Part 85 – Seen By Few, Feared By Many
“Ready?” Eleswith whispered to her mates as she and Teryndir positioned themselves close to the dragon matron.
The company had already shot two cold-worms that made their nests up on the high cliff of the dragon’s perch. Estonethiel and Helesdir had their arrows ready to pull at the matron’s eyes. Magla had the chain ready at the neck to keep the matron’s head down while Sergee, Teryndir, and Eleswith had the body. Three were needed for the body as the dragon matron’s legs were so massive with muscle it could over power even just two of them. The chain was to wrap around the neck with Magla, cross over to Sergee and then pass over to Eleswith and Teryndir, who were to hold that end of the chain.
“Ready,” Sergee whispered back.
Theomin stood alone away from the other six. His nerves gurgled his stomach and forced sweat from his brow. His hands were cold as were his feet while in his boots. Without control, he shook but really tried to not look too nervous. The rest of the group looked at Theomin as he looked at them; waiting for him to say he was ready. He breathed in deep and exhailed then finally gave a nod and said, “You have my sword, Estonethiel?” She nodded a confirmation. “Then I am ready.”
Magla threw the chain over the matron’s neck over to Sergee. He caught it and then with as much force as he could muster, he heaved it over the body of the matron toward Eleswith and Teryndir. They caught it and pulled it as tight as they could over the matron’s body. She was effectively pinned down by the chain. As the chain was being forced down upon her, the matron woke from its slumber and tried to rise up but was kept down by the chain.
The matron struggled and attempted two and three times to rise up but she could not. She gave sounds, weak sounds as her struggle was all for not. The sounds were like signals and sure enough, not far from Theomin were two cold-worms coming to the aid of their matron. Easily, Helesdir and Estonethiel shot them dead and immediately turned their bows back on the eyes of the matron.
“What do we do now?” Eleswith asked, visibly struggling with the chain.
“We wait,” Sergee answered, not sounding as he was struggling but visibly finding it very tough to hold down the matron.
Theomin looked at his surroundings. The path was clear, not a drake or a cold-worm or even a dragon was in sight. The sky was clear as well. The stars were shining bright and the moon cast its dim reflection on the surroundings. Mist was in the valley of the worms, not much could be seen on the other side of the chasm. The silence sent nerves through Theomin’s body as he was not sure what to expect.
It was only a few moments later that he could see the shadow of spread wings of a large flying creature on the ground below him. He heard the sound of a whoosh up above but when he looked up he could see nothing. Then, over the other side of the hill, he heard a boom as the surroundings shook. Small pebbles fell from the craggy rock around the perch and soon other smaller booms were heard from the other side. It was the dragon.
Theomin looked at his mates who had the matron pinned down. They all looked at each other with such anticipation that their breathing sped up. All that was heard was the sound of the matron’s breathing, a snarling sound but nonetheless quiet. They also heard the clanking of the chain in their hands as they tried to regrip the chain. And of course they heard the booming footsteps of the approaching dragon.
The booming came closer and louder and Theomin’s breathing became faster. Then, just above the side of the hill the head of Naglangon emerged. He had finally arrived. Its black scales glittered in the moonlight. It did not look much different from a drake, except for the darkness of its scales. Its red eyes glowed in the darkness. The horns of it were much longer than that of the drakes and also had two on each side, unlike the drakes who only sported one one each side. Its snout bore a single horn at the tip which was donned upon it nostrils just below. And below the jaw was another spike, like a horn jutting out from the chin of the beast. The teeth of the beast were much more massive than that of the drakes. They were longer and looked more refined and powerful. Flesh sat on the bottoms of the pink stained teeth as drool found its way around the dead flesh and dripped on the ground. As it dripped, a hissing sound could be heard, as if the saliva was either acidic or it was super heated to some extreme temperature.
