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Echoes of Thunder is the first episode of The Dragon Prince and first chapter of the first book, "Moon". It is also the first chapter of the first saga.

As the human kingdom of Katolis braces for an attack by Moonshadow Elves, King Harrow makes plans to send his sons Callum and Ezran away to a safe place.

Plot

Aaravos, a Startouch Elf, narrates the story of how a once united continent, rich in diverse life and magic, came to split apart. While the former Dragon King Sol Regem passes the nature of Xadia, accompanied by a flock of Sunbirds, Aaravos explains that magic originates from six Primal Sources: the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Earth, the Sky, and the Ocean, each of which is displayed through a representative shift of scenery while the dragon soars past the sources. Showing the events of a thousand years later, a human mage discovered another source, dark magic, which he uses to harvest the magical essence of the Sunbirds to create a dark tornado, killing them in return. The practice horrified Xadians and it was soon condemned as the elves and dragons gathered their leaders at The Border, where they punished mankind by forcibly banishing them to the western side of the continent, forming the Human Kingdoms. Aaravos unfolds a map that ignites at the Breach between the now separated nations, where the King of the Dragons, dubbed "Thunder" by humans, pledged to defend the border. Armies of all Human Kingdoms attempt to attack the mighty dragon, who fights back while the elves oversee the battle from afar. However, Thunder met his end when centuries passed and the humans managed to use powerful dark magic to slay the Dragon King and destroyed his only egg that contained his heir, the Dragon Prince. Said egg is seen rotating inside a storm before fading out into darkness before the Breach is shown once again, where General Amaya holds her watch.

Four months later, pouring rain and thunder surround the castle of Katolis. Prince Ezran peacefully sleeps in his bed, snuggled up to his companion Glow Toad, Bait, while his older brother Callum is still awake in his room next door. Callum draws a picture of dragons roasting marshmallow monsters when a loud thunderstrike wakes his younger brother. Callum comforts Ezran, reassuring him that the thunder can not hurt him, allowing him to return to sleep.

At the same time in the forest, a human guard on patrol notices the presence of an intruder. A lone female elf, Rayla, is tasked to kill the guard before he could alert the castle. When the guard spots the enemy in the trees thanks to a lightning strike, he shoots an arrow and attempts to escape, but the assassin eventually catches up to the human when he trips. After kicking him into a puddle of water, she hesitates to strike upon seeing the fearful expression on his face and allows the guard to make his escape.

Inside the castle, the High Mage Viren examines a mysterious mirror before he is interrupted by a knock on the door. After covering the mirror up, Viren is quickly informed of what the guard had witnessed and makes his way to the chambers of King Harrow to pass on the information. Despite being informed by the door guards that the king has not risen yet, Viren enters the room, much to the displeasure of a sleepy Harrow. After giving him a moment to wake, the two meet on the balcony while Harrow carries his pet Xadian Songbird, Pip. Viren warns Harrow of the assassins that were spotted, noting that they are Moonshadow Elves and much more dangerous than regular assassins. When Harrow wants to send for the Standing Battalion and General Amaya, Viren doubts they would arrive in time to stop the attack, seeing as the following night would be one of a full moon, where the elves would be near to unstoppable. King Harrow suggests that they strike the elves before nighttime.

Meanwhile, Rayla returns to the elves' camp, grabbing some red berries on the way, which she uses to drench her blades with red fluid to imitate blood and disguise that she has failed her goal. Once she arrives, she passes her mentor Runaan meditating on a rock, who compliments her on a job well done. Rayla comments that she used both swords, then passes the other Moonshadow Assassins, Ram, Skor, Callisto, and Andromeda, after receiving a cloth to clean her blades from Runaan.

Prince Ezran sneaks into the local bakery through a vent, where he attempts to steal a couple of jelly tarts from a freshly baked batch. When he is caught by the baker Barius, Ezran claims to have only admired them while Bait uses his elastic tongue to snatch a couple of tarts himself. Now distracted by Bait, Barius misses Ezran taking a tart and turns around, offended about the prince's action. He is finally forced to run after Bait after the toad steals a couple of more pieces and runs outside the shop, allowing Ezran to stuff as many jelly tarts into his arms and mouth as he can carry.

