Ashenvale could not have been more beautiful on this summer afternoon. Swiftwing was hiking with both of his children on one of the highest ridges in the forest over looking most of the tall treetops.
Five-year-old (human equivalent) Allarah stood at the edge of the protruding ridge and breathed in deeply the fresh forest air. Her long hair fluttered with the breeze along with some of the leaves that helped make up her dully-colored clothing. Gustawind, with his feet dangling over edge, laid back to look at the clouds. His birthday was only a couple days away and his father thought it would be nice to spend it camping at the top of the world and closer to their mother, Anat Shinefeather, whom had only passed away just a year and some days ago. His bow was undone and rapped in cloth beside him, he also had a small little satchel strapped to his belt like his father and his hide clothing was very similar to what his father had worn at his age. Shadow laid quietly curled up on a rock up against the safety of the mountain face and in the shade of a small tree. Swift had, on his way up, gathered small branches and bark and got a small campfire going. He lay up against the same rock that Shadow rested on, watching the fire heat up enough to cook the three rabbits his son had caught for supper earlier on. It was a lazy day.
“So how do you two want your rabbit?” Swift smiled as he sat up and shifted the fire around with a stick.
“Well done, for sure dad.” Allarah said as she spread her arms out as an updraft came up the side of a mountain.
“I’ll have to same father.” Guss said as he watched his sister to make sure she did not fall.
Swift placed the three skinned rabbits over the fire, fanning it. The warm heat of the fire grew slowly against Swift’s face along with a hint of dread. For a moment he was confused and put the feeling out of his head but then it grew stronger. Something just didn’t feel right and at that moment Shadow lifted his head from his paws. Swift began to grow very tense and drew his bow; Shadow stepped down from the rock and came up beside his master. Allarah looked back at her father and suddenly became worried.
“What’s wrong daddy?” Allarah asked. Guss looked back and asked the same thing. But as he did the young elf sat up and instinctively began to fix his bow.
“Shh.” Swift quieted them. “I’m not sure. But something is out of place.”
Allarah, knowing her father well, began to look around for anything and everything that could be wrong. Then her ears drooped and a loud gasp escaped her lips as her eyes crossed the rocks and bushes above the ridge. Swift quickly turned and camouflaged with the mountain, spying his children, almost unnoticeably creeping closer was a 40foot long dragon. Its body was covered in different ferns and moss. Its spines, tail and its wings wear strangely shaped like forms of trees and rock.
Swift knew he had no chance of fighting the monster alone with his children, especially so unprepared for battle. So he did the only thing he could do. Swift ran hard and fast towards his children, firing a distracting shot across the dragon’s brow as it lunged with a roar. With a powerful leap Swift had grabbed both of his kids, pulling them over the edge of the mountain in his arms just as the dragon hit the grassy terrace behind him and the roar of hot fiery breath blew over his back, lighting his leather on fire. Allarah and Guss both screamed in terror as they all plummeted into the high canopy where the dragon could not use its wings and quickly withdrew its attack.
“Take care of your sister!” Swift yelled as he turned their fall into a spin, launching the two of them into near by trees and quickly, accurately firing two arrows in one shot at the both of them. Swift grasped and clung and reached for anything and everything he could to slow himself down, hearing his ribs crack as he began striking branches and trunks of trees all the way down until he finally folded around a tree limb at his waist with only a few meters left from the ground. His back hissed from the snuffed fire, his ribs were broken, his vision was blurred and a mixture of blood and spit drooled from the corner of his mouth, but he was alive and immediately fell unconscious.
Much higher up, Guss and Allarah were both pinned to the trunks of tall oaks. The arrows their father fired passed straight through their clothes without touching them and in area’s where the stitching was strongest. It took them almost a half hour before they were able to finally get down and search for their father, which was not very hard considering the number of broken branches. Allarah’s tears lined her face as Guss tugged his father’s legs to get him down from the high branch. Finally it gave way and Swift’s limp body dropped to the forest floor with a thud, amazingly still clutching his bow. “Is he dead?” Allarah whimpered. Guss pressed his head against his father’s chest and could faintly hear a heart beat. “He is alive, but only just barely. We need to get him to a priest.”
“How can we carry him? He is too heavy for us both.” Allarah said as she began to take off the burned leather and using the cloth that was around Guss’s bow to rap the wounds.
“I think I have an idea. Gather as many branches as you can.” Guss and Allarah begin picking up all the branches around their father’s body and then Guss looks in Swift’s satchel for some rope. He begins to strap all the branches together side by side to make a wooden stretcher. “Help me roll him on. We can pull him. Hurry before the dragon finds us.”
The idea was great but so was the weight of their father compared to their strength and the both of them struggled. Pulling him only a mere 15ft before stopping.
“It’s hopeless. He is too heavy. We can’t do it alone.” Allarah cried as she dropped to her knees and wiped the dried blood from her father’s lips.
“We have to. We can’t leave him here like th…” Suddenly Gustawind hushed and could hear something coming their way and quickly drew his bow. His sister cowered as she rapped her arms around her father, trying to protect him and her at the same time. Guss readied his bow as sweat trickled down his brow. Then from around a tree Shadow steps into the open. Both the children rejoice and rap their arms around him. It had taken a while but Shadow finally made it to the kids. Shadow looks at Swift and licks his face, worried.
“Yeah, he is in bad shape and we need to get him back to town. We are going to need your help Shadow.” Guss says as he looks down at his father and rubs the large panther’s black fur coat. And almost reading their minds Shadow grabs a hold of the ropes that the to children were pulling. “Elune praise you Shadow.” Guss smiles.
Allarah then climbs up onto Shadow’s back as she normally does and rides him like one of the large cats that her elders ride. Gustawind walks next to them and keeps an eye out for the Ashenvale Dragon till they finally make it back to town for help.