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Riders of Lucis

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Prologue 1 – Noctis Lucis Caelum

 

            For centuries, the kingdom of Lucis enjoyed peace because of the covenant forged long ago between man and dragon.  A great darkness plagued the world and it was through the companionship of one man and the bond of friendship he had with his draconian comrade that the darkness was banished.  In order to keep the darkness sealed, Bahamut transformed into a crystal.  The man took it upon himself as well as his bloodline to protect the crystal, for it was more than just a lock for the seal.  It was the symbol of friendship he shared with his beloved dragon.  Through this bond, the crystal blessed draconians deemed worthy with the ability to bond with a human holding royal blood to Lucis.  To have them as their rider and become protectors of the great crystal.  To help his dear friend and king, Bahamut chose a clan of dragons to safeguard the king and his bloodline until the One True King would arrive once more to harness Bahamut’s power and banish the darkness for good.

 

 

            The moon was high in the sky as the halls of the Citidel within Insomnia, the Crown City of Lucis, rang with cries of a baby.  In the bed chamber of King Regis and his beloved wife, Queen Aulea, the castle maid staff as well as a doctor, a few nurses, and King Regis coached the Queen through her labor.  A great dragon sat perched out on the balcony with another dragon half his size.  The larger beast was Clarus of the Amacitia Clan; his son, Gladiolus, sat next to him, the newest line in the clan to safeguard this new link in the Royal Family.  The baby finally arrived and the doctor swaddled the infant in a blanket.

“Congratulations, Your Grace!”  The doctor smiled as he handed the crying infant over to the King.  “The Crystal has blessed you both with a Prince.”

            Regis looked upon his son, his face as red as a tomato as he cried.  Regis chuckled as he sat beside his taxed wife, “Look, Aulea!”  He cheered quietly.  “Look upon our boy!  Our precious baby boy!”  He handed the infant to the mother who, immediately through instinct, held the baby to her breast to feed him.  The infant sucked dutifully.  “Already hungry?”  Regis chuckled.

            “It is normal, Your Majesty.”  The doctor confirmed.  “What name shall I scribe on his Birth Certificate?”

            Regis and Aulea looked upon each other.  Aulea looked down at her son, his raven black hair already growing on his smooth head.  She smiled as Regis ran his hand over the hairs.  “Noctis…”  She smiled as she looked to Regis.  “Noctis Lucis Caelum.”

            “Noctis…”  Regis leaned in and kissed his son’s head, causing Noctis to whimper from the disturbance. “The Queen and I have spoken.”  Regis looked to the Doctor.  “Proclaim to the kingdom!  This night, a prince was born!  The Crystal blesses Lucis with Noctis Lucis Caelum!”

            “Hail, Noctis!”  The group cheered.

            When the baby finished, Regis took Noctis and walked out to the balcony for his dear friend to see.  “Look upon him, Clarus!”  Regis smiled at his dragon.  “What a joyous night!”

            “Indeed, O King.”  Clarus thrummed with a nod.  “A fine young Prince he shall become!”  Clarus moved his long neck to nudge Gladio.  “Go, my son.  Look upon your liege.  When he is of age, you two shall bond before the Crystal and receive the blessing of Bahamut.”

            “I know, father.”  Gladio nodded.  He leaned forward to gaze upon the infant who quickly began to cry.  Gladio shook his head in annoyance.  “I gotta watch this thing?!”

            “Mind your tongue!”  Clarus hissed.

            “It is quite alright, Clarus.”  Regis chuckled.  “This is all new to us.  Aurlea and I have tried so hard to begin a family of our own.  Now we have one!”  Regis raised his crying son high, “Welcome home, Noctis!  The light of my star!”

 

Prologue 2 –Ignis Scientia

 

            War had plagued many lands around Lucis and so Insomnia played host to multiple refugees.  One such refugee was a young boy no older than four years of age.  He was the nephew to one of the stewards of the Lucian Royal Family and so Regis immediately had the boy brought into the castle.  It was already ordained, as this boy showed impeccable intellect and intelligence.  His uncle had pined for the parents to have him become the advisor to the newest heir.  It was unfortunate, however, to lose them in the war.  The steward brought the boy forward into the throne room.  He stood straight, showing as much respect with his body as he could.  Clarus and Gladio looked down upon them with Regis and Noctis standing between.  Noctis was only three and so he hid behind Regis, but peeked when he noticed the boy.

