Sydney was the oldest son of Oliver and Clair Brightscales. He was hatched in the mountains far to the north in a place called 'Haven.' It was home to a large community of dragons of all sizes and colors. Each dragon had special talents. Some were wise beyond measure and helped keep reason and balance in the community. Others were fierce warriors who protected their homes and families from danger. There were marvelous story tellers who told tales of love, valor and adventure. Yes, each member of the dragon community had something special to offer...all except Sydney.
Besides having no talent, Sydney the Dragon had less ability to fly than the average turtle. Then the threat of death overwhelmed him and he turned and ran...and ran....and ran! He didn't stop until night came and it was too dark to see. Sydney stopped to catch his breath and listen for sounds of danger. He felt relief that there were no sounds of pursuit, then realized nothing sounded familiar either. He couldn't run anymore, the young dragon had to stop from sheer exhaustion and darkness. Sydney crawled through the bushes and found a place to hide. As he looked around in the darkness at the unfamiliar forest, he realized he was utterly hopelessly lost.
Oliver was the greatest musician in all of Haven. His songs were loved and sung by every dragon. Clair was a brilliant artist. Her works were believed to be miracles. Tristan, Sydney's younger brother, was already apprenticed to a master sculptor who praised Tristan's talents as genius. Even Kally, Sydney's baby sister, already showed talent in solving riddles. Yes, every dragon in the entire community had special talent...every dragon except Sydney.
If their son's lack of talent bothered Oliver and Clair, it never showed. They loved their oldest son unconditionally and never said or did anything to make him feel anything except loved.
Secretly though, Sydney felt he was not a very good dragon. He wished with all his heart that one morning his talent would wake up and he would find he had something special to give to his family and the community. But so far that morning had not happened.
Early one spring day, Clair packed a picnic and the family walked around the the far side of Lake Longtail to Softwing Beach for a day of swimming and family fun. As they began to unpack the lunches, Oliver spied a flash of light in the trees. Before he could shout a warning a band of dragon slayers erupted from their hiding places to attack the dragons. There was no time to think! Oliver grabbed Tristan as Clair scooped up Kally and they launched into the air. Sydney stood frozen in panic as Oliver screamed 'FLY! FLY AWAY!'. Sydney couldn't' fly!