Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chapter 15: Reasons

   "I don't know why you brought him to me, but I am expecting a detailed explanation." Celeret stated as she walked out of the tunnel onto the balcony. Fulkar was sitting on an outcropping of stone on the side of the mountain, enjoying the open air and expanse after the cramped tunnel. The balcony hung over a mile from the bottom of the mountain and it's beak was so high its view was blocked by the clouds. There was another, smaller mountain on every side, four in all, causing a wall to be formed around this oasis within the mountain range. Fulkar looked up at her and snorted.
   "Do you really care what I have to say? You have already made up you mind, have you not?"
   "Perhaps, but I always like a good story."
   "He rescued me." Celeret let loose a laugh that sounded like a  hundred bells had been rung at once.
   "He rescued you?" She laughed again her eyes shining.
   "Yes he did. Are you so surprised?"
   "He's a child." She stopped laughing and placed her hands on her hips. "Are you trying to trick me?"
   "No. I swear to you that I speak the truth." He recounted the story to her and when he had finished, he asked her forgiveness. " I hope you do not think ill of me for bringing him without notice. I thought it very unwise and irresponsible to leave him to stay uneducated."
   "I do not think ill of you. I will teach him, but I do not think he is as powerful as you do. Not to mention, that he is weak spirited. I do not think he will last a week."
   "He will last. Give him some credit, Celeret. You have grown cynical and pessimistic as youve aged. Have a little hope."
   "No... but I will teach him just the same."
   "Fine. Do it your own way. I must ask you though, what had you decided before I told you the story?"
   "To keep him. What can I say? I enjoy entertainment." with that she turned and reentered the tunnel. Fulkar shook his head and launched himself into the air, disappearing into the clouds.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chapter 14: Celeret Cont'd

   "Unless you prefer separate rooms, this will be where you can sleep."
   "We'll stay together. Thank you," replied Ardan. Celeret opened the door and revealed a room in utter darkness. She waved her hand toward the room, and a flame from the nearest torch leapt into the room and bounced from torch to torch, throwing light into every corner. The room was large with two torches built into every wall, just as in the tunnels. There was a large bed, the likes of which he'd never seen. He'd always slept on mats on the ground inside his mother's tent. This bed was made of wood and raised six inches off the floor by wooden legs. It had a thick packet of something held up by wooden slats and many blankets layered onto it. At the head of the bed was a kind of bag that had been stuffed. It was very odd to him that someone would work so hard on something that was only used for sleep.
   The room also had a set of shelves that were packed full of books. There were no windows, but a desk and stool sat against the wall opposite the bed with a lit lantern on the desk. he could see that there was parchment with a quill and ink-well and hoped she wouldn't expect him to write for her. He knew his alphabet and some basic words, but his hand writing was atrocious.
   "I will leave you to rest. If you need anything I will be in the great hall that we came through. Can you find it?"
   "Yes. Thank you."
   "You are welcome. Sleep well." She tipped her head in a miniscule bow and closed the door behind her.
   "This is very nice to be inside a great mountain. I would have never thought this possible, but I suppose you can do anything with magic," Rheto said leaping onto the bed. He circled a few times before settling himself at the food of the bed. "This is wonderful!" he sighed. "It's been so long since I've been on a real bed." Ardan walked over and pushed down on the large packet. It was full of softness, it gave slighty, but would not sink.
   "It's a mattress," Rheto told him. He put his nose close to the blankets and sniffed. "It's full of wool and feathers. That little bag is called a pillow. It too is stuffed with wool, but it is only for your head." Ardan tentatively sat on the side of the bed. It was incredible how comfortable it was. How his mother must have missed this.
   "Are all beds like this?" Ardan asked.
   "No. This one is very nice. Many people just have a mattress on the floor or a thinner mattress on a smaller frame, but the idea is the same." Ardan rose and went to sit in front of the shelves. He sat with his legs crossed. His mother had owned a book. It was a history book, but he had never been allowed to read it. He took out a small book and weighed it in his hands. The cover was leather, with what resembled branding on it. He ran his fingers over the words, but was unsure of what it said.
   "Rheto... why didn't Arta teach me to read?"
   "Most of the people in your village can't read. It would have set you apart even more, besides, they don't respect intellect like people in the city. In the desert you have to be strong, fast, and tough. It's about survival. She wanted you to succeed."
   "Still, I wish I knew what this said." He opened the book and flipped through the pages. There was a soft thud and then Rheto was beside him.
   "Let me see it."
   "Rheto, you can't read..." Ardan chuckled. He held the book out anyway so that Rheto could see the cover. "Legends of Virtue," Rheto read aloud. Ardan's mouth dropped open. Rheto looked at him expectantly, so Ardan turned the page. "Legends of Virtue. Compiled by Phynx of Aqi'tra." Ardan turned the page again, but the next was blank. The following page was packed full of words, except for a space left for the title. The first letter of the body was large and intricately drawn, with ivy and other foliage curling around the letter.
   "The Tale of Dinon... On a small farm near the Kanx Sea, a baby boy was born. The child was very small and weak and his parents feared that he would die. They named him Dinon and his mother prayed over him and lit candles for him daily. He was their only son and it grieved her to see him so sickly..."
   "Stop." interrupted Ardan. Rheto looked at him questioningly. "How can you read?"
   "Your mother used to read aloud to your grandfather. He enjoyed hearing her voice. I used to sit beside her. I listened and could see the words on the page. I eventually picked it up. I had many, many years to learn. Your mother has a strong voice and is very good at entertaining with it. It saddens me that she has never read for you."
   "Will you help me? I want to know how to read."
   "Of course." Rheto and Ardan sat on the floor, Ardan sounding out words, Rheto correcting or praising him as they went. In another part of the castle in a mountain, the air was not so calm.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chapter 14: Celeret

