Violent winds engulf Kalera as she hollas for Rome. Barely able to stand, she realizes her companion is nowhere as she suddenly begins to sink yet again.
“Help me! Somebody, help me!” She cries.
Screaming towards nothingness as she continues to descend, she thinks of Xavgon around her neck.
“The words. I can’t remember. What are they? Xavgon, help me!” She begs.
Rubbing her hand across her chest she felt nothing. Then she realizes the chain is not around her neck. The pendulum has vanished. Realizing her plight, she begins to release streams down her face while calling out for Zoran and Musfall.
Nothing. Had Xavgon saved me only to die now? Snow powder begins to twirl faster and faster and it is up to her neck. With oblivion as her thoughts, she decides to pray.
“Heavenly Father, forgive me of all my wrongs. If this is to be my last act, I only ask that you protect my friends and Rome from a similar faith. Amen.” She prays.
Shivering and teeth chatter sounds as she takes a deep breath before the powder covers her mouth. Closing her eyes then…
Kalera is being pulled with a force of a thousand men from the grip of night. Taking a breath, she realizes she is on solid ground. Then her eyes close as her faces lighten. The man who pulled her from the quagmire begins to pound on her chest.
“No. No. Wake up! Don’t die!” He screams as he pounds harder and harder.
“Wake up!” He yells yet again.
Miraculously her chest begins to fill as a ballon. Filling again but this time releasing. Wasting no time, he lifts her from the ground onto a wooden plank hitched to two cold black meres. The man covers her in think pelts and then quickly elevates himself upon the bench, striking the meres to move across the snow as it is a blanket.
Turning her head left then right, her senses begin to awaken. The smell of pine and lavender fills the air as she feels blazing heat while easing her eyes open. Giggles rang out as she sees a blur of two children running. Looking down to see thick black animal pelts covering her body she quickly removes them to find her body as if she had just been born.
“Mother, Father the stranger is awake!” The children announce.
Hiddard and Molly make their way towards the woman he saved.
Kalera tries to stand as a familiar woman breaks her fall.
“There. You should have your balance now.” She says.
Tears well up in Kalera’s eyes as her skin begins to tingle as she wraps her arms around the woman and holding on for dear life.
“Molly! Oh my God, Molly! How are you here?” She cries.
Molly snatches herself away from Kalera.
“This is my husband, Hiddard Larks of Toan, and these are our children Sundo and Celest. I am unsure how I am familiar to you MIss but you are not familiar to me.” Molly announces.
“I found you as our caravan took a turn along Lords Road. I almost lost you.” Hiddard interrupts.
“The children are the ones who saw you originally for their eyes are much better than ours.” Molly clarifies.
Kalera does not know which is worse, nearly dying or waking to find she has been saved by a friend who knows her not. Molly takes Kalera’s hand leading her to a large black tent. Inside is a long white dress she gifts Kalera to wear. Molly places another pelt over Kalera once she dresses assuring her the dress would not be enough to keep the frost from sticking.
“I hope my wife is taking care of you.” He states.
“She is.” Kalera replies staring into the face of Molly.
He motions for her to sit down as he removes a book from a small chest.
“This book belonged to my father and his father before him. And I have read it many times. Never though have I seen it come to life as it has now with you.” He states.
Kalera can not understand what he means, but his face is serious as he sits down in front of her. Hiddard turns a few pages until he finds the one he is looking for then hands the book to Kalera. Looking down upon the pages, she sees a familiar symbol. The one on her neck. Do you know me? He stands, taking the book from Kalera’s hands, and answers.
“No. But there is only one house bearing the symbol of the dragon. That house was from an ancient clan that went extinct many moons ago. The Dawns.” He utters.
Molly interrupts her husband reminding him that the stranger is just a regular woman. Reminding him that there are no dragons and that dragons have been gone for hundreds of moons now, and that the realm falls under the rule of Ager.
With swelling in her eyes, Molly scorns Hiddard. If it gets out that you believe you have a Dawn, we will be killed. Our children will be slain. You know this. Do not send us down this path. I can’t allow it. I will not allow it.
He grabs Molly by her face trying to calm her. Reminding her of the oath she took as a Bram. As a Bram he would never stop searching for the true leader of the realm. Kalera stands to her feet making her way towards Molly as she strikes her husband across his face.
“Molly, calm yourself. How do you not know me? You were once the keeper of Xavgon.” Kalera cries.
Wiping tears from her eyes. I have never seen you before in my life. None of us have ever seen you. Now because you are here my family is in great peril. Kalera could not understand, but one thing was certain, somehow she was in Zaylen, home.
“Sir.” Kalera calls out.
“I am not a sir, but a Lord. I am number two in the Outlands.” Hiddard corrects.
“How far are we from Ta’l?” Kalera asks.
“A long way. If you are who I believe you are, you must come with me to Bram.” He answers.
“What about Mason? You must answer to the King. We can’t just change course no matter how much we hate him.” Molly cries.
“If Ager is in Mason, then there is where I must go.” Kalera interrupts.
“Fetch me a condor, I must send word to Lord Donegal.” Hiddard demands of Molly, as she stomps out of the tent.
He sits at a small wooden table penning on parchment paper as Kalera exits the tent to go after Molly. She finds her at a cage where she is holding a large buzzard. It looks like a California condor. Molly bumps Kalera then storms off toward the tent. Hiddard exits with a rolled-up piece of paper he places in the condor’s talons and it flies off.
Molly locks a gaze of death into her husband’s eyes as she explains her plan. She knows that all in their caravan are not loyal to Lord Hiddard or Brams. She knows scorpions are among them. As any dangerous creature, they will send word to Ager. So she proposes that she takes Kalera to Bram, and that Hiddard makes his way to Mason to meet with the King.
Such a proposal is not met with grace by her Hiddard, so he whisked them both back into the tent.
“If you are right, then why would I let you go alone? It is too dangerous.” He barks.
“If she is a Dawn then she can protect me.” Molly barks back.
“Stop speaking of me as if I am not here. I must stand before Ager, not go to this Bram you speak of.” Kalera orders.
Hiddard reaches into an inner pocket of his cloak removing a golden chain.
“I believe this belongs to you.” He says.
Kalera could not believe her eyes. It was Xavgon.
“If you go to Ager now he will kill you. Stand before him with an army at your back. Bram is where you should go. Trust me. Hiddard declares.
He removes his sword from its scabbard and hands it to Kalera.
“Can you swing a sword my Dawn?” He asks.
“I can if I must. Please call me Kalera.” She assures him.
Kalera looks to Molly as she ponders the Lord’s words.
All she wanted was to find Gros Cave to make it back to Zaylen. Now she has. Taking Xavgon in her hands she whispers, “Cazuel.” Nothing. “Cazuel.” Nothing again.
“What is happening?” She thinks to herself.
Lord Hiddard reluctantly agrees to Molly taking Kalera to Bram.
“I will go.” Kalera decides.
What does she have to lose? Xavgon is silent, she is powerless, and has no ability to change him into her glorious dragon.
Hiddard summons two squires to fetch two good meres and load them with food and supplies. As they do, Molly says her goodbyes to Sundo and Celest who cries as they do not want her to leave.
“Protect your father.” She commands.
Hiddard and the children watch as Kalera and Molly mount the beautiful animals and ride off into the white blankets of dusk.