Chapter One: Leaving
I've always thought dragons were odd creatures. They seem to take great pleasure in flying over the villages with their magnificent wings stretched out, blowing fire and making the occasional roar. But they never actually do anything. It's as if they've turned into a great big bunch of pacifists but still find it necessary to keep their reputation of being fierce whole. They never harm us anymore.
So you can see why I was surprised when my father told me he was going away on the king's orders. To hunt dragons. Alone. I was shocked. "Hunt dragons? Alone? Why would you need to hunt dragons?"
"They've been causing problems recently. The king said it's probably just a few rogue ones. I'll be fine."
"Why can't you take some men?" I asked. It seemed like a fair question. For all that dragons were pacifists, they were still big. Huge actually.
"We need the men to help with the more important things."
Dragons seemed pretty important to me but, because my father was in charge of the king's armies and probably knew some pretty classified information, I didn't question him further. Instead I asked when he would be leaving.
"Tomorrow. I've got a lot to do." He sighed, "I'm going to miss you. Stay out of trouble while I'm gone."
Right. Good advice. As if he didn't know I practically had the word trouble branded into my forehead. As if he wasn't aware I was a trouble magnet. But I wanted him to believe I'd at least try. I didn't want him worrying about me when he was away. I wanted him to keep focused on the dragons.
"I will if you will," I said.
He left the next morning, leaving me alone in our big house. I curled up in the window seat of the library and started to read. I was so deeply into the book that I didn't hear the door open or the muffled voices whispering as they searched the house.