In part 1: Upon arrival in Jade village, Titana and his master Virginia found a steaming pit of melted bones and toasted flesh on the ashen ground.
For a moment, Virginia forgot to breathe. Her eyes welled up and glared over the wasteland which glared back with nothing but a hollow reflection of misery. From corner to corner of the Jade village, dead limbs and burning splinters littered the toasted ground. At one spot, the remains of a mother and child lay curled up and melted together at the door step of what used to be a straw hut. Virginia pictured the crying child just hours before, clutching on to her mother’s breast for safety in her panic stricken world. In an instant her tiny life would have been burned up as her mother tried to comfort her from the inevitable.
Virginia’s cutting grip on Titana’s reins didn’t let up until his impatient rumble of a sigh. She remembered to breathe and snapped from her frozen dream of what lay before her. Virginia felt guilty for her excitement upon receiving a call for help from King Jubaba’s messengers. Throughout her service of the king, Virginia had dreamed of adventure, of days spent chasing villains across the plains of West Country, living the legend of Titana’s grip on justice. It’s what she had trained her entire life for. It’s what she was born for. But this was a bitter taste of what couldn’t and shouldn’t, but was reality, an entire village of people slaughtered by the night.
Both Virginia and Titana thought together, minds connected, wondering what could have torn through Jade like this. They knew that the cannibals of the southern caves had all been killed. And it couldn’t have been Masecareno’s barbarians who wouldn’t dare enter West Country. The only possible explanation was something couldn’t be real, but all the signs of fiery death pointed to what folk lore called hell’s angel, a winged beast of terror that scorched everything in its path. Their thoughts spoke.
“I guess what they say is true, my friend. Those dragons still exist, and one has woken up”, thought Virginia.
“Even though it’s a Summer month?”, responded Titana.
“Yes. I can’t believe it either. I’m frightened and don’t know what to do. But this is what we have before us, and our king, our country, needs us to go forward and find this demon.”
“But you are just a girl. I am just a horse. We stand no chance against hell’s angel and her breath.”
“I am just a girl. But you are more than that. You are everything that the people of our land feel safe under. You are Titana, the silver shadow of West Country. You are our hope.”
They galloped forth, towards the north, towards the fiery mountain caves where everyone had been forbidden to tread. With death before them, they traveled on…