Dragon Heart

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Jasha washed his face in cold water of a small, bubbling creek before he retired to his hut. Just as he was about to stand up, a movement out of the corner of his eye put him on alert. Crouching, he watched a small figure run to the horse enclosure and a few moments later, ride out on Rane, their tamest mare. As they passed by him, he was surprised to see little Star leave the village under the cover of moonlight and disappear in to the forest. Running after her, he followed just out sight, using the trees as cover.

Wildly curious as to her destination, he jogged to keep up with fast walking horse. They were going to be in big trouble once the elders found out they were missing, but he just had to know where Star was going. Just when he thought Star might have heard him, he saw Rane prancing nervously, obviously spooked by something. Rearing up, she threw Star off her back. Out of no where, a hideous beast pounced on her. Frighted beyond belief, Jasha stayed hidden, barely daring to breathe. By the looks of the beast, he knew from Star’s description it was one of ‘Those of whom we do not speak’.

The same creature that attacked her before, giving her those terrible scars on her back. It must have come to finish the job, he thought. But as he watched their interaction, he realized something. The creature was not attacking her, on the contrary, it was talking with her! He watched, fascinated, as Star giggled, touched its face and chatted with it. He also saw his little friend actually make the beast laugh. After about an thirty minutes of conversation, he watched the ugly creature lift Star back up onto her horse just as gently as could be, speak something only she could hear and disappear into the forest. Following her again, he waited until he was positive the ugly beast was out of earshot and called out to Starlyn.

“Star!′ he yelled, “Wait for me!”

Hearing the familiar voice, Starlyn made Rane stop and turned around to see her friend, Jasha, running up to her.

“Jasha!” she exclaimed happily, “What are you doing here? Did you come to help me find my relatives?”

“Star, you can’t be out here alone!” he admonished her, “especially at night! Where are you going, anyway?”

“Ti-ti told me that I have relatives,” she answered, “Maybe they’re dragons! I don’t have to be human, I don’t! I can be a dragon if I want to!”

Jasha didn’t want to laugh at his friend because he knew from talking with her that she never knew anyone but dragons growing up, but he also knew his friend was in danger out here all by herself.

“Star, come back with me, please. Tala will be angry that we left in the night so we have to return before anyone notices.” he urged.

Just as she was contemplating his words, Ark burst into the clearing where the two of them stood.

“Run!” he yelled frantically, “Run now! Go west and don’t look back no matter what you hear or see and do not go back to the village. Now hurry! Go!”

Cutting through the still of the night, as if to validate Ark’s warning, shrill screams of terror reached the trio’s ears from less than a quarter mile away.The moonlit darkness was suddenly lit with orange as only a large fire can do.

Jasha looked into Ark’s eyes with dread, instinctively knowing they needed to run and hide.

“I’m..I’m sorry,” Ark stammered, “Please know I’m not part of this. I wouldn’t, I couldn't do this. You have to go and save yourself, there’s nothing you can do for them now.”

Tears filling his eyes, Jasha swung himself up behind Star, never letting his hateful gaze waver from the disgusting creature looking up at him. He would never forget that other’s of his kind murdered everyone he ever knew.

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