prequel -- lizbeth | untitled
Posted May 8th, 2018 by Read_Write
in love with tom holland
a/n: hey guys, it's been a while. i've missed this place <3
i wrote this story little bit ago for a class, it's sort of a prequel short story to a novel that i may or may not continue. i hope you guys enjoy :)
“Where’s mommy?” It was past her bedtime, but she’d heard the knock on the door. She’d thought maybe it was her mother, but her father’s strangled gasp from the other room promised nothing but bad news.
Though she was afraid of punishment for being awake at this hour, she crept into the hallway nonetheless. Her pink nightgown was rumpled, and tears threatened to spill over her already-damp eyelashes, but she had to know what was going on.
Her father didn’t reply to the inquiry, eyes fixed on the battered parchment in his lefthand.
“Daddy?” She clutched her ripped blanket tighter to her chest and gracefully moved to the side of his velvet armchair. When he still didn’t acknowledge her presence, she peeked over his arm to better her view of the parchment.
Three sentences adorned the page in elegant cursive.
To whom it may concern:
Sergeant Typhia of Castlerock was killed in battle recently due to a surprise attack by an enemy wyvern force.
It was signed by someone named Lieutenant Remington.
Her father’s devastated sigh weighed a thousand kilograms. “It’s just me and you now, Lizzy.”
The fourteen-year-old found reality with a jolt, bracing herself on the aerie’s open door as Callia repeated her name.
“I’m fine,” Lizbeth muttered, more to convince herself than her friend. She readjusted her tight flying gear, trying to steel herself for what was to come. A wyvern caretaker shot her a sympathetic glance from across the room. “Just forgot breakfast this morning, is all.”
Callia was clearly not convinced, but she didn’t press the issue. Likely she didn’t care much – not out of disrespect, but because that’s just who she was. Callia lived with her head in the clouds, literally and figuratively. Her mind was always on the next time she would be able to sneak away for an unauthorized wyvern flight. She did not often turn her attention far from the beast she’d claimed.
In fact, Callia was still staring at the massive creature in front of her.
“Hey buddy,” she murmured to the black nightmare, laying a hand upon his massive nose. Drax had to be the size of ten horses put together, yet Callia had said that he still had months before he would reach his full size.
“How – how do you know he won’t bite you?” Lizbeth managed, growing paler by the second. Callia merely squinted over her shoulder at her friend, astonishment evident on her face.
“Bite me?” she laughed as if Lizbeth had suggested that air was not necessary to survive. “Drax would never bite me. I am his master and he is trained to protect me at all costs, not hurt me!”
Lizbeth did not believe for a second that Callia could keep the beast tame. She was supposedly the greatest trainee the aerial forces had seen since Commander Remington, yet it still seemed far-fetched to think anyone could control such a fierce and stubborn animal. Wyverns were creatures of mass destruction, not pets.
“Get over here and help me, would you?” Callia picked up Drax’s complex harness, fighting to lift it high enough to set onto Drax’s leathery hide. Tentatively Lizbeth dropped the hand she was using to hold the door open and moved toward her friend.
As she stepped closer, Drax turned his gigantic head in her direction. His nostrils flared, perhaps catching the scent of her fear in the musty air. Lizbeth could have sworn he smirked at her, razor-sharp canines bared mockingly. Faintly she gasped, the sound lost to the distant din of restless caged creatures. I wonder if this is how mother felt before she was killed.
Fighting inevitable hyperventilation, Lizbeth aided Callia with the heavy load and they placed the saddle on Drax’s waiting back. The warmth of his hide came as an unpleasant surprise, and she quickly pulled away from the monstrosity and retreated to the door. Once again she propped it open, gasping in the cool autumn air.
“All ready!” Callia tightened the final few straps on the contraption and stepped back to survey her work. The excitement in her voice was unmistakable. Lizbeth had never heard Callia so enthusiastic about anything. The Aerial apprentice tugged on her braid absentmindedly, mouth curved in a half-smile as she gazed at the wyvern. Callia looked like she was born to fly; she even seemed to like the uncomfortable flying leathers and goggles they’d been forced to don in the name of safety.
Still panicked at her proximity to so many killing machines, Lizbeth barely even noticed as her friend climbed into the now-secure saddle and directed Drax out of his personal corral. He stepped into the center of the circular building. Lizbeth’s level of dread rose infinitely as Callia waved her over.
