Wingbeats broke the night in the little village called Grenwyn. Four-year-old Lilith ran to her window to find out what had woken her for the third night in a row. An immense shadow blocked the moonlight from the window and her ears popped. Wanting to discover everything the world held and curious about the shadow, Lilith stole out the front door, careful as ever not to wake her mother.
Once she had reached the center of the village, time seemed to stop for a moment. Lilith felt for a second as if she was soaring among the clouds in the deep purple night sky, and she wiggled her toes in the soft grass to remind herself that she was still herself and safely on the ground. When the sensation was over, Lilith blinked to clear her mind, and upon opening them she saw a great creature before her. It was covered in scales the color of a lake in the dead of the night—Lilith thought it could have been green if it were in the moonlight. Oddly, she noticed that the moonlight seemed to go around the creature.
Lilith blinked again to allow her eyes to get used to the darkness; she peered into the shadow that was the creature, sure that she could find all the secrets of the world if she looked hard enough. What she saw instead was a large round rock-looking thing held in the creature's upturned claws. She looked at the creature's face and was taken aback when another sensation came over her and she felt a lot older and smarter than she ever had before. Again, she blinked it away, and after a couple seconds more of standing there and watching the mysterious creature watch her, all light was sucked away from her and the creature. Blind to the world and feeling disoriented, Lilith stumbled and fell to the grassy comfort that the ground gave her.
Sploosh! Bloop…. Bloop…. The sound was distant yet close, and it echoed loudly through Lilith's mind.
Lilith picked herself up from the ground, unsteady at first, and made her way to the well in the very center of Grenwyn. With her hands on the edge of the short stone wall that surrounded the village well, she leaned slightly over it in order to see downward into it. She saw nothing, but heard a slight, muffled thud as something hit the wall, and another hollow sound that soon followed, echoing the first as it hit the bottom. She did not know how, but somehow she knew that it had settled there. When Lilith turned around again, the pale moonlight shone unhindered on the grass where the creature had just been.
Feeling tired now that the excitement of discovering new things was gone, the young child plodded back toward home. Remembering to be quiet only at the last second, Lilith again crept through her house, this time into her bedroom. An urge to look out her window overtook her, and she could not stop her small feet as they forced her across the dirt floor of the tiny room. Her vision warped and her eyes turned until she was seeing the shadow that was the creature flying over some trees in the Zavani Mountains. She remembered how her mother had told her what they were called. Unable to blink or look away, she was forced to see the arc of purple flames reach for the creature and the horrible way that it twitched and flashed. A scream tore through every corner of her mind and she felt the creature's cold fear in her heart.
As soon as it fell into the trees, Lilith squeezed her eyes shut, and the next thing she knew was her mother's soft comfort as she held her and cooed to her that everything was going to be okay. It had all been just an ugly nightmare, she said. Lilith knew that was not true, but right then she wanted to believe it, so she did. Now that the night was no longer exciting, the child wanted to forget it all, and she allowed her mother to coax her into sleeping again. She would forget. It had been a nightmare. Right?