Saturday, July 29, 2017

Second part of the Dragon Tale

Part two of my current tale with a Dragon

Great, exciting fun, 2,159 words this time. Next week will be the ending which will be the longest segment. Most of you probably know what it is but fun having them figure it out and figuring out what to do about it.

It does have a touch of horror and a touch of romance as you may see.

Most people do not like to make comments I see. (Sigh)

So here is this week’s part:

For some reason I couldn’t identify I looked skyward, making sure nothing was up there. I wanted to spit what I thought of as bile from my stomach. Penny glanced at me with an expression I couldn’t read.
“What took off with it?” I asked.
“I don’t know I couldn’t see it very well, but it roared louder than a parcel of trains. The sky answered it with thunder a few seconds later.”
I looked at him, wondered for a second if he was high or being poetic but I recalled the strange noise I heard while in the feed store.
At that moment a flash of fire lit up the sky over a set of short hills that bordered Jerry’s land. It looked like it was a mile or two away.
Penny said, “The lightning is getting close.”
I said, “But the storm is coming from the other direction and there was no thunder.”
Billy said, “He’s right, if any lightning strikes were that close we would have been deafened by the thunder.”
“What was it then?”
“What ever took the dragon sculpture away. It was huge and seemed to lift the whole thing from the inside. I watched it try to lift off the ground three times before it broke the anchors. It roared the first time and later roared louder as it finally lifted it into the sky.”
Penny looked at me with a skeptical look. I would have joined her except for that noise, the fire and an emotion I had that I couldn’t quiet identify. At the same time I stepped closer to see if I could smell Billy’s breath. I didn’t smell any alcohol but you could buy drugs even out here that could make people hallucinate.
That left the question of what happened to the dragon
sculpture. Billy, or someone else, could have used the forklift to knock it over before dragging it away. I remembered that rut in the road.
I said, “Well, it might be a good idea to look around some
more and see if we can find anything.”
We looked around even as the wind blew harder and the storm clouds turned darker. The only thing we found was the rut in the road. It turned out to be part of a larger design. Something that almost looked like a print of some type. Billy had said that it had attempted to take off twice before it succeeded.
As a sudden thought hit me I said, “Maybe someone inflated
some helium balloons in the framework and floated away with the dragon.”
“I’m not sure helium would work that well but maybe hydrogen.” Penny said.
“That could explain the fire we saw. Something ignited the hydrogen.”
“If that’s case maybe we should go see if there were any survivors.”
“If we can figure out where they crashed and if my motorcycle can go there.”
She looked up at a movement than said, “Then again maybe they didn’t crash after all.”
I said, “huh?” just before something flew over head. My head jerked up and I saw something huge go by. I noticed that Billy’s head turned as fast as mine. I couldn’t see it clearly but I caught a glimpse of a reptilian body again. My heart beat much faster, sweat formed in my underarms, all of a sudden I could smell things, like their sweat, more intensely.
We continued to stare as it flew out of sight.
I said, “Well, that wasn’t a helicopter,” stating the obvious.
“What was it?”
Billy said, “Whatever took the dragon sculpture.”
We looked at him, I wanted to make a comment about that being his new favorite phrase but held it in, and he continued, “It looked just like the thing that flew away with the dragon.”
“Oh boy,” was all I could think of to say.
“I think we need to go check on that fire and see if anyone needs help.” Penny said.
I managed to say “But my motor...” before Billy interrupted me.
“I have a large SUV with an almost full gas tank. It’s filled with some of our welding supplies and other stuff but we should all fit.”
Penny nodded, so I said, “Ok, let’s go.”
I walked my bike off the road and leaned it against a tiny raise that lay in shadow, while Billy went to get his SUV which has Four Wheel drive. Good we wouldn’t have to worry about running out of road.
As soon as he pulled up in the older, dull blue SUV Penny and I piled in and even before we fastened our seatbelts he drove off. After a discussion we agreed that the fire streak I saw had flared southeast from our position.
He drove on at full speed with all of his lights shining. As soon as the hill along one side of Jerry’s property ended he turned to the right and drove on. We didn’t see anything for ten to fifteen minutes. Then we noticed what looked like a small fire burning.
Billy increased his speed and as we approached the fire he said, “Damn, that’s what I thought it was.”
I couldn’t tell what type, but it used to be some type of building. Now it consisted mostly of ashes, with a few half
burned, smoking boards sticking up here and there around the foundation. There was a strong smoke smell along with something else I couldn’t identify then.
I asked, “What was it?”
“A bar and meeting hall we use for various club meetings. The bar has been closed for a while, but we sometimes still held meetings in it.”
I looked it over again and said, “I hope no one was in it tonight.”
Billy said, “I wonder what exploded to cause a fire like that.”
We drove around it shining the SUV’s lights here and there. When we finished checking what remained of the building he said, “I don’t see any evidence of an explosion.”
He was right, a blast of any type would have sent debris