“Are you sure we’re allowed to do this?” Lizbeth protested weakly, but Callia was unimpressed. She rolled her eyes and fixed Lizbeth with a death glare.
“I didn’t drag you up here only to have you chicken out. Come,” Sitting on the wyvern’s back, Callia looked as fierce as any of the warriors Lizbeth had ever seen – maybe even more so. It was clear she was destined to fly, to fight, and to lead. The pure command in Callia’s final word was so powerful that Lizbeth almost didn’t realize when she took a step towards the beast. Callia’s face split into a feral grin. “If you don’t hurry up, I might be tempted to tell Drax to do some mid-air somersaults on the way there.”
“Please don’t do anything crazy,” Lizbeth begged. She carefully avoided Drax’s barbed tail as she crossed to the center of the building and clumsily hoisted herself into the saddle behind Callia. The leather strap around her waist was a small comfort, allowing her some semblance of security as she pulled it impossibly tight.
Drax flexed his wings. In one large motion he pushed them up off the ground, and Lizbeth barely managed to hold back her scream. At Callia’s signal four aerie attendants rushed to the building’s giant double doors and swung them open, allowing Drax plenty of space to soar out of the building and into the blue sky above.
Lizbeth squeezed her eyes shut behind her flying goggles and clutched Callia’s waist so tightly that the more experienced girl grunted in pain.
“You’ll get used to it,” Callia assured her, amused. “It’s fun, I promise. Just don’t look down.”
Naturally, that statement led Lizbeth to warily open her eyes and peer at the city below. This time she couldn’t keep the scream to herself – they were hundreds of meters above the tallest of buildings in the city, and they were going so fast. Only the King’s quickest horses could move at such speeds.
Lizbeth willed her eyes to close again and took deep breaths. She was flying, and she was actually on a wyvern, no less.
She hated it.
Lizbeth was pretty sure they’d been flying for four days, even when Callia glanced back skeptically and announced that it hadn’t even been four minutes. Lizbeth dared to open her eyes once more, bracing herself before stealing a glance at their new surroundings.
Drax seemed to have begun his descent back to the safety of solid ground – their rapid pace had slowed and he was approaching a clearing halfway down on what Lizbeth assumed was a small mountain. She breathed a sigh of relief, wanting nothing more than to feel land beneath her feet again.
Nearly falling off the saddle, she staggered away from the beast the second they hit the earth and dropped to her knees in the sandy-sprinkled dirt. Normally she’d be worried about the dust staining her clothes, but she was more focused on not throwing up her breakfast into the shrubs lining the cliff border.
Oh gods, Callia brought us to Death’s Edge, she realized, staring into the void below. She scrambled away from the rocky precipice, a mix of fear and anger flooding her thoughts. What in the King’s name was she thinking?
Lizbeth turned to demand answers, only to find Callia still on Drax’s back, less than a meter from slipping into oblivion. “Why did you fly us here?” Lizbeth practically shouted, undiluted terror coursing through her veins. “If one of us falls, we’ll die! Even Drax wouldn’t be fast enough to catch us. And he’s already flown kilometers, Callia – how do you know that he even has enough energy to make it back to town?”
Callia had the grace to look ashamed. “Sorry, Lizzy, I should have warned you. I didn’t realize – I mean, it’s just that Drax and I come here all the time. He’d never fail me.”
“Whatever your intentions, that was awful,” Lizbeth spat, spinning on her heel and stalking away from her friend. “I am never flying again.”
She began making her way down the rocky incline, back towards the city she loved. She could see the edge of town no more than a kilometer ahead. Callia had been right about one thing, at least; they had not flown very far at all. Lizbeth pretended not to notice when the other girl called after her.
She glanced back only once, just for a second. Callia had dismounted and was speaking softly to Drax, who did not appear to be paying attention to his master. Instead his gaze had moved past her, emerald eyes fixed on Lizbeth’s frozen figure. As she watched, his tail flicked sharply against the boulders on Death’s Edge, fracturing its ancient stones and sending gravel flying.
To Callia he may have been harmless, but Lizbeth did not forget that he was a wyvern and would kill without hesitation.
Wyverns were monsters bred to destroy, nothing more.
See more stories by feysand (lydia)