Castle Roland

Tears of the Dragon Boy

by Ricky


Chapter 14

Posted: N/A

There Be Dragons!

Bimeny thought for a long time. "Nope, there's no way out of it," he thought to himself. "I'll have to go through with it," and at that moment he had set his resolve. That seemed pretty much how it always worked for him. Once he made up his mind, it was set in stone.

"Alright," Bimeny said to Reanna. He was almost gasping for breath like he had been hyperventilating over the decision. "I'll go and talk to the ... the dragons. We'll leave first thing in the morning, but first I have to buy us some time. I have to go visit the commander and talk some sense into him. I'll fly in under the cover of darkness and have a little talk with him, try and make him see reason, and if that doesn't work, then I'll just kill him. Either way, it will buy us some time. While I'm doing that, you start working on the problem of what to request this Stormtraub if talking doesn't work. And think about the possibility of destroying Gandoo's bow," Bimeny said with finality.

"Destroying the Bow?" Reanna said. "Where did that come from? Why would you consider destroying the only protection and leverage over the dragons?"

"Well, it would do a lot of things. It would cancel the contract, it would leave me unstoppable and alive, the request could not be made at Stormtraub so they would have to live with what they got. All are interesting possibilities. What the downstream effect would be is what I need help sorting out and you do that much better than me. Besides, I am going to have my hands full for the evening." Bimeny turned his attention to Falour, "Falour, where does the commander sleep?" The two of them went off to discuss strategies.

Reanna went back to the record and began reading again. She didn't want to miss a thing. It was too important to guess at. Her Bimeny's life was now at stake.

The sun was now setting. The darkest part of the night was shortly after sunset before the two moons rose. He would go and take care of business and be back in bed before Reanna even started snoring.

"Falour," Bimeny said, "I'm going to have a talk with the new commander. I shouldn't be too late. If I don't come back make sure Reanna gets back to her parents alright."

"Be careful," Falour said. "Commander Velacoor may not have been expecting to have to deal with you, but it doesn't mean he's not ready to. They have your previous encounters to learn how you work. They learn how you work and they can learn how to deal with you. Don't underestimate them. I saw metal nets, steel tipped arrows. Who knows what else they brought with them. None of these things have I seen before. You are the only reason for them to have brought those things. These things are impervious to fire and flame. They may go through your armor, I don't know. And who knows what they have brought that I have not seen. Be careful," Falour said.

"Thank you," Bimeny said, placing his hand on his shoulder, "I'll be careful. That's why I am going at night. I have the cover of darkness on my side. I intend to show him how unnecessary battle is. We have what we came for. If I can stall them a day or two then we won't have to battle at all. We both win. We both stay alive."

"Bimeny," Falour said, "Remember that he is a soldier. He's not interested in both sides winning. He thinks it is not enough that he wins but everyone else must lose. It is important that you remember that. He will try to win, even if he must sacrifice every man before his command."

"I'll keep that in mind," Bimeny said and he walked out the door.

Bimeny had a lot to think about and not too long to do it. Town wasn't that far away and the dark of the night wasn't far off either. Steel nets didn't scare him too much, but those steel pointed arrows were a little scary. Could they penetrate his armor? Would they be ready for him? He decided to fly high over the Garrison once to see what was going on.

Darkness had fallen upon the Garrison. There was still a lot of activity going on. Carts were being loaded, guards in the towers, on the walkways along the walls. They had arms that Bimeny didn't recognize. They were long sticks with a bell shape on the end. They looked heavy. There were long poles with netting leaned up against the walls. Bimeny landed quietly on a roof above the courtyard. They were forming up for something. Were they going to march tonight? Two wagons are all that were loaded. Not surprising, they had no horses. The Smokey Willow must have also worn off.

Bimeny had a dilemma. 'If I fail and they take me then the others will have no warning. If I return to the house to tell them to get ready then when I come back they will not be in the Garrison. They are boxed in right now.'

Then the idea occurred. Set huge fires at all the exits then fly home and warn them of the march. Fly back and do battle. No talking required. He made up his mind. He flew down to the front Gates. They were open. He walked up to the two guards that were standing watch. "I'd move if I were you," and with a mighty blast he erected a huge wall of fire at the front gate. The guard yelled and sounded the alarm. People were coming out of everyplace. Bimeny took flight and repeated the process at the rear gates. Again, they were surprised but moved none the less. Flames grew at the rear gate. Bimeny heard the whizzing sound of arrows passing by and he took flight. He remembered the hidden side gate and flew over it dousing it in flames as well. Bimeny quietly landed on the roof of Gandoo's open porch, the place where it all started.

He watched as people scrambled to put out the flames and others took to the walls pointing arrows up into the darkness. They could not see anything because of the blackness above and the bright flames. Bimeny watched for a moment and realized this could work for him. It made them sorta sunblind. Bimeny needed to know where the commander was. He crawled to the edge of the roof and looked down. It was clear. He jumped down onto the open patio and went inside. He heard yelling and inched his way towards the sound.

"Well get more men on it then, we have to pursue him now!" the voice said.

"Well, I know where to find the commander, I guess," Bimeny thought out loud and he crept down the hall towards the voice.

"Look, if we get him now, then I will make Commander of all the Garrisons. How tough can a young kid be to out think. Sure he's got fire and flight but we have experience! We've got nets. We've got steel tipped arrows. We've got net launchers! Two weeks paid leave to the man who gets him!" the voice said.

