Brianna smiled as she raced her horse alongside Robert’s. He pointed to a place close by. Brianna directed her horse accordingly. He had been showing her the area for nearly an hour now.
“There is a stream up there,” he shouted over the hooves, pointing to a hill nearby. Brianna made for the hill. She liked racing Robert around. It was a lot better than standing around listening to all the troubles of the world. She smiled contently, all thoughts about the prophecies gone.
Her horse easily ran up the hill. She slowed her mare down as they came upon the stream. She pulled on the reins until her horse stopped, then jumped down. Robert did the same right next to her. He grabbed the reins to her horse and led them over to the stream to drink. Brianna followed him.
“That was wonderful,” she said to him. He smiled over his shoulder.
“It’s rare to find a woman who likes this sort of thing,” he said as he patted the horse. Brianna glanced around as she smiled. Insects of all kinds fluttered or ran past. The grass was so green here. She loved it.
“Where shall we go next?” Brianna asked, hoping to see more.
“There is a beautiful waterfall not far away,” he said. “But, it is kind of close to the enemies’ territory.”
Brianna looked up and saw that he was smiling still.
“If you want to risk it?” he said. Brianna nodded, smiling at his mischievous grin. “Great! Let the horses have their drink and we shall be off!”
She walked over to the shade of a tree. She knelt down and put her hands into the stream. The water was freezing! She lifted it in her hands and splashed her face. She looked up to see Robert smiling at her again as water dripped from her face.
“What?” she asked innocently, laughing. He just shook his head, grinning. She stood and walked back over to the horses. They were grazing now, having taken their fill of cool water. Brianna grabbed the reins to her horse.
“Ready?” he asked her, grabbing the reins to his horse too.
“Yes,” Brianna said, jumping atop her horse. She looked over to see Robert hopping up too. She nodded when he looked at her.
They both thumped their horse with their boots. Both took off at a quick trot. Brianna ran her horse close to Robert’s mare. When he looked over at her, she smiled. He always smiled back. His smile warmed Brianna from the inside, as if her hammering heart felt truly whole.
They rode on in silence. The hooves of their horses echoed in the day. Birds flew overhead. Brianna found that she liked looking over at Robert when he was looking back. A strange thought occurred to her. Robert made her feel whole. He was the one for her.
A minute later, Robert pointed at something in the distance. Brianna looked and saw what appeared to be a waterfall. She grinned with joy. Robert urged his horse into a quicker run. Brianna tried to do the same.
Robert urged his horse forward, gathering as much speed as possible. Brianna saw this as a challenge and pushed her horse to go faster. They were coming closer and closer to the waterfall.
And that was when things went wrong.
Something fell from the sky and collided with Robert and his horse. Robert went flying, having attempted to dive off his horse at the last second. He crashed into the ground, hard.
Brianna pulled her horse to a stop and jumped down. She raced for Robert. Whatever attacked him was more interested in the horse. Robert lay on the ground, feet from her. He wasn’t moving.
The creature devoured the horse in a few quick swallows. When it were finished, it turned its red head towards her. Its beady black eyes watched her as she ran. The horse’s blood dripped from its face. She dove for Robert as the creature took flight into the sky.
Brianna sat down right next to Robert. His shirt was tore and there was blood all over his chest. He was breathing, but unconscious. She looked up, hoping to see where the evil creature went to. She didn’t see it anywhere.
She leaned over and gently shook Robert. His eyes flickered, but did not open. She tried to lift him, but could not. She set to dragging him towards her horse. She had to get him back to the palace. He was loosing so much blood.
A loud crash startled her and made her look up. The creature had landed not far from her. It was now in between her and her horse. She released Robert, hoping that it wouldn’t see her. She lowered herself into a crouch, ready, her hand on the hilt of her sword.
The creature rose it’s long neck up and opened its mouth. It let out a vicious growl that sounded a bit like a woman’s scream. Brianna clamped her hands over her ears. The creature’s large talons extended out of its paws. The large body moved as it started towards her.
Brianna pulled free her sword. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to take on such a fearsome creature, but she didn’t have much of a choice. It was fight or die. She figured that if she lost the fight, Robert would die too. She would do everything in her power to not allow that to happen.
The creature stopped moving. For a moment, Brianna thought that it was going to extend its wings and take flight. Instead, something, or someone, jumped down from its back. A man in all black touched down.
Brianna stepped in front of Robert. She held her sword ready. Whoever decided to attack them would regret it. She wanted it to be the last thing they ever did. Shifting, she was able to look over her shoulder at Robert. He was moving around, like he was waking from a very bad dream. He looked to be drowsy.
“Drop the sword, or else I will have to hurt you,” the man said in an icy voice. Brianna’s hand nearly opened to do as she was told. She held onto it tightly.
She could hear Robert trying to get up. He was in no fit to fight.
“Charisha! Kill the other horse,” the man said to the creature. The creature turned and ripped the horse away from the ground. Brianna gasped at the horrible sight. “Do you like my dragon?”
“Brianna, run!” Robert shouted weakly from behind her.
“Run and I will kill the man,” the man in black said simply.
“Leave him,” Brianna said loudly. She was irritated that her voice shook with emotion.
“I shall,” the man in black said. He rose his hand towards her. Brianna saw a bright light for an instant. Then everything went black in numb pain.
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