Saturday, August 13, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 4

“Really, it is quite safe,” Farloft assured the dragons and human gathered around him.

The old dragon frowned, his brow gathering in furrows. Kennoith snuffed in derision, sending the bell at the end of his beard swinging. Mesanth who was allowed to stay after bringing his food and drink, rolled her lovely green eyes as she pinned them on Farloft's broken wing, and Trisk merely sat silently fanning her wings up and down like a resting butterfly.

“No, really, ‘jumping’ is very safe if done correctly.” Farloft nodded toward his wing. “This was my fault. I have had time to think about what happened. You have to keep the place you want to arrive at fixed in your mind. A gust of wind caught my wing at the crucial point in the jump and I let my mind wander. I thought of a storm and that jumped me here in the middle of the horrible wind.”

“The tunnel twister.” Trisk offered helpfully. She had spoken with the Nal who rescued Farloft and they told her about the twister which had plowed a furrow in the land the day before. Being familiar with the devastation those storms caused, they had avoided its path.

“In any case, it is a miracle you did not die, youngling.” Rugarth offered.

“Indeed,” Kennoith added. “We have lost both human and dragon friends to those weather demons in the past.”

“Demons?” Farloft asked.

“There is a beast within them,” Mesanth almost whispered. She was a youngling like Farloft. Her eyes were big and pale green when she fixed them on him to continue her tale. “They are what keeps the land so barren. They lay dominant for months and then when the rains come they come to life and roam over the land eating everything in their path”

“I didn’t see anything in the twister,” Farloft offered, using their name for the wind that had slammed him into the plain below.

“They are very small,” Trisk said, her tail seemed to curl tighter, in anxiety around her tiny paws. “But they eat a lot.”

“Everything in their path,” Mesanth added. She leaned a little closer to Trisk as though for protection.

“The younglings are not exaggerating.” Rugarth’s wedged head swayed from side to side. “They are nasty little beasts and to be avoided at all costs.”

Farloft just looked at his band of rescuers. This was a very strange land. His father had never told him about such a place or its inhabitants. Where had his ‘jump’ landed him?

“In any case, tell us about your clan and the land you live in.” Rugarth settled down with his head propped on his paws.

Kennioth sat down on the smooth rock floor of the cave next to the nest Farloft was in and leaned back against the larger dragon’s chest. Rugarth affectionately pulled Kennioth in tighter to his chest with one paw. The old man patted the paw. Farloft noted they were very comfortable with each other.

Mesanth sat down on her haunches, her small golden ears perked up in attention.

Trisk fluttered over to land on Mesanth’s arched wing. She too sat quietly down and started to groom her tiny paws as she listened to Farloft’s tale unfold.

“Our land is called North Trairdon. It is one of four known continents of the humans on our world and five unexplored continents they have not been to, but we dragons know exist. It is very different from your land. It is filled with trees, some quite huge and the land is green with grasses in the plains and ferns beneath the trees. It rains a lot, but usually gently, not like your twister rain.” Farloft stopped to take a drink from the bowl Mesanth had brought him. “My father is one of the elders of our clan, my mother too. I have one older brother and a younger sister. My brother, Dragdal, is out exploring. In my clan, once a dragon reaches a certain age they travel to grow more, see new lands, often start a new clan.”

“Will you start a new clan here?” Mesanth asked with interest.

“I don’t think so.” Farloft’s thoughts immediately reverted to his father. Mandrake would be worried about him. He would have no idea where he had jumped to. Heck, Farloft didn’t really know where he had landed. “Do you know which continent this is?” he asked with interest. Perhaps it wasn’t that far from home.

“I’m sorry, youngling,” Rugarth said softly. “I think your ‘jump’ has taking you very far from your home. He fixed Farloft with a sympathetic stare. There are only two continents on this world and a sprinkling of islands.”

Farloft’s heart skipped a beat and then began to pound. He had ‘jumped’ to a new world? How was that even possible? Father had never said anything like this could happen.

“The Moreth and Nal share both continents. Some of the islands are inhabited, others are used for rituals and gatherings. We are divided into the Northern and Southern clans. You are here with the Southern clan. The Northern clans hunt and fish, their Nal friends are mostly acquaintances. They do not live together as we do here in the South.”

Trisk spoke up, “My clan is wherever the Moreth are. We think of ourselves as Moreth even though we are obviously a different clan.”

“Our lives are enriched by the presence of our smaller clan members,” Rugarth complimented in his deep baritone voice.

