If there were two minutes left, what would you do? Nora mulled it over as she looked out over the city. The bonfire roared in the middle of the central square. The flames blazed up, snapped and danced as erratically as her own temper.
Nora’s long fingers stroked Bentley’s neck. The warmth underneath its scales gave away the impatience simmering inside its body. It craned its neck and its jaw snapped.
‘We’ll get there soon, Ben. It has to be done.’ The bonfire reflected in Bentley’s eyes. They were as big as Nora’s fist by now. They’d grow bigger, she was sure.
From a distance a loud cry sounded. Nora placed her foot on one of Bentley’s leathery wings and pulled herself up. She clenched her thighs around the dragon’s neck and took a firm hold of two large scales.
The cry was followed by the sound of a horn. Nora whistled and Bentley started moving, its great talons clawing through dirt and stone alike. When it pushed off Griar’s Hill, they fell, Bentley’s wings hanging right by its side.
Only when the ground was nearing did it spread out its wings. Nora was pushed into Bentley’s neck and a strong gust of wind moved around her, causing her to lose her grip, her legs sliding down.
She pulled herself up on the scales. A sigh escaped from her mouth. When she dared look down again, she saw they were approaching Griar swiftly. Little figures were moving through the streets, making for the drawbridge on the northern side. From above the people looked like ants finding their way to a piece of stale bread.
Bentley’s body rumbled from deep within. Nora could feel the heat readying itself for an escape. Then a long silence fell, like the moment between lightning and thunder. Bentley’s wings flapped and his body glowed orange.
They were hovering over Griar, moving closer still. Bentley opened its large mouth wide.
The screams came even before the blaze came. Nora squinted at the bright light of yellow and orange as the flames curled over the city, blackening roofs, trees and people.
Bentley moved methodically, finding its way from south to north, east to west and finally landing on the grand estate of Lord Byrin himself.
Nora stared at the bonfire on the square in front of the mansion. She glided off Bentley and petted its neck. ‘Didn’t ward off any demons, now did it?’