“Of course this must be pretty old and a very important commander”. She thinks. The walls are beautifully adorned with white wallpaper, decorated with little red flowers and green branches calls her attention. Azeviche notices a bookshelf ,her hand clasp her mouth like it was about to fall from her face. She opens her arms to greet so many colorful books. Thin little fingers touch the spine of the books in a gentle caress. the bookshelf receives a long embrace like an old friend she hasn't seen in a long time. Closed eyes and lips with a smile,makes an expression of delight as everyone watches her incredible inspection of the room. At one of the walls, standing there like a cross in its wooden box with a protective glass door in it, is a shiny sword. Like a memory from old battles. Finally, a delicious smell of food emanating from the next room makes her stomach growls and she realizes that everyone is looking at her. “ This place is beautiful. Is a palace, and you have books,lots of books. Shelves and shelves of colorful books” She spin in the room with arms open.
“ I believe that we should have dinner before the food gets cold.” Ronna leads them all to the table. This house really looked like it never had a child around,but the vivacity of Jet suddenly changed it all, bringing new life to these cold and ancient walls. Everyone sits at the table that has been set as if it were a beautiful Christmas Eve. Marcus, Ronna, and Agnes felt the presence of a feeling that perhaps never graced them with its presence. Long dark and bloody battles fill the memories of all who resides in Muddy Peaks for all adults have fought in the war.
Each moment of joy must undoubtedly be savored as the rarest wine.The table was beautifully decorated with red cloth napkins. Silverware is made to use in special occasions like this one. But most important of all seem that the table was full of food. The smell of delicious food filled the air. At the center of the table a large turkey was sitting on a silver platter, surrounded by baked potatoes and adorned with broccoli branches. A huge platter of rice mixed with peas was still smoking hot, yellow corn cobbles in a circle around mashed potatoes and a huge pitcher of pineapple juice promised to sweeten the mouths of the hungry residents of this house. Marcus takes the jug of juice and generously fills a glass and passes to Jet, she handles the cup carefully with two hands taking care not to spill a single drop of it. Ronna takes Azechive´s plate and serves it with the turkey and potatoes. Azeviche rubs her hands, this time not get them warn but because the food looks so tasty. Marcus raises his glass.
"A toast to the new resident of Muddy Peaks." He says amidst a smile. A gentle voice interrupts Marcus saying quietly.
“Can I say grace? Please? Azeviche asks.
"Ah! but, of course, it seems the most appropriate thing to do.” Agnes agree.
“We all forgot to wash our hands today, young lady. Yeah, ha, ha. She laughs. But we will let it slide just for today. “ Go ahead,” says Ronna .
“ Here, let me have your hands”. Says Azeviche grabbing hold of Ronna and Agne ́s hands. Marcus sitting at the other side of the table do the same.She closes her eyes to concentrate and starts her prayer.
”May the spirit of the Mighty Oluf lay his eyes upon this house tonight. Bless this table and us with your holy presence. Amem.
“Oluf ?” Marcus asks.
“No!” she answers back to Marcus, finger pointing to the sky, her face frown in a serious expression.
“Protector of all orphans”. Azeviche explains to Marcus that looks at them all quite astonished.
“Marcus, she thinks that Oluf is —” But Ronna is interrupted.
“No!!! Ronna, please. We will explain this to Azeviche in the proper time.”
“ So Is Oluf protector of the orphans as in the books?” Agnes asks the little girl.
With a potato still in her mouth and another in the tip of the fork, Azeviche points the fork with the potato to Agnes and tells Ronna.
"But this ish the kind of girl to hafe around on danferous occafions.” She says chewing the potato. “ I like you Agnes. I see you are one of us, aren't you?”
“ What? One of us?” Agnes asks. “What do you mean?” Marcus asks her too.
Azeviche makes a gesture that tells them all to wait, her mouth is now full of turkey.
“ well. I ́m always ready to recognize a fellow orphan”. She says with startled eyes.” Agnes looks to Azeviche thinking that she was in fact a very special, a very perceptive kind of child. “
“My dear, how can you tell that I'm one of the Orphans?”She asked with curiosity. They all really were delighted with the gentle and stripped-down way of the girl.
“From the looks of it, you know the Oluf Chronicles, and all of us orphans know this story by heart, because we've been told at the orphanage since we were very, ..very young. Biting on another piece of turkey Azeviches is pointing her pinky finger to Agnes..”My tummy says that the expert that made this Turkey deserves congratulations.'' she points out.
“Oh!!! Wonderful. '' Ronna smiles so full of herself. “That would be me”.
