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“This is Nettle.” Thistle announced to the other dragons that were still waiting at the base of the island.
There was a moment of absolute silence. None of the other dragons could do anything but stare in utter amazement and awe at the lady dragon in front of them.
Prickle began speaking first, stuttering in his excitement. “I-I’mv-veryverypleasedto meetyoum-mylady.”
Nettle looked questioningly at Thistle. “What did he say?” She asked.
Thistle hurriedly translated. “He said he was very pleased to meet you.”
That broke the ice. Bramble followed the racer dragon’s example, going up to Nettle and touching her muzzle with his own, the formal greeting of dragons. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance.” He said slowly, as was his habit.
Nettle graciously acknowledged his greeting by bowing her graceful head.
Brier overcame her general dislike of all royal dragons, or “rich sssnobsss” as she called them in her more gracious moments, and also touched her muzzle to Nettle’s in the same formal greeting. “Pleasssed to meet you at lassst Nettle.” She said.
Nettle bowed her head to Brier as well, and gave the treasure dragon a warm smile of friendship.
Thistle looked up at the fast sinking sun and back at the dragons. “We need to fly back to Thomas right away. Tomorrow we begin our search of the islands!”
Quickly, the dragons rose into the air and flew back to the island where Thomas awaited their return eagerly, and somewhat impatiently.
As the dragons drew near to Thistle’s home island, they saw Thomas pacing back and forth in front of Thistle’s cave. He looked up in to the sky often, and finally sighted the dragons. With a shout, he waved them down. Thistle alighted next to his friend and they greeted each other affectionately.
After the proper introductions, Thomas explained his plan for searching all the islands. While he had been waiting for Thistle to come back with the other dragons, Thomas had taken one of his father’s maps of the islands and color coded them. This made it so that each dragon had their own set of islands to search. That way, they wouldn’t waste valuable time by having some dragons accidentally search the same island twice.
Thistle was given the blue islands, Brier the green. Bramble got all the brown islands, and Prickle got all the red ones. Nettle had the purple ones, because it was her favorite color, and she insisted on having those islands because of it. No one wanted to argue.
While each of the dragons argued playfully over who had been given the best islands, Thistle took his young friend aside.
“Which islands will you go too?” Thistle asked quietly, “And how will you search them?”
Thomas smiled sheepishly. “I was kind of hoping that I could go with you, Thistle.”
“It might be dangerous.”
“I know.” Thomas shrugged, and then grinned. “When has that ever stopped me?”
Thistle shook his head helplessly. “Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind some company in the search.” He admitted.
“Then I can come with you?” Thomas’s eyes brightened in excitement.
“I suppose.” Thistle replied reluctantly, while bursting with joy on the inside. Thomas would go with him! He wouldn’t have to fly over the islands alone. Keeping his outward appearances serious, he added, “Make sure you dress for battle, and don’t forget to bring your bow, with plenty of arrows…Oh, and a sword.”
Thomas frowned. “I don’t think I have a sword.”
“That’s alright.” Thistle said. “I can find you one.”
Thomas flashed his friend a grin. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Thistle replied, returning the grin. “Now go back to your home tonight. Our search starts early tomorrow morning.”
“Early. But don’t worry, we won’t go without you.”
“I’ll be here!” Thomas promised, and left the dragons alone in Thistle’s valley.
They ate their mountain goat dinner in silence, suddenly realizing the seriousness of their business. One by one the dragons curled up into balls of heat and went to sleep.
Down in the village, Thomas threw off his covers with a smile. The steady breathing of the sleeping dragons heated the whole island quite nicely. It felt like a summer evening.
But even Thomas’s excitement faded, and he fell asleep finally, but no dreams woke him tonight.
Seventeen year old Brittney sucked in her breath and clutched her ten year old brother’s hand. She couldn’t show how scared she was. Courage, she told herself, have courage Brittney.
“Why did you kidnap me and my brother?” She demanded angrily.
“For ransom,” a voice replied. “But your brother was kidnapped by mistake. I only wanted you.”
It was from behind her, and Brittney nearly jumped in surprise, but she managed to control her reflexes and merely stiffened as if she expected to be hit.
“My family isn’t rich.” She said, trying to get more information without seeming too.
Again, behind her, the voice spoke again. “Well then, that’s too bad isn’t it?” It sounded as if whatever it was smiled while they spoke, but the honeyed words sent shivers up and down her spine. “You might be staying here for a long time then.”
Brittney shut her eyes in horror of the thought of having to stay in this place, but refused to turn around and look her captor in his face. She knew she wouldn’t be strong enough to not show fear.
Unfortunately, her captor came around in front of her, saving her the trouble of never knowing what he looked like.
She was surprised at his looks. Her captor was tall and a little on the thin side, with dark hair that was slightly wavy and reached down to his shoulders. He had a neatly trimmed beard and a thin face, but his eyes sent a chill of dread through Brittney. Except for his eyes, Brittney might have even liked the man, but his eyes changed everything. They were small and cruel. She knew that she could expect no mercy from this man.
He let her look at him for a while, letting her absorb his character. Then he chuckled and turned away from her. “Do you know me?” He asked after turning to her again.
Brittney mutely shook her head.
“I suppose your father never told you about me, did he?”
Again, Brittney shook her head, holding her brother’s hand tighter.
“Well then, I shall tell you about me, since your father didn’t.”
