Saturday, June 24, 2017
Half story-Fantasy: What??
I first wrote this story maybe three years ago. I revised it once or twice over those years and again today. The whole thing was about 4,500 words which I thought was too long when I posted it online so I split it almost in half. I added descriptive words and some sentences that make it read clearer. I also deleted some but it still has more words than when I started.
I did this story and placed it on what on Google Plus is called #saturdayscenes (June 24).
It is one of my favorites among my stories and I am thinking of doing more stories about Donna. While I was revising I could see why it was rejected by editors. Now it will read better and hopefully be more enjoyable. I wouldn’t mind if someone said they enjoyed it-hint hint. :) Or why they didn’t.
The second half next week. This section is 2,295 words long.
Donna Elkshorn watched as the irate dragon landed with a minimum movement of its wings. Still each beat could be heard many yards away. Her feet, hands and face almost frozen but they would expect her not to care about that, or be able to warm herself. The flat rock they used for dragon landings seemed much smaller once its claws touched the hard surface. The claws scrapped the rock to express anger. She stood her ground though and glared back as it would expect.
It said, “You want me to do what?”
Even over the sounds of grinding rocks and the stink of hot metal and brunt meat, she had smelled a lava river when it landed now it stunk like a blacksmith’s forge, she heard the anger.
The dragon’s gray green tail fell to the ground before curling around its hindquarters, like a trained snake. The dragon’s long neck moved with a sinuous grace. The head with its mouth full of teeth as long as her arms moved closer. The beast settled on its hunches, stared down at her. Again she wondered if she would survive, this was her most scariest assignment by far-for more than one reason. This dragon wasn’t even the worst.
She knew she appeared to be a lone female human who wore a black robe and a unique corset and nothing else as required by the wizard school she had infiltrated. It knew what the robe meant.
Still she controlled her dismay and glare with what she hoped was a haughty expression, even as its breath blow her robe open and tried to knock the cowl off her head. However she had used magic to keep it up so her red hair-the one physical feature that would show she wasn’t a native-would not show. If it did she would have to fight her way through the students and teachers. She would flunk that test.
The school with its four old, two story buildings and one brand new three story, all made of nearby rock sat a third of a mile down from the landing area. Only one fireplace each building though, in the common room, for the wizards-to-be needed to learn how to make warmth and coolness. Do it or freeze was only one of the hard lessons. Again she knew gladness that she hadn’t been taught here. One dirt path led up here, but it had been used so many times that its surface lay a half foot below the rest of the ground level.
Her attention got back to the gray and dirt colored great beast which resembled a living mountain, even its long jaws looked like rocks bunch together. The dragon’s eyes, as large as bucklers, opened all the way.
It repeated itself-probably thought she had taken too long to respond, “You want me to do what!”
A stronger blast of air blew her full length black cape open again. Her body, unclothed except for the corset like garment, was exposed to anyone who might be watching. She hated wearing just the honor belt and the cape, but she had to keep up appearances. The dragon didn’t care what she wore, or revealed to the world, but there were men in the nearby fortress-school that would. She was glad that she had used a small Power word to make sure her hood kept her short cropped red hair from showing.
Donna hoped no one from the school was spying on her, as she fought the impulse to quickly reclose the cape around her. That action would reveal, to any one looking her way, that something wasn’t right. She would be able to sense if anyone was using Power to spy on her, but not if they were using ordinary means like a telescope.
She almost shook her head, when for half a second, she thought about what her fiancé would say about her outfit, and that she was wearing it around other men. Normally she wouldn’t wear something like that even around him. Once she was done here she could head back to her room and get dressed in her usual attire. That would include her Power charm bracelet, rings and the necklace of opals and amethyst he had given her. She felt naked, well even more naked than she was, without her bracelet and the specialized charms on it. They offered her protection, as well the ability to attack, if anything happened with the students at the school. The dragon would be able to bite its way through even her strongest shield, but it would slow him down enough for her to run... she hoped.
On the other hand, she thought, it might be good if I had to depend on my own abilities without enhancements. I don’t want to get too dependent on my charms, even if I did make most of them.
While she was thinking she had been raising her head to look the dragon in the eye. Not something she wanted to do, but the type of person she was impersonating would do it without hesitating. Their ego would not permit them to think a dragon, even one this size, would disobey them.
Crossing her arms, Donna tried to sound haughty and upset for she was repeating her request. She had already stated it when she had called the dragon, while he was flying overhead.
“I want you to go the Crag volcano to retrieve some dragon bones.”
Donna pointed to a very tiny smudge in the distance. The air was very clear up at this height. The Crag volcano, however, could only be seen as a very tiny line and only by those with the best eyes. Actually as small as it looked, the distance was deceptive. It would take the dragon three days to fly to the volcano, and he would have to cross another dragon’s territory to get to it.
She finished by adding, “You can survive a lava bath, can’t you?”
The dragon’s great head jerked backwards.
“Of course I can survive a dip in lava. I am a dragon! I just came from a lava mud bath. It was most refreshing, while this conversation is not.”
