Saturday, April 7, 2018

A Gathering of Dragons - Chapter Fifteen

James was helping fortify the bridge across the Great Divide from the farmland to the village in Kerth when he noticed the sea dragon’s approach. He jumped to the obvious conclusion Farloft had sent it. He could not tell from the submerged shape whether it was a male or female dragon, and when he landed on the shore to try to speak with it, its only reply was to study him with huge opalescent eyes, which made him exceedingly uncomfortable. He decided to go get Clearair. Perhaps she knew how to communicate with the stranger. 

“Clearair!” James called, the minute his feet hit the landing outside the lair. “Clearair!”

The large blue dragon emerged from the cave with Anna trailing behind her. Anna had been her shadow for the past few weeks. It was punishment for running off after Adrian. She was not to leave her mother’s side until she was given permission. The young dragon looked submissive and thoroughly chastised.

“There is a dragon in the pool by the rapids. A sea dragon, I think. I have never seen one, but I heard Farloft tell a tale about one once,” James said excitedly. “She doesn’t speak our language, or dragonic, that I can tell. I tried.”

“No, she wouldn’t,” Cleariar replied. “Their language is of the sea.”

“I bet father sent her,” Anna piped up. The boredom had left her face like a curtain pulled to let the sunshine in.

“I will go to her,” Clearair said. “You stay here with your sister.”

“I can’t,” James objected. “I have to return to the fortification I was helping Haben and his men with at the bridge.”

Clearair studied her daughter down her broad blue muzzle.

“Can I go Mother?” the young dragon asked. “I’ll be quiet and stay out of the way. I’ve never seen a sea dragon,” she added pleadingly.

James could see that Clearair was not going to agree. The dragoness had been very harsh with Anna since her return. Personally, James thought it was about time to put the incident behind them, but he was not about to cross Clearair. He knew from pasted experience that was not the sky you wished to sail.

“No,” Clearair answered. “I think it is best you stay here.”

When Anna started to speak again, Clearair silenced her with a wave of a wing. “None of that, now. You remain here and you think a little bit longer about what you did and the consequences that might have taken place.” Clearair stepped to the edge of the cliff. “Do not leave the lair under any circumstances.”

Clearair spread her wings and launched herself into the sky.

“Do you think she will ever forgive me?” Anna asked James, as tears sprang to her eyes.

“Farloft once told me that ‘trust lost, is hard to reclaim.’ I think she will come around. She has to before spring. Farloft assigned you the task of leading the humans to safety if they have to escape by the river. Just be good and do what she says. You really scared her.”

“Will you talk to her for me?” Anna begged. “Tell her I’m sorry.”

“I think she knows that,” James said. “It is the trust you need to instill now, and that only comes with time and proving yourself.” He ruffled his wings, in preparation of following Clearair. “Do as you are told.” He stretched out his neck and nuzzled his little sister behind the ear. “Love ya, kiddo.” A quick turn and he was gone.

Anna stared longingly after them.

By the time James caught up to Clearair, she was already standing knee deep in the water conversing with the sea dragon in a rumbling-singing kind of dialogue.

“James, please go get Theresa,” Clearair said. “This is Lemira,” she said as introduction. “She says she has something for the Healer that Farloft asked her to deliver.”

“I’ll be right back.” James hopped back into the air and flew to Theresa’s home. She would be there or at the castle preparing dressings and other medicinal items to tend to the injured in the battle that would soon descend on them. When he saw Knicker, her horse, in the corral by her home, he knew he picked the right place to check first. James landed in the meadow before her cottage and called for her.

“I’m here, James,” she hollered back. “I’ll be out in a minute.” She came out a few moments later drying her hands on a cloth. “What do you need?”

“There is a sea dragon in the pools by the rapids. Clearair has spoken to her. Her name is Lemira and she was sent by Farloft.” He stopped to take a deep breath before rushing on. “She told Clearair that Farloft sent her to deliver something to you. You should come.”

“I’ll get my cloak and saddle Knicker,” Theresa answered, as she turned back toward the cottage.

“Just get your cloak. I will fly you,” James offered.

Theresa turned back toward the young dragon and smiled. She loved dragon riding. “I’ll be right out.”

Theresa waded out into the icy cold river to stand beside Clearair as she spoke to Lemira.

Clearair sat down in the shallows and reached her paw under the sea dragon’s wing. She removed a round glass orb. “Lemira says this is it. She says Farloft’s instructions were to break the glass and retrieve what is in the shell.”

Theresa took it from the dragon and retreated to the beach to find a stone. She located one and as the three dragons looked on, she set the orb down on a boulder and struck it with the stone. The glass broke evenly in half as if it were a second shell. Theresa lifted the clamshell up and opened it. She removed the note to see what was beneath it. The stones of the medallion sparkled in the afternoon sun.

“The Medallion of Sim Chuk,” Clearair said, her eyes growing large. “How did he ever find that?”

