Saturday, October 8, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 12

Gord was unlike anything Farloft had ever seen in his world, or in this one. The colony was huge and the buildings were tall spires made up of steel and glass that reflected the sky and clouds around them. The dragons sailed in among them tilting their wings and catching the thermals and wind tunnels created by their height and close proximity. Rugarth lead them to the largest, and tallest, of all the towers, where he landed and tucked his wings in order to sit.

They all followed his example and lined up in a group behind him to wait.

It wasn’t long before a committee of Gord emerged from a door on the roof to join them. They were all dressed the same, male and female, in pantsuits of varying shades of gray with only a band around their upper left arm as a symbol of their rank within the community – red being the highest official, down through blue, to green, and finally to yellow. All colors were represented in the reception committee.

“Greetings,” the red offered as he approached the trading party. “I hope your trip was uneventful.” He eyed the baskets slung over the six female’s shoulders. “Have you brought the merchandise?”

“We have.” Rugarth waved all but Baleth forward with a wing. She was carrying the small gems for the Isles.

The females stepped up in a line, lowered their bodies down so the baskets rested on the roof and then scooted backward in order to free themselves of their burdens. The Gord all stepped forward and began to paw through the rough cut stones.

“These will do nicely,” the red man proclaimed as he laid a handful of the stones back in the basket. “The payment?”

“As agreed upon on our last trip.” With both paws and wings, Rugarth pulled the baskets back toward his party and sat back down on his haunches. “I would like to see our payment before relinquishing these.” He squinted his eyes as he looked toward the red man and his fellow humans. “You understand.”

“Of course,” the human leader answered. “Of course.” He shooed the greens and yellows off the roof and settled himself on the bench along the far wall with the remaining two blue men to wait.

Within a very short time, Farloft heard a most unusual sound. Like the cascade of water over a falls, mixed with a swoosh of wind and the thump of something metallic. Overhead, a flying vehicle unlike anything he had ever seen descended. A huge crate dangled from a series of long chains below it. The vehicle lowered the crate, the chains were unhooked by the blues, and the flying machine left as quickly as it had appeared.

The red man came forward and with a key around his neck he unlocked the crate. The blue men removed the lid. With it gone, the sides lowered slowly to the roof revealing a mound of metal. At first Farloft did not know what to make of it. When Rugarth moved up to it and lifted a piece the youngling realized it was armor. Rugarth held a helmet in his paw. A helmet fit for a dragon.


They did not linger in Gord. Farloft could feel the distrust and felt the same desire as the others to be out of this land. Rugarth slipped on his armor. There was another set for Tempith as well.

Rugarth beat his metal plated chest with a paw as he flew out of Gord headed toward the swamps that separated the dragons from the Isles of Ryland and the end of their mission. “This will be the answer to the pirates should they attack. This time we are prepared.”

Tempith roared her approval from beneath her coat of armor.


With the light load of small gemstones to be traded in the Isles, now distributed between the five females in their baskets, they were able to make good time. They landed several miles into the swamp on a higher patch of dry ground. Rugarth and Tempith remained in their armor.

Mesanth lay between Farloft and Tempith admiring her refection in the metal of the plate running along the dragoness’ side and down on her hip. “It is such beautiful workmanship.”

“The Gord make exceptional metal work.” Rugarth was sitting up looking out over the swamp. Keeping watch. “The Lanis have not perfected the trade to such a degree.”

“Speaking of which, that looks like Dragon steel,” Baleth said. “Did you help the Gord forge it on the last trip?”

“No,” Rugarth answered, as he turned his back on the group to concentrate on the view out over the swamp.

“Where did they get it from?” Mesanth asked innocently.

Unlike Farloft, she had not figured out the origin as soon as Rugarth said it was not of his doing.

“It came from the raids on the Lanis, through the land of Tilmor,” Farloft answered for their leader. “It is the reason Dresda lost her mate.” He looked toward Tempith and knew he was correct by the pained expression on her face. “That’s the reason Tempith was willing to stay behind and help the humans.”

“Go to sleep, Farloft,” Rugarth said without turning from his position surveying the swamp.

Farloft settled down with his head on his paws. The dragons owed the Tilmor. He hoped the ones they left behind were paying their debt without complaint.


The morning came late and the swamp was shrouded in a dense fog.

“We will walk until the fog clears,” Rugarth declared. “Everyone stay close. Avoid the pools. Some are quicksand.”

Farloft was amazed at how fast the landscape had changed. The growing fields that stretched from horizon to horizon and lay under a bright blue sky, had morphed into a gooey quagmire under a hot, sticky haze which made even a dragon miserable. They trudged along for what seemed like hours. The sun never truly rose, the fog never dissipated. All you could hear was the croak of frogs, the buzz of insects and the squish of waterlogged soil under dragon paws.

Farloft wondered how Rugarth and Tempith kept going under their armor? Nightfall couldn’t come soon enough for the party of dragons. When it did, they sought out another higher piece of ground and settled down on it.

Farloft heard Mesanth’s jaws snap shut. He looked her direction just in time to see her toss a dead snake into the swampy ooze around them.

“I hate snakes,” she declared.

Farloft slept with one eye open that night. If anything could give the dragons nightmares, it would be this horrid place. He couldn’t imagine being trapped in this swamp along with a twister demon.

When sunrise came the next day conditions were no better.

“We will have to rise above the swamp,” Rugarth announced to his small troop.

Farloft wondered why it took him this long to decide to fly. His question was answered as soon as they broke out of the fog into the sunlight and the clear air. The pirates were waiting.

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