Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.
“They are coming in close.” Rolim yelled into Madge’s ear.
“I can see that.” She replied.”And I’d appreciate it if you didn’t yell into my ear. I’m not deaf you know.”
A series of small arrows sailed past their heads.
“They’re shooting at us?” said Rolim.
Madj turned her head around.
“I have never seen riders like that before.”
Rolim turned. The riders in the smaller dragons were getting their bows ready for another shot.
“Can you make this thing go faster?”
“Not that I know of…according to what it tells me it seems to be flying as fast as it can. Those other dragons are just smaller and faster.”
Madj looked below them. The mountains had turned to green trees.
“Go down” Rolim said, “Maybe we can lose them in the trees.”
Madj tugged on the dragon’s rein, she had not idea how to get the thing to go down. She tried pulling the dragon’s head one way, which only irritated the dragon.
“Do you know how to get it to dive” she called out to Rolim.
“Hey…you’re the dragon expert…figure it out and quickly… there closing on us.”
Rolim looked back as smaller dragons were getting closer.
Another volley of arrows sailed past them.
“What’s their problem?” she said out loud.
“I don’t know,” replied Rolim and I for one don’t want to stick around to find out.”
No matter what Madj tried, the dragon would not respond to any of his attempts to get it to dive.
“This thing must be on autopilot” she called back to Rolim.
“That’s not good,” he said “any minute those dragons are going to be on top of us.’
Rolim looked down and surveyed the landscape below. The dragon now sailed over a large body of water. All of a sudden, the dragon jerked to a stop in mid air and dove towards the lake. It was all Rolim and Madj could do to hold on.
“What did you do?” said Rolim
“I didn’t do anything…said Madj. “It’s all the dragon’s doing…he must sense trouble.”
“Well I hope you can swim,” said Rolim as the water rushed up to meet them.
Rolim felt himself torn from the back of the dragon as it plunged into the water. As the force of the impact propelled them deeper into the lake, he reached out, took Madge by the back of her cloak, and held on for dear life.
She appeared to be unconscious. Probably knocked out when she hit the water, he thought. The only thing that had saved him from the same fate was the fact he had pressed his head firmly against Madj’s back. Rolim turned his head this way and that as he tried to find a sign of the dragon in the murky water.
Not having any luck he kicked his legs and pushed off towards the surface of the lake. Madge remained limp the whole way up and Rolim started to worry that something might be wrong. Moments later, he surfaced with Madj in his arms. He surveyed the surface of the lake.
Off in the distance he saw the flying harpies as they continued to pursue something blue. The dragon was leading them away. It had resurfaced and taken to the air.
Rolim looked behind him. The shoreline was not that far away. He turned and with Madj in tow, headed for the beach. As soon as he got there and he dragged, the lifeless form of Madj up onto the beach.
In candidate school, he had learned CPR so went to work on trying to revive her. In a few moments, she coughed and spat out some water. She opened her eyes.
“You’ll come up with any excuse to kiss a girl,” she said as she laughed. Rolim reached down to help her to her feet. They surveyed the landscape before them. Across the water lay the mountains they crossed. He looked to Madj.
“That way’s out,” he looked into the woods. “I guess we go in there.”
Rolim headed into the forest pushing tree branches out of the way. As they entered the forest, darkness enfolded them. Rolim noticed the forest had grown strangely quiet.
“I sure hope there’s a road around here somewhere.” Madj said.
“I only hope the natives don’t eat people.”
“Well if that’s the case I’ll tell them to take you first.” Said Madj. “I am nothing more then a appetizer.”
“Hey I wasn’t kidding. Why do you think I brought you along?”
“And all this time I thought it was for the adventure…hey how soon do you think it will be before our clothing dries…it’s not very comfortable walking around like this.”
“I don’t know, it’s getting dark, the temperature is going to start dropping…maybe we will catch a chill…”
Please, no more of your optimism, let’s just keep walking.”
Rolim and Madj wandered in the darkness through the forest until by pure accident they stumbled out of underbrush and out onto a dirt road.
“See I told you I would find us a road.”
Madj looked over at Rolim. “So, oh great guide, where are we then.”
“Well, judging by the position of the stars and guessing about how far we’ve traveled since the dragon dunked us into the lake we must be somewhere near the corner of the middle of nowhere and fourth.”
“Very funny,” Madj said, “I guess I’ll have to find out for myself.” She turned and started up the road.
Rolim set off up the road after her. “Would you hold up…I was only kidding,” He increased his pace trying to keep up with her. “You know for someone with short legs you sure move pretty fast.”