flying over an extended area. We finally stopped and got out. He walked over to where a gap in a fence. This section of it was in the same condition as the building. I looked again and saw what I thought looked like a metal bathtub. Now it looked scorched and lay on its side. Something had poked a large hole in one end.
Billy said, “That was for cows to come for water.”
I nodded for I knew what he was referring to. I looked again and thought I saw an imprint in the soil on that side of the fence. What I could make out looked like the design in the road by the sculptures.
Billy walked into the pasture shining his light at something. He stopped and called us over. On the way I could smell blood and burnt meat. The smell created a bad taste in my mouth.
When we stood next to Billy he pointed at something.
I wasn’t sure what it was but it didn’t look pretty.
I heard Penny gasp just before he pointed his flashlight’s beam on it. I saw what might have been the rear end and two legs of a cow. I quickly looked around but I couldn’t see the other part. Billy bent over and examined the part that ended abruptly.
He stood and said, “It looks like it was bitten off.”
My eyes grew round as I tried to imagine a predator that big. I quickly looked around with a sudden feeling that of being watched. Of course I couldn’t see anything.
Penny said, “I don’t think you will see anything on the ground.”
Billy snapped off his light and said, “I don’t know about you’ll but I think we should git back to the SUV.”
I noticed his accent sounded firmer, but I didn’t blame him. I couldn’t convince myself that the SUV would be any protection against any beast that could do this, but I liked the idea of being inside better than standing out in the open.
We turned as one and hurried back to the SUV. Nothing happened on the way but as we got into the SUV we heard that noise again. It didn’t sound like thunder. It sounded miles away but we piled back out to get a good look. Without thinking about it I searched the sky. After a few minutes of not seeing anything, I looked at Penny.
“I think you were right, it’s not going to be on the ground.”
She said, “Yeah, but how?”
“I have no idea but I think it sounded like it might be attacking something again.”
Billy said, “I don’t know what you think that is but we need to see if we can get some help.”
Penny said, “Yeah, call out the Guard.”
“What are we going to say?”
She just shook her head in exasperation.
“Well, if ya’ll think we should go find out what it is we need to stop at Jerry’s on the way.”
I nodded not wanting to go chasing after it, rather it was what Penny and I thought it was or not. But as I thought of my
relatives, Penny’s parents and the others which included Brandy and her family, I knew someone needed to do something. We at least knew about it and could prepare something.
We got back in the SUV and Billy headed back to Jerry’s. This time he drove with the lights off. That was taking a chance, I thought, but I didn’t say anything. I would have done the same thing.
He skidded to a stop near the building Jerry used as a workshop. He ran inside with Penny after him. He came back with a high powered rifle and an oblong object about the size of a fist.
Billy said, “I don’t know where he got this but it’s a phosphorous grenade. It might come in handy.”
Maybe I thought as I considered what we may be after. A few
seconds later Penny came running out of the building.
“I had to use the little girl’s room.”
I knew that expression, so I just nodded at her.
We got back in and we drove off in the direction the thing had flown in. After another twenty minutes we spotted another fire off the road. This time on the other side of a pasture. Whatever stucture it had been was much smaller than the bar had been. Now charred timbers lay about, as if something had exploded this time. Or my mind wanted to add, torn apart and thrown.
As we neared it Penny explained that it had been a tack building for horses. My heart froze. It would be one thing for the thing to eat cows. Horses that someone needed for competition or considered pets was something else. I hoped no one had been out practicing. Most probably no one would practice in this weather but dedicated performers don’t always use common sense. On the other hand horse people might have decided to make sure their horses stayed safe in the upcoming thunder storm. Thinking of that made me realize it hadn’t started raining yet.
Something lay out there that wasn’t wood. Part of a leg my mind insisted. Oh God I hoped it had belonged to a horse if I was correct.
I paused in my study of the ground, a sound. They must have heard it too for we all got out. My head spun around to look at the sky, more because of instinct than the motion I saw. Something in the sky. All of us ducked, almost dived, under the SUV for it flew lower than it had last time. I thought Billy paused for half a heart beat, maybe he wanted to go for the gun, but then decided it would take too long.
Once settled with my hands and knees on the ground ready to take me on a charge across the field, away from it I again found that my sense of smell had grown. I smelled sweat, dirt and oil I thought was from the SUV. At least I didn’t smell any urine, mine or anyone else’s. This time I noticed other senses. I thought I heard Penny’s heart beating at least as fast as mine too, and very large wings beating the air. The dirt under my two palms felt cool, and rough: dry and heated ground. I wondered how I could feel it that well. The darkness under the SUV became clearer.
When the sky looked clear we stood and stared after it. A long moment later we all turned as one and stared at each other. Billy’s mouth was open and Penny’s eyes were wide in fear. From their expressions I knew I voiced their thoughts when I said, “It can’t be”.

