Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
Hannah cautiously made her way through the flames. The fire made it almost impossible to see where she was going and there was little rock or soil for her to extend her earth affinity through. Her tertiary fire affinity was barely enough to keep the flames from burning her, so even that couldn’t help her. Whatever danger was here might well be on top of her before she was aware of it.
A scream from just ahead caught her attention; that must be why she was here. She paused and was trying to work out which direction it came from when she heard another one She set off towards it, scurrying from tree to fiery tree until she came to a clearing.
Two dragons and a boy of about twelve – he felt human and his long black hair fell over one eye – were threatening a mixed group of fire affinity speakers. The screams had come from a fire nymph, who was being held in place by one of the dragons in a serpentine form while the boy punched her.
“The key,” he said. “Where is it?”
“We don’t have it.” She screamed when he hit her again.
Hannah quickly took in the position of the speakers, noting that the closest to her was a half grown fire unicorn chained to a stump nearby.
“Gerian-mirian said that you do,” the boy said. “I have no reason to disbelieve him. Where is it?”
“It’s here, but we don’t have it,” she said. “It’s hidden somewhere. We don’t know where.”
“Liar!” He raised his hand as if to hit her again but then seemed to think better of it. “This isn’t working. Where’s that unicorn we captured? He can’t lie.”
“I’ll get him.” The other dragon shifted into human form and started across the clearing. He had a key in his hand which must be for the chain.
Hannah dropped to her knees and crawled over to the colt. “Little one, I’m the Earth Warrior, but I’m on my own. If I can get the key off him, do you think you’re big enough to carry me away so I can contact the others for help?”
“They don’t… oh, you mean to the chain,” he replied equally quietly. “I could, but you need to get the key they’re after before they do. It’s more important.” He dipped his head and touched his horn to her forehead. Directions to where it was hidden in the volcanic caves under the area dropped into her head.
“Don’t argue! You’ll just get yourself killed if you try to take on two dragons and another human alone. I’ll keep quiet about where it is as long as possible.”
Hannah hesitated a moment longer, stomach churning at thought of leaving them in the power of dragons,Â then realised she’d waited too long when she heard the approaching dragon yell.
“Hey! Someone is here!” He leapt at her.
Hannah swore and slashed at him with the kitchen knife, cutting his arm open and forcing him back long enough for her to scramble to her feet and flee.
She ran blindly through the flames until she sensed rock amidst the fire and realised that she must approaching the caves. She scrabbled her way up the basalt to the entrance and glanced back in time to see the dragon, still bleeding, emerge from the flames. Dropping to her knees, she placed one hand on the rock and waited until he came in range.
Sharp spears of rock burst from the boulders and pierced his shoulder and leg. Satisfied that he would be pre-occupied for a while, she turned and headed into the cave, pausing only to grow spurs from the rocks to bar the entrance and delay her pursuers.