Saturday, October 15, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 13

“Colith!” Tempith roared.

The female dragon had been set upon by three of the flying contraptions of the swamp pirates. Their weapons cut into her flesh as they strafed across her. The sharp metal of their wings kept her from grabbing them by paw or teeth and throwing them into a spin. Every time she reached for one, it tucked its wings and dove in to rip another line across her vulnerable stomach or wing.

As the others tried to run toward the outcrop that jutted up out of the swamp to their right, Rugarth and Tempith did their best to fend off the pirates, but Colith’s wing had been injured in the first few minutes of battle and she had fallen behind. Her baskets of precious gems kept the pirates on her tail trying to drive her to ground.

“Go!” Colith roared, as she did her best to fend them off. “Take the rest and fly!”

Tempith didn’t want to turn her back on the young dragoness, but she and Rugarth could not divide their forces either. The lightning from one of the pirate’s weapons made her decision for her, it barely missed her wing. She turned and pumped hard in order to catch up with the other fleeing dragons.

They did their best to stay out front of the enemy. Farloft looked over his shoulder when he heard scream and saw Colith plummet toward the ground, her wings flapping, broken, useless as his had been after the twister demon got to him.

The twister demon… Farloft’s mind fixated on that incident. It was just like this. He had not stood a chance against the power of it. Could the pirate’s machines be defeated by a demon? The youngling stopped his forward progress with the rest of the fleeing party.

“Farloft!” Mesanth cried in alarm. “What are you doing?”

“Go! Keep going…I will catch up,” he called, as he fell back with Rugarth and Tempith where they flew up behind them.

“Go!” Rugarth ordered him with a roar that would have scared him had he not known the old dragon was on his side.

“Rugarth, I have an idea,” he said, as he fell back beside their leader. “Bring the twister demons here!” he hollered. “There is a cleft in the outcrop. We can hide there. Then you all need to visualize the demons to call them to us.”

Rugarth buffeted Farloft with his wing. “Stop talking nonsense and get to the outcrop.”

A flash of the lightening weapon ricocheted off Tempith’s armor. Rugarth reached out and grabbed Farloft in his paws, he rolled and put his armored back toward the lightening. It struck him and Farloft could feel the impact through the old dragon’s arms.

“It will work,” Farloft said before Rugarth released him. “We can hide and you can all conjure up your demons to help us out of this mess.” Farloft pushed as hard as his wings would catch at the air and sped swiftly toward the outcrop where the others had already landed and were taking refuge in a cave.

Rugarth and Tempith landed on the outcrop outside the cleft. They followed the others putting their armored backs between their dragon friends and the sting of the pirate’s assault.

“It will work,” Farloft assured the dragons. “You are the best visualizers I have ever met outside of my clan. Visualize your nightmares. Bring your twister demons here. Let them work for you this time, instead of running from them.”

“It’s worth a try,” Daldrath spoke up.

“What else is there to do?” Aleneth agreed.

Zeneath sat licking her wing where a pirate had strafed it with his weapon. She would not be flying anymore today, at least not far and definitely not fast.

Rugarth shook his head. They were all so young and so inexperienced. There was no getting out of this mess. If there had been any other way to the Isles he would have taken it. Even if they made it, would they ever be able to bring their precious cargo back this way? He had hoped the armor would make them a match for the pirates. Instead, it merely slowed them down and made the others under his protection easier targets.

Tempith added her voice to the other’s. “What will it hurt to try?” She closed her eyes as another blast hit her armor.

“Alright,” Rugarth conceded. “Everyone close your eyes and try to concentrate.”

Farloft didn’t join in the exercise. As far as he knew he had never created a twister demon, those were this clan’s magic, or nightmare, depending on how you looked at it. Instead, he craned his neck in order to peek over Rugarth’s shoulder. He strained to see if the dragon’s thoughts could bring them salvation.

It started small. Farloft would have missed it entirely except for the gap that was created in the swamp mist by the swirling mass that was collecting at its edge. The twisting winds of the demons that started to form on either side behind the pirates were not noticed until they began to suck the fog into their cones of swirling, violent air. Pieces of the swamp, branches, water, turf, were all being lifted up into the twister before the pirates heard the sound of the demons over the engines of their flying machine. By then it was too late.

At first there were three twister demons, but then out of their mass came a fourth, and a fifth, and finally a sixth. They descended on the pirates, catching them up one by one, they flung them at speeds that ripped their machines apart and the humans from their cockpits. The mangled machines fell to the ground to be sucked under by the ooze. One was rocketed out into space by a twister, only to be caught by another which hurled it against the rock face of the outcrop. Within minutes the twisters had mangled and destroyed the full complement of pirates.

Farloft placed his paws on Rugarth’s shoulder and shook him. “Enough!” he roared. “It’s over!”

Rugarth blinked and Farloft saw the largest of the twister demons start to dissipate. Rugarth bumped his wing against Tempith at his side. When her eyes opened, Farloft witnessed yet another twister disappear into the gathering mist of the swamp.

As each dragon woke another, the twisters lost their force and oozed back into the fog of the swamp.

“It worked!” Farloft said joyously. “Unless the pirates have forces they did not deploy, we are free of them.”

Rugarth turned to look out over the swamp. He could see the glint of twisted metal peek out of the fog as the sun’s rays hit them before the mist engulfed the last of the wreckage. The youngling dragon had been right. He had helped them defeat their enemy. An enemy that had separated them from their most precious treasure for generations. He reached out and pulled Farloft into his arms and hugged him with such force Farloft’s breath was knocked out of him.

Foggy Swamp by Daniel Young

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