Saturday, August 20, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 5

Farloft opened his eyes from his nap to find Trisk had been joined by two other dragons of her clan. The three sat above him on the branch of the tree, one was a deep burgundy color with a feathered mane of the palest pink, the other was a bright gold with a pale green mane. The three made the tree appear to have blossomed as they held their wings outstretched to catch the filtered sun bleeding though the leaves of the tree.

Mesanth was laying by his side breathing softly as she snoozed in the dappled sunshine. Farloft studied her as she slept. She was really a lovely dragon. Around her eyes and the bridge of her muzzle her golden scales took on a slightly lime green tint. When she opened her eyes, he realized that the coloring made her green eyes stand out even more.

Farloft’s pink tongue curled out in a huge yawn. “Afternoon,” he gulped out as he closed his huge maw.

“Did you have a nice nap?” Mesanth pulled herself up into a sitting position.

“I did…Did you?” Farloft rose to, but slower and with less agility. His wing still pained him, though not as much as yesterday or the day before.

Mesanth could no longer stifle the yawn brought on by observing Farloft’s. She pushed her front paws out in front of her and leaned back, standing and stretching like a giant cat, as she yawned in return. “I did.”

Farloft picked a flower from some he had not crushed by napping. When Mesanth rose back up from her stretch he slipped it between her ear and spiral curling horn.

She bowed her head and blushed, making the lime green of her muzzle darken to almost an emerald.

“Thank you,” she said.

Farloft ducked his head and grinned. He had never made advances toward a female before. He’d never had the desire. He thought maybe he was homesick or lonely, or maybe he just liked her.


Farloft’s interest in Mesanth was diverted by a scream from high above followed by the sound of a rock slide and a muffled roar. He swung his head around just in time to see the cascade of stone engulf a dragon on the rock shelf outside the cave they had been excavating.

A horn sounded from the cliff above. Its bleat was sharp and urgent.

“I must go,” Mesanth said. She sprinted away from him. Once she cleared the shade tree, she spread her wings and lifted off.

The two small dragons by Trisk took flight and followed Mesanth toward the cave-in.

“You should stay here,” Trisk said, as she also took to her wings.

“I can help dig,” Farloft protested.

Trisk stopped and hovered in front of him. “No, you should stay here. We don’t want you to injure your wing any further.” She did not wait for Farloft to respond, but turned to climb as fast as her tiny wings could carry her up to the ledge above.

It seemed to Farloft as if every dragon was headed there except him. In spite of Trisk’s warning, he decided to climb the path at least as far as his own small nesting area which was a level below and to the left of the cave-in.

It was an exhausting climb. Trisk was not there to ease his pain. He stopped periodically to look up and assess the state of the rescue efforts. At first, all he could see was the tail of what must have been the dragon who was being loaded when the collapse happened. The entry to the cave was totally covered by the debris from the slide.

As he got closer, he could see the other dragons making headway on digging their friend out. They dumped rock from the slide over the edge of the cliff and it tumbled down until it came to rest on the plain below. They had no regard for whether it was gemstone or just ordinary rock. All of it went over the side as they dug frantically, yet trying their best not to create an even bigger slide in the process.

Dragons flew up from the meadows below carrying their Nal partners. They seemed to have nothing to shore up the debris that continued to trickle and sometime tumble down upon the captives underneath and their rescuers.

Farloft’s eye caught a glimpse of something he thought might help. He tried to pick up his pace and hurried to the area. Rugarth was standing with his back to the trail.

There were two large male dragons holding back the crowd of Nal who were eager to help. The dragons were not letting the humans into harm’s way. Farloft nudged his way past them.

“Rugarth,” Farloft called, out of breath from his rush. He had broken into a trot and it had hurt like hell to have his wing jostled at his side.

Rugarth turned. “You shouldn’t be here. The cliff face could give way further and you can’t fly to get out of the way,” the older dragon chastised. “Go back with the humans.”

Farloft stopped where he was and sat down on his haunches in order to point. “Look!” He raised a large green paw. “The ledge above. It has gold in it. If a couple of dragons flew up and melted it a bit with dragon fire they could mold it over the loose stone to stabilize the cliff face.”

