Hill of Sidh
Novelist : Judit Elias
Seed could see his shadow following him in
the treetops. The wind whistled as the small green dragon soared on the warm
currents beneath his wings. He focused his eyes on the horizon, pressed his
tiny arms to his chest and extended his still-too-short tail to make his body
more streamlined. A pinkish blur passed him and slowed down until it was just
in front of him.
“Slowcoach!” shouted his sister Rot,
dangling her feet in front of his snout.
Seed tried to bite them but Rot had
already turned to fly by his side. Only Rot could pull off a manoeuvre like
that at top speed.
“You left without telling me,” Rot whined.
“And I thought we had agreed we would fly together.”
“Well, it’s your own fault,” replied Seed.
“You take forever to wake up. I couldn’t wait all morning for you. Plus, I
couldn’t concentrate with your snoring.”
Rot almost stopped in mid-air.
“I DO NOT SNORE!” she said, her nostrils
flaring with rage and indignation.
Seed burst out laughing. He knew his
sister too well to take her too seriously.
“You certainly do! It sounds like this:
“Take it back! Take it back!” said Rot,
flying from side to side around him.
Seed could not contain his glee. His
sister might be the best flyer and the strongest of the pair, but she was a
little vain sometimes. He loved her very much regardless.
“Okay, okay. I take it back,” he conceded.
Rot spun three hundred and sixty degrees
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“There’s a meadow up ahead, between the
mountains,” Seed explained. “It’s the perfect spot.”
Their big brother Ashes had always been
very clear: if they were to leave the tower on their own they had to fly high,
over the woods, and only land in a deserted place. Seed’s meadow was just that.
He was a bit nervous, as it had been sort of his private place all this time.
But Rot had been so insistent about wanting to tag along.
“Straight line to the mountains?” scoffed
Rot, rolling her eyes. “But that is bo–o–o–oring. I have a better idea.”
Oh no, troublemaker Rot had had an idea.
Before Seed could stop her, his sister had already started folding her wings.
“Race you through the woooooods!”
Seed could barely hear the last word, as
Rot was already plummeting towards the trees. Well, he couldn’t leave her on
her own. Rot was somehow always a magnet for trouble. He pointed his snout
downwards, folded his wings, and dropped.
It’s difficult to remain calm when you’re
falling at top speed. Your stomach lurches and the adrenaline flows through
your veins. With his eyes half-closed, and the wind whipping every inch of his
face, Seed cried out with joy. Flying was amazing. Soaring was amazing. But
falling was better! As he gained speed, the trees grew closer and he could see
a clearing through the branches. With a slight swish of his tail, he changed
his path. He could hear Rot’s joyous screams and he replied with his own. The
ground was now close. Ten metres. He flew through the tall treetops. Five
metres. Now he could make out every patch of grass. Three metres. Not yet, not
yet. Two metres. Wait for it…NOW!
Seed opened his wings, lifted his head and
lowered his tail. His feet barely grazed the grass as he was propelled
forwards. He didn’t have much time to think.
Tree! Turn left! A rock! Turn right!
Another tree! He zigzagged through the trees. He flapped his wings to gain
“Not bad, not bad. You’re getting better,”
said Rot, praising him.
She had slowed her pace to let him catch
“Well, being the youngest of the pack…
it’s quite normal that you haven’t learned all the ropes of flying yet,” she
“I am the youngest one now?” Seed said. “I
thought Ashes said our eggs hatched at the same time.”
Rot pulled a face.
“I am pretty sure mine hatched first,” she
“No it didn’t.”
“Yes it did!”
“I am telling you it didn’t!”
“Oh, well, then prove it! The fastest one
will be the oldest.”
“Okay,” decided Seed. “If you want a race…
you’re going to get one!”
And he threw himself at her, making her
lose her balance and forcing her to slow down. Rot grunted and followed.
“Hey, that wasn’t fair!”
But Seed was already flying and didn’t
look back. And he knew exactly which path he was going to take.
Yes, Ashes had said not to fly low, but
Seed had been observing that part of the forest for a long time and he knew
that it was deserted. So, little by little, he had started to explore it. They
were drawing closer to a big cave. The cavern opened in front of them and a
deep grotto followed. Seed didn’t hesitate and entered it. It was dark, but the
dragons’ eyes adjusted easily to the blackness surrounding them.
“Oh, you thought I would be afraid of a
little darkness,” laughed Rot.
She was catching up with him. They flew
through the natural tunnel, dodging stalactites and stalagmites. Now Seed could
hear it, just one more turn…
“Not of the darkness,” he muttered.
Suddenly, they could see light ahead and
now the sound was loud and clear. The cavern ended in a narrow opening behind a
“Water?” Seed heard his sister cry in
Rot tried to slow down but she was going
too fast. Both dragons emerged from the cave, drenched from their horns to
“Water! I hate water!” said Rot, obviously
disgusted and shaking the water off. “I hate being wet!”
Seed was laughing so hard he could barely
“Oh, Rot! You should have seen your face.”
Seed didn’t care at all about his own
wetness, he found it refreshing, but his sister had hated being wet since they
were hatchlings. Seed felt a sudden warmth.
“Hey, careful there,” he shouted.
Too late. Rot was suddenly sparkling and
hot like embers. A soft hissing sound came out of her body as the droplets
turned into vapour.