Everyone dines in silence for a moment and Marcus avoid telling Ronna that about one hour ago Azeviche fainted from fatigue at the train station and was behaving in the most exquisite way. Why spoil such a happy moment, he thinks.” There will be time enough to discuss such matters and all its details with Ronna tomorrow. Agnes suddenly finds herself surrounded by ancient memories, she was indeed an orphan girl, just as this one, that now shares the dinner table with them. She did went through difficult times in the past”. She thinks. Days of struggle and hunger, but also of glory in the battles. Finding a friendly friendly hand, as now they were extending to this young lad was very hard to find in those days.
Images of the past revolve in a whirlwind through the head of the 60-year-old woman. She has suffered the trauma of battles, is true, but she wouldn't change a thing;this is what built her character. Somehow when she looks at Jet, she sees a reflection of herself, when she joined the battalions to fight against the Draconites years ago.The sensitivity of Jet has touched Agnes in her very soul,captivating her heart. she tries to contain a rush of curiosity but can't hold it back. "
“It's very perceptive of you to notice this. That I was an orphan.” She says.
“ Even though, one that saw older battles, I believe we must have experienced similar difficulties, don't we, my dear?" Agnes touches her lips holding a tear.
She them takes a sip of juice, trying to swallow bitter memories. "Yeah, maybe we all have the same glow in our eyes."Complete Agnes. Putting the silverware to rest on the table and looking at everyone while still frantically chewing and trying to swallow everything quickly; To talk “more” of course. Azeviche cleans her lips with her red cloth napkin and with hands on her head and exclaims, " But this is incredible!!! Don't tell me that you also killed Dragons in your time of battles?"Agnes tries to talk, but Azeviche is too excited. It doesn't even look like she had a weird episode hours ago. With her full energy restored by the hot delicious meal, she talks without a stop. "Of course,... it makes sense.” she says slowly.”
“They sent me to live with heroes.”She talks. Interlaced fingers like in a prayer, hands near her chest.
" Of course...is Clear now. She drinks a little bit of juice to get back some moisture in her throat.
“It makes perfect sense. They've chosen a home with people like me, who've killed Dragons before." She moves her hands in the air now talking and talking frantically.
Ronna and Marcus with bulged eyes like sunflowers, staring at each other , ask at the same time.
"...Who killed Dragons? "Agnes clean her chin from the dripping juice she had just spilled, trying not to choke after what she just heard.
” Good lord!” Ronna says touching Marcus arm.
“You killed a Dragon?” With eyes squashed and surprised with everybody ́s reaction, Azeviche holds the empty plate in front of Ronna expecting her to fill it with another slice of turkey, broccoli and wishing very hard for more potatoes. She loves potatoes. While waiting to be served, Jet tries to calm them down and explain.
"Yes!...Well not as you are thinking. It was accidental.”
“ I know I misbehaved,like…” She coffs.
“ Like I usually do. But after all, I was trying to save my colleagues.” she finishes the sentence in a somber tone.” Moving her hands like a child do when explaining important things to grown ups.
“ You don't really want to hear this.” she says taking back a full plate. She smiles when she sees the potatoes e start to chew on one of them.
“ We want to hear everything about it”. Ronna touches Azeviche ́s arm and she understood that she would not rebuke her. They would not scold her, they wanted to listen to what she had to say. It was their intent to know her better, to know more about her past so they could help her build a better future. If there was something that afflicted her in any way they would help in the best way possible ;after all that is what they were now the parents of Azeviche Jet. They look closely as she clears her mouth and takes another sip of juice and prepares to tell how she killed a Dragon.She clean her throat.
“A cargo ship brought me and my colleagues to the main island at night. We were sent to the “central triage center” to be relocated to our new parents. We were all very happy to have found new homes. But at the same time sad, with the prospect of no longer meeting our dear colleagues again.”
“We're all like brothers, you know.”she tries to make a point.
