CHAPTER 95: DRAGONS, DRAGONS
Today begin the group expedition to find a dragon lair. Everyone is n high spirits at the morning.
Dragons are rare nowadays so it is hard to find them in many places and a wide land like this.
Not to mention their supplies of horsemeat is dwindling.
Thankfully Arial and his group encountered many monster and they do not have to worry about meat supplies.
The elves are usually is in charge of the water and logistic, while Kobold is for frontline battles while the Orc is use to guard and patrol the area of camping.
It greatly increases the speed and safety of the expedition. Arial have never expected that, his greatest enemies in the Land of the Dragons is not the dragons but the monster that roamed the land.
And the monsters that Arial have seen is many. Fierce animals, weird animals he never seen before and sometimes there is storm. Nature also seems determined to thwart Arial quest.
The land of the dragons is not to be underestimated. A snake that is as long as a house and a bull as big as a building.
This is some of the monsters they have encountered in their journey. But thankfully Arial learn another thing.
Dark Elves and Orc use the monster hide to craft and made clothes, their bones crafted into armours.
And soon enough they have enough for everyone. Since the battle at the passage no one else died anymore.
They sometimes rest in caves, big rocks and sometimes in the thick forest. When they have low supplies of meat, they hunt in teams.
Arial follow sometimes.
Sometimes he looks at the map that Mikael have made, denoting the place they have explored.
If they explore together, Arial would become the leader in charge, if he is not then the Orcs will lead.
After all with Arial skills and strength, it is only reasonable that he is in the forefront of battle.
They are hard at work exploring miles for each day, as Mikael mapped the area. Rarely people came here and mapped the area.
Now Arial is in the cave just began opening his eyes after a good nap. He took a nap in the afternoon and sent some of his mercenaries on a hunt.
Mikael is on the ground, mapping again. Arial could also see Velamina who he has never spoken since her kiss
Though Arial had to admit, her abilities are real. He has seen her fight Giant Boar and flame deer.
And she massacred them. It is not only her beauty, but her agility is also top notch. I guess beauty isn’t the only thing she possess.
Arial quickly went outside the cave and look at the sun.
‘Not long now. Night is coming.’
So he gathered woods to make a campfire and he also orders the other troops to do the same. They are sleeping in two caves; both the caves are near each other.
They gathered some woods and started a fire.
Inside the cave, the wood in the fire is burning, spreading a warm atmosphere. The moon emerged and the party got back bringing some meat.
Traveling in the night is like committing suicide. Things come out in the dark. Dark things. Dark creatures.
Arial went out to get some fresh breath and he stand on a large rock, admiring the view.
‘Avoiding me?’ the word registered to Arial ears.
He turned around and looks at Velamina.
‘No, you’re avoiding me. It has all the characteristic of avoiding someone. Is it because of the kiss?’
‘Yes’ He admitted
‘I said that I need to ki-‘
‘I have asked the other elves. You just have to touch the person face not kiss them.’
‘Oh! So you’re curious about me now?’ And she giggled.
‘My abilities worked a little differently’ she said
‘Is that so?’ Arial asked suspiciously. It shows that he does not believe Velamina half baked excuses.
Then another brief silence.
‘Looking at the stars again?’
‘Of course you can my lord. Who would dare stop you?’
‘Why are you out here?’ He asked
‘Marveling the stars. Like you do.’ And she smile again, tugging at Arial heartstring. Another brief silence.
‘What is your star?’ Arial asked. She smiles, eager to share.
‘It used to be that one’ she pointed.
‘And what is its name?’
‘A secret, huh.’
‘Yes. A woman need to have their secrets, don’t you reckon my lord?’
‘Maybe.’ Then they both looked at the stars again.
‘I heard you’re married.’
‘Yes. Who told you?’
‘Mikael. Is that why the kiss bothers you that much?’
‘Is she beautiful? And tell me the truth.’
‘Yes…but not as beautiful as you.’
‘Are you flirting with me my lord?’
‘No. I’m saying it is not her beauty that captivates me. It is her gentleness, her calmness that attracts me so.’
‘You, then are a loyal husband then?’
‘I hope so.’
‘I hope you’re not’ she said her eyes glint with mischievousness.
‘You are playing a dangerous game Starseer.’
‘Well…I’m dangerous’ she said.
Arial look at her under the moonlight and she look mysterious and full of charms.
But she is not his wife and as such he will not do such a thing even though it is regarded common for a lord to take some secret mistresses.
But he was born in a household that revere love. And while his heart is stirred for her, he knows it is not love.
It is affection, an appreciation for rare beauty that attaches him to the girl. Not love. And without love, what is the meaning?
‘I would excuse myself Starseer.’
‘Then go. But do not avoid me again.’
Arial smile and nodded.
He then entered the cave and has a conversation with Mikael, the information about the region he is heading.
He learned where the monsters are, and the paths that is not safe for their group to cross.
‘We have found a lair thanks to the scouts division. But we do not know yet if there is a dragon in it’
‘Where?’ he rushed to Mikael. He pointed at a direction in the map.
Arial looked and he could feel his excitement.
‘Finally,’ he muttered.
Arial has trouble breathing these past few weeks. Long enough and he wouldn’t be able to fight.
