#11 // wc: 500
Dravon sees her away with the utmost care. A death dance begins in the dark, the Dragonite waltzing away with the bloody whoosh of the Mega Houndoom that now pursue him. For every craning of their majestic heads split apart by their snarl, time seems to tick a second slower; and he feels in intimate awareness the form of the young girl crouching away towards salvation. The ancient Dragonite now thinks of a child, or perhaps also thinks of his own brother in the space above them. “We are all slaves to something or another,” he thinks for even the briefest of moments as he thinks he also hears her speak of her gratitude to him. The expression is quick, rushed: a breath of air in this whirlwind that might be the end of his life. Still, the Dragonite thanks her mentally for this wish.
The howl of a dog punctures the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Esperanza has begun her escape down the left passage. Cool stone wall embraces her palms. Upon those walls are murals made from the mashed and drained guts of berries from millennia ago. They sing a story to Esperanza, one about the resilience of a community and the ultimate follies of mankind. Who once laid this pathway here? Who wore this trail, which started off rocky in the beginning but gently flowed into a smooth pathway? The rocks crunch silently under her feet, as if honoring the sacred space that lingers nearby. The trail itself goes on for miles; time stretches its odd property as Esperanza continues along, the wail of beasts and the soft spreading of wings long gone.
At the bottom of Death’s Ravine stands a small city.
One could call it that, but one could also call it a barrier: the boundary between this world and another. Yet one also knows of it as a community. The city’s heart beats with the chanting of a proud people within; the smell of cooked food wafts upwards from thatched rooftops, each a labor of love from those who dedicated their lives to living down here. They protected something. A massive fence protrudes from the earth over the city, an outstretched jaw from the skull of the world’s keeper. This fence is made of metal, tree, a little bit of everything and even that of which is not entirely known to man. Is this the city Orhun wanted to enter? This city screams of life and secrecy and devastation.
Before Esperanza can even begin finding out the process of how to enter such a place, a menacing growl ripples out from behind her! There, an undefeated beast of hell looms, its chest puffed and jaw snapped back with snarl. It looks towards her with eyes that are unseeing, unprocessing. A slight twitch racks its body. It is a beast being controlled by the pirates from above, or is it one which simply evaded Orhun’s mighty care? Hesitation lies in its slowed muscles. What will Esperanza do now?