            “Your Majesty, King Regis!”  The steward announced.  “I come before you to present my nephew, Ignis Stupeo Scientia.”  With a warm smile and gentle push from his uncle, Ignis stepped forward and bowed low.

            “Welcome to Insomnia, Ignis.”  Regis smiled.  “My boy, would you be so kind as to join me up here?”

            Ignis nodded and heeded his king.  He walked up slowly and eyed the dragons.  They were far more gargantuan in life than in his books.  Still, he knew their purpose and remained poised.  He looked to Regis for further instruction.

            “Listen well…”  Regis began.  “A king cannot lead by standing still.  A king pushes onward, always.  Accepting the consequences and never looking back.”  He turned to Ignis and bent down a little with a smile, “That said…” he continued, “A king can accept nothing, unless he first accepts himself.  Should he stand still, I need you to stand by him…”  Regis brought his arm behind Noctis and pushed him forward.  “stand by him as not only his friend…but as his brother.  Please, take care of my son.”  Regis smiled and let the two eye each other.

            Ignis felt pride in his duty once he saw the prince.  He would be in charge of Noctis’s well-being and his tutelage to becoming king.  It was a great task but Ignis wanted to do whatever he could.  He would take Noctis by the hand and lead him to the throne.  Without a second thought, Ignis held out his hand.  Noctis looked to it and, with a smile, gripped it tightly with both hands.  He smiled brightly, making Ignis blush slightly.

            “Fast friends.”  Clarus thrummed.  “Welcome to the Royal Court, Ignis Scientia.”

            Ignis looked up at the tall beasts in awe.  Noctis took Ignis’s hand and took him to Gladio.  “Papa says this is my dwagon!”  Noctis smiled.  “Gwadiowus!!  Say Hi!!”

            “Yo.”  Gladio nodded to Ignis.

            Ignis bowed to him, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Gladiolus.  I vow to do my best to play my part in the protection Prince Noctis.”

            “I’m sure.”  Gladio nodded, feeling humbled at such respect.  “Just call me ‘Gladio,’ okay?”

            “Come on, guys!!”  Noctis tugged on Ignis’s arm.  “Wet’s go pway!!  I wanna wide on Gwadio’s back again!!  Iggy should too!”

            “Iggy?”  Ignis raised an eyebrow at the nickname.  The Prince was a child.  Ignis was sure Noctis would grow out of it.  He followed his Prince and Gladio to the courtyard as Clarus and Regis looked on, chuckling to themselves.

 

Prologue 3 – The Bonding Ceremony

 

            The time had come.  Noctis was now the age of 10, the proper age for a young royal to bond with his dragon.  The two had spent countless hours together through the long years.  Gladio and Noctis were as inseparable as Noctis and Ignis.  Gladio walked behind Ignis and Noctis as they approached the chamber of the crystal.  Clarus sat alongside with Regis and Aulea as they awaited the prince and his retainers.

            “The time is come, my son.”  Regis smiled.  “The next stage in your path to becoming King; you must bond with your dragon through the light of the Great Crystal.  Gladiolus, Draconian of Clan Amicitia will join with Noctis, Crown Prince of Lucis.”

            Noctis looked to Ignis for emotional support.  “You have prepared for this, Highness.”  Ignis smiled.  “I am behind both of you fully.”

            Gladio stepped next to Noctis, the boy just reaching his elbow in height, “We’re in this together, Noct.”  Gladio nodded.  Noctis nodded back and placed his hand on the black dragon’s scales.  The two followed Regis and Clarus into the chamber as the Crystal glowed brightly.  Aulea placed a gentle hand on Ignis as he looked on.

            Regis spread his arms wide, “I, Regis Lucis Caelum, proclaim to thee, that my son, Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum, has arrived at the decreed hour!  May Bahamut bind their souls and be as one!”  Clarus spread his wings behind Regis and roared, proclaiming his presence as well as that of his son.