   She was graceful and pale, like moonlight. He'd never seen anyone with skin so light. Her hair hung down to her waist and was the color of a corn husk, yellow and absolutely straight. She was very tall and lithe in a long white gown that swept the ground.
   "Welcome Fulkar. I was expecting you, but a boy and a dirt dog? These are a surprise." She spoke slowly, her words as lovely as she was.
   "Thank you for the welcome Celeret. I am sorry for bringing guests unannounced, but this boy, Ardan, is gifted. He needs your guidance." Ardan gasped. This woman was the aged, wise magician that wuld teach him so much. He realized that his mouth was hanging open and quickly closed it.
   "Ma'am. Celeret, I... I'm Ardan. My parents are from Balti, but my father was murdered because he wouldn't teach the dark magic. My mother ran, so I was born in the desert village of Soumae. I am asking for guidance, for a teacher." He was surprised at himself. His voice didn't shake, and he somehow knew just what to say.
   "I see," answered Celeret. "And you little dirt dog, why are you here?"
   "I go where Ardan goes. I belonged to his mother before he was born. She would never forgive me if I let something happen to him."
   "What is your name?"
   "Rheto, ma'am."
   "You are very brave little dog. You are all welcome here; I will show you where you can stay." Then she turned and led them deep within the mountain. They followed a wide tunnel that was lit by lanterns sitting in carved out shelves along the walls. The air was cool inside the tunnel, and Ardan found himself shivering slightly.
   "I apologize for the tightness Fulkar, but as you can imagine these caves weren't built with Drakons in mind," Celeret said from the front of their line. Fulkar had his wings tucked in as tightly as was possible and was crawling on his belly. Still his spikes scraped the ceiling.
  "It's not your fault, my size can sometimes be a hinderance." They reached an archway, and the tunnel opened up into a great room. There were fires burning in large fireplaces at either end, and the walls were lined with books and art. A large table was set t one end of the room, lit by candles and at the other, rugs and large, comfortable-looking chairs were placed around the fireplace to make a very appealing and cozy sitting area. There were two tunnels leading out of the opposite wall and yet another tunnel ran parallel to the one they had just exited. The room spanned four-hundred yards at last, and Ardan reeled slightly at it's unmatched size. They entered the great room and Fulkar shook his entire body, flexing his muscles and releasing his wings from their tight hold.
   "Ardan, Rheto, If you will follow me I will show you to your rooms. Fulkar, you know where you are going?" Fulkar nodded and entered the tunnel across from them. "Drakons find sleeping indoors, a bit, confining," she said as she led them toward the tunnel parallel to the one Fulkar took. "That tunnel leads to a courtyard that was formed in the mountains centuries ago. It is only accessible by that tunnel and the sky." The followed them down their own tunnel, passing a door to the right and the left. As they made their way down the second tunnel, Ardan had the distinct feeling that they were walking  uphill. The feeling passed in just over a minute and soon the tunnel was lined with doors interspersed between the torches. At the third door on the left, Celeret stopped.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chapter 13: Mountains Cont'd

  "You are."
  "How can you know that?"
  "Trust me, I know." Rheto stretched underneath the ropes, waking at the sound of voices.
  "Ardan, don't worry so much. You'll be wonderful. No one could help but love you. Plus, we'll help you. Won't we Fulkar?" Rheto interjected.
  "Absolutely." Ardan felt a little better, but their words didn't stop the millions of butterflies in his stomach from flying around as if caught in a thunderstorm. He tried to relax, but as the mountains loomed closer he couldn't help, but become anxious. This was most likely going to be one of the most important times of his life and he desperately wanted to do it right.
  "Fulkar, what do I say? When we get there."
  "You should say hello."
  "And after that?"
  "Tell Celeret why you've come. That you want to be taught. Bow when you say hello and be respectful. I'm sure that everything will be fine."
  "I wish we could have practiced while we were still on the ground. I've never met anyone important before."
  "You met me..." Ardan smiled.
  "Yes I did. I suppose that went okay."
  "I didn't eat you." They all laughed as Fulkar turned his head to wink at them. "Stop worrying."
  "I can't."
  "Well, you must. We're here." Ardan's breath caught in his throat. He hadn't realized how close they were. The mountains were shrouded in a thick fog and when Fulkar landed, the mist rolled out from under him in thick waves, spilling over the edge of the outcropping where he set down. Ardan's hands were shaking so badly that it took him three tries to untie the rope. He slid to the ground and tried to straighten his vest, nervously running his fingers through his hair over and over again until there was a deafening crack and the rock in front of them began to move. It opened like a door, revealing a well-lit interior, and the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chapter 13: Mountains

   As they rose into the air, Ardan watched as the great water, the lake, he had just felt so small in, became as small as one of his own hands. He watched as the forrest sped by underneath him like a green rug in his mother's tent. He looked all around trying to take in everything he saw. As the sun began to set, he stared as the colors washed over the mountain, painting them in reds and oranges. They were the most beautiful, the most indescribable things he'd ever seen. The colors danced over the rocks, and it was like a fantastic dream - a wonderful, amazing dream, and he wished his mother could see it. She would have loved the way the sun played over the land and filled the sky. He smiled thinking of the joy it would have brought to her face.
   Then his worst fear hit him, a thought that had dwindled at the edge of his mind since his first flight with Fulkar. His eyes couldn't focus on the sunset anymore. Instead he saw his mother's face, the look in her eyes when she woke that morning and found that he was not in his bed. The tears that filled her eyes when Taur came to their tent, his eyes on the sand, telling her where her son had gone. He saw his mother sit down on the floor, her strong arms limp by her sides, and her beautiful hair hanging over her face. He tried to look at the sunset, at the mountains or the forrest, but her face filled his mind, pushing everything else aside. He realized exactly what he had done to her. What she must be going through, not knowing where he was or if he was coming back? Those thoughts swam through his mind as he drifted off to sleep, tossing and turning and keeping Rheto awake, muttering to himself in his sleep.
  When Ardan awoke, his cheeks were wet with tears. The sky was like ink, but the stars were burning so brightly that he felt as if he could reach up and touch one, that it would burn his fingers. The mountains had grown incredibly large and quite ominous while he slept, he could see cliffs and steep slopes and wondered how Fulkar could ever land on such terrain.
  "Are we going to be there soon?" he asked.
  "Actually we should be there within the hour. I caught a favorable wind while you were sleeping. It sped things along quite nicely."
  "Really? An hour? Oh wow..." Ardan's face grew serious. "Well, now that it's happening... I mean, now that were here... I'm nervous."
  "Because... What if I'm not good enough?"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chapter 12: Water Cont'd Again

