It’s the last TIWC!
Shouts Hurrah! (kidding, Grace)*starts crying*
Anyways, its part three of the Dragon’s Key! In the next part we’ll find out why its called that! Yay! Grace, I used all the prompts and they are highlighted. I also added so called, sort of, ‘true love’ and I hinted on a betrayal. I don’t know if hinting counts, but I did. Yay for the Dragon Key! It’s actually starting to get interesting! Even though TIWC is over, I will still post the remaining parts left. And sorry for the lack of non-writing posts lately, my life has been chaotic.
Two days later found Elanora deep in the woods with no idea as to where she was or where she was going. Finally, frustrated with getting nowhere, she climbed a large needle tree hoping to see the end of this terrible wood. The tree was over one-hundred feet tall, and its branches were spaced far apart, but vines grew thickly on them to help her up. Determined, she reached up and grabbed the first branch and pulled herself up. One down, about a hundred to go.
An hour later, she was still climbing. The sun was directly overhead, soaking her in sweat that caused her hands to slip, time and time again, putting her at every moment at risk to fall. Down. Really far. Don’t look down, she told herself for what must have been the fiftieth time that day. Just keep going. Finally, Elanora reached the top. She pulled her aching arms and legs onto a large branch and sat, happy to be alive.
Happy to be alive. That was what she had said to her best friend, back in Portland. Elanora was always trying something new. Something exciting. She and her girlfriends back home were always getting into trouble, whether it was daring each other to skate in the ‘experienced’ section of the skate-park or just trying to balance standing up in a small canoe at the park pond. After one bad skateboarding accident that landed Elanora in the hospital with a broken arm, she had told her best friend, “Sometimes I wake, and take a moment to appreciate the fact that I am alive.”
Elanora sighed and stood to her feet, cautiously walking along the massive branch as far as she could go. No time for a crying session over missing her friends. She had to find the key so she could get back to them. She crossed her fingers, took a deep breath, and stuck her head through the branches to view the world. Nothing. Nothing but endless treetops. Everywhere she could see, the hills and valleys where cloaked with dark, uninviting woods. She started to cry.
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Finally, she rose and grabbed a vine. Not caring if it were dangerous or not, she slid downwards, hopping from limb to limb like a monkey. She hit the ground within ten minutes, due to the speed of her descent. Still sobbing, Elanora sank to a hopeless heap on the ground.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Not far from where Elanora sat crying her heart out, just over a low ridge, a boy sat on log before a dying campfire, hand on chin. He was deep in thought, despising his appointed task. Why did he, of all the riders have to be chosen for this task? Why did Count Archinan and that meddling captain Elgar dislike him so much?
Out of nowhere, a black dragon pounced upon the boy. It had been watching him for some time, stalking closer and closer silently and swiftly. Now, he leaped on his poor victim with no mercy in his eyes. The boy fought valiantly, but the beast proved to strong, and wrestled him so the ground, pinning him down with one of his huge paws. The dragon emitted a low growl form his throat, charging himself in order to breath fire.
“Oh, please don’t eat me,” the boy begged and pleaded from the dragon. Then, almost betraying a hint of a smile, he added, “I’m sorry if I didn’t catch any western trout for supper last night. And that I didn’t want to go for a ride at 2 o’clock in the morning!”
The dragon let out a almost laugh-like sound and climbed off the boy. “Thanks Ice.” The boy told the big black dragon. Indeed, the dragon was big. 6 and a half feet tall from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, with a 50 ft wingspan and 23 ft long from the tip of his tail to the end of his nose. He was pure black except for 3 white stripes on his left ‘ear’ and his two ice-blue eyes. Right now he was watching the boy through those ice-blue eyes.
The boy looked up at the sky to the northeast of them. He saw something. Smoke. “Time to go Ice,” he told the dragon. “We’ve got her now.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Elanora had managed to light a small campfire to heat up her salt-ugh-pork. She looked up at the ever-darkening sky at the smoke wafting upwards, ever upwards.
What was that?! A high pitched screech, much like an eagle’s, came from the terrifying darkness beyond the tree-tops. There it was again! Elanora ducked under the shelter of a low bush and put her hand on her knife hilt. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going away.
A dark shape drifted down among the trees and landed across the campfire from her. Darn Elanora. You should have put water on that. Now it knows I’m here, she reprimanded herself silently. Oh well, maybe it’s afraid of fire and will go away. But the creature didn’t go away. Instead, it came closer, snuffling along the ground with its huge nose. Elanora held her breath, sure it could hear her frantically beating heart that was pounding against her rib cage like a trapped animal.
