Saturday, July 30, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 2

The unrelenting sun beat down on Farloft as he dragged himself slowly forward. He was searching for water and shade on this wasteland his ‘jump’ had delivered him to. There was nothing on this barren land except short dried up grass and lichen the color of a fire’s day old ashes. And, there was no sign of relief. The view stretched from horizon to horizon bare and lifeless with hardly more than slight swells in the earth to give it texture.

Farloft was heading toward the only outcrop of rock he had seen in hours. It would afford him a bit of shade and allow for him to rest. He had dragged his wing so long over the rocks of this land that it was leaving a bloody trail behind him where he literally scrapped off the scales and then the skin below.

An hour later, he finally made it to the rock. He flopped down with his bad wing stretched out in as comfortable a position as he could while still keeping it in the shade. For once he was pleased he was a youngling and no bigger than a very large horse. If he had been his father’s size the outcrop would not have afforded any discernable shade for the huge dragon.

His thoughts turned to his father, home and water, not necessarily in that order, before pain and exhaustion won him over and he passed into a troubled sleep.

He drifted in and out of consciousness over the next few hours or, it might have been days, before he was awakened by the tinkle of bells. He smelled milk and when he opened his eyes a group of humans in colorful dress stood around him. One woman knelt offering him a bowl of milk. He had to truly make an effort to raise his head enough to lap at the liquid. It was warm, but so refreshing. When he couldn’t hold his head up to finish the bowl, the woman soaked a towel in the milk and placed it in his mouth. He suckled it like a hatchling with a hunk of meat too large to swallow and drifted off to sleep.

He was awakened later by the bells ringing with the addition of a mellow synchronized gong and the chanting voices of humans in a language he did not recognize. When he opened his eyes he was offered another bowl of milk after which he fell back into unconsciousness.

He had lost track of the times he awakened and was given milk and later small bowls of a roasted meat with an unusual flavor. He was by no means recovering, but he did feel like he was no longer in peril of dying.

A human was sitting by his side each time he regained consciousness. They were very attentive and so brightly dressed that their mere presence lifted his spirits. Male or female, they all wore pants and long tunics with squared off hats and tall leather boots. Even the children wore hats. And, there were lots of children.

They always had the milk available for him, as though they had nothing better to do than wait for him to awake. Farloft would lap it up and they would talk soothingly to him. The older woman who had been the first to administer to him had even taken to stroking his paw as if in sympathy for his pain, her dark brown eyes with tiny gold specks studying him intently. However, Farloft could not see that they did anything to help his wing. Perhaps they didn’t know how, or even recognize that it was broken.

On the third, or maybe it was the fourth day, he had lost track of time, Farloft awoke to a quite different sight. Before him hovered a tiny dragon, no bigger than his paw. And, if that wasn’t enough of a shock, the old woman seemed to be talking to it. When she extended her arm the dragon landed on it. It perched curling a lengthy white feathered tail around her arm. The feathers of the tail ran all the way up the tiny dragon’s back to the top of its head, creating a fluffy topknot. The feathers spilled over its pale blue shoulders like a human’s cape. Its wings were bi-level and almost transparent resembling those of a dragonfly and patterned in green and blue, like stained glass. The tiny dragon templed them over its head and listened intently to the woman as she spoke.

When the human seemed to have finished explaining the tiny dragon unwrapped its tail and sailed down like a fall leaf to land directly in front of Farloft.

“My name is Trisk. You’re not to worry,” it said in perfect Dragonic, easily understood by Farloft. “We’ll take care of you. These are the Nal.” She, for it appeared by the sound of her voice that she was female, waved a wing in the direction of the humans. “They are friends to the dragons of this land. They called me because they have no idea how to heal your wing, but the Morenth will. We need to get you to them though. The Nal are nomadic and feeding you, even though you have not eaten much, is taxing their supplies.”

“I am sorry,” Farloft said, “but thankful for their help.”

His head was swimming. The tiny dragon kept going in and out of focus.

