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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Dragon's Talisman

constellation and an infantry corps, because of the epaulets that are used by the soldiers and because of the painted or carved symbol in its standard which denominates itselfdragon.
Returning to these fantastic beings, in the western representations generally the creature is shown with wings, scale body and assigns them the capacity to breathe or send fire.
Eastern mythology habitually does not show them in this form. We do not know the origin of his physical aspect, although it’s believed that it was born spontaneously in different cultures of the world based freely on the aspect of a serpent and dinosaur.
Diverse cultures around the world have perceived them in different form. The Chinese and Eastern dragons consider them benevolent, whereas the European dragons are usually malevolent (although there are exceptions to these rules). The malignant dragons are also in other cultures and in Persian mythology - for example, Azhi Dahaka - .
Often, the dragons present/display an important spiritual meaning. In East it is venerated like symbol of the forces of the nature and the universe. Often it is associated with wisdom and longevity; in the Korean legend, Chinese and Japanese one confers magical powers and positive supernatural energy to them.
In some cultures they attribute them the gift of the word and human qualities. They are extremely popular animals in dinner services, Literature and videos, especially in role playing games.

The Dragon's Talisman
I had a mission, one whereby I had been informed would be in formidable and dangerous country, of which to a greater degree had never before been explored let alone mapped by any mortal human. Nor had it ever been entered by any of the mystical beings in the Land of the Faie.

My mission was to enter the Kingdom of the Dragons and traverse its torturous landscape into the mountains where I was told I would find a talisman, a large, shield shaped gold talisman that shone in the darkness of night like the golden moon in early eve. This talisman was the only thing that could save the Land of the Faie from impending doom.

I followed a paths that meandered along the edge of a precipitous cliff whose bottom lay obscured by a thick, swirling, churning fog.  

The path at first led gradually downward toward the ominous fog below. As I walked further on I found that the declining path grew steeper and the footing more unstable. Sometimes my feet would slip and I had to stop as I watched the dislodged stones and dirt avalanche down over the edge of the path. My heart beat faster as I forced myself to continue the climb downwards at an ever increasing incline. 

Suddenly my right foot hit loose dirt and this time I lost my balance. I went down falling hard on my back, nearly knocking my breath out. I felt myself sliding down and sideways to my right towards the edge of the trail and the precipice below. I reached out with my right hand in a desperate attempt at preventing my further sliding and felt a searing hotness in the palm of my hand as that of a flame and then nothing more as my hand dangled in the empty air. 

My downwards slide stopped suddenly as I felt a tug on my cloak from behind me. I rolled away backwards and sat gasping for air with my back pressed against the rock wall behind me.

The air lay hot, thick, and moist around me and felt like I was going to suffocate. I was slowly losing consciousness. 

When I came to I could dimly see through my half-closed eyes a red glow all about me. I sensexd a hot steam air and had a burning stinging pain shooting through my right hand. I thought surely I had died and was in hell. My eyes fluttered open and continued to do so until my vision cleared enough so I could make out my surroundings. I was lying on a pile of furs and hides in a cave. There was a fire flickering at the center, but no sign of anyone except me. I asked myself how I got here, on these skins, by a fire.  I had not been told of any type of humanoid beings living in this tortured land.

A scraping of feet coming from the open entrance to the cave was the first clue. I turned to look at whom or what manner of creature it might be, ready to give battle. But then I though if they or it had intended to do me any harm they could have just left me go over the edge of the  precipice. Maybe I was saved by cannibals and I was asked for supper! 

The scraping feet belonged to a small form, around three feet tall, with waist-length hair, wearing only a loincloth, and showing bare female breasts, but any other resemblance to humans ended there. I knew that there were elfin folk in the Land of the Faie but none looked like this one.  
Sitting upright, I felt a stinging pain in my right hand that shot up my arm like hot coals when I moved it. In this position I vigilantly watched this imp like creature, ready to dart for the cave entrance at the slightest sign aggression towards me.  

It just continued from the cave entrance in an unhurried, shuffling gait towards the fire where it threw on a few more sticks, then shuffled towards the opposite side of the cave where it sat watching me. Its eyes glowed in the semi-darkness of the cave illuminated by  the fire light. 

Looking down at my right hand I noticed that it had been wrapped in some kind of plant leaf. I thought to myself then this should rule out cannibalism  Why would a cannibal bother doctoring up it's prey before eating it? 

