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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3. Ranger

Carl lifted his mace up above my head. I whimpered pathetically, and closed my eyes for the last time. Did my life really have to end this fast?

"Come on, just open your eyes, you wimp. Or are you too afraid to look death in the face?" Rob sneered. I pictured his ugly face, with piercing eyes and a smirk.

"No, I just... just don't want to see your ugly faces." I groaned, the words barely escaping my mouth. I could hear them laughing at me, and opened my eyes. The mace was there - the first thing I saw. My eyes widened as it swung down at my face. The mace would be the last thing I ever saw. Not the beautiful sky, or the beautiful sun. Not a beautiful animal, or a beautiful flower. Just a meanacing mace that was soon to be splattered with my blood. I drew my last breath...

 

But then a sword, a shimmering silver sword, darted in between my head and the mace, somehow deflecting the heavy blow so the mace hit the ground next to me instead. As my eyes sought out the wielder of the blade, I heard a male voice say,

"So then, what would you be doing here? Why are you attacking this girl?" It was a voice that sounded calm, confident, and very relaxed. Then I saw him, the owner of the sword and the voice, as he stepped protectively in front of me. He had a bow slung over his back, with a quiver full of deadly looking arrows, with a two scabbards at his belt - one for the sword, one for a few knives, or so it looked like. He was wearing a grey cloak with a hood that was hiding his face. The person looked tall enough to be about fifteen, and he had a very slim build.

"Haha! What all men would attack for, you fool. Money!" Dave scoffed, lunging forward with his axe. The boy sidestepped the swing as if he had been practicing that one move all his life, and laughed. Who was this person? Why was he protecting me?

"Not all men." the boy said in his calm voice. "Most men. Rangers like myself not amoung them." He was a ranger?! My eyes widened even more with the shock of it. I had met a ranger? So that was why he was so skilled at fighting... The mysterious ranger ducked another swing of the axe, then suddenly thrust his sword above him, flicking the axe out of Dave's hands. The ranger then grabbed the axe, and threw it far behind him. Now, Dave was weaponless. With one hand, the ranger grabbed Dave's neck, with his other hand he smashed the hilt of his sword on his head. Dave instantly crumpled to the floor, unconscious.

 

"Let that be a warning." the ranger spoke. "You two can fight me, and get yourselves tied up and left here to rot. Or..." his head turned to both men, though I still couldn't see his face - it was turned away from me - and he must have been eyeing them carefully.

"Or you could take your friend and leave. So, which one?" the ranger asked slowly. I almost wanted to see him fight Carl and Rob. I wanted to see them getting beaten up by a ranger who was younger than them. I could see Carl's face glancing at me, the ranger, and then Dave. He looked unsure, undecided. Fight the ranger. Get your sorry butt thrashed. Carl was trembling slightly. If I wasn't so weak and helpless, I might have laughed at him. But I was lying collapsed, on the floor, so I didn't.

 

And then Carl and Rob jumped forwards so fast that I thought the ranger was finished.

 

But luckily, he was a ranger, and rangers are powerful, quick thinking people. He dived forwards, grabbing each mans legs as he passed them. Carl and Rob toppled over, and I sighed in releif. The ranger was okay.

"Shadow!" the ranger called with a sharp voice. Shadow? I thought. Who's Shadow? As if in answer, a snarl errupted from behind the peak of the sand dune, and something with jet black fur leapt right over the top of the dune. It had barely landed before it leapt again, flying right over me, and landing with its front left paw pinning Carl to the ground, the right paw on Rob. Okay, then. So that was Shadow. A huge black panther with an arrow headed tail, sabre tooth tiger's fangs, deadly claws, and a small saddle. I was guessing that this was the ranger's ride. If it was, then he had a very nice ride. Shadow roared at both Carl and Rob.

"Now," said the ranger. "I'll ask you one more time. Do you want to leave now, or get tied up and left to die?"

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