Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Fall of the Couch - Part 2
The Airship was clearly visible from the highest rooms of the monolith. Still several miles away, the vessel seemed to have slowed as it approached the towering stone structure. Perhaps the ship was scouting the area, but if so, Martin could not spot their scouts.
Elvisda was busy writing a note, the Crown of Colossus Control perched firmly on his cresting wave of prodigious hair. Elvisda seemed particularly happy with the written results, which worried Martin a bit. There was nothing subtle or cautious about the bard in ordinary circumstance, and now he seemed totally drunk on the power of the Colossus.
Martin didn’t need to read the note, even if he could; Elvisda’s huge grin made its contents clear. And the worried contemplation on Glorlindir’s face as he handed the note to his raven familiar, confirmed his suspicions. They were warning the Airship away with a bluff. Although Martin wasn’t sure it was entirely a bluff.
The raven’s tiny form dwindled to a dot as it seemed to crawl the distance to the Airship. At first Martin thought that Glorlindir was silently praying to some strange elf god; a surprising thought since he had never witnessed an even remotely devout word or action from the Elvish Wizard in the weeks he had known him.
Then he realized Glorlindir was holding a familiar pearl pendant while communing with someone far distant, not otherworldly. The pearl pendant or its twin was an enchanting memory for Martin; a sight he had originally beheld nestled between the breasts of the most beautiful and wonderful woman he had every met or dared imagine, Vestiralanna Greymantle.
Thoughts of Ves lifted Martin’s spirits briefly out of their perpetual gloom. The possibility of meeting her again was a secret dream that drove him through all the madness and dangers. Dreams are a fool’s road to heartache his old bandit captain had told him, and Martin knew it to be true. He didn’t bother dreaming of such foolish things as wealth, power, comfort or security. But a creature such as Vess could not possibly exist in his world, and as such was rightfully a denizen of his dreams.
He would give all, if he had anything to give; and he would risk all, if his miserable life were only worthy enough to wager, to be near her again, no matter how briefly. To just to have the chance to see her turquoise eyes like the sea after a storm. And just to hear her gentle laugh like the waves that caress the beach on a summer morn.
Glorlindir’s voice brought Martin back to the grim reality at hand. Glo had informed Ruka and Maya of the Airship, and through them Aksel and Calipherous. They were all on their way to the monolith at best speed while attempting to remain unseen.
While Glorlindir and Cyclone discussed the possibility of using Calipherous’ burrowing and stone shape abilities to dig out the Colossus, Martin wondered again what had happened to Ves. She should have a magic pearl pendant like the one she had given Glorlindir. She had said she had another at home, and that is where she went. Why couldn’t they contact her as easily as Ruka or Maya?
“Dragons!” Glorlindir suddenly stated. He apparently had received a message from his familiar. Martin squinted at the Airship and could just make out an odd shape launch from the ship. Either the ship was much bigger than he thought, or the dragon was small. But it was definitely of dragon shape, and fast.
The familiar dropped the note and flew as quickly as it could back to the monolith. The dragon put on a burst of speed; easily three times as fast as the raven. But it ignored the bird and snatched the note from mid-air, bringing it back to the ship.
By time the raven arrived back at the monolith, too tired to do more than squawk irritably about dragons, the Airship’s response was already dragon-borne and more than halfway to them. As it drew close, they could see that the messenger dragon was tiny, barely larger than a man, with black scales that glistened in the sun.
The warriors of the Couch tensed and prepared to spring as it approached, somewhat eager to add even such a small dragon to their kill count. But it swooped by quite quickly, deftly dropping a note that fluttered to the ground nearby without stopping or presenting a target to the eager swords and spear waiting in the monolith.
Martin trekked out and carefully picked up the missive. It was an impressive enough looking parchment, sealed with wax imprinted with an unfamiliar seal; it was addressed in a bold, but impeccably neat hand. Although unable to actually read, Martin had learned enough letters to sound out Elvisda’s name on it.
As Elvisda read it, his smile returned.
“The princess Anya of Lanfor has requested an audience with me an hour from now in the meadow to the south of the monolith.” he pronounced.