Her large leather boots crunched down onto the gritty earth. Saira could taste blood in her mouth from where the beast had slammed her into one of the rocky cliffs earlier. She held her breath, and lifted her eyes skyward, pushing her blonde hair aside and shielding her eyes from the glaring sun above. For a moment she saw nothing, but then the dark shape appeared over the rocky outcrop. The giant bird’s wingspan easily blocked out the sun as it flew through the clear blue sky.
She let out her breath slowly, fighting off the cold terror in her chest and gritting her teeth in determination. She had thought she’d lost the fearsome creature known as Rajani, but as she watched its giant form tip in the sky she knew it was coming back around. For her. Saira moved quickly down the rocks, tiny pebbles skittering away from her feet. She could do this, it was what she’d been trained to do: fend off the Giant Ones such as Rajani. But in training they’d only been a fraction of her size and not nearly as clever. A single blast from the Power Crest would frighten the little ones off easily, but not the mighty Rajani. Saira doubted that even three blasts would prevent her from being torn asunder by the bird’s giant claws.
Her left hand was shaking, clutching the large ruby of her amulet as she scaled down the cliffs. It was absorbing the energy well, but it had to be stronger if she had any hope of scaring Rajani away and she was running out of time. In front of her the giant shadow swept across the canyons and Saira heard herself whimpering with every breath. Rajani was moving closer, her wings slicing through the air above. Just as the shadow came within meters, Saira leapt over what she thought was a stony crag. As she flew over it, she realized with drowning despair that the crag was actually a gully. There were many strewn across this desolate place, but she hadn’t seen any as large as this one. Her brown eyes went wide as she started to fall into a dark pit far away from the sunlight above.