end segment

Sunday, July 16, 2017

First of three parts of a new Dragon tale set in our time

I said I would do four or five dragon stories,. This is number three and as the title says it is part one of three. This is another of my older stories. I like it and decided to see if anyone else does.

I revised it once or twice after writing it years ago and yesterday gave it another quick revision. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get to this one because I couldn’t find it and once I did I couldn’t open it. I thought this one was another one I hadn’t updated but when I tried it with the older version of my WP that came with the last update I was able to open it. Once open I could save it to the new version of my WP.

This one has at least a trace of Romance it in.

This segment is 1,980 some words long. I wanted to make it a bit longer but I had many things to do yesterday and it is late. And this is a good place to break.

The Iron Horse Vs The Iron Dragon

For a second I saw something serpentine within Jerry’s iron dragon as I rode past it. I shook my head and rejected that vision. I decided that the combination of the gloom of dusk along with the forming storm made be me see things through my helmet's faceplate.
Because of the storm I decided to rev up my bike. My arms had gotten cold and the heat of the engine but help warm my body. Out of habit I sniffed to see if I could smell rain but all instead I got sweaty inside helmet stink. I wouldn’t be able to taste ozone on the wind or the exhaust of my bike either.
Jerry lives near Grainsville, a very small town in Texas, where he has sculpted creatures out of iron for years. His sculptures are very lifelike even though they are only a frame, almost like an outer skeleton of the creatures he makes. All of his sculptures are life size with the dragon being his largest. The next largest is a camel. If I stopped I knew I might be able to smell hot metal as he cut and welded iron bars to form the beasts he wanted to create. I was introduced to Jerry by my
cousins, but Penny took me out to his place to watch him work.
My bike roared on like a type of dragon. I bought the motorcycle for this trip. It’s five years old, a bare bones bike, mostly black with a faded red gas tank. I liked riding it and it saved on gas so I took it every where. As I increased my speed trying to out ride the storm, I couldn’t get what I saw out of my mind. It looked like a very large reptilian body which just fit inside the framework. However, the iron dragon looked empty when I glanced at it again, when I rode even with it.
Fifteen minutes later I spotted the lights of the depot where Penny worked. I met Penny the first time I stopped at a local coffeehouse. I forced myself to speak to her the first time. At that time in my life I struggled to step out of my comfort zone. I found it too easy to stay where I felt safe. As a child I suffered two separate events that scared me badly when I decided to take a chance. Once I decided to climb a tall fence. When I reached the top I froze for a long time before I finally fell off. Two years later a person I tried to be friends with acted like he wanted to hurt me. After those two events I found it hard to try something new.
When Penny caught my attention the first time I saw her I decided I better force myself to take a chance. She wore a red half sleeved top with blue denim pants. Even though modest she rocked them. Her face looked like a fairy’s. As cliche as that sounds that was my first thought. Her brown shoulder length hair looked great too, After talking with her a few times began to hang around with her which she seems to enjoy. I took that as a good sign.
That night, as part of our routine, I rode out to meet her where she worked at a train depot ten miles out of town. She wanted me to take her home, however with a storm on the way that probably wasn’t a good idea. The forming clouds made the air cold. I wore my padded riding jacket and helmet but I didn’t know how Penny would be dressed. I knew from personal experience that riding in a bad storm wasn’t fun. As I rode on I felt grateful that the storm still hadn’t hit even though it looked like it could rain any second. I fed the bike gas trying to out race the rain.
At that speed I pulled into the parking lot to fast and skidded to a stop. Gravel showered the building. I frowned when I wondered if I would get into any trouble for that stop.
I jumped off the bike, ripped off my helmet, grabbed the extra one I carried before running inside. As I entered I saw Penny at the register counting the money with her boss, Mr. Hardney, standing near the door PDA in his hand. He wore blue denim pants and a long sleeve green short with a blue full size apron. He nodded when I said hi. Despite my fears no one said anything about me spraying the walls with gravel. She was wearing brown denim pants with a long sleeved tan blouse. I thought it went well with my tan cords and heavy rust colored shirt. The place smelled of people, popcorn and
She finished and I said, “A storm is almost here and I would like make it back before it hits hard.”
Mr. Hardney said, “I thought the last of the storms hit two weeks ago and that one was late, but if there’s going to be one more maybe you should leave. It’ll be a bad one this late in the season.”
Penny said, “We’ll make it back in time. You know how those big city people are when it comes to exaggerating storms.”
