4. Chapter 1: Burn baby burn
*11 years ago, Ficonia*
“Where is she? I’m going to gobble her up when I find her!” said Cassidanah, Sylvannas’s mother. Sylvannas was hiding behind the house, playing hide and seek with her mother, as she was only five years old and an elf, and she giggled. Sylvannas never had a father, so moments like this were rare. This was right before the riders caught the village’s scent, which happened to smell like fresh raspberries, but the Ringwraiths thought it smelled like rotten poo. As soon as the riders caught the village’s scent, the village was done for. Sylvannas saw the riders from afar, and ran crying to her mother. Once she saw Sylvannas, she instantly knew something was wrong. “What is it? What’s wrong?” she asked. “The ringwraiths; they’re coming!” Cassidanah looked up. “You heard her; warn the rest of the village.” Rineao, who was standing nearby, nodded and scrambled up the ladder to the top of the bell tower. A few seconds later, a shrill alarm was ringing through the village. “The ringwraiths are coming! The ringwraiths are coming!” There was immediate panic in the streets. They never prepared for this; they were ELVES. The ringwraiths were NEVER supposed to find them. But they did. And now, they were facing a scenario that they were never supposed to. Then, they were on top of them. One house burst into flames, then two, then three, then four. Panicked faces swept past Sylvannas, fleeing the village only to find death on the other side. Cassidanah knew that fleeing the burning village would mean death, but she also knew that not fleeing meant death. “You must flee, but the only way out is by air. You must shape-shift and fly away.” “But how? It’s not that simple; the problem is that I can’t shape-shift!” “Yes, you can; I’ve just had it turned off. I’ll turn it on for the rest of eternity and then some.” Cassidanah spun Sylvannas around and pinched the part of her spine that was protruding from on top of her dress and said, “For the rest of eternity and then some.” A cracking sound that didn’t sound like the fire but probably was rang out and Sylvannas screamed out in pain. It was the most horrid sound that had ever been on the earth, ranking even above evil laughter. Even the ringwraiths flinched and had a wave of maybe-we-crossed-the-line-a-little-bit. Then, knowing there was an elf or two in there still, they rushed in. "Quickly, turn into a dragon." "What?" "Just do it. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself transforming into a dragon. Hurry!" "Fine." Sylvannas closed her eyes and imagined it. The sound of the fire fell away, and then it cropped back up again, only this time, it sounded comforting. She opened her eyes to find that she was on all fours, and (just for the record, she was a Night Fury [see How to Train Your Dragon for visual]) her front legs were black. Her mother smiled. "You did it! Yes!" "Woohoo!" Sylvannas whooped. "Wait a second; can understand what I'm saying, Mom?" "Yes, sweetie. You can talk in the language of that dragon that you transformed into and your original language; it just depends on who you're talking to." Then they heard one ringwraiths yelling in their strange language that they were over there. "Quickly! We must fly away!" Cassidanah climbed onto her back and Sylvannas took off. They rode into the sunset, away from the angry Ringwraiths, all the while Sylvannas was remembering the comfort of the fire.