Outside on the courtyard, Prince Callum begins training swordsmanship with Soren, a member of the elite Crownguard. Their focus becomes the art of defense in sword-fighting, which Soren states to be critical and demonstrates this statement by repeatedly breaking Callum's defenses while sparring with wooden swords. During training, Soren's sister Claudia passes by the two and almost walks into a nearby tree while she focuses on reading a book. Although Soren wants to see her crash, Callum warns the girl before she gets hurt and she sits down on a nearby bench to read her book. Callum is awestruck by her presence, which Soren picks up on and helps him out in trying to impress her by pretending to be outmatched by Callum. However, Callum, alongside his half-brother Ezran, is suddenly summoned by King Harrow through the High Council member Opeli.

Inside the throne room, Harrow discusses plans with the rest of the High Council, who he dismisses once his sons enter the room. Harrow informs the princes that they will soon be sent to the Banther Lodge, despite it being used as a vacation home only during the winter season. While they leave the room, Ezran expresses concern for the sudden news but Callum reassures him that everything will be alright, despite not believing so himself.

At the same time, Viren summons his children, Soren and Claudia, to his chambers where Soren is briefed on an important mission of finding the secret camp of the Moonshadow Elves before sundown. Viren provides him with an Archangel Lunaris, a moon moth that will lead them to the camp's location. Soren wonders if they would kill the king if they failed to find the elves, which alarms Viren who scolds him to stay silent on that possibility, seeing as not even the princes fully know about the situation their father is in. Soren assembles his riding party in front of the castle gate and prepares to leave, but is interrupted by Callum who volunteers to join their mission. Soren rejects the prince's request, knowing he is too young and unprepared, especially in the ceremonial armor he has shown up in.

Inside the forest the leader of the Moonshadow Elves, Runaan, commences a ritual where each of the five elven assassins pledges an oath for justice by symbolically binding themselves to the cause with a white ribbon on their arms. Once they would have killed the king, Runaan would send a Shadowhawk carrying a blood ribbon message to be received by the Queen of the Dragons. He declares that they would strike when the moon is highest and is then approached by Rayla, who worries what would happen if their enemy had somehow found out about the attack. Runaan reassures her that they could not possibly be aware, much to the worry of Rayla.

Callum returns to his room to resume packing, but he sees Ezran still playing Bait rather than packing for their departure. Frustrated, Callum lashes out and reveals the truth to Ezran that their father is in danger of being killed. Ezran grows upset and runs out of the room, leaving Callum ashamed by his actions.

Meanwhile, Soren releases the Archangel Lunaris, letting it fly deeper into the forest, with Soren's party following close behind. The animal makes it to the elves' camp where it lands on top of Runaan's arrow, causing him to realize that the humans are aware of their presence. With little time to act, Runaan casts "Mystica-Arbora", a spell conceals their presence, just in time as Soren and his knights arrive soon after. The Archangel Lunaris remains in place, leaving Soren to conclude that it failed to find the elves and he heads back to prepare their defenses. The last of the human knights takes one long glance of the clearing, the very same human Rayla allowed to escape.

As soon as the enemy leaves, the elves revert to being visible again and Runaan realizes that Rayla lied about killing the guard. Rayla's reasoning that she pitied the human due to the fear he expressed, and that she could not kill someone who has not done any harm, falls on deaf ears. With their mission jeopardized, Runaan tells Rayla that, by allowing the human to live, she potentially condemned them all to death.

Cast

Trivia

  • Love Amongst the Dragons, the book Claudia is shown reading, is a reference to the fictional play of the same name featured in the Avatar: The Last Airbender, a television show Aaron Ehasz worked on previously as a writer and co-executive. This reference was deliberately put in as a nod to fans of the show.[1]
  • The Persimmon jelly tarts in the bakery are based on Hamantash.[2]
  • The scene picturing the elves casting out the humans from Xadia was an event that was inspired by the Trail of Tears, and was supposed to show that a lot of innocent humans suffered because of the actions of a few dark mages.[3]
  • Harrow's line "Winter is coming" is a reference to the motto of House Stark from "Game of Thrones".

References

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