The creature leaned to it's side an untied a hide bag, set it in front of her, and rummaged around in it, pulling out something that it found edible and took a bite of it. Then she got up and shuffled her way over to me and offered me what appeared to be dried meat, like jerky. She gestured adamantly for me to take her offering. At first I chewed on the jerky, tentatively tasting it. It had a rather pleasant taste and discovering that l was ravenous and I ate without further reluctance. 

After the meal was done she extended her hand towards me, motioning towards my right hand. I extended my right hand to her and she took it in her left and and very gently unwrapped the leaf bandage from around it. It looked awful as a lot of the skin had been torn off. She cleaned it off with water and a soft leafy substance then proceeded to re-wrap it with another leaf bandage. She motioned for me to get to my feet and I complied as she walked me to the cave entrance. I was awed at the scene that greeted me. I was no longer on the trail up on the high mountain trail I had been making way down from to the valley that had been obscured by thick swirling fog. We were still on the cliff side but on a wide shelf over looking a very lush green jungle like forest. The entire valley lay under a high vaulted stone ceiling which was so large that it just faded into a haze above.
I had no doubt that we were in some sort of subterranean world as I could see part of the vaulted ceiling on either side of us as we made our way down to valley floor. above me it was like bright daylight even though it was overcast with what appeared to be clouds. I could not tell where the light was coming from above because of the perpetual overcast  sky above that did not  appear to dissipate the light. The air was hot and humid but not really unbearably so but any physical exertion left one drenched with sweat and exhausted after traveling a short distance. 

One just wore as little clothes as possible to compensate for this humid hot environment. Unaware I did, I had stopped momentarily to take in the fantastic view when I felt a nudge on my arm. I turned to see my companion motions for me to follow her. We had learned to communicate somewhat in a rudimentary sign language or making drawings with a stick in the sand. The days passed and my hand healed. I don't know what kind of poultice she had used with the leaf bandages but it had a faster healing effect then anything I know of. After my hand healed we began our search for the location of the dragon talisman together. Sign language and pictures are worth a million words at times, especially when asking help from creatures strange to you. 

We were walking along a forest path when my companion, whom I began to call “Dee,” grabbed my arm and pulled me back in a jerk that almost caused me to lose my balance. She pointed at the ground at what appeared to be a large rock and motioned for me to back away from it, slowly. It did not take long for me to find out why. 

A large bird with feathers on its body but leathery, featherless wings landed near what I saw as a large rock. The “rock” opened with huge petal-like structures for sides, almost like a morning glory in early morning sunlight. Something shot out from its center, lightning fast, and wrapped itself around the bird and just as fast retreated back into the bloom that had just opened, then closed up again and once more took on the shape of what appeared to be just a large rock. Were it not for Dee's intervention I might have become its next source of sustenance. It's not easy to explain emotions like fear and gratitude in sign language but I tried to tell Dee why I was shaking and that I appreciated her stopping me.

After gathering my wits we moved on down the trail, my eyes on everything that looked like the rock-plant. Not far below us lay a beautiful pristine aqua colored lake with the most inviting water I can recall seeing. When we got to the edge of the lake I saw a dugout canoe beached on the shore.

I asked Dee if I could go in the water and she signed for me to swim, but as I went into the lake she pulled on my arm, indicating for me to stay close to the shore. I nodded my head in agreement as I had no desire to find out what sort of demons may be lurking in the deeper water. It felt like heaven after that long trek down from home cave.

I had asked Dee if I could go in the water and she signed for me to swim, but as I began to go into the lake she pulled on my arm, indicating for me to stay close to the shore. I nodded my head in agreement as I had no desire to find out what sort of demons may be lurking in the deeper water. It felt like heaven after that long trek down from home cave.

I felt so much more refreshed but feeling refreshed is something of a rarity in this land I discovered. I was just as drenched with sweat once more as we struggled to pull the heavy dugout off shore and into the water. After throwing our hide back packs in the bottom of the dugout she handed me a crude paddle; then she took one and indicated the direction for us to paddle towards, which was a wide channel between two upward curving cliffs. There was no wind, not even a breeze in this underworld, only some odd screeching sounds in the distance from some creatures I did not really have any desire to meet and the sound of our paddles on the water.

