Aria stood, tied to the sacrificial post that the villagers used to appease the wrath of the dragons that terrorized the country. Despite this, she smiled to herself... somehow she knew this would happen to her.
The villagers never really liked her. She was an orphan, and poor as dirt, but she remained cheerful despite these circumstances. She never knew her father, and her mother died only a year ago, but even this could not dampen her spirits. Her poverty allowed her to focus on the simple things, and she was thankful that she managed to make ends meet, even if she could not afford nicer clothes or even shoes... but these were not the reasons why the villagers disliked her.
They disliked her because she could use magic. Aria didn't know how or why, she just could. She was certain her mother wasn't a mage, and she hardly knew anything about her father, but she did know that he was apparently a knight of some kind. The villagers didn't like to talk about him, strangely enough...
Magic was considered a dark power among her peers, and when this power manifested, they sought a means to get rid of her. The dragons were the easiest means to do so without being charged with murder... if a young maiden is sacrificed to a dragon to save the rest of the village, then surely she died with pride and dignity, right?
Aria couldn't help but laugh at her situation. Here she was, scarcely seventeen years old, a poor child who could barely afford to eat and have a roof over her head, about to be torn apart by a savage dragon... and she was laughing in the face of death. She was alone, and who would mourn the death of a dirty witch?
Aria looked up and saw the shape of a huge lizard-like beast. It had wings much larger than itself, and had burning red eyes that glared at her like a slab of meat. Smoke plumed from its mouth and nostrils, and it smiled a savage smile filled with rows of sharp teeth.
Aria, having resigned herself to her fate, smiled back. "Do you have any idea how long I've been here tied up? Honestly, the boredom was killing me... Well, what are you waiting for?"
The dragon looked at her curiously, probably not expecting this reaction from its victim, but grabbed Aria around her stomach and tore her chains off the post, handling the peasant girl as gently as it could as if it didn't wish to harm her... something that Aria noticed and was surprised by. Then, clutching Aria firmly in its grasp, beat its massive wings and took off toward the west.