I looked sharply at her, but by her smile I knew she was just teasing me. She knew I came from a medium size town in California.
She turned to Mr. Hardney and said, “Thank you, I’ll be here early to make up for it.”
“Don’t worry, you’re a good worker so be here at your normal time.”
 She smiled her thanks and grabbed the extra helmet out of my hands. She picked up a blue jacket putting it on as we hurried outside. I could smell ozone and the air felt colder so I knew the rain could start any second. We jumped on the bike, I and took off, I revved it to pick up speed fast.
I enjoyed being with Penny, not only because she looked very cute. She looked nice even with a little extra weight for her height of 5’3”. I liked her a lot. If I wanted just a good looking girl I could have asked out some of the other good looking girls living in the area. One, Brandy, could be a model for western wear. We talked a few times and even though friendly she didn’t attract me-outside of her looks that is. I wanted something more than that.
Penny on the other hand is intelligent, fun and we have a similar sense of humor. She has loads of common sense, is modest and respectful to people.
When I pulled onto the road, she placed her helmet against mine and shouted through both headpieces, ”Come on Star, open it up before the rain starts. You can hear the thunder.”
My nickname is the one thing about her I’m not sure about. My name is Howard but since I told her my last name Stj√§rnahammare meant Starhammer in Swedish, she’s taken to calling me Star. I didn’t dislike it but at the same time I’m not sure if like it either.
She knew thunder too and I think she said that this was going to be one big thunderstorm by the sound of it. While in the store I had heard another noise which I hadn’t been able to identify. I again heard that strange sound in-between the thunder just before I started the motorcycle. I realized that during the conversation with Penny’s boss something had tickled my ears and I realized it had been the same sound only fainter.
We rode at a pretty good clip until we reached Jerry’s place where I slowed. Something felt wrong. In the gloom I
couldn’t see much, but I knew something wasn’t right. I slowed more while I took a closer look at both sides of the road.
Penny leaned forward, touched helmets again, shouted over the motorcycle’s engine, “What’s the matter?”
I shook my head not knowing. When she pointed toward the right it hit me. I couldn’t see any dark patch where the dragon sculpture should be. I have ridden by here at night so I knew it looked like a dark blob until you rode close enough to make it out.
At that point my motorcycle ran over a rut in the road and it took all of my concentration to keep us from crashing. I slowed more and finally came to a stop. I waited for a moment until my heartbeat returned to normal. I told Penny I wanted to look around to see what happened to the sculpture to make sure I didn’t run into a piece of it.
After I turned off the engine I took off my helmet. I noticed that Penny’s dangled from her fingers already. I smelled ozone mixed with something I couldn’t identify. It didn’t smell like hot metal. It smelled almost like a different type of ozone. It was so thick I thought I could taste it. The wind blew through my jacket, but I felt the need to know what had happened. Evidently so did she.
I drew in air through my nose again. Yeah, something that smelled like wet lizard? Or snake? Of course they might all smell the same. Whatever it creeped me out. My heart rate increased and I think so did my sweat. I seemed to hear better all of a sudden.
She said, “What happened to it? The storm isn’t big enough to blow it over. Jerry anchors his sculptures to make sure they don’t blow over.”
“I don’t know but let’s look around. I want to see if any part of it is laying in the road, or had been dragged across the road.”
She looked at my with a puzzled expression on her face.
“We ran through a rut in the road. I’ve been over this road a couple of dozen times, there are no ruts.”
“Maybe Jerry dragged some of his iron pieces over the road.”
“Could be, but he’s always careful or so you tell me.”
“You’re right but a piece may have slipped off his forklift or something.”
“Let’s look around anyway.”
She nodded and we got off the motorcycle. After walking it
further off the road I settled it on its kick stand.
Not surprising we found it hard to see in the gloom. We needed to hurry for I could feel a cold wind blowing as we walked. After a few minutes of looking we saw that the cow sculpture and two others now lay on their sides. A set of four prairie dogs looked Ok as far as we could tell. Most of the other sculptures were either down the road, or on the other side.
At one point I looked up and noticed a light bobbing its way toward us. After a few seconds I could make out a man carrying a large, orange flashlight. When the man got close enough we saw he was wearing a black windbreaker with a hood and black pants, which explained why it took so long to make him out.
He said, “You’ll won’t find the dragon here anymore.”
I recognized the man as Jerry’s assistant Billy.
Penny asked, “What happened to it Billy? Did Jerry move it or sell it?”
I shook my head knowing I had seen it on the way to pick Penny up. They couldn’t have moved it that fast.
When he stepped closer I could see that he looked shell shocked.
He said, “Jerry’s out of town, but he didn’t sell it and we didn’t move it. Something else took off with it.”