“Well, most of them are. We would spend the night in the triage center which is a big old building, which is like a big orphanage. The place is full with children and staff people. We and our rucksacks would spend the night in this large room full of beds and then during the morning, aboard other ships that would take us to the proper Island where we would then go by train to our new homes. I couldn't sleep. It was a lot of excitement. We were being moved back and forth. So while the others were sleeping I got up and went to find the library. Every triage center has a library. Yes, sir, they always have one. I love books ,they are my friends. I loveém just like I love potatoes. I can't live without them. I would do anything for them beautiful books. They tell beautiful stories of beautiful places that no longer exist.” She takes some time to catch her breath. While I was looking for a book with an interesting story, I found one that appealed to me and sat in the floor to read it using the lamp.. Right there ,sitting on the floor, I fell asleep. A loud bang woke me up; there was a siren sounding like the trumpet of the book of apocalypse; Desperate children were screaming, desperately running for their lives. Injured adults screaming- “. To the basement, run to the basement find some shelter.” With the book I was reading still in my hands, I ran back to the room to seem what was going on. But as I got in the middle of the hallway, I saw several children running towards me, blood all over them, they were injured. My friend Billy tried to pull me by the arm and take me to the bunker in the basement, but a strange curiosity took me. I had to go there and see what was going on. When I opened the bedroom door, half of it was gone. Like a birthday cake that took a bite the wall of the room was no longer there, I could see the sky from where I was standing and far away a dragon preparing to dive in our direction and perhaps destroy the building. I saw my rucksack and ran to get my stuff. Harriet and laura two dear friends of mine showed up at the bedroom door to pick me up, Billy came back too. But there was this loud bang and the floor scaped from our feets. we were all thrown to the ground.It was a huge red Dragon throwing itself toward the walls of the building to overthrow it. The whole room collapsed. almost nothing else in the building was standing. the Dragon used his mouth to throw a metallic cylinder in our direction to crush us. We hid behind a piece of wall that was still standing.
That was what momentarily saved us, but a man who was hiding in the rubble ran out to escape the Dragon, shouting - " Run save your lives. My friend Laura was terrified and went after him. I tried to hold her but it was too late, the dragon filled its chest and spit fire with all his might at them. They contrived to run with their bodys on fire for another five paces till they fell there lifeless. Harriet covered her ears desperate with the roar of the animal. And Billy was trying to calm her down, I didn't know what to do. I stood there curled up behind that piece of Wall. Harriet went crazy with that chaos, even though Billy tried to hold her tight, she left the barrier. The dragon caught her with his mouth. I saw what he did and trying to save my friend, I threw a large stone in his eye. That nasty yellow eye. He cried out in pain and flew away with Harriet in his mouth. The rock didn't helped at all only made him mad. So he went up to the heavens and snatched her up. He went up higher and higher preparing to throw himself on me and Billy when on its way down. That's when Billy said-” We had to get out of there”. I held him by the ear so he could come back to his senses and said. "If we get out of here, he'll kill us both.” Then we stood there waiting for the dragon to attack us. We braced ourselves shaking. I could tell that Billy was about to lose control too. I gave him a command. “When i jump you jump too." And The Dragon was coming at us.” Everybody was listening close as Azeviche wearing a potato stuck in her fork mimics the movement the Dragon made in the air and continues the story. The potato as if it were the head of the Dragon and the fork the long body of the Beast."The flying reptile ascended to the sky he was going to crush us. There was nowhere else to hide. the block had been destroyed the creature in the night all was debris and flames, I could hear some shots, but it was useless. People were running, all injured and panicked.
“When I saw those yellow eyes close enough, I screamed to Billy- “JUMP!!!” We jumped about five feet to the right. The Dragon threw itself upon us and all I could hear was a loud, dry noise like the trunk of a tree being split in half. The Dragon hit his head on the ground and broke his neck; his enormous body fell to the other side of the street,we ́ve been lucky enough to survive that monstrous attack instead of being squished by its giant body. This is how I by accident, killed a Dragon and here I am. She sighs, relieved after telling this traumatic adventure while Marcus, Ronna and Agnes still aghast looking at her.
“ And There was a Draconite riding the Dragon, could you see its face?” Marcus feel compelled to ask.
“ No he was alone. Like he was looking for something and he destroyed the entire building to find whatever he was looking for.
After eating so much, Azeviche was satisfied. Relieved to be able to share this torturous adventure she had. It's like she took a weight out of her chest. She felt light like a feather,protected and well-fed.
"I've never heard of Dragons attacking on their own" Marcus looks to Ronna and Agnes. " -”Have you seen something like this in your days Agnes, I always thought the Dragons would function as sophisticated horses for the Draconites."
"No, but we heard about other attitudes of them, that shows that Dragons are animals with high intelligence and always remember rule number 1: Never underestimate your enemy. How the Draconistes have domesticated those creatures is a mystery to this day.- "Ronna Darling, get that pudding. it seems that we have enough subject for dessert". Of course Agnes wants to rear more, they all want to hear all about it. A prominent attack like this should have been front page no doubt.” Marcus sees Azeviche ́s eyes almost pop out of her skull when she heard the word, puddin.
