Heror just shrugged. Dragon whisperer? He and the dragon shared confused looks, and then Heror looked back at Claire.
"Dragon whisperer?... what's that?" He'd never heard that phrase before. He just thought it was the dragon doing the talking and he'd only tamed it.
"There's...an ancient practice of dragon taming. It's only achieved by those gifted with the ability to speak with dragons and the taiming is activated when the whisperer gets on the dragon's back. There hasn't been a known dragon whisperer for hundreds of years..." Claire explained slowly.
Heror frowned and hopped onto the dragon. Dragon whisperer? Ancient practice? At the moment, Heror wasn't going to bother with something like that. His main goal was getting Claire out of the city and to safety, not to gawk at his new ancient power.
"Come on," he said to Claire. "He doesn't bite."
The dragon scooched a little bit away from Claire and made a whimpering sound, unsure of the stranger girl that Heror had brought back.
"Oh, come on!" He laughed at his dragon. "She doesn't bite either. At least I hope not."
Claire smiled and gave a slight bow to the dragon. "I promise you could do a lot more damage to me than I ever could to you." Hesitantly, she approached.
The dragon let out a small growl and said to Heror: she can't talk to me. Heror just smiled and glanced back at Claire.
"He's just a little shy of strangers," he said, patting the dragon's back. "Just don't make him mad."
He looked up at the dark, cloudy sky, and looked back down at Claire.
"You ready?" He asked.
Claire climbed up on the dragon's back, wrapping her arms around Heror's waist. "I hold respect for dragons. I wouldn't dream of making him angry."
"He says that's good," Heror said after listening to the dragon's comment. He looked up, then took a deep shaky breath. "Hope you didn't eat anything recently."
And then the dragon took off with incredible speed, rocketing into the sky. Heror tried to steady him out, but the dragon was so thrilled to be flying again that it was going as fast as it could.
Heror shouted for the dragon to slow down and it did. Arrows whizzed by, but none hit Heror or Claire, and those that hit the dragon had almost no effect. In little time, the dragon soared over the gate and into the neighboring highlands. Heror surveyed the natural landscape until he saw a cave not too far away. He muttered a "hold on" to Claire before the dragon dove to the cave and landed at the entrance. Heror glanced back at Claire, tossing a curl of hair out of his eye.
"That wasn't so bad, was it?"
Claire giggled, a smile on her face. "That was amazing!" It had been a little scary, but the thrill of the ride and getting away from Galvas made it all worth it. She pat the dragon's side. "Does he have a name?" She questioned, looking at Heror.
Heror asked the dragon, but the beast told Heror not to say.
"He says no," Heror half-lied, sliding off the animal. He landed on the ground and held out his hands. "Need help getting down? It's a longer drop than it looks."
The dragon glanced back at Heror and groaned a little bit.
"No, I'm not saying you're fat," Heror muttered to the dragon.
Claire sighed, accepting Heror's help. She pulled her ring out and took it off the chain, putting it on. Her magic grew a bit stronger and she sighed happily at the good feeling that gave. It also gave her a very slight touch of dragon whisperer, although no magic could really copy a real dragon whisperer like Heror. The effect of the magic was just to make dragons like whoever wore the ring.
She pulled her hood down and brushed her hair out of her face. "So what's the plan? Where are we going?"
Heror helped her down and stood by as the dragon entered the cave first.
"We need to lay low for tonight," he said. "In the morning, I'll take you to Halquest. It's a small town a little ways west of here. An old friend of mine runs his own group of militia there. You'll be safe there."
He started to enter the cave, then looked back a Claire.
"But getting you to a safe place is only the first step," he said. "We can't let Galvas remain in power. And since he's already executed everyone loyal to you except for me, that will be a challenging thing to do."
Claire looked away pain flashing across her features. She had lost everything dear to her. And now he was telling her that they were alone. She closed her eyes and fought back tears. "It'd probably be good to provide both of us with swords..." She mumbled.
"I only managed to swipe one from a dead guard," Heror said. "Here. You can take it for now."
Heror handed her the sword and studied the features of the cave. It seemed to dip down a little in the back, but the dragon had already occupied that spot. The interior was much like a large dome, about fifteen yards across in each direction. Heror nodded in the dark, and turned to Claire.
"I'll go get some sticks to start a fire," he said. "You can stay or come with me, but we need to be quiet."
Claire frowned. "You're giving me the only sword? The princess? The girl who hasn't had to fight a day in her life?" She shook her head, giving it back. "I just need one eventually, to defend myself to the best of my ability in the event of that becoming necessary. And I think it'd be best for me to stay here."
"But I've been trained to defend myself without a sword," Heror said, but he decided not to argue. "Fine. I'll be back soon. I trust you to stay quiet and undetectable."
Heror then left the cave and searched for large sticks to light a fire with. It looked like a storm was nearing the area, so he had to hurry before the rain dampened all the wood.
Claire sat near the mouth of the cave, sighing and closing her eyes. She needed to rest. She hadn't slept since her capture. She was exhausted. Sure enough, within a few minutes, she dozed off.
Heror came back about fifteen minutes later. He'd gotten a substantial supply of firewood before the rain started coming down. There was something peaceful about rain to Heror. He didn't know why, though.
The cave was dark when Heror got back. Night was falling, and the clouds overhead didn't exactly prove to be reliable lighting sources. Heror quietly set down the firewood and started a spark to light it. He'd practiced this often when he'd patrol the countryside, and he'd gotten quite good at it. He smiled at the quick progress of his work and huddled up by the fire.
Claire stirred, mumbling nonsense when thunder sounded in the distance. She opened her eyes. "You're back..." She mumbled, shifting and wincing at the fact she was already sore from the hard stone. "Did you get enough wood?"
"Seems like it," Heror said, warming his hands. He suddenly heard a spout of gibberish in his head and smiled. "Apparently dragons talk in their sleep, too."
He turned to glance at Claire, then back at the sparks churning up from the fire.
"You look like you had a nice nap," He muttered with a smile, aware of the uncomfortable surface.
Claire shifted and crawled closer to the fire, sitting by Heror. "Not really." She mumbled. "Feels like I've woken up by the time i got to sleep." She yawned. "I don't think I've gotten your name. The least you could do is tell me yours, since you won't tell me his." She gave a slight nod toward the dragon. She knew all dragons had a name. Even if they wouldn't share it.