            Noctis and Gladio walked forward and were bathed in the light.  A voice resounded within the two, “Hark!  The Chosen King is come.  He who is blessed by both Crystal and Dragon alike shall purge the star of its scourge, and dispel the darkness from this world.  He who holds the blood of the Chosen, the dragon sought to bind you lies not here.  As one who is Chosen, the Light shall be blessed unto them once the Chosen Draconian is found.”

            “Wait!”  Gladio hissed.  “You mean…I’m not meant to be Noct’s dragon?!”  The crystal did not answer him, but dimmed and faded.  Gladio looked to the crystal and back to Noctis who, also, seemed deeply hurt.  “I’m…I’m not your dragon?”

            “What does this mean, Clarus?”  Regis looked to his friend.  He was perplexed!  Nothing like this has ever occurred, but, the truth had come forward.  Noctis was the Chosen True King, the one Prophesized in the legends.

            Clarus shook his head, “I know not, My Lord.”  He thrummed.  “Bahamut…does not see my son fit for yours….”

            “This is crap!”  Gladio roared.  “All this time?!  All this training?!  For what?!!!”  He slammed his tail into the floor.  “I refuse to be the only dragon deemed unfit to serve the Lucian family!”

            “Hold your tongue, Gladiolus!” Clarus snapped.

            “No!!”  Gladio roared back.  Ignis ran forward and pulled Noctis away from the raging dragon.  “I won’t be a disgrace to both families!!”

            “Enough!”  Clarus roared enormously.  He spread his four great wings, looking far larger than Gladio had ever seen him.  He hung his head low, but continued to glare.  “None have said your service to Noctis has ended!”  Clarus reasoned.  “Noctis has been proclaimed as the Chosen King of the Prophesy.  Perhaps Noctis’s dragon is Bahamut himself?”

            Regis thought for a moment, “….This may be true.  Noctis may not hold the power to wield such power as yet.”

            Noctis looked up to Ignis, “Iggy…”

            “Do not worry, Noct.”  Ignis smiled.  “I…I am certain everything will be just fine.”

            Gladio snarled and proceeded to stomp out of the room.  Aulea let him through and watched him as he stomped off.  “Will he be alright, Clarus?”

            The larger black and gold dragon shook his head, “I know not, My Queen.  This is quite a blow to me as well…”

            Ignis felt a tug on his sleeve and looked down at Noctis, “Iggy, I wanna go see Gladio.”

            “I agree, Highness.”  Ignis nodded.  He looked to Regis and Clarus for permission, “Your Grace, the Prince desires to visit Gladiolus.  May we be excused?”  Regis and Clarus both nodded and the two left.  They found Gladio resting in the castle garden, laying by his favorite water feature.  The two approached cautiously.

            “Chill out…”  He mumbled, annoyed that his closest friends would feel this way, but he did not blame them fully.

            Ignis leaned his head to examine the dragon’s mood, judging if it was safe for Noctis to come closer.  “Are….you alright, Gladio?”

            “I’m fine…”  He huffed.  “Just….pissed off is all.”

            “Language.”  Ignis scolded with a smile.  Gladio responded with a roll of his eyes.

            “Gladio…?”  Noctis walked forward, letting go of Ignis’s hand and running to his dragon.  He began to warm him by petting his large snout, an action Gladio had grown to love from the Prince.  He purred in response.

            “Thanks, Noct.”  He purred.

            “I’m mad too…Who else is more fit to be my dragon?!”  Noctis’s eyes burned.  “Who cares what the crystal says?!  You’re my dragon!”

            “Noct…” Ignis shook his head.  “”I am afraid that is not how it works.  Do you not remember your studies in preparation of this day?  The Prince and his Dragon bond souls.  Through this covenant of souls, a dragon and his liege are able to exchange thoughts, memories, images, emotions, things of the like.  Through this process, however, you also experience each other’s pain.”

            “Wait!”  Gladio lurched his head forward.  “So, if either of us got hurt, we would feel their pain?”

            Ignis shook his head,  “No…if you, Gladio, were injured, Noctis would receive the same injury.  If Noctis were injured, you would only sense it.”

