"The call is out! Queen Hara is sighted and Her vassal Talmar has returned! He came across an island and wishes all dragons to gather at the sea-side village of Garrison! HASTE, Dulith!"
The mirus dragon glance up at the blackhoof, nodding, "I will be but a moment, Zale. Spread thy word among the village, and gather our able men. We shall defend this place as our elderly, wives, and children flee. I would have thee guide them."
Zale frowned, reigning in his unicorn steed for the moment, "Dulith. You would have me abandon these people? I would fight and keep them safe."
"Aye, but thou carries with thee the sharpest eyes of this village. Thou would protect ours better if thou went with the people. 'Twould be THEE that discovered dangers before it set upon the weak."
" Dulith I would fight."
"And I would have thee live. The army thou sighted not the day PRIOR showed the King's men by the hundreds. They come to slaughter us. Nay. Go spread word to our warriors, and leave me to bid mine son farewell "
Zale cringed, " mine apologies, sir. I leave." He rode off much faster than he'd arrived.
"Father I would fight with thee "
Dulith sighed and brought his son close for a comforting embrace, "Nay, Shawn."
"I said NAY! Shawn. Thou are the last of mine family. Thy mother died by sickness, and thy siblings by murderous humans. Please. Thou are yet young. LIVE. For mine own sake as well as thine." He let go and smiled at Shawn, "I ask two favors of thee. First, flee. Live thy life for me. Second, send up prayers that if I should die this day, 'twill be to find the arms of thy mother waiting to embrace me."
" father "
He gave Shawn a gentle push, "Go. Aid Zale in gathering the townsfolk. Lead them as I would have. Find safety." He walked out of their house for the last time, looked at it and his son, then sighed. He walked on to the edge of the village, where quite a few of his friends waited, some with some actual WEAPONS. He stepped up beside a wingless griffin who was holding the Queen's flag. The griffin was getting up on a unidragon to charge into battle, "Frederick thou should be with the townsfolk."
The elderly griffin just waved him off, "I've served mine years. Loyal to the Queen, and that is how I shall die. What should it matter? I would only serve to slow those escaping. I've not even a son to carry on my blood, Dulith. Grant this old fool his last wish. I cannot even fight. I will serve only to charge Her Majesty's banner into the battle."
Dulith sighed, smiling, "Fool thou might CERTAINLY be, but welcomed, Frederick. Who ELSE refused to abandon this village?"
"Us." Dulith glanced back to see six more men one of them only JUST that. He was more a boy than a man, but Dulith could see in his eyes, and the eyes of the rest, that it wouldn't do to tell them to leave. He chuckled and nodded, and the one who spoke stepped forward. The polar dragon held his unicorn's reigns in one hand, and a smithy's hammer in the other. He chuckled, "Thou said every able-bodied fighter. Even us older men still have a spark left."
" Harton." Dulith shook his head, "Very well. Use the abandoned houses for cover. When our enemies come, whether or not we should die, we will make SURE it is a battle these cursed humans NEVER forget!" He walked around the village. EVERYONE was gone, save for those who knew they were able to fight most of them older men, but in some ways, that comforted Dulith. The younger ones had left, so hopefully, they still had something of a life waiting for them. By the end of his walk, he'd discovered he had fifty men waiting for the enemy.
and that had given him an idea. They still had some time. He rushed to the various buildings and gathered anything that had been left behind, grinning WIDE when he found at least ten bows, and full quivers for each. These were the ones used in the spring during the fair. Contests and the like. The arrows were dulled, but they'd serve a good purpose now. He took the bows and arrows and made ten groups of five, giving each group a single bowman and explaining his plan. When he got back to the group at the edge of the village, he divided them and handed his last bow to the youngest of the group, a vulture griffon. His father would be part of the same group, and he had a griffin steed. ARMORED. The man had been a knight in days past, so he knew his way with the sword and that was knowledge he'd passed to his son. Dulith took the boy aside when he handed him the bow and quiver of arrows, "Thou are to hide within Gabe's home, by the window. Fire out of it with this until the enemy is either too close, or thee deplete thy reserve of arrows. Thy group will be hidden in the home next to thee, and will jump the enemy as they come close. Can thou do that, William?"
He nodded, grinning, "Aye." Gabe was his father, "What of the steed?"
