Chapter 2Mature

“…this time in the form of Ifacle, these creatures are Salinerca in human form. The humans are slaves to them. The Ifacle, lead by their emperor Scethrog appear in the form of pale humans with red eyes and sharp teeth, every now and again they have feasts upon human flesh, but always leaving enough left to maintain their working force. They have a ceremony where they have to kill and eat the flesh of a human. My father saw this and thus I have too. They kill a human and then eat it, as they eat, a dark form appears and smothers the human murderer, turning them into Ifacle. If they wanted, they could transform the whole human race into Ifacle, but they wouldn’t have a working force and the Ifacle hate work. Humans between the ages of 12 to 16 can have this ceremony and are often forced. Ifacle born have pale skin and red eyes, otherwise they are identical to human children but they are accepted more and have no chance of being eaten as long as they stay in line of the Ifacle rules. Thus it has happened for 100 years since they first appeared. Now, they are becoming more adventurous and there are fewer humans in the world. They are trying to free The Dark One.”

I nodded, it was almost the same as last time then, just with Ifacle as well instead of just the Salinerca. Arelia was sitting there with her eyes wide and her mouth slightly open. Sighing I turned my attention to her. “What’s the matter, child?” Arelia half shook herself then murmured “I just don’t understand, Alroth.” Horace sighed and looked at me “How much have you told her?” he asked. I glared at him, and said “How long do you think it’s been since I hatched?” Horace laughed, “I’ll start from the beginning then shall I, little one?” I grimaced; the owl was obviously not good at humour. “Yes, please Horace” I snarled.

 

 

Taking the hint, Horace began, “In the beginning…”

Arelia sighed, “Horace do you always start with ‘In the beginning’?”

“No, sometimes I start with ‘Please don’t interrupt’ ”, Arelia blushed, “…now where was I? Ah yes, in the beginning, there were two brothers, The Light One and The Dark One. They were the first Dragons. There was nothing but Them, and They got bored. The two brothers put Their might together and formed the World. It became Their plaything. As thousands of years went by, days for Them, Their plaything, our world, changed. The bubbling, molten ball They had created cooled and several pieces broke off, becoming the moon. Mountains formed as the outside of the planet cooled into crusty plates that crashed into each other. Seas formed from the gases surrounding the planet. In those seas, bacteria started to grow and adapt into plants and small fish. The Brothers were excited at what had happened. They began watching these creatures carefully. Gently, They prodded into their minds and created seeds of intelligence. Slowly, the bacteria grew, the plants spread over the lands first, and the animals stayed in the sea. The brothers slowly planted ideas of land into some of the animals. They surfaced all over the world and adapted, some with tails, some with no legs, some could hide in the plant-life, their skin camouflaging them. Some of the animals learnt to fly. There were apes in the trees and, where the seed of intelligence was strongest, there were apes walking upright, losing their tails, creating clothing and attacking danger. These were the first humans and the brothers were fascinated by them most of all. Unfortunately, they had different ideas about why they had wanted life and a world. The Light One wanted to care for it and nurture it, The Dark One wanted to rule it. The Dark One would take humans and merge them with other animals, wolf and man merged to become half man, half wolf, a were-wolf. In that terrible time, many humans were changed. But the Light One’s prodding and nudging the humans into how to survive better in their environments affected many more. He too made changes; He made skins darker in the hotter places, to help prevent sunburn and diseases in the people there, He showed people in deserts how to find water where there was none in view. He disagreed with The Dark One’s experiments. The Dark One would possess people and encourage pain and hatred. He didn’t stop when the Light One told him to. The Dark One claimed it was His right as Creator.

There was war, the first war, between The Light One and The Dark One. The brotherly bond was broken. The Dark One changed his subject’s appearances and tempted nature even more, The Light One refused to fight his brother and all life suffered. Eventually He started to defend a small place and so Day and Night came forth. The Light One would bring light but not death and each had half of the earth, chasing each other in circles. Finally, The Dark One angered His brother too much. He burnt places in the world that were once rich and green, creating barren deserts. The Light One had had enough and imprisoned His brother’s body in the centre of Their once play-thing, forcing His spirit to leave and wander round the world. In despair of what He had done, The Light One released Himself from His spirit and forced it into the world. As His spirit was banished into the land, it created beings to fight the evil that it could not. It created six Dragons from six states of elements; fire, earth, water, acid, stone and air. These Dragons became the protectors of humans and all things good. Alroth, why don’t you tell her about Dragons?”

“Dragons…where to start? We are flying lizards, is that good enough? No? Hard luck, that’s all I’m telling you for now, otherwise Arelia, your human brain would implode, trust me, I’ve seen it before and it’s not nice.,” Arelia looked put down and didn’t seem quite sure whether I was joking or not. I sighed, I had a lot of work to do. “ I will tell you about my ‘lucky guess’ at your name earlier though… Dragons always have the same names, and that goes for their…never mind, just forget about that bit…I’ll tell you later.” I’d done it again! How many times did I have to do that before I learnt? This was obviously not going to plan this time, ah well; at least it was more of an adventure for me!