There was no night here, only daylight. No sunset, no sunrise, no night, just the steady daylight whose source was above the perpetual clouds that didn't diminish in brightness. The channel ahead grew narrower as we made our way around a bend to the left of a steeply curved rock wall. One could easily get disoriented in this place so I left the navigating to Dee in the hope that she knew the territory. At this point I was hoping she understood enough about the map I had shown her that she knew the destination I wished to go to.

We paddled a short distance in the narrowing channel when she stopped and put her paddle across the bow of the dugout and pointed to a place on the shore downstream. I nodded my head in agreement and we resumed rowing in that direction. Suddenly the water started to boil and churn all around us. In a great burst and spray of water something huge loomed up out of the river, increasing in height to about that of a very tall tree, as tall as twenty men!

First I saw wide, featherless wings appear from the water. Then the rest of the purple-scaled dragon surfaced. It shimmered so in the light thus diffusing its appearance so it became nearly invisible to my eyes. Then its scales glinted in the light, much like quicksilver and once again we could see it clearly as it turned its huge head towards us. Its maw opened, exposing two rows of large pointy teeth. It drew its head back and let out a deafening screech, which I immediately identified as the source of the screeching I had heard earlier from a distance. The screeching sound was immediately followed by a blast of hot air that capsized our dugout. I held onto the upturned dugout as I watched in amazement as the creature flew out of the water and seemed to just simply disappear in mid-air.

Dee pointed urgently at the hide sacks we had with our provisions as they floated away from us. I reacted automatically collecting as many of the bags as I could get to within reach. By the time I had swum to the shore I was drained as I coughed till I emptied my stomach. I fell to my side and just lay just concentrating on regaining control of my breathing.

At some point I must have drifted off into and awakened with a start when I felt a tug on my arm.  We climbed up a trail cut into the side of the curving cliff which appeared to fade into nothingness in the distance.  The cavernous world grew narrower as we followed a path which abruptly came to an end . It appeared that the path we had followed had at some point been broken off by a landslide which left a huge cavity in the rock that arched overhead. There was no way around it. We had to back track. Dee again shook my arm and pointed down over the edge of the path to someplace below us. 

I looked down to see what she pointed at. Not more than a few dozen feet below us lay a piece of stalactite that had fallen from the ceiling of the immense cavern and had become wedged between the edge of the stone wall we stood upon and the cliff with a craggy top on the other side.

She started to climb down and motioned for me to follow. I shook my head vigorously indicating to her there was no way I was climbing that nearly vertical wall of rock. In the end I followed her reluctantly, praying that I would see the end of this day still breathing and alive.

As we approached the center of the fallen stalactite we stopped dead in out tracks, hearing a loud, groaning, grinding sound that accompanied a movement under our feet. Then all fell silent once again. I released my held breath in relief. We made it across without further complications.

On arriving on the other side ahead of us we saw a path that followed the edged of the craggy cliff in a winding pattern 

Upon arriving on the other side we saw a path that followed the edge of the craggy cliff in a winding pattern. Dee motioned for me to sit and stay in one place, cautioning me not to go anywhere while she went ahead to scout. I waited for what seemed like a very long time and I began to worry something may have happened to her.

It was silent except for the screeching of the mighty dragons in the distance. I thought that somehow their scales reflected light like tiny mirrors and this was what made then appear to be invisible. If you didn't hear the flapping of their mighty wings you would not know of their proximity until they were right on top of you. The quicksilver effect of their scales failed to hide their bulk when close-up.

  I was waiting for Dee when I heard a rustling in some bushes about fifteen paces away from me. I jumped to my feet holding the stone-pointed spear that Dee had given me before she left. Pulling it back with my feet planted, I was ready to let fly at whatever was making the noise. Dee had taught me to shoot only after getting a clear look at my target, so I waited, poised to send it a stone-tipped message. A missed throw could and quite possibly cost me my life.

More rustling of the bushes and this time I saw movement. Muscles tensed as I readied to throw the spear. My patience was rewarded as I saw Dee's form taking shape from within the bushes as she came, dragging something behind her. I almost collapsed with relief.

Dee pulled a fair-sized, furry animal out of the bushes and into the clearing. Dropping her hold of its hindquarters she fell in a sitting position on top of the carcass, her chest heaving, gasping for breath.

