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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14. Vines

"Shadow, try to smell out the dragon egg." Alvyss told Shadow as we entered the forest. It was dark and gloomy, and the trees were wierdly shaped. I could see no animals here. But it was, after all, the Forest of Nightmares. And I was guessing that animals wouldn't want to live here. Shadow sniffed around for a while, as I continiued to observe everything. Every tree, every little creepy vine. And then he surged forwards, so suddenly that I had to grasp frantically at his fur to stop myself falling off. He had a scent. I could see just a blur of daunting darkness instead of each individual tree. I didn't know what was worse, the blur; where I didn't know what was hiding in the blur that we passed, or the trees; they seemed to make the place so creepy and scary. But at least I wasn't here alone. I had friends, friends that made me so glad that I hadn't come alone like I had origionally planned to do. Shadow suddenly snarled, and I heard Alvyss yelp from behind me. And then there was a thud as someone, probably Alvyss, hit the floor. I instinctively leaped off of Shadow, pulling my poleaxe from its straps on my back. In the darkness, I could make out a purple creature pinning Alvyss to the floor, roaring triumphantly in his face. I charged. The tip of my poleaxe sliced the little thing right through its head, killing it instantly. Alvyss pushed it off of him. Now that I could get a closer look at it, I saw that the creature had long, sharp fangs, short bristled fur, and a panther like tail. Its build was simalar to that of a young wolf.

"Thanks." Alvyss breathed.

"Not over yet." I replied, pointing my poeaxe at the trees. "There's still some out there. We should get on Shadow and leave." It was true - I had spotted some shadows passing through the trees, and I'd heard their roars. Alvyss nodded, jumping to his feet. Shadow crouched to let us on, and we clambered swiftly onto his back, just as the purple creatures jumped from the trees. Shadow was faster - surging through the undergrowth to get away from them. We could have taken them on, but we didn't have enough time. Slowly, their snarls died away, and we were left to run alone.

 

A few minutes later, I felt what it was like to be upside-down. It happened so fast that I hardly realised what was going on, until I was hanging by my foot. Shadow had been running, and then, suddenly, something curled around my foot. Then I was swinging, my head lower than it should be. It was at that moment that I got it - I got that I was dangling from my foot. I tried to pull my head up to look at my foot - and only just managed to raise it enough to see that a green vine was wrapped tightly around my foot.

"Alvyss? Shadow?" I yelled frantically, wondering if they'd been caught as well. The blood was starting to go to my head, making me feel dizzy and sick.

"Yeah, hanging upside-down right now! Pretty sure Shadow is too." Alvyss's voice echoed from somewhere to my left. My arrows had fallen out of my quiver, and my poleaxe had come free of its straps. My knife or my bow, luckily, were still with me. But what use was a bow with no arrows? More blood was going to my head. I couldn't think straight. Knife... bow... How could I use a bow to cut through a vine? And then I remembered that a knife cuts things. Right. Knife. I unsheathed my knife - harder than it sounds when I was hanging from my foot - and tried to reach upwards. I found that I couldn't reach up far enough to get to the vine. Reaching down to my toes was no problem - reaching up to them was. By now, I felt like puking up the animals that Alvyss had hunted for dinner earlier today. What should I do? Then I decided. Throw my knife. If I missed, I would be hanging here forever, and so would Alvyss and Shadow. If I hit, then I would live. I tried to take a deep breath, and aimed.

 

The knife went flying through the air. Hit or miss. Hit or miss.

 

It hit, slicing easily through the vine. I grinned. And then I fell. I had forgotten that part - the fact that I was going to fall out of the sky. In the split second before I hit the ground, I remembered some of the movements my sister had shown me. As I hit the ground, I forward rolled. Somehow. However, I still managed to end up in a heap, my poleaxe lying beneath me. Okay, so maybe not a perfect roll. But it had saved my life, so I was grateful to my sisters advice - again. As fast as I could, I grabbed a few arrows, my poleaxe, and my knife (which had annoyingly landed in a bush). I left the rest of my arrows to find later. Getting Shadow and Alvyss down was my priority now.

"Where are you?" I yelled. "I'm out of the vines! Who should I get out first?" Now that I was down, I could hear Shadow constantly roaring in a frantic kind of way. I was guessing that he didn't exactly like hanging from his feet.

"Get Shadow! I think he's to your left, if you're facing me!" Alvyss called. I think he was right. Going to my left, I soon found Shadow. He was thrashing violently, snarling at everything, snapping at every little leaf. I carefully aimed an arrow at the vine that was holding Shadows back paw.

"Get ready!" I told him, letting the arrow loose. It was dark, but I could still see quite well. I wasn't sure if that was some dragon rider ability or not, because most people say they can't see in the dark. The arrow hit the vine, making it much weaker. With one more arrow, Shadow should be free. I fired again, and Shadow fell to the ground. His front paws hit the floor first, then his back paws. He instantly came over to me, rubbing mis head against me, purring so loud that he could beat a hundred domestic cats in a purring contest with no problem.

"We have to get Alvyss!" I reminded him, climbing onto his back. "Could you get him?" As if in answer, Shadow started to run towards the direction of where Alvyss's voice had been, muscles tensing for a jump. I held on tight as Shadow sprung. I could make out the rangers body as Shadow bit into the vine, snapping it loose, but keeping the snapped end in his mouth so that Alvyss wouldn't hit the floor hard. Shadow landed, and dropped Alvyss to the floor. Yet another time that I marvelled at Shadow's agility. Yet another time that he had helped. Yet another time that I wondered if my dragons would be this good.

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