The many waves lapsed at my feet as I stood on the beaches
edge, preparing to take flight, and leave for home. Finally, my journey was ending,
and I could save my partner's life. "The flower is secure?"
"Yes, I won't let it fall," Zana answered my
question, while taking a tighter grip around the jar.
"The rest of you are ready too?"
"Yes," they all answered with Elecwator spitting
out his with a whoop of excitement.
"Then let us fly!"
The journey back seemed much quicker then the
journey to the island, and with the winds on my back, pushing me to my destination,
I bet it was. The clouds turned a rippling pink and red, and the wind lightened
up as we reached the shore, so as the sun set I landed in the sand, red-orange
with its last rays. "We are almost home," I whispered. "Just a three days flight
and we will be there."
"We did it Dorono," Zana said with a smile on
her lips. "Against the odds we found the flower."
I smiled back, "It isn't truly over until we
bring this to Zarrel." And then I closed my eyes, and let the peace of sleep
free me from a troubled mind.
The morning came on swift wings, and soon we
were ready to fly again, this time over the swamps of Tisitan, or at least as
far over it as we could get while day still shone.
"Is it possible that you could take us back
to our village?" Thiowa asked me as I spread my wings wide for a glide. "Perhaps
they have forgiven us. My brother can be fiery, but I still love him."
"After all you've done to help me. How could
I refuse?" I said, and then changed my line of flight to head for Thiowa and
"It will be great, won't it?" Thiowa said, "They
will be surprised to see us return. Their courageous general, and the king's
sister? I wonder if my brother has calmed down at all? After losing Kath and
his newborn son, Eafro… well, he almost lost it, ruling the village is all he
"I don't know how much I will like returning
if your brother hasn't changed lovely Thiowa. My life had turned from one of
battles for the good of this world into condemning all the poor souls that had
crossed Taloum." He opened his eyes, and looked over at Thiowa. "I will stick
with you until the end Thiowa. Wherever you go, I shall follow."
"Even if it means the wrath of my brother?"
"Yes… even that."
I laughed, and looked on ahead to where their
village should be, and my laughter stopped. "What is it?" said Elecwator standing
atop my head.
"The smoke…" I said, for there where their village
should be, was a thick black smoke, the same type that you would see coming
from things that should not have been burned, but were.
"Why? What's wrong with it?" he asked, but I
remained silent. "Hello? It anyone home?" he said knocking upon me.
It was at that moment that Heshrou and Thiowa
noticed. "Dorono! Land now! Get from the air! Hurry!" shouted Heshrou, so I
veered my wings, and headed for the ground… just in time to see an arrow fly
above my head. I folded my wings against my side, and plummeted, as two more
arrows narrowly missed me. Not too softly, I landed, and Heshrou jumped off
my back, and drew his sword.
"What is it???" I asked.
"I have seen smoke of that color only once before,
and it came from the burning ruins of our village after Jown's men ransacked
"Are you sure it is him?" Zana asked. "Are you
sure that it might just be a large fire, a-and your archers were firing at Dorono
for being a hostile creature?"
"I am sure Zana Taru," Heshrou said with sheer
determination on his face. "Those arrows, did you see the feathered ends of
them. They were pure white, with wood of black, and that is the color of Jown's
"I will not let Jown destroy all that I know."
And then the courageous Krawk rushed off to meet the armies that were assaulting
his village, Thiowa in hot pursuit, pulling out a sword of her own.
"We cannot let our friendship break away now,"
I said. "Besides, I have a score to settle with that Kougra myself. Two scores
if you count that last time too." And with that, Zana and I pulled out our swords,
and ran after the two brave Krawks, with Elecwator trying to keep pace following
The clang of steel ringing against steel. That
is what I heard as we ran into the village. Thiowa and Heshrou were back-to-back
fighting off many warriors, all wearing the Kougra skull pendant of Jown. So
with a war cry, Zana and I joined in the battle.
For the first time, I realized how good Zana
had gotten with the blade as we fought off the warriors. I used to think that
she spent too much time training, now I though that she had been in the right;
with the way she was swinging that perfect blade of hers. It even cut through
the armor of the beasts to reach her goal.