Later that evening we sat before the fire with our stomachs filled to capacity. It was the most we had eaten in days. After a good rest we moved on once again. I could now see the craggy peaks of our destination. This time it was my turn to pull on Dee's arm to indicate I wanted her to halt our winding trek around the craggy edge of the cliff. “Dee, look! Look!”, I shouted as I pointed to the rugged landscape in the distance and patted the map tucked in my hide belt. She shook her head to tell me that she understood that the place in the distance was the place on the map. We resumed making our way  through the crags.

As we made our way around the narrow path I was in awe at the view before us. From this vantage point we were high up enough on the cliff wall that we could see the entire immensity of the cavern. Below us was a slim, silvery ribbon of a river snaking its way along the bottom between the great canyon walls. And we could also see faintly the high, vaulted ceiling of the cavern for the first time since I got here. The light was coming from the cavern roof, like the rock itself glowed with a bright yellowish-white light.

 I stopped momentarily in wonderment at this phenomenon. What would cause the rock to glow like that? It wasn't any type of volcanic activity or it would have been much hotter in here then it was. I had already attributed the humid hot air to being geothermal heating but this could not be from above us it would have to be from below us where the center of gravity from the earths core.

There was a aloud crash I turned quickly towards the sound, spear in hand, not knowing what to expect. A large creature came crashing out of the bushes at that very instant! Dee leaped forward, stabbing at the creature with her spear.  The spear glanced off its thick hide. At the same time in one motion Dee stepped sideways letting the beast rush past her as it charged forward in my direction. I  planted my feet in a battle stance and held my spear before me at shoulder height and waited for the impact.  When the beast was within just a few feet before me I lunged the spear  forward straight for its gaping jaws. 

Impact! I flew backwards and landed on my back as the spear slid violently out of my hands. I heard a loud screech and thought surely I had seen my last day upon this world. I covered my eyes with my right arm as I heard another loud thump. Removing my arm from before my eyes I sat up abruptly expecting the sharp pain of the creatures teeth piercing my body. As the dust settled I saw the beast lay sprawled  on it's side just a couple of feet from me.  It was in it's death throes. The spear had pierced  through its right eye.    

Roasted “whateverbeast” over an open flame was the best meal we had in several days since Dee's last kill. Dee took a wooden bowl out of her pack, made a tea out of some leaves, and set the wooden bowl over the flame to brew the tea. Now I had actually witnessed what I had only heard about, that one can boil water in a wooden container without burning through the wood for as long as there was liquid in it.

The tea was tangy and earthy but went down well after the meal we had just partaken of. Shortly after that we unrolled some furs for sleeping mats and almost instantly Dee was fast asleep. She had surely earned it. I took first watch by default. I was tired myself but only too glad to give her a chance to rest after all that she had done that day. After a time she awoke and it was my turn to rest. It took me a bit of tossing and turning before I finally started to drift off as I held onto my spear. I found it hard to go to sleep in bright daylight, and with all the strange beasts wandering about I felt uneasy about the possibility of ending up being some creature's lunch while I slept.

I woke up with a start, sitting up with spear in hand when I felt something touching my shoulder. It was Dee, she had already rolled up her sleeping mat and had her pack on her back. She pointed towards the craggy promontory which was looming over the horizon, our destination. We would be at its foot before the end of another day's walk, I thought. I was anxious to reach our destination but at the same time, I had goose bumps everywhere as I felt shivers go through me. What would be awaiting us there, I wondered. I rolled up my pack and we moved on. 

We had finally arrived at the foot of the craggy promontory. Dropping our packs wearily we sat on the mossy ground. Before long I lay back looking up at cavernous arch above us mostly obscured by a constant cloud like hazy yellowish blue mist. I still pondered on this phenomenon. As I had already established earlier the heat source of the caverns was geothermal from below and not from above. The light source above was baffling to me as it did not give off any heat that I could detect.

I turned my thoughts to the more immediate task that lay ahead of us. Now that we had arrived at our destination we would be locating the exact area to look for the dragon's talisman. Dee broke into my train of thought almost as though she had read my mind. "Yet!," she said loudly and a bit excitedly. “Yet” was the closest she had come to pronouncing my name, Yeta. "Yet come, see." She had picked up how to speak my language much more rapidly then I had hers. Hers was more of guttural language which made hard to learn in words. "Come here, Yet," she said pointing a short distance towards the rough cliff edge of the craggy peak. I followed closely behind her. One thing I had learned was to never stay behind alone again. In this land one kept close to their guide at all times.