Bimeny was right outside the door now. He could hear two, maybe three men inside. He peeked around the door frame, and was seen instantly! He rushed in and dove over the desk and grabbed the commander.

"Back UP!" he yelled. "Back up or he is cooked. You have two seconds to get out of the door or YOU are cooked," and he spit a small ball of flames in front of them. They didn't need two seconds. They were out the door as soon as Bimeny spit. He pushed the commander forward and he resisted. Bimeny set fire to his flailing arm, maintaining a grip on his other arm and a hand on his belt. He screamed, but offered no more resistance. He was going crazy trying to put out his clothing. Bimeny finally managed to corral him back to the open patio when heard a bang and felt a steel net lambaste them both. They fell back against the wall knocking the wind out of Bimeny as the commander landed on top of him. Guards besieged the patio area and piled on top of him. Bimeny took a deep breath and breathed fire in every direction he could. He could hear screaming and smell flesh burning but they didn't stop coming. He did it again and heard more screaming. Now the commander was involved and flailing trying to get away. Bimeny tried to push him off and he could see a side of the net come away from the wall. He took a breath and jumped up and exhaled flames in every direction. Then he heard arrows hitting the wall behind him and felt a searing pain in his shoulder.

OUCH! He screamed and he dodged another volley. He headed for the railing and flung himself off. Arrows flew all around him. His wings spread but one of them caught on the arrow sticking out the back. With every flap it hit the arrow causing intense pain. Bimeny knew he couldn't fly far but he had to get away. Just a little bit further. He found himself outside the town in the dark. His flames still blocked the gates, at least for now anyways.

Bimeny couldn't get his right wing to fold away as it was caught on the arrow point. Bimeny had never known such pain. He had an answer to the question of whether or not the arrows could penetrate his armor. They could and he didn't like it. He tried walking but every step was painful. He had to do something with this arrow. It was mucking things up for him in the air and on the ground. It had to come out.

Bimeny reached his hand over his shoulder. He couldn't reach the arrow but he managed to grab the stays for his wing and lift them off of the arrow point and allow it to fold back into place, OH! That hurt, he screamed. He was breathing heavily now and looking around to see if anyone heard his yell. It appeared that he was alone.

He found a tree with a branch shooting out about shoulder height. His idea was to catch the point in the crux of the tree and let the tree hold the arrow as he walked out of it. He tried to catch the point. Ouch. Nothing. It just slipped off the tree. He tried again and slipped on some moss. "Ouch!" he said and he heard a SNAP as he fell back against the tree. Ouch Ohhh! That really hurt. The arrow broke off behind him. He grabbed the arrow from the front and gave it a yank. Ooohhh! He lay there breathing heavily for some time and then he blacked out. He wasn't sure how long. All he knew for sure was that he didn't hurt anymore and he should.

He looked down at his shoulder where the arrow had been. There was a small mar in the armor where it was previously cracked and punctured. It was now healed. How cool was that! He had heard about a dragon's ability to heal quickly but he had no idea that it happened that fast or that he had this ability. But he was really glad he did. That arrow hurt something fierce.

Bimeny got to his feet and tried to ascertain how long he had been out by the positions of the moons. By his reckoning he had only been out for a short time. He had to figure out what was happening at the compound. He leaned forward and pushed off. His wings sprouted as if there had never been an arrow stuck in his shoulder. He had to fly low to the trees as he was plainly visible now with the two moons high in the sky. His bright blue plates reflected the moonlight very well. In fact, the dual moonlight made him almost iridescent. Bimeny thought it would be hard to miss a bright iridescent flying human and he was right. He no sooner got close to the compound and he was spotted. The alarm was sounded and activity became hurried all over. Bimeny heard arrows passing through the trees. No sense staying low and he took to the sky, Bimeny thought as he soared out of range.

He circled around up above just out of arrow range. A couple of times they tried reaching him with those new weapons that throw nets. They were nowhere near close and he liked it that way. He had not forgotten how close it was. He noticed the two wagons were missing. They were on the road. He had to hurry. He flew over the gate areas and hocked huge fireballs at them again. The exits burst into flames again. The hidden gate was no exception and the trees that hid it were well burnt away from the last time. He set fire to the armory as well. He also torched as many archers as he could on his way out. He flew high and fast towards the house.

Flames! He saw flames! His heart was racing as he went into a dive. He saw the two wagons and the guard moving them into place by turning the wheels by hand since they had no horses to help.

Bimeny dove at them and launched fireballs at them engulfing both wagons in flames. As he did, he saw men jumping out of the wagons. They had bows with steel tipped arrows. They were there for him and he knew it. The barn was on fire. That's what he saw from the distance. He couldn't see where Reanna and Falour were and it bothered him. He boxed in the guard with walls of flames. They were trapped and they knew it. He flew right in the middle of them and landed. An arrow pierced his shoulder. Searing pain, he broke it off from the back and pulled the shaft through as he had done the last time. It hurt. He turned and saw who fired the arrow. He had a smile on his face and was knocking up another arrow and was almost ready to fire. Bimeny spat at him and he burst into flames. He scanned the crowd quickly to see if there were any others. He faced the commander and looked him in the eye and then looked down at his wound. It healed as if it were a movie clip played in reverse. He looked back at the commander.

"Tell them to drop their weapons and I may let you live. If my wife or Falour are injured then you will pay with a slow death, I promise," he said as he leaned forward and pushed off. He flew around the house looking for a heat signature. He found them. They were in the front of the house on the third floor where they could be above the enemy and safely fire down upon them, but Reanna looked hotter on her shoulder than the rest of her. Bimeny flew around back of the house and landed on the roof. He entered through a window and found his way to them. Reanna had an arrow in her shoulder. He walked up to her and took her in his arms and kissed her. "Are you all right?" he asked her.

