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The 44 Dragons
by Margo Fallis
Part Two - Arbutel - Chapter 25

          After releasing the forty dragons, Crispin ran and hid behind a dead tree trunk lying on the ground. He curled up next to it and raised his head for a peek. He heard and then saw Jorna grumbling her way to the empty hut.

          When she opened the door and saw the dragons had escaped, she went into a rage. She pulled out her wand and zapped the walls. They exploded outward, falling to the ground. She screamed and went on a rampage, zapping everything in sight. Trees exploded, rocks blew into tiny pebbles, and dirt burst from newly formed holes in the ground, damaging everything in its path, like shells in a major battle zone.

          Crispin cringed when Jorna zapped several hundred bats flying overhead. They fell to the ground, landing on the ground near him. One landed on his arm. He knew if he moved or made any noise, she’d simply zap him too.

           After hearing the explosions and thuds, Darmantha stormed out of the other hut. “What are you doing, woman? Are you mad? Where are the dragons?”

“They’re gone. All of them! Disappeared! Vanished into thin air!” Jorna put her wand back in her pocket.

           Nothing surprised Darmantha anymore.

          Jorna expected him to go into a maniacal rage.

          Instead, after taking a deep breath he said, “They’re not all gone. Clean up this mess. Come back to the hut when you’re finished.” He went back inside.

          Jorna looked at the mess. She didn’t feel like cleaning it up. She pulled out her wand once more and used it to put the hut back together. She went to the hut a few minutes later and saw Provan chaining Jago and Rosenwyn to the altar. When she went inside she said, “You caught two of them. Good. Why don’t we cut them to pieces and roast them to a crisp.”

          “These aren’t the dragons from the hut. These ones are different. Quirin and the others are on the island. Those two,” Darmantha said, “are not your ordinary baby dragons. They are special in some way. I’m not exactly sure why, but can sense it in them.”

          Provan double-checked the chains. He’d wrapped them around the dragon’s legs to make sure they wouldn’t get loose. He picked up a hammer drove the other ends another two feet into the ground, pounding until his arms ached. “You’ll not escape this.” When he went back inside he threw himself down on a chair and said, “Now what? Do we go and look for the missing dragons?”

          Darmantha sneered. “They’ll come to us. They want these dragons and by now, or very shortly, they’ll know we have them.”

          “How do they know?” Provan thought about what he just said. “What I mean is, the dragons might not head their way. What if they go the other direction?”

          “You stupid idiot, Provan. Of course they’ll head right for Quirin and the others. Don’t be such a fool,” Jorna scoffed.

         Darmantha watched the two arguing. He shook his head in disgust, trying to ignore their behavior. “ When they do come, I want to have a few surprises waiting for them. It’s our chance to rid