"Here, here, this way." She pointed ahead of us as we walked a few paces more following the cliff edge. Then she stopped and moved the tall grass aside with her foot and pointed down. Between the tall tufts of grass lay flat stones laid side by side. It was man-made walkway. I got down on my knees and spread more of the grass aside. It was a stone walkway. "Did your people build this?," I asked. Dee shook her head and said, "No, not need walk ways." This meant only one thing: there once had been an advanced people that lived here.

As exhausted as I was from the long walk I felt a resurgence of energy and was anxious and ready right there and then to follow the stone walkway to its destination. I began to follow it when Dee halted me and said, "No, not now, Yet; rest first, then go." Reluctantly I turned and followed her back to where we had left our packs. I lay on my fur mat as I watched Dee weaving a crude rope from the tall grass that grew around the stone walkway. "What's the rope for?" I asked. She responded, "Me not know, just have feeling."

The morning came but time here was a matter of adjusting ones own inner biological clock. When the body became too weary to go on and our stomachs were grumbling for sustenance we knew it was time to take nourishment and to rest. That was what I call our night. Whenever we awoke from that sleep was our morning.

I was up and had my back pack on with a coil of Dee's home made rope draped over my right shoulder as did Dee and we headed for the stone path. The path followed closely around the edge of the cliff face of the promontory. There was actually a very thick jungle forest to the left of us which at time threatened to block our passage but always widened out just enough for us to pass. The heavy stone slabs of the path appeared to be keeping the jungle from completely choking off the passage.

As the path widened into a clearing, Dee was the first to spot something that didn't appear to be part of the natural landscape. Above the tree line was what looked to be columnar shapes overgrown by weeds and ivy with wide flat gaps that were too evenly spaced between the columns to be natural. As we drew closer my suspicions were confirmed. It was a structure, one that had sat for a very long time and had been over grown with the flora of the jungle floor.

We walked around one section of a partial wall overgrown with weeds. Dee spoke, "Yet, me not feel right this place. Never see before."

"I did Dee, but was in another place far from here, in the above world." I pointed towards the domed ceiling above us.

"What is above world like?," Dee asked.

"Well, Dee, I don't think you would like it there" I responded. Dee had been lying in the grass on her back and she rolled to her right side and propped her chin in the palm of her right hand and asked, "Why you say that, Yet? Is bad place?"

I responded, in many ways the place above is worse than all the bad beasts in this world put together. “I think I would sooner live here with all the beasts than go back up there. I would sooner stay in Fairy Land."

“Tell me about Fairy Land, what is like there?," Dee asked, her curiosity piqued. “Dee not go past big hole. Not know why, but not go.”

A thought occurred to me. It was one that had crossed my mind several times during our journey but I had neglected to ask Dee about it. I could no longer hold it back. "Where are your people, Dee?" Her hand came out from under her chin and she pushed herself into a sitting position.

"They are far from away, on the other side of the big land," Dee responded. She hesitated for a while tracing something in the sand, then called me to come over and look. She had drawn a simple circle with a line cross it down the middle. She pointed to the half of the circle closest the them and said. "That is here, the bad land" Dee go into bad land, people send her away,” Dee explained.

"Why?," I asked.

"Evil spirits come back with Dee.” She looked at me with a trace of sadness and loneliness in her eyes
Suddenly Dee gets to her feet and lugs the hide back pack onto her back and puts her coil of rope over her right shoulder picks up he lance in one smooth swipe and says, "come on yet, the day is wearing on" as she forces a smile on her face. I felt a sting of hurt and it was difficult for me to sham a smile in return. 

Coming around a corner of the ancient stone structure we found ourselves on a stone causeway between stone ruins. The ruins reminded me very much of the Mayan's no sooner did that thought come to mind we found ourselves standing before a large stone stepped pyramid, like layered cake  with the upper tip missing or was built with a flat top. At the end of the causeway there was a dark foreboding entrance that lead inside the layered pyramid.

Inside was a large chamber, even the shuffling of our mocasined feet could be heard echoing from the walls of the chamber. Dee stopped dead in her tracks and motioned with her left hand for me to stop. I to thought I had heard something that was not the echo from our shuffling feet. We both heard it again, a scratching sound on the far end of the chamber. Dee lit a torch and held it up high better to see farther ahead. Ahead was a large pile of ruble where part of the roof and the wall on the right side of the chamber had fallen in. Nothing else stirred or could be seen. e continued forward more cautiously lances at hand ready to be used if necessary.  

