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from The Gilded Knights by Elizah Godswood

Copyright © 2015–2021 Elizah Godswood

Chapter 16
Titan of the Isles

“Go!” Seida motioned to the narrow passageway through the cliff. Gregorim and Tauren ran through without hesitation, but Sadra remained. “What are you waiting for? The dragon is almost on us.”

“We need you!” Sadra protested. “Tauren needs a teacher, and Gregorim is only an apprentice. I can’t teach them on my own.”

“I’ll be right behind you. I just need to hold the winds a little longer to give us time.” Seida’s heart skipped a beat as she heard the dragon roar from down below. She focused the wind back down into the chasm and shot a final warning look to Sadra. “Go!”

After a moment of silent debate, Sadra ran through the pathway and out of sight. Another roar shook the cliffs, followed by the sound of crumbling stone. Through the heavy fog and rain, she could see a single, giant clawed foot reach up out of the gloom.

 The dragon was climbing the cliff.

“Let us see who rules the skies now, beast!” Seida shouted. The cliffside shook and rumbled in response. A bolt of lightning shot down into the chasm, illuminating the giant white dragon slowly fighting against the wind as it climbed up the cliffs. Its wings were pressed flat against its sides, but the wind pulled and tugged at them, making its balance unsteady. 

Thunder roared overhead as the storm worsened. The rain came down harder, stinging her face and hands as she stood perched on the ledge, directing the ever increasing winds to slow the dragon’s approach. Soon, though, even her power would fail to control the storm, and the beast would be upon her. 

She gasped in surprise as a powerful gust blew into the ravine. Her foot slipped, sprawling her onto her belly and smacking her head into the stone. Her connection to the storm faded, and the winds spread out, battering her up against the cliff. The dragon roared louder as it started to climb in earnest, sensing its opportunity had come.

Dazed, Seida pushed herself up, only to be pushed back down by a heavy weight on her back. A low growl sent a shiver down her spine. She looked down at the massive claws just inches from her face and closed her eyes. The others had to be far enough away to lose the dragon. If needed, Sadra could get the others to safety.

“You haven’t won today, beast,” Seida said. “Not while I breathe.”

The dragon let out another rumble. It slowly lowered its head down, eying her with one giant blue eye. Heat radiated from its scales, steaming in the cold.

“Silence yourself,” A booming male voice echoed. “I have more important enemies to fight than little fairies.” 

Seida frowned and looked around as best she could, searching for the owner of the voice. But, no one was visible. She looked back at the dragon, worried that she was severely concussed. Had she really hit her head that hard? Who had just spoken?

“Show yourself!” She shouted. “Call off your beast and let us fight face to face!”

“The beast is the one speaking to you.” 

The dragon growled as it bared its fangs at her. Seida leaned her head back, wrinkling up her nose at the smell of its breath, like sulfur and rotten flesh.

“Right,” Seida said. “So, you’re a talking dragon, then?”

“You think us mindless beasts?” The dragon made a strange rumbling sound. It took a minute for her to realize the dragon was laughing at her. “Yes, I am speaking to you.”

“Well then, will you let me go?” She asked, wiggling her arm in an attempt to free herself. The dragon lifted its paw slightly, but not enough to let her up completely.

“The storm. Can you clear it?” The dragon asked.

“What?”

The dragon growled in annoyance. “You control the winds, do you not? I saw you channeling the winds that kept me pinned. Clear the storm and I will set you free.” 

Seida paused for a moment, considering her options. “Why?”

“The winds make it too dangerous to fly. I am needed elsewhere; beyond that you need not know. Stay the winds so that I might leave safely.”

“No,” Seida said after thinking it over. If it wanted to talk, she’d make it talk. “Not unless you promise to let me and my scouts go free.”

“You little two-legs are the least of my concerns.” The dragon pressed down on her slightly. “Clear the storm. Now.”

“I can’t exactly do that with you crushing me, now can I?” She said, coughing slightly. Perhaps she was pressing her luck in haggling with it. “I have to be able to breathe.”

After a moment’s pause, the dragon lifted its paw, allowing her to stand. Seida looked up at the clouds and took in a deep breath. She reached out, beyond the clouds where the air was warmer, and the sun shined. Gradually, the winds died back to a much gentler gust, and the rain came down in a steady rain instead of a torrential downpour. 

The dragon flapped its wings twice, testing the wind current. It blinked at her slowly, tilting its head to the side like a curious dog. “Wind-Born,” It hummed. “Blood-kin. I had my doubts until now. Your kind are rare in the world of men.” 

“Yes, well, thanks for not eating me, I guess.” Seida wiped the mud from her face, spitting the grit and rock from her mouth. It would take days to fully get the taste of dirt out of her mouth, she was sure of it. She started for the pathway, ready to find the others and be off. “Have fun wherever you are going.”

“Not so fast, Two-Legs.” The dragon blocked her path with its wing. “What brought you and your younglings here, to the heart of dragon territory?”

“What does it matter to you?&rdqu...






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