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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Let me tell you- the mountain was so much more exciting than the grassland. Up here, it seemed like everything was moving all at once, whereas the grassland had been pretty dull and boring, with nothing moving around much, and with me swatting flies away and sweltering under the heat of the sun. Up on the mountain, under the trees, I saw loads of animals. Birds, snakes, monkeys, once even a tiger! A real tiger, looking at me with beautiful yellow eyes from under the foliage. And then it was gone. But I had seen it. Near where I lived, in the desert, I had never seen so many animals. But now, in the trees, it was like a paradise for me.

"Is the Forest of Nightmares near here?" I asked after a while.

"Yes." Alvyss replied from behind me. "Right over this mountain." I nodded happily, glad that this shouldn't take too long - I needed to get back to slave town. Well, we needed to get back to slave town.

 

By night, we were almost at the top of the mountain, so we carried on going up the mountain. We wanted to get right up to the top before we stopped. The forest was seemed to be livelier at night, but maybe it was just my imagination. Suddenly, Shadow's ears pricked up, and he went from a walk to a full speed run.

"What is it, boy?" Alvyss asked. Shadow hissed quietly at him, but he didn't stop running.

"That means he wants us to be quiet." Alvyss murmured, and I nodded. What had Shadow found? The forest passed by in a blur of dark green and brown. I wondered who or what we were being taken to. It must be important, well, probably. After all, Shadow wouldn't take us anywhere if it wasn't important, would he? I guessed that he wouldn't, and focused on the path in front of me.

 

Shadow had taken us over the mountain, and down half of it. And then he had stopped, keeping low and silent. I could hear low, deep voices of men, and I could make out a faint glow from behind the trees. A campfire. Alvyss leaped gracefully off of Shadows back, landing with two feet and one hand on the ground. He turned to me, holding up one hand as if to say, 'Stay there!' His eyes had a warning look in them. I decided to be clever, and obey him. Alvyss moved stealthily through the undergrowth, melting into the forest. I listened carefully, trying to figure out what they were saying. But it was too hard - all I could hear was muffled voices. I thought about joining Alvyss in spying on the men, but I quickly discarded that idea. I didn't want to ruin his chances of spying because I hadn't trained at being quiet. And so I just waited. And waited. And waited...

 

It seemed like an eternity before he got back, jumping onto Shadow's back and saying,

"Shadow, hurry! Down the mountain, and into the Forest of Nightmares!" Instantly, Shadow sprung forwards, no longer needing to be stealthy.

"A huge group of poachers have heard of the dragon egg. In that slave town, when we went in that alleyway, this guy had his window open. He heard us talking about the dragon egg, and he alerted the guards of the town. They sent a load of poachers out to the Forest of Nightmares. And they're riding giant bats that they captured a while ago, and made them into mounts. The poachers... they're in the forest now! We have to get the egg before them! There's too many to fight!" he yelled in my ear as we raced down the mountain. Oh, great. We were going up against poachers who's already had a headstart.

"How do you know this?" I shouted, making my words loud so they wouldn't be snatched up by the wind.

"There were three men there to guard some of the stuff the poachers left outside the forest. Lets just say that I knocked two unconscious, and made the other one talk. I tied them up afterwards." he told me. I almost smiled. It was just like Alvyss to beat up three men onm his own, not even making a noise as he did it. But I didn't smile. Because that dragon egg was in serious danger...

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