Rugarth followed Farloft’s gaze and saw what the youngling was pointing at. It was a heavy vein of gold just a few meters up from the top of the slide. They had all missed it in their hast to rescue the buried team.

“Indeed.” Rugarth felt hope for the first time since he heard the rumble of the rock slide and the call of the warning horn. “Cinoth! Kalinth! Bayloth!” He roared. “Look above…A river of gold.”

The three dragons he called to did not need to have the significance of the gold vein explained to them, nor what to do with it. They immediately spread their wings and lifted off to stabilize the slide. Fire melted metal and stone together, and the rock face became solid once again.

Mesanth, along with several other dragons, continued to dig and soon the rump of the buried dragon was visible.

There was a muffled voice which came from the depths of the cave.

“Quiet!” Mesanth said. “Listen.”

They all stopped working holding their breath as they leaned in to hear.

“It’s Darilth,” Mesanth called out to Rugarth. He says Pier is trapped under Laroth’s right wing.”

“Concentrate your efforts on that side,” Rugarth ordered.

“Pier is Laroth’s rider?” Farloft asked.

“Yes. Most likely Laroth covered her when the slide started in order to protect her, but she might smoother under the dragon’s wing if the weight of the stone is too much for Laroth to hold up.”

“I see the wing tip,” someone called.

“There’s boots,” one of the others yelled.

There was no keeping the Nal back any longer. They rushed forward to help. Many hands made for a quick reveal of the dragon’s wing and her rider beneath it. They gently pulled Piers out. She lay on her side coughing and spitting to clear the dust and dirt from her mouth and nose.

“Laroth,” she exclaimed, as soon as she could catch her breath. She started to rise to her feet, but swayed and fell back down.

Kennoith, who was among the Nal who rushed forward to help, patted Pier on the back. “We will get her out.” He gripped her shoulder and applied a cloth to the gash on her forehead. “Come sit over here and let me check you.”

The rider looked apprehensively toward her dragon partner.

“Come,” Kennoith encouraged her with a hand under her elbow. “They are working as fast as they can. Darilth is digging from his side too.” He brushed her hair away from the gash on her forehead and removed the cloth for a moment. Blood ran down the side of her face and dripped off her chin. He reapplied the cloth.

“Trisk!” he called. “Beetie!”

Farloft’s small friend appeared magically at the old man’s shoulder along with the small burgundy dragon Farloft saw earlier down on the plain.

Trisk immediately took up position on Pier’s shoulder.

“Beetie… See to Laroth,” Kennioth ordered.

Beetie flew off to land on the buried dragon’s wing. As they got more and more of Laroth uncovered the tiny dragon walked further toward the buried dragon’s head.

It was slow going even with dragon and Nal digging. When the other wing was uncovered it was evident that it was broken in several places.

Pier rose from her place being administered to by Kennoith. She went to stand by her friend’s side as the rumble was cleared away. Darilth pushed out the last of the stone for the other dragons to catch and remove from Laroth’s body. Darilth shook his head in dismay.

“She’s gone,” he said softly. “A large stone from the entry broke her neck.” He looked toward Pier. “It was quick. I do not think she felt much pain.”

Pier sank to her knees beside Laroth and buried her face in her hands. Kennoith tried to comfort her. “We never could have repaired her wings. They were damaged to badly.”

Pier wiped the tears from her face with her sleeve and looked out over her fallen partner’s body. “She wouldn’t have wanted to live if she couldn’t fly,” she sniffed.

“No, she wouldn’t have,” Kennoith agreed. He reached down and started to assist the rider to her feet. “Let’s get you down to my home where I can put some stitches in that cut on your head. Laroth saved you. Her spirit would never forgive me if I let anything happen to you now.”

Pier looked toward the dragons and Nal gathered around. “Thank you.”

They all bowed their heads in sorrow.

“We will tend to Laroth.” Rugarth motioned to the others. “We will move her to the mountain top and wait until you feel well enough to attend her passing.”

“Thank you, Rugarth.” Pier nodded. With Kennoith at her side and Trisk on her shoulder she walked off with the healer.

“You should join them youngling,” the dragon leader said to Farloft. “You look exhausted.”

Farloft nodded agreement. He was tired and sad. He hadn’t even had a chance to meet Laroth. Now he never would. He looked down at his own broken wing. It had to heal…heal completely. He had to get home.

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