    The water wouldn't let him sit down, but he pushed against it keeping his head under water; which filled his ears and caused his hair to dance around his face. He counted to three and then opened his eyes. All around him was blue. He could see tiny things floating in the water. He didn't know the names, but some swam and others just drifted. He saw a few fish, but they all darted away so quickly that he couldn't really get a good look at them. It was like being in a different world. His arms felt weightless; he had to struggle to move them, to keep them under the water. He turned his head quickly and watched his hair slowly follow. Everything seemed new to him.
    He allowed some air to escape between his lips and watched as the bubbles found their way to the surface, their incandescent spheres reflecting everything. He had been so distracted by the beauty, the calm of his newly discovered world that he had forgotten about his quickly-emptying lungs. His chest screamed for air; His heart beat loudly, filling his ears and his head with its rhythm. He froze and then began to panic. He didn't know how to swim. He didn't know what to do, how to get back to the air that his body needed so badly. Then he remembered the sand between his toes. He pushed against it and after three seconds of eternity, his head emerged atop the waves. He gulped in air, his chest and shoulders heaving.
   Fulkar was still there staring at him, worried lines connecting his eyes. Ardan pushed back his hair with his hands, and Fulkar relaxed as a grin spread across his face. On the shore Rheto called, "well done!". Ardan threw back his head in a triumphant war whoop, a call of his own victory over the water and over his own fear. His smile had taken over his features, his eyes shone brightly and his teeth were revealed, contrasting sharply against his skin. His dark hair was slick and still dripping, even longer when wet. Fulkar slowly came towards Ardan, his large body causing waves that would over turn a small boat. Ardan planted his feet, preparing for the water. Fulkar's body appeared more and more as he came into the shallower water, until finally the water no longer reached his belly, but stopped just below his knees. He bent his neck forward and tilted his head until one giant eye peered at Ardan.
   "So, little desert child, does the water suit you?" Ardan could feel Fulkar's breath on his face; it was warm and wet with little puffs of steam following every word.
   "It's amazing! I've never felt so refreshed, ready for anything," Ardan gushed.
   "Water is healing. Most humans don't realize just how much. Water is part of every facet of life."
   "I've never known it could be like this, so... comfortable and green... not a desert." Ardan laughed at his own inability to put his feelings into words. Fulkar smiled, as much as a drakon can smile, enjoying Ardan's inexperienced glee.
   "We should eat," Rheto reminded Ardan, who was lazily running his feet through the water's edge.
   "You're right." Ardan pulled himself up the beach, back to his bag. He got out his sand cakes and broke one into pieces. Fulkar stretched out in the sand, his belly carving a ditch in the beach. "Aren't you going to hunt?"
   "Yes. I suppose so. I'll be back soon." He raced off into the trees, his body changing from the black and white of the sand to the green and brown of the forrest.
   "Tell me more about magic. Please. What will I be able to do?" Ardan asked, taking bites of sand cake.
   "Well, magic's use is depends on the magician. Some, like your father it seems, use it to teach. Some, to gain power or respect, some for healing, for discovery, or to gain knowledge. Others use it for war or to cause pain. It is up to you to decide how you want to use the magic."
   "Can a magician do anything? I mean, are there limitations?"
   "Of course. You can call on magic and whatever power it gives you is the power you have to call on. I have known magicians who could move mighty rivers, that could call people back from the dead, but things like that..." Fulkar moved so that he could look Ardan directly in the eyes. "Things like that require sacrifices from the magicians, sometimes it is just a drain of their energy, they sleep it off or eat a good meal, and the energy is restored. Sometimes it takes a part of them; they age so to speak because the magic has taken years from them. Other times, if the magician is not powerful enough or practiced enough, the magic claims his life. Celeret will be able to explain better than I. Drakons do not live under the same rules as humans. Magic flows through all of us like blood. It is part of us. If taken from us, it can kill us, but I have never heard of a spell that could kill a drakon."
   "So you can do anything?"
   "No. We cannot bring things back from the dead. That would kill us for another reason. There is certain magic that is forbidden among our race. Our ancestors made a great pact hundreds of years ago. It is that great spell that would take the life, not the use of the magic. It is to keep a single one of us or a group from becoming more than we were meant to be. Do you understand?"
   "You mean like taking over the world?" Fulkar chuckled at this.
   "Yes. There is a fantastic story about the forming of the Drakoni, the pact of spells that keep us who we are meant to be."
   "I would like to hear it." Ardan put the rest of his sand cakes back into his bag and looked at Fulkar expectantly.
  "Not now little friend. Now it is time to go."
  "But Rheto?" Ardan jumped up as Fulker stood and stretched his wings. He stretched his body from his neck down to his tail and looked toward the trees. Ardan smiled as Rheto emerged holding another rat in his mouth. He ate it and agin buried the refuse in the sand. Rheto and Ardan climbed back onto Fulkar's back and as Ardan tied them on, Fulkar stretched his wings preparing to fly.
  "How far is it now?" Rheto asked.
  "We will be there by dawn. Get some sleep when the dark comes. I will fly all night."
  "Can you?" Asked Ardan.
  "I am extremely refreshed by my dip in the lake. It will be easy."
  "Were not too heavy for you?" Ardan insisted. "You have carried us a long way." Fulkar shook his head laughing and leapt into the air.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chapter 12: Water Cont'd

   Rheto came out of the water and shook himself so that his hair returned only slightly to normal and then came to sit by Ardan.
  "Start slowly. Put your feet in and work your way deeper. Neither of us expect you to swim like a fish. You have never had more than a bath. We will keep you safe. You will not drown." Rheto spoke quietly as if his words were a secret. Glancing at his pet, Ardan stood up. He removed his bag from across his chest and laid it in the sand. Next he took off his vest and folded it on top of his bag. His bare chest shone in the sun; his young muscles strong and taunt. His dark skin seemed even darker here against the backdrop of green. He walked toward the water slowly. He was determined to be brave, but there was no bravery in foolishness. The water lapped at his toes, making the sand under his feet squish and stick to the tops of his feet. He walked until the water flowed up around his ankles and then stopped. Fulkar was still in the water, Ardan could see his nostrils, eyes, and ears peeking from above the waves. He was less than twenty yards ahead. The water must be very deep. Fulkar watched him intently, his eyelids the only perceptible movement.
   The water was cool, but not cold. It had been warmed by the long, hot sun. Ardan stared out across the waves wondering if his mother had had to cross this lake. If she could swim, perhaps the sad look that had often flitted into her eyes was not just for his father. It was easy to understand how someone could miss this. It was beautiful and serene. He stared and stared; making sure that he would be able to remember this place in his mind as long as he lived.
   Ardan gradually walked deeper in the water until the bottoms of his shorts were dark with wet. The water began to creep past his knees and he stopped again. Rheto and Fulkar couldn't see, but his feet were buried in the sand under the water. Perhaps he was afraid the waves would carry him away or perhaps it was just something familiar to hold onto. He leaned to his left until his fingertips brushed the water. He let them dance across the surface, and then he proceeded deeper. The water reached his thighs, his waist, and then it was up past his navel. He stopped again, letting both hands drop to his sides. He could feel the soft current against his palms, making his body sway gently. He knew he could not breathe underwater and yet he desired to know what it felt like to be encompassed by something so great and vast; to feel the water lift his hair. He took a deep breath and just sat down.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chapter 12: Water

   As they flew, Ardan watched the earth below turn green. It was green as far forward as he could see, until the mountains began to take over the horizon. He studied the ground. He'd never seen trees of this shape. They were impossibly tall with thick branches, heavy with leaves.
   Fulkar flew with the wind, and it swept him close over the tree tops. The leaves were shaped like stars and once he even caught a glimpse of an animal he had never seen before. It was so graceful. It was thin and tall, on four legs that were long, as were it's ears. There was a herd of them, like gazelle, but bigger. They raced swiftly through the trees, winding and diving through the trunks. He gasped when he saw them and Rheto leaned over to see.
   "Those are deer. They are much like the gazelle that the hunters bring back, but they are larger and with bigger horns. They cannot be tamed like horses, but they are very beautiful."
   Ardan only nodded, watching as the herd slipped from view into a deeper part of the forrest. As they neared the mountain they passed over a great expanse of water, and as they reached the far side, Fulkar began to drop again. This time Ardan prepared himself for it and was not so caught off guard as to lose his breath.
  They dropped down onto sand, only it was like no other sand that Ardan had ever encountered. It was dark gray with small black and white pebbles running through it. He sifted it through his hands. The grains were larger, it was heavier in his hands, but most different of all, it was cool to the touch. Ardan stood staring over the great water, his eyes wide, his mouth in a pensive line.
   "This is a lake," Rheto told him, answering his question before he asked it. "It is a medium-sized body of water. There are also seas, which are bigger, and oceans, which I could never describe in a way which would allow your mind to dream of them. They are like the desert stretching many weeks journey and leading to unknown lands." The water was a deep blue. Deeper even than Fulkar's darkest scales. Fulkar shook his body free of the ropes and then plunged head first into the water. His whole mammoth body was enveloped by the water. All that remained were rings of waves. Rheto too leapt into the water, splashing and diving until he was as sleek as a diving bird and half his normal size.
   Ardan sat down in the strange cool sand and let it seep between his fingers. He had never been afraid of water before, but now, with this water, he was. He wanted to leapt into as Fulkar and Rheto had, but he couldn't make his body perform the action. What if it swallowed him whole?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Chapter 11: Rest Cont'd