“I read a little note about a Dragon attacking a building at the main island, But little more than that. Nothing about victims and that kind of destruction. Why would an attack,with dozens of victims, have been covered up by the authorities?” “ That is a good question.” says Agnes.
Ronna returns to the table with the long-awaited pudin in hands. She may love potatoes, but she doesn't spare a sweet; especially puddin ;just like any other child.
In their minds, still ruminating the idea that something odd may be going in the Main islands. Never before important news like that have been suppressed. No. Each and every movement of the Draconites must be shared with the people settled close to the border, like the population of the city in Muddy Peaks. “ Tomorrow I should pay a visit to the Central office downtown and I will try to get some information about all this.” Marcus says as Ronna serves pudding. “ Yes you should. If something is going on, we must be prepared to fight and not be taken by surprise.” Ronna points out.
“ I hope I did not mess things up. I ́m sorry. Azeviche looks to them. “ No my dear to report a Dragon attack is a duty. You did the right thing. And besides you are a victim. Oh, poor child I can imagine the terror you been up to. Terrible...terrible way to lose your friends” Agnes says touching her shoulder trying to comfort her.
“Only you and your friend;What is his name?” She asks. “ His name is Billy. Billy Bob Luckyfeets. I think I saw him at the platform at the train station accompanied by a woman wearing a green uniform. They said we'd go to different places. But it wasn't up to us to ask questions.” Jet says.
“ Luckyfeets, what kind of nickname is this you said? Why Luckyfeets?” Ronna asks.
“No,... No this is not a nickname. It is his “real” name. He is Robert Luckyfeets. He ran away for his life and two times survived the Dragons. With the last , one. Three. Now that is a boy that really have -”Lucky Feets”. She says with startled eyes. I guess I'm a lucky feet too.
“ You are all survivors. You are just children, and yet have been through a lot in your life. That's what you all are. Survivors.” Ronna extend her hand and touches Azeviche in her head in a beautiful gesture of affection. Ronna smiles as they all are delighted with the tasteful desert.
The adults look at each other, quite concerned about the report of Azeviche. The surprising story about the cowardly attack in the middle of the night , a Dragon operating it all by itself in fact drew attention. All this added to the fact that the news was arriving in a distorted way, made Marcus, Ronna and Agnes all experienced veterans, look at this situation with worried eyes.
The night was stretching too far for the little girl, with so many novelties, stories, revelations, Dragons destroying buildings, and Jet becomes sleepy. Ronna realizes that Azeviche may end up sleeping with her face in the slice of pudding, because her eyes were already half open. After going through all this stress and still traveling by ship and train, she deserved a proper rest.
“Let's take that suitcase of yours and I will show you your new room”. Ronna tells the girl. The potatoes did their job, a sleepy Azeviche follow Ronna upstairs to see the room. "She never really had a room," She thinks. This is all new and too surprising. But at the same time very, very good, to feel affection for the first time. Ronna takes the bag across the narrow corridor and reaching the end of it, opens a beautiful door painted in white, to show that sleepy-eyed girl, a lovely tidy little room, packed with a comfortable bed near the window, a dresser, so that she could store her clothes. A blue wallpaper with detailed white stripes adorning the walls .Delicate curtains seemed recently installed, they were still pressed. By the bed ,a nightstand with a lamp, perfect to read books at night. The long black haired girl really is delighted with what seems to her like a palace. Everything looked so neat to her, every situation always had to have a positive side,- “Maintain a positive mental attitude”. She lives by this motto. She learned this in old books and applies this in her life; orphans go through extensive training that is a fact. But nothing is a substitute for certain things like caring, careful attention...love. Having a room all by herself was a luxury to any orphan. She notices the effort that was put to make that room a perfect place to a child. She contemplates for the first time, one of the dreams of her life. It became true.
“Here we are, how do you like it”Ask Ronna? Azeviche holds Ronna by her hand.
“ I think this is the most wonderful thing that happened in my life.” As the tears cascade her eyes down rosy cheeks, the little girl embraces Ronna pressing her rips so hard that it almost hurts. She cries out of joy for the first time. Looks like this place will turn out to be the spot for many first things to happen in her life. The heavy arms of destiny have already laid itself on the shoulders of Azeviche so early in her life;the Abbe`` s house undoubtedly been a grateful surprise, to ease such suffering. Ronna still holding Jet in her arms, she affectionately kisses Azeviche in the forehead and closes the door as she leaves.
