Saturday, September 17, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 9

“We’ll buy new ones when we get to Gildon.” Tempith tossed the broken basket to the side of the trail. She and Pier finished redistributing her load. She was one of ten females on the trading mission. “We have to have new strong ones. They will hold precious cargo on the way home.”

Farloft handed Pier the last of the stones that spilled out when the bottom of the basket gave out. “Even more precious than these?” he asked, as he handed her a large emerald and what looked like a rough cut diamond.

“Far more,” Tempith said in a laughing voice. She was a large blue dragon with a lovely pattern of rose splashed like wet paint across the breadth of her wings.

“I can’t wait to get to the meadows beyond Gildon,” Pier said, changing the subject. “I have never seen dragons hunt.”

“We’re going to hunt?” Farloft said with enthusiasm.

“Indeed we will, by then we will be short on supplies.” Tempith flexed her shoulders and stretched out her wings in order to settle her load more comfortably on her back. “In the fields approaching Lanis there are huge herds of Yalos. They are large four legged creatures with lots of fur, but when it is scorched off, they are very tasty.” Tempith licked her lips in anticipation.

“I haven’t ever hunted before,” Mesanth said, as the group started to move forward again, following the rest of the dragons marching further south.

“Never hunted?” Farloft asked in wonder. His family, or others in their clan, hunted almost daily.

“No need to at home. The Nal provide our food from their herds,” Mesanth reminded him. “Of course, I fished before coming to the wall.”

“You haven’t always lived there?” Farloft had not heard of any dragon clans other than the Moreth and their tiny companions.

“None of us start at the wall,” Mesanth answered. “Didn’t you notice there are no hatchlings about in the community?”

“I did notice they were absent, but I just assumed they were off in a nursery or something.” Farloft studied Mesanth. “Where were they?”

“Where are they?” Rugarth butted in when he came up behind them. “And that is something you will see in time. It is a surprise.” He winked at Mesanth making her his conspirator. Rugarth nudged Farloft in the hip with his nose. “Until then, why don’t you and Mesanth exercise your wings. Fly up to that peak,” he pointed with a tilt of his horned head, “and see how far we are from the edge of the forests of Gildon. They should be in sight.”

Trisk flitted from Farloft’s back to Rugarth’s as the younglings spread their wings and took to the air.

“So, you are not going to tell him?” Trisk teased.

“No, I want to surprise him. It will be the highlight of the journey.” Rugarth grinned, as he watched the two speed away to the peak above.

The young dragon seemed to be doing well keeping up with Mesanth. His wing had mended neatly. By the time they got back to the home wall he would be ready to try his ‘jump’ back home. The old dragon shook his head. He almost wished he could convince the youngling to stay. Kennioth was right, he had become fond of Farloft in a very short time. He could attribute that to not having a youngling around for several years. Even Mesanth was old compared to the young visitor.

He looked toward them again. Perhaps he wouldn’t have to convince Farloft to stay. Perhaps Mesanth would. The two were becoming quite close and the young female had not chosen a mate yet. Rugarth grinned and walked on.


They arrived at the forests of Gildon just as the sun was setting and it was magical…

Farloft was amazed as he saw several of the community fly out to meet the dragon traders. If they had been smaller and at home, Farloft would have considered them fairies, but here they were human sized figures with gossamer wings. No wonder they very rarely touched ground.

The reception committee led the dragons into the forest. The Gildon lived in tear shaped woven baskets with platforms all around the bottom creating circular porches. From the porches hung long vines almost to the forest floor. The baskets hung from the trees like giant pods and were connected by swinging bridges. The pods were lit from within, and the railing on the bridges sported smaller tear shaped baskets, at intervals, that glowed.

Rugarth had taken the lead, but Tempith held back to walk with the younglings and Trisk.

“The vines you see hanging down from their porches are what they grow to make their baskets. It is very strong and has multiple tendrils that wrap themselves around and around, creating the strength.” She pointed with a wing. “Their homes and the bridge lighting is made by Bizzle light,” Tempith explained as they approached. “The Bizzle are small pollinating insects which generate a light when well fed and housed. The Gildon build them those lovely, little community baskets to live in that you can see on the rails. The Bizzle repay them with light at night and a sweet nectar which the Gildon harvest and sell to us for our consumption and to trade with the Lanis on further down the trail.”

