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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10. Stocking Up

Eventually, we had managed to convince the old grey haired man to show us where the stores were. After, of course, we had convinced him that we weren't evil deamons here to kill everyone in the town, devouring him first. Once Alvyss had shown him the crest, he was only too happy to help. Once again, Alyss held the back of it towards me, and I couldn't see what was on the front. But what I did manage to see was that it was bronze in colour, with a circular shape. It was about the size of my palm. And then it was gone, before I could see any more.

"Oh, yes, of course I'll help! I'm Julian by the way. Please follow me, the best food stall is in the town centre. A glorious day it is today, yes, yes, a glorious day..." Julian continiued to babble on aimlessly. I whipped my head around to look at Alvyss.

Town centre? I mouthed at him. What will I do? He just looked at me with calm eyes.

"Have a conversation with me and Julian. Make it the most interesting conversation you've ever had. It might make you ignore the ring. Pay attention to everything but the ring, okay Arigen?" he whispered so quietly that I had to strain my ears to hear him. Great. Have a chat with a long haired old man who talks so much and so fast that I can only just make out what he was saying. Oh, yippee. Fun.

"Right. Talk." I muttered, and then said loudly, "Excuse me, Julian, but what do you think of, um... what do you think of... your house!" I said, trying desperately to think of something to say. Animals were easy to talk to. Animals and friends. Other people were not.

"Yeah, your house. What is it like? Big? Uh... do you like it?" I asked, hoping he would think of a good answer. Because while I was failing at conversation, he was leading us further up the street, closer to the hounds as they were slowly tearing the boy apart.

"Oh, my house is a great place. I have a doorknob made of a really rare metal, and, yes yes, its only found in this cavern in the east, and its really expensive, yes, yes, expensive. Oh, and my bed is carved especially for me. Yes, yes. For me, carved just for me!" he exclaimed happily. He was not easy to listen to, and I reckon that if he had ever gotten himself a wife, she would have died of boredom by now. Alvyss could tell I was not going to be distracted by this old guy talking about houses.

"Have you got any animals, Julian?" he asked casually.

"Ah, yes. Animals! I have three beautiful cats, yes yes!" he said, just as we entered the town centre. I looked away from the ring, blocked out the boys strangled sobs, and asked,

"Cats are amazing animals. What are their names?" The old man chuckled.

"Names are great, yes yes, my cats have great names! Snowykins, Fluffy and Sugarplum. Yes, yes, Snowykins, Fluffy and Sugarplum." he said. Ugh. Cats were predators, not some petty little creatures to be cooed at and given pathetic names. I decided that if this conversation was going to interest me, I would have to speak the truth, but put it in a more gentle way.

"Cats are hunting creatures. Aren't those names... um... a little gentle sounding?" I said slowly and carefully, making sure that I didn't say anything too offensive.

"Oh no, our little precious dears are as gentle as lambs! Yes, yes, as gentle as lambs!" Julian said, halting. Shadow instantly stopped, tossing his head like he was impatient to get this shopping done with. Quite frankly, so was I.

 

"Here's the food stall!" Julain said, stepping back to let us get a look. Yeah, state this obvious. I slipped off Shadow's back, and went over to get a better look. Alvyss was soon beside me, picking up some long lasting bread, a few blocks of cheese, and some little bars that looked like oats and honey all compacted together.

"Honey oat bars. Only found here from this stall!" the owner said proudly. Alvyss nodded, like he already knew.

"We shouldn't need any more than this - we can forrage for berries and fruit, and hunt for meat. You want anything else?" he asked me. I shook my head - I didn't need loads of luxury food to eat, and I definately didn't need to waste my money on any. We paid and remounted Shadow.

"Good choice of food, yes yes, good choice!" Julian said. But I was hardly paying any attention. Because a loud voice was calling,

"And the hounds have won again!" The crowd cheered, and I felt like personally tearing each person's guts out. This wasn't entertainment. This was cruelty.

 

We crossed the town centre to get to the potion store, me avoiding each person's eyes. How could I look at the eyes of a cruel person who loved to see eight year olds being slowly torn to peices? By the time we reached the stall, I was shaking in anger. Alvyss got off of Shadow's back, but I stayed on. Otherwise, I might have ignored the voice in my head saying, Stay calm, Arigen. Stay calm... and just run up to the crowd, screaming at them and being a complete riot. Alvyss got the potions while I smoothed Shadow's fur. That poor kid. And I had done nothing whilst he had been killed. Nothing. Absoloutely nothing.

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