"Yes, I always nap with an arrow in my shoulder. It keeps me from oversleeping." Bimeny stifled a laugh.

"You'll live," Bimeny grinned as he examined the arrow. He knew what to do but also knew it wasn't going to heal like it did for him. He would take the arrow and the damage willingly if he could trade with her. He looked her in the eyes, "This is going to hurt a lot."

He looked at Falour, "Keep watch." He turned to Reanna, "I need some things first. I'll be right back," and he ran out of the room and down the steps. He went down to the kitchen. On the way he ran into two of the trained assassins. He recognized them now by the crest of the Raven on their tunics. He blasted one, the other dove at him with a knife slashing at his throat. He felt the blade graze his neck. He swung at him and connected but Bimeny was still young, his upper body strength was nowhere near that of the Guard. It didn't faze him. He smiled and wrestled Bimeny to the floor. He blew flames at him, he ducked and dove on him again grabbing his arms and holding them against his sides. Bimeny struggled but could not even come close to freeing himself. He spun quickly in the guards arms, his armor was smooth enough that he turned easily in his grip. He saw the Guard's shoulder and bit him. He bore the dragon's teeth, two rows of very sharp pointed teeth. He ripped ravenously at the shoulder. Screams erupted, blood spurt and the Guard's grip was released. But Bimeny never heard the screams. He was in a fever.

Bimeny looked at the guard and his eyes showed the flames within. He growled like a wild animal and attacked the guard. He tore flesh and bone from the carcass. He didn't stop. He found the body of the other guard that was burning still in the next room. He destroyed it. It was completely unrecognizable when he was done. Bimeny slinked away. He felt dizzy and then the room came into focus again. The house was now well involved and burning out of control. Bimeny looked around quickly and saw the bloody mess. He looked down at himself and realized what had happened.

He remembered Falour and Reanna upstairs. He ran through the flames and into the kitchen. He found the poker for the stove. He would need it to cauterize the wound. He grabbed some towels and a wooden spoon. He ran back towards the living room. The stairs were burning and the spindles on the railing were falling out from the flames running up the banister. Bimeny tried a step, it didn't feel safe. He ran back into the kitchen and out the door launching himself off of the porch towards the back of the house. Flames and smoke were already pouring out of the window he knew housed Reanna and Falour. He dropped the things he had collected on the roof and dove in through the window.

Falour was unconscious lying on top of Reanna. Bimeny grabbed him and rolled him off of Reanna. He grabbed Reanna and carried her to the window and set her on the roof. She was unconscious but coughing. He turned and went to Falour. He grabbed him by the wrists and pulled. He was very heavy, not like Reanna at all. He was more like trying to drag a yak. Bimeny pulled again, "Come ON!" Bimeny yelled. He dragged him again. The flames were engulfing the room. Bimeny got him to the window and leaned him out of it. He was still not moving. Bimeny pushed his legs out of the open window and he rolled out on the roof. Bimeny dove out the window and grabbed Reanna and flew her off to the tree line. He looked around to make sure his captives were still captive. They were, but not for long. He flew up, rolled Falour to the edge of the roof, and wrapped his arms around his huge barreled chest. Bimeny could barely reach around him and knew he couldn't hold him that way in flight so he reached under his arms from the back and grabbed his wrists. He could hold him this way. He had handles now. Bimeny leaned forward and his wings came out. He flapped as hard as he could and lifted off. He dropped like a stone but once on the ground was able to pull him with only his feet dragging. He got him a safe distance from the house and turned back. He went and collected the things he needed for Reanna off the roof and dove down on his escaping prisoners. He belched great balls of fire upon them.

There were screams of pain and terror as Bimeny systematically flew after anyone who still had a weapon or looked like they were moving in the direction of Reanna. He was without mercy or compunction as he exerted every effort to control what was up to this point an out of control situation.

As soon as he was able, he went back to Reanna. She was unconscious and there was a lot of blood. He felt for a pulse. She had one but it was not as strong as it should be. He pulled her forward away from the tree she was leaning against. He broke the arrow off and leaned her back against the tree. He grabbed the poker and breathed on it lightly. A blue/white flame extended from Bimeny's mouth and heated the poker tip to a glowing red hot. He looked down at Reanna. He took the wooden spoon and placed it between Reanna's slightly parted teeth. "This is gonna hurt," he said quietly knowing that she couldn't hear him. He grabbed the arrow just below the fletches and pulled it out in one swift movement. He tossed the arrow aside and took the poker, gave it one more quick blow of blue/white flames from his lips. He looked at Reanna and leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "I'm sorry baby," he said and stuck the poker in the hole that he had just removed the arrow from. Reanna let out a scream of pain and she bit into the spoon. Bimeny pulled the poker out and breathed on it again bringing it back to red hot. He pulled Reanna's limp body forward until he could see the exit point from the arrow. He quickly stuck the poker in the hole searing it at the touch. Reanna let out with another scream of pain that even hurt Bimeny to hear it. He removed the poker and grabbed the towels and dressed her wounds. He leaned her back against the tree and removed the spoon from her mouth and kissed her.

Bimeny stood and looked around to see what was going on around him again. The house was burning badly. There was nothing left to salvage. He would have cried if he could have. The last memories of his mother and father were gone. The place where he had grown up, where he felt safe was all gone. It was in ashes.