Naglangon saw Theomin alone in the middle of the perch just watching him coming closer. Theomin tried to conseal his trepidation as he saw the massive, mosterous dragon approaching him. It staired at Theomin intently as it’s booming gate came closer and closer to Theomin. He could hear the sound of growling from the enormous thing as he swallowed, not sure what was going to happen. Without Theomin saying anything, the dragon started, “Well isn’t this an interesting turn of events. None have come to my lair and lived to tell about it,” Naglongon’s booming voice said. Theomin could feel the ground and even his own body vibrating to the sound of his massive voice. “But none have ever dared confronted me like you have this day. I have seen bows and swords and even a catapult or two. All gone, all eaten. But you bring me nothing. I see no sword on yourself, no bow, no devise for which to kill me. Most curious you are, man,” it said with a mocking tone.
Theomin could tell the dragon was waiting for a response. Before speaking, he hesitated for only a moment, “I have come to ask a question.” His voice was small and pathetic next to the loud bass filled voice of Naglongon.
“And what makes you think I would answer your question and not eat you on the spot? You look to be a tasty morsul, minus the clothes of course,” he jested for only a moment.
Again, he hesitated because he did not want to reveal what his friends were doing. Regardless of what he wanted, he had to and he said it loud enough and strong for the dragon to hear, “I have insurance that you will not touch me.”
The dragon laughed a loud sinister and boisterous laugh, as if he knew nothing could stop him from eating Theomin and then said in a mocking way, “And what insurance do you have, man, that would stop me from eating you whole?”
“I have your matron, the mother of your spawn and and the bearer of your future,” he said.
“What?” he said loudly with anger as if the sudden turn of events stripped him of all his power. Naglangon looked around the rock pillar next to the matron. There, sure enough, was the dragon matron held down by Theomin’s people. “How dare you come to my layer and imprison my matron!” His voice was loud with hostility. “I will burn you alive tiny man, I will burn you and all your friends for such trechary.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Theomin held his hands up to ward off the dragon. “I have two archers ready to fire into your matron’s head if any harm was to come to any of us.”
“Ahh,” the dragon screamed and spread its wings and induced a strong wind, blowing dust up in the air as Theomin covered his eyes with his arms. The others kept very still, not really being effected by the strong wind. “How DARE YOU come to my layer and take my matron! How DARE YOU!” he slammed his feet on the ground and smashed rocks around his perch. He stompted and let loose a torent of fire from his mouth up into the skies above like an out of control fire burning away a forest.
“Do we have your attention, then?” Theomin confidently asked, knowing he had the upper hand.
“You will all die,” the dragon said with a grin as his drool continued to pour through his fangs and sizzle on the ground. “All of you…will…die.”
“You kill us, we kill your matron. There are planty more men and elves in this land. There are few left of dragons and drakes. Killing us will only weaken your species.”
The dragon looked defeated. His eyes wandering and pondering at the thought of having no more offspring. He gave grunts and goans and growls until finally he relented to Theomin and asked, “Fine, man. No harm will come to you if you keep my matron in good health. If not, death will come to you all. So go ahead, man, ask away. Let no harm come to my matron.”
“Okay,” Theomin said with strange satisfaction. “My friends and I are searching for a certain relic of ages past. A riddle points to the direction but the riddle has stumped all of us from men to elves. It mentions some kind of serpent. A serpent in the earth. Being a type of serpent your self we thought you would have a clue. Have you an idea what it is speaking of?”
At first the dragon just chuckled. His chuckling broke into a loud and boisterous laughter, so deep and so loud that it shook the earth under Theomin. Theomin found his laughter somewhat offensive but curious. “You mean you do not know of the serpent of the underground?” he asked and then laughed even harder.
“What is the meaning of such laughter?” Theomin asked, truly offended by the dragon’s lighthearted laugh.
“You see yourselves as so smart and cunning but you know not of your world. You are no lore masters or wizards or even great warriors. Not even the elf there with all her knowledge centuries of life could tell you. I find that too outrageous.” Naglangon turned suddenly serious and looked strait at Theomin, “But that is typical of men. You think you know your world and everything in it but you don’t. You think you know your past and all that went on in it but you don’t. You know not of the serpent tunnels under the earth. The tunnels hold not serpents, the tunnels are the serpents. But it matters not. Soon you and your folk will not care for such trivial matters. Soon you and your friends will be worrying about surviving.”
