Kendra was close, she could feel it. She had been walking for hours and the sun was just barely piercing the horizon. Despite bringing her coat Kendra shivered a little, but she didn't dare stop, she had to catch up with Seth before he ran off again.
Kendra flinched involuntarily as a bellowing roar and smashing crash echoed throughout the forest. She did not know if she wanted to find out what was making the noises or run away from them.
Against her will Kendra found herself creeping closer to the noise, just wanting to observe the source of the commotion. Another roar sliced through the area, followed by a resounding crash. Then silence.
Picking up her pace, Kendra trotted towards the source of the commotion. As Kendra dashed out between the trees she froze. A gigantic silver dragon lay motionless. The dragon's body was about the size of a house, the neck was bent back at a wrong angle. It had several bloody wounds along its side neck and head, it wasn't breathing it appeared to be dead.
Kendra kept a little closer, trying to be quiet. The dragon looked so familiar like she had seen it. Kendra realized that this dragon strongly reminded her of Celebrant. Her eyes stopped on a figure near the head of the dragon, facing away from Kendra. The tall figure was equipped with a full-body suit of midnight black armor, and held a ginormous sword covered halfway to the hilt in what Kendra assumed was dragon blood.
As Kendra tried to retreat back into the trees, she realized that the figure must be the Titan valley dragon slayer. Kendra did not know if the slayer was hostile or not. The dragon slayer at Crescent lagoon had tried to kill them but the Somber knight had provided immeasurable help to her and her brother.
As Kendra retreated she tripped, landing hard. She let out a cry of pain. The figure whipped around to face her. Kendra scrambled to get up as the figure advanced towards her. Upon seeing Kendra's terror the figure froze. Kendra thought that the figure looked like a woman in the heavy armor, although a helmet still blocked the facial features.
"It's ok, I won't hurt you bright one." The figure said. It was definitely a woman, her voice was deep and quiet with a light accent.
"Who are you?" Kendra asked.
"I am Nocte Stella, The official dragonslayer of Titan valley. May I ask who you are young one? You shine with the glory of a million suns. Did you happen to be blessed upon by the fairies?"
"I'm fairykind, why are you here, who was the dragon?" Kendra asked.
"I was called into action by the giants, three days ago after Rex montem struck down the queen of the giants as an act of war." Nocte informed soberly.
"That's terrible!" Kendra cried, "who will run the preserve now?"
"The late queen's daughter has taken the throne and the position of caretaker."
"Is that dragon you killed Rex Montem?" Kendra asked, eyes widening.
"The one and only." Nocte said, Kendra went silent not knowing what to say. So the giant queen was dead, Rex Montem to, and now the dragons were probably fighting for power amongst themselves. Now was the perfect time to raid the temple while the dragons where distracted.
"You really plan to raid the dragon temple?" Nocte asked in disbelief.
"How did you read my mind?" Kendra asked, there was no contact between her and Nocte.
"I have some skills." Nocte acknowledged, "I also want to know how you plan to enter the dragon temple and pass the guardians."
"We have no idea," Kendra admitted.
"I didn't come alone I just got separated from my team." Kendra said, "And I was looking for my brother."
"He is lost as well?"
"Ya," Kendra gave out a dry chuckle, "we are a total mess. We could really use your help, Dragons everywhere are declaring war, preserves are falling."
Nocte tensed, "Which preserves?" She asked, urgency evident in her voice. She sheathed her sword.
"Well, Wyrmroost, Soaring cliffs, Jade falls is a mess. Crescent lagoon did but then we reclaimed it." Kendra recounted. Nocte nodded and fell silent.
"How reliable is your team?" Nocte asked.
"Pretty reliable, why?" Kendra asked.
"The way this is sounding, it seems like the dragons are barely starting their attack on humanity. We might need to retrieve an object of great importance from the dragon temple."
Kendra realized it must be the harp. She knew it was important but now it seemed like it was of even greater value than before.
"That's what we're after as well."
"Really?" Nocte asked, surprised, "how did you know about the harp?"
"The wizard andromadus told us." Kendra said.
"Who is that, I know many great wizards but this one is new." Nocte inquired.
"Andromadus used to be the ex-dragon king dramadus." Kendra said
"Good for him, leaving that dingy old cave and fighting for a worthy cause." Nocte praised.