"It waits with thy father. Time has made the walls of thy home weak. A simple rush to the wall ought bring it down, hopefully upon more humans." He hurried away, glancing out toward where the humans were coming from. He could see the fires of their encampment MUCH closer. The humans had a day's march ahead of them, but that was IT. Dulith took the chance to get every single home that people would be hiding in to a weak enough state to topple when they wanted. He was SURE they wouldn't survive this, but they were going to TRY.
but the wait for the humans was TORTURE. Dulith had the building he was SURE the humans would arrive at first, and waited, crouched beneath the window, peering out of it as slightly as he could, not wanting to be seen if they were close.
humans. They were riding FAST on horses, and most of them had stakes of fire in their hands to throw to the buildings. Three two ONE! Dulith ROARED and heaved against the wall, smiling as it came crashing down. Four humans were pinned beneath it, and thanks to the heavy weight of a unicorn steed, they STAYED trapped underneath. They died quickly. Dulith SHOUTED and arrows began flying at the humans from everywhere, managing to strike a few down and make the rest lift their shields to wait for the barrage to end. Dulith's eyes widened. NONE of the humans seemed to have archers! They'd come expecting THAT feeble a resistance?
maybe there was a chance to live after all! He laughed and RUSHED into the fray, blade cutting down three more humans before any got brave enough to face him with the arrows flying at them."
"Dulith!" He heard his name and DROPPED. Just as he did, an arrow struck the human closest to him. He laughed and crawled back to the buildings, then waited. The arrows ceased, and the humans came forward again, MUCH more cautiously.
"YAA! YAA!" Dulith watched another piece of his plan with a grin. Julius rushed in and out of the throng of humans, cutting only a few down while his risso steed THRASHED about, knocking down its own share of humans. It left the humans angry and confused, and that was exactly what Dulith wanted. He grinned at the pygmy polar dragon found a new place to hide. The humans rushed after him, only to have buildings collapse on them before they could get far enough. He gave another shout, and the arrows began again, striking ANYONE that the buildings had missed. They stopped after a few volleys, and waited for more humans to come to their deaths. The humans were lighting buildings as they went most the homes they burnt were completely empty. These humans were IDIOTS.
The battle continued in this manner for a LONG time, but it was obvious they were winning. Dulith had reteated to a building farther back at one point. He chuckled as the last few humans looked around in fear. They fell easily, and Dulith laughed, coming out into the road, "WE'VE WON! EVERYONE, WE'VE WON!!!!!" As everyone gathered close, and Dulith was DELIGHTED to see that none of his men had falln, he shouted, "QUICKLY! We will JOIN our families and ride on to the Queen!" A loud cheer went up with that, and they rode off.
Babe looked at his hand with a sigh. A few months had passed since he'd lost his body. He glanced over the readings displaying in front of him and scowled, PUNCHING the ground.
Maerith walked up to him, "It's your own fault, Babe Cleave. You overstepped your boundaries."
" I had a body. I had my LIFE back, and I would have followed you to the end of the earth because of it, lady. You took it away after I had even had it for a WEEK. Less than that! Why should I listen to you anymore?!"
"Because you still need to get home, and I still need you here. If you want to return home, you'll LISTEN to me and won't do anything STUPID again."
"I wouldn't have ACTED so dumb if you'd have let me see Sarah while I had my body."
"You being ABLE to procreate is dangerous ENOUGH, Babe Cleave, no matter who it's with. The past OR your present."
" I hate you "
"Good. Then you'll listen to me so you can leave faster." She sighed, You had your body back and lost it again months ago. Leave the memory as a MEMORY, Cleave. I need you to head due North about fifteen miles. You'll know what you need to do there."
Babe snarled, "And if I DON'T?!"
"Then you'll be the reason the King will kill Marie-Ann."
He nodded and shot into the sky, heading in the direction she'd said.
Marie-Ann sighed and held her baby close for a long moment, smiling at it. Gareth was out scouting and looking for something to eat. She smiled as she heard some brush move, but that smile VANISHED when she saw Gareth's FATHER instead. She got up and RAN, focusing on keeping her baby steady as she moved, but because of that, tripping over a tree root. She gasped and rolled to avoid crushing her child, and hid behind the tree, shaking. The King laughed, "HERE I find thee! 'Twill raise mine spirits GREATLY to finally have thee KILLED. Come out and face thy fate." He grinned and rounded the tree, lifted his blade, and"GARETH! What INSANITY is this?!"