“Will we get to taste the nectar?” Farloft asked. He was interested to see if it tasted like the honey from home. It had been a while since he had something to pleasure his sweet tooth.

“Indeed we will.” Tempith smiled at the thought. “Tonight there will be a big festival and we will show off our smaller stones, while they try to sway our price with promises of more Bizzle nectar and a wealth of useful baskets.”

“Some are woven so tightly they can hold water,” Mesanth said in awe. “Kennoith showed me one he has that Rugarth brought back for him on the last trip.”

“How many trips have you been on?” Farloft asked Tempith. She seemed to know a lot about the trail and the people along the way.

“This is my seventh, youngling.”

“Have you ever seen the pirates?” Farloft had been fascinated by the idea of seeing humans in flying machines since he heard of them from Rugarth. They would be far more unique then the flying Gildon.

“Indeed, I have.” Tempith tossed her head back over her shoulder. “See that scar on my hip? That was from one of their lightning bolts. I had to stay behind to recover in the Isles of Ryland until the next trade mission.”

Farloft dropped back to have a closer look at the scar running across the older female’s left hip.

“Hope that we do not run into them this time. It is not near as much fun as a night with the Gildon.” Tempith picked up the pace toward the tree homes and the Bizzle nectar that awaited the dragon traders.


Rugarth nudged Farloft with his muzzle to wake him up. “Time to move, young one.”

Farloft’s first eyelid rose, but the second refused to obey him. Whatever the Bizzle nectar was, it was not honey, more like something fermented. It had tasted delicious last night, but this morning his stomach was rolling and his head was fuzzy.

“Can’t we stay her a bit longer?” Farloft groaned and rubbed at his eyes with a paw.

“Our trading is done here,” Rugarth said. “Come on. Mesanth has some breakfast for you.”

“Not Bizzle nectar, I hope.” Farloft rose unsteadily to his feet.

Rugarth chuckled and nudged the youngling toward the waiting food. “No…No more Bizzle nectar for you, my friend.”


The Yalos were like long haired deer and just as quick. Luckily, Farloft had recovered from his hangover by the time the dragon train came up on the huge herd. The vast numbers of the beasts made the rolling hills they populated seem to undulate as though covered with brown fur. The hunting was easy. If you managed to miss one, you just had to pick out another very close at hand and redirect your efforts. That night everyone slept with a full belly.

They spent several days hunting and feasting. Rugarth said it would be after Lanis before they would have an opportunity to feast so plentifully again. Between here and there, it would be fruits and vegetables as a main diet, no meat.

“In Lanis we will trade for iron tools, as many as we can carry, because the Tilmor always look to us to deliver them. They have the seeds and any plants that catch Olar’s eye.” Rugarth gnawed on a leg bone as he spoke. “Then on to Gord where we unload the last of the rough cut diamonds for their machinery.”

Olar carved a slice of cooked Yalos off the beast over the fire and handed it to Pier. He was not only from a Nal farming family, but also training to be a rider for the mining operation at the wall. Pier had actually been advising him prior to losing Laroth.

“Alto told me to keep an eye out for any fruit trees that might grow in our area. He also wanted me to see if I could get more of that wile-grain for the lower fields. He said it has a nice short growing season and did not deplete the soil as much as the niglen-grain.”

Alto was the head of the Nal farming community. He could not be spared from the site so close to harvest time, so Rugarth and he decided to bring Olar since he knew farming and could ride a dragon if the need arose. It was not just any Nal who had the courage to partner and ride one of their winged friends. Nal were not standing in line waiting for the opportunity to become dragon riders.

“And some of the bitter/sweet melon seeds,” Pier added. “I loved those last season.”

“I think we all did,” Trisk spoke up. “Even the seeds were good roasted.” She burped and a lick of fire escaped her lips. “Excuse me.” She grinned.

Olar took a piece of skin from his pocket and with a burnt stick from the fire added melon to his seed list.

“And paper and writing instruments from the Isles of Ryland,” Rugarth said, noting Olar’s lack of those basic tools.

“Indeed,” the young man said and jotted down the items on his list.

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