"Watch out Zana!" I cried, blocking an overhead
thrust to her back. "You must learn to block attacks as well as issue them out,"
I said with a wink, and then I blocked another attack, and dealt out some of
"You must have forgotten that I am only seven,"
she said, and if it weren't for the fact that we were in an almost certain death
situation, and that I had a Gelert swinging away at me like a mad creature;
I would have laughed at the joke that Zana had just made.
We were of course soon overwhelmed, and surrounded
on all sides by Jown's warriors, all holding out their swords, ready to dig
into our flesh. With bloodlust in our eyes, we were prepared for that doom.
The warriors began to move in for the final stroke when a loud horn blew. It
had a rank feel to it, like a bellow of a dying creature, but at its blow, the
warrior's stilled themselves, Zana lowered her sword, I looked ahead with a
sickening feeling in my gut, and Elecwator quit clawing at the face of a warrior
that he had knocked over.
The first things I saw were his wings, massive,
and blood red." So what have we caught here? Two renegade warrior Krawks, a
worthless little meowclops, a young Zafara, and… and the prize we have come
for." He took to the air and loomed above us, the spikes drooping off his head,
many of them pierced with little gold rings.
"Dsupa," I said with a hiss. Known as a merciless
general, and excellent with the blade, he joined Jown, and quickly soared up
the ranks to become second in command.
"So it seems that you remember me," he said.
"Though of course then you were only a little brat of an Eyrie. I was beginning
to think that we never were going to find you, for Jown prizes you so much,
but you just flew on into our little bit of fun with these Krawks You came on
your own. For all of my men you destroyed, I would behead you, but for the fact
that Jown asked for you alive. Though your friends..." Dsupa snickered, and
licked his blade. "I got no such request for them." He turned to face his men.
"Bind the Eyrie… take care of the others."
"No!" I shouted, but before anything else could
happen, an arrow flew by my head, and pinned Dsupa's wing to a tree. I looked,
and the feather on the end was red.
"Argh!" he yelled as another arrow soared into
the tissue of his other wing. "You fools, get me down from here!" But before
any of his troops could do anything to react, several spears flew into their
ranks, giving us a clear passage out.
"Heshrou! Thiowa! Come quickly, they will regain
themselves before long!" said a fine colored blue Krawk as we ran past the startled
"Haothen," Heshrou said with a smile to the
Krawk "It seems that you have managed to escape this ruin."
"We issued a retreat of the women and children
as soon as we saw their torches," he said. "We have dearly missed you, our general."
"Quickly Haothen. Take us to what is left of
our warriors," Thiowa said. "We must gather them together. We will not see our
village fall to murderers like those!"
"As you wish my lady." And then Haothen turned
in the direction of where the last defenders of the village lay hidden. "Heshrou,
our general. Even if Taloum forbids it of us, we remain loyal to you." And then
Haothen bowed, and from behind him came out many well-armed Krawks "We are at
"Is that all we have left?" Heshrou asked looking
with melancholy at the score of warriors. "It is so few."
"These are we who are still loyal to you," said
a yellow Krawk bowing. "There are others, but they fled with Taloum."
"Thank you Tasho," said Heshrou. "It does not
matter, we can still beet back those troops of Jown's and Dsupa's. We will just
appear as if we have more then we really do. Seven of you best with the sword
come with Dorono and me. The rest of you who are skilled with the arrow, stay
back with Thiowa and the Zafara Zana."
"Don't think that you can hold me back Heshrou.
I go with you," said Thiowa walking up with her sword withdrawn.
"Not this time, I need you here for your archery
skills, and besides, my mission is almost certainly one that will lead to my
Thiowa smiled. "Okay General. What is your big
"We will have to resort to hope, and skill in
this battle, but we can do it. Thiowa, you will lead the archers to the northern
outskirts of the village, and I to the east. Prepare your men to fire, and when
I give the signal, fire arrow after arrow into Jown's ranks. As soon as you
catch their attention, my men with Dorono and me in the lead, will charge our
foes. Don't give up. Don't look back. You are warriors of this tribe, now let
us protect our homeland."
"Archers unite," Haothen cried, and then he
and those to go with him marched off through the dense swamp trees.
"We can do this," Heshrou said, and then he
and I walked off with seven other Krawks behind us. All of us ready to fight
to the end for the sake of saving the Krawks homeland."
To be continued...