He looked around. There were no living guard that he could see. They had all gone. Where to, he did not know nor care. He looked for Falour and found him where he had left him. Bimeny knelt as he rolled him onto his back. He felt for a pulse, there was none. Falour was dead. Bimeny sat back on the ground. "I guess he forgave me," Bimeny said out loud.

Bimeny stood up and walked over to the house. Gandoo's ow! Where is it? Bimeny didn't take it with him when he went to the compound. He had to go look for it. The house was a raging inferno. Bimeny ran in the kitchen door. He looked around on the floor. Next to the table was the record. It was relatively unharmed as it was on the floor. He walked over to it and picked it up and ran out of the door with it. He set it on the ground and went back in. He had to find the bow and quiver if anything was left of it. He tried to remember where it was last, it had to be with Reanna upstairs. The steps were useless if they even existed now. There was no way anything upstairs could possibly survive. If it was there, then it was gone, gone for good.

Bimeny picked up the record and went back to Reanna. He sat with her. There was nothing left to do but wait and he didn't have to do that long before Malakuck and his wife came up in their wagon.

"We came as soon as we saw the smoke. Is everyone alright?" Malakuck asked.

"No" Bimeny said and he looked around to where Reanna was laying behind him. "She took an arrow in the shoulder. I took it out and cauterized the wound. I think she will be alright but it's going to hurt for a while. Can she stay with you until I get this sorted out?" Bimeny asked Malakuck .

Malakuck looked at Bimeny and smiled, "I told you, NO returns," and they laughed a little. "Come on and help me get her into the wagon. What are you going to do?" Malakuck asked.

"I'm going to kill every remaining guard from here to Burtran. It is the only way to end this. Every one of them has to die." Bimeny had a look that even Malakuck knew that he meant every word of it.

"Go then and we'll watch over her until you get back," Malakuck said, putting his hand on Bimeny's shoulder. "Be safe Bimeny, be safe." Malakuck climbed up on the wagon and grabbed the reins.

"Wait," Bimeny said and he ran over and picked up the record that he rescued from the fire. "Here, give her this. She will need it yet. Come over tomorrow after the flames die out. See if you can find Gandoo's bow in what's left. I left it with Reanna and Falour when I went to attack the garrison. I don't know what happened to it after that."

Just then Reanna moaned. Bimeny jumped up on the wagon and to her side in a moment. "OH, I hurt!" she said. "What happened," she asked Bimeny.

"You took an arrow. I had to remove it and temper the wound. I'm sorry honey," Bimeny said, kissing her on the forehead.

"Where's Falour?" she asked.

"He's dead honey. He died trying to protect you from them and the fire." Bimeny said quietly.

"We need to bury him then," Malakuck said.

"No, let the guard do it." Bimeny said with conviction. "They won't know if he was with them or not. Let them bury him as a hero. Then his wife and kids will have food and security. I'll move him over with the others and burn the body so they can't tell."

"I agree," Malakuck said. "It is a good plan."

"Bimeny, what are we going to do now?" Reanna asked.

"You are going to stay with your parents until I come back for you. They can tend to your wounds and free me up to end this mess," he said. "Here is the record. I can't find Gandoo's bow. Do you recall where it was last?" Bimeny asked her.

"Yes, Falour had it. He took it upstairs with us. He said something about hiding it just after I took the arrow. He said something about them not getting it. Then I blacked out, I don't remember what he did with it."

Bimeny looked at the house and it was completely gutted and still burning hard. "We'll look for it tomorrow morning," Malakuck added . "You go take care of business."

"Where are you going, baby?" Reanna asked anxiously.

"To reduce the threat," he said and before she could respond, he had taken flight.

Bimeny flew a zigzag pattern over the forest looking for guard. As he found them he killed them. The only escape was if they had dropped their weapons and removed their uniforms and there were a few of them, but just a few. Bimeny did not spare the rest. He did not come across Commander Velacoor. As he made his way back to the garrison he had to decide what to do. He landed on the roof of the open patio and walked to the edge. He raised his hands and yelled, "Guard! Hear me! Your commander and his troops have been defeated. Drop your weapons and remove your uniforms and you can go home and live. I will be back at sundown. Anyone still here or still in uniform or with any kind of weapon in their hands will die and die slowly at my hands. Your arrows can't hurt me, your nets are useless. The choice is yours. I will be back after sunset." With that he took flight.

He really wanted that commander. Where could he be? Bimeny flew into the forest. He flew where he could and walked where he couldn't. He was going to find him, and when he did, he was going to take his time with him. He was going to enjoy it.

The light was fading rapidly and Bimeny realized that his quarry had gotten away, for now at least. Bimeny was getting hungry. He flew quietly over the forest and then he saw it. He circled back, coming at it from behind. It was easy prey and he dove on it, taking it down to the ground in an instant. It tasted good, very good. He tore flesh and devoured it while blood was still streaming from its body. The hooves of the deer trembled and then stopped moving. Bimeny feasted until he could eat no more. He stumbled back and the area seemed to come back into focus.

"What happened?" he said to himself. He looked around at the total and utter destruction around him and he knew what had happened, but why? He did not smell blood, this wasn't even a horse. I remember thinking that I was hungry and flying back to the Garrison.

This bothered Bimeny greatly. It was as if he was gaining less control of himself every day. How could he let this happen? He would have to watch himself closely. But for now, he needed to stay focused and he didn't care if he lost it on the guard. He just didn't care.

