Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part IX – The Fall of the Couch – Section 5
On top of the monolith, Elvisda reported, “It’s all the way in now. Clean up to its body!”
“Then that’s it!” Glorfindel said.
Elvisda took out his lute and refreshed his songs.
Cyclone was already at the edge of the monolith and gauging the wind.
Lloyd had out his blades and was invoking his flying cloak.
Glorfindel cast a spell of flying on himself and then a second spell of hasten actions on the group.
Finally Ruka changed into a young bronze dragon.
“Pretty impressive,” Cyclone said turning briefly to acknowledge the young dragon.
“Thank you,” Ruka replied.
Hearing the young girls voice come from the dragon’s body seemed strange Glorfindel thought.
Cyclone turned back and said, “On my mark. One…two…three…Go!” Then he leaped off the top of the monolith.
Simultaneously, Lloyd, Glorfindel and Ruka took flight.
“Good luck!” Elistra cried softly.
Cyclone was already out of ear shot though. He was hurtling down towards the dragon’s back, aiming for a spot right between where the two wings met the main body. If he could plant his spear there and possibly damage the muscles that moved at least one of the wings, the green dragon would be grounded. Then it could not possibly escape.
The dragoon hurtled downwards faster and faster. He was getting closer but the fall seemed to be taking forever. Now if only the dragon would stay still for just a few more seconds.
Inside, the dragon must have sensed something. It started looking around. Then it began lowering its head.
“Is something wrong?” Donatello asked quickly.
“You tell me little elf! If this is some kind of trick, I will burn you where you stand!” it roared. Then it began to draw in its breath.
Alana leaped from behind the pillar and yelled, “Watch out Donnie!”
“Oh-ho!” the dragon cried in mid breath, “so this is a trap! But who has trapped who!”
“We shall see!” Donnie cried. He drew Inazuma and aimed it at the dragon. Then he let loose a bolt of lightning.
The dragon winced but the bolt flashed harmlessly over its head.
“I think you missed little elf!” the dragon taunted.
“Did I?” Donnie said smugly.
Suddenly something fell over the dragon’s head completely covering it. The dragon roared as it tried to free itself.
“You were aiming for the tapestry, weren’t you?” Alana asked the swashbuckler.
“Of course!” Donnie replied. “How could you doubt me?”
“Get back here you too,” Aksel yelled from behind the pillar. “All hell is about to break loose!”
The swashbuckler and the lady knight looked at each other and then sprinted back behind the central pillar of the monolith.
Outside, Cyclone had seen the dragon move slightly. He adjusted his body accordingly trying to make a change in his trajectory. But he would hit a little higher than he wanted to. Guess I’ll have to forget about clipping the dragon’s wings he thought. Oh well, things could be worse.
Lloyd, Glorfindel and Ruka were all in flight now and moving into attack positions. Only ten seconds had passed and Cyclone was about to hit his target. He braced himself, his training taking over as he connected with the dragons back.
His spear dug deep past the armored scales, the height of his dive giving extra force to his attack. The weapon buried itself in-between the beast’s shoulders and Cyclone landed feet first on the green dragon’s back. The force of the blow, enhanced by the dragoon’s magic, slammed the big creature to the ground, knocking its legs out from underneath it and momentarily stunning it.
The others took advantage of the green dragons condition and launched into attacks of their own.
Glorfindel unleashed a lightning bolt on the beast that caught it in the left side. The bolt sizzled and crackled as it connected with the dragon’s hide.
Then Ruka swooped down and let her own bolt of lightning loose on the green dragon’s right flank. Her bold did an equal amount of damage to the beast.
The Lloyd took a turn. He swooped down and swiped at the creature’s exposed lower back with his twin blades. He got in four devastating blows on the stunned monster rending great tears right through the scales of its back.
Then the dragon began to recover. It regained its feet and bit through the tapestry covering its head. Then it started to back out of the monolith.
“Oh no you don’t!” Donatello yelled from inside the hall. He jumped out and loosed a lightning bolt right at the creatures head. The bold connected right in the dragon’s snout. It sizzled and blacked the beast’s nose.
The dragon roared and began to draw in its breath.
