Before the Portal

Ameridia approached the portal with a mixture of apprehension and exhilaration, her mighty dragon heart pounding fiercely in her chest as she prepared to face the unknown. Stepping forward, she lifted a paw, running her talons along the side of the gate and feeling it’s rocky texture against her roughened sole, gazing into the swirling crimson flames. My destiny lies beyond the Gate of Embers; the First Dragon has called me.

“Have you come prepared, Ameridia, Champion of Dragons?” V`Tieru’s deep rumble interrupted the younger dragon’s meditations. “Do you know the key to this portal, and are you ready to journey into the realm beyond, defending your people and all of Istaria against whatever dangers face us?”

She swallowed, quickly running though a mental checklist of all she had learned following the footsteps of Ellean. She remembered the star chart, the names of the constellations; yes, she knew the key. She checked her Rune of Summoning, charged at the Focus of Spirit, the emblem that would provide her with protection against the energies of the portal; yes, she was ready for the journey.

As her mind played over the battles, she realized that a part of her had changed in this trial. She seemed somehow harder, conditioned to the rigors of warfare, and more aware of the world around her. She had studied the lore of ancient dragons, long passed from the realm of Istaria, and followed the footsteps of one of her own through myriad dangers and struggles, facing and defeating the worst creatures that roamed the lands of Istaria.

She felt stronger now too, empowered by the scale she wore---a symbol of her heritage and her status as a future ancient. In a way, it seemed to Ameridia that she already possessed the spirit of an ancient dragon; that her trials were over, and the journey which remained, was simply a part of her new duty to guard and protect Istaria. But such thoughts where only a fantasy; she knew that what lay beyond that portal must be a challenge beyond any she could hope to meet without the help of Drulkar, and a challenge requiring the commissioning of many champions such as her.