The Dragon King
Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred
The Shadow Brigade rode through the stormy day and into the first couple of hours of night before they stopped to make camp. Both the dragons and the fairies searched the region and area respectively, and every thing seemed safe for now. Everybody was exhausted.
Through the long cold stormy nights
Do the wise ones seek out warmth and companionship
Not to indulge of the flesh
But sometimes just to survive your plight
But soldiers must endure
For freedom is not cheap
We will gladly suffer so the gentle won't have to
We will embrace the horror
Through it all
Friends made for life
We fight on
Caitlin, who normally slept in the wagon by herself with most of the fairies, offered Christopher a dry place to lay his head.
"I was too tired to argue."
After the watches were set, Christopher fell into a deep sleep, and at long last his little baby sister came to him in his dreams.
The smile she had on her face was reflected through her eyes a thousand fold. Her apparition was whole again, and ready to tell Christopher stories of the universe like she had done at home many times before.
"Every sparkle in the sky is a sun radiating existence for all worlds, or is a world unto itself. Though things may seem bad and feelings of loneliness endure, it is important to know that we are not alone. Not here on this planet nor in our hearts. Death is but a gateway back to creation. Do not weep for me, big brother. Do not hate for me. I have become what I was meant to be."
"You mean Gods do exist?"
"I have seen no evidence, either in your world or mine, that such a thing exist. The universe is a gift for all who can see past their passed down knowledge and learn to understand that existence is far beyond and above thought and time.
"Here there are none that will try to control your mind when the physical body has been subdued. As you know in our world, there are those who are not satisfied enslaving just the body, they want your thoughts and dreams as well. In fact, the way The Balance works is that when they influence your beliefs they suck some of your energy force from you, making you less than you could have been if you are kind because it is the right thing to do, not because if you don't you might go to Hell."
"Is there a Hell, Sarah?"
"No, good and bad exist side by side. However there is the negative balance, which is the abyss."
"The thought that I was not going to be punished for my actions here on this plain after death actually saddened me. Sarah and I stood in the center of the universe holding hands watching galaxies spiraling by."
For once Christopher awakes refreshed and with a lighter heart.
Christopher sits up and notices Caitlin sleeping sitting up curled up in a ball with no blanket on. A chill hangs heavy in the air, so he takes a blanket and lovingly covers her.
Christopher had been so tired that he hadn't realized there was only barely enough room for one to lay down in the wagon without cuddling and that he had laid on all the blankets, so she crouched into a corner hugging herself to stay warm. When Christopher shakes her awake she gives him a smile that speaks volumes.
Christopher notices she is still very tired.
"Knowing her, she probably stayed up half the night watching over me."
After a quick cold breakfast Christopher tells her, "Dear, why don't you crawl back into the wagon and I'll drive it for a while." She's a smart girl. She doesn't even hesitate. She jumps into her bed and disappears under her covers that are inundated with Christopher's smell. She takes in a deep contented breath through her nose, and by the time she lets it all the way out she is asleep.
Christopher smiles so hard and long that the muscles in his face start to hurt. He shakes his head and urges the pull horse on.
"I think Shadow was happy for the break himself."
They haven't got a half stretch down the road, when all of a sudden a group of witches, wizards and more unicorns pop out of no where to block their path.
"And then it all came rushing back to me. Through our whole trip in the ancient woods and the battles with the spiders, the witches and wizards were never with us. What the hell, I thought?"
Besides this new revelation, the sight in front of Christopher has him confounded. Not only are there now ten witches and ten wizards, but also they are all riding their own unicorns.
"Am I still dreaming?"
"No." says the young wizard from before. "We must apologize, but we had an important gathering to attend, so we put a charm on you all to forget about us for a while."
"You put us under a spell?"
"Yes. Well, all except the unicorns and dragons, we are not powerful enough for that."
Christopher looks over at Kara and she looks a little guilty.
"When I looked at Ember he smiled and actually laughed at me, that insolent little red fox."
"Did your meeting go well, then?" By now Caitlin has stuck her raven haired blue eyed pretty head out the front of the wagon, and is mesmerized by the wonder and beauty of the Magic Ones riding the magical unicorns.
"Yes and no. The other group we split from has been attacked and decimated by a force of two thousand soldiers, a flight of ten dragons, a score of harpies, many trolls and over one hundred sorcerers and dark priests.
"The remaining members scattered in groups of one and two and are no longer a viable fighting force. They should be okay, though, because the enemy force has moved on."
"Well, that's good." Christopher says, trying to see some kind of good in this.
"Not really," says the same young wizard. "Somehow they know that it was you who attacked their kingdom, and that you are now leading this force. The only reason the massive enemy force has left the other remaining group members alone is because they are coming for you, and us."
"Oh, all right then." Christopher says, unfazed.
"Not to worry, your golden eagle comrade is bringing himself and another six dragons with him. They should be with us within a day. Plus the massive Allied force is about to break out of the mountains and begin their offensive to the west. It should begin within the week."