The man paused and put a whistle to his lips. He gave one short blast, then two longer ones. Immediately, a huge black dragon with glittering red eyes walked into the room. Brittney bit her lip in terror, willing herself not to scream. But she still took an involuntary step backwards, away from the dragon.
The man laughed, her fear seemed to please him. “This is my dragon, known by most as the Terror of the Islands.”
“Thorn the Terrible!” Brittney gasped out, suddenly recognizing the dragon.
“I’m glad you already know him. It saves me the trouble of introductions. You see, Thorn knows you. He was the one who kidnapped you and your brother.” The man paused and looked over at the dragon with a frown. “This reminds me…I thought I told you I only wanted the girl.”
“I apologize Master. I thought you wanted all the royal children.” The dragon said, his voice deep and rumbling. Smoke curled from his nostrils. “I thought that you would be able to ask a higher ransom for two children than you could for one.”
“Next time don’t think!” the man exploded, making even the dragon cringe slightly. “I didn’t train you to think! I only trained you to obey without question and look scary!”
“Yes Master.” Thorn soothed the man’s ruffled feathers. “I will do better next time.”
“You had better.” The man stormed sulkily, “Or I will replace you with a dragon who knows how to obey my instructions! Now go!”
“Yes Master.” The black dragon bowed his head and slipped from the room backwards.
The man turned back to the children, suddenly thoughtful. “You really don’t know me yet?” He asked. “That surprises me quite a bit. Your father and I knew each other quite well once. He and I spent many years together as children. That was before he suddenly became the lucky one, stealing everything that was rightfully mine.”
Suddenly, Brittney remembered. “Thorac!” She exclaimed in horror, the blood draining from her face.
The man let out a cruel chuckle, his eyes glinting malevolently. “I’m glad you remembered.” He said, coming closer and reaching out a hand to touch Brittney’s cheek.
Out flashed her own hand, slapping his away. “Don’t you dare touch me!” She flared, glaring at her father’s worst enemy. “And my father didn’t steal anything from you! He was the rightful heir to the throne, and you know it! He was kind to you, and now look what you do to his kingdom in return! You were only a half son to the king, of course the kingdom would go to the full blooded son. It’s the only logical decision!” Brittney felt tears brimming in her eyes. “You’re nothing but an ungrateful wretch!”
Anything further Brittney was going to say stopped at her lips. A stinging blow that brought the taste of blood into her mouth came from Thorac at her angry reproof.
“That will be enough from you, girl.” He spat out, making Brittney wince. “You should thank me for letting you live instead of killing you.”
Brittney glowered. “You’re only keeping me alive for your own use. I’m not thanking you for that.”
Thorac laughed. “I like your spirit. Your father would be proud of you.”
“Just leave me alone.” Brittney said, backing away from her captor.
“Very well.” Thorac shrugged and called the black dragon back again.
“Yes Master?” Thorn asked respectfully, bowing his head.
“Take this girl back to her cell.” He looked back at Brittney and gave her a sickeningly sweet smile. “Perhaps after a few hours there she’ll feel more like talking to me.”
Thorn nodded, and walked over to the children. He picked them up in his claws and took them out of the lighted room and back down to the prison cell.
Brittney managed to keep her outward appearance strong and defiant until the door shut behind the huge dragon. Then she broke down, weeping as if the end of the world had come. Truly, it did seem that way to Brittney, who had just last night been sleeping peacefully in her bed.
Everything had happened so quickly, and the next moment she was tied and gagged with her younger brother and thrown into a dark cell that stank. Yesterday seemed months ago, even though it had been only hours ago.
Her younger brother waited patiently until Brittney’s sobs had quieted some.
“Brittney?” He asked.
“Yes Patrick?” Brittney answered, lifting her tearstained face out of her arms and looked lovingly at where she thought her brother’s face would be.
“Will father be able to pay the ransom?”
Brittney sighed. “I don’t know. Thorac will ask for quite a lot of money.”
“Do you think we could escape?”
“Maybe. But Thorac will be watching us very carefully. I doubt that we would be able to slip away without him or his dragon seeing us.” Brittney shuddered at the thought of being caught in the process of escaping. “Only bad things will happen if we’re caught.”
“So…” Patrick sighed. “We are just going to give up?”
Brittney frowned. “Of course not!” She slipped an arm around her younger brother’s shoulders. “We need to wait for the right time.”
The one window in the cell, placed as high up as possible without it being in the ceiling, let the children see that it was nighttime outside. A single star glimmered cheerfully in the distance.
“Let’s wish on it!” Patrick exclaimed.
Brittney smiled. She was a little too old to still believe in wishing stars, but she hoped that it would give her brother something to occupy his mind other than the horrors of the day.
“Go ahead.” She whispered.
“I want someone to come and help us!” Patrick said sleepily.
Brittney smiled, smoothing her brother’s wild curls and setting his head in her lap. “That’s a wonderful wish.” She replied.
There was a moment of silence, but soon Brittney heard and felt her brother’s even breathing. She looked up. The star was still shining brightly.
“Same here.” She said softly, feeling slightly silly to be wishing on a star. “I wish that someone would come and help us too!”
As if in reply, the star winked at her. Brittney smiled, laying her head down on her brother’s back. She fell asleep that way, the two siblings curled up together for warmth and comfort.
What do you think of Thorac?
Does he make a good villain?
Do you like Brittney and Patrick?
Are you glad I added them as characters?
Are you looking forward to the next part?
God Bless! :D