Theresa was busy reading the note. “It is on loan to us until our battle is won. And this time, it came with a book of incantations.” Theresa smiled. She placed the chain around her neck and secreted the medallion beneath her cloak. “I know exactly how we will use it this time.”

Theresa waded back out in the water and gently stroked the sea dragon’s head. “Please tell her we are very grateful for her delivery and hope she will stay so we can show her our appreciation,” she instructed Clearair.

The dragoness rumbled a hum deep in her chest and the sea dragon replied.

“She says the waters here are fresh and full of fish. She will linger a while.”

“Good… Good…” Theresa said and patted the sea dragon on the head. “Clearair, can you fly me to the castle? I need to see Sarah and Queen Larkin right away. There is more in this note that the four of us need to discuss.”

Theresa, Sarah, Queen Larkin, and Clearair were formulating a plan.

They were pleased to hear that they had a few more months to prepare, based on what Naza told Farloft, but they were also shocked to hear the news that they would be facing Thrax’s sons. They all knew how powerful the red eastern dragons were, and how close their father had come to killing Farloft and his family in the past.

It was a disturbed and discouraged gathering, but they were not women to give up before they had even started to fight.

“I have taken a quick look at the book Sim Chuk sent with the medallion. It seems to contain incantations, which will allow us control of the inanimate objects the medallion brings to life.” Theresa opened the book. “This one indicates that the energy can be directed toward specific items.” She rose and went toward a suit of armor at one side of the Great Hall doors. It was a relic of one of the old kings. “I want to experiment with this.” She turned toward Clearair. “Can you destroy it if it gets out of control?”

“I’ve never met a suit of armor I could not crush,” the dragon boasted with a grin.

“Okay. Ladies stand back.” Theresa raised her hand and focused her energy toward the armor. She spoke the incantation from the book. “Alchi Nowayvi Cantorus.”

The armor immediately pulled itself up into a straighter stance.

Theresa looked down at the book and then across the hall at the set of armor that stood on the other side of the door. “Miri Lobali Treetum,” she said to the King’s armor and pointed at the one across the hall.

The King’s armor raised its sword and headed toward the inanimate set of armor. The women, including the dragon watched with amazed expressions. When the king reached its target, it proceeded to thrash the other set of armor with its sword until it was nothing but a pile of twisted metal.

“Aunt T, I think that is enough,” Sarah spoke up.

Theresa was reading frantically. “Ah,” she said with relief when she found the passage she needed. “Morti Noclus Driten.”

The armor immediately stood up straight and ceased to move.

Queen Larkin leaned back in her chair. “Impressive,” she said with an exhale of the breath she had been holding. “So, you think you could control many of these… fake soldiers?” She waved her hand toward the armor.

“With Sarah’s help, I think we could control more than that.” There was a touch of excitement in her voice. “I am in hopes we can build an additional army of whatever we think could thwart our enemies.”

“The gargoyles on the castle,” Sarah suggested. “They were a formidable opponent for even Farloft, last time. If we could control them… We could stop the sons of Thrax.”


Anna was sitting, watching the setting sun, when Clearair landed on the cliff outside the lair.

“Did you get to talk to the sea dragon?” Anna asked excitedly. “Was she pretty?”

“I will take you down and introduce you tomorrow,” Clearair said.

Anna noticed her mother was different. Her anger seemed to have melted away.

“Is everything alright, Mother,” Anna asked.

Clearair pulled her youngling into a wing hug. “It will be,” she said, and leaned down to nuzzle the top of Anna head. “I have had some time to think today. I was reminded of a time I almost lost James.” She squeezed Anna tighter, as if the youngling might escape her grasp. “I have been hard on you these last few weeks. I hope you realize it is because I love you. You are so precious to me.”

“I am sorry, Mama,” Anna said.

“I know… I know…” Clearair released her and turned her so they could talk face to face. “It is my fault you are a shifter. I am sorry for that. You will always straddle both worlds. It is not an easy path, and most likely, you will travel it alone except for your family. It will be hard for you to find love, but I do not think it will be impossible.”

Anna smiled up at her mother. “I promise I will never run away again.”

“Alright,” Clearair said with conviction. “You are free to join in the preparation of the kingdom for battle.”

Anna started to jump with glee, but Clearair put her paw firmly on her shoulder. “However, I want you to stay in sight of me, James, Theresa, or Sarah at all times.”

Anna gave her mother a questioning look of disappointment.

“It is not that I do not trust you to keep your word. We are moving beyond that now. It is behind us,” her mother said with conviction. “It is that we are facing a far stronger foe than we thought.”

“Who, Mama?”

“The sons of Thrax.”

Anna had heard the story of Sim Chuk and Thrax. She knew the danger. She agreed that it was best if she stayed close. She just hoped her father brought some powerful dragons to fight on their side.

Clearair and Anna by Elizabeth Babicz

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