No, not that kind of dragon love! Kay loves dragons like many young girls love their horses. Although she is just seven years old, Kay has spent her entire life helping her father raise and train dragons. Rumble, a ruby red dragon who has been in her home since before she was born, becomes her very first friend. Later, when Kay is captured and forced to train as a Fire Dancer she acknowledges to herself that she can never harm a dragon. In fact, she’ll become more connected to one than she even thought possible.
In this excerpt from Ignited Kay examines her relationship to Rumble, the family “pet.”
“Be careful now Rumble has a bit of a temper today.”
Kay laughed, “Daddy you say that about Rumble everyday.”
The dragon in question lay curled on his side in a roped off corner of the barn. He opened one lazy eye at the mention of his name but didn’t move. Too old to still breed, the dragon lived there out of habit more than anything else. Rumble had been in her family decades longer than Kay. She had asked her father once how old Rumble was. When he’d been unable to answer shed decided to demand the answer from Rumble herself.
She’d stood atop his magnificent snout and stomped her foot until he had opened both of his monstrous eyes. The giant black orbs stared at her blankly. Mama had been so scared she’d wept like a baby and Daddy had been so mad that, after he’d gotten her safely off, she’d gotten a whooping. She’d been five years old. Kay felt that Rumble would never hurt her and it appeared the old dragon was content to spend the rest of his days sunbathing in various spots in the surrounding pastures and his nights sleeping, curled into a sinewy ball of scales in the barn.
Mama was always particular to Rumble, more so after Kay had provoked him and he hadn’t attacked. She saw him as a member of the family and was constantly reminding Kay that she was lucky to have such a friend in Rumble because most people never got to know dragons and no one counted one as a friend.
Daddy suggested that Rumble’s natural friendliness toward the family, and particularly Kay, was just because he was so old and though Mama agreed it sometimes looked like she wondered.
Kay sat in the dirt beside Rumble, careful to give him plenty of space while he finished his breakfast. She watched him for a moment, smelling her hands and wrinkling her nose at the smell. No wonder dragons had such smelly breath. Finished with his meal Rumble licked the ground where it had been and then sniffed at the air, flicking his forked tongue in and out before fixing one dark eye on Kay.
She held up her hands, No more. You’ll just have to wait for dinner.
Rumble grunted and twin lines of smoke curled up from his nostrils. Kay watched them, mesmerized. Kay had seen dragons in every color of the rainbow but Rumble was the prettiest.Rumble was a deep red that Kay imagined must be the most beautiful color in all the world.
It’s the color of rubies, Daddy had once said, showing her a small red stone. Kay had wrinkled her nose at the shiny rock. It was pretty, and while the hue reminded her of Rumble it did nothing to capture the sparkle in his scale or his richness of color.
“You wouldn’t hurt me,” she whispered.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from Ignited. Do you think dragons make good friends? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!