   "Celeret is wise and mighty and powerful. A magician who can teach you many great things, but can also seduce you with promises. You must learn all you can, but be wary once we reach the mountains. I do not wish to be the reason that you are lost to the dark arts, to greed or the hunger for power. Even immortality may be offered to you, but you must resist all of these temptations for they always lead to despair and great loss. They are forbidden magics and are so for a reason. You will have to be very strong, little one."
   "But you will be there to protect me? And Rheto?" Ardan asked, now more concerned than excited. What if he was walking into a disaster?
   "Yes. I will stay, and Rheto loves you too much to let you freely walk into such atrocities, but these things are very tempting. Men have turned from their families and killed their friends for the knowledge that will be offered to you. Know this though, and do not be dismayed, for all the doubt that you labor yourself with, I see much good in you. You shine like a star in my eyes. There are not many I have seen that shine so brightly. I do not think you will need us to guide you to what is right." Ardan sat, chewing slowly on his sand cake as he contemplated these things. Was it worth the risk to go to the mountains? Could Celeret really teach him so much as to risk his being, risk the light that Fulkar saw. He did not believe that Fulkar would lead him knowingly into danger, and Rheto would never allow him to become dark.
    Ardan was about to ask another question, but closed his lips when Rheto came scurrying back onto sand. Ardan watched as his fur shifted from browns and greens to the pale yellow of the sand. It thrilled him every time he saw Rheto change, and even now a smile spread across his face. Rheto carried a rat in his mouth. It hung limp, and a little blood was gathered in the corners of his mouth. He had never known Rheto to be a hunter.
    "Good hunting, I'm guessing?" Fulkar asked as Rheto dropped the small, furry, brown creature into the sand. It's long tail lay limp, and it's beady eyes held no light of their own anymore. Rheto nodded and then began to eat. It didn't take him long to finish off the rat, tough he left behind the tail, claws, and head. After burying them in the sand, he cleaned his paws and looked up at them.
   "How long until we reach the mountains?" he asked licking his muzzle clean.
   "Do you need to rest here or can we carry on?" Rheto looked at Ardan for the answer.
   "I am fine to continue," replied Ardan.
   "As am I," agreed Rheto.
   "Then, if we fly without ceasing, we could be there as early as the day after tomorrow."
   "Well then, let us go. No need to sit here and stare at each other," Ardan said.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chapter 11: Rest

   "Fulkar?" asked Ardan, unsure if the drakon would hear him over the wind.
   "Yes?" he answered, inclining his head slightly toward Ardan.
   "Who is it we're going to see?" He was dying to know. He felt excited and scared and couldn't stop fidgeting.
   "Who's that?"
   "A very powerful magician." Ardan could see an image in his head. An old man with a long beard and strong voice.
   "Is that who will teach me?"
   "Yes. If you, well, if we, ask nicely." Ardan settled back against Fulkar's spike and glanced down  at Rheto who-surprisingly-fast asleep. He began to daydream as they flew higher until they were above the clouds. He could see himself now, magician. Learning from an aged, wise and wonderful magician, casting spells... soon he too was asleep, snoring slightly; his eyelids fluttering as he dreamed of his new life.
   He woke as he was jolted, causing the net to cut into his abdomen and thighs. Rheto yelped, and Ardan's eyes flew open. It was night again, and they had reached the edge of the sand and a forrest. The trees were thick and packed together. He had never seen so many trees, and all of them were so large! Ardan's eyes too grew large as he realized that Fulkar was falling out of the sky. He opened his mouth to scream, but the air was stolen from his lungs as they descended.
   At the last possible moment Fulkar flung his gigantic wings outward, and the surprisingly landed with just the slightest thump. Rheto tried to squeeze out of the ropes, but was unable to get himself free.
   "I'll untie us," Ardan said. He reached down and pulled a loose cord and all the netting fell away from Fulkar's back.  Rheto leapt to the ground, shaking his body vigorously and then took a long roll in the sand. Ardan slipped down and landed lightly in the sand. It was fully night now, and the moonlight bounced off the sand and cast long shadows from the trees.
    Fulkar stretched his long neck and let out a roar that made the trees and ground shake. When he had finished, he closed his great mouth and shook his head, sending a tremor down the length of his body until the very tip of his tail twitched.
    "Well, now I feel better." Fulkar said laughing. "I've never had anyone ride me before, and it causes me to itch terribly." Ardan laughed along with him as Rheto smiled. "Now, you two need some food, am I right?" Fulkar asked, one great eye examining them closely.
    "Yes," replied Rheto.
    "I brought a little bit of sand cake, but it won't be enough for more then one meal." Ardan replied dropping his bag in onto the sand. he reached his hand inside and quickly pulled out two small, flat cakes that were yellow and dry. He took a bite out of one, cracking it loudly between his teeth. The other he offered to Rheto.
    "No thank you. I will find my own food," he replied and slid across the sand until he disappeared into the forrest.
    "Will you tell me more of Celeret?" Ardan asked, lifting his eyes from his meager meal to meet Fulkar's.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chapter 10: Flying

   It had taken them only a very few moments to turn the nets into a makeshift saddle that would restrain Ardan and Rheto, holding them to Fulkar's back with one of his giant spikes serving as a kind of seat back. Soon they were strapped in, Rheto now a scaley blue, and Fulkar stretched his wings preparing to take off.
  "Are you ready?" Fulkar roared.
  "Yes, we are," answered Ardan. His hands flexed as he tightened his grip on the nets. Fulkar lowered his body to the ground, bending his knees until his belly touched the rough sand. Suddenly he launched himself straight up into the air, opening his wings and soaring in the wind. Ardan opened his eyes only after he felt the great wings settle into a rhythm. He hadn't realized he had closed his eyes, but they were wide open now. They were so high in the air that the largest trees looked like small seeds, and the fastest horse in the world could never have dreamed of matching their speed. Ardan was amazed. In the first second of flight, he saw more of the world than he had in the whole of his lifetime. The sand stretched out as far as he could see. It touched the rising sun on the horizon, but in the sky that was still dark, rose what he could only assume to be mountains. He had heard of them, learned of them through stories, but never seen them. They were massive and beautiful and as he stared at them, trying to take them in, he realized that Fulkar was flying toward them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chapter 9: Realization