"Could you take your helmet off so I can see your face?" Kendra asked she felt strange hearing so much vocal emotion coming from the midnight black metal helmet. Kendra was also starting to like Nocte, she was much more interesting than the somber night.
"Sure, though I have no idea what I look like. I haven't looked in a mirror for hundreds of years." Nocte commented. Nocte's armor made no sound as she pulled off her helmet. Despite not seeing the sun or being washed for several hundred years, Nocte's face was quite beautiful, her skin was a flawless dark brown, she had silky blonde hair that almost looked white done into a loose braid. She looked no older than Mara or Vanessa. Kendra was stunned. "How do I look?" Nocte asked.
"Amazing," Kendra assured, Nocte flashed a grin, revealing sparkling white teeth.
"I think I am starting to like you bright one," Nocte said, Kendra, smiled.
"Can you chatty Charlies stop talking about looks?" A voice bellowed, "We got a problem at hand!" Kendra whipped around to find Warren limping out into the clearing with the help of a makeshift crutch. Mara was close at his heels.
"Warren! Mara!" Kendra cried, running towards them.
"I am so sorry, I just had to try to find Seth and—"
"We know Kendra, we aren't mad, you just scared us," Mara assured, pulling Kendra into a warm hug. Kendra felt guilty for scaring her friends, but she did what she had to do.
"So who's your new friend?" Warren asked, gesturing to Nocte. Mara released Kendra.
"Well, guys, this is Nocte Stella. She's the Titan valley dragon slayer."
"Nice," Warren whistled, Mara was expressionless as she studied Nocte then the dragon.
"The dragons are going to have our heads when they find pout that you killed one of their own," Mara informed dryly,
"They will have to catch us first." Warren countered with a wink. Nocte pointed to Warren. "I like your attitude."
"Are you sure we are heading in the right direction?" Knox asked.
"Yes, I am sure." Raxtus snapped, that had been the 8th time Knox had asked if they were going the right way and Seth could tell Raxtus was getting sick of his obnoxious cousin, even if he was trying to be cautious.
"Why can't you just fly up and see where we are?" Knox asked,
"Because if any dragons see us we are toast, literally."
"Fine, we can walk," Knox grumbled.
"Why don't you ride the griffin?" Seth asked gesturing to Tempest. The griffin had just walked along with the group, none had attempted to get on her.
"She would likely try to kill me, she only truly accepts Mara, everyone needs her help to be able to get on Tempest." Knox related.
Seth nodded, "So we can't really use her." Seth stated.
"No, she can be useful, like if we are attacked by a lycanthrope she will try to fight it." Knox counted.
"How do you know that?" Raxtus asked.
"We've been attacked twice by one." Knox said, "Though the second time Ronodin was there to, that was when Mara told me to run, and then I found you guys."
"Hold up, you were attacked by Ronodin?" Seth questioned.
"Ya, though at the time I was more worried about the lycanthrope."
"Why didn't you tell us you were attacked by Ronodin?" Seth asked.
"I didn't think you needed to know, sorry." Knox apologized.
"WE would VERY much like to know if Ronodin is so close," Seth stated, concerned and frustrated. He had not expected or prepared for Ronodin to be so close by.
"Sorry I have been a little distracted." Knox apologized.
"It's ok," Ratxus assured, "I understand that you were worried about your friends, I think now we need to find them more than ever, the more allies the better." he continued.
"I think you're right," Seth acknowledged.
"Shut up," Knox cut in.
"What no, finding your team was your idea." Seth shot back.
"No, be quiet I hear something," Knox stated, they all fell silent, sure enough, Seth could hear the sounds of footsteps, something or someone was coming for them.
"How on earth Kendra, are you so lucky?" Warren drilled, as they followed the trail of footprints. Kendra was in the lead with Nocte, Warren behind them with Mara, both were limping. Warren from his ankle and Mara from her injury during the battle with the lycanthrope "Like you run off alone you find great people to help you when I am simply running away from danger I maim my ankle or my ribs." Kendra shrugged.
"I guess I am just lucky," behind her Mara snorted.
"Kendra, when you survive this stuff you are incredibly lucky, survive unscathed is like winning the lottery, you have a whole different level of luck," she responded.
"You guys get into trouble often?" Nocte asked.
"Yes," Warren replied. Nocte opened her mouth to talk when ear-splitting roars bellowed out from all directions. The hair on the back of Kendra's neck stood up. Nocte drew her sword.