 

            “What?!”  Gladio stood.  “But…why?  Why didn’t dad tell me this?”  He looked to Noctis who also seemed just as shocked in remembering.

            Ignis looked up at the dragon, “Your father, more than likely, thought the fear of such risk would have you step down from your chosen path.”

            Gladio huffed and leaned back down, “Damn right…”  He looked over to Noctis.  “Sorry, bud…had I known, I never would have gone in that chamber with you…but I’m not Chosen so it works out.”

            Noctis nodded and sat next to Gladio, rubbing his arm, “Yeah…I’m not mad.  I just…don’t know who will be my dragon now.  I don’t wanna be the first king without a dragon.”

            Ignis sat down with them, “You won’t be, Noct.”  Ignis nodded.  “You may not be bonded through souls, but you both are bonded with heart.”

            Gladio seemed empowered by Ignis’s words, “Yeah!  We don’t need some stupid crystal telling US we’re not good for the throne!  We’ve got each other’s backs already!  Iggy’s right!”  Gladio stood and pushed Ignis over with his nose

            “G-Gladio!!”  Ignis tried pushing the large nose away.  “Get off of me before you crush me!”

            “Iggy!!”  Noctis plopped onto Ignis as well, giving him a tight hug.  “You’re the best, Iggy!”

 

Prologue 4 – Prompto

 

            It was an infiltration mission assigned to Cor Leonis.  The empire had been running experiments of late and it was the job of the Glaives to discover what it was.  Cor sneaked into the frozen tundra of Nifilheim and found a gigantic facility with multiple dragon eggs the empire had acquired.  What were they using them for?  Thinking quickly, Cor snatched one before he was noticed and managed to escape.  He brought it before Regis and the council for them to discuss future plans on what the Empire was doing.  Regis ordered Cor to look after the egg.  It was better for the dragon to be born in captivity here than in the hands of the empire.

            On the night of Noctis’s birth, the egg began to crack and snap.  Cor looked over at the nest of blankets he had made, caring as best as he could for the egg.  After a few hours, the egg finally became weak enough to burst and a golden dragon lay sprawled out on the soft sheets, covered in the goop inside the egg.  Cor smiled, wiping off the dragon as he mewled from the strange sensation.

            “Easy now…”  He smiled.  “You’re alright.”  The dragon looked up at Cor’s gentle face with his deep blue eyes and mewled again.  Cor had been imprinted as his caretaker; his mother, as it were.  The dragon seemed to smile as he looked up at him.  Cor chuckled as the dragon seemed to now play with the man’s hands.  “You’re a feisty one.  I think….Prompto will be a good name for you.”  Prompto roared at the name, seeming to smile.

            As the years went on, Cor raised the dragon as best he could.  After 11 years, Cor took the young Dragon to meet with Regis for the first time.  There, in the throne room, Cor presented the young dragon on his shoulder to the Royal Court.

            “Your Majesty.”  Cor bowed.  “I present to you, the dragon that has been raised in my keeping; Prompto.”  Cor removed Prompto from his shoulder and held him high.  Clarus and Gladio nodded in greeting the young dragon.  Prompto and Noctis suddenly locked eyes and there was a sudden spark through both of them.  They stared at each other for some time.

            Ignis leaned in to look at Noctis’s blank face, “Something the matter, Noct?”  he asked.

            “Huh?”  Noctis blinked and shook his head, trying to rid himself of the strange feeling.  He felt a connection with the young dragon.

            “A pleasure to meet you, Prompto.”  Regis smiled, holding Aulea’s hand.  “How old are you?”

            “Uh…um…11 years, sir…um, You’re Majesty…”  the dragon stumbled over the formalities horribly.  Cor gave him a sympathetic smile as he retreated to his shoulder.

            “Prompto…”  Regis spoke again.  “Though you are young, I am afraid the time is come for you to leave the care of Cor Leonis.  You must learn to live like the dragon you are.”

            “I…I know…”  Prompto knew this day was coming.  He was terrified of it.  He looked up at Gladio, his black scales shined like onyx.  The red horns on his crest and head shined like deep rubies.  Could he become so noble and stoic as he?