   No one spoke for a few very long minutes. Ardan was tight-lipped, his eyes stoney, but slightly damp. Rheto's face was on his paws, his eyes glancing from them to Ardan every few seconds. Fulkar was still calm, but it was obvious he was thinking hard.
   "Why did they kill him?" asked Ardan, breaking the silence.
   "Because they were afraid of him," replied Rheto.
   "Because he was brave and good and wielded extremely powerful magic. Much more than any one of them. That made them afraid."
   "I hate them."
   "So do I." Light was beginning to appear on the horizon and Fulkar stretched his wings.
   "You have great magic also, little friend. Do not think that it is not passed in the blood. Your father could speak any language, and so far, you are following in his footsteps. Perhaps you will be able to avenge his death someday," said Fulkar slowly.
   "He could not!" Rheto yelped, jumping to his feet. "They would only kill him!"
   "Not likely," Fulkar said snorting, blue flames spurting from his nostrils, that almost singed Ardan's curls. "If they do not know he is coming, if they do not know he is magical, and if they do not the extent of his magic, he could do great damage." Fulkar's giant eyes were only slits and his voice grew serious.
   "No! Revenge is never right." Rheto replied. "Your father would never agree with revenge."
   "Not revenge entirely. He could finish his father's work. Bring down this Ghava person and return Balti to its more moral past."
    "He's too young. He doesn't know any magic. He has no control."
    "I know someone who could teach him. I was on my way there when I stopped to rest here. You two are welcome to come along." Rheto and Fulkar both looked at Ardan. He didn't answer them right away, but sat for a minute contemplating.
    "I do not want revenge," Ardan stood up. "but I want to go with you Fulkar. I want to learn and be powerful and someday, I want to return to Balti with my mother. I want to finish my father's work and to not be afraid." Fulkar's eyes brightened. He stretched his body and fluttered his wings.
    "Your mother will die of worry," Rheto said.
    "No she won't. She will hear the story from Taur and know I left. She will also know that I will return." Ardn threw his bag back across his shoulder and turned to Rheto. "You have been with my mother for a long time, I do not expect you to leave her, but you are welcome to come."
    "She would kill me if I abandoned you or else I would die of shame. I will go."
    "Good," smiled Ardan. "I hoped you would."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chapter 8: History

   "Your mother was born in a large city, many, many miles from the desert. You can't imagine a city Ardan, so I will try and explain. There are no tents, but instead, houses made of hardened clay, stone, or wood. Instead of everyone working together to survive, people in the cities strive to propel themselves only. Everything is traded or bought. Nothing is given freely."
   "The city, named Balti, is run or controlled by a group of people called the Sumi, magicians who are greedy and sometimes cruel. There are six of them. I will not tell you there names because it has been so long that the six I knew may no longer be in control or even alive. Underneath the Sumi are the Tace, there are usually twelve of them. They too are magicians, but not as old or as powerful as the Sumi. They each control small sections of the city. For example, one watches trade, one medicine, one education, and so forth. The third, last, and lowest level are the Culon. These are many. Almost one hundred when I left. They are younger magicians. They speak for the people, teach at the schools, judge the crimes, and settle disagreements. Your father was a Culon. He was called Culon Bizo." Ardan rolled the name around on his tongue. Bizo... Culon Bizo... He did not speak, but listened on.
   "Your father met your mother four years before you were born. Her father was a Tace. Tace Agnon, a grand man, who was well respected and greatly loved. He was over education and loved children, and your father was one of his favorite teachers. He had him over for dinner one night and there he met your mother. Let me interject here, your mother received me as a gift on her eighth birthday, so I was there when this happened. She was only fifteen, but she fell in love with your father that first night, even though he was twenty. She used to speak to me every night about him. When she was seventeen, they were engaged, but turmoil broke out in the city. One of the Sumi, a very old man named Callis, died and the struggle to find a replacement divided the people. When Jannen took his place, the turmoil died and to your grandfather's great pleasure, your parents were married."
   "They had a nice house in one of the better neighborhoods, your father was incredibly gifted. He could speak every language and was always reading, which made him very intelligent. He also had some control over the weather... though to be honest I never saw him do more than move clouds, so that the sun would shine on your mother. When Arta became pregnant, your parents were thrilled. She sand all the time and your father seemed to float through the air. But just a month later your grandfather died and Ghava, a greedy, dark-souled Culon took his place. He changed all the education to suit him; began teaching dark magic and that power was more important than anything else. Your father was disgusted and made his feelings well known. He fought the changes, and he and some friends refused to deviate from what they had always taught and more importantly, what they believed. Eventually he taught in secret locations, to any child that was brave enough to come. Ghava's father-in-law, Tovu, was a Sumi. A man who's views were only kept in check by the others, but he began to gain power and supported his son-in-law whole-heartedly. It became illegal to speak ill of him or doubt him."
    "By the time you were four months along, two of your father's closest friends had been arrested and stripped of their magic, one had been banished and the other killed. Two months later they came for your father. He was reading when they came for him. They were non-magical men , but they had weapons. They arrested him, but before they dragged him away, he whispered to your mother to run away and he would find her; to hide, so they wouldn't get her as well as you. She did not leave immediately though. She did not believe they would truly hurt him, but an hour later a storm began to rage over the Sumi council building and then suddenly died. Moments after the storm had finished a close friend came to the door. The council had accused your father of treason and heresy. He had gone into a tirade about the morality of teaching, had accosted them for their behavior, and they had retaliated. Culon Bizo... your father... had been killed."
    "Your mother did not leave immediately, but packed two small bags along with plenty of food and then she ran. After two months of travel, she and I arrived here, just two weeks before you were born. It was your mother's only option. They would have killed you as well. That is the law in Balti. If a father is treacherous, so shall the son be, they are both put to death. You know the rest from there, but now you know the truth. I am sorry Ardan. It is not a happy tale."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chapter 7: Communication (Cont'd Again)

    "I do not mean to insult Fulkar, but do you know what a dirt dog is?"
    "I'm afraid I do not. I have never seen anything like you. It is not an insult. Please enlighten me on your species, I find it most interesting," Fulkar said, his enormous head leaning closer to the little dirt dog who was slightly smaller than one of the great eyes that was studying him with such interest.
    "A dirt dog is a mammal as is probably obvious. We are not a species of dog, but were named such because of our similar appearance. We are all relatively the same size and males and females are only discernible by the length of the tail. Males, like myself, have a tail, that as you can see, can wrap almost all the way around under my chin. Females, on the other hand, have short tails that do not curl when carried, like males, but point almost directly upwards. We are magical creatures and are incredibly gifted at hiding. Our fur changes color depending on the surface we are standing on."
   "It used to be one of my favorite games when I was a child," Ardan informed Fulkar. "I would lay down different colored blankets and watch as he changed color. I was never allowed to tell anyone though."
   "If I may be so bold," interjected Fulkar "may I ask for a demonstration. It sounds incredibly fascinating."
   "Of course. May I?" Rheto gestured towards Fulkar's giant paw and after a nod proceeded to gingerly step over the talons and onto the scaly skin. After only a few seconds the fur on Rheto's feet turned a deep blue, followed by his legs, belly, back, and ending with his head and tail. His fur even mimicked the appearance of scales and the metallic texture of them. Fulkar gasped, his eyes wide and shining.
   "Most amazing!" Fulkar exclaimed "if it weren't my own foot, I don't believe I would know you were there at all. Has there ever been a surface you could not duplicate? A pattern too complicated or a texture too rich?"
   "None that I have come across."
   "Astounding. Truly astounding." Rheto leapt lightly off of the great paw and within seconds his color returned to that of the sand.
   "We have a life span of just under a century, though many have lived mush longer. I myself am only a child. I will be twenty-three when it turns cold again. And you Fulkar - I know in tales that drakon lives spanned centuries upon centuries - is it true?"
   "It is. I myslef am young. I am 167 years old, but my grand-sire is still alive and will be 632 in a very short time. I've never known any that lived too 1000, but there have been stories." Ardan had been speechless for moments, but this left him dumbfounded. In his village you were inducted into the ancient table at fifty and most man lived no more than sixty. There was a woman who was near eighty, but 167! Not to mention 600! That was incomprehensible.
   "And you Ardan. you are 12, am I right?" asked Fulkar
   "Which in human years is almost grown, so we are all young. But do not feel downtrodden young man. Just because we are young does not mean that we are not important." Ardan lifted his eyes fro the sand. He had trouble believing that he could be important, but when Fulkar said it, it wasn't as hard.
   "Now Ardan I would hear about you." Fulkar switched his gaze to the young man, who was seated, legs crossed, in the sand.
  "There's not much to tell. I was born in the village just over the dunes, near the oasis. My mother is young, her name is Arta, but my father is dead. He died of a disease just before I was born..." Ardan stopped because Rheto had flinched noticeably, a barely audible whine escaping his throat. "Rheto, what is it?" asked Ardan, looking at the small dirt dog with large, round eyes.
   "I feel... now that I can truly use it, i cannot hold my tongue. Your mother would be furious with me, but I cannot help but feel you must know the truth." Fulkar tilted his head, obviously interested and tried his best to look at both of his new friends, but was having trouble.
   "What are you talking about Rheto?" Ardan was growing nervous. He was happy in his life, he didn't want that to change.
  "I believe..." Fulkar said soothingly "that whether for your own good or someone else's that you have been lied to." Ardan's mouth hung open. He couldn't believe it. For twelve years he had lived among the people, believing they were just that, his people. Now, he would doubt everything.
  "Please don't be angry with anyone Ardan." Rheto began, placing his tiny paw on Ardan's knee. "Your mother and everyone else who knows the truth lied for your own good. You are not of the desert people. You were born in the village, but your mother was not. She came here only a few months before you were born. She had no choice. It is a long story."
   "Please Rheto, I am expecting to be upset, but I must know," Ardan pleaded.
   "It is best," Fulkar agreed.
   "All right Ardan, but do not interrupt or I might lose my nerve and never finish." Ardan nodded and Fulkar inclined his head. So, the little dirt dog cleared his throat and began.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chapter 7: Communication (Cont'd)