Then the beast stepped into the light. It was a dragon. A huge black dragon with rows of razor-sharp teeth and claws, complemented by its short, narrow spines. Wait, what was that? On the dragon’s back was the form of a person. Oh God, please help me, Elanora prayed desperately. If the queen had sent this rider, she would never get home.
The dragon suddenly gave a low growl and headed her way again. He had her scent. Elanora turned and ran through the bush and into the dark.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Crack! The boy turned and saw a dark form retreating into the woods. The chase was on. Ice bounded over the low shrub she had been hiding in and lifted silently into the sky. His wings made no sound as he drew nearer and nearer.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Elanora ran as fast as she could and faster. Whoosh! Over a log. Under that branch. Come on girl, you can do it! He can’t fly very well in these trees! Duck! Jump over that rock. Up this hill! Run girl, run! She tore up the hill at a tremendous speed, grabbing vines and bushes to pull herself up. What!! Something grabbed her and the ground seemed to pull away from her feet. Fight, Elanora. Kick. Bite! Do something! Anything, her brain screamed. But it was to late. The ground was already 30 ft below her. A hand reached down and grabbed her, plopping her on the dragon’s back behind the him. She grabbed onto him for dear life as the beast took a sharp right turn and headed northwest.
The rider laughed. “You can let go now,” he said, his voice full of laughter. “Ice won’t dump you.”
“Ice?! I’m afraid of heights! Get me down!” Elanora begged him. Out of all the things she could do, she couldn’t stand heights. Sure, she’d jump off a bridge if someone dared her, but she was scared. Terrified. She got sick on airplanes and even cliffs in movies scared her. But this,this was worse than anything she had ever done or imagined.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that this instant,” he replied quietly, looking down. All his laughter vanished as he said: “You must come with me now.”
“Who are you?” Elanora demanded hotly. She didn’t want any tag-alongs that could slow her down. And she definitely didn’t want anyone from the queen with her. Helenara certainly didn’t like her and might have sent this boy to hunt her down and stop her. And nobody was going to stop her from getting home.
“I’m Jay. And this dragon here is my good friend Ice. And I thought you could use some help.” He turned and met her eyes for the first time. Flash! A purple line passed over her and his eyes. He blinked and ran a hand through his dark brown hair. “Whoa. That was weird,” he exclaimed.
“Ya,” she agreed. But her mind was a million miles away. She was thinking of a time when she had been very young, and her mother was telling her a fairy tale. And in the tale, when the prince and princess met and their eyes met for the first time, a purple flash swiped over their eyes. “When someone meets their true love Elanora, it is said that a purple line passes over both their eyes. It rarely happens anymore, but once in a great while, it does,” her mother had said. This can’t be right, Elanora thought. I’m in a-different world. I can’t stay here. Then her mind snapped back to the present. There was something she had to know. “Are you from the queen?”
Jay shifted slightly, then looked back at her and said calmly, “No. I just happened to see you yesterday, walking around in circles. So I thought I should help you at least get out of the wood. By the way, where are you trying to go?”
Elanora paused for a moment. Should she trust him? She had just met this boy, but he seemed honest enough. “If you’re not from the queen, why were you chasing me?” She questioned him.
“I-didn’t mean to,” He answered slowly. “Sorry if I scared you. I just wanted to help.” He sounded sincere enough. Finally, she crossed her fingers, sighed, and said, “Southeast. I need to go southeast.”
The dragon’s smooth flight faltered slightly.”Southeast? That’s Darx’s kingdom. Why would you want to go there?”Jay fixed her with an accusing look. “You’re not a spy, are you?,” he asked uncertainly.
“No! I’m not a spy for Darx. I-” She struggled to come up with an excuse. She didn’t trust this boy with the reason for her mission into Darx’s kingdom. “I just have-family-near there. Poor unfortunate souls. They are taxed and robbed from by Darx’s soldiers. I’m going to-uh-help them move away from there to a better kingdom.”
“Oh.” Was all Jay said. “Okay then Ice. Southeast it is.” The dragon gave an affectionate growl and veered to the left. They were on their way.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jay sighed inwardly to himself. He didn’t like this business. Betraying people to Queen Helenara and that evil Count Archinan was not his favorite job in the queens undercover agents. And this girl, Elanora she had said was her name, seemed like a decent person. He knew that she wasn’t really going to see family by Darx’s kingdom. Still, he thought to himself, I don’t see why the Queen and Count hate her so much.
He looked to the southeast over the dragon’s head. Tomorrow, he thought, it’ll all be over and I can leave Helenara and the Count in the past. He turned to look back at the sleeping girl, who had tied a rope around her waist in case she slipped of. Tomorrow, he thought, I’m free.