end segment

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Shorter Dragon story 2,440 words

July 8 a fantasy tale with dragons again.
I forgot to mention this last week but while I was working on the second part of “What?” (if you have not read it scroll down on the blog's main page) I decided to do some stories with dragons in them. I realized that “What” had a dragon so it was the first of five stories. Today’s story is number two. This tale is only 2,440 words longs so it is in one episode. The next story may have three or four episodes and the next one the same. The last two will be flash stories and I will post both on the same Saturday. I need to write that second flash, but I have a six to eight weeks to do it.
This story is an older one that I like so I have revised it three times over the years and I today I revised the opening again. It probably needs more work but we have had a situation with my Father-in-Law again being in emergency again and that is taking up more time. But I think this is still worth reading and will be enjoyable since it is light hearted and maybe a tiny bit humorous. And as I keep saying comments-either way-are allowed and appreciated.

So enjoy:

Hoodwinker In The Wilderness

Jordan C. Calhoon made his way slowly through the narrow rock strewn ravine. He walked with extreme caution for it would not do to either twist an ankle, or get eaten. There were rumors that a dragon lived in this wasteland. His tunic and trousers were a grey color so hopefully anyone who looked down here would see him that well. He could reach the walls on either side if his reach was only thrice what is was. The walls went five feet above him, so No plants grew here because of the dryness, but he managed to grab two skins for water before he left. That should be enough for the length of this.
He decided to chance this route because he had needed to get out of the village in a hurry, for his health. That was why he was traveling through the desert, right next to the mountain, instead of taking the easier, longer way to the next county.
The beast’s hunting grounds was supposed to be a mile, or two east of here, but one never knew how much of a rumor was true, or not. True or not, he had to go this way to avoid the irate villagers, who wanted to hang him.
He cursed, took a drink of water, the place smelled of dust and dirt, then said to the rocks, “Its my misfortune to have allowed myself to be chased out of that village I was working in. I almost had them too.”
He stumbled on a loose rock and said, “People just won’t understand that I have a talent I need to use. It was the gift I was given after all, and I only take money from people who don’t know what to do with it. That village is growing, in spite of the dragon rumors, therefore I thought it would be a good place to practice my gift. The village leaders would have more gold to spend for the village and many of the long time residents would have more gold and sliver then they were used to spending. It was more silver then gold, but it was still worth working for.”
Jordan used one hand to steady himself against the side of the ravine as he made his way around a boulder, then continued with his compliments with a sigh, “It was my fault for allowing myself to be run out of the village like that. I’ve been in this business long enough to know how fickle the emotions of the masses can be. I should have stepped in when Joshua first started speaking against me, but I thought I had a better hold on the villagers. I saw the warning signs and ignored them. Somehow he managed to convince two or three of the citizens that I was up to no good. It took them a few days, but he was able to show more and more of the others the logic gaps in my promises. Most people want to believe what I say. I can sound convincing, friendly and authoritative at the same time while I play on their fantasies and hidden wishes. They don’t allow themselves to see the flaws in my statements, unless somebody they trust gets their attention. Its happened before. I’ve learned how to deal with it when it does, but this time I got lazy and overconfident.”
He shook his head as he spoke to himself, “now I have to make my way through this wilderness to escape those who want to hang me. I have to keep one eye on the rocks, and scrub brushes and the other watching for snakes, and the dragon. If I keep close to the mountain I can stay clear of where the dragon is supposed to be hunting, while at the same time taking less time to make my way into the next country. On top of that, the villagers won’t expect me to take this route.
“There is no talking to people that angry, and I didn’t even take that much money yet”, here he jingled his half filled money pouch, “only a few gold and silver coins.”
Six minutes later he came out of the ravine and into a wide gully. The slope of the mountain made up one side of the gully while the other side was made of dirt cliffs ten feet high. There were bigger boulders near the far side, including one very large one.
Jordan stopped a few steps into the gully. Something wasn’t right. He looked around. Everything looked normal. The floor was covered with small bushes, rocks were strewn all over the place and he could see snake holes. All kinds of things to twist his ankle if he had to run for it.
His breath caught and his stomach froze as he realized what had caught his attention. It was a lot warmer here then in the ravine.
Jordan said, “Oh oh”
The temperature change could be natural, since it would be
cooler in the ravine, but he didn’t think so. His head jerked back as a sudden thought came to him. A quick look showed the sky was empty, except for three, very normal looking clouds. He looked up the mountain side and still nothing. The dragon could be on the top of the cliffs, just out of his vision angle. He didn’t think so, though.
He relaxed a bit taking another step. He thought about picking up one of the larger rocks, but what good would that do against a dragon?
Jordan took another step as he looked around. The stories about the dragon must be making me paranoid he thought.
His stomach sank and his heart froze, when he heard a deep, raspy voice say, “You should give me proper reverence.”
Jordan's head spun around as he looked behind him, nothing. He looked upward again, still nothing. He’s eyes jumped to the large rock against the wall opposite his position. He watched in terrifying fascination as the upper one third unraveled. It went from being a solid boulder to being a long, snake like neck. The bulging end shot his way stopping a few feet in front of him. He had an impulse to run back into the ravine. It wouldn’t be able to fit in there, but the thing could either fly, or leap to the top of the ravine. That neck could reach into it to scoop him up, or bite him in half. He fought his instincts to flee screaming, and moved forward to meet that horrible, ugly head.
