He skidded to the left, sliding across the grasses down the side of the mountain, and hid himself within a crevice. He clenched his fist and closed his dark brown eyes tightly and the green glow disappeared from his brown skin.
They stopped and stood at the edge of the mountain, scanning the whole area.
“Where is he?” A lady asked, panting slightly.
They heard the unexpected clanking sound of heavy footsteps from behind and turned to see a hairy, middle-aged man with a scar slashing through his left eye, adorned in a glowing suit of armour with that iconic symbol of the nobles on the breastplate come forth out of the fog.
“Lord Jared?” they cried in shock, bowing.
They parted to allow Lord Jared to pass through them. He raised his right hand.
“Sniffia, go get him,” he ordered.
A blond, teenaged girl came forward, clothed in a fur vest, skintight trousers, and leather boots. She knelt down on one knee and lowered her head causing the end of the plaited braid that crowned her brow to fall forward over her well-muscled shoulder. “Yes, Lord Jared, the Divine Humane.”
Standing up, she raised her chin, sniffing the whole area as the fog flowed in her flared nostrils and out again. She looked down the mountain with her venomous little eyes. “I scent him. He is below us.”
Jared smiled. “Bring him here; we need him. Dead or alive.”
She nodded, then slowly walked down the mountain, sniffing.
Meanwhile the teenage boy swallowed, shivering within the crevice. “Grandma, what should I do?” he said.
Above, Lord Jared and his underlings watched Sniffia as she slowly slid down the same grasses the boy had only just escaped down.
Suddenly, they heard a deep roar in the distance, thundering continuously. Jared looked at the direction of the loud, deep, cry. His eyes dilated as the tremendous figure lit up the whole place with its majestic light.
“A dragon… How? I thought they were still in hibernation?” he said, backing away from the beast.
“Incoming!” someone shouted.
Suddenly, a ball of fire flew at them from the dragon’s mouth. It burst onto the ground where they stood, disrupting Sniffia. She slipped, almost falling off the grassy cliff. Sniffia caught herself on a small crack caused by the impact of the ball of fire.
“Ughhh!” she grunted, looking up at the vast flame separating her from Jared and his underlings, unable to see them through the growing inferno. The fire reflected in her similarly orange eyes, catching the warm brown stripes and setting the green streaks aglow. Her upturned eyes immediately went round in alarm. “Lord Jared!” she cried.
Jared tried to rush to her aid, but the flames pushed him back. He clenched his teeth, raising his hands towards the flames. A strong wind blasted out from his hands to the flames but to no avail, the flames refused to be quenched. He marveled at the monster, a crazed look in his eyes, while his underlings shot every element they knew of at the dragon.
“Stop. It has no effect. Dragons are immune to our potencies,” Jared said as he knelt down in front of the flame, its colors changing each time he shot his air into it. He could fly over it, but the shock that a dragon was right above him overwhelmed his desire to do anything but to anxiously call out to her, staring at the vast fire’s changing shades. “Sniffia? Are you still there?”
Below, Sniffia tried to pull her body up. “Yes, my Lord… I… ” Her voice was lost in her efforts.
The heat of the flames traveled through the crevice. As the temperature rose, the teenage boy shakily crawled towards the exit, exposing his head and half his upper body.
Without warning, the dragon fired another ball of fire towards Sniffia. She shrieked.
“Sniffia!!” Jared cried, shooting up.
Sniffia gracefully dodged the blast by jumping to the other side, grabbing onto the edge of the cliff. Her fingernails splintered on the hard stone, her mouth pinned shut, holding back her scream. “I’m alright. Lord Jared.” she said, her wobbly voice betraying her words.
Jared gazed intently at the sky, watching the dragon soar around them. “Why now? Why is the dragon awake?” he wondered aloud.
His underlings came to him, still shooting all kinds of elements from their hands at the dragon.
“Lord Jared! We need to leave here,” one cried.
Jared clenched his fist. “Sniffia are you still there?”
“Yes. Lord Jared!” she groaned,
“Don’t worry, we are coming for you…” Jared said, reassuringly. Suddenly, the dragon landed right in front of him with a force that quenched the vast colorful flames, pushing Jared and his men away. “Uagghhhh!!!” Jared shouted in pain as he landed on the tip of the dragon’s tail. It pierced his iconic breastplate and into his chest. “It’s tail! How long is it?” he gasped.
Sniffia clumsily climbed up, raising her head above the cliff she noticed Jared, helplessly skewered on the dragon’s tail, hiccupping blood and bleeding uncontrollably from his right chest. Her face contorted in rage. She pulled a dagger from its sheath in her left boot and charged towards the dragon.
“You will pay for this… you insolent creature!” the pitch in her voice rising as she charged.
The dragon turned its head towards her, pulling its tail from Jared. He fell, limp, to the ground. The dragon swung his tail, slamming the side of it into her stomach. The force of the blow sent her flying off the cliff. The boy, still concealed by the crevice, looked up. He saw a female form rolling lifelessly down the side of the mountain. She cracked her head on a rock, reducing the speed of her fall. When she was within his reach, the boy braced himself against the rock and grabbed her hand tightly, struggling not to let go.
“Ugh!!” the teenage boy grunted, her weight slowly pulling him down with her. He slid forward, catching himself on a rock just outside the crevice. He felt like he was being pulled in two.
“Wake up… girl!” he yelled.
Sniffia was unconscious, bleeding from her head.
“You gat to wake up! … I can’t hold on much longer... ” He let out a strained grunt as his sweaty fingers slowly slipped, one after the other.
Meanwhile, on the mountain, Jared’s men went to him, panicking. Not sure which was more terrifying, the prospect of Lord Jared’s demise or the dragon in front of them.
“Lord Jared… Are you… ” the woman asked.
“Don’t worry about me… where is Sniffia?” he panted as he lay on the ground, still hemorrhaging from his chest. He slowly staggered to his feet, facing the dragon, breath coming hard, blood dripping from his armor into the blackened grass. He placed his hand against his wounded chest as his underlings gathered behind him.
“Lord Jared… We need to leave here.”
“No. I won’t leave without her.”
“But Sir… ”
The dragon stamped its feet on the ground creating a shock wave. The force pushed them backwards as it exhaled smoke, enveloping them.
“You know, Jared Airbrock, so called Divine Humane, they are right. Leave here before I destroy every bit of your soul,” the dragon warned in a deep tone, arching its long neck as it glared down at Jared and his underlings as though they were nothing more than ants.