    "Don't you know what a drakon is?"
    "No. I'm sorry. I don't. I've never been outside this desert." Ardan was ashamed. He felt silly and young. His eyes no longer flitted between Fulkar's giant ones, but found solace in the sand underneath him.
    "Well, then I wouldn't expect you to have heard of us. We are from a land with much water that is covered in green. We almost never travel through the desert." Fulkar saddened as he thought of his home, but the sadness soon it left his eyes and he continued. "Drakons are the oldest beings there are. They were here before anything else. We feed off of the moon and water. The moon gives us energy and water keeps us alive. It keeps our scales bright and out minds, as well as our talons, sharp."
    "No wonder you don't come to the desert much. There's not much water here. Well, not enough for you anyway." Ardan was impressed by this polite, ancient, incredible being.
    "You are quite right. I did not intend to stay, but after my drink I fell asleep and woke up bound. Now I cannot leave." Again Fulkar's eyes filled with with sadness and he rolled his eyes upwards to stare at the sky with longing. Ardan fingered the knife on his belt, trying to make a decision.
    "What do you eat?" Ardan asked. Fulkar laughed, his eyes closing.
    "I do not eat, little Ardan. I need only moonlight and water to be perfectly full."
    "But, you said you could eat me."
    "Of course I could, but I find that most everything has a bitter taste and an even worse aftertaste." Ardan stood, pulled his knife from his belt and slashed at the nets holding Fulkar's head to the sand. It took him several minutes and more than one attack, but shortly the net snapped and Fulkar's head, as well as some of his neck, lifted from the ground. Fulkar sighed and shook his great head, his ears flapping and creating such a gust of wind that Ardan was knocked to the ground.
    "Thank you little friend!" he exclaimed "I have such a crick in my neck."
    "Hold on and I'll cut the rest of them. Just promise not to eat me."
    "I will not eat you. That would be most dishonorable of me." Fulkar was looking Ardan directly in the eyes, and Ardan could see the seriousness of the spoken words. He quickly stood and began working on the rest of the nets. It took him much longer than he had expected, but after stripping off his vest and bag and laying them in the sand, his forehead and chest slick with sweat, the final bond was broken and Fulkar launched himself into the air with a deafening roar.
    Once again Ardan found himself lying on his back in the sand. He laughed. Fulkard spread his gigantic wings and soared above the ground like a shining bird. Rheto yelped and ran, but Ardan could only stare as his new, magnificent friend flew even higher. He lay on his back watching, only sitting up when Fulkar landed, shaking the ground with his immense weight. He stretched his wings and his neck to their fullest, letting out another roar that was accompanied by blue flames that shot from his mouth and nostrils.
    "Thank you!" roared Fulkar. He surveyed his own body, craning his neck to the left and the right. His scales were back to color and the cracks had healed. He felt the strength running through his limbs like a rushing river.
    "You're the biggest living thing I've ever seen. It's a good thing that you don't eat, for you would never be full." laughed Ardan. he let out a whistle and Rheto appeared out of the dark, still a little shaken and eyeing Fulkar apprehensively.
    "Don't be scared Rheto. He's a friend."
    "Are you so sure?" Ardan looked around for the quiet, soft-spoken voice he had just heard, but finding no one else looked at Fulkar.
    "It was not I whom you heard, little friend."
    "But there's no one else here." Ardan was confused. "You heard the voice as well?"
    "Of course. I do know that language. I learned it when I was very young. It is the language of all small mammals. you have a true friend with you tonight," Fulkar answered, inclining his head toward Rheto.
    "It can't be...." Ardan gaped at Rheto and the little animal walked to him and placed a paw on his knee.
   "Master, I have longed for such a time for you to hear my voice. Thank you Fulkar," said Rheto.
   "It was not I, little furry one. I believe your master has had the talent all along. It has just taken such an opportunity, such a night as this to awaken it." Fulkar bent his back legs and sat. His tail curling around him, the very tip twitching methodically.
   "But... it can't be!" cried Ardan, jumping to his feet. "I mean... I've never heard anything before. Rheto, you've lived with me for my whole life. I've never heard you speak."
   "I know. There are so many things I've wanted to share with you." Rheto sat in the sand, his eyes turning sad. "there are so many things you do not know."
   "Now you can tell him, but first things first, we must finish our introductions. I have told you who and what I am, now I would like to know the same about both of you." Fulkar was leaning down over them, even more gigantic now that he was so close. "Ardan, I would like to hear from Rheto first. If you don't mind."
   "It's fine. I would like to hear about you also. I know what you are, but not necessarily who." Ardan found himself realizing that all these years he had thought of Rheto as just a pet, not a being with real thoughts and feelings. Now he knew better and was ashamed.
   "I don't know what to say, not to the two of you anyway. I've spoken to many smaller, lesser beings, but never a human and especially not a great drakon, though I have heard stories about them." Ardan's mouth fell open at this news, that Rheto knew more than he did. "As Ardan knows, because his mother told him, I am a dirt dog. I am not a natural inhabitant of the desert, but moved here along with Arta while she was still pregnant. I do not mean to insult Fulkar, but do you know what a dirt dog is?"

