Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part X - The Barons Heart - Chapter 7
Druids, and Sky Knights and Teleporters, Oh My!
First thing in the morning Donatello was out in the Druid’s grove. He had set down his easel and was painting a picture of the grove in the early morning light. He had only be there a half an hour when the Druid Almax suddenly appeared by his side.
“Very nice portrayal so far,” the Druid said staring over Donnie’s shoulder.
“I do my best,” Donnie said not missing a beat. He had known the Druid was there before he spoke.
“Are you also a nature lover?” Almax asked.
“Yes I am,” Donatello replied continuing to paint. “A nature lover and a dragon friend.”
“That is not a statement to be made lightly,” the Druid replied. “Can you prove it?”
Donatello put down his paintbrush, turned to the Druid and reached for the dagger the dragon girl Ruka had given him. He lifted it up by the blade and handed it to Almax saying, “Will this do?”
Almax took the blade and looked it over carefully. After a minute or so of examination he said, “Yes, it will certainly do. This is a very fine blade; and is not given to the bearer lightly. You must have done a great service for one of our draconic friends in order to receive a blade like this one.”
The Druid took the blade and returned it to Donatello.
Donnie placed the blade back in its sheath and replied, “I might have been helpful at one time or another to a few of our mutual friends. Do the names Ves, Ruka and Maya ring a bell?”
“Do you mean Vestiralanna? And her sisters Rukastanna and Mayattari? If those are your friends then you are indeed what you claim to be.”
“As are you?” Donnie asked.
“As am I,” Almax replied.
“Then as one dragon friend to another, I must ask you for your help,” Donatello told the Druid.
“What can I do for you?” Almax asked.
“My company and I are looking into the death of the Baron. We have been tasked by the Baroness to find his heart and return it in time for him to be resurrected. We had been told by the Cleric Qualtan that you were one of Grellus’s companions in his adventuring days. Do you have any idea who may have been involved in the Baron’s murder?”
Almax considered for a few moments, then replied, “I cannot think of any one person, or group in particular that might have had it in for Grellus. However, it is funny that you mention Qualtan. He has been exhibiting some strange behavior as of late. It makes me wonder if it could be related to the Baron’s demise in any way.”
“Strange behavior?” Donnie inquired. “Like what?”
“Well, he has put up some magical barriers around his quarters so that my forest friends can no longer check on him. However, prior to that they had spotted him practicing some questionable rituals in his room. Dark magic rituals” Almax finished.
“That’s very interesting” Donnie said. “Qualtan more or less accused you of the same thing.”
“Really?” the Druid asked, obviously surprised. “Do I seem evil to you?” He bent down to feed a squirrel a nut.
“No,” Donnie replied. “I don’t believe that you do.”
“Well then,” Almax continued, “perhaps you should look more closely into Qualtan’s activities then.”
“I think we will,” Donatello replied. “Also, there is some information you should probably know about which directly concerns our Dragon friends.”
Donnie spent the next several minutes relaying to the Druid their run-in with the Princess of Lanfar and her quest to capture and control dragons. He detailed their rescue of Ves and the subsequent air chase that ensued. He finished with his concerns of the rise of the Dragon Thrall Lord and the whereabouts of their Dragon friends now.
“You have given me a lot of information,” Almax said. He thought for a moment and then continued, “I must pass on all of this to the Druid Council at Bendenwood as soon as possible. I will leave at once. Good luck on your quest to find the Baron’s Heart.”
The Druid turned and disappeared into the grove.
The KOTC members were standing in the courtyard outside Peltar’s tower, waiting for Fafnar to return from his morning ride with the Lady Andrella. Lloyd stood a little apart from the others and continued to stew.
Glorfindel and the Dunnwyn wizard had indeed found a teleportation circle in the basement of Peltar’s old tower in the keep. It had been hidden behind a secret door and had had an alarm spell set on it, but between the two of them, the wizards were able to handle both. They had examined the magical device and determined that it was set to teleport them to an area northwest approximately 100 leagues. That would place them near the Silver Lake and the town of Tarrsmorr.
Donnie had also returned from his visit with Almax and told them what the Druid had said about Qualtan. Elvisda had then relayed this information to the Baroness and then left a message about their impending trip through the portal for Aksel and Seth.
Aksel had sent Glorfindel a message late last night describing their encounter with the red dragon and their failure to elicit further information from the Assassin’s Guild. The cleric, ninja and Martan were now headed back to Restenford as they had hit a dead end in Garrotten.
Elvisda, Donnie and Glo were still discussing these recent turn of events, when Donatello pointed skyward and said, “Here they come!”
Fafnar and the Lady Andrella landed in the courtyard a few yards away from where the others stood. Andrella dismounted with Fafnar close behind her. Fafnar had a pained look on his face, and the left side of his cheek was red. Andrella walked deliberately up to Lloyd, stretched her tiny frame upward, grabbed his face and pulled him down into a long passionate kiss. When she was done, she let him go and stormed off into the castle.
Lloyd grinned sheepishly. His face was beet red. Fafnar looked over at the Warblade. He looked like he was going to say something, but then thought better of it.
“Ahem,” said Elvisda, a slight lilt in his voice. “Are we ready to being our quest?”
Fafnar turned to Elvisda and said, “At once.” The Dunwynn Knight went to gather his men and met them in front of Peltar’s tower fifteen minutes later.
The party entered the tower and went down to the portal room. The teleportation circle stood at one end of the basement. The circle was composed of three blue magic rings circling each other in a criss-cross fashion. There was a control device on a pedestal off to one side.
“Gentlemen” Glorfindel said, pointing to the teleporter. “Ready when you are.”
They all stepped on and invoked the mechanism. In seconds they had all disappeared from the tower room.