Dragon Wars: Land of Myth Chapter Five Part One

April 19th, 2010  |  Published in Dragon Wars  |  3 Comments

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Chapter Five
Part One

They still hadn’t found the source of the water sound, though it kept getting louder as they followed the imps. The sun had set a couple of hours earlier by Mela’s reckoning, but they still hadn’t reached wherever the imps were leading them. More imps had appeared, carrying tiny green lanterns and flying around them like a cloud of fireflies. Neither the Rider nor Ebona needed them, so they must be for her benefit. But there were so many. Who could animate this many imps at once? She didn’t realise she’d said it out loud until Ebona answered her.

“No one could, at least not on their own. If one Speaker made all these, they’ve got a power source. More likely it’s a group.”

“But where are they leading us?” the rider said.

“Waldhafen, I think,” Ebona replied. “This sort of thing fits with the defenses they are supposed to have thrown up two years ago. No one gets in or out without the ruling council’s permission. Having a heart bracelet would explain why they did that.”

“Yes, I suppose that it would. If they’ve been isolated, do you suppose they don’t know who we are?”

“I doubt that,” Ebona said. “Waldhafeners still come out to trade and they still let outsiders in; they’re just choosy. There’s no way they’re ignorant of the current situation.” She paused and seemed to stare at something ahead of them which Mela couldn’t see in the dark. “Yes, it’s definately Waldhafen. Looks like they have a boat out for us.”

A boat? Mela sniffed the air again. There was still no water, but there was a sweet scent she hadn’t registered before. It smelled like tree sap? She peered into the darkness, trying to see what lay ahead, but could only just make out a couple of lanterns hanging from the trees. She could, however, sense a speaker near them.

“There’s someone there,” she said.

“Yes,” Ebona agreed. “The pilot, I would presume.”

“Well, let’s go and see,” the rider said.

Ebona picked her way towards the lanterns. Mela continued peering through the darkness, willing things to become clear. As they drew closer, she could eventually make out a jetty with a canopied river barge tied to the far end. She couldn’t see what the river was made of, but she was sure it wasn’t water.

As they reached the jetty, a figure emerged from the barge. In the pool of light from the lanterns, Mela could she was a dryad, though paler than any dryad she’d seen before. Her skin was silvery white with the occasional black streak, and she had pale grey eyes and light green hair.

“Greetings, Dark Warrior.” The dryad curtseyed gracefully. “I am called Betula. I have been sent to guide you in. Please follow me.” Her white robes swirled around her as she turned and stepped back onto the barge.

“It’s been a while since anyone called me that,” the rider murmered as he dismounted. He turned and lifted Mela down after him. “Come on then.” He led her and Ebona towards the barge.

Mela paused on the gangplank and looked down. The barge floated on a river which certainly swirled and sloshed like water around the vessel, but she could sense it wasn’t water and it was the source of the sweet smell.

Betula must have noticed her confusion.

“Have you never heard of the Green River of Waldhafen, child?” she asked.

“The… Oh!” Mela looked down again. “Sap!”

“Indeed.” Betula gestured to the comfortable looking cushions, pile of hay and the low tables covered with plates which lay under the canopy. “Now come, we have food suitable for speakers and humans on board.”

“My thanks!” the rider said as he sat down and picked up an apple. “I do get bored of so much meat. I can gather my own greens but no one ever seems to think of it.” He shot a quick glance at Ebona, who had tucked into a platter of meat, and then bit into the apple. He gave Betula a direct look. “Why do you?”

“Oh, the Life Warrior visits sometimes. Her heart friend lives in Waldhafen. You get used to humans when you’re around them.” As she spoke she cast off the ropes and the barge began to float down the river.

“And she doesn’t keep the heart bracelet with her?” he asked. Betula shook her head.

“She always opens the gate straight to here, so she doesn’t need to. It’s safer here.” She looked at the pendant around Mela’s neck. “We guess that’s why you’re here?”

“We need to gain an interview with she who was Elaranor,” he said.

“Ah,” Betula said. “Yes, that would explain it. The council will want to hear everything.”

Mela walked to the front of the barge and stared into the darkness. The barge was floating upstream under its own power, and she could see green and gold lights in the distance. They seemed to stretch from ground to sky. A hand touched her shoulder and she looked up to the rider standing there with a plate of meat.

“You should eat something, Mela.” He handed her the plate. He looked out at the approaching lights. “Waldhafen has tall buidings.”

“Tall trees actually,” Betula corrected. “Waldhafen is built in the trees. We’ll be there in about an hour. The council is waiting for you.”

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3 Responses to “Dragon Wars: Land of Myth Chapter Five Part One”

  1. mjkj says:

    Missing word: In the pool of light from the lanterns, Mela could she was a dryad, though paler than any dryad she’d seen before. => Mela could *see* she was…

  2. Boomer says:

    Ug, hit Bleh! a couple of times instead of Next. Sorry about that. Hit wonderful a few times to try and make it up.

    Really liking the story so far looking forward to reading the rest.

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