Aden of Aden
As the men rushed off, I left the balcony to hear Dumourl in his room. Not afraid of what I might see, I went into the bedroom he had claimed. He was indeed taking off his outer wear to prepare to don his armor. I moved to where Dumourl had placed his weapons while making a demand.
“Leave your bow with me.”
With a firm voice he replied, “I do not want you out where the dragon can see you.”
“It is coming for me. I am not a swordsman, but I have some skill with a bow. Maybe its determination to come before me will give me a shot.”
He glared at me, then moved to a leather bundle. Undoing some straps, I saw some rather substantial spiny arrows of a dull, dark, gray metal. He did not pick them up, but moved back to where he had his armor laid out while speaking.
“Please, don’t use them all.”
Seeing less than a dozen of the projectiles, I replied, “If my situation requires it, I will.”
“That is the right answer. You are correct that if you end up with the dragon dead, I will not speak of the loss of the arrows. Still, they are rather special. I doubt even Lord Ferrigote could replace them.”
I picked one up and noticed that the spikes, or thorns, seemed to be no more serious than feathers. I had wondered about the difficulty in using these projectiles. In finding the projections to flow beneath my fingers I could only wonder about how the arrows would hurt the dragon.
I said, “They must be really magic.”
Dumourl replied, “It is more than the magic, Aden. They are history. Being what I am, most consider me unusual. In coming to accept me, most look for references with some mentioning really strange legends they had heard. I followed up on one reference I heard, using Lord Terish’s library, and discovered the ruins of an ancient race of people like me. I found these arrows there. I really have not been keeping them for killing dragons, but on hopefully getting others to speak of more ancient clues that might have me find more about this lost race of beings. I think I might find my immortal bride somewhere along that path.”
Wanting him to know that I understood, I replied, “Thank you, Dumourl.”
“I cannot win, Aden. Either I lose them or you. You, I will not be able to replace. Them, maybe after their magic is spent what I recover will still be enough to draw out memories.”
“I promise not to release them without need. Should you or those in this city be able to repel the threat, I and these arrows will be waiting for you.”
“Well, that is something different about you. Both Endullae and Debbish, even Chemiana to a point, would be rushing to the dragon. Stay sweet, Aden of Aden. I don’t know what fate has in store for you, but I want you to stay as you are.”
Just wanting to be conversational, as well as learn more about the nobles of my land, I asked, “How about Venicht and Althery?”
“By the time I met Venicht, he was already set on his path. We met on Davelda, and the influence of the Goddess there had already worked upon him. While others thought it strange that he took on the life of running a major weapons corporation, I actually felt it proper. Althery was always something different. Lord Ferrigote saw it, and treated him differently. Allowing him to take over the construction of his castle was not something I would have done, but Althery did a wonderful job at it. The events that led up to him having a relationship with Neselle had me feeling that there was a path established for him as well.”
“You are making me sad that I did not get to know the Dozzrine children.”
“One benefit of being immortal is that I get to carry all these memories with me. Not only of them, but also of you. Memories are not burdens, but blessings. I am glad to be able to know something of you, Aden of Aden, and will spend time in the future taking pleasure in being able to remember you.”
He tightened some straps, then asked me to check some things on his back. We laughed as I had to watch for his tail, but soon enough he was saying that he was ready to go. I smiled when he asked me if I was certain about staying in the room, but assured him that I felt trouble would come for me without me needing to go to it.
After securing the door behind me, I closed off the light boxes illuminating the room. With everything in darkness, I moved back out to the balcony. Huddled in a corner where the stone railing met the thick wall of the castle, I felt secure enough to watch the battle.
Being low to the floor, I feared I would need to rise to see the fighting. I listened to the cries of the sentries stating the position of the dragon glad that at least I was on the correct side of the castle. I however sensed that I would need to fear for myself as I heard a gradually growing powerful voice.
“You were foolish to come here, Lechost. While you served me, I left this land alone. Now they are doomed.”
“They were doomed even with me serving you, Belconosk!” I clearly heard Lechost proclaim. “You were not leaving them alone, but just waiting for the time of your own domination to come.”
