History of the Sky Riders

In my last blog I shared with you a fun bundle of dragon facts which I hope you enjoyed. This time I thought it would be fun to share with you some more of Aimee’s world (taken from my book-planning notebooks) with a brief history of the Sky Riders themselves. So, go make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/your favourite hot beverage (or cold one if, unlike me, you’re not in Scotland and don’t need to keep warm!) and enjoy some Sky Riders ‘behind the scenes’. (note: if you haven’t yet read The Sky Riders I’d suggest doing so before reading on because there are spoilers below. Grab your copy here: UK / US)

Origins

The Sky Riders were founded only a few years after Kyelli and her father, Marhorn, brought their surviving people to the land inside the Ring Mountains. The city didn’t exist yet—it would take another hundred years for it to grow into the Kierell Aimee would recognise.

Their new home seemed like a perfect haven until they discovered the dragons living up amongst the mountain peaks. An unbonded dragon is a wild creature and a bunch of people living in tents while they built a city would have looked like excellent prey. Marhorn was keen to exterminate the dragons but Kyelli persuaded her father to let her try something else.

With her close friend, Efysta, Kyelli climbed up into the mountains. (My notes about this say – it’s much less scary to make the climb when you’re practically immortal!) Kyelli and Efysta camped out up in the mountains, living in a cave on the western slopes of Jastak Peak, studying the dragons, learning about them. They quickly realised the only way they could tame a dragon was to steal a hatchling. The adult dragons were too wild, too free.

Back on Kierellatta, Efysta had been one of Kyelli’s personal guard, so she was already a warrior. What Kyelli and Efysta did not expect, though, was the bond that would form between Efysta and the hatchling she stole. They’d expected to be able to use the dragons as mounts, like horses, but dragons are creatures of fire and strength, emotions and will.

That first bond, between Efysta and her dragon, Dream, blossomed quickly and they became inseparable. Efysta had fought against Empty Warriors on Kierellatta; she’d seen her friends and family killed; she’d lost her home, but Dream gave her back her joy. She was the first woman to ride the sky; the first to land on Norwen peak with Dream’s wings stirring up the snow; the first to skim the waves of the Griydak Sea and feel their spray. She explored every inch of the Ring Mountains and gave most of the peaks the names they still have when Aimee is born nearly three hundred years later.

Kyelli had originally planned to steal a hatchling for herself too, but when she learned of the bond between Efysta and Dream, she couldn’t do it. How could she form such a strong connection with a creature knowing she’d outlive them? She’d endured enough loss already and didn’t want to put herself through more heartache. But Kyelli could see the potential in having a group of dragon riders to protect their foundling city, and she didn’t want Efysta to be alone, so she set the challenge for other young women—survive the climb up into the Ring Mountains and she’d train them to become dragon riders.

That summer three accepted the challenge and made the climb. Marya, Olinna and Fareene became the first recruits. The Sky Rider numbers grew slowly at first but even after Kyelli vanished from the city girls kept taking up her challenge. Not all of them survived but the strongest and the most determined did. Young women like Aimee.

Could you do it? Would you risk the climb to get a dragon?

Does this make you wish you were a Sky Rider? Shall we make the climb together? Maybe I’ll let you go first and then if you could throw a rope ladder down for me, that would be great! I’m rubbish at climbing!

This blog post was originally a section in one of my monthly newsletters.

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