For a few seconds he stared at he head of the dragon. It reminded him of an alligator’s snout he had seen once. Only this snout had teeth along the outside of the mouth and it was almost as long as he was tall. It was wider then he was. The rest of the creature’s face, the eyes and forehead, looked very much like a snake’s head. The shape of the eyes, as well how far apart they were, and the slope of the forehead all gave the impression of a snake. The color was three shades of gray with small spots of green and light browns.
He got his mind working again and said, “Great Being, I have a proposition for you that I need to tell you about, before you eat me.”
The great head titled to one side and the gravely voice boomed, “What type of proposition could you have that a being like me would be interested in?”
The breath was very warm and stunk of bunt meat mixed with other unidentifiable smells, he didn’t want to know what it made up that stink.
“One by which you could eat to your heart’s content, while people of all types paid you the homage you deserve.”
“I can eat all I want to now,” it said while moving its snout in a significant manner, closer to him,
“Yes this is true, but you still have to catch what you eat, or wait until something gets close enough to you so you can grab it. What I propose would allow you to eat all you want, without having to work for it. Cows, and sheep would be delivered to you, waiting to be eaten.”
”I can eat everything, including humans, that come onto my land.”
“Of course you can, but cows are larger then humans. They are longer, fatter and weigh three to four times as much as a man would. One skinny human isn’t all that much of meal for someone like you.”
“True, most humans are on the thin side, and I’ve eaten cows before. They are bigger. Humans are usually gone in one gulp,
but I have to take three bites to finish off a cow. I like variety though.”
“I would be able to get you an oxen or two. They are even larger then cows and perhaps even a deer now and then. Deer are smaller then cows, but still larger then a person. I might be able to get you an elephant now and then too. You do know how big an elephant is?”
“Yes I have heard of elephants. My cousin described them to me. They would make a large meal.”
 “One fit for the Monarch of all animals.”
There was a pause, after which Jordan continued, “And as I said people would give you the reverence you deserve... I would imagine you don’t get much of that out here.”
“I have been getting very little reverence lately. The last maiden I ate punched me in the nose first. While she wasn’t strong enough to harm me of course, she should have felt more awe of me.”
“I agree she should have been too awestruck to punch you. It was a good thing she wasn’t a sorceress though. You do realize there are more sorcerers, wizards and the like throughout the land. They can be very dangerous even to an animal of your magnificence.”
The dragon grunted. The hot air it expelled reminded Jordan of the air billows blew across a blacksmith’s fire.
Jordan said, “You said that a maiden punched you, what would have happened if she had been a sorcerous with a fist full of magic powder. Those sorcerous powders can do all sorts of harm even to beasts of your stature.”
“I know,” the great beast said with a growl of fire, “another cousin of mine was killed be a wizard just last month.”
Jordan flinched at the voice, but said, “I’m sorry to hear
that, my condolences to you. But if you come with me no sorcerer, or wizard would come after you. And as I said you would have all you could eat along with people paying homage to your regalness, great strength and nobleness.”
“Would I be able to eat any of those who come to watch?”
The man shook his head, “That would not be a good idea, if people thought they might get eaten, they would not pay gold to see you.”
“But I like humans.”
Jordan looked thoughtful, “Well... if you really wanted one maybe we could get a village to give us, or better yet, pay us to execute a condemned man. It could save them time and money. I should be able to talk village elders to do that if you promise me you only eat the people I say you can.”
“You promise me that I can eat all I want with little work?”
“I can promise you cows, oxen, a deer now and then, and maybe an elephant once in a while.”
“What would I have to do for this?”
“Let people look at you and be awed. Do a little flying, breath fire now and then. We can set up some logs, maybe build a few huts you could swoop down on and breath fire on.”
The dragon pulled its head back, and asked “People would give you gold to watch me?”
“A magnificent beast like you, of course they would. You would have people coming out to see you now, if they weren’t afraid of being eaten, or twisting a leg on these rocks.”
The dragon titled his head looking thoughtful, “What would you get out of it?”
“I would get to keep half the gold and I would be known far
and wide as the one who was showing such a wondrous dragon.”
He added to himself and I would not get eaten.
The dragon suddenly snaked its head toward Jordan. It stopped it right in front of man’s. It was all Jordan could do to stand his ground.
The dragon stood there a minute then said, “Its a deal.”
Jordan let out the air he didn’t realize he was holding then said, “we can start in the next village. It might take them a while to see that you don’t want to attack, and that they can see you close up if they pay. I should go in first with you waiting outside the village until I call you.”
“I can do that.”
The dragon unlimbered himself and man and beast started walking down the gully together.
Jordan was thinking as he walked next to the dragon.
Its a good thing that I had heard that dragons were lazy and egotistical. And it was a good thing that I came up with the beginning of what I said while walking through that ravine, just in case I ran into the dragon. With my experience I was able to come up with the rest of it as we talked. I will have to remember to continue my act at all times.
The dragon was also thinking as he waddled alongside the human.
Its a good thing I had heard that humans are egotistical, and that they do think they can talk their way out of trouble. I was hoping to find a human that would offer me a deal. I’m getting old and running down food is getting a little hard, and he is right there are more sorcerers and wizards around these days. I thought I could find some one who I could talk into helping me. I don’t
really like eating humans all that much. They are small, and their clothes taste nasty sometimes. They can have all sorts of sharp, or hard objects in their clothes. Swords, and knifes sometimes get stick into my mouth, and any type of metal is hard to digest.
He shook his great head, thinking that he would have to remember to continue his act.
The end