Bimeny flew over the Garrison to see how many were left. There were about a dozen or so who were stupid enough or ambitious enough to stay. Bimeny flew in silently behind a building that housed several who were watching the windows, obviously waiting in the lurches for the opportunity to strike. Bimeny opened the door and stepped inside. "Hi boys, you should have left when you had the opportunity," and he blew flames on them all. The screams were relentless and horrific. Others came to help put them out and Bimeny was waiting on the roof for them. As they ran up to the door, Bimeny plastered them with a flame suit of their own. "Stupid Guard," he said as he walked away.

Bimeny searched the remaining buildings for those hiding and helped himself to supplies for the long trip ahead of him. After finding and dispatching those still stupid enough to stay he took flight towards Raven Plat. Bimeny flew high to cover more land faster. He could see the curve of the planet and the twin moons rising. He saw Raven Plat and dove for it. He flew over the Garrison and lit up the supply room. The alarm sounded. Bimeny hid on a roof top waiting for the majority to exit the barracks. When he saw that most were out, he stood and raised his hands again and spoke.

"Guard! Haven Plat garrison is dead or deserted! If you want to live, put your weapons down and remove your ..." But he didn't get to finish. A net and a flurry of arrows were launched against him. Searing pain in both shoulders, but Bimeny knew what he had to do and he did it. He pushed most of the arrows through and fell backward on them and broke the tips off. "There's got to be a better way than this," he said as he lay there in pain. The net missed. It was a good thing because those two arrows really hurt. He pulled the shafts out and the pain stopped almost as soon as the shafts were removed. He stood up and launched. He burned everyone in sight, sparing none. As soon as he was done he flew up the mountain to meet with his brother and to fill him in on what had happened. Most of all, he wanted to know where he could find Morgreth.

He found the camp and landed outside the light of the campfire. There were two strangers there and Bimeny figured that he better find out what was going on before he barged right in. He walked up behind Mantu, "Hi brother. Who are our guests?" Bimeny asked quietly.

Mantu turned around and was shocked again by what he saw, "Hi Bim ... you're covered with blood again. Are you alright?" Mantu asked.

"OH!Yeah, sure, it's not mine. It is from a deer I took down on the way. I just need to clean up a bit. I'll be right back, sorry." He pushed off and hit the stream and quickly rinsed off. Obviously the strangers weren't a threat.

Bimeny flew back to the fire and landed right next to the strangers. He came in out of the dark and had only glimpsed Mantu before he disappeared to wash himself up. They were startled when he just landed next to them. He held out his hand in the peace gesture towards Randar, "Hi, I'm Bimeny," he said.

Randar took his arm carefully, "You really do fly then! Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Randar the innkeeper in Raven Plat. Or at least I was before the guard came and caused trouble," he said. "This is my friend of many adventures, Kip," Randar said, gesturing to Kip.

Bimeny released Randar's grip and extended it again to Kip, "It's a pleasure," Bimeny said.

"Well, if the guard was the only thing holding you back, then you are in business again. I just killed them all." Bimeny said with a smile.

"What!" Randar said and he ran over to the bluff and he could see the fire burning far below. "You did this alone?" he asked.

"Yep!" he said. "They shot my wife and a good friend this morning, so I killed them all from Haven Plat and Raven Plat as well. There are none left alive."

"So you can really breathe fire too?" Randar asked. Bimeny walked back to the fire. He looked back to see if they were watching and realizing that he had their full attention he walked around to the far side of the fire pit and spit a huge fireball into it. A huge bonfire erupted between them. They froze where they stood. They could feel the heat all the way over at the edge of the bluff. Bimeny stepped into the fire and walked through it and out of the pit towards them. They saw him walk casually out of the huge fire directly towards them as if it had been a spring shower instead of a raging bonfire. Their mouths hung open.

Mantu walked up. "Show off," he said, shoving a cup of mead in his hand. "Come on, we need to hear all about it and I'll tell you what I have found out. Where's Reanna? Did I hear you say they shot her?" Mantu said with great concern.

"Yes, but she'll be alright in a few weeks," Bimeny said.

"And what friend did they kill?" Mantu asked.

Bimeny said, "Let's sit down. This is going to take a lot of explaining. A lot has happened." So the two brothers and their two guests sat down on the ground. They had to abandon their makeshift seats near the fire pit because it was just too hot to get near it.

Bimeny filled them in on everything leaving nothing out. Then it was Mantu's turn. Mantu filled Bimeny in on everything he had learned in Raven Plat and that he found out that Morgreth was in Burtran.

At the mention of her name, Bimeny's eyes flared. As they had finished, Bimeny walked out of the firelight and into the darkness. "See ya later," Bimeny said.

"Hey!" Mantu called. "Where ya going now? It's late. Why not get a fresh start in the morning?" Mantu asked.

"Nope, I plan on ruining someone's evening, and then I have a date with a dragon." Bimeny shot back. "I'll be back when I'm done."

"A dragon! We should come with you then," Mantu shouted.

"Thanks, but Burtran is mine and Stormtraub is the dragons'. Probably not a good place for someone who smells like dinner! Go home. It's safe there now," and Bimeny flew off into the night.

Bimeny knew he was coming close to finishing this crisis one way or another. Burtran was by no means the last village. There were nearly a dozen in all, but taking Morgreth out would surely put an end to the fighting. Killing a quarter of the Elders would surely mark the end of the battle. The Raven Court guards were housed there. Beat them and you have a respected place in history. So this one should be the end of it. It is the largest and most dangerous obstacle anyways. But Bimeny knew what they had in the way of weapons. If he wanted to, he could simply fly high overhead and rain fire upon them without ever having to get injured.