Outside, Cyclone withdrew his lance and launched himself up into the air.
The dragon just let loose a volley of acid breath at Donatello as Alana grabbed the swashbuckler and yanked him back behind the pillar.
Simultaneously, Cyclone plummeted once again onto the huge creature’s back digging his lance deep into the same wound he had already opened. This time the spear went in almost to the end of the shaft.
The dragon’s body shuddered and its knees began to buckle. Must’ve hit the heart Cyclone thought.
Inside, the dragon’s head reared up as its eyes went glassy. Then the head fell down and hit the floor with a huge thud.
Outside, the beast’s legs gave out from under it and it fell to the ground causing the earth to shake. The body twitched a few times as blood began to spurt out of the hole in its back. Then the whole body shuddered one last time and the green dragon lay still.
Cyclone withdrew his lance with a great effort. Then he knelt down and patted the green dragons back. “Cyclone,” he said. “My name is Cyclone.”
Meanwhile, Glorfindel, Lloyd and Ruka had landed. “Remind me never to piss you off,” Ruka yelled up at the dragoon.
Cyclone just smiled and waved.
Inside, Donnie, Alana and Aksel peered from around the corner of the pillar at the fallen dragon. The head lay still to the side, with the eyes open and the huge forked tong sticking out of the open mouth. The creature was not breathing.
“We did it!” Donnie yelled. He grabbed Alana and hugged her.
Then a figure crawled in through the doorway over the top of the dead dragon’s neck. It was Cyclone.
“Everyone ok in here?” the dragoon asked.
“Yep, we’re all fine!” Donnie replied.
“Good to hear,” Cyclone replied jumping down to join them.
“That just leaves us with one problem,” Aksel said.
“What’s that?” Cyclone asked.
“How are the rest of us supposed to get through the door with that big dragon in the way?”
The green dragon was very heavy, but between Lloyd and Cyclone they were able to drag it out of the monolith to clear the entryway. Meanwhile, Elvisda and Elistra came down to join the others.
When the two warriors were done, the companions all gathered in front of the doorway.
Alana was the first to speak. “Cyclone can you please take me to my squires? I would like to bring them inside and get them healed up.”
“You got it,” the dragoon replied. “Follow me.”
The two went off into the woods to find the archer and the hiding boys who were all that remained of the company of Knights of the Rose.
Aksel turned to Ruka. The dragon had reverted into the form of a young girl once again. She seemed a bit tired after the fight and was leaning on Donatello. The swashbuckler had returned her sword and had his arm around the young girls shoulder as she leaned against him. She seemed very content.
“Now that that’s settled,” the cleric began,” we need to get you permanently cured of that poison. Our best bet is to get you to Garotten as soon as possible. Do you think you can make the flight?”
“Well,” she considered, “I won’t be able to fly at top speed, but I should be able to get us there in just under half a day.”
“So if we leave now,” Aksel said as he checked the position of the sun in the sky, “then we should be able to reach there by nightfall.”
“I’ll go with her,” Donatello offered, “that is, if you don’t mind carrying me on your back.”
“No, no,” the young girl said blushing somewhat, “I don’t mind at all.”
“Actually,” Aksel interrupted, “I think I should go with her. If she gets there and no one can immediately cure her, then she will need another spell of delay poison to keep it from spreading.”
Donnie looked at Aksel and then at Ruka. “I guess he is right,” he finally relented. Then he removed his boots of spider climbing and handed them to the cleric. “Here, take these. They will help you hang on and not slow Ruka down.”
“Thanks,” Aksel replied as he sat down and switched boots. Then he got up and said, “Shall we?”
Ruka smiled and walked a bit away from the others. Then she shifted into her natural form. The sun bathed her body and her bronze scales glistened in the late morning sun. She looked absolutely breath taking.
Ruka lay down to allow the little cleric to climb onto her back. Aksel scrambled up her side and perched on her shoulders just above the glistening bronze wings. Then she began to flap her wings and slowly lifted off the ground. The rose above the tree tops and she turned towards the east. Then the two shot off out of the clearing and into the forest in the direction of Garrotten.