Wonder who is the hoodwinker :)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Second half of "What?" A fantasy in two parts

Part Two of “You want Me To Do What?”

Before I get to t he story:

A Happy Fourth of July to all those who read this and who live in America, or celebrate her anyway. Obviously not a perfect country but still over all one that learns from her mistakes and her people are willing to share, with a great economy, and the freedom to be a totally a Christian and any other religion.
Again too late I thought of doing a story for the holiday. I have a serious of stories for different holidays but not this one. So it would have had to be a new one, but I could have done it if I thought of it in time.

But here be dragons at least one. And a brave, unsure of herself female hero who learns something about herself. 2,692 words here today.

Here is a bit from part one to help you catch up.

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 not this time. By the look on his face she knew it was something she wasn’t going to like. Donna hadn’t expected him to suggest that she come here though.
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.”

She looked at him, a bad feeling growing in her stomach because of his words and tone of his voice. Donna had done many things she didn’t want to do to save her small nation. Gone undercover, spied with a partner, took part in a couple of magic duels, dealt with giant mice and that horde of bugs last week. That mission still sent shivers down her back. But now it was almost time for her to marry. She needed a break and rest.
Samuel said, “Most of your features show that some of your ancestors probably were Easterners. Along with that your knowledge of dragons and the Eastern Magic Code, your ability, and experience you could pass for an Easterner wizard. Your red hair could be a problem but there are ways to hide that.”
Even before Samuel finished Donna had stared at him; she couldn’t believe what he wanted her to do. He knew her background. A corner of her mind said that it was logical. There were dragons on the same mountain, as the school. The students had to learn how to communicate with them as part of their practice. The dragons of the mountain and the Teachers had made a pact, generations ago, that bound the dragons to deal with the students as their boss.
“Tell me what I need to do,” She had finally said.
After Samuel left she had sat on her bed trembling with the thought of pretending to be one them. She had some bad memories of being treated as dog, by Easterners. For some reason they thought she was a half breed and therefore deserved to be treated as a dog. She had had to spend almost a year with them. They fed her scraps and made her sleep on the floor, as well as beat her and forcing her to work for them. Finally her mother and father had found her, rescuing her.
In one way it was good that she had been a child. If she had been a few years older they would done other things to her and used her in ways that made her shudder to think of. Of course she might have been old enough to fight back and maybe even use her magic, but that would have gotten her killed, probably. She still didn’t know why they had kidnapped her and treated her like that, when she came up to them to ask if they were related. After her rescue she ran or hid from anyone who looked Eastern and had nightmares for years. One reason she had set out to learn the Eastern Magic Code was to see if she could figure out why they had done that to her, and to be able to defend herself if any one of them tried it again. She had studied dragons because she was fascinated by them.
Her memories stopped when she reached the school. She made sure she looked haughty and went in. She was half way across the common area when her worst fears came true. One of the officers in the Eastern army came up to her. She thought he was suspicious and wanted to see some proof of her identity but his smile showed her what he wanted.
“There you are, lovely one. I thought we could go up to my room and practice---your exercises.”
She tried to brush pass him, as she said, “Later I got...”
That was all she got out as he grabbed her, putting one arm around her.
 He said, “You can finish what you’re doing after we practice together.”
The way he said together made her feel dirty. She froze for half a heartbeat, wanted to flee, but that would not fit with who she was pretending to be. Her breath came hard, sweat formed on her forehead, her heart beat too fast.
He started to slip a hand inside her robe. Donna could smell his sweat with something extra that would be produced by his arousal. She swallowed the excess siliva that formed. Instead of slapping him and running which was her instinctive response she said, “I said later.” with all the haughtiness and anger she could muster. The anger wasn’t faked.
He smiled and said “I know how you students want it.”
Donna knew she couldn’t fight him and without her bracelet she didn’t have her usual weapons to stop him. He tried to kiss her, expecting her to react like any usual Easterner magic student would, by kissing back.
Instead she slipped her hand through the opening of her robe, beating his hand away as she did. She moved her hand faster than she thought she was able to and found one of the small charms she had made just for this occasion.
Donna slipped it off and threw it on the floor right under his feet. She started speaking Words.
The round piece of bark broke open on the floor releasing a lightly colored smoke. It spiraled upward caressing his legs and going up under the bottom of his uniform.
A second later, as he pressed his lips against hers and slipping his hand through the opening of her robe, he froze. Than he stepped backwards looking like he was puzzled. He yelped and started reaching for his legs to scratch the intense itch he had all of a sudden.
That gave her the opening she needed, finishing her recitation she moved her right hand around, as if she was wrapping something around him. He jerked up, looking at her with a panicked expression. She pulled on the invisible something in her hand and he slipped to the floor, falling on one side, with his hands tightly bound to his sides. She pulled again and he grunted as a long, coiling dent appeared in his chest armor, as if something heavy was squeezing him. He grunted out a curse and maybe a short scream.
She snarled, not all faked, “I said later! I got something to finish first before pleasure.”
Donna let go of what was in her hand and walked off.
“Damn officers, they don’t know their place,” she mumbled loud enough for those who had witnessed the confrontation to hear.
She finished with a particularly nasty Eastern insult. Some of those around her smiled and by the expression on the faces of other students, they thought he got what he deserved.
Some probably were thinking she should have squeezed even harder, she thought. I didn’t wanted to hurt him, not badly, that Power Word will keep him until it wears off in a few minutes. I used a weaker Power phrase on purpose.
As she walked out of the room, she saw he was squirming trying to find relief from the itching. That would stop before the Word let go of him.
