Of Mages And Dragons- Part 2
The armor consisted of ebony scales that rivaled the darkest night. The claws were the width of trees and appeared sharper than any weapon the mage had seen. Axel tried to stop the thoughts of one of those claws ripping him through. Would his flesh stand a fleeting chance against those massive weapons? “No,” he convinced himself. Try as he might, the traitorous thoughts smashed his confidence into smithereens.
Rowan bounced on the balls of his feet. His eyes were not on the towering dragon but what lied beneath it. Underneath the sleeping dragon was a hoard of glittering jewels and gold that rivaled any kingdom’s treasury. “Race y’all down,” Rowan whispered and was gone.
Axel growled under his breath in annoyance and watched as the rogue struck the dragon, his blade skidding across the armored scales and missing the underbelly.
Axel raised his staff as the dragon awakened with a snarl. A rumble reverberated deep within the dragon’s chest. Axel snapped his head up, away from the dragon’s claws and to its face. He gapped in horror.
The dragon breathed in, and with a exhale, fire burst from its mouth. The flames were not aimed at the rogue. Instead, the attack sped towards Axel and Luna!
Axel planted his staff into the charred putrid dirt below him. He wrinkled his nose and muttered a spell. Luna screamed as the bone-melting flames nearly hit them. The staff pushed the flames away from them and kept them shielded within a cocoon of air.
The dragon focused its attention on the mage and potion maker. Rowan seized the opportunity. He ran towards the dragon’s belly. As he ran to strike, the potion glowed gold.
Axel saw the dark armor of the monstrous beast as the claws swung down. With a whoosh, he pushed an air spell up at the claw. It missed its mark and hit the ground. With a thunderclap, the walls of the cave shook. The sound waves knocked Axel off his feet.
The dragon inhaled, and the fires of hell descended on them from the dragon’s mouth. This time, Axel was prepared. He conjured a deflecting spell to the damage.
Rowan rushed to plunge his dagger into the belly of the beast and missed.
Axel came to a horrifying realization. The blade that the rogue wielded was too small. They did not come prepared for this situation.
“Fools!” the dragon snarled. Its voice boomed around the cavern and knocked them all off their feet. “You have come into my home and brought this assault. Why have you attacked this dragon as it slept?”
Its yellow eyes spotted the rogue and brought its massive hand down on him before the mage could deflect it.
Luna screamed in horror, and Axel stared. The rogue surely was dead. Luna gasped as she noticed the rogue moved. He was alive. The beast held him in place. The beast held Rowan in place.
Axel shook off the shock as he struggled to his feet. “You have plundered the lands of our king. You have taken the livestock and will take our women and children as your next meals if we allow you to live!”
The dragon blinked a large golden eye at the mage. Axel stood tall with his chest puffed, refusing to show fear in front of the beast.
Laughter suddenly shook the walls and floor of the cavern. Gold and jewels slid down from the pile. The mage stumbled as the ground wavered beneath him.
“What would I want with your women and children? I have taken your livestock as a dragon must eat. Do you not eat the cows and sheep as well? Should I kill you for such actions? This dragon has not done what humans have and harmed anyone without cause.”
Axel stared into the burning eyes of the dragon. A dragon did not talk. A dragon brought death and destruction through Hell’s fire. The briefing had never prepared him to compare perspectives with the beast. This monster was a threat to the kingdom. They should be fighting to the death, not talking.
Rowan tapped on the scales of the dragon’s hand. After a moment, the dragon lowered its head to the rogue that lay trapped beneath its claws. Rowan asked something that Axel could not hear, and the dragon laughed.
The vibrations of the laugh did knock Axel off his feet. More gold skittered down the pile as the walls shook. What had the rogue said to the beast? The dragon’s laughter did not hold any malice.
“You make an excellent proposition. What will this dragon receive in return?” The dragon rumbled.
Axel stood in silence. Was the rogue really looking to strike a bargain with the beast? What sort of deal would a dragon want?
Rowan said something else, and the dragon nodded. It lifted its claws from the rogue and allowed him to stand. The rogue placed his blades into their sheaths and smiled up at the dragon. Rowan behaved as he and the beast were now drinking companions.
“Your comrade makes an excellent suggestion. This dragon will offer you assistance. On the condition, you allow it protection and sheep from the neighboring kingdom. To think this dragon assisting man after all, they have done. The thought amuses me.” The dragon plucked the rogue from the ground. With gentle claws, it placed him next to the slack-jawed mage and grinning Luna.
“You will assist the king with his endeavors if we let you eat the sheep of the kingdom that we are soon to be at war with?” Luna inquired.
Axel was reeling. He was in charge of this adventure, and now it was spinning out of his hands. What was happening? The briefing never…the plan… what was happening? Everything he tried failed. His years of training for null as he stood before this monster.
The dragon flashed its massive head-sized fangs and grinned. Heat rolled from his breath as he breathed as it moved closer to the girl. “Indeed. Go tell your king that this dragon is at his service as long as he keeps his promise for protection.”
Rowan grabbed Axel’s arm and dragged him out of the cavern. “Will do! Sorry for putting ya through the mix-up. We’ll be back soon!” Rowan called over this shoulder. He whistled as they made their way up the caves towards daylight.
After a moment, he glanced at a sputtering Axel. “I didn’t need no briefing for that.”
“You struck a deal with a dragon… that is completely unheard of,” Axel said.
Still, Axel knew his king would be pleased. What other kingdom had a dragon behind it as a weapon and ally?
“And to think you wanted to kill it,” the girl laughed. “I think the King will pay us double for this outcome!”
Confused, the mage looked his companions over. The over-confident rogue with no training, who was selected because he was dumb enough to volunteer. The girl managed to get the rogue down to the dragon with the potion she had poured onto his shoes. Did they plan this all without him? Do they want all the glory for themselves? Is there really no need for him?
As they reached the afternoon light. He felt different than when he ventured down into the cavern, humbled. Perhaps, he still had some things to learn about himself, his allies, and dragons.
Featured Photo by darksouls1 and edited by Lindsey Gruden