“Just fast enough to put some distance between me and you.”
“Touché, look I’m sorry. Can I help it if it is my nature to be funny?’
Madj stopped. She looked at Rolim in the darkness. To tell the truth, with his handsome looks, long brown hair, blue eyes, and sense of humor he was what many girls wanted in a man. Well in his case half man, half elf. She laughed to herself.
Rolim looked over at her in the darkness. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing just admiring your handsome…never mind I don’t want to give you a big head.
“Well anyway, judging by the strangeness of the trees around us I have no idea where we are.” “What…mister great woodsman is lost…I find it hard to believe.”
“I do too, but we’re here. The bigger question would be why did the…wait do you feel that?” Rolim said as he sensed another’s presence. He pulled a short sword from underneath his long coat and held it aloft.
He looked towards Madj. Framed by auburn colored hair her deep-set mint greens eyes surveyed the surrounding forest. He could tell she sensed it too though her face with its undiminished beauty showed no signs of any concern.
She pulled her crossbow from under her coat and knocked an arrow. Madj was only five seven, short for an elf, but with her long thin but well muscled body she was more then a match for any creature he knew.
“I don’t sense it anymore.”
“Me either—wait, look up there…a light making it’s way down the road. You have better sense then me—see if you can make out who or what it is.”
“Oh, you finally admit it huh?”
“Yeah, yeah…can you see if you can sense anything?”
Madj closed her eyes. After a few moments, she reopened them. “I can’t sense anything. So ether they’re good at masking their signature or else they’re not alive.”
“Dyn Kander...long time no see.”
“Not alive, you don’t mean as in a zombie?”
“Yeah…either that of a non corporeal being…”
“I for one hope it is not a zombie, they just wouldn’t die.”
“May I once again point out, zombies are already…”
“Dead…I know that, but you know what I mean?”
“Sometimes I really don’t….oh never mind.” She looked down the trail. “The light is getting closer. We better retreat to the bushes. Maybe if they're lucky they’ll pass us by.
They retreated to the bushes at the side of the road where they crouched down—sword and bow at the ready. Pushing some brush aside, Rolim peered out onto the road. Suddenly out of nowhere, a figure appeared in the center of the road. He just stood there for a few seconds looking ahead on the road.
Then he turned towards their hiding place so they were able to get a good look at his face. He was a about five feet high, with a shadowed face, long beard and tattered cloak draped over a cats head. In his one hand, he carried a glowing ball of light—thrown over the other shoulder was a large bag of some kind. Rolim rubbed his eyes.
Surely, they were playing tricks on him, because the cat/man appeared to coalesce out of nothingness. He turned and walked closer to the edge of the road where Rolim and Madj lay concealed. The light from the beings hand illuminated the area around them/
“You may come out of hiding. I mean you no harm.”
Rolim and Madge stayed where they were. Rolim wondered how the creat had known where they were, then he saw the trampled down grass leading to their hiding place. In their haste to hide, they had forgotten to make sure to cover their tracks.
“Come on out, were wasting time.”
The creature waved his free hand in front of him. The grass parted in front of Rolim and Madj. The creature walked through the new clearing and stood before them. Rolim lifted his sword.
“Put your sword down, it is useless against me—beside like I already told you I mean you no harm. If I had you’d be toast by now.”
“Toast…as in a piece of browned bread…I don’t see…”
The creature laughed. “No toast, as in dead.”
The cat creature bowed at the waist. “Welcome to you Princess Madj and friend. My name is Ell, who are you and why are you in my wood?”
“I am Madj and this is my grandfather’s appointed guardian, Rolim.”
“Your grandfather didn’t think you could take care of yourself.” Ell smirked. “Rolim and Madj huh…so what brings you into these woods So far from home and this late at night?”
Rolim watched Eli’s movements. “Well we had a run in with some dragons and they…”
“Very interesting story, but I already know. I saw your dragon splash into the lake. Come…you both must be hungry and tired.I have a fire and food. Follow me,”Dyn headed back up the path he created and stopped at the road. As they walked, Rolim glanced into the darkness of the forest. A sudden sound started him. The brush alongside the trail rustled as some creature of the darkness sought to keep up with them.
“Careful o brave one or you will soil yourself.” Madj laughed
“Silence, all manner of foul creature roams these woods tonight.” Dyn quipped.
“Don’t they always,” Rolim quipped back. “For once I’d like to walk through a forest and not have to worry about being attacked or eaten.”
Up ahead the forest brightened.
“We are here,”
© 2020 Timothy Whitt