Dragon Wars: Land Of Myth Chapter Eight Part Three

August 2nd, 2010  |  Published in Dragon Wars  |  5 Comments

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Chapter Eight
Part Three

They were about halfway to Caerdu when Rai gave a horrified cry.  Valeria reached down and stroked his feathers as she looked down to see what had disturbed him so.  Her hands closed convulsively on his plumage and she gave  a sob when she saw the brightly coloured feathers and scarlet blood scattered across the snow and rocks below. Valeria had no doubt it  belonged to the thunderbird who’d  been trying to take Salia to safety.

“Salia!” She scanned  the gore-strewn scenery for any sign of her daughter, but found none.

“Ignifer!” Alban’s shout reached Valeria’s ears in spite of  the distance. He was kneeling on the back of his mount, supporting Karen, and they were both staring at the ground. She followed his gaze and spotted a figure lying face-down in the snow. The fire nymph was stirring weakly, but the cold couldn’t be doing her good. The fact the she wasn’t thawing the ice just by lying there was a very bad sign.

We have to land. Karen’s mental tone was precariously weak but still coherent. We can’t leave her there. She’ll die.

We don’t have time. Valeria bit her lip. The girl was right, of course, but time was off the essence. She managed to avoid broadcasting the thought that Ignifer would probably die anyway.

Karen’s right, mother, Alban said. Ignifer will die without immediate help. You and Rai can land and grab Ignifer while we carry on for Caerdu. There won’t be any delay getting Karen to help. You’re Ignifer’s queen and you gave her this mission. It’s your duty.

Prince Alban’s plan is best, my queen,
Rai said. We can soon catch up to them.

Part of Valeria still wanted to protest. She didn’t want to leave her son. She definitely didn’t want to face the horror below. But Alban and Rai were right; she had a duty to Ignifer. She couldn’t leave her there even if she truly wanted to. Which she didn’t. And besides Ignifer was her only lead on whether Salia was still alive. She took a breath, clutched Rai’s feathers again and ordered him to land.

My queen. He banked away from Alban’s mount and began to spiral down towards Ignifer as the other thunderbird carried on towards Caerdu.

As he came in to land Valeria felt around for dragons. She didn’t think it was a trap; the dragon Karen had fought had been completely focused on Salia. But she couldn’t be too careful. She couldn’t feel any close by, though the sense of a few in the distance scritched at her skin and she looked back towards the Eyrie. She squinted into the light and spotted several dragons flying west towards dragon territory. Tears sprang to her eyes when she realised they were herding a flock of thunderbirds. They must be the prisoners they’d taken at the Eyrie. She wiped her eyes furiously. There was nothing that she could do for them.

The same was true of the thunderbird who had been carrying Ignifer and Salia. She was dead; the amount of blood and feathers proved that. She must have refused to land when the dragon caught up with her and been torn to pieces for her courage. Valeria just hoped she could save Ignifer since she’d given her this mission.

She leapt from Rai’s back and ran across the blood-drenched snow to Ignifer’s side. She knelt down by her and gently turned her over. The nymph was alive but unconscious. For a fire nymph to be so pale and icy cold meant the dragon must have devoured almost all her energy and left her for dead. He probably wasn’t wrong. It would take a miracle to save her, but she had to try.

Valeria removed her own cloak and wrapped it around the nymph, then lifted her with effort and dragged her back towards Rai. He crouched down to make it as easy as possible for her to get them both onto his back. It  still wasn’t going to be easy. She gritted her teeth, crouched down and lifted Ignifer into her arms long enough to push the nymph onto Rai’s proffered leg, then climbed up onto his back  and pulled her up after her.

Once she was sure Ignifer wouldn’t fall off as soon as they took off she collapsed beside the nymph gasping for breath.

Are you both secure, my queen? Rai asked.

We are.
Valeria pulled Ignifer close, trying to share at least a little of her body heat with the weakened nymph. Take us to Caerdu. We need to catch up with Alban and Karen.

Oh, it’s Karen again now instead of ‘that girl’, is it?
Rai mental tone was full of strained amusement as he launched himself into the sky.

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5 Responses to “Dragon Wars: Land Of Myth Chapter Eight Part Three”

  1. mjkj says:

    Wow…

    Poor captives – and poor Salia…

    I still wonder why they need Salia and Mela…

    …and I hope our heroes can make it and rescue her…

    mjkj

  2. maileguy says:

    Well, I’d hoped for Salia a better escape, but I guess that wouldn’t fit the plot. Good story.

    A minor missing article:
    “Valeria had no doubt it belonged to thunderbird who’d been trying to take Salia to safety.”
    ‘the thunderbird’? I wouldn’t think ‘a thunderbird’, it was too important a mission.

Leave a Reply to mjkj