Emerald continued to trot toward the encampment on the horizon. At least it was in sight now. Before, she could do nothing else but follow the directional beacon on her scanner.
A strange shadow passed overhead and she looked up with a frown. Whatever it was, it looked huge. The wingspan looked at least forty feet wide. The strange whining noise that accompanied the shadow grew faint, then silent. The world around her was quiet once again. The only noise she heard was the faint rustle of the wind through the grass and trees.
Just as the strange whining returned, someone rushed from the nearby brush and tackled her. "Shh... Don't move or it will see you." The voice was female.
"Hush!" The woman clamped a hand over Emerald's mouth and whispered, "Not so loud. It will hear you. I'm told they have exceptional hearing."
Emerald pulled the hand from her mouth and replied in a low voice, "What are you talking about?" She could see how such a large bird could be a predator, but she was a dragon swan. She had little to fear from a beast such as a large bird.
Content to let the other woman hold her down in the tall grass as she awaited an explanation, Emerald looked up toward the sky. She strained to see what it was they hid from. Still, she saw nothing.
"The dragons." The woman paused as though to give her time for the proper level of horror to sink in. "They never used to come more than once in a life cycle. Now there is a new one almost every day. No one knows why." She got to her knees. "Follow me. There's a shelter near where we can talk above a whisper."