If he'd had a minute to reflectjust a minutethe first thing that would have disturbed him was the lack of noise. Or, rather, the lack of the usual sounds. Gone were the shrill ballads of winged things, the hummed choruses of insects, the slow sighs of wind brushing leaves. In their place was the hammer of his desperate heart, the heavy gasps of expanding lungs, the hollow thud of boot against soil.
The light came down dappled, every prick of sun against his skin clearly marking his locationbut then he abruptly swerved, plastering himself against the back of a massive maple and melding into the woodland. Muddled brown hair and drab clothing eased into the shadows, rendering him a chameleon.
And then the dragon landed.
Branches shattered like so many panes of glass as a heavy bulk dropped down through them, landing neatly on four paws and leaving talon marks inches deep impressed in the earth. It stood nearly three times as tall as its quarry, twin horns and a flowing o