Tears blurred her vision, as she stared at the scene in front of her from the keyhole of the cupboard under the stairs. Resolue's, ransacking her house, Resolue's killing her father and brother, Resolue's, the enemy of her country. This was the downside of being a farmer, because the best farmlands were the closest thing to the border between Resol, the enemy and Quintul, her country.

Resol's army, the Resolue's decided that it was time to start extending the border, and despite her countries best efforts, they were succeeding.

I had my back pressed against the wall, with the hidden door to the cupboard under the stairs but inches in front of my face, I didn't know how much time had passed since the attack, but I was still petrified, my mind blank except for the pictures of the lifeless faces of my father and brother, the time passed quickly and all too soon I heard noises, which made my speeding heart stop for a moment in fear, then continue at a pace not that much faster than before.

I didn't bother to recognize the noises that I heard, it was just noise and my blank mind couldn't summon up the strength or courage to figure out whether it was friend or foe. A broken sob broke through my petrified mind and made me jump, then I leaned forward slowly and peeked out the keyhole again, what I saw made my fingers scramble for the lock and the door handle, the door swung outwards and I stumble out of the enclosed space, I heard a muffled shriek before I was engulfed into my mothers arms.

"Reya! Oh, my Reya!" And after that, my mother broke into sobs, muffled in my hair.

Hours later, after my mother had cried herself out and explained where she had been, she had sat me down on the slashed couch and shuffled into the kitchen, a moment later she had come out with a piece of buttered bread with a small lump of cheese.

"Eat" she commanded, and then went back into the kitchen to gather things together for our journey.

As my mouth worked my mind wandered over the explanation my mother had given, and then the shocking conclusion of what we would be doing in result. My mother had gone to the market to buy groceries when we had been attacked, and she had run into an old friend and they had gone to lunch and had chatted for hours, my mother was confident my father and other brother would be able to look after me, keeping me out of trouble while she was gone, and they had, but not from our enemy. And in conclusion to her story she had said those shocking words which had made everything that had happened in the last twelve hours hit home.

"We're refugee's now Reya, we have to leave, we have to go to The City, I have family that live there, they will look after us, I'm just afraid of how we're going to get there, it's a very long way Reya."

I sighed, and finished off the last bite of cheese as I contemplated our situation, I had heard about The City, my mother had told me stories about it when I was little, everyone called it The City, but some people liked to call it its real name, Quintulor. The descriptions my mother had told me when I was little had made my imagination soar, and in result I had a perfectly constructed picture of The City in my mind. I have never seen The City, but now that I knew that The City was our destination, I couldn't help but be excited that we were finally going to see the place which had overrun my dreams every night since I had heard of it.

Chapter One - Quintulor

It had been four days since the attack and I had started to get weary of walking, tiredness seeped into my bones as I trudged along behind my mother. Her once beautiful raven black her was dusty and unwashed, her clothes rumpled and crusty from her sweat, and her emerald green eyes had dark circles under them, dust settled into the creases in her face, making her look older. I didn't look much better, although my mother had made an effort to brush my hair and tie it back with a leather thong everyday.

"Why can't we rest mother? All we do is sleep and walk, we never rest during the day." I asked wearily.

She looked back at me then stopped and hugged me close to her "I'm so sorry Reya, but we can't stop, not until we start seeing people again, not until we start passing houses that aren't rubble, we aren't safe until then, I'm sorry you have to put up with this and I know it's hard but we can't stop until then." She pulled back and gave me an encouraging smile, then turned around and kept walking.

I scowled sullenly at myself and concentrated on keeping my mind on other things, but I couldn't stop myself from feeling sorry for myself, dwelling on my weariness.

Finally, my mind turned to the Resolue's, and fire erupted in my body and I started seeing red.

I thought about everything, Resol had been at war with out country for as long as I could remember, and the only reason Resol had the upper hand was that before we knew what was happening they had attacked two different places at once, they had attacked the outer rims of our country and had killed a lot of people, and the problem was, they had only killed males, they had also attacked our nurseries, also killing only the males.

The reason became clear when they declared war on us, and when Quintul called on the armies of our country, we realized that we had lost a significant number of soldiers and boys that had been training to be soldiers, Resol had also gotten rid of some of the next generation, and that was Quintul's problem, our county was lacking males. Quintul was strongly opposed to female's fighting in war, but after they had realized that they were outnumbered they had made it law that all men of age had to train and fight, while women were allowed to become soldiers, it was not compulsory, a surprising amount of women had decided to go to war in result of that law being passed, and it was no longer taboo for women to fight. At that moment, I decided that when we got to Quintulor, I wanted to learn how to fight, and I wanted to join the armies of Quintul.

I counted in my head as I reviewed what date it was, It was 30th of November, and with a shock I realized I would be sixteen in a mere month. And in a month I would be the right age for enrolling into the training program and three years after that, I would be able to fight.

As night fell, my mother started looking for a place to sleep, and it didn't take her long as we were headed into more lush territory each day we traveled. We sat under a low tree and ate a meager dinner and curled up together under a blanket.