“Well, whatever you thought my plans were for this place, I will have the memory of this land tell all know not to challenge me!”-
The power behind that last sentence could be felt by me, as the dragon had not stopped at the walls of the city. Even with arrows and larger projectiles being sent toward it, the great beast did not feel threatened. I not only heard its powerful voice as it closed on the castle, but began to make out the sound of its grand wings.
Having my own plan, I rose from my position. As before with the dragon, it had more on its mind than focusing on my possible position. I however watched it approach feeling its intent to destroy the castle. It paused to send fire upon the upper floors of the building, but with its great size I moved forward from my position to lift myself up on my toes in order to touch a claw on one of its rear feet.
“What?” the great beast roared.
The body spun with the rear legs latching onto the stones of the castle in order to turn to face me. That was what I wanted, and grabbed the bow along with an arrow. As I saw the front of the dragon turn to me, I pulled back on the string.
“You are the one that gives puny things of this land hope. I would like to have your head as a trophy, but it will be squashed along with the rest of your bones.”
My focus was not truly on the words. Not feeling that I was the best of shots, I did all I could to concentrate on making my attack good. Finding a place where the skin of the neck folded to show me what I felt was an opening to the muscles, I put my focus on assuring a proper flight of the arrow before releasing my hold on the string.
I had never seen an arrow fly so fast. Having it disappear had me think that I missed. The appendages of the dragon stretching out however let me know that it felt something with a grand roar of pain telling me that my aim had been true.
The great beast sounded out gasps as it fled back in the direction it had come. Having aimed at the neck, I accepted that the arrow had disrupted the flow of air to the body of the dragon. I thus sat back down feeling that my plans for the great beast had been successful.
Pounding on the door had me move to release all the locks. Dumourl, Lechost, and a number of men both human and abbevor flowed into the room. While I felt all had their own reasons for being present, I looked to those who came through the door while saying the words I felt were really important.
“Dumourl, I only used one arrow.”
He and most of the men in the room and hallway laughed with Dumourl speaking to possibly provide information on what they found funny. “I am sorry to hear that, Aden. I feel that now the tale of you will prove stronger than any information I hope to gain by carrying them. Maybe if you had released them all, the sorrow at their passing might touch people deeper.”
Someone with the devices on his uniform indicating the rank of general exclaimed, “And possibly resulted in the death of the dragon!”
Before anyone could say anything more, Lechost said, “Aden of Aden, you are a blessing my land greatly needs. Thank you for coming with me.” I could only stand as he led everyone in a cheer for me, then he proclaimed, “We need to attack while Belconosk is hurt!”
Dumourl had to explain what arrows I had been given to use. I felt relieved to hear some other lizard people speaking of helping to find information on the possible creators of the projectiles. Lechost assured me that I would be given every blessing his home could provide, then told Dumourl and the others that they needed to head out.
While the men moved away, I saw Yelnoth stand firm until he could advance to kneel before me. “Aden of Aden, you are something else. I really was not sure of who you were, but only saw your beauty. Lechost said some things, but in this land you hear a lot that is not true. This land, my land, needs you. Don’t go anywhere. Trust that we will return.”
Unsure of what to say, I commented, “While I did enjoy the Kippayun, and would not mind hearing it again, do you know other songs?”
“After tonight, probably only songs of you.” I saw him smile as he rose before admitting, “Yes, Aden of Aden, I know other songs.”
“Why not songs of you? I assume you are going with the others to slay Belconosk.”
“It is my father’s promise to Lechost’s father. While this land practices deception, I will prove myself to be truthful. I did it until now simply to stand with honor, but I feel people will be whispering that I did it in order to stand before you. It will bring a smile to my face to hear those rumors.”
I had heard it mentioned of a certain action I could perform, but until that moment considered it more comical than truly of worth. “Let me give you one of my scarves. Tell Lechost that if he would have stayed, I would surely have given him one as well.”
“His focus should be on leading his people. While I should have my focus on him, it will only reinforce my devotion to advancing his plans by having something of yours.”
I pulled out the cloth, but almost did not give it seeing its color dulled by dirt. “I’m sorry, but it was a rough journey to get here.”
Yelnoth took it while saying, “But you made it here, Aden of Aden. I promise to only add to the story of this cloth by returning to tell you of the struggle I took it through. You survived, and I will go with confidence that I shall survive as well.”
Fighting dragons is dangerous work with Aden taking care of the wounded.