            “Fear not, dear Prompto.”  Aulea spoke.  “Your care under the Amicitia clan will be well looked after.”  She looked to Gladio who stepped forward.  “Gladiolus shall be your teacher and mentor.  Look to him for guidance on your draconic livelihood.”

            “I….I will…”  Prompto shook, so incredibly nervous for his future.

Cor lift Prompto down and placed him on the marble floor.  “You will be fine, Prompto.”  Cor smiled.  “You are in the best of care that I can ever offer.”

Noctis did something that was unprecedented.  He began walking down the stairs and his parents watched him.  Prompto watched the prince as well as he came close to him.  Prompto curled in on himself and looked up at the taller prince.  Noctis knelt down and extended his hand, “Hi!”  He smiled warmly.  “I’m Noctis!”

“Um…”  Prompto looked at the hand and the face belonging to it.  Prompto, then, smiled back, “Hiya, Noctis!”

“I’m gonna introduce you to my friends!”  Noctis picked up Prompto, which made the golden dragon nervous, but this was the Prince!  It couldn’t be too bad, right?  He held the dragon in front of Ignis, “This is Ignis but you can call him ‘Iggy’!”

Ignis smiled and bowed to the dragon, “A pleasure, Prompto.”

Noctis, then, moved to present the gold dragon to Gladio.  Prompto threw his tail between his legs from nerves.  “This, here, is Gladiolus!”  Noctis smiled.  “But, we call him Gladio for short.”

“Heya.”  Gladio looked down on the young dragon.  “I’m your mentor.”

“Hey-Heya….” Prompto swallowed thickly.

“Don’t you worry, bud.”  Gladio nuzzled the small dragon.  “We’re all friends here.”

Prompto was beginning to feel more and more welcome.  As the years passed, the connection between himself and Noctis grew.  It was not long after Prompto came into his life that Noctis went along with his mother and were attacked after a visit to one of the neighboring territories.  Regis had saved him, but they were unable to save Aulea.  It was a heavy blow to the kingdom. 

Soon after the attack,  Noctis was taken to Tennebrae, where the healers worked on his injuries.  Noctis had become fast friends with the Princess, Lunafreya, and were inseparable throughout the ordeal.  She was the youngest to train for the position of Oracle, but she was chosen.

Her messenger and confidant, Gentiana, bestowed upon her 2 dragons, Umbra and Pryna.  Both were long, serpentine dragons with the heads of dogs but Umbra was black while Pryna was white.  It was here that Noctis learned that those blessed to become Oracle could bond with 2 dragons, thanks to their connection with the Messenger of the Gods.  He also learned of his calling as the True King.  Luna told him of her own calling as the Oracle.

“I will see to it that you fulfill your destiny, Noctis.”  She smiled.  “That is my calling, as it is yours to answer the call of the Crystal, and purge our star of its scourge.”

“Thanks, Luna!”  Noctis smiled.  “I won’t let ya down!”

“I know you won’t.”  Luna smiled back.  She gave him a red book and placed it on his lap, “Take this book wherever you go.”

“Sure!”  Noctis smiled.  “I will!”

“That’s not all…”  Luna continued.  “I…want you to right something in the book and send it back….so we can both see the places we have been and share memories.”

“Okay!”  Noctis smiled.  “I promise I will!  I’ll also send you pictures of my friends!  Prompto is gonna be big before you see him.  He’s a Gold Dragon!  Papa says he and I bonded!  We shared memories already!”

“That is good news!  I look forward to watching his progress!”  Luna giggled.  Noctis had told her all about his friends and so she looked forward to seeing them.

Before leaving, Tennebrae was attacked for harboring Regis and his son.  During the farewell ceremony, Regis had no choice but to take his son to safety.  Luna and Ravus looked on as he ran.  Ravus, her brother, forever harbored hatred for Regis leaving the Flouret family to die.  Luna, however, wished only the best for Noctis and did her best to ensure their destinies were uninterrupted.  The time would soon come when Noctis needed to fulfill his calling and she would be there to stand by him along with his dearest friends.