Gareth had RUSHED in, blade drawn. He stood between his father and Marie-Ann to defend her, "Father, I thought the killing was ENDED. You have your immortal knight. Why kill her now?! 'Twould be MADNESS! Please spare a woman and her child."
The king scowled, "Get OUT of mine way, Gareth. NOW. I command it as thy King and father."
"And I refuse. I will not allow this, father! I will not allow a needless death of ANY sort!"
" then thou refuse thine own birthright. Thou are no longer mine son." He shouted and thrust his blade forward, catching Gareth's and flinging it to the side. Another quick movement and he managed s cut into Gareth's shoulder, but missed his head. He KICKED his son angrily, watching him fall to the ground in pain. He lifted his blade and brought it down, cutting into Gareth's stomach, "I will end you AND your monsters, boy." He grinned as Gareth cried out in pain, lifted his blade and poised to finish Gareth off.
"MY LORD!" One of his men rushed up, "My lord, a demonic creature is DESTROYING us! It must be the one that protected Talmar's village! We need to retreat before it ends US!"
The king glanced to the side as a blue ray of light brought down another of his men. He scowled. His Metal Knight was off somewhere, destroying others. He could see just from that single blast that facing their demonic construct would mean their death, " cursed demon Fine! We retreat. I would have mine Metal Knight with us again before we face off their demon." The king and his men or what was left of them, all fled on horseback.
Marie-Ann frowned and crawled up to Gareth, " Sir Gareth? Gareth answer. Please "
The stranger who'd saved them came up, and Gareth, confused by blood loss and still thinking he was in battle, called up a surge of energy to grab his blade and TRY to swing it at the stranger. The blade made a LOUD clang against the stranger's armored hand as he grabbed it in mid swing. He SNAPPED the blade apart, making Gareth's eyes go WIDE. This fight was lost. His eyes widened further when the stranger's hand became rounded and hollow and a blue light filled it. Somehow he could see death in that unearthly light.
Marie-Ann RUSHED between Gareth and the stranger, "No!" She fell on her knees, "Please Sir Knight. Spare him! PLEASE! Gareth told me of thee as we've traveled. Thou are a knight unsurpassed, and I BEG of thee to spare his life! He is not ast he other humans! He would have died to protect mine and mine son's life from his own murderous father!"
The stranger sighed, "I wasn't GOING to kill him. I was going to close his wounds. Move." His strange arm came up against Gareth's chest. Gareth cried out as SOMETHING hit him. It hurt but not terribly. Still, his blood loss kept him from being able to move, and he was so so dizzy he Gareth groaned and fell, blood loss finally rendering him unconscious. The stranger looked at Marie-Ann, "I'll send you some help. Think you can handle waiting a little?" He turned to leave.
"WAIT!" She rushed up to him, smiling in relief, "I had mine doubts, sir Knight. When Gareth spoke of thee, I saw a monstrosity sent from the depths of Hades. I know now, after seeing thee, that you are an angel sent by God."
He snorted, a semblance of a smile coming to his face, "Actually, Madam, Billy sent me." He scowled, "And if I EVER get back, I'm going to punt him so hard he won't be able to sit for a MONTH!" And he shot into the sky.
Marie-Ann watched him go, confused by that last remark but happy. Gareth was going to be alright. She knelt beside Gareth and lifted his head into her lap. He stirred, and she shushed him, "Be still. Aid comes our way. Gareth mine thanks to thee. I would be dead were it not for thee. MORE than once. And mine son as well. Were a human meant to rule this land, it would be thee. Thou have yet to be cruel towards mine son or myself, and as we've traveled, I have understood what a kind person thou truly are "
He found a weak smile, "Seeing as I am on Death's Door, I don't suppose I could be a fool and ask such a beautiful maiden as thee for a departing kiss?"
She smiled softly, "Nay. If thou wish for such a gift, I would have thee live instead. Hold on to thy last shred of life. That strand is about to be strengthened."
"I fail to see how."
"As do I, but the one who saved us promised us aid." She looked up at an alien sound, and smiled, "He returns with " He eyes went WIDE, "The Queen's Advisor!"
Maerith went right up to Gareth once she was on her feet. She placed a hand on his forehead and smiled, "I do not fail those I set out to aid. Rest easy. On the morrow, thou will think of this day as naught more than a distant memory." Gareth Gareth began to GLOW.