Psam of the Elder Dragon

Part 1

Like a great spear lunging at the heart of the lush hills and mighty rivers sprawled out before it, an ice capped mountain which stood above all else for miles around began to spread forth its shadow towards its greatest extent, signaling day's descent. A crisp breeze whipped through the warm spring air, carrying with it the symphony of newborn hatchlings, rustling leaves, and mating calls of the noble Eloka. With the exception of one, separate from its herd and grazing in a small clearing, flanked on all sides by a thick canopy of blooming trees. Hidden by the guise of a bush just a few feet upwind, a pair of eager eyes watches with lethal intent. A young girl, gripping tightly at her halberd and fantasizing at the thought of its flesh in her stomach and its antlers adorned for all to see, she relished her long-awaited opportunity.

"I've got you this time," she murmured proudly to herself, her ankles twitching with excitement. Too loud.

Its head and ears shooting upward from their graze and in her direction, barely a moment had passed before it began to flee in the opposite direction. Her perfect opportunity quickly fading, she gave fervent chase. Though the wind was at her back, her sprint was such that her burgundy black hair, despite being subdued by a white cloth headband tied together to a bow on the right side of her head, whipped at her face and neck. Even so, she could only just keep up with her prey, yet her focus was unceasing. The razor edge of her halberd glistened in the spots of light breaking through the branches racing by above her as it danced just inches from the ground with every stride, her grip on it tight enough to snap it in two. Having lunged over the carcass of a fallen tree, the fleeing Eloka suddenly found itself halted by an unseen valley harboring a small creek just a few feet too many for a confident jump below. Turning its gaze back to her, their eyes met once more as she closed in.

"This is my chance!" She roared as she lunged into the air, her halberd poised to strike as she descended upon the prey that she, in her blind rage, was sure was hers.

As quick as it was there, it had vanished, side stepping her pounce and leaving her helplessly flying past it and into the ravine. All of her rage and intensity could only sink to hopeless shock as she tensed up for the imminent impact. Hitting the water and the creek bed below with a crippling splash, she desperately tried to regain the wind that had been knocked out of her, only worsened by the water that had found its way into her lungs. Her vision still blurred and unable yet to return to her feet, she could only catch a glimpse of the Eloka staring down at her from the creek ridge and then disappearing back into the woods, victorious yet again. Silent, her head turned slowly downcast as she picked herself up and retrieved her halberd which had impaled the creek bed behind her.

The walk home, though at most a couple of miles, seemed to her an endless trek through the many mistakes made that day, most made again in the heat of the moment, and the reality that she would have to face him again having made them. Already she could hear him saying them, and when usually she would plan her defense she had come upon the ridge overlooking the only home she had ever known. There, she could see the fisherman and his son on their jangada passing under the bridge connecting the two sides of Lake Illia, probably heading back to the dock near their house, and the vines which she had watched slowly creep up the grain silo near the town square since she had begun hunting. Like most days, she wished she had more to bring back to her father. For some reason, however, on that day, that familiar sight was enough to bring out a sigh of relief as she began down the trail into town.

© Kandoozi, 2017