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Anadorie Wood: The Last Dragon Keeper
Crashing Back Down by Author Kristen Hope Mazzola, her debut novel, is now LIVE!! Don't miss out on this awesome read!
Flowing along in the breeze, I heard the words whisper, “Are you the one they call Roan the Dragon Keeper?” I rolled over in my sleep, pushing the words away from my dream of flying in the clouds on a warm summer afternoon on the back of Alorah. Suddenly my dream was assaulted again by a slight tug on my jacket collar and the words again, “Are you the one they call Roan the Dragon Keeper?”
I slowly opened the only eye that would budge to see a flit of lightly colored wing cross my vision. My mind started to try and process where I was even lying. The night before I had hiked along the moonlit path as far into the Anadorie Woods as my body would allow, only to rest in a bed of leaves right before daybreak. I was not sure how far I had come, or how much closer I was to getting to Alorah’s captors, all I knew is that I was going to stop at nothing to rescue my devoted friend.
The tug came again and helped my sleepiness fade, jolting my senses awake. Once my eyes came into focus, I was shocked. I had never laid eyes on a fairy before, but propped on my knee staring up at me through bring green eyes, with hair that matched, was a beautiful magical being. I rubbed my eyes a few times in disbelief, but there she still was, glittering in the morning sunrays.
“I am Roan of Anador. What is this of being a Dragon Keeper?” The fairy giggled a little and flitted closer to my face, almost touching my nose.
“You are the one who holds Alorah’s bond, are you not?” Her sweet voice was inviting with those words, excitement rang into me and a smile spread wide.
“I am the one who has cared for Alorah, she was sold by my father to dragon tamers. I am searching to rescue her.” I paused for a second to watch the fairy fly around a little. “What is your name fairy?”
“I am Britess. I came across your friend a few hours ago. Not too far from here. She told me of your being and sent me to find you in Anador.” She sat again on my knee and added, “I’m here to aid you in your plight. You see, you’re the last Dragon Keeper.”
I could not believe my ears, trying to wrap my head around all of the questions swirling in my brain; I started to fire them off quickly, “You can talk to dragons? What do you mean by Dragon Keeper? What about the trainers who have Alorah? How far is she?”
Through widened eyes, Britess looked up at me, her mood shifted slowly into sadness, “What do you mean, you don’t know?”
I became uneasy, shifting a little, I whispered, “I guess not. What don’t I know?” My voice fell as the leaves under me from my makeshift bed crunched in my restlessness.
“Those men that have taken your friend are not good men. They are poachers. They will bring Alorah to the high ground and kill her for her flesh. They eat dragons.” She started to fly around again, obviously uncomfortable in having to say these words aloud. “No dragon has trusted a human since the fires long ago. They have all retreated to the caves of the north. Somehow Alorah was hatched far from her kind and you found her. She is the last bound dragon, making you the last Dragon Keeper.”
With those words I hurdled to my feet grabbing my bags and rushed to the path to continue on my trek, Britess floating along beside me. “I have to get to her before they kill her!” My voice cracked from the tears that were streaming down my face.
“I will bring you to her, Roan. Help you get her free.” Britess landed on my shoulder and stayed there for a few hundred yards until I stopped quickly. The morning was starting to fade away and I realized just how hungry I was. “Britess, can you show me to water and food?” She quickly popped off my shoulder and started to jet off the path into the thick of the woods. I had to jog to keep up with her as she zipped and zagged through the trees. Right up ahead there was a stream and bushes lining the shoreline that resembled the familiar blackberries near home.
Britess turned to me with the finger over her lips before I could even utter a “thank you”. She flittered right next to my ear and whispered, “They are close. I can feel it, be quiet.”
Slowly I bent down next to the water to fill my canteen. Cautiously, I looked around until I stopped a light stream of smoke bellowing up through the tree tops a few hundred yards from where I was. My hunger stopped immediately as anxious nerves tightened my stomach. I pointed towards it and heard Britess whisper, “That’s the poacher’s camp. They haven’t moved from where I found them last night. That is very curious.”
That is when my heart crushed at the horrible sound thundering from the lunges of my beast. My entire body went ridged as I tried to climb to my feet. I could hear one of the men yell at her to be quiet in terrible words of hate. His voice dripped with so much distain, my eyes watered from their bitterness as if someone was holding a freshly cut onion under my nose.
The tree and brush were thicker in this part of the woods, enough to hide the men’s camp from the path. Without the diversion into the wood, I would have never found them on my own. Britess seemed just as scared as I was of our discovery. Her twinkling skin that once danced in the light, was becoming duller as I slowly made my way close to the camp.
“How should I get Alorah away from them?” I realized that I had not thought all the way to this point of my plan; I did not think I would find her this quickly. Britess told me to hide in the brush while she went to Alorah to help devise our plan of attack. Sitting and waiting in the foliage was torcher. I watched at the dragon’s head came into my view once Britess was next to her. The evil men seemed to be fussing with cooking, too engulfed in bickering over how was the best way to roast a game hen to notice the fairy’s presence.
In what seemed like lifetimes, Britess returned to my hiding spot and informed me of our plan. If we were too hasty, the men might try to kill us all, so we were going to follow our prey until nightfall, wait until sleep overtook the captors, and then free Alorah from her chains. The idea of making Alorah endure another minute of capture and pain was unbearable, but all of our safety was at risk. I agreed to the plan and headed back down to the bushes to gather some barriers for my breakfast, being careful to be quiet and not give our cover away.