“Wait, Naglangon,” Theomin said. “Have you forgotten who we have in our capture? Your matron.”
“Oh, I have not forgotten that,” Naglangon said with a smile. “You and your sniveling mates will soon pay for your shameless capture of the mother of my spawn.”
“Not so fast,” Theomin looked around. “It seems as though they were wrong about you.”
“Who? Who was wrong about the Dragon King of the North?” Naglangon said.
“The elves. They said there were no dragons,” Theomin replied. “They said they had all been slayen and that the only ones I could converse with were indecent lesser dragons. I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to tell them you were a dragon. And dragons, though, dragons keep their word and their word is as good as the gold they hoard. All other manner of large lizard creature are lesser dragons: drakes.”
“Oh, but you are wrong there,” Naglangon boasted, “I am Naglangon, the Great Dragon of the North. Seen by few but feared by many.”
“Then you are a dragon and as such are a creature to be feared but also respected,” Theomin said.
Naglangon seethed in anger, “Go on.”
“If you were to kill us now, we would no choice but to fire our arrows directly into the brain of your matron, and if you know anything about her, it will kill her and leave you without future offspring.” Theomin said with much more confidence than he had before. “We will let her live, though, if you will allow us to leave your perch and return to our homes. We will speak of you as The Great Dragon of the North, seen by few and feared by many.”
“Hmm,” Naglangon said, “A very intriguing proposal. I’ll tell you what, man. For allowing my matron to live, you will leave my layer and if you are not out of my valley by the time the sun has peaked in the midday sky, you and your ilk will find your way into the inside of my stomach. That,” he grinned sinisterly, “is my proposal.”
“I can hardly hold on,” Eleswith said, her arms were shaking and sweat was dripping from her nose. Her hands started to slip with the abundance of sweat that made it tough to hold on.
“Give Theomin a few more minutes,” Sergee said. “He will find a way out of this.”
“That was not apart of the agreement,” Theomin argued.
“Oh, there was no agreement, but I am standing by what I said. I will allow you to live if you pass beyond the threashold of the valley but if you don’t, I will eat each one of you tasty morsals.”
Suddenly, Eleswith, Sergee, Helesdir and Estonethiel started yelling. It took only a split second for Theomin to look over at what was happening. Teryndir had let go of the chain and was backing away from the matron. “What are you doing, Teryndir?” Sergee yelled to Teryndir, “Get back on the chain!”
He only looked up at his mates. Teryndir said nothing. His face was blank and he was completely emotionless. He then turned and walked away very casually, as if he had not the slightest care in the world that he was possibly condemning his friends.
“It looks as though you should not have been so trusting in your supposed friends,” Naglangon said with pleasure.
With a quick decision he yelled to Helesdir and Estonethiel, “Fire at my command.”
“Ahh, but you are smarter than you look,” Naglangon said with respect. “Until you reach the threshold of the valley, that is our deal.”
“Deal,” Theomin said.
Not just a few moments after Theomin sealed the deal with Naglangon, the matron shifted her body and threw Eleswith out of balance.
“Hold her!” Sergee yelled.
“I can’t,” yelled Eleswith. The matron found it was free on one side and rolled over almost onto Sergee. He had no choice but to let go of the chain and back away from the matron. The matron then found her footing and rose up with only Magla hanging on to the chain. Eleswith grabbed onto the chain again just as Magla dropped down. The matron swung its body, yanking Eleswith around and flung her far into the air toward another chasm. The matron then lept into the air and flapped her large bat-like wings. Dust and debries flew around the group covered their eyes as the matron took to the sky.
“Eleswith!” Helesdir devistatedly yelled to her running to the cliff but too late he was, crushing him.
Naglangon smiled with devilish satisfaction, “It looks as though our little game has ended.” His eyes glowed an even deeper color of red. “I could not have expected this to work itself any better way. Instead of lingering here, I gather you have more important things to take care of.” He grinned, showing his blood stained teeth to their fullest. “You will either find your friend and condemn your group to death, or you leave her behind. Hope she does not live.” He then turned and happily walked away.