“Not wet any more,” she said, relieved.
“Rot! You have to be careful!” her brother
told her off. “We are in the middle of the forest, you could have burned
Ashes would be terribly angry if they
ended up starting a fire.
“What’s that?” asked Rot, not paying
attention to him any more but looking behind him, over his shoulder.
Seed sighed. His sister had always had a
short attention span. But she was right, there was something there. A bundle of
fur, trembling on the ground. The siblings landed just beside it.
“So… what is it?” asked Rot.
The creature was small, squirrel-like,
with reddish brown fur, a long bushy tail and ears made of green leaves.
“I think it’s a plantarol,” Seed decided.
Rot looked at him, clueless.
“Come on, Rot,” her brother said, “Ashes
told us about them!”
“Anyway, why is it lying down? Isn’t it
afraid of us?” she asked.
“It’s hurt its leg,” replied Seed,
pointing to the torn limb. “Poor thing, of course it’s scared, but it can’t
“Oh no! Seed, you must do something!”
Behind her tough exterior Rot was a gentle
Seed kneeled in front of the little
animal. It was panting, its eyes wide open, staring, terrified, at the strange
green creature before it. Seed put his feet over the plantarol’s injured leg.
Something inside him lit up. He could feel warmth emanating from the plantarol
and something else, like a cold sharp pain. A soft glow emerged from his feet
as he started gently kneading the area surrounding the limb. Rot watched,
“I will never get tired of watching you do
this,” she murmured.
Seed removed his feet from the injured
“I think… I think it’s fixed,” said Seed.
The plantarol looked at him, startled,
sniffing the air. Warily, the rodent stretched its leg once, then twice,
marvelling at the absence of pain.
“I bet it feels better now,” added Rot.
As if it had understood her, the plantarol
hopped and let out a series of high-pitched barks.
“What is it doing?” asked Rot.
Suddenly a huge group of plantarols
surrounded them. They came jumping from the treetops, appearing from the dense
bushes or climbing down the branches. All of them were barking and chirping,
their tiny noses emerging from all directions and their leafy tails curling and
stretching. The little animals jumped up and down all over the two dragons.
“Ouch!” said Rot, rubbing her head.
“Something just fell on me!”
Seed looked up and saw even more
plantarols in the branches. Every single one of them was holding a small round
white rock. Without hesitation, the animals dropped the stones on the dragons,
who unfolded their wings to protect themselves.
“Hey! Talk about being ungrateful,”
complained Rot. “Okay, I’ve had it! I am going to roast these plantarols right
now if they don’t stop!”
Rot was already opening her mouth to
breathe fire, but Seed had picked up one of the rocks and was having a look at
“Wait, Rot!” he said, closing his sister’s
mouth. “These aren’t stones! They’re nuts!”
“Hmmmhhhhffff,” Rot mumbled, pushing back
to escape her brother’s grip. “Like I care, they still hurt!”
But by then the nuts had stopped falling
and the healed plantarol was jumping up at Rot’s knee with one of the dropped
nuts. Stretching out his little arms, he offered it to her.
“What?” asked Rot, picking up the gift.
“What do you want me to do with this?”
In response, the rodent picked up another
nut and pushed it into his mouth, making one of his cheeks bulge in a quite
“See, they’re not attacking!” cried Seed.
“They’re offering us their food!”
Rot examined the nut. It looked hard and
unappetising. However, she decided it would look impolite to refuse, and
proceeded to put it in her mouth. It was as hard as rock and tasted… well, not
like food! She tried to crunch it but had to spit it out immediately.
“This is inedible,” she declared.
The plantarols surrounding them barked
with laughter. The one in front of them took out the nut he had stored in his
cheek and held it firmly with both hands. He struck it against the ground a
couple of times and bit it with his incisors, splitting the white shell in two
and revealing a pinkish round seed. He offered the seed to Rot. Not completely
confident, the dragon took it in her mouth. She was surprised by the strong
fruity flavour, with a hint of cinnamon. It was good! Not hard at all and very
Seed had taken one of the nuts with a
brownish hull and carefully opened the shell with his own teeth, which caused
the plantarols to jump excitedly. He tasted it. It had a buttery flavour and
Seed thought it was delicious.
It wasn’t long before the plantarols
started bringing more and more nuts of different colours and shapes. Rot liked
the black heart-shaped ones best, the ones with tiny blue seeds inside and a
strong aroma of wild figs and cherries. Seed, however, favoured the big long
ones. It took two or three plantarols to carry just one them, and the pale
inside had a sour citric taste.
The plantarols watched them gorge on the
meal with joy. They were such energetic creatures. During all this time they
didn’t stop jumping and climbing over everything they could find: tree trunks,
rocks, other plantarols – they would pile up on top of one another just for fun
– and soon, of course, two very happy dragons who let the plantarols climb up
to their horns and wings.
Seed and Rot were enjoying it so much they
hadn’t noticed the sun was now starting to set. They had spent the entire day
playing with the plantarols! Seed was going to remind his sister they had to
head back home when a gust of wind made all the plantarols look up and, in a
split second, disappear, hiding under the bushes and in the trees.
The dragons looked around, stunned. A
dense mist was creeping towards them from all directions, and soon surrounded