The Dragons of Ariem~Chapter Six
When I wake up, it is late. I drink thirstily at the stream and gaze around at my surroundings.
I hope Jorren and Kaila are okay, I think to myself.
The forest is so quiet now, and the sun sends glorious orange-red rays through the trees. I gaze at the hills beyond, the hills through with I must now journey to find out who I am and where I belong. "Where ARE the mountains of Ariem?" I wonder aloud to myself. The forest remains silent. A tendril of nervousness steals through me as I stand up. The Dragon Eliminators must be searching for me right now, I think with a chill of fear. I cautiously attempt to summon the same warm, rushing feeling that transformed me into a dragon, but the energy seems to flee from my desperate attempts. At last I start off on my own two feet, treading softly yet quickly though the forest. My cat-like pupils flex and dialate, taking in more light as the sun's rays fade and the forest darkens. An owl hoots somewhere in the forest, its strong, haunting voice rising and falling. Finally, my feet too sore and exhausted to continue, I curl under a tree and try to fall asleep. My stomach aches with hunger, and I feel terribly lonely. Soon I miserably drift off to sleep, deep into an unfathomable blackness.
"Emma. Emma!" The voice rings inside my head.
I stir, lifting myself up from the moist, dewy ground. Mist swirls around me in the early morning air.
Where AM I? I wonder.
"Emma! There you are. I have been searching for a connection to you for quite some time."
I turn, startled, to see a familiar yet mysterious shape treading softly towards me: the blue dragon of my earlier dream.
He stops and gazes at me, his eyes filled with knowledge straining to pour out; yet he pauses, uncertain to my response.
"You're back!" I exclaim. "Oh dragon, I'm so lonely! Where are my friends? Have the soldiers captured them?"
The dragon looks startled. "So they DID come," he murmurs to himself. "Amaria the Wise One was right."
I pull myself up to my fullest height. "Who exactly ARE you?" I demand.
The deep blue dragon smiles, though a bit sadly, it seems. "I am your brother, Jargon. (Pronounced Sharr-gun.) You must come with me to Ariem, where I can explain everything. I shall try to find you in the morning." I feel cold and pull my garments around me, shivering. "Okay, but come quickly. It's...it's kind of weird how you can communicate with me in my sleep." Jargon gazes around us. "We dragons have very complex and mysterious ways. Not even I quite understand how powerful we creatures can be. But I do know this. Dragons can communicate in a mode called Pylunae. (pronounced ff-eye-loon-eye) It is most easily reached in sub-conscious mode, which normally occurs during sleeping in the early morning. Dragons can enter into Pylunae, or they can be summoned into it by another dragon. Humans rarely enter Pylunae, unless they have been called by a dragon AND have been touched by that same dragon in the physical world. Be careful when you touch a human in your dragon form. You might accidently link into Pylunae when you enter into that state," Jargon finishes. He stares at me with his deep sea green eyes.
My mind is reeling as I start to grasp the enormity of the situation I have let myself into- just by removing my blindfold. Suddenly I realize the words my adopting mother has made clear to me:
The truth can be very dangerous. Sometimes it holds the difference between life and death.
"S-so...what should I do?" I quaver.
Jargon closes his eyes, apparently deep in thought. "Tomorrow you must find me. Where are you right now? Think hard of the spot you are in."
I close my eyes too and imagine the forest around me, and the leafy bush I am resting under. A blurry form of the forest materializes around us. Jargon squints as he peers around. Then he glimpses blue hills in the distance. Turning to me, he asserts, "I think I have an idea of where you are. In the morning, fly to the hills that stand in the opposite direction of the sunrise. Follow them. When you reach a row of tall mountains, some of them ice-capped, look for a mountain with large rows of trees missing. They were lost in several landslides. I will meet you at the summit."
I dimly nod, trying to picture the mountain in my mind. Suddenly I feel warm breath on my face. Slowly I open my violet eyes to meet Jargon's intense dragon eyes. "My sister..." he murmurs softly. "I can see Faia's determination in your eyes." I blink, confused. "Faia? Who is Faia?"
Jargon abruptly pulls back, shaking his head sadly. "Oh Emma, you have so much to learn. Faia...is my mother....YOUR mother."
