Saturday, October 22, 2016

Isle of Mystery - Chapter 14

It was three days later and the dragon party sat behind a long table with the remainder of their gems spread before them. There had been no further contact with pirates on their journey through the last of the swamp to the Isles of Ryland.

The people of Ryland welcomed them with open arms. They prepared a feast and brought them presents of jeweled collars and gilded arm cuffs. The human children wove garlands of flowers to drape over the dragon’s heads and ringed their horns with bands of silver and gold.

“Is the dragon steel for trade,” one merchant asked, as he approached the table. “It would make some truly amazing crowns and pendants with the addition of a few of these fine stones.” He waved his hand at the gems scattered across the long table.

“I would like to make you a gift of mine,” Tempith said with a nod. “If I might commission a piece in return to be picked up by Rugarth on his return journey.”

The merchant bowed his thanks. “That could easily be arranged, if the commission is not too large.”

“A necklace. Not too ostentatious. It goes to someone deserving, but not one for ornamentation. A piece with this gem.” Tempith lifted a blue sapphire from the pile of stones. It matched the color of her scales.

“It will be done,” the merchant agreed. He waved his two assistants to gather up the armor.

“Take mine as well,” Rugarth added. “I will have no use for it in the future. See that you melt it down and make lovely things out of it. And see that the buyers do not pay for the metal, but only your time and the gems you install in it. That is my wish.”

“It shall be done.” The merchant bowed and smiled at the dragons over his good fortune. “I will have the commissioned piece ready upon your return and it will be splendid,” he assured the dragons.


Later that evening Farloft overheard Tempith talking to Rugarth after they thought all the other dragons were asleep.

“I want you to give the necklace to Dresda and tell her that upon my return, that me, and mine, will be staying with her people if she will have us,” Tempith whispered.

“You intend to leave the clan?” Rugarth asked in shock.

“We owe her, Rugarth. It is as good as if we ordered her husband killed when we commissioned the armor from the Gord. We should have known what would happen. We should have predicted they would raid Tilmor for the dragon steel rather than using their own metal. We told them we wanted the best!”

Rugarth shook his head. “What about Naldareth?”

“Bring my mate when you come to trade next time. Leave him with the Gord to harvest and I will join him there.”

“And the threat of the twister demons?” Rugarth asked. It was always what kept the dragon clan at the wall. The wall deflected the demons.

“Farloft has shown us that we can control them. Perhaps I can teach my young to rule their thoughts at an early age. At least, I want to try. We owe the Gord,” she repeated. “I will join them and help them all I can for the rest of my life.” The dragoness laid down and placed her head on her paws.

“Will you tell Dresda?”

“No… Maybe… One day… If the time is right.”

Rugarth lay down beside Tempith and placed a comforting wing over her. “I will see that she gets your gift and your message.”


They hopped from isle to isle along the Ryland chain over the next few days. On each island they were greeted with smiles and gifts.

When they lifted off for the last island in the chain Farloft asked if this was their ultimate destination.

Rugarth shook his head. “Our last stop is out there,” he pointed with a wing toward a smoldering peak way off in the distance, across a wide expanse of ocean. “All will be revealed soon, my young friend.”


Trisk rode on Farloft’s shoulder as he wandered through the marketplace of the last isle in the Ryland chain. Through a break in the stalls he could see the smoldering peak far off in the distance.

“What’s out there, Trisk?” He wished he could just take off and fly over. His curiosity was killing him.

“I don’t know,” Trisk admitted. “I will be as surprised as you are. My clan just refers to it as the Isle of Mystery.”

“Fresh Sweet Melon!” a vendor called, “Fresh Sweet Melon!”

Farloft’s nose caught the scent at the same time. He shook his head and pulled his thoughts back to the task at hand. Rugarth had given him some gem stone chips to trade for anything he wanted in the marketplace. He told Farloft that the people would be happy to take the small stones for any trinket he might like to take home with him. The older dragon wanted him to have something as a token from his travels that he could have to show and place in his personal hoard.

The marketplace was one of the largest he had been to on their trip. The aisles were wide and accommodated even something as large as a dragon among the human population.

Farloft had other ideas of what he was going to trade for with his stone chips. He had enlisted Trisk to help him find a special gift for Mesanth. The lovely golden dragon had been Farloft’s companion almost since he arrived in this world. He was grateful to her, and if he truly admitted it to himself, he had special feelings for her which he had never had for another female.

Trisk was sweet and had also been of unsurmountable assistance, but her clan was so diminutive he could only think of her as a friend. Mesanth was… well… she was different.

Farloft looked around him at all the colorful vendor’s stalls. People strolled by him as if he were just another overly large human. “Where should we start?” He couldn’t imagine walking up and down all the aisles.