"What was that?" Warren asked.
"They have found out." Nocte stated solemnly.
"Found out what?" Warren asked.
"Does it have to do with the dragon you slew earlier?" Mara pressed, coming to face Nocte. The two women where almost the same height, though Mara was about 2 inches shorter than Nocte.
"Yes," Nocte affirmed.
"Who was it?" Mara questioned.
"Rex Montem," Nocte said. A flurry of emotions crossed across Mara's features, surprise, relief, fear, horror, respect.
"If any of the dragons find us, there will be no survivors. We have to find the others and get out of here." Mara stated solemnly. Kendra knew that she was right, if the dragons found them they would be toast, figuratively and literally.
"Stay still, the might not see us," Seth whispered. Behind him, Seth saw Raxtus turn invisible, Knox froze, but it was too late.
"Who is there?" a voice bellowed, Knox perked up.
"It's ok," Knox said, "That's Tanu, a friend." Seth relaxed slightly, but, was still on edge, he wasn't fully ready to trust these people.
"Over here!" Knox hollered.
"Knox?" A new voice asked. This voice belonged to a woman.
"Vanessa, Tanu over here!" Knox yelled. Seth saw the speakers come into view, there was one woman and two men. The woman was medium hight with olive skin and a flawless complexion, she had an unmistakable beauty.
"Seth, this is Tanu, Trask, and Vanessa," Knox announced gesturing to the group as he spoke. The one on the left, Trask, was tall and intimidating, he wasn't as thick as Tanu but he was still broad, his clothes where torn and he had a huge, jagged scar across his bald scalp. When he lifted his hand to wave, Seth saw that he was missing his index finger on his right hand. The man on the right, Tanu, was much less intimidating, he had a round smiling face and curly black hair. He was about the same hight as Trask but much broader. All of them were looking at Seth,
"Hi, Seth." Tanu greeted, his voice was friendly with a deep tropical ascent.
"H-h-h-i," Seth stuttered uncertainly.
"Good to see you Seth, Knox." Vanessa acknowledged warmly, she had a light ascent that Seth could not place.
"Hi, Vanessa." Knox chirped.
"Are you and Warren really engaged?" Raxtus blurted, suddenly becoming visible again and giving the adults small heart attacks,
"Hello Raxtus. Yes Warren and I are engaged," Vanessa confirmed holding up her hand to show the glittering ring on her finger. Raxtus craned his neck forward to inspect Vanessa's ring.
"He has good taste." Raxtus acknowledged Vanessa smiled.
"Before we gent into a long conversation about jewelry, Knox have you seen the rest of the group," Trask asked turning to Knox.
"Yes," Knox answered,
"Are they ok?" Trask asked nervously,
"I don't know," Knox admitted, hanging his head.
"What do you mean?" Trask asked all eyes where on Knox now, Seth was grateful for the shift in attention.
"We where attacked, Ronodin and the lycanthrope from earlier ambushed us, last I saw, they weren't doing so good, they told me to run, so, I ran and didn't look back." Knox related, talking more to the ground than to Trask.
"Was Warren ok when you last saw him?" Vannessa asked anxiously.
"Not really, he broke his ankle while running from the lycanthrope the first time we where attacked, he had been riding Tempest when we here attacked again and she threw him off and knocked him unconscious," Knox said, raising his head to look at Vanessa, Vanessa, look concerned and scared for her future husband, but she did not say anything.
"Do you know where they are heading?" Tanu asked
"Yes, they were heading to the dragon temple hoping to meet with you guys there," Knox informed.
"We have also been heading to the dragon temple hoping for the same thing." Vanessa started but the rest of her words were cut short by furious roaring from all directions. Raxtus went invisible and the adults drew weapons.
"What was that?" Knox asked,
"Oh, no," Raxtus muttered from behind Seth, still invisible.
"What," Seth asked nervously.
"The dragons. They're mad about something, I couldn't make out what, but they are going to be on a rampage." Raxtus whispered.
"Then let's get the artifact from the temple then get out of here, we have Seth we just need the others and the harp," Trask stated.
"That won't work." Seth put in.
"Why not Seth?"
"Because I came here to find my memory, and I am not leaving until I do."
Thank you guys for all your reviews and understanding! I am almost done school for the year so it shouldn't be long before you get more content!