Embers: Chapter 1

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I hopped off of Hiccup, slightly sore from our three hour ride through the air. I pulled some leaves out of his magnificent golden mane, and he folded his wings in. "Good boy. Just... go catch yourself a deer or something. You look hungry." The humongous lion purred, pulled out his wings again, and took flight in search of some dinner.
"Now, Augustus, I expect this place to be as clean as we left it when we return, okay? If you could light a few candles, that would be nice. It will be very dark when we come back. There is a pond just to the right of the tent, so if you want to tell Apaak to catch you some fish..." I sighed inwardly as I watched Hanni give her cat, Augustus Fledgehorn, housekeeping directions. "And if you could make your bed, that would be nice too. The blankets are over there..."
"We need to get going. It's a long walk to this place, and I want to get some sleep tonight." Asher handed a backpack full of snacks and water to Harrison. "So let's just go there, get back, and get to bed; assuming that Hanni's cat hasn't destroyed the tent."
"Oh, no, Augustus would never do that. He's a good housekeeper. He even offered to do the dishes." Hanni's crazy personality matched her image fairly well: she had long, wavy blonde hair that went down to her waste and was tinted with pink at the ends, and her pale, almost ghostly blue eyes wandered everywhere. She was probably one of the skinniest people I'd ever met, and her wardrobe consisted of shirts that said things like, "Save the Sabertooth Ostrich!". And it's for reasons like that that I ask myself why we brought her on this journey with us, but then I remember that she was the smartest person in the group, and her Sorcery skills were far better than any other person's I'd seen.
"Are we ready to go?" Asher looked at me with her piercing green eyes. "You looked kind of lost for a minute there, Nathan."
"Oh. Right. I'm good." I answered her. She nodded, and we started off through the woods. Asher led the group, her little lantern lighting up our path. Harrison, Hanni, and I all looked around us cautiously as we delved deeper into the forest.
"So, what exactly are we looking for?" I whispered to Harrison.
"Some old graveyard that no one's been to in ages."
"We're looking for the graves of Sophia and Variannna Lovelock. I think there might be a diary somewhere around there." Hanni answered us from behind.
"Oh, so we're going there to find out what happened when a girl and her friends played truth or dare? How exciting." Harrison groaned.
"Don't make me whack you with this lantern, Harrison." Asher glared back at us, which was enough to shut us up. She tucked a strand of her fire-red hair behind her ear. "Sophia's diary is supposed to hold the secret of what Nathan is supposed to do to save the world."
"That would be kind of helpful," I added. Ever since I had figured out that I had some legendary powers, everything had started falling into place. I was supposed to save the world and rebuild the boundaries between the Paridian Empire, which was where the mortals lived, and Serpentine, the magical, fantastical land that I now lived in. Unfortunately, things hadn't gone so fantastically for me. I'd gotten into a fight on the first day of school, accidentally named my lion Hiccup, and to top it all off, at least twenty different people were out to kill me, as well as the whole Paridian Empire.
"Nathan, I asked you a question." Asher glanced back at me. "Can you feel if we're getting any closer to the grave?"
I shook my head. "Nothing. Maybe Varianna's grave isn't even here. Maybe she's somewhere-" I stopped mid-sentence as I heard the rustling of leaves and footsteps behind me. Asher, Harrison, and I whirled around to see Hanni standing over a strange, darkly clothed man. His shoulder was smoking, and Hanni shot another purple light from her fingertips, the man crying out as the magic shocked his right arm.
"Who are you?" Asher whipped out her knife, its curved blade shining threateningly in the lamplight. The man didn't answer, but smiled eerily. I looked behind me to see five other people, dressed in black just like our victim, running at us. Harrison immediately began dueling with one, and lights of every color of spell began shooting everywhere. Asher didn't hesitate to pull out a few throwing knives, which she accurately aimed at an attacker. One man came at me with a humongous sword, and I instinctively fought back with magic. And that's where it went wrong.
I shifted my stance and summoned up my strength, pulling up the earth telepathically from beneath him. I glanced at a puddle of water nearby, and the water morphed into the shape of a knife, lashing at my enemy and slicing through his arm. Another attacker glanced over at me and shouted excitedly, "It's him! He's the one the Empire's looking for!"
The person I had just attacked whipped his sword out at me, and the tip of the blade presses lightly against my throat. I tried to smile a bit. "Well, it looks like we've reached a dilemma."





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