missed being free. The feeling doesn’t last long however as the two children I have essentially kidnapped are clinging to my neck. It crosses my mind that they’ve probably never ridden bareback before. But there’s no time to give them a lesson. This is my one shot at escaping the Military and getting back to the Rebellion. I wonder if they’ll still remember me…
It isn’t going to be easy to escape. Already several soldiers are in the air flying after me. They aren’t shooting at us yet, probably because the children are their own. This gives me the advantage. Being a wyvern probably also does as well, but we’ll go with the children. Make them feel important for a bit longer.
But it’s as I pull a sharp turn to avoid the forwing that suddenly appears in front of me, that the boy falls from my back. I can hear his screams as he falls--suddenly his hair is red and scruffy, not dark brown and dead straight--and I immediately dive after him. I will not let these children die because of me. At the last second, I catch him and set him down before I’m gaining height. Saving the boy has cost me precious time and I need to get out, now.
It’s when I think that I’ve finally escaped that everything goes wrong. The dragons and the forwing following me have backed off. I thought this odd until I felt the air leave my lungs as I was tackled mid flight. Out of the corner I see purple and I turn my head to see Sierra snarling at me. Her rider, Fabian, is on her back, holding on for dear life. I feel the girl start to slip and shake Sierra off. Can’t she see the girl will be in danger if she attacks me? Obviously not because she lunges for me again, managing to wrap herself around me. It is hard to fly with the extra weight, but not impossible. But it has been years since I last flew, so slowly we begin to lose altitude.
Fabian reaches across Sierra for the girl and that’s when I realize what they were doing. While Sierra incapacitates me, Fabian is free to grab the girl. It is for that reason that I try to fly steady. The moment that the girl is free, I will be able to break free and escape this miserable place. And be free once more.
But of course it goes wrong. Sierra cuffs me over the head. I drop towards the ground, the sudden deadweight too much for the smaller dragon to handle and she falls with me. Which is all it takes for the girl to miss Fabian’s outstretched hand and start falling through the air. The only difference is that the ground is much closer and no one is near enough to catch her.
A split second is all it takes for me to throw Sierra off and speed towards the girl. I manage to get my wings around her before we both crash into the ground. Pain fills my body, and my head spins as we come to a stop. I don’t know why I chose to save the girl, but there is a small part of me that is glad I made that choice.
I hope that she understands what I gave up so that she could live.
Thank you for reading!