“And ours with your clan,” Trisk returned the compliment.

“But…” Farloft hesitated. “How did I get here? I have never heard of such an outcome from a jump. How can I be on another world?”

“Since we only fly here,” the old dragon explained. “I really cannot tell you. You will have to figure that one out for yourself.”

And how to get back, Farloft thought. How was he ever going to get home?

“Until your wing heals, I am afraid you are stuck with us,” Kennoith said, as he rose from the floor. “We will have plenty of time to talk and get to know each other’s ways. For now, you should rest. Tomorrow if you are strong enough Trisk and Mesanth can take you on a tour of our community.”


“This is wonderful.” Farloft’s golden eyes whirled, as he bit down into yet another of the juicy fruit offered to him by the human.

“We call them water-melons because they have so much juice in them,” Mesanth explained. They had walked the winding trail down from the stone wall aviary to the plain below.

Farloft licked the juices from his muzzle with a long pink tongue. “They are delicious. We don’t have anything like this at home. Well, not in my clan area anyway,” he corrected himself. He had not been to the other continents so he really did not know for sure, but he was sure if his father had eaten anything this delicious he would have told them about it.

“Probably too wet where you are,” Trisk offered from her perch on his head. She had taken up her position when they started out, humming pleasantly in order to control his pain levels. “They take a lot of heat to produce.”

Farloft turned over the half eaten melon in his paw. “You would think they would come from a place with lots of water, rather than someplace so dry. It seems backward.”

“Well, I for one, am pleased it is that way. I could not imagine life without water-melons,” Mesanth said around her own mouthful of melon.

“Thank you, Oren, for the melon,” Trisk said to the human.

“You’re most welcome, little one.” Oren doffed his straw hat and bowed. “The crop is plentiful this year. Stop by anytime.”

The three dragons finished their melon and then moved on to lay in a grassy field below a large shade tree. They had to share it with part of the large herd of native beasts, but they didn’t mind. It was cool and their stomachs were full.

Farloft watched the dragons overhead on the cliff face excavating another cave. Other dragons flew in with their Nal partners to pick up the rock and dirt to be sifted through and the gems deposited in the giant natural tumbler to be cleaned and shines.

To Farloft’s eyes, the Moreth did not seem to belong to the same clan. Unlike his clan at home who were all shades of green, the Moreth were a multitude of colors and many had several colors to their body or wings. There seemed to be no end to the variation of their scales. Like the Nal who worked hand and paw with them, they were all brightly colored. Farloft wondered if the Nal had acquired their taste for colorful clothing by looking at the diversity of their dragon friends.

“Oh, look,” Trisk pointed with a wing, which took it out over Farloft’s muzzle like the sight on a rifle. “They are preparing to divert the waters to collect the tumbled gems.”

They all watched as several dragons lined up on a shelf just above the swirling pool the gems were being tumbled in. The first was large and golden like Mesanth with black around his eyes and on the tips of this wings. The second was a deep burgundy shade on her body with wings in shades of burgundy, to deep red on the tips. The third was a eye catching jet black with a mask of teal blue and the same blue on his paws. They brought their wings forward and in one swift motion they opened them to create an awning over the pool. They tilted their wings to the left and the water cascaded off them and down into a lower neighboring pool.

Several Nal, and youngling dragons, hurried to the pool and began to shovel and scoop out the gems into wheel barrels and carts. The sun reflected off the stones and created rainbows of refracted color over the wall of the aviary and the plains below. It was magical.

“I wish my Father could see this,” Farloft said. “It is amazing.” His golden eyes whirled.

“I think we dragons see it differently than the humans.” Mesanth said softly, almost in awe. “They just see it as something to trade. We think of it more like treasure. Rugarth says it is our ‘hoarding genes.’” She chuckled.

Without thinking Farloft leaned over and rubbed his cheek against Mesanth’s. The scales around her eyes brightened and she looking at him in surprise.

“Sorry,” he offered, as he pulled back. “I guess I was just feeling…” his voice trailed off, because he didn’t think he should say the idea of a hoard made him think of home and feel so lonely.

“That’s okay.” Mesanth smiled shyly and rose to her feet. “We should get you back to the nest so you can take a nap.”

Farloft rolled over in the grass, sending Trisk fluttering up to land in the branches of the tree above. "I think I'm too tired to climb the path." He picked a flower and offered it to Mesanth. "Let's just nap here for a bit."

Mesanth took the flower and sat down beside him. "Perhaps for a little while."

Art by Bluekite-Falls of Deviant Art

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