Donna made it back to her room without further difficulty.
Once in the room she made sure the door was secure. Not so much because she was afraid that someone would want to finish what the officer started, but so no one could walk in while she opened her special small chest. It was locked with more than a physical lock. She had placed a black dress over it but she depended on a Power Word on it that wouldn’t let anyone, except her, see it. There was a second one that would keep it shut even if the lock was broken.
She picked it up with one hand and slowly opened it. Inside, along with pieces of jewelry, was her two must precious items. Her bracelet and her engagement ring. She picked that up first luxuriating in its feel. Rather had spent time designing it and making it just right and she could feel his love flowing from it. It was beautiful, with two doves touching a diamond between their beaks. The doves sliver in color and there were white and gold streaks throughout the band. The diamond shone with a brilliance that still surprised her.
She didn’t know how he got white and yellow gold to bend together with the Power metal like that but she was happy with the result. She treasured it more than the necklace he had given her the first time he had come by to introduce himself. He had made that too. She had known he was a special person to be able to make something like that, and because he had known what to give her. She adored opals. Both the opals, and the amethyst, set in Power metal made it just right for someone with her abilities. For the Power metal enhanced a Power welders abilities.
Placing the ring on her finger Donna looked at her bracelet. She shook her head, it, the necklace and other rings would have to wait. Easterners had engagement rings so no one who might see it would think it funny she was wearing it. The other jewelry would have to wait. Besides from her reaction when that officer tried to grab her she realized she had become too dependent on the bracelet.
She pulled off the robe and untied the belt as fast as her hands would move. Once it was off she held the belt with one hand deciding what to do with it. Keeping it would be best in case she had need of it again. Donna hurriedly packed it and the robe in the pack with her dirty clothes in it. She next dressed in traveling clothes; undergarments, brown pants and a light yellow loose fitting tunic. Lastly a hooded jacket whose hood would hide her hair.
She looked at her self in the mirror and nodded. This outfit was a design that anyone might wear.
After that was done she finished packing and stepped to the door. Oops, she forgot one thing. Hurriedly unpacking she found the black, gray and brown headband, that was as wide as her little finger was long. It was the headband that signified that she was a student of Eastern Powercasting. Making sure the Powercasting symbol was on the front she put it around her forehead.
Once that was done she stepped out of the room and collapsed all the Power wards she had placed around the room, she left. Donna walked confidently through the halls and down the stairs. Once in the common area again she said to the person behind a counter that she was done with her room. He nodded and she turned heading through the main door. As she did, she tried to look like she was all Powerful and she could do whatever she wanted.
Donna mused that Rather would be surprised, if he was to see her now with that expression on her face, along with her walk. He thought she needed more of an aura of confidence, than she usually displayed.
She found the stables and got her horse. It had been well taken care of and all she had to do was saddle it. The stable
hands could do that, but she didn’t want to wait. She could do it faster and be out of there sooner.
Once on the road she kept up her haughty stance, until she was halfway down the mountain. Once she thought she was beyond where anyone might be watching her, she relaxed. Stopping she took her chest out of the saddlebag. Opening it she placed the necklace around her neck and the bracelet on her right wrist. She added her other rings and than made a clicking noise with her mouth to urge the horse to start moving again. The horse was soon traveling at a half gallop.
On the way she thought about how she had been right for this trip after all. Even though she took a chance using the bark bead as a talisman she knew that it was unlikely that anyone would look for the bead. If anyone happened to find the tiny pieces of what was left of it, and checked it over, they would find traces of Hedge witch Power, not Northern Power. She didn’t worry about the other Power she used either. If anyone tested the residue of the Power, she had used on the officer, they would find what they expected: Eastern Magic as the bases. The same went with the demonstration of her Power she used to get in. Donna had used Eastern Power Words for both.
She was one of the few of her colleagues, who studied more than one type of Power. Now though she had to get going if she was going to make the rendezvous with the dragon and a day after that with her fiancé.
It would be good to have the dragon bones with the magic they contained. They would help her side, but they were not the reason she had taken the chance of coming here. It was the second thing, she had mentioned in an off handed way, that had brought her to this place. The humans she had mentioned, who would be coming over the pass, were coming to attack her people. There were no armies or mages, nor any other Power wielders, who were in the right position to stop them. Not that it mattered even if the army was in the right place. Her people were too few to have an army large enough to stop the one headed their way. With a few good mages, if they were able to hit the invaders in the right place, at the right moment, they might be able to do them significant damage thereby stopping them. But that would leave her nation open to an attack by the Easterners. The army however wasn’t in the right place. They were marching at full speed for the invaders because they weren’t going to give up without a fight. They would get there, however, after the invaders had come through the pass, and after they had a chance to rest up.
Her mentor had come up with the plan to use a dragon to decimate the invaders, while they were coming through the pass. He told her about the bones in the small cave just under the level of the lava in the Crag volcano. He had known about them for years but hadn’t had the ability to get to them. Now the level of the lava had gone down and if it continued going down, the cave would become accessible. But a dragon could get them. The bones were to be the excuse to get the dragon at the right place and time. Her partner would make sure the invaders attacked the dragon. He was good at making people do what he wanted without using any traceable Power words to convince them.
As she rode on she smiled happy to have beaten her fears and disgust, while at the same time she had been able to do something that would save her people. Not a bad three day trip.

The End