Only Hope 1: How it started

The people of Yaragsdor have only one hope left. That a dragon rider will rise to protect them from the armies of Zarthox... But will even the mightiest of riders be able to ward off the growing evil that will soon overcome Yaragsodor?


17. Emberstorm

"Welcome to my cave." a voice said. It was a voice simalar to Alvyss's, yet it was so different. It was calm, quiet, soothing, yet sad. Alvyss's voice wasn't sad. But this one was.

"The hero." I muttered.

"Yes." it replied. "Many have called me that. Also, young ranger, do not try to look around for me. You won't see me. And Arigen, I know you probably wish to know what happened, but I cannot say what happened to me after I defeated the dark armies. When your time comes, Arigen, I do not wish for my choice to influence yours. So I just won't tell you. The first thing I wish to give you is my congratulations. You have certainly done well in finding Ashwing. He seems very much like my first hatchling - Emberstorm. Emberstorm, please come forwards." he said. I gasped as a huge black dragon appeared from nowhere. Her huge, glossy scales were jet black. Emberstorm's leathery wings were a dark, beautiful red, and she had razor sharp fangs in her narrow jaws. The sleek dragon shook her body, rattling her long spine-spikes. She came forwards, and snorted softly in my face.

"Emberstorm has been frozen in time. I don't know how, but I managed to freeze her body so that she could help you, the next dragon rider. And now, here she is. From now on, Emberstorm can take you back to my cave, but only at sunset or sunrise. But only you, her and Ashwing may enter. Sorry, ranger, but you and your mount will have to wait behind in future. This cave is full of magic. Only dragon magic can bring you here. Which is why, except for this one occasion, only you and your first two dragon friends may come, as you are the ones filled with the most magic. In the small room to the left, you will find your weapons, Arigen. Each one is filled with ancient dragon power. So choose carefully. By the time you leave this cave, it will be the night before the festival. Ranger, I will be able to transport you outside the town that you wish to go to, but Arigen, you will have to fly on Emberstorm. Arigen, I want to tell you so much more, but I can't. You are running out of time here. Annoyingly, the first visit to the riders cave will take you a long time when it feels like only seconds. Goodbye, and good luck, Arigen. And remember, you can always seek help from rangers. It was them who helped me when I won the battle against the dark armies. Goodbye, Arigen..." And then, his comforting voice was gone.


I had overloaded myself, and Emberstorm's saddlebags, with potions and weapons from the heroes cave. AS well as anything that looked important, and left my old weapons behind. And then, for the first time, I had swung myself up onto Emberstorms back, onto her saddle that was nestled carefully in between two of her spine-spikes. It was so different from riding Shadow. Her back felt stronger, more flexible, and safer. And her wings were reassuring, too. I had picked up some new armour to cover my sisters clothes. They didn't feel heavy at all, instead, they just made me feel even safer than before.

"Where do we have to go, Emberstorm?" I asked, and she padded over to another naturally formed room in the cave. There was a pool of turqoiuse water in the center, rippling and splashing even though there was nothing to make it move. Emberstorm nudged Shadow forwards, as if urgind him to jump. He gave a snort goodbye, and leaped gracefully into the water, Alvyss clinging onto his back. They were gone. Before my mind had the time to register it, Emberstorm folded her wings and dived, Ashwing chattering excitedly from my saddlebag.


We were out in the open air before I knew what was happening. The air pushed against my face so hard that my throat dried up instantly. I closed my mouth, clinging to the saddle for my very life. I was glad for the harness that clipped me in. Otherwise, I'd be falling from the sky right now. And then, Emberstorm dived.


I pushed my hands against the saddle-grip, tensing my arms so that they were dead straight. We hurtled towards the ground at such a speed that I thought my face would peel off. My stomach was left behind. And yet, despite it all, I found myself laughing. Laughing at the joy of riding a dragon. Laughing whilst bracing myself for the time when Emberstorm pulled up so iolently it left my stomach behind - again. I found myself shaking with terror, excitement,and shock.

"Emberstorm, can you fly gently?!" I yelled above the wind. Immediately, she stopped flying up vertically, straightened out, and flew towards the slave town. My hands were trembling, but I couldn't help the laugh that came from my dried up throat.


Slave town was approaching fast. Well, we were approaching fast. But still... Emberstorm dived in closer, and I watched intently. There was already two people in the ring. Was it too late? Were we too late to save lives? Suddenly, a loud voice boomed from the town, probably a commentator speaking from a horn.

"Our first match today is two impostor rangers! One was found trying to stop the fights, the other was reported for stopping the treasure hunters of our town getting a dragon egg! In fact, him and his dangerous friend killed all of our treasure hunters, except three, who he tied up on the mountainside. Well, those men on the mountainside came right here and reported him, after they managed to get themselves free! The impostor was actually spotted waiting outside our town gates, maybe to attack us! So our brave warriors came and captured him, bringing him right here to fight his fellow impostor. Hows that for a story, eh? Well then... let the first match... BEGIN!" It took a few seconds for the words to sink in. And then, I realised. My mouth opened in shock.


Because it was Alvyss standing, covered in his own blood, in the battle ring.

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