"Hmm." Christopher ponders all of it for a second. "How far behind us is the enemy force that is hunting us?"
"At the rate both groups are moving, they will not overtake us before a week's time. Well, their ground forces, anyway. The dragons and harpies can ambush us at any time. The fairies who are keeping a close eye on them for us say one of their own spies found you by following the smoke of a forest fire."
"Alright, there is nothing to be done about it now. Pull out. Hey, what direction are they traveling in?"
"Okay, we'll keep moving south for a while, and then we'll turn southwest ourselves until we hit the coastline, and we'll hightail it west from there."
By midday both Caitlin and Katarina are sitting next to Christopher on the wagon. They pause momentarily to get the food out and disperse it, but they will eat it on the move. Off to the east Christopher hears what sounds like a stampede. Hopefully it is not a cavalry charge. Christopher hands the reins to Caitlin, and Shadow comes up next to the wagon and he jumps on him.
Christopher orders, "Young wizard, take the column to double-time and I will perform a delaying action."
But one of the witches says, "No need."
She then points in the direction of the noise. Soon the cause of the noise appears. At first one comes out and then another and then another, and then they just keep coming and coming and coming. By the time they fall in line there are two hundred centaurs and another fifty human allies mounted on war-horses and ready for battle.
It appears Venloring is the natural home of the centaurs. Centaurs are graceful and amazing. Even though the human portion of the centaur is very muscular and they often stand higher than a man on an eighteen-hand stallion, they move with a grace and ease that is spectacular. Up to this point every centaur Christopher had seen have all been various shades of brown, and their hair is more like the mane of a regular horse. Wonderful.
By the time the golden dragon and his reinforcements catch up with them, their expected numbers have grown. Abyss, as Christopher had called him when he was in his eagle form, brings fifteen dragons and twenty-five pegasuses mounted by seasoned warriors from the North Country. They look truly splendid in their dark blue uniforms and their armor, which is smaller than the type Christopher has seen before, but they are still placed in the most vital areas.
As their numbers continue to grow, Christopher begins to wonder if they shouldn't just turn around and fight the enemy force coming up behind them.
The biggest most amazing dragon Christopher has ever seen lands nearby and explains, "The enemy has mustered a force of a hundred thousand troops, with thousands more magical creatures, to confront the Allied Force that is about to begin the offensive in the west. It is a much larger force than we thought they would be able to put into the field. Somehow they have united the solitary trolls and harpies, which are native to the nation of Quadral, and there are tens of thousands of them in the enemy's army."
"Okay, then if success is to be ours our force here will have to hit the huge force in the flank shortly after the two massive armies clash. The dragons tell me the battle will begin southwest of a town called Herum." The very same town where Gabby and Calandra live, and this strange part of Christopher's adventure began. He continues, "Out on the huge open Westlanders Plains. Which is the southeastern half of the plain where my village and life had begun."
"So it will end near where it began for me. Fitting, I thought."
Every league they marched, Christopher's eagerness grew and so does their numbers. A flight of another five hundred fairies joins them. Katarina's eyes tear up with pride. Yes, they aren't big enough for melee combat, but they are excellent at recon and distracting maneuvers. In a battle for all or nothing, sometimes all it takes is a momentary hesitation on the part of your enemy that makes the difference between life and death. They might not be able to wield a sword, but their beauty and wonder alone will strengthen this army. With their sparkling see-through wings of every color of the rainbow, and since girl fairies are like every other girl of creation and they like to look pretty, they all wear transparent chiffon-like dresses that match the color of their wings. There clothing have unique properties to where, when they turn a certain direction and light refracts off of it, it appears they disappear right before your eyes.
The force has grown so big that Christopher knows there is no point in trying to be stealthy. They find the main road and progress with purpose and pride.
The ever-growing Shadow Brigade comes to several more small and medium villages. Instead of telling them to go into hiding they tell them to pack up and come with them. With an army as large as theirs they are going to need support personnel. Their one lone wagon turns into fifteen.
"We couldn't come up with enough horses to mount everybody, so our infantry forces grew steadily. Including the minotaurs who kept joining us. Our infantry now equaled our cavalry at about four hundred each. The call had gone out. The end game was now in play."
With every stretch they covered and every day that passed, the smell of salt air became more potent. Christopher had never seen an ocean before, and he was as excited as Caitlin to see it. Caitlin with her raven hair and blue eyes may be only sixteen, and is only five foot six marks tall weighing in at one hundred and ten stonelings, but she has proven herself under his command, so he puts her in charge of all fifteen wagons and to get them armed with bows with lots of arrows. It raises a couple of eyebrows when he puts a sixteen-year-old sweetheart in command, but no one questions his orders in the slightest way.
It appears the Platinum Dragon let it be known to the rest of the late arriving forces that it was Christopher who took out the caravan and attacked the enemy's own capital, freeing many slaves in the process. If he knew any more of his actions, he did not speak of them.
"I became a living legend to them all, and I wasn't sure how that made me feel."