Suddenly sunlight is streaming into my face, blinding me. I sit up, squinting at the sunlight pouring through the trees. Rising to my feet with an involuntary groan, I gaze around me. My stomach feels like a bottomless pit, ravenous for food. I know that there is nothing left for me to do but find my brother. I cannot return to my village; danger only awaits me there. Kaila's voice breaks into my memory. "Run, Emma, RUN!" I look around, my heart pounding. Where IS Kaila? Is Jorren okay, also? But the answers I so long for stay out of my reach. "Maybe Jargon can give me answers," I murmur firmly to myself. Lifting my face towards the warm sunlight, I feel the energy rushing up in me, expanding. In a moment my wings are unfurling and I am plunging into the sky. My wings furiously pound the air, managing to keep me adrift. The blue sky stretches above me, white puffy clouds scudding across it. Hope fluttering up in me, I rise on the wind and point myself away from the sun. My uncertain, yet fervent journey has begun.
Kaila stretched. The warm morning sun seeping through the barred windows of her cell comforted her slightly after her cold night. She heard a prisoner in another cell nearby stirring restlessly in the straw that covered the floors of the jail cells. The heavy, stomping footsteps of a guard brought her to full alertness. But it was only the jailer. He shoved a bowl of cornmeal mush under the narrow gap below the barred door that prevented escaping. He barely glanced at the girl from under his bushy gray eyebrows, muttered something to himself, and then strode away. Kaila took the battered wooden spoon carefully and ate quickly. Maybe it was the bad quality of the food or maybe it was Kaila's gnawing anxiety, but either way it tasted like sawdust. At last she placed the bowl down and leaned against one stony wall of her prison. Closing her eyes, Kaila sank into thought. Where was Jorren? Had Emma really been captured? Kaila had heard no word of her friend. Or even worse....had Emma been...
No, it was too terrible to even guess that much, so Kaila stopped her worrying and tried to focus on hoping. She glanced at the rough, wrought iron bars that faced her. They were barely as thick as her thumb, and crudely made. If only she had something sharp and durable...
The creak of a heavy iron door startled her. Loud men's voices conversing made Kaila perk her ears up in interest. A stab of fear suddenly coursed through her as multiple footsteps tromped towards her cell. She shuddered and crouched warily in the thick, musty straw.
"We'll question the girl first."
Low, harsh laughter.
"Sure. She'll probably be a better talker than the youth." In a moment two men were at the door of her cell. The jailer took out his ring of keys and rattled them nervously in the lock. "Jist a second, sirs," he hoarsely mumbled.
Kaila, always acutely sensitive to the feelings of others, sensed his nervousness.
"Hurry up," one of the men snarled. He had blond hair, looked younger than his companion, and, Kaila thought, might have looked rather handsome if he didn't have such a cruel, impatient scowl on his face. At last the door swung open. Kaila rose warily to her feet, her brown eyes like those of a trapped deer's. Before she knew it they had grabbed her arms and were roughly dragging her down the corridor-and out of the prison.
"Wait!" The jailer wheezed. "Jist what are you doin' with that girl? What did she do?"
The blond haired man glanced back. "She's committed treason to Lord Kastorr for helping an enemy," he snapped. Kaila looked back at the jailer to see a brief flash of confusion and pity in the man's eyes. But just as quickly the man's eyes hardened again and he turned away.
Kaila struggled half-heartedly against her captors. The older men, his face haggard and deeply lined, turned to her. "Quit fighting," he growled. Kaila obeyed him stiffly. She looked up to see a building looming over her. It was one of the guard stations that Lord Kastorr had established in many of the towns of Merdania. She closed her eyes briefly, feeling cold dread seep into her. She would answer none of the soldier's questioning, that she knew for sure. She would rather die than give any information about her beloved land or her friends. But what was to happen to her afterwards, that she did not know.
Fear enclosed her mind and thoughts like a steel wall, preventing hope or courage from entering. A roll of thunder echoed in the gathering clouds somewhere from behind her. Kaila glanced up at the troubled sky, and she desperately hoped, more than ever, that Emma was safe.
Once again, thanks for reading! I apologize for taking so long to post this chapter. I have been very busy with school work. I will try to post the next chapter sooner!
Comments, suggestions, and gentle criticism is appreciated. = )
Your fellow author,