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*Preface*

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Wrapped tightly in layers of worn fabric, a woman ran swiftly through the woods. She wove around the scattered bushes and assorted trees as if she had ran along this path a thousand times. Soft beams of moonlight cast themselves at her, revealing a bundle in her pale arms. The woman would glance behind her every so often but without stopping to even catch her breath. She moved silently in the forest- the only sound being the occasional snapping of a twig under her quiet feet. The woman exhaled quick puffs of warm breath that floated into the dark, summer sky above her, twinkling with stars. Then she heard a large branch snap. She inhaled sharply. The branch must have been too large for a forest creature, or her, to snap. Someone- something- was following her. Yet she didn’t stop.


Her hurried pace became faster and her arms visibly grasped the bundle more tightly, as if she didn’t want to let it go. And although she ran faster, as fast as she possibly could, she was no match for her follower. The woman was shivering, despite the warm temperature, and she prayed silently in her head that she was wrong about what she thought was following them. But she knew she was right when the beat of heavy wings sounded from behind, accelerating as quickly as her heart rate. Tears sprung from her determined eyes as she ran faster and faster. Hoping. Praying. Wishing.
The creature flew over her and blocked the moon from her view. The woman knew any effort against it would be futile but she couldn’t allow her child to perish as well. So she didn’t stop and this was her mistake. The winged- beast quickly zeroed in on her moving form with its bright eyes and swept down upon her. It sliced through the air with long talons as an attempt to capture her, yet only tearing the thin fabric of her clothes and creating long scratches on her arms. Snorting, the creature rapidly grasped her with two claws this time and began rising while stirring the forest debris on the earth’s surface. In its haste, the animal hadn’t noticed the bundle on the ground and as the two elevated, the desperate mother threw a small object down at the child without the beast noticing. She glanced back at her other daughter with tear- filled eyes and inwardly sobbed as the dragon soared into the night sky, clutching its prize.



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