(It really is a long chapter... I'll finish it tomorrow.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chapter 7: Communication

    Ardan blinked his eyes rapidly and stared at the most enormous and most beautiful animal or creature he had ever seen. It had scales the color of deep water and the stars bounced off of them causing their light to dance. It had a huge head that was attached to it's body by a long, powerful neck. It had spines down it's back and a thick, long tail that ended, like it's ears, with a tuft of blue fur. The creature's feet were almost as long as Ardan himself. It's talons were like long, curved knives, sharp and shining. He gasped when he saw it and felt Taur grab his arm in shock.
    "What... what is it?" Taur asked, shaking slightly.
    "I don't know." suddenly they heard a noise. Taur was afraid and looked at Ardan, who to his horror was smiling.
    "Did you hear that?" Ardan asked
    "Yes. It grunted or roared or whatever sound that kind of animal makes. It's angry and we should go home." Taur replied tugging on Ardan's vest.
    "No...No it... it talked."
    "It what? No, Ardan, it didn't talk. It grunted or something."
    "Yes it did!" Ardan was bigger and, though so very often kind, had a temper like wildfire, so Taur conceded to appease him even if he didn't believe him.
    "Okay. So, it talked. What did it say?" Taur kicked at Rheto who dodged and trotted behind Ardan.
    "He knows we're here and he says we should introduce ourselves. He called us rude." Ardan began walking toward the beast, but Taur grabbed him.
    "What are you doing?"
    "Introducing myself." Ardan smiled and pulled away from Taur, picking up Rheto as he half-walked, half-slid down the side of the dune. Taur watched him walk down toward the creature and then, almost in tears, followed him at a distance. Upon reaching flat land Ardan set Rheto back down on the ground, but continued striding toward the giant thing. He skirted a stake holding down the nets, slowing his walk as he drew even with the creatures head.
    "There you are," said the giant voice. It was much louder this close. Ardan could have reached out and touched one of the great ears, but he didn't dare. "Please, come where I can see you."
    Ardan swallowed hard and slowly came around the great snout with nostrils bigger than his head and a mouth.  He could have easily slept inside. The great eyes pierced him to his soul. Each one was as large as one of the village fire pits and light blue like the eggs he sometimes found, but shining like smooth stones.
   "You're a child," exclaimed the beast. Air rushed from Ardan's lungs as he released the breath he'd been holding so he could answer.
   "I am almost a man. Two more cold seasons and I'll be fourteen. Then I'll be a man."
   "Well, good for you," it replied. Taur came tearing around the side of the great creature and skidded into Ardan, breathing heavily.
   "Ardan! It'll eat you!"
   "Taur, calm down. We're talking."
   "You weren't talking. You were just grunting at each other!" Taur was so confused. Ardan hadn't said a word.
   "Is this one upset? Why does he speak so strangely?" the creature asked.
   "You... you can't understand him?"
   "Unfortunately not. I am not as learned in all the languages as I should be, but it's lucky you were here. I've known very few who were so young that were so skilled in drakon speech. It is not easy." Ardan's mouth hung open. He had been speaking drakon, whatever that was. Taur couldn't understand the creature and the creature couldn't understand Taur. His mind was buzzing.
   "Ardan! Ardan!" Taur was calling him, shaking his shoulders.
   "Taur? What?" Ardan felt as if he'd hit his head.
   "I'm going home. Are you coming with me?"
   "What?" Ardan tried to focus. "Oh. No. You go ahead. I'm going to stay here."
   "What if it eats you?!"
   "He won't."
   "I can't believe this! What will I tell your mother?" Taur asked almost frantically.
   "Tell her the truth." Taur's mouth fell open, but he didn't answer. He just stalked off in the direction of the village. Rheto followed him a short way, but then returned and sat beside Ardan, who was still slightly dumbfounded.
   "Where has your little friend gone?" asked the creature, waking him from his stupor.
   "Taur... oh, home."
   "Taur? That's his name?"
   "Yes, he's younger than me and he's scared. So, he went home. He'll regret it in the morning and he'll feel bad and i'll forgive him because he's my best friend." Ardan took a deep breath and looked up at the creature only to realize that it, that he was laughing. "Why are you laughing?" Ardan asked, a little irritated.
   "You aren't scared of me?"
   "But I could eat you... I'm bigger and stronger and much more dangerous than you. How do you know your friend, Taur, wasn't correct in being afraid?"
   "Because you're tied down and I'm not."
   "Perhaps I can escape..."
   "You would have done it by now," the creature laughed again.
   "You are very smart little one. What is your name?" he stared at him with one giant eye.
   "Ardan. What's your name?"
   "I am called Fulkar."
   "Fulkar?" Ardan sat down in the sand just a few feet from Fulkar's snout. "What are you?"
   "What am I? I am a drakon?" Fulkar seemed shocked. "Don't you know what a drakon is?"

(It's an incredibly long chapter... so this is it for today. Hope you're enjoying it. Whoever you are... More tomorrow!)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chapter 3: Moonlight

     It was cool outside. He had had a most refreshing sleep. He opened his eyes and began to lift his head, but found he couldn't. His neck was restrained by something. He tried to stretch his wings, but could not move them. His whole body was immobile. He tilted his head and revolved his great eye so that he could see his body and groaned. Thickly woven nets were thrown across his body and staked to the ground. Even his tail was under them. There were layers of them across his back and they gave only inches when he strained against them. He had been foolish and now he was trapped. As weak as he had been he should have flown further. He should have found a safer place. Now he was trapped; the greatest insult to a drakon was to be restrained by force. His eyes fell along with his pride, but he did not give up. He sniffed the air, but smelled nothing living. The nets smelled of plant and desert. They could not hold him forever. He rolled his eyes upward and stared at the moon.
    "Give me strength," he begged of the glowing orb. He kept fighting, but the nets seemed to move even less. It would take all night, but he would be free again.

Chapter 4: Starlight

    A whistle came from a grove of trees and a pair of feet appeared from beneath the closest tent's edge. Taur wriggled backwards out from underneath the tent, a woven bag clasped in his left hand. He glanced around the dark village and then sprinted to Ardan's side, hiding in the grove.
    "What took so long?" Ardan whispered, Taur just gaped at him, slightly disgusted at the question. "Nevermind. I'm glad you came."
    "I hate you," replied Taur, narrowing his eyes. He threw the strap of the bag across his chest and glanced inside, checking the contents for what was most likely the tenth time since dark. Ardan smiled, but did not reply. He whistled a different pitch and his pet appeared out of the darkness.
    "Let's go."
    "Fine." replied Taur following on Ardan's heels. "I can't believe you brought him." he said pointing to the little tan animal. "He's going to get us caught."
    "Ha! Rheto is quieter than you and much braver." Taur grumbled to himself, but followed Ardan into the open desert on the other side of the grove. Ardan glanced at the sky, noting the stars, as his bare feet hit the sand. "You said west right?" Taur nodded. "So, let's go." He began walking away from the grove, going a little to the right as Rheto bounded along behind them and taur dragged hid feet. In the starlight it was noticeable that Ardan had added a light vest and a small woven bag to his body, along with a knife on a belt around his waist.
    "How far to the dunes?" Taur asked. "Your older than me. I've only been this far once."
    "Not much further. Then just over the dunes and we'll see it."
    "Great." replied Taur frowning.