The problem with that is that a lot of innocent people could get hurt too. Disregard that fact and Bimeny knew he would be no better than Gandoo. "Their duties are to just lie down and die, they're in the way!" Bimeny thought to himself. No, he would have to try and save the innocent and allow for conversion of those pressed into service. But how was the question. How to allow them the choice for peace and not get shot in the process was the bigger question.

Bimeny thought about it as he made his way to Burtran. He had to eliminate the weapons and deter their desires to fight and he had to do it all at once. But he needed to be a lot bigger and a lot more fierce than he was right now to pull that off. Then it hit him. He needed to be more dragons. Or more precisely, he needed more dragons! Of course! It was so obvious.

Bimeny changed headings and headed for the mountain know as Stormtraub. Burtran was in the valley between where he and Mantu's camp was and Stormtraub Mountain, so it would not take long to fly across the valley and he hadn't descended too far yet so it should not be too long at all. All he had to do was to fly around the back side of the mountain and find the cave of the dragons and then hope that they remembered arranging the blessing for him and more importantly, why!

Bimeny saw the dragon crest that he saw on Gandoo's bow, and the place where he sat above the cave where he found the shell that completed his stoneset for his transformation. Then Bimeny paused for a moment. If that shell from the dragon's egg was the stimulus for the transformation, then the dragons may not be aware of him at all. He could simply be a fluke. If that were the case, then the dragons may just have to try him for lunch. Bimeny then remembered the frenzied feeding and considered for a moment that dragons were likely to be a whole lot bigger than he was. What if one crazed caused the others to be crazed at the same time. They could tear ... "TOO MUCH THINKING!" Bimeny said out loud. "I have a charm!" he said, trying hard to dismiss any negative thoughts and he changed the subject in his mind to Reanna.

He wondered how she was. He missed her confidence. She would be the first to tell him that he was the only one who could do this and it was illogical to think the dragons imbued him just to eat him. Somehow she made him braver he thought, braver he thought and most of all she kept him human. He ached for her company and he had only been gone the better part of the day. But he missed her a lot.

Bimeny saw it, the cave entrance. This had to be it, it was almost directly behind and below the eye hole where the arrow would be shot to deliver the Elders request. It was massive and absolutely inaccessible except by air. Bimeny made his way down to it. It was intimidating just by its size. Bimeny walked along the side close to the wall. His heart was beating so loud he figured they would hear him coming from it. He was scared, really scared. He tried to think what Reanna would be saying to him right now, but he was sure that "RUN" wasn't it and that's all he could think any sane person would say to him right at the moment. The cave seemed to go really far in and deep into the mountain. It was good that Bimeny could see in the dark because it was black as pitch.

And then he heard it—a voice, a very gravelly sounding voice. Not at all smooth like a normal persons voice. There couldn't be people down here, there's no way for them to get in here. But Bimeny was sure he heard it. He listened harder but couldn't hear it again. It was gone. He must have imagined it. He continued on walking close to the wall as he went. Then he heard it again.

"Keep it well, Egeldous, it is your charge," the gravelly voice said. It was much louder now, much closer. Then he heard another voice. It was also gravelly sounding but not as rough as the first and not as deep.

"I know the charge and I am honored to keep it. Rest well, Regalthorn," the second voice said.

Bimeny took a deep breath and peeked around the corner. There were two enormous dragons. One was much bigger and probably much older than the other. The older one was starting to leave.

"Ah wait! Please don't go, I need to talk," Bimeny said and he stepped around the corner.

"INTRUDER!" The younger dragon roared and he hunkered down over top of something. The older, much larger dragon spun around, his tail hitting the wall of the cave and sounding a great noise. He turned and saw Bimeny and roared a huge flame upon him. Bimeny wanted to bolt and run but he was too scared to move. The older, larger dragon ran upon him so they were nose to nose. "You didn't die. What are you and how did you come here? I see no wings. Are you alone?" He sniffed Bimeny closely. Bimeny was so small by comparison that he was almost sucked into the dragon's nostril.

"I am Bimeny. I was blessed by the storm with a dragon's blessing. I came here alone and I have wings, you just don't see them unless I am flying," Bimeny said. "I am here because we need your help and you need ours."

"We need nothing from the humans except to be left alone. I think you are here to damage our eggs," the older dragon said.

"If I were here to cause you any harm then why would I come without Gandoo's bow and why would I announce my presence to you when I could just sneak up on you while you sleep? I am Dragon too," and he breathed fire on the larger, older dragon. But Bimeny was so small by comparison that his flame was like a match against a bon fire. The older dragon saw the flame that Bimeny spit out and started laughing. He laughed so hard that he rolled over on his back and kicked his feet and he was still laughing when he righted himself and again got his nose down next to Bimeny. "You have convinced me little dragon boy, what is it that you are called?" he asked.

"I am Bimeny," he said again.

"Well Bimeny, I am Regalthorn. I will take you to the one you wish to speak to. We don't get too many visitors here. The One will decide if what you have to say has value and then whether you should be eaten or not," Regalthorn said with a chuckle. "Follow me," and he turned and started to walk away. He looked over his shoulder. Bimeny couldn't move. "Are you coming, little one?" Regalthorn asked looking over his shoulder.

"Did... did you say 'eaten'?" Bimeny said faintly.

