An ancient evil is accidently awakened by a prince. A hundred-year-old prophecy is set into play. Four teenagers set out on a quest to save the world, or die trying. They are destined to revive the dragon way, but can they succeed with a betrayal of royal porportions?
It was a stormy day in the mountains. A light fog covered the palace like a blanket. The sky was a bland grey that blended in with the horizon. Taj'semal stood on the parapet, taking all of this in silently. His dark brown, almost black skin tone made him indistinguishable from the stone wall behind him. Only his sharp eyes betrayed the fact that he was not a statue. As the king's head guard, it was his duty to keep watch on days like this that were perfect for an attack. Of course, there hadn't been any attacks for Allah knows how long, but that fact didn't stop Taj'semal from being prepared.
This morning, it was not a battalion of enemies that caught his attention, but a single, small figure slinking across the courtyard below. The mist almost completely hid them from view, but Taj'semal caught a glimpse of black hair and blazing sapphire eyes. Taj'semal smiled. He knew who it was.
Elana Aleakim slid along the wall, inching closer to the door. She had wanted to do this for a long time, but this was the first opportunity she had to execute her plan. As a Muslim girl, she was not allowed to read and write, but she wanted to learn so badly. Elana was sure that the library was the key.
Finally she reached the door, and it swung inward at her touch without a sound. She slipped inside and looked around. What she saw made her freeze.
The two men in the library were clothed in brightly colored garments, adorned with gold and silver chains. They were rich merchants that had stopped by the library to research some of their trading items in order to ask for a fair price. They looked up when they felt the cool breeze. At first they just stared at the girl who had just walked in. Then, they drew their long, curved swords. This street urchin needed to be taught a lesson about her place- one that she would never forget.
Elana hadn't anticipated this. She had observed the library for weeks, and she learned everybody's comings and goings by heart. These men obviously didn't come here often. A lump formed in the pit of her stomach. That meant they didn't know who she was, and judging by the way they were coming at her, they would probably hurt her.
Could she run? Elana glanced back at the door. If she did that, her father would find out. Instead, she looked around desperately for a weapon, anything she could use to defend herself. The closest thing to a sword she could find was a fire poker. She raced to the fireplace and snatched it up. The poker was heavy, and it dipped to the ground. Taking a firm grip with both hands, Elana raised the point level with her head and positioned herself to fight.
The two merchants stopped to watch this pathetic attempt and then laughed when they realized that this girl was actually going to try to fight them. Perhaps they could have a little fun.
They strode forward, and the taller of the two lazily swung his sword. The girl easily deflected the blow. The other man followed suit, and the waif surprised him as well. The merchants did this multiple times, each time expecting the girl to give in and beg for mercy. When this didn't happen, they grew impatient.
Elana didn't know what she was doing. At first the poker seemed awkward, but soon it felt comfortable in her hands. She swung the poker to defend against the first blow, and it was as if she had done it all her life. As the two men's attack intensified, Elana's defense only strengthened.
The merchants simply could not believe what was happening. This urchin perfectly countered every move they made. With a yell, they split up and circled to opposite sides of the girl. As one they lunged.
Elana saw it coming. She blocked one and spun out of the way of the other. Taking a chance, she struck out and the taller merchant fell to his knees, clutching his stomach and gasping for breath. Turning to face the other one, Elana decided to attack rather than defend. The man soon stumbled backwards, barely keeping up with the frenzy of blows this girl was dealt him. His sword flew out of his hand, and before he knew what was happening, he was flat on his back, swept off his feet by Elana.
Elana stood above the man, her fire poker poised threateningly over his chest. Not that it would do anything, of course. In fact, Elana didn't know what to do next. She wasn't going to hurt him, but what would she do with him? If her father found out... well, she would rather not think about it.
Behind her back, the merchant struggled to his feet. Wheezing slightly, he walked toward the small girl. He raised his sword overhead and snarled, "Now you die!"
Elana spun around, but it was too late. The sword was already dropping. Suddenly, he stopped, the blade only inches from Elana's face.
"Put the sword down slowly," a deep voice commanded. With a sword jabbing him in the side, the tall merchant had no choice. He brought the blade down and let it clatter to the floor. The pressure was removed from his back, and the merchant turned around to stare into the face of Taj'semal.
"Good," the guard said. "Now take your friend and get out." The man scrambled out from under Elana and with a final curse at the demon wielding a fire poker, he ran out after the tall merchant.
Taj'semal turned to face the girl. He had observed the whole battle, and never had he seen so much talent in a person, let alone a ten-year-old girl. He sheathed his sword and stated, "I suppose you have a perfectly good explanation for all of this, Princess."
Elana set down the poker and brushed the long, wavy hair out of her face. She had seen this man before, always with Father, but she had never spoken to him. In her current position, she saw no use to hide the truth. "I wanted to see the library, so I could learn how to read."
Taj'semal stared at her. He was expecting a lot of things, but not this. After a moment, he asked, "Have you told the King you want to read?"
"No," Elana replied. "Surely Father would never approve of this."