(Lots of short chapters in a row... )

Chapter 5: Sight

    Ardan took the last ten yards to the dunes' crest at a run; Taur did not. It had been a hard trip to the dunes. Ardan's legs were longer than Taur's and he had had to work to keep up with the older boy's persistent anticipation. Now Taur was dreading what he would see when he finally made it to the top. He slowed his steps, but jumped and ran when Ardan exclaimed.

Chapter 6: Smell

   He had been working for hours, but still could barely wiggle his toes; whoever had tied him down made very strong nets, perhaps even magical ones. Still, he had not given up. He would never give up, for drakons were known for their optimism, but that did not mean that he wasn't frustrated, only that he believed it would all work out for the best. He was preparing to try and stretch the nets once again when a new smell caught in his nostrils. He sniffed the air and because of his surprise, tried to swing his head around to see behind him. His head struck a stake in the ground and he grunted. Not from pain, but from annoyance. Sneaking up on someone was rude, and he was being snuck up upon.
   "I know you're there. There are two of you and a small mammal. It is very rude not to introduce yourselves and since I am bound and you are not, it falls on you to begin the introductions."


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chapter 1: Fulkar

      Fulkar landed with a heavy thud, dust rising into the air, making him snort. The land was dry and dusty, but there had to be some water here. Small, yellowish grass sprouted out of the dirt every few feet. Grass needed water. So did a Drakon. It was because of this, and only because of this, that Fulkar had landed in this part of the desert.
     He had been flying for nearly two days and had seen only sand and large black rocks. He was desperate for water. The scales on his back were dry and beginning to crack.; their deep blues and greens turning paler.
    He dug his boulder-size paw at the ground; his talons making deep furrows. The ground moved easily, but no water appeared. He dug again and again until his whole paw disappeared into the ground. What felt like an hour passed and suddenly, he felt damp soil between his toes. He dug almost frantically and in just moments the hole was muddy. When the mud settled a bit, he quickly lapped up the water before the sand could swallow it again, his tongue shooting out repetitively like a forked, blue flame.
   His eyes closed, and the liquid hit his throat and then his belly. When the water was gone, he dug deeper, drawing more and more water from the soil. Soon his great thirst was gone and his scales were starting to darken. His nose was tilted up, pulling the time and the weather from scents on the wind. He was relaxed. His bat-like ears flat against his head, their tips covered with sky-blue hair that moved in the breeze.
   His eyes, which were the color of the coldest ice in the north, showed only through slits as a purr began to rumble from his trunk-sized throat. He knew he needed to fly on, but his wings, which were a filmy blue and stretched just short of a hundred yards when fully extended, were sore and aching. So, he curled  his thick tail around his legs and fell asleep.

(I know it's a chapter a day, but just to get started I'm going ahead with chapter two. I'll do that whenever the entry is going to be rather short.)

Chapter 2: Ardan

   There was a great racket coming from the the western village border. A boy with dark, curly hair and sad eyes stuck his head out from a tent flap and stared as villagers hurried to the west, whispering or calling between one another. He couldn't understand what they were saying, but still he turned back inside, calling to his mother to come and see.
   He re-emerged from the tent wearing only a thin pair of shorts. his body was dark and muscular, and he was very tall for one so young. His eyes were kind and now lit with excitement. His full mouth broadened into an excited grin. His feet were bare, but the hot sand did not burn them. The tent flap moved behind him and a small animal, barely discernible against the sand, ran toward the boy, a rough barking sound coming from it. It jumped up against him, only reaching his knee, and the boy rubbed its overly furry body lovingly and called for his mother again.
   "Ardan, I'm coming. Whatever it is, it will wait." said his mother. She had just stepped from the tent and was wearing a loose-fitting, sleeveless dress. She too was tan and muscular, but her dark hair hung in ringlets that were tied back at the base of her head. She was no taller than her son, but her hands were rough and slightly blistered by work.
   "Everyone is going, Arta," he replied impatiently "Everyone!" he stamped his foot on the ground. "It must be something big!" She dismissed him with a wave of her hand and a sigh, allowing the boy and his pet to run ahead without her. He ran past tents and fires and people who were still milling around their doorways cautiously, but he didn't slow. The little puff ball beside him was surprisingly nimble and quick to be so weighted down with fur. After many minutes he reached the border of the village where the grass grew more sparsely, and the sand was hotter. There, most of the village had gathered and were speaking together wildly.
    Ardan slid to a stop and searched the crowd quickly, picking out a shorter, thicker boy with a mass of of straight, slightly lighter hair. He shot toward him, coming up behind him and caused him to jump, as he spoke his name.
    "Taur!" exclaimed Ardan giggling as the boy's feet left the ground. He whirled around quickly, eyes wide.
    "Ardan! You shouldn't... I mean... you mustn't sneak... don't do that!" Ardan laughed and clasped Taur's shoulder.
    "You shouldn't be so jumpy. What's going on?"
    "They found a giant creature in the desert. It has scales and great claws, but it was asleep, so they tied it down in the sand."
    "What is it? What kind of creature?" Ardan was now breathless, but not from his run. Taur scowled at him.
    "I wouldn't have called it a creature if I knew."
    "They left it there? In the desert?"
    "Yes. They couldn't very well drag it back. It's as large as half the village. Besides they said it looked terribly dangerous. It wouldn't be safe to bring it here. They said it isn't far, just half a moon west and then over the big dunes. They say it dug a hole." Taur was very pleased with the knowledge he possessed. He drew himself up to his full height and puffed out his chest, daring Ardan to challenge his information.
    "A hole? What do you mean it dug a hole? What for?"
    "Don't know, but it was lying beside it." Taur lowered his voice suddenly. "They say it has wings."
    "Wings!" Ardan exclaimed. Luckily everyone around them was involved in their own conversations so no one noticed his outburst. Taur grabbed onto him anyway, dragging him to the backside of the nearest tent.
    "Shhh! Rockhead! They're not telling everyone. I overheard them tell my father when they came to get him at our tent."
    "So, it can fly?"
    "I guess so. No one's really asked it."
    "Taur! Taur we have to go see it! You heard them talking. Are they moving it? Guarding it? You know we can find it, you just said where it is..." Taur cut him off by stomping his foot.
    "No, no, no! I won't do it. I won't go. It's a terrible, dangerous creature. You won't get me to help you this time. It could kill us!"
    "You said they netted it! It won't be able to get to us. Taur, when will we ever be able to see anything like this ever again? When?!"
    "I don't know! Ardan, my mother would kill me! So would yours..." but Taur's resolve was faltering as he began to give in to his curiosity.
    "It'll be worth it! Now, tell me everything!"


Hi all! I never thought I would be a blogger, but right now I am job hunting, bored, and desperate to share a little bit of myself with the world. Just a bit about me: I am a 25 yr. old with a history degree that I haven't been able to put to any use what-so-ever. I rescue animals, love to sing, but most of all I am a writer. I know, I know... another writer. I decided to post a chapter of a book I am writing everyday for two reasons. One: it will make me finish faster. Two: my mom and dad talked me into it. So, I guess I'll get started. Feel free to leave comments or advice, even criticism, but please be nice. I didn't do anything to you....