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An elf girl tries to stop a dragon attack on her kingdom

“What should we do about these attacks?” the knight said to his co-worker. “I don’t know . . . They’ve only happened in the outskirts of the kingdom so far. Not a lot of people have been hurt yet . . .”

The other knight responded. “Nevertheless, those dragons have to be stopped.” Laiomi, who had been so entranced in the conversation that she had leaned out from her hiding spot behind one of the palace gates, quickly snapped back to behind the gate so she wouldn’t be seen.

The knights wouldn’t want a fifteen-year-old elf girl listening in on their conversation.

The sun was starting to set, and Laiomi figured she should get home (although, she would have liked to snoop on the knights some more).

Sighing, she started down the cobblestone path leading away from the palace. “Dragons . . . Dragons . . . I wonder if they’re going to attack Ailiniae,” Laoimi muttered to herself.

Ailiniae was the kingdom Laiomi lived in. It was beautiful, with tons of nature, and ornately carved buildings around every corner. But Laiomi didn’t live in one of these buildings; she lived in a small cottage with her mother and sister.

As she was walking along the path, immersed in her own thoughts, she heard a loud rustle coming from the forest.

She paused, and looked into the thick foliage, hoping to see the creature that had made the noise.

Instead, she saw a large, looming black shadow stretching across the forest floor. Could it be the shadow of . . . a dragon? Laiomi rubbed her eyes. There couldn’t possibly be a dragon in the forest.

She saw the warm glow of her cottage and quickly hurried to it. She opened the door, and inside were her mother’s and sister’s welcoming faces.

“You were gone so late we were getting worried,” her mother said. “What in the world were you doing?”

“Spying on the knights,” Laiomi said. Laiomi’s sister, whose name was Elinor and who was only ten years old, giggled with delight.

“Oooh, what did they say?” she asked.

She felt her feet moving, walking out of the small cottage and into the stillness of the night.

“They said that the dragon attacks are getting worse, and that they might attack the kingdom.”

“Oh . . . well . . . maybe the Dragon Charmer will come and save us!” Elinor suggested. Legend had it that if dragons were attacking the kingdom of Ailiniae, a brave young man with the power to charm dragons would come and stop them.

“Maybe, dear,” said her mother, although she looked rather worried.

Laiomi sighed. If dragons did attack, their only chance of survival would be the Dragon Charmer coming, however small that chance might be.

Suddenly a sly smile spread across Elinor’s face. Laiomi followed her eyes up to the battered clock that hung on the wall. “Why Elinor, you little rascal! It’s way past your bedtime!” Laughing, her mother said, “Go to bed, Elinor! You need to get enough sleep.” Elinor giggled and jumped onto her small bed.

A few hours later, both Laiomi’s sister and mother were fast asleep. Laiomi gazed out of the open window, from which a cool breeze was making its way into the house.

Laiomi closed her eyes, enjoying the quiet sensation. But this only lasted for a few seconds; a ferocious roar split through the air.

Laiomi’s family didn’t wake up, for they were still very deep in sleep. But the roar still rang through her ears, and it felt as though some invisible force was trying to get her to find the noise’s creator.

She felt her feet moving, walking out of the small cottage and into the stillness of the night. Her thoughts became rather muddled and dazed. Although she didn’t know where this invisible force was taking her, she knew that she had some sort of job to do there.

That thought pounded in her brain just as her heart pounded in her chest. She had a responsibility. The invisible force had told her that much. She just didn’t know what it was yet . . .

Her feet had carried her to the edge of the forest. A sharp pain split through her head, and suddenly her thoughts returned to normal. She let out a small gasp, for she had had no idea what had just happened. Then, out from the dense trees and thickets of bushes came a dragon.

It had shimmering red scales, large orange eyes, and a pair of glittering wings.

It was around two times as tall as Laiomi.

She stumbled backward. Her brain was telling her to run, move, do something, but every inch of her was frozen to the spot.

Then, her pair of hazel eyes met the dragon’s orange ones, and something amazing happened.

*          *          *

It happened slowly. She could feel her soul melding with the dragon’s, as easily as a blacksmith melded gold with silver.

And suddenly, she understood. She understood the attacks, and the dragons, and all of it. And she knew that she could help. The dragon had summoned her there. And it had told her something.

“All this time,” Laiomi whispered to the dragon. “All this time, it hasn’t been you attacking. It’s been us.”

The so-called dragon attacks hadn’t been the dragons attacking the people at all. It had been the people attacking the dragons. Visions of dragons lying injured on the ground flashed through her head. Her stomach twisted with anger and revulsion.

“Please tell me,” Laiomi said to the dragon, “how can I help?”

*          *          *

Minutes later, Laiomi was walking toward the palace, determined and focused.

The dragon flew silently beside her. They got to the palace door, which was flanked by two guards. When the guards saw the dragon, they immediately raised their spears and began to bellow “Dragon!” so that other knights would come to their aid, but Laiomi muttered “Oh, just stop.” And pushed past them. The dragon, who was too big to fit through the door, flew up above the palace so no one could catch it.

The guards and knights probably would have chased after Laiomi, but they were far too preoccupied with the dragon, who was now circling above the West Tower.

Laiomi walked down the polished marble halls until she came to the large throne room doors. She pushed them open, and on the red velvet throne sat the king.

“Do you wish to speak with me?” asked the king.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” answered Laiomi. “You see, I think I have a way to stop the attacks.”

So she told him what she knew; about how the people had been attacking the dragons and this was why the dragons had been hurting the people.

“And how have you gotten this information?” asked the king.

Ode to the Sea
Ode to the Sea

“Well . . . I saw a dragon in the forest last night. In fact, it might kind of . . . be flying around the palace right now. . . . Anyway! Our eyes met, and it just . . . told me. I think that most problems in the world could be solved if we just listened to each other,” she finished.

The king nodded. “Interesting . . . but supposedly the only person who can understand dragons is the Dragon Charmer.”

Laiomi was puzzled. According to legend, the Dragon Charmer would be a man.

Suddenly, the queen swept into the room, her long skirts billowing after her. “I overheard your conversation,” she said, “and I want you to know, girl, that you don’t have to be a man to do amazing things. I believe that you’re the Dragon Charmer. In fact, I just saw the dragon that you were talking about.”

“Well then,” said the king. “If my wife believes it, so do I. I’ll send my knights to stop those attackers. But only if you promise to keep those dragons from attacking any people. Do we have a deal?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

*          *          *

It was late morning when Laiomi walked home from the palace, the dragon flying beside her.

She hoped that her mother and sister weren’t too worried about her. She couldn’t wait to tell them everything that had happened.

She smiled; she thought that everything would be peaceful from here.