The Long Road
The next morning Ellenor rolled up her blanket and got ready to hit the road again. Her experience of the night before faded fast from her memory, like a dream in the light of day. However, as she walked she felt the little hammer sticking into the side of her leg through her jeans. She put her hand into her pocket, pulled out the little charm and looked closely at the tiny Rune, which seemed to glow in a magical way. Ellenor tied the little charm to her wrist with the ribbon from her hair and she felt much safer knowing it was there.
After a brisk few hours of walking Ellenor came to the crossroads. Which way now? She decided to consult the map as to the best route to the Dragon Mountains, so she sat down and unscrewed the cap on the silver parchment case, carefully took out the map and spread it out on the ground before her. It seemed that, after staring at the map for at least 10 minutes, the way was still not completely clear to her. There were two roads leading to the mountains of the North; both coming at the range from opposing directions.
She looked closer at the hills to the left of the mountains and there, in tiny writing printed as clear as day, was the location of the Red Dragon’s cavern. Why hadn’t she noticed it before? She didn’t know for certain but it seemed obvious to her now that she needed to take the harbour road and cut across country just before the road forked off towards the harbour. It looked like one of the longest roads in the Realm but she was now convinced that it was the right way to go.
The journey up the harbour road started off OK but it stretched out endlessly before her. There was nothing to look at round about her, just the road and what seemed miles of flat, treeless grass plains on either side of it. She walked for hours and, as the day wore down, so did her mood. Her feet hurt, her back ached and the road continued to stretch before her. She started to feel like she was on a treadmill, walking and walking but not getting anywhere. She started to feel her chest tightening as the tell tale signs of her asthma started to manifest themselves and she stopped when she realized she was wheezing and struggling for breath.
Ellenor took a puff of her inhaler and then went to sleep at the side of the long road, bundled up in her blanket and snuggled up to her little dragon companion. She hoped that tomorrow she would reach the Dragon Mountains which she could see quite clearly and which seemed almost close enough to touch, but didn’t seem to be getting any nearer. Ellenor felt very vulnerable and exposed out there in the middle of nowhere. It frightened her a great deal but she was a very brave girl and hid under the blanket to feel a little safer like she often did back home under her duvet when she had a nightmare. The day melted into night and Ellenor melted into another dreamless, deep sleep.
The following day was identical to the day before in every way and, as the day wore on, Ellenor started to feel really depressed. In the afternoon she sat down in the middle of the road and cried. The Purple Dragon tried to tickle her to cheer her up but it was no good; she was utterly fed up and doubting her ability to carry on. She looked at the dragon and hiccupped back her tears,
“I’m just not getting anywhere boy. “
Finally, when there were no more tears and she felt a bit sick, she remembered the Rune pouch. When she drew the Rune out and looked at it she was at first rather confused, as there was no Rune on it at all. It was just a plain clay tile, completely blank. She turned it over in her hand and then remembered the Rune Master telling her that there was a blank Rune, Odin’s Rune. Dvalin had told her that Odin left some of the decisions up to the individual and that the Runes could not help her in all situations. Ellenor felt even more despondent when the Runes of Power did nothing to help her, and she stood up and in frustration threw the blank tile as hard and as far as she could.
“Great! That was really helpful.” Then she had a drink of her dwindling water supply and continued walking.
As she walked Ellenor kept her eyes firmly on the Dragon Mountains, willing them to get closer, but as you probably know ‘a watched kettle never boils’ and the future always remains the future. You never feel its transition into the present, just as you never feel the present become the past. So the mountains stayed in the distance and Ellenor stayed depressed.
The Purple Dragon tried very hard to distract Ellenor’s attention and give her something else to concentrate on. He kept flying loop the loop and various other aerobatics to tear Ellenor away from her obsession with their destination, but to no avail. Eventually the little dragon gave up and flew off up the road on his own.
About an hour later he came flying back down the road towards the girl at a great speed. Ellenor just saw the dragon coming before he bashed into her, knocking her completely over. They ended up in one big tangle, girl and dragon on the ground rolling around on the dusty road.
It would have been difficult for anyone had they been passing at that moment to tell where the dragon ended and the girl began, and this appeared to break the dark, gloomy mood hanging over Ellenor’s head. The two friends wrestled together on the desolate road; the dragon tickling the girl with his tail and Ellenor fussing with the little dragon’s tummy as if he were a puppy. Finally after fits of giggling and an aching side from so much laughter Ellenor broke away and stood up, panting and wheezing. As she glanced up she stopped laughing and shielded her eyes against the glare of the sun and strained them to see into the distance. It appeared that someone was coming towards them, a lonely figure walking slowly in their direction.
© 2013 Laura Crean