I called her Esteras, and she was a dragon.
Red and huge, she could easily fill a castle and turn to ashes all that stood in her path. Her favourite perch was on the stone bridge that spanned the gulf between the castle grounds and the rest of the city, where she was fond of setting aflame the path of those who dared challenge her, like the legendary Silver Knight and his curved sword.
She hung in the dining room of my father's estate, where, in my youth, were held the endless banquets that seemed necessary to maintain the family's standing in court. Never forget you are a Lesàre, my father would say. Never forget we are half royalty. Even if our cups were shallow, even if our larder was empty.
So it was on my sixteenth nameday that I left my home in Arabel with my uncle's sword and my family's blessing.
I would become a knight.
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