he’s had her hands on my balls
for too long, but I don’t hate her for it. I recognize the power
she has over me, and it’s only what I give her. Besides, I leave
this place tomorrow and head back to Crag City. If my family will
take me back-”
Another image flashed through his mind,
of the deed that had got him banished, the first major spell of an immature
mage gone horribly wrong. He shuddered, even after a decade of trying
to forget it, though the black scar on the palm of his right hand was a
constant reminder. In practiced desperation, he forced away those
thoughts, and continued his musings.
“If my family will take me back, I’m
of the nobility again. Regardless, I’m a wizard too. I can
earn plenty of money and attract or arrange a good replacement for her.”
He thought of the legendary hundered houses of “Comfort” from his birth
city, where for a price almost any fantasy could be indulged. Well,
he would see what the road brings, his concerns were getting the flowers
and himself down the cliff safely.
He looked over the edge of the plataeu.
Tall upon this height, one could see the endless islets and shoals of the
plain of mists and crags stretch out into the mists and possibly even into
other realms. Now the figures of Ayeesha and even her dragon were
dwarfed, though they could easily see him heft the bag triumphantly.
Woodbead plucked some pebbles from the
loose soil and tossed them over the cliff edge to test the wind.
The direction of the pebbles showed that the wind was still blowing rather
slowly on this calm day. He pulled a helio attachment out of a box
and unfolded and adjusted it. Calculating in his head the weight
of the bag and the wind, he attached the device to the bag and threw it
just right off the cliff. The helio unsprung and started twirling
rapidly, slowing the bag’s descent just enough to gurantee that the fall
did not crush any flowers. It beat hauling the thing downhill.
Fourtunately, he had been almost right on where he estimated the bag would
land, for it landed in the sand just at the foot of the grass around the
plataeu. Ayeesha made no run to get it, not wishing to touch the
Unclimacticly, the red wizard climbed
back down the cliff. Although he had to glance over his shoulder
a couple of times, without the bulk of the sack it was nowhere near as
hard as he thought it might be. He then got the sack, filled it with
water, then emptied it quickly by opening a seam at the bottom. The
Plain of Mists and Crags frequently had violent rainstorms, so most well-made
sacks were both water resistant and had a way of easily draining them.
Ayeesha was excited as he got within
ten paces of her, and set the sack down in the sand. Her dragon was
tensed, but relaxed as he backed away. She patted the dragon on it’s
head then got down to get the sack, quickly re-mounting her dragon.
After attaching the sack to the side, she withdrew a hardened seed husk
“Thank you, Woodbead! You’ve made
me, and a lot of other women happy! I’ll be able to sell some of
my potions a lot cheaper and I’ll give you credit if you want. That
will make you popular, though I do hope you come back.”
She gave a loving, tender look to Woodbead
as she held the closed seedbud. The sorceror kept his polite manner,
but knew that look meant that he had a chance with her tonight, well worth
that dirty hard climb. As she played her wiles, and the red wizard
tried to keep his eyes above her breasts, neither noticed the flower.
Perhaps the soaking of water triggered
it, but the bud started to squeeze. It then cracked open to four
sections, much like a hardened orange. In between the sections, was
a sole seed from a Dragonsbane plant, trapped on the flower when it had
sealed. Seeds from a plant that took forty years to sprout could
certainly stand a few months inside another flower’s bud.
It was as if time had stopped, for both
Woodbead and Ayeesha looked in stunned horror. The seed was untouched,
though the fluff above it was crushed, so it fell faster than it drifted,
and was sucked into the dragon’s left nostril.
As time had seemed to stop for that one,
horrible moment, it made up for it the next instant. At once, the
dragon screamed and roared in a bizzare rage. With a strength that
was great, even for one of it’s kind it burst forward and into the air.
Woodbead was knocked hard into the sand by the sheer kinetic force of the
rush. Ayeesha was still in the saddle, and thus caught along for
If this had been a lair, the dragon
would likely have been dead by smashing into cave walls or from mutilation
by stalagtites on the way out. This, however, was an open aired plain
with lots of room for a flying creature. As he righted himself, Woodbead
saw that Ayeesha had nearly lost her grip, but was hanging on for dear
life from the saddle straps.
The Dragon’s roar turned into a screech.
The screech pierced the air, and Woodbead had to cover his ears though
the Dragon was half a kilometer away. The screech grew, then seemed
to fade away. With a lashing motion, the dragon turned his head and
what seemed a rush of vibrating air shot out from it’s mouth. This
shattered the tops of several islets, sending trees and rubble into the
sea below. Then, the dragon shot out of sight.
As fast as this occurred, Woodbead was
too stunned to react. He worried about the dragon dashing to its
death, Ayeesha with it. Even if she escaped, and found an islet,
he might never find her as fast as her dragon could move. He noticed
her spyglass had come loose, so he picked it from the sand and looked off
into the distance.
From a little to the right of where
the dragon disappeared, the mists turned luminous, then brighter.
The dragon was using it’s flame now, and heading back! This would
send many sensible persons to a panicked flight, but somehow Woodbead’s
mind told him that he wasn’t in the flames way yet.
Indeed, the dragon shot over that plataeu where he had just climbed.
As it passed, it vomited a firey acid that spread all over the grass and
rock. So much for that patch of Dragonsbane. Woodbead
kept a watch with the spyglass and saw that Ayeesha was still holding on,
but not out of desperation, she was trying to reach in the saddle bags.
Adjusting for the dragon’s erratic movements,
he caught sight of the dragon’s head. This truly chilled him, for
as the dragon again went out of sight, he caught it’s eye and a gaze of
enraged hatred, much like earlier when he had said the word “Dragonsbane!”.
The gaze was directed at him.
As the dragon was now vomiting fire
carelessly, he could tell where it was going and that it was turning for
another attack, now likely at him. His first impulse was to take
his blowgun from his boat, so as to jump in the water and hide, breathing
through it. However, he found himself hesitant.
“I can hide, I certainly can’t take
on that dragon, what do I do?” the red wizard thought, “If I hide,
Ayeesha will likely die. I don’t want her to die, I like her, but
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