I push the door open and tiptoe gingerly down the stairs. I walk into the courtyard. A fire blazes in the blackened brazier. A man steps out of the shadows. He asks
"Are you ready?"
"Yes" I reply
"Then lets ride." I mount my charger and we slip away into the forest. Pink flowers bloom despite the auburn leaves adorning the trees. And we ride. We pass through a village in which we can hear beautiful music filling the air. I long to stop and listen but we need to keep going.
I am exhausted but we keep climbing orange sandstone stairs. We stop. I lean against my horse and whisper into his mane
"We made it."
Then we walk into the fortress.
Old houses surround us as we head toward the keep. Pale faces peep at us as walk past, scrutinising the strangers.When we enter the keep, stable-hands take our horses. The lord bursts through a huge pair of doors. A boom echoes through the high ceilinged entrance hall. A relived look passes briefly across his face.
"Good. You made it. I trust that no harm fell across the princess?"
"No m'lord" The man replies looking down. Then I realize that the man that I rode here is nothing more than a servant. It was a bit of a shame really, as I had taken a liking to him.
"Excellent. Come this way princess Michelle, a feast awaits you." I follow him to the dining hall. Then my eyes fall upon the banquet. There is whole boar and whole deer, cakes galore and soups of every kind. Almost every type of mouth-watering food, you name it, it was there. I make polite conversation between mouthfuls, but I don't say more than I need to say. When the feast is finished I am escorted to my quarters. I washed the dust and dirt from body and sleep long and deep, safe in the fortress.
I splash through the creek just outside the fortress under the leafy expanse of the forest, deep in thought when alarm horns break the silence. A roar replies. Oh no I think dread filling my body. How did it find me here? This is the most isolated, allied, fortress I could find in the kingdom. All these thoughts come rushing through my brain at a million miles an hour. I start to run.
The Dragon is here.