Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Gathering of Dragons - Chapter Six

“I grabbed at him, but I missed!” Farloft shook his head in dismay.

All the dragons in the hall were hanging on every word of his tale of the Zonguldak Ruby and the fate of James. Not a word was said. Not a single wing rustled.

“He plummeted faster and faster toward the ground. He was going to die… crushed on the rocks below.” Farloft let out a big sigh and hung his head. He could feel the anticipation of his audience. Unlike the folks at home who knew that James made it through this ordeal safely, this gathering thought the story might have a sad ending. The tale of the ruby has not been hopeful thus far.

“I watched him fall. There was no way I could catch up to him.” Farloft lifted his head. “But just when I had given up hope, I saw his wings start to morph. The lead flew away like leaves from a dying tree and his wings were exposed. At the last possible moment, he spread them and glided safely across the meadow, dusting the tops of the autumn grass with his belly.”

The humans clapped and whistled. The dragons roared and struck their empty mead bowls on their platforms in applause.

Farloft rose, spread his wings, and bowed politely to his audience. “Thank you. Thank you. You are too kind.”

Trekk, at his side, wing bumped him. “That was a fine tale. I will have to add it to mine.”

This was the third story of the night and it was getting late. Adult dragons and humans started to gather up their young and head for home. Trekk patted the furs at his side inviting Farloft to stay. The dragon’s former student settled down.

“I am going back to the rookery,” Snow announced with a yawn and a ruffle of his feathers. “It has been a long evening.”

“I will be up shortly,” Farloft confirmed.

Many from the gathering passed by the platform to pay their respects where the two old dragons reclined. Kaida and Fafner were some of the last to leave.

“Will we see you before you leave tomorrow?” Fafner asked.

“We will be sure that you do,” Farloft replied.

When the teacher and his old student were finally alone, Trekk turned to Farloft. “Snow told me of your quest. It is a noble one.”

“I hope to gather many to our cause. Enough to perhaps dissuade the aggressors from even attempting a battle.” Deep down that was Farloft’s hope. He had fought too many battles in his lifetime. He did not wish to fight another.

“That would be best.” Trekk scratched his ear. “I would go east to Naza,” he advised.

“I intended that to be our next stop.” Farloft emptied his drinking bowl. “She is wise and will have suggestions.”

“Perhaps check for Mokum on the way. I have heard from traders he is still in the Valley of the Reechs.” Trekk rose and stretched his front legs out to remove the kinks from laying so long.

“I will do that. He would be a valuable asset.” Farloft came to his feet as well and they both stepped down off the platform.

“And Soary and Sanna of the Forest clan. They are small, but powerful. I have heard their clan has grown almost threefold over the last couple of centuries,” Trekk said as they headed for the door.

“I will make sure to put them on my list. Father always said the Forest clans were small, but mighty.”

Trekk bumped Farloft’s wing. “Be careful of Rymit, if you intend to go that direction. I have heard he is even more deceptive and dangerous than in the past.”

“But his hoard would be enough to bribe an army of dragons,” Farloft said with a toothy grin.

“Indeed, but only if you could get him to part with it.”


Everyone turned out the next morning to see Farloft and Snow before they left.

“I intend to join Father,” Royster announced to the pair. “He has not given his permission, but I will work on him and have him agree by spring.”

Farloft pulled up to his full height over the youngling. “Listen to your father, Royster. It is not a game we will be playing at in the spring, it will be war and there will be deaths before it is over. Your father knows best.”

Royster did not look as though he was going to take heed to Farloft’s words even though the huge green dragon towered over him and was an elder he should have listened to.

“He’s right, Royster,” Snow said with a switch of his tail. “I know you want to help, but it will not be a place for the untrained.”

“You’ll be there,” the youngling challenged, “and you admitted last night, when you were in your cups, that you had never seen battle.”

“But I am many times your age and have no responsibilities,” Snow countered. “You will be needed here if something happens to your father.”

“Nothing is going to happen to Dad because I will be watching his back.” Royster gave a determined nod and stepped to one side so Trekk could bid his friend farewell.

“That one is going to be trouble,” Farloft said to Snow and Trekk, as the young dragon made his way out of the crowd and back up toward the rookery. Farloft affectionately head bumped with Trekk. “Try and talk some sense into him.”

“I will try, but I promise nothing. He is as stubborn as his father. I think it is in their lineage like the rebels before them.” Trekk chuckled. “If he were a gryphon I could clip his wings, but I am afraid, as he is, I have no power.”

“Do your best,” Farloft begged. “I would not want his death on my conscience. As old as I am, it would sit there like an over-ripe melon.”

A Disgruntled Royster by Elizabeth Babicz

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