She wanted to back off from the hot, metallic breath and anger. At the same time she stopped her hand from moving, on its own, to where her bracelet usually encircled her wrist. Neither action would help her deal with the dragon. She hoped that the little tweak on his ego might push him to do what she wanted.
“Good, so you won’t mind finding a cave that may be under the lava,” she said.
“If its there, I will find it.”
She nodded than said, “We were told that there are dragon bones in the cave.”
That was a mistake to say we, she thought, but at the same time the dragon probably wouldn’t care if it was just her, or a group.
“I want you to bring them to me, I have need of them.”
The dragon looked at her for a moment, eyes narrowing and making a noise that to her sounded like a short growl. Dragons didn’t usually like to give up the bones of another dragon, they ate them instead. This one was probably wondering what she needed the bones for. You could get magic from dragon bones if you knew how. You could take so much that it would destroy the bones. That was an insult to dragons.
“How should I bring them?” as it glanced at his claws.
“I don’t care, it is not my responsibility to figure out how you should do what you are told.”
He made that sound again and said, “If they are there I will bring them.”
“If they have survived the immersion in the lava, since the volcano erupted, they will be there.”
“They will have survived... if they are the bones of a dragon.”
“They are, however it’s greatly possible that the lava has
gone down, in that case the cave will be revealed. I could have gone to them, if that is the case, but it would take too long for me to get there and to get back with the bones.”
She added, they are near the southern slope of the volcano and I want you to bring them to me in a clearing sixty-eight miles, that way,” She pointed into a northern direction, “I will be there with a wagon.”
After a pause she added, “There may be humans...”
She said humans her with a sneer, as if humans were contemptible, even though she obviously she was human. “moving through a pass very close to the volcano. They will be a large group with wagons and such. If they were to attack you, I wouldn’t care what you might do in response.”
The beast shifted its weight and showed a dragon smile-its mouth open wide enough to show all of its teeth. He probably considered that statement as a reward, that he would get to eat and destroy a bunch of humans. He would do it, Donna thought, even though she had added the stipulation that they needed to attack him first. More than likely he would make sure they attacked first. In this case though she didn’t care who fired the first shot.
After another glance at her, his head and neck arrowed upward. Once his head was at it’s furthest, he leapt into the sky. Raising to the pinnacle of his leap, his wings unfolded in one smooth motion. He started flapping them, gaining altitude, soon he was gone.
Pulling her cape around her after it was almost blown off again, Donna thought, he did that on purpose. At least there’s not much dust to be blown in my face.
After she made double sure it wouldn’t fall open Donna turned and slowly, with her head held hight, walked back to the Fortress that was a school for the other side. A strong breeze hit her but for a few seconds it was welcomed because of the heat of the dragon.
The building she headed for was a large L shape with sleeping rooms on the second, along with rooms for eating and meetings on each floor. The first level had class rooms, offices and a large dining area for entertaining important visitors. This building had green streaks and a few small spots of brown along with its gray color which made it blend in with the local rock.
The wind made noises up here but some of it could be dragons miles away. On the way back to school she mused on how the dragon first reacted to her request. She had presented it in a way that would get his attention, as he was flying over head. His reaction and his question had been word for word what hers had been when her mentor came to her with the idea of masquerading as a student of dark Power at their not so well known school which was out of the way near dragon territory. He explained that she would be a higher ranked student, one that was on their own and able to come and go as they wanted to from the school. All she would have to do was show up, give the right passwords with a display of her Powers, and she would be given a room for as long as she wanted it. Of course he hadn’t had to mention that she would have to wear just a robe and a wide belt of rank while she was at the school. She knew that already from her studies. He hadn’t had to tell her the rest either, but obviously he had felt the need to remind her. Nor had he needed to say that someone may decide to request her aid in practice of another type. She hoped that wouldn’t happen, but she knew some tricks to make them think she was more powerful than she was.
She ended the downward slope and hit the more or less level path to the buildings. Lunch was cooking and she knew a refuse pit on the other side of the School would have to be covered and a new one dug soon. A lesson for first year students maybe? Even as she watched her step for the rocks on the path and places dipped, she thought and decided that she didn’t know why both male and female students dressed like this. She supposed it was a symbol of their attention to their studies, that nothing would be able to distract them and a symbol that nothing but magic would control them. Then again it might be to allow the male teachers and soldiers to ogle the girls and the female teachers and few female soldiers to ogle the boys. She shrugged her shoulders thinking that the first guess was probably closest.
Free to think of other things, her mind again returned to when she was given this assignment. When she saw her mentor in the door of her house, she knew he wasn’t there for a social visit. He had come sometimes for a social call but by his expression not this time. And she knew it was something she wasn’t going to like. She thought something had happened to her fiancé or her parents or she had failed somehow. Donna hadn’t expected him to suggest that she come here. That had sent her emotions on a wild dragon ride.
He had said, “I need you to do something. You’re not going to like it, but you’re the only one that can pull it off to save our land.”