“Rest now.” Trisk fanned her tiny wings and flew up to land on Farloft head.

It felt like she had laid down and made herself comfortable. Farloft was in too much pain and too tired to complain about the little dragon’s choice of perch. But, then he felt the touch at the base of his horn numbs and felt the vibration as Trisk started to hum. His pain began to melt away and he fell into the most restful sleep he had experienced in many days.

When Farloft awoke later that evening, he could still feel the weight of Trisk on his head. He lifted it. The tiny dragon must have been asleep, herself.

“Are you feeling better?” she asked.

“Much, thank you.”

“Can you rise?” Tisk asked. “The Nal have a cart and are willing to transport you to the Morenth, but you are too heavy to lift.”

“The Morenth?” Farloft asked and Trisk drifted down to sit on his paw.

“The Morenth are the dragons who rule this land,” she explained. “They can mend your wing, but we must take you there. The Nal need to move on. Their livestock needs fresh grazing. They have eaten everything available here while they stayed to care for you.”

“I appreciate their help. I would have died without it.” Farloft tried to focus on the tiny dragon. “They are a kind people.”

“They are, and loyal subjects of the Morenth. There are several nomadic tribes. They take turns living with our rulers and they learn from one another. Let’s see if we can get you up and on the cart. It would be cooler to travel in the evening.”

Trisk flew back to Farloft’s head and began to kneed and hum. “This should help with the pain as you move. You’re going to be stiff when you first rise. Take your time and move slowly. The cart is to your left. If you can get aboard, we can do the rest. I would bring the Morenth here, but you will be much more comfortable once you get to them and it will allow the Nal to move on.”

Farloft rose slowly to his feet. Now that he was standing he could see the native humans had a herd of livestock. That was where the milk and meat had come from. They were funny looking animals with smooth coats of various colors, long legs and necks, no discernable tail, and lengthy horns. The bells he had heard were attached to the horns of each animal along with brightly colored streamers made of cloth ribbons. There were also tents nearby and numerous fires. He had not realized the tribe of humans was so large. He had really been too injured to be observant.

“What do the animals eat?” Farloft asked. “There’s nothing here.”

“They are resourceful animals, they eat the lichen, but it takes lots of it and they have eaten all of it that is available in this area while the Nal were tending you.”

Farloft had made it to the cart. It had two wheels and was filled with beautifully colored quilts.

“Climb aboard slowly,” Trisk instructed. Once you are settled they will hook up the teams.

The old woman and a young man held the cart down in the back so Farloft would have no difficult stepping onto it.

He put his front paws on and then advanced a bit more before the human’s let the cart rock forward and rest on the blocks that held it level.

Several humans brought up six of the odd animals and harnessed then to the tongue of the wagon with bright tackle. A young boy, no more than eight or nine years of age, sat astride the lead animal on a blanket woven in shades of red, orange and blue.

Farloft nestled down in the blankets. The old woman gently lifted his damaged wing in and tucked it beside him. With Trisk humming and massaging his horn buds he winced, but did not cry out like he would have had she not been working her magic.

“Trisk,” Farloft asked, “please thank the Nal for all they did for me.”

“I did and they wanted me to tell you that they are thankful they came along when they did and could help the baby dragon.”

“Baby?” Farloft sputtered a bit indignant of the label.

“Do not be offended,” Trisk said. “They have only seen my diminutive clan and the Morenth. You will see their reasoning when you meet the elder rulers.”

As if on cue, the little boy who sat astride the lead beast rolled out a long whip and with a flick of his wrist, he cracked the whip and the six creatures stepped forward as one.

Trisk settled down on Farloft’s head and began to hum and kneed once more. “Rest my young friend. We will be there shortly.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you'd like to get a heads-up on my latest book releases, sales, and freebies, make sure to sign up for my newsletter! And you don't have to worry about getting a bunch of junk - I only send it out when I really have something you might want to hear about.

* indicates required