My mind wandered over the city of Quintulor as my body relaxed. While the descriptions of the city were mind boggling, the major draw for me to the city was inside the city itself.

My mind conjured up images which made my heart thud. Sixteen was also the age which both male and female were allowed to visit the hatchery, my mother had visited the hatchery when she was sixteen and had not succeeded in bonding. And while the prospect of bonding was a frightening one, it was also the only thing I had wanted my whole life. The hatchery was in the very centre of Quintulor and was guarded heavily, but it was hardly needed, as an egg will not crack until it is bonded, but in the past the enemy had tried to steal eggs and that was what the guards were for, to prevent any Resol's to enter the hatchery, which was rather easy to prevent because Resol's were of darker skin than Quintul, and their facial structure was also vastly different than us, while Quintul's had whiter skin, our bone and facial structure was lean and almost delicate, While Resol's were shorter than us, more stocky than us and had strong jaws and wider faces.

Bonding to an egg was surprisingly easy, the hard part was, that an egg was very picky about whom it bonded to. One only had to lay both hands on the egg for bonding to occur, if it was the right person of course, when one had lay their hands on every egg, for their was near a hundred eggs in the hatchery, it was plain that the person's future did not include bonding. But when one bonded when they touched and egg, it was said to be the most magical thing to experience, people who had watched a bonding had been astounded into speechlessness as well.

As I slipped into sleep, I thought one thing, the same thing which I had thought since I had heard about Quintulor and the hatchery.

'Bonding to a dragon is my hope, my dream, my future.'

I woke up at dawn with my mother nudging me, and when I sat up she wordlessly handed me a bowl with porridge in it, it had been made with a fire small enough to be without light or visible smoke and I ate it down hungrily

We got up and started walking in the same direction we had been walking before, my sandaled feet crunching the lush green grass beneath my feet as the rising sun began to be obliterated by the ever thickening trees the we went through, soon we were deep into the forest, weaving around shrubs, bushes and trees, walking through leaves and sticks on the forest floor. The air was thick with moisture and for the first time, I realized we were headed into a narrow valley, with cliffs rising above us.

A week passed, and then another. And another day, when we were nearing the end of the valley, I started to hear a very welcome noise, the roaring of a waterfall, it made me giddy with excitement, and I wondered if mother would stop there if we passed it, it seemed we were heading in the right direction to come across its path.

As we walked further, I started to see the shimmering of water in glimpses through the trees, and after a few more steps we stumbled out of the trees into a grassy clearing, accompanied by a large pond followed by a river which was weaving in the direction we were meant to be headed, the waterfall made a continuous heavy splashing noise as it hit the water and the surrounding grass had beads of water sticking to it from the mist which floated from the waterfall.

"Rest Reya, have a bath, wash your clothes, wash your hair, rest! I'll give you a massage if you want, but you have to give me one too!" my mother exclaimed, and then proceeded to slip off her sandals and collapse on the lush grass, giggling as she did.

"Thank you mother" I said, smiling as her antics. I also took off my sandals and my backpack, but I just stood.

My mother looked at me and said "soaps in my backpack if you want it, here" and she chucked me her pack. I caught it, and stuck my hand in, and found the soap.

I got in the water and found it was waist deep, and deliciously cool on my skin. Some thing brushed by my thigh and I yelped in surprise.

"What is that?!" I exclaimed to my mother, pointing with a shaking finger. She peered at it, and then laughed reassuringly at me.

"It's called a fish, they are very good for eating, If you want, you could try catch us a couple for supper, they are totally harmless"

I sighed in relief, then washed myself and my clothes, so did my mother, but she got out and started a fire when she was finished. I stayed in the water, after a while I did decide to try catch a couple of fish, at first I was unsuccessful, but soon I had thrown three onto the grass, wriggling. I got out and got changed while my mother put the fish in the fire. While the fish were cooking I gave my mother a back massage and she gave me one in return, I felt relaxed as my muscles were kneaded into suppleness. We slept soundly that night and the next morning we set off again in high spirits.

Late that afternoon, we stepped out of the forest into the face of the setting sun; an orange glow bathed everything I could see. The ground rose and dipped in large hillocks like ripples in a pond.

"We're almost there, we should make it by tonight" She smiled warmly at me, I hadn't asked her any questions about how close we were because I didn't want her to be exasperated with me, she was a very good traveling companion, even though we didn't converse much since we hadn't had the energy.

The wind tugged at my clothes and hair and the thought of being so close to our destination gave us new energy and we walked faster then we had before.

A couple of hours passed, and we walked down another hill, and suddenly I could see the glow of torches in the distance, my heart raced, I almost jumped for joy, but decided against it.

We kept walking and the torches came closer, my mother stopped walking, and so did I, I looked at her puzzled for a second before I looked back and realized I had to crane my head back to see the torches and there was a wall only a few feet in from of me.

My mother turned left and followed the wall, which curved around. Soon I could see torches in the distance again, only they were in the ground and seemed to indicate an entrance to something. We came closer, and as I stepped past the first torch, I stepped on a worn road, and we turned to face the gates of Quintulor.