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High above the ground, Rhys and Robar parried and sparred in the hot sun. Rhys could feel sweat on her chest and rivulets dripping down the side of her face. Suddenly, Robar dropped his weapons and lunged at her. Startled, Rhys failed to defend herself. The full weight of his body drove her to the ground. Before she could react, he was pulling her backwards toward the tower door.

“What?” she cried. “Let go. You win. I wasn't ready.”

“Quiek,” he hissed.

She tried to twist away, still demanding to be free, but he wrapped his long arms around her, covering her mouth with his big hand. While practicing, they had circled the tower. Now they were far from the entrance. Hugging the stone wall, barely concealed on the shadowed side, Robar held tight to the girl with one arm and pointed with the other. Rhys peeked around the stone side of the tower. Off to the west, she saw a long dark shadow cross the afternoon sky. It flew across the face of the sun, undulating as it moved before pulling its enormous wings close to its body and hurtling like a meteoroid toward the land.

“Cenmainda hunts,” Robar whispered.

Robar was the strongest individual Rhys knew, yet she could hear the fear in his voice at the sight of the dragon. She gave up fighting and cringed against the troll. Together they crept along the floor until they were safely within the tower walls. Robar went to find the wizard. Still shaken and nauseated, Rhys hid beside her bed. While she and Robar had been practicing, she hadn't seen the evil in the sky. It was a frightening thought which brought a new awareness. Though hidden from view from any earthbound creature, those that soared could see them clearly and attack at will.

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