According to the map all it showed was two square chambers it had no mention of a pyramid, the Dragon's Talisman was contained in the second chamber which would be past the pile of ruble 
As we made our way around the rubble there we saw another entrancement into the next chamber as we started through the the heavily ornamented entrance something brushed against my face and I screamed. The sound of my scream echoed and reechoed back and forth around both chambers. I stopped in my tracks as Dee held the torch up to see what had happened. I had walked face first right into a very large spiders web. Relieved we both released our tense hold on our lances and laughed till tears ran down our cheeks.

Another very loud sound came from the opposite end of the dark chamber  I felt my skin crawl in fear.  Dee once again held up the torch just in time to see a silver dragon charging right for us. I knew the drill in the possibility of such an event. Split up and run in opposite direction and I also now knew why Dee had spent most of a day to weave the two ropes. This creature we did not want dead. We ran in opposite direction each holding one end of the same rope and braced our selves holding the rope taut. 

The dragon being such a large animal could not stop that quickly so it's momentum carried it into the rope and continued pulling us along with it as our feet slid across the chamber floor trying to halt it's forward motion. Loosing our balance we fell and were dragged along but kept on holding to the rope. The dragon by now had it's feet well entangled in the rope and also lost it's balance and fell like a great old oak in a cloud of dust shaking the chamber floor as it landed quite hard on it's chin and neck and just about flipped over on it's back.   

Dee and I sat across the chamber floor from one another catching our breath and watching the Dragon that laid still between us, out cold. Dee got to her feet hurriedly and tool the other coil of rope from her right shoulder  and threw one end over the still body of the dragon shouting, "tie around! Tie around!" She didn't have to draw me a picture to know what she meant. There was no time to be wasted, the dragon could come to at any minute. Getting  the rope around the beast wasn't easy, we both had to push it over the one end of the rope so we could tie it around it's torso and wings. We managed to wrap the rope around it twice then tied the two ends together.

We the set about to look for the legendary dragon's talisman. The map made no mention of what or where the the talisman would be located. Dee lit a torch and we made our way around the large chamber. We came to alcove in the wall and both stopped suddenly nearly running into one another.  Dee held the torch into the alcove to see what lay in the dark shadows. At the far end there was like a statue standing upright. We advanced slowly keeping our eyes opened for any movement in the shadows along the walls leading to the statue. It looked like an ancient and very dusty sarcophagus much like the Egyptian ones I had seen back home, except shaped much different then what would have been made to contain a human body.   

It took much chipping and prying with the only implement we had: a wooden handled dagger I had fashioned for myself before leaving the land of the fairies. Being as careful as I could so as not to break the blade I pried all along the seam of what appeared to be the lid of the container. I felt something move and told Dee to stick the end of her stone spear into the crack to keep it from fully closing as I worked my way along the lid's seam once again. Then there was small grinding sound. I held the dagger still and stuck the end on my stone spear in the crack next to the dagger blade.
Dee and I managed to slide the cover at about an inch from the rest of weirdly shaped sarcophagus when finally it released and crashed in a loud explosion, raising a cloud of dust and shards from the chamber floor, immediately followed by a wall-shaking screech. The dragon we had trussed-up was now awake! We hoped the home made ropes would hold.

Inside the sarcophagus was a mummified creature unknown to me. The whatever-it-was was a larger but squat being, shorter in height than I at 5' 4" tall, very ape like, but the jaw structure looked more like a meat eater having carnivorous, reptilian teeth, more than any human jaw.

"The dragon's talisman!" I shouted and pointed for Dee to see, then I stood shuddering at the thoughts of what I had to do to get to the talisman. It was hanging around that horrid thing's neck.

On the heels of that we heard another loud screech and some thumping sounds, then another screech and steady, hard, thumping sounds like the running feet of a dragon.

Dee held up the torch just in time to see the dragon coming around the pile of rubble headed right straight for us. I looked at the talisman, then back at the dragon and I knew what I had to do!