The comfortable room also seems to embrace the young lady,welcoming her. Jet takes the heavy bag and puts it to bed. She gently unlocks the little luggage lock to reveal her humble robes, all very well folded, a pot of jam full of little stones, and in the corner as if resting from the journey, a maroon notebook used as a diary sits beside a beat up old book. The damaged hardcover tells that it is a very aged book. The little that remains of the golden scraped ink, that would be the title of the book on the cover, still holds its beauty and allows anyone to read it. Azeviche takes the book in her hands and gives a smile as she checks that the book is undamaged by the trip.
Embracing the book, Azeviche Jet fell her eyes heavy as anvils. She falls asleep in the bed. there was no time to jump in her pajamas or anything else. She falls asleep in the marvelous adorned blue bedroom. Resting on top or her tummy, the old book moves up and down with the quiet breathing of Azeviche: “The Chronicles of the Mighty Oluf.” It reads. Already amidst her dreams she says:
“ Good night old friend.”
The down is cold, outside the window snowflakes slowly turn the green grass into a white carpet,in that silence a stag dares to jump the fence from the ranch,and curiosity makes it approach the house. Inside the house almost everybody sleeps. A sixty years old woman, looks to the fireplace. Silver hair tucked up in a pretty hairstyle, her body still maintains the strong muscular appearance; build in the army years, giving her a youthful appearance. Her posture is of a person of natural elegance. Wearing a white blouse and a black velvet trousers, Agnes gets wrapped in her thoughts. She looks at the colored oil painting at length over the fireplace. In the picture staring at the horizon Azimude Quasifinger; general in the battle of the hundred days, is portrayed in all his glory. Agnes gives the painting a long look and her lips arch in a smile. Her eyes depicting affection for that long bearded man, that was once the love of her life and her loving husband. Can you find love in the border of the end of the world in times of battle? Agnes and Azimude is the proof that you can. They meet during the hundred days battle and fell madly in love. Agnes was attracted to that man's bravery and leadership in the middle of that whole situation. In their intimacy Agnes found affection in Azimude's arms in the middle of all that adventure. Long ago in those old days she learned that in the quiet of the night ,staring at the fire, she could better focus and organize her thoughts. She looks at the yellow flames dancing in the fireplace, the memory of a past episode with a lone Dragon comes to mind. Strong hands touch her chest like she was in pain with that memory . In fact that lonely Dragon that Azeviche told them about,was a sign of bad omen. She looks to Azimude portrait searching for comfort and unable to find It; In the night only the stags footsteps can be heard.
The animal notices her presence in the window, the majestic creature looks at her for exact two second and in a heartbeat It flees. “ Should we run away from here like you?” Agnes asks,"Will we have to endure all those hardships all that pain again? She sits back in one of the arm chairs in front of the fireplace. Her eyes take another long glance into the bright hot flames and it gives her the answer, talking to her like a flaming tong. Yes...she says.All Dragons are a bad omen. With closed eyes she hears the wood, pops and make a hiss noise; like a serpent would, she can tell that blood shall be spilled once again. Under a quiet sob, a timid tear stroll down her face ,she prays and fall asleep.
The sun was already high in the bright blue sky, no birds could be heard; the winter had just arrived, the emerald green rug that once covered the entire ranch, was hidden beneath a thin layer of snow. Upstairs in the house, in a warm blue bedroom, Azeviche is still asleep in her dreams, by the living room, the fire in the fireplace was long extinguished. Marcus and Ronna take a moment to talk and have breakfast at the kitchen, up early in the morning and take care of what seen to be a matter or urgency. “ “You must go to town , try to find out what is going on.” Ronna touches Marcus in his arm adopting a serious tone. “ If the road is blocked by the snow and you can't get past with the wagon, follow the rest of the way by foot. But you better go there. I have a hunch that they are trying to cover something up from the colony.” She says.
“ Don ́t worry. After what we heard, we need to get this story straight.- I will take a look at what is going on at the Daily Peaks too. A nice talk to Half Joness the editor, won't hurt at all. After all has been a while since I been downton. I ́m going to feel the mood in Borderline city and we shall know more about it all.”Marcus says looking very preoccupied. “ You and Agnes educate her about the surroundings, soon the classes will be back and the children's training begins. I'm sure she'll excel easily. She's a lovely and determined girls our daughter.- “ Ronna I think we've been blessed”. His open in a smile.
“ I'm sure of it”. Ronna fix Marcus ́s shirt just as an excuse to kiss him affectionately. He opens the door and despite the sun, a cold wind cuts the air letting in small snowflakes that get inside the room . The walk to Borderline City would not be an easy one.