Regalthorn turned his head curiously, "Why of course. If the One decides it. If the One says so then 'I' can be named as dinner and will be dinner for the others. But I wouldn't worry, the others are out hunting and should be back soon. Now come little Bimeny Dragon Boy. It is time to take you to the One." Bimeny followed. The steps didn't come easily but they came. The younger dragon bared his teeth at Bimeny and turned to keep his face and teeth as close to Bimeny as he could as they passed. Bimeny wished he had squat before he came in because right now he had to go really bad.

"Excuse me, ah, Regalthorn? Do you have a little dragon's room around here?"

Regalthorn turned to look at him. "All dragons stay in the same room, large or small? Why, do they keep small dragons like you in a special room?"

"Uh, no, I mean, I have to relieve myself. Where do you do that around here?" Bimeny asked, now starting to dance just a little.

"Oooh," Regalthorn said, "I understand. Yes, we have a pit just around the corner. We just fly over and drop it there." As they rounded the corner there was a cliff next to what looked like a bottomless pit. As Bimeny walked over to the edge, Regalthorn blew a puff of wind at Bimeny's back and blew Bimeny right over the edge. Bimeny dropped over the edge and flew back up.

"What did you do that for?" Bimeny asked.

"You looked nervous. That's how we teach young dragons. Would you believe that many of them don't know to bring their knees up and they end up urinating on their legs," Regalthorn said, laughing once again.

Bimeny wasn't about to let on that he didn't know, so he flew over the pit and brought his knees up to his chest and felt a cool breeze where he normally didn't. He knew it was safe to let loose and did. He felt much better when he came in to land next to Regalthorn. "Where do your wings go when you're not using them?" he asked.

"Took me a while to figure that one out myself," Bimeny said and he leaned forward and pushed off a little so that his wings would come out.

"Nice design. What kind of dragon are you?" Regalthorn asked.

"I don't know," Bimeny said. "Whatever the storm made me?"

"Storm, what storm? Don't you know what kind of dragon your father was?" Regalthorn asked.

"My father was human as was my mother. The Storm is what imbues our people with special abilities. It is controlled by the dragons," Bimeny said.

"Ah," Regalthorn said. "I think you speak of the gem of Alakite. The One can answer all your questions," he said, seeing the puzzled look on Bimeny's face. "Come, we are almost there," he said and he took several great steps and took flight.

Bimeny leaned forward and flew along side of Regalthorn. Bimeny looked like a bumble bee flying around a great Pegasus. He couldn't believe how much room there was inside the mountain, but it was pretty cool having someone to fly with. Regalthorn's body moved up and down with each movement of his massive wings. They displaced so much air that Bimeny had to stay right up by Regalthorn's head or suffer the wash from his wings. Slip back a little and you were suddenly tumbling in the air or battered by a wing. Too close to a wing and you could be tossed about in an updraft or find that your wind has been stolen and you just fall out of the air. It was an adventure that was for sure.

Regalthorn came in for a landing in a huge cavern. All dragons must have the night vision because there was certainly no light source to be seen. It was an extremely large cavern with very high ledges all around. As Bimeny looked around he saw dragons everywhere. Not just one or two, but hundreds. Bimeny suddenly thought that it may not be good to turn this loose on the world by cancelling the contract. Man could become extinct in a matter of days or weeks.

Regalthorn turned his head and said, "Wait here." He approached a very large, very old looking pile of dirt. When Regalthorn spoke though, the pile of dirt opened its eyes.

"You brought me food did you say?" the pile of dirt said. Bimeny was starting to look for an exit. The pile of dirt moved and suddenly was standing nose to nostril with Bimeny. He breathed in deeply and sneezed. Bimeny was covered in Dragon snot. "Oh sorry," the pile of dirt said and he took his tongue and snatched Bimeny up into his mouth. He swished him around a bit and sucked on him like a piece of hard candy until he figured he was clean enough and spit him back out.

Bimeny was disgusted but glad that he chose not to swallow instead.

"Regalthorn tells me you are here to talk. I am Thaone. What are you here to talk about and who sent you, Gandoo?" Thaone asked.

"I am here to ask you to help me help you. No one sent me and I figured that you gave me this blessing so you must need someone to assist you and I'm afraid that Gandoo is no more. I killed him," Bimeny said.

"Indeed," Thaone said. "And what happened to his bow?"

"I have it safely hidden," Bimeny said.

"Well then, if you want to help, then why not destroy the bow? It will cancel the contract and we would be free to roam the countryside," Thaone said.

"But if you did that then you would eat things other than horses wouldn't you?" Bimeny asked.

"Oh, yes, we certainly would," Thaone said.

"Would you eat people?" Bimeny asked.

"Well, only as a last resort. They're not too tasty you know. Some of the older or lazier dragons might make them a regular part of their diet but those kind generally eat whoever is slowest. Man is an acquired taste. Why? Are you more people or dragon?" he asked Bimeny.

But before he could answer a great gust of wind came up and Bimeny noticed that it smelled heavenly. He knew that smell. It was horse and just as he inhaled the aroma, an animal landed in front of him, then another and another. This was heaven! It was raining horses! Bimeny started to drool and that's the last thing he remembered. He blanked out. When he came too, he was hunkering over a particularly nice hind quarter and growling at it.

"Oh, no!" he said quietly as he smiled at the pile of dirt. Bimeny realized that he had not only eaten without an invite, but he had eaten Thaone's horse.

"That answered the question of which you were most. So why do you care about man and not about the dragon?" Thaone asked.