I took hold of the chain on both sides of it's neck, closed my eyes, and gave the hardest pull I could muster to get the talisman free from the neck of the mummy. Stumbling backwards, I open my eyes to see something that reminded me of a basketball bouncing across the floor. As realization hit home I gulped hard and turned away without another look. I then turned swiftly towards the charging dragon who was right upon us by now. I closed my eyes once more and held up the talisman by the chains

It was as I had suspected! I breathed in relief that, “Whoever possesses the talisman is the master of the dragon.” Anyway it was the only odds I had left when one has a dragon just about to eat them as the only outcome.

I was thinking about the beast in the sarcophagus that may very well have been one of the prior owners of the dragon. "Well I'll be darned, Dee, this is the best quick thinking I've ever done," I said, grinning. Dee burst out laughing, clapping and dancing all at the same time. There was pride in her, too and I could feel that. It was the happiest I had seen her since we had started this trip.

That night was a good night as Dee was cooking a steak of some variety for supper. The pleasant scent of her herbal tea filled the air around me and my new-found servant, the dragon, who lay with his head beside me looking at the flickering flames of the camp fire. My last thoughts that night, well night with never-ending daylight, were of safety and security. I never slept so soundly knowing we had a protector now, then thinking that we're going home. I smiled as I drifted off.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back in the land of the fairies things had deteriorated and Shellwa (I guess one could call her the mother of the people, not hierarchically, but kind of like like what we call the wise one or the holder of wisdom.) was faced with catastrophe. Whole continents of their world were just disappearing into nothingness, not even vaporizing, just going out of existence.

The fairy people were growing more and more fearful for their lives as no matter what dimension they jumped to this force that takes their lands just shows up. So every so many seasons they make the jump, not only for their own safety but also for the safety of the inhabitants of other worlds.

Shellwa turned to her associates, Tazine and Imtie, bowed her head, knelt on her cushions and meditated. After what seemed like a very long time she raised her head and said to them, "Dear ones, what are we to do?" Both Tazine and Imtie spoke at once, "We can't wait much longer for Yeta to return. What if she doesn't come back? What are we to do, wise one? You have only to say the word." "Till dawn," Shellwa said as she arose to leave. The earth trembled under their feet and more land near by disappeared into nothingness. A faint pink swirling glow could be seen above now even in the brightness of day.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The trip home back to the land of the fairies would be faster and easier than the journey to the chamber containing the dragon talisman. Dee and I would ride the dragon's back and fly home!

After discarding most of the equipment had had accumulated on our journey, Dee and I climbed aboard and hung onto our home made rope saddles, I could hear the whoomp!, whoomp!, of the dragon's great leathery wings as I felt the air of free flight blowing in my face and hair.

I discovered I could steer the dragon with my body movements as indicators of where I wanted to go unless the dragon knew it was an area to avoid; then it would give me its own signs and fly around what ever the obstacle might be. It was like we were one, flying around and through crags, over one set of crags and down the other side.

With my hair flying behind me, I directed the dragon to veer to the left then dive and level out again just above the water of one of the lakes we passed on our way in. I could see the blur of wavelets beneath me. Once again we veered to the right and flew nearly vertically to a certain height, then leveled out again. "There it is!," I shouted excitedly to Dee, “It's the portal!”

A wall of rock appeared, but with a hole in it, a purple hole, except it's not really a hole. It spins in a spiral motion towards it's center, like a liquid.

“You're coming with me, Dee! You are welcome you know. You will always be my dear heart, my teacher.” I smiled at this point and brushed the back of my hand on her cheek.

She turned away shyly then turned back once again and just said, "No, me stay here, this home." I could see her eyes were damp with pride and tears. I didn't want to take that from her, so we landed and had our farewell, details of which I would rather not go into here. I waved and once again I and my dragon were off.

My dragon and I flew through the portal and immediately upwards towards the pink spiral in the sky, the center of the energy that was consuming the land of the fairies. I sat proudly on my grass rope saddle as we flew until dragon could go no higher.

Holding the talisman by its chains to capture the light of our sun, I aimed it squarely at the pink energy spiral. The spiral began to close and open again as it fought the concentrated light of our sun reflected by the talisman. To my horror the spiral appeared to be absorbing the sun's light and growing stronger!

My dragon was growing tired. I could feel it as he searched for air current to soar upon but to no avail. After a time that felt like a year the pink light finally ceased and all was peaceful as a gentle breeze blew and the sun still shone. And all the birds and every critter of nature are as little children.

Having done our work, the dragon and I came to rest in the land of the fairies.. 

End of Part 1

To be continued

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