Donnie let out a sigh.
Elistra walked over and placed a hand on the elf’s shoulder. “They’ll be fine,” she said soothingly.
Donatello patted the hand on his shoulder but continued looking at the spot where they had vanished over the trees. “I know,” he replied, “I just somehow feel that I should have gone with them.”
“Anyway,” Elvisda interrupted, “now that their gone, I’d like to discuss what we are going to do with this green dragon carcass.
Alana and Cyclone had returned with Martan and the squires. Elistra joined them as they brought the boys into the monolith and down to the living quarters to tend to their wounds. Cyclone joined Elvisda, Glorfindel and Lloyd as they surveyed the green dragon’s remains together.
After much discussion, it was decided that the green dragon scales would make a very nice suit of armor. Elvisda had Lloyd begin to remove some scales with his adamantine sword.
While the warblade was at work, the bard drew Cyclone to the side. “I’ve heard rumor that certain parts of a dragon can be sold at quite a high price. They can be ground up and distilled into a potent aphrodisiac from what I’ve gathered.”
The dragoon raised an eyebrow at the bard. Then he nodded his head slowly. “Now that you mention it…yeah, that’s true. But it’s not like you could sell that just anywhere.” He paused and thought. “There is a certain market for that kind of thing in Lukescros though, if you catch my drift.”
Elvisda clasped the dragoon’s shoulder. “Just as I thought! While the others are busy, how would you like to give me a hand with that pig sticker of yours?”
Cyclone shook his head but couldn’t help smiling. Elvisda laughed raucously as the two retreated to the dragon’s posterior. A few minutes later they reappeared, the bard firmly affixing the bag of holding to his belt. He had a satisfied smirk on his face.
“Where have you two been?” Glorfindel asked suspiciously. The wizard had been helping Lloyd pick out good scales to retrieve and had not seen the other two leave.
“Oh, just testing out a theory,” the bard replied secretively. Then he leaned forward and whispered in the wizard’s ear.
“You did what?” Glorfindel cried loudly.
Lloyd stopped his chopping and turned to look at the others. “Is something wrong?” the warblade asked with concern.
“No, no,” Elvisda replied quickly. “Everything’s fine. You can go back to your carving.” Then he turned and gave the wizard a look. “I somehow don’t think Lloyd would approve if he found out,” the bard whispered to the mage.
“I’m not so sure I approve,” the wizard replied. Then he looked at the smile on his friends face and he began to chuckle. “Oh Elvisda, only you would think of such a thing.”
“Got that right!” the bard declared.
The wizard shook his head and began to laugh. The bard joined in.
The rest of the day was rather uneventful. After they had finished scavenging what they could from the green dragon’s carcass, Glorfindel used his magic to light it on fire. They reasoned that if they destroyed as much of it as possible, then the beast could not be resurrected.
Lloyd and Cyclone went off together to explore the nearby woods. The two men fell to talking and realized that they had a lot in common. The dragoon’s upbringing in Lukescros had been very similar to the warblade’s in Penwick.
Both men came from a long line of warriors. Both had been trained by their fathers. And both had become quiet proficient at their chosen profession. The only difference was really that Lloyd had left home for an extended period while Cyclone had opted to continue living in Lukescros. The dragoon would only take short trips in the surrounding area looking for adventure.
After stretching their legs a bit, the two warriors returned to the monolith. The sun was getting low in the sky and nightfall was nearing. They found Glorfindel and Elvisda sitting a short distance away from the still burning dragon carcass. The corpse was still fairly well intact.
“That thing’s going to take forever to burn,” Cyclone told them. “Trust me, I’ve had experience with this.”
“Ah, just as well,” the wizard replied getting to his feet. “I’m getting tired of sitting here and watching it anyway.”
“What say we all adjourn downstairs for some refreshment and rest,” Elvisda said.
“Sounds good to me!” Lloyd declared as his stomach growled. The big man smiled sheepishly. “I must be hungrier than I thought!”
The companions smiled and clasped the big man. Then the four of them entered the monolith and made their way to the living quarters for the evening.
They had decided to post a lookout, however, at the top of the tower just in case. Martan took the first watch.