I hoped the cloth constricting my face was enough to hide my identity. If people found out I was a girl, they would not be happy. They wouldn't be happy anyway, as I was going to steal from them.
Not jewels. Though the Servians had many of those, Nishinkin, my dragon, and I were here for something more. A boy; no, my boy. He had been stolen from me. Right now, the love of my life was in the prison block of the evil reigning government undergoing god knows what kind of torture. Nishinkin sensed my sadness and buried his scaly snout in my black hair, still loose and blowing in the wind.
When the Servians had come to our home, they had taken everything... everything except Nishinkin and I. Sorin had risked his life just so that I could escape on Nishinkin. I remembered him calling my name as I opened my eyes, still standing on the clifftop. The sun blazed on the horizon, but I still didn't flinch. I would do anything. The Servians may have taken our home, our fields, our stock, and strained our bond, but this time... it would all be ours.
As the sun began to sink, I hopped on Nishinkin's back. We jumped off the cliff, seeming one in that moment. Years ago, when Galbatorix was defeated, the Riders had time to regain their footing. If the Servians hadn't decided to rebel against Queen Nasuada, then I would be one such rider. Nishinkin had hatched for me, and an elf smith had even made me my sword, Drakha. Rider Ashira; I'd liked the idea of that.
Everything happened in a blur. Nishinkin dived in as I drew Drakha, the orange blade and dragon shining in the red light. The prison roof burst open as my dragon tore his claws through the ceiling, him and I roaring boldly in unison. I saw Sorin's face look up in ecstasy and his arm clasp mine. We set off then, soaring into the blazing red horizon.
He didn't recognise me. Not at first. There are a few too many seventeen year old girls that look like me in this world; near black hair, olive skin, eyes as dark as the curls bordering my face. He didn't even recognise Nishinkin at first, as he was too tired to open his eyes fully. He was usually the one swinging over and saving me, but not today. Today I was strong, for the both of us. It was the least I could do.
Nishinkin pulled up in front of a cave. It was dark and abandoned-looking, a perfect hiding spot. Sorin closed his eyes and drifted into sleep as I slipped some water between his parched lips. I lay down beside him and took off my cloth, using it as a pillow for us both. I wrapped my arms around him and planted a kiss on his soft cheek, relishing in every moment. I sighed in satisfaction. That kiss wasn't just one of love, it was one of healing. I was a rider, and a Demdji; the child of a Djinni, an ancient god of the desert sands. The almighty strength of my father Sakhr gave me my incredible healing kiss and the blue stripes on my stomach and face. I believed in this power, as I had seen it in work. I flashbacked to the moment Father had given me his almighty strength...
"Come on, Ashira! Run!" Sakhr bellowed in delight. He was teaching me to run with the sands, as he had been taught long ago. "But Dadda, I can't!" He laughed. "Yes you can, Ashira," he replied softly. "You are my brave brave little girl. Anything is possible if it's you trying. Come on, Ashira," he repeated, giving me new strength.
I tossed and turned in my sleep. Sakhr's gleaming golden eyes kept haunting my memories, and I didn't know how to make it stop. I awoke then, the sun gleaming in my eyes and practically blinding me. Sorin's strong, capable arms held me as I flailed in a pool of my own cold sweat. "Ashira! he exclaimed, wrapping me in a tight hug. "I've missed you... thank you for saving me." I cried into his shoulder. "I missed you too!" I was bawling my eyes out by now. "I love you, Sorin... don't ever let me go."