 

Thanking Horace, we left from the hollow in the tree, it was almost pitch black under the canopy of the trees by now. We had talked for a long time and it was dusk or maybe even night. I stepped out onto a branch and, surprise surprise, my wings still weren’t strong enough. I wasn’t a happy bunny, or a happy dragon for that point. Sighing I played the ‘poor cute creature’ card on Arelia to try to get her to carry me down. She just stuck her tongue out at me and started swinging down the branches. Angrily I leapt off of the branch I was on and flapped my wings. They just managed to hold me up enough in the air so that I didn’t fall straight down like a stone but floated down, wings flapping like crazy. When I reached the forest floor, as I landed on the crispy twigs, I glared at Arelia before pouting and stalking off. Laughing, Arelia followed me through the undergrowth. I lead the way towards the settlement on the other side of the forest, changing the direction every now and again. Because of my bad mood, we didn’t talk much and so I paid attention when she suddenly whispered, “stop!” I turned my head and looked questioningly at her. “If we go any further then we’ll be in the border forest!”

I sighed and told her that it really didn’t matter, besides, she couldn’t hide in the forest all her life. Scowling, she stubbornly said that she could and would. I continued onwards, shaking my head and pulling the unwilling Arelia forwards with my teeth. As we snuck through the undergrowth as silently as we could, I felt Arelia shaking and felt her fear. Great, I couldn’t go on like this, it made me feel like a great big bully, and I couldn’t see where I was going. Calling on The Light One for help, I stopped and let go of her. Immediately she scampered back where we had come from. I started to follow her and stopped as an ear-piercing scream ripped through the air. Glancing in the direction of Arelia, I realised I had to make a choice. Find and help whatever screamed or look after Arelia. Asking The Light One for help yet again, I plunged towards the screaming, hoping Arelia would be ok. As I crashed through the undergrowth, the scream came again, louder this time. Adjusting my direction slightly, I carried on. I leapt towards a bush and stopped suddenly. Cautiously, I peered through. There was a deer on the other side of the bush, on its blood covered leg, was a massive boulder. As I scanned the area for any other threat to the deer, I noticed the branches on the floor that had held the boulder up and the simple mechanism that had acted as a trigger. This was a trap, a man-made trap. Shuddering with disgust, I crept out of the bush as the deer screamed again. I ran at the boulder and barged it with my shoulder. It barely moved. Coughing, I tried another approach. A small flame appeared out of my mouth and then disappeared. Trying again I managed to make a slightly larger, slightly hotter flame which then stopped, spluttering. “Alroth?” I heard a distant call. I smiled with relief and the deer screamed again, this time with fear of me. I stopped smiling, stupid, stupid! I should have known that smiling looked menacing with my sharp pointed teeth. “Arelia?” I called, hoping that she would come and find me. Trying my first method of freeing the deer again, I backed off and charged at the boulder again, this time moving it further. I tried again and it came almost all the way off of the deer’s leg. Unfortunately, it also reopened my leg wound and bruised my shoulder. I wasn’t going to be able to do that again. Hearing a noise, I limped back to the bushes, getting undercover just in time.

 

Arelia appeared on the right of the clearing the trap was set in. I came out of the bush yet again and snuck up behind her. I leapt forwards at her back, causing her to twirl round and push me over backwards, onto my injured shoulder. Groaning I sat up and glared at her. She glared back then glanced at the deer. Her mouth opened in an astonished O, her eyes full of anger. Simultaneously, we both walked forwards, well, she did…I limped, and began to move the boulder off of the deer. Wincing, I managed to barge the boulder again as Arelia pushed. Finally, the deer was free. Moving slowly, Arelia explained her intent to help to the startled deer. Grabbing a couple of leaves, a stick and part of a vine, she bandaged the deer’s leg and put it in a splint, cursing that she needed Lamai leaves and flowers. Gratefully, the deer thanked her and limped off to rejoin her herd somewhere in the forest. By now it was pretty late and, even though it was summer, it was very dark. The sunset had already come and gone so now all that was in the sky were the pinpricks of light emitted from stars and a full round moon glowing like a silver stream. The Light One was strongest for now, later we wouldn’t be so lucky. Wearily, Arelia started to talk about going back to her water point and stream. I glared at her. “…or we could stay the night here” she added. Nodding, I helped to set up a cover as a shelter and curled up in a ball next to her. I watched her drift to sleep and crept out. Walking some way from the shelter, I started desperately to create fire. Coughing and hissing, I finally managed to produce a flame. Grinning, I realised that soon I would need it. I crept back to the shelter and let darkness and sleep roll over me, keeping one eye open for a while before the scaly eyelid got the better of me and closed, bringing with it The Dream.
The End

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