"My mate is woman, not dragon. I do not know what my offspring will be, I care about both!" Bimeny said. "Your contract is not fair or right for the dragon, but I can see why the people kept it. There must be a way for both to win. Man wants to make sure they do not live in terror and that the herds and crops they grow continue and are not destroyed. What does the dragon want?" Bimeny asked Thaone.

"That's simple, we want to be free to live and eat outside this cave and to live free of worry for our eggs. What is less simple is the question of which law do you live under? Dragon or man?" Thaone answered.

Bimeny thought for a moment. This dragon was very clever. If I say that I live under Man's provisions then it shows that I would not favor the dragon, I would favor man so that my own life would be easier. If I answer Dragon's law then I have no right to break the contract by leaving and certainly have no right to make changes. I would also then fall under Thaone's rule. I have to be very careful here, Bimeny thought to himself. "I was born under the law of Man and lived under that law until Stormtraub. After Stormtraub, Man's law rejected me. Since that time, I have broken Man's law and have lived under the law of nobility. I fight for truth and for what is right. The law of the dragon is not right and the law of the man is not right. Both have been corrupted by man," Bimeny answered.

"Then if man corrupted the law, then man should perish for his corruption!" Thaone said.

"And if a dragon were to break the law, then all dragon should perish?" Bimeny said, looking to defuse the situation.

"Dragon does not break the law," Thaone said.

"If a Dragon did break the law then should all dragon be punished?" Bimeny pressed.

"I see your point," Thaone said.

"Gandoo broke the law," Bimeny said. "He has paid with his life. Two other Elders have corrupted the law. One has paid, one remains in debt and I will make her pay. But many under their rule are guilty only because they had no choice. I want to punish the one and give the others the choice of doing right. Those that do not choose will be punished with the one. My dilemma is that the elder commands many innocent. I need to stop the action long enough for them to hear that they have a choice to do right. I alone am not a large enough threat to stop them all at once while I tell them their choices. I need more of a threat to stop them from proceeding. I need to overwhelm them with the possibility of total destruction in order for them to stop and listen." Bimeny said.

"I see the wisdom of the plan," Thaone said.

"Can you assure man that if they agree to change the contract that the dragons will not eat them or their stock or burn their fields?" Bimeny asked.

"I cannot be everywhere at one time. That is why the cave suited us. We were free to eat each other. Bimeny, can man assure us that they will not kill us or harm our eggs?" Thaone asked.

"No more than you can assure me that man will not be eaten," Bimeny said sadly. "There must be an arrangement that can benefit both equally. There simply must be."

"What do you all do all day while your hunting party is out hunting horses?" Bimeny asked.

"What is there to do? We sit and wait to die. There is no premium to life once you are relieved of the hunt. And our contract stipulates how many may hunt. We can't even make love with our mates because we are limited in our population growth." Thaone said.

"Are there other caves like this that are suitable for the dragons?" Bimeny asked.

"Oh yes, we had many, but the smooth tongue of the human restricted us there as well." Thaone said.

"Would you be willing to work with man to make fire where needed, move heavy loads from town to town, transport people, I don't know what else, but anything is better than this?" Bimeny asked.

"Why would we do these things?" Thaone asked.

"Because in return for doing these things and not destroying man and their herds and fields, you could live outside, take your food on the run as long as it was the proper food! You can carry heavy loads long distances with little effort. We could trade our goods to other villages for horses or things that the dragons can eat. You could help protect the land from invasion and corruption," Bimeny said.

"Corruption is a plague of man, not dragon. How would you protect the eggs of our young?" Thaone asked.

"Well, I can't completely. We can make a law that to intentionally harm a dragon's egg meant certain death," Bimeny said.

"Who would enforce such a law?" Thaone asked, now gaining interest.

"Both dragons and man need to be responsible. A committee of both dragons and man." Bimeny said.

"To what proportions?" Thaone asked. "If there are more men than dragons to decide then the dragon will lose every time. More Dragons than men and they would soon break the contract."

"You speak the truth, Thaone. I am young but I am honest. I am also both Dragon and boy. Would you trust me to be honest and fair?" Bimeny asked.

"So far you appear to be honest, yes, in what you say. The proof would be in the first action that goes against man, I would say. But you came here when you could have kept silent," Thaone responded.

"You could also imbue more dragon people to cover other areas. Then if there was a questionable decision you could call for another opinion or an opinion by committee. This would give both parties the ability to appeal," Bimeny said.

"This could be a new life for the dragon. It could work. Are you authorized to deal for the men?" Thaone asked.

"No, not yet but with your help I can bring about the change," Bimeny said.

"What honor would be perceived of us if we helped you to break our agreement?" Thaone said.

"I have Gandoo's bow. I can bring you the pieces if I need to break the contract. But if I do that then how do I guarantee that you will deal fairly to a conclusion?" Bimeny asked.

"Don't break the bow. Just bring it. By the law, he who has the Bow of Gandoo is authorized to contract. Bring the bow and we will make a contract that we can both live with," Thaone said and there was a certain finality in what he said.

"I know that the dragon is both noble and honorable. We can make this work. I'll go and get the bow. It will take a couple of days before I can return," Bimeny said.

"The law remains in effect. We shall be here as we have always been. But we have hope for a new life and for this we are in your debt, Bimeny. If it comes that you cannot get the Bow of Gandoo, and you cannot live with man's law, you will always be welcome here. You have the heart of a dragon even if you're strange to the eye," and with that Thaone returned to his place and Bimeny took flight out of the cavern. He exited the cave and headed straight to Haven Plat. It would be a long flight, so Bimeny flew high to cover more ground in less time.

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