Chapter One
Nora glanced up at the mountain as the lonesome, piercing, cry sounded again. It wasn’t abnormal; her mountain village had been hearing the cries for almost two weeks, now. Old Ben, the village elder, was convinced that something was up there, calling for help. But the whole village scorned his idea, saying it was just a mountain lion, or some strange breed of crow. Nora, despite the town’s disbelief, believed something was up there, something extraordinary that needed help.
“Nora! Supper!” Her mother’s summon shook Nora from her reverie. As she jogged to their small but cozy cottage, she thought over the events of the last two months: cows and sheep disappearing, the uncertainty of the town’s safety, and the mysterious lament of the creature on the mountain. As she sat down at the table with her parents and two younger sisters, she suddenly blurted out, “I think something’s on the mountain, but not a mountain lion or anything like that. I think there’s something else – something bigger!”
“Nora,” her father said with a weary voice. He’d been logging the forest all day, and was exhausted. “Nora, we’ve had this conversation before. It is probably just a cougar that’s been hurt. They have been known to make cries like these in the past.” Nora shook her head, rippling her shoulder length brown hair, which usually hung in a ponytail.
“But – Father, it doesn’t sound like a cougar. And if it’s hurt, we should help.” Mother laid a gentle, yet firm hand on Nora’s shoulder.
“Nora, you must understand that hurt animals are dangerous. There is nothing we can do to help. It is just the way of nature. Don’t worry. We are very safe here.” But that night, lying in bed, listening to her sisters’ steady breathing in the room they share, Nora couldn’t help but feel anxious. She felt an urge to find the creature, and help it. As she lay there thinking, the shaft of moonlight shining on her was disrupted. Nora sat up, and gazed with wonder at the mountain. On a jutting ledge, a figure stood, silhouetted against the moon. Nora stared at the graceful, long, neck; prominent tail; and lean, powerful, glistening wings.
Yet just as soon as it had appeared, it was gone. Somehow, Nora knew that this was the animal whose cry penetrated the mountain air. This was the creature that only she and Old Ben believed about. Somehow, with some inner sense, Nora knew that this was a dragon.
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