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?

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12. Mountain

By the time the sun had set, the desert had turned to grassland. Me and Alvyss hadn't said a thing since we had left the town. Until now.

"What if we can't do it?" Alvyss murmured quietly as we dissmounted Shadow. I was still for a moment.

"What?!" I gasped. "What do you mean?" This couldn't be possible. Alvyss was calm, confident, and he didn't give up. That was the impression that I had got as soon as I had met him. And now here he was, sounding so fragile and upset, like he thought this was a suicide attempt.

"I mean... That it might not work. If they have captured a dragon, then they might not actually listen to a dragon rider. I was kind of bargaining on the fact they might listen to you, and release the prisoners. But now I'm not so sure..." he muttered. "We can't do it without them listening to you. They would kill us, Arigen. They will kill us. Because there are hundreds of gaurds in that town. And two of us, a baby dragon, and Shadow. You think that we can beat them?" I just stared at him as he lay down on Shadow's side. I couldn't believe him.

"Are you giving up?" I growled. He didn't answer for a while, but I didn't push him. Even though he was being completely stupid.

"No." he said finally. His head was down, his eyes staring at his hands, which were fumbling around with something.

"No, I'm not giving up. Because they've captured a ranger. I will never turn my back on a fellow ranger. Especially if they're who I think they are." he said no more, just turned with his back to me. I grabbed his shoulder, and pulled him back to face me.

"Yeah, well, you sure sound like it. You know, I thought that you were the sort of person to always believe in yourself, and your friends. What happened to you?" I snarled. This time, he answered straight away.

"I don't know. But I don't want Shadow to get hurt. Or you. The town has archers. If we have to attack anyone, then you and Shadow are going to be shot. You think you can just run into a town and not get hurt? And anyway, the prisoners might get shot. We can't risk them all getting shot, can we? I know that town. Their leaders are very keen on having archers all over the place. There will probably be too many near the prisoners. The ranger, if he's who I think he is, cannot get shot with even one arrow. He is pretty important in the ranger society. And you think they'll leave the dragon alone either? No. They won't. We need a new plan. But I can't think of anything, even though I've been thinking about it since we left. I've always had a plan." he confessed. Well, that explained a lot more.

"Don't worry." I said, in a voice so confident that I wasn't even sure it came out of my mouth. "We'll think of something else." I locked eyes with Alvyss, trying to assure him that we could do this. He suddenly smiled at me.

"Yes.We can..." Alvyss said, slowly closing his eyes.

 

When I woke up, I felt kind of disapointed. My sister hadn't come into my dream. And then I remembered - she could only visit after four days had passed. And I had just started my second day. I glanced at Alvyss. His eyes were shut, his mouth in a straight, emotionless line so that I couldn't tell if he was feeling happy or sad. I wondered if he was awake or asleep - it was hard to tell.

"You awake?" I asked him. His eyelids slid open, so I was guessing that was a yes.

"Am now." he replied. "I was trained to sleep so light that I wake upat every noise that means something.Not just animal noises. Ones that shouldn't be there. Anyway, should we get going now?" I looked at the sky. It was still looking pretty dark, but with  an orangey glow on the horizon. That would be the sunset, slowly creeping over the sky.

"Yeah." I said. We needed to go to the Forest of Nightmares, find the dragon egg, go to the heroes cave, and get back in time for the festival at slave town. Which meant going to sleep late at night, and waking up early in the morning. And riding with no stops. Which would be fine by me.

 

The mid-day sun blazed down on my back, seeming to scorch my blonde hair, and generally annoying me. Shadow tossed his head in irritance as another swarm of flies began to circle his head. Up ahead, the grassland stopped for a mountain range - and the mountain that we were crossing was one of the highest in Yaragsdor. And the mountain... it had trees growing up it! Trees - which meant shade! I'm pretty sure that Shadow went faster, because I suddenly got a mouthful of flies that he had just surged past, kindly leaving them for me to choke on. Thanks Shadow. Thanks a lot.

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