“Look to the poles.” Trisk pointed with a tiny paw. There was a pole at the corner of each stall that stuck far above the heads of the people. They were hung with brightly colored strips of cloth. Strands of yarn with bells dangled from their tops and tinkled in the light breeze. “The green banners indicate produce, the red - meat, the blue – pottery, yellow – clothing, gold and silver are precious metals and jewelry, pink and purple - lady’s items, and lastly brown and ochre - tools and men’s items.”

“Then we should seek out the gold banners,” Farloft said decisively. He was on a mission.

“Over there,” Trisk pointed with a wing out over Farloft’s muzzle in order to get his attention.

There, on the table of a vendor’s stall, below a gold banner, lay an array of shiny bobbles and bangles.

Farloft approached and sat down on his haunches before the merchant’s table. He tried his best to curl his tail up around his feet to keep it out of the passer-by’s way.

There was a wide selection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings of gold on display.

“A bracelets would make a lovely ring for one of her horns,” Trisk suggested.

Farloft lifted a large paw and pointed with a claw. “I like that one.” The bracelet hung from a display hook in the shape of a bird's head. It looked like a crown with rubies circling the bottom and emeralds curling upward from the ring to fashion what looked like green leaves. It would be perfectly lovely on Mesanth.

The merchant picked it up and held it out from under the awning of his table so the light could catch it. The bracelet sparkled and shinned in the sunlight.

“That is a beautiful dazzler.” Farloft grinned with delight.

“It is lovely.” Trisk flew over and landed on the man’s outstretched arm. “It would look wonderful on her. And, I know she would delight in the feather. It makes it very unique.”

Farloft dug in the small basket hanging around his neck and pulled out the stones Rugarth gave him. “Will these be enough?”

Trisk sailed over to land on the table.

The merchant looked over the stones as Farloft dumped them from his paw onto the edge of the table by Trisk. The man scratched his beard in thought and hesitated.

“Is it not enough?” Farloft asked a little despondent. Now that he had found the perfect treasure, he had his heart set on it.

The vendor spoke to Trisk in the language of his people. Trisk responded back. The vendor shook his head. The tiny dragon spoke and flapped her wings.

A young boy peeked his head from behind the curtain of the stall. He was perhaps ten or twelve and had a curious look on his face. The vendor shook his head again. Trisk spoke and did a loop in the air above Farloft’s head. The boy came out to stand by his father and began to pull on the man’s tunic, obviously pleading for something.

“What’s going on?” Farloft asked Trisk.

“Just a bit of trading,” Trisk grinned. She spoke to the merchant again and he finally nodded and scooped up the gems from the table.

“The bracelet is worth a bit more than you have,” Trisk told Farloft, “but I have negotiated something in addition for trade.”

The young boy came around the table with a grin that almost cracked his face in half. He stood before Farloft expectantly.

“You are to give the young master a ride,” Trisk announced. “A gallop around the meadow outside the city walls and then a short flight.” Trisk settled on Farloft’s muzzle. “Take care you don’t break him or the trade is void and you lose both stones and bracelet.”


The young boy on Farloft’s back whooped and hollered in delight as the young dragon loped around the meadow. The child was light and his grip on Farloft’s horns was strong. His legs were totally wrapped around Farloft’s neck and his feet hooked together below his chin. The boy was not going to fall off. In fact, Farloft hoped the lad would eventually let him go when the ride was over. He was truly enjoying himself, so much so that the young dragon was really getting into giving this boy a ride he would remember for a lifetime.

Farloft picked up speed and then sprang into the air. He gave his wings a strong downward thrust and they were airborne. The boy screamed in glee. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around Farloft’s neck. The merchant hollered something from the ground. Trisk fluttered up before him and seemed to calm his fears. The man settled himself with arms crossed over his chest.

Farloft pumped his wings with long steady strokes. He was pleased to feel the tension in the wing that had been broken was gone. It felt just as strong and capable as the other. He tilted his wings so the boy could look down and see his father and the crowd below them. He felt the lad’s arms grip him tighter, but he did not cry out. He was fearless.

Faroft flew the lad through a cloud and laughed along with the boy’s squeal of excitement. Then he set his wings and they sailed in big, lazy circles slowly down to the ground to land in the meadow before the father.

Farloft sat down on his haunches in order to make it easier for the lad to dismount. The boy slipped off and hugged him around the neck, before running to his father chattering away in their native tongue.

The merchant patted the boy on the shoulder and then approached Farloft. He pulled a green velvet bag out of the purse at his waist. He opened the drawstrings and dumped the bracelet Farloft has chosen out into his hand. He showed it to the dragon for his approval, then slipped it back in and drew up the string again. He handed it over to Farloft with a nod and a slight bow.

“The trade is complete,” Trisk announced, settling on Farloft's shoulder. “The bracelet is yours, with the merchant’s and his son’s thanks.”

“Tell them it was my pleasure,” Farloft said with a nod toward the man and his son. “I have never had a more fearless rider.”

The boy, and the man, beamed at Farloft’s translated words.

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