The black veins are beginning to spread around his arms. If he is at home right now everybody would notice.
He then tells the information and they are to be prepared. After their usual dinner all went to sleep but Arial and Velamina stay awake resting together near the big rock.
‘Dragons, huh’ she said
‘Finally.’ Arial muttered under his breath. One step closer to his objectives.
‘May I inquire, why you want to hunt a dragon?’ Velamina ask
‘You may not, though you could tell me what you know about dragons.’
‘Your unwillingness to tell me your motive saddened me, but I accept your request. Dragons. Their blood is red like humans. They can live at the harshest climate whether in the sweltering heat or extreme cold. Their wings are large and terrifying. Their roar resounded to the heavens. Intelligent and aggressive. Live for a very long time. Most of them are in an age of extinction.’
‘Why?’ he said suddenly curios.
“Man, of course.”
“The relentless enemies of the dragons. When the King of Dragons died in the hands of Levitia and his companion he roared to the Heaven, saying ‘the age of Gods and dragons, giants and Lich, of Ancient things and Old Gods are at its end. Now the age of man begins as we return to the Sea of All Things.’ Since then, dragon never speaks. Their noble disposition is replaced with furious anger and terrible hatred, their words stripped away from them. They burn. They slaughter. And then came judgment upon them in the form of 4 Brothers. They were hunted nearing extinction. That is what I know of dragons. Now they are nothing but beast.’
‘Why do you think that dragons do not speak anymore?’
‘There are many theories’
‘Enlighten me then’ he said
‘Some say it is because of magic but I believe it to be different.’
‘And what is your theory?’
‘Treat an intelligent creature like a beast long enough; they themselves might believe themselves to be a beast. Now the dragons are nothing more of nuisance, their era ended ages ago. A remnant of an ancient past’
Arial look at the bright stars that lined the skies and nod. A remnant of an ancient past.
‘I hope you survive this quest of yours my lord.’
‘Yes, Let us pray that would be the case.’
Arial open his bag and sit down.
‘Sit, Velamina.’ She sits and then she was offered a drink by Arial.
‘Faeries wine. White and smooth’ he said.
‘How did you get it?’ she asks her eyes widening.
‘I happen to travel around the Faeries Fabled Forest and was given to it by some of their grateful citizen.’
‘You are a lord of great renown if you are offered Faeries wine.’
‘I am a normal lord, of no consequence.’
‘Now, who is keeping secrets?’
Then they talked about various things under the starry skies.
‘Did you get the Flame wolf blood?’ she asked
‘I did.’ He replied and he gives the bottle of blood to Velamina.
She asks a favour from Arial if he ever encountered a flame wolf to get their blood for her. A few days before, Arial coincidentally enter the wolf territory so battle ensues.
‘What you’re going to use it for?’ he ask
‘It can help heal external and internal injuries though if we succeed in killing the dragon it will be a better then wolf blood’
‘How do you mean?’ Arial asked not following. She looked puzzled at Arial.
‘Why are you hunting dragon? Is it not because you want its bone?’
‘Why would I want its bone?’ said Arial puzzled
‘For its healing properties obviously! Dragons are after all magical creatures. Ancient creatures. Old Things. Old Gods.’
‘Tell me.’ And Arial seem a little bit excited to learn about dragons.
‘Dragons bone can be grind to make a powerful potion to heal internal injuries and external injuries rapidly. I have seen nobility use dragon dust to heal their injuries. Rub it at the wound and the wound disappear. Their bones can also be made to be forged into armours and arms. You don’t think that all those men only followed you because they want gold, do you? One fine dust powder of dragons would fetch a hefty price in the markets. Their scale makes a good armour and shield.’
Arial shakes his head. He doesn’t know this.
His only objective is to take the dragon heart. He did try to read about the dragons but since he was busy all the time he never got the time to properly read.
‘Is that so?’
‘You don’t know?’
‘This is the first time I heard of this’
‘Then why do you want to hunt it?’
‘I want its heart.’
‘His heart? What would it be good for?’ She asked.
‘I have my reason.’
Velamina looked at Arial, her confusion deepened. He was strange, powerful but his motive and behavior are strange.
Velamina knew he is a lord, yet he has no trouble consorting with common folk, and have not the arrogance of a lord or their pride.
He was enjoyable to be around with, and a man that is highly dependable. Velamina could not hate him.
And even though her prophecies dictate that she have to have an offspring with such a man, she doesn’t think she qualified.
Dark Lords do not have any scuffles in taking a second wife, so does the faithful of Sun Emperor but he doesn’t seem like that.
He seems to be a loyal husband and full of honour. Velamina glance around the mercenaries in the cave soundly sleeping.
These mercenaries even form certain bonds of loyalty to Arial, one that is highly rare for mercenaries.
He is a great leader, with great leadership and comfortable in battle, like he has fought in a war.
But he is so young. How such a young man could have been involved in a war, Velamina wondered.
‘What are you thinking about Velamina?’
‘Nothing, my lord.’
Then they continued their drinking, exchanging stories, and finally exhausted and tired, they sleep on the large rock , her head on his arm, his face near her head and from afar it will appear as these two are embracing each other.
So end the night, filled with the starry skies as the dawn show itself and their journey to the dragon lair begins.