Dragon Wars: Land of Myth Chapter Five Part Two

April 23rd, 2010  |  Published in Dragon Wars  |  10 Comments

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Chapter Five
Part Two

It looked like a lot more than the council were waiting for them when they reached Waldhafen. Mela had never been to a town before, so she looked around with interest as Betula led them up a sloping wooden ramp towards the central tree. The town was well lit by larger versions of the green lights that the imps had carried and she could see curious faces peering out of the windows and between the branches of the trees. Most of the watchers seemed nervous of the rider and Ebona, keeping their distance.

One group of dryads broke away from the crowd and ran over to them, giggling. They must be part of Betula’s clan, Mela thought, because they shared the same pale colouration. One of them walked boldly up to the rider and Ebona and stood in front of them, hands on her hips and lips pursed. She was a little older than the others, Mela thought, though with dryads it was hard to tell.

“The trees whisper stories of you and your heart friend, Dark Warrior,” she said. “And the wind carries tales.” She looked Ebona in the eyes. “So tell me, unicorn, do the two of you come in peace?”

Ebona looked over at the Rider for a moment before answering. “That is our intent. We’ll attack no one who does not attack us first.”

“Good answer.” The dryad gave a warm smile. “I am called Birke. I suspect we’ll talk more later.” She turned and walked back to the others.

“That was odd,” the rider said.

Mela was about to agree when her breath caught in her throat as she spotted the guards at the hall doors. Two muscular palomino centaurs with long curling cream hair and beards regarded them with crystal blue eyes. They were alike enough to be twins and each was armed with a huge axe, which they held as if they weighed nothing. To Mela’s untrained eyes, they certainly looked like they knew how to use them.

“I’ve brought the guests the council wished to see,” Betula told them. The centaurs nodded wordlessly as one and moved aside so they could pass between them into the hall.

It wasn’t a building in the sense that Queen Valeria’s palace was, Mela realised as they entered, but neither was it a natural structure like her clan’s underwater grotto. It must have been a natural clearing once, but the trees surrounding it had somehow been trained to create a great hall. The walls were grown from the living trunks of trees. The vaulted roof above was the branches of the same trees, woven tightly enough together to keep out a storm. But what really drew Mela’s attention was the small natural spring bubbling up between the roots of one of the trees. It was large enough for her to sit in and it was definitely water, not like sap like the river.

At the far end of the hall, the high council of Waldhafen awaited them. Two brown skinned, green haired forest haltia – a male and female – three dryads of varying types and a faun sat in the still-living chairs which grew out of the walls and floor of the strange building. Next to them, a glossy chesnut unicorn with horn and hooves of polished dark red wood lay on a pile of leaves. A Hercinian bird sat on a perch above them, its brightly glowing wings providing much of the light for the room.

As Betula led them forward across the moss covered floor, the unicorn rose to its feet and trotted over to Ebona. He touched horns with her in ritual greeting.

“Welcome to Waldhafen, shadow sister,” he said warmly.

“Thank you, life brother,” Ebona replied. “It’s been a while since anyone made us feel welcome anywhere.” She paused. “Of course we haven’t been acting in ways that would endear us to others.”

“No, you haven’t,” the female forest haltia said. “But we think you have your reasons.” She rose to his feet and the others followed suit. “I am Saeaera.” She gestured to the male beside her. “This is my mate Myrahd.” She turned to the others. “Our dryad sisters and faun brother are Avellana, Weide,  Quercia and Erlin. Our feathered friend is Chiara and you’ve already met Shadhavar.”

“I am Ebona.” She touched her horn to the floor respectfully.

“Your name isn’t unknown to us, sister,” Shadhavar said. “We’ll talk later – but first I think your young friend there,” he pointed his horn at Mela, “is drier than she’d like. The Life Affinity of Waldhafen is masking the symptoms, but she will collapse as soon as you leave if we don’t attend to her needs.”

“I’m alright,” Mela said quickly but the Rider had already turned to look at her. He studied her for a moment before he stepped over and laid a hand on her forehead.

“No, you’re not,” he said. “You just think you are. You look terrible, I should have noticed.” He bowed his head.

“We didn’t pass anywhere suitable for me to rest anyway,” she said.  She turned and looked at the spring and then back at the council. “May I?”

“Of course,” Saeaera said. “Help yourself.”

“Thank you.” Mela ran across to the pool, leapt into it and transformed her legs back into her tail. She ducked under the water for a moment before realising she’d forgotten her manners and sitting back up. “My name is Mela, noble councillors.”

“Welcome, Mela.” Shadhavar and the others turned to the rider. “May we know your name, Dark Warrior?”

The rider looked at the floor, clearly considering the question. It was several moments before he answered.

“You may, if you will promise it won’t leave these walls. There are people I’d rather not hear it yet.”

“We can agree to that, I think,” Avellana said. The others nodded.

“Thank you,” he said. “My name is Daniel Stevens.”


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10 Responses to “Dragon Wars: Land of Myth Chapter Five Part Two”

  1. mjkj says:

    Hmm, they seem to be nice folks, those Waldhafen (nice name, by the way) people…

    So, he is their brother Dan, is he? I wonder why he is so indifferent to them though and does not help them but tries to steal their bracelets…

    …so very un-brotherly…

    mjkj

    • Becka says:

      Yeah, they’re good people.

      As for what Daniel wants and why, we’re getting closer to the reveal on that.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by shutsumon: #dragonwars chapter 5 part 2 posted! http://bit.ly/bDbDLf The Dark Rider (finally) reveals his name… #weblit #fantasy…

  3. Ladyinahat says:

    Oh my!!! I just started this story and I can tell you I am hooked! You are a very good writer. I look forward to seeing where this goes.

    But I really was not expecting the Dark Warrior to be their brother Dan. I mean WOW! That explains why Ly could sense him. because she did it on earth. Very cool!

  4. Lucy says:

    What a beautiful place Waldhafen is. And what a twist in the tale… very interesting!

  5. Krynne says:

    Very interesting twist. I had a nagging sort of “what if” feeling about this Dark Rider/Warrior being the 4th sibling… but lately I seem to be rebelling against my inner self and rudely ignored the thought (silly me LOL). Well done!

    I love the city of the dryads! With your permission I’d love to use a similar setting for my next Dungeons and Dragons adventure! No worries I only create my games to play with friends/family, I do not sell my adventures. I’ll add your name somewhere in the sketches too 🙂

  6. Stephan says:

    I too just started to read this great tale and I was sure to meet the fourth sibling, though not like this. May I dare to assume that the person on the tapestry fighting the dragon is somehow related to the Stevens children?

    • admin says:

      Welcome 🙂

      That would be an interesting assumption, yes. You’ll find out if it’s true in a few more chapters. 🙂

  7. Janthro says:

    Hmm, guess I was wrong about Dan being the life warrior. Totally didn’t think the dark warrior was him. Oh well, that makes for a great read when your assumptions turn out pleasantly wrong.

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