The fire was raining down from the sky. At the last of the light of dusk a long low wail rose from the forest of ash. It was a dragon trying to save his rider as the life energy slowly ebbed from her body. “I am so cold” she whispered to Fire heart. Her body spasmed and curled closer to the dragon. “Hold on, i can save you. I just need my magic back.” Fire heart cried to her. The battle they had just fought had drained him of most of his magic. As with all things he needed to rest to restore it. “It’s too late for that.” she said softly to him, with shaking hands she touched his strong chin with hard scales of deep green as if trying to take the memory with her to the afterlife. “Don’t go after him alone, please.” she said to him as her eyes closed and her grip softened. Sensing the sudden loss of life energy, Fire heart pooled his very little remaining magic into her. He felt her hand tighten a little. Her eyes opened slowly and she whispered, ” promise me, promise me that you wont go after him alone.” Slowly he nodded his head in agreement. Feeling his energy sustaining her, she found her sword and held it tight as she cut him off mentally and used the last of all she had to magically imbue her sword to pick his next rider. With a soft sigh she breathed no more. The air was rent with the sound of Fire heart mourning the loss of his beloved rider. Fire heart put all of his pain and sorrow into his song of loss. His song stirred the trees and sent up clouds of ash long into the night and into the early morning light of a new day.
By late morning his throat was raw and his voice was almost gone. Fire heart fell into a dreamless sleep. He slept curled around her body protecting it while he was in a deep dreamless sleep. He slept for two days and two nights. When the moon was full he woke to the sound of a soft thump, thump, thump. The sound was getting fainter as he listened. Slowly he opened his eyes to see what looked like a tree swaying in the wind. He looked again and could see that the tree was carrying his beloved rider away. He could see her hair swaying in the breeze as she was being carried away. He quickly looked where her body had been, surely this was only a dream. She was gone! Quickly he got up and went after the tree that he had seen. She would be easy to spot since all the other trees in the area had been stripped bare by the raining fire. The tree he saw had all of its leaves on it. Rage filled his body as he tried to get up to go after her. His body was spent though from the previous battle and then mourning the loss of his rider. Slowly he got to his feet and walked after the tree. He could see her just ahead of him. Fire heart could barely walk let alone run after the forest guardian of old. He followed a bit behind her trying to just keep up and put one foot in front of the other. The dead trees seemed to be moving closer together, making it harder to follow. With a mighty lunge he jumped clumsily into the air barely making it above the trees. Something landed on his back with a thump that made him loose his height and land clumsily in the branches of a weeping willow. Still exhausted from the battle and the loss he gave in as the tree wove a cradle for the dragon to sleep in. Just before he drifted off to sleep he whispered her name, ” Calea, I’m sorry.”
Eve, the tree girl, who had been clinging desperately to his neck spike on his back as the dragon had wobbled violently before landing in the tree, had summoned all of her nature magic to cause the tree to make the cradle for the dragon to sleep in. Slowly with the body of Calea still in her arms she climbed down gently to continue with her purpose. Eve was a tree Ent. It was the job of Ents to collect dragons and riders who had passed away. Ent’s took the bodies to be buried in the mountain with no name. No one knows the way except for the Ents. The branches of the willow that now cradled the dragon eased her to the ground with her burden. Eve continued on to the mountain to place Calea inside. Calea was laid to rest with the other dragons and their riders in a beautiful crystalline mausoleum where they never change. They remain the same as when they passed. Eve finally finished arranging her so she looked as if she might have fallen asleep. Eve left the mountain to go back to the dragon and care for him. She stayed with him as he slept. After several more days, Eve was starting to worry about the dragon. “surely he should wake soon. He will need nourishment soon.” She thought. Eve had the tree that the dragon slept in cause more branches to cover Fire heart even more so that anyone passing would only see a large willow tree. Eve left the dragon to speak to the elder Ents. Eve approached the oldest and wisest of the Ents and softly said, “Elder Willow?” Nothing. Eve spoke a little louder this time and said again, “Elder Willow?” Elder Willow was a small old tree whose branches were knarled and twisted with age. Suddenly she stirred from her restful slumber. “Yes Eve?” Elder Willow said in a soft and wispy voice. Eve drew closer and spoke, “I am sorry for bothering you Elder Willow but I have a dilemma. There is a dragon whose rider has passed away. I have taken the rider to the place of rest but the dragon is grieving so that I fear he will die if he does not wake soon and eat or drink.” The elder Willow sighed a deep sigh and said to Eve, “My child you are correct in thinking that the dragon could grieve himself into death. When a dragon looses his rider to death its like a part of them has died also. I think the dragon will wake soon and we must be there to offer food and drink when he awakens.” Eve, Elder Willow and several of the others gathered food and drink for the dragon and headed towards him when Elder Willow cried out, “wait!” Quickly all the Ent’s turned themselves back into trees. Eve called softly to Elder Willow, “Willow! help me! I cannot change!” Soon there were only trees where moments before the Ent’s had stood. A dark shadow flew over head above them. The Ents below could feel the evil and anger that the medium sized black dragon and its large human rider were emanating. They circled the area twice as if searching for something before moving on.
The Ents started moving again. This time with a watchful eye towards the sky and the area around them. When they reached the tree where the dragon still slumbered they began to rustle the leaves as they climbed the vines towards him. Slowly Eve undid her magic and lowered the sleeping dragon to the ground. He stared to awake with sleepy eyes that didn’t want to open. As they slowly slid open to reveal blurry images. All he could see was the flutter of leaves and several he could hear animal sounds. Slowly his surroundings came into focus and only saw trees or what looked like trees. When he realized he was in the gardens of old. Slowly and shakily he got to his feet and dipped his head in a low dragon bow. The sounds stopped and he looked up to see Eve and other Ents gathered around him.
“My name is Eve, we mean you no harm. How did you come to be here?” Eve asked walking up to Fire heart. Fire heart looked at her sadly and told her his name and how he came to be there. “My rider, was there a pack with her? A sword also? I need those things so I can find my new rider. I made a promise.” Fire heart said with a heavy heart. Willow came forward with a bundle in his arms and held them out for Eve to take. Eve picked up the satchel and the sword which still bore the blood of the previous fight. As soon as Eve touched the sword she felt it. She felt the pain of the loss of Fire heart. She felt his sadness and his breathing. She felt every part of his body and knew now where some of the wounds were. Fire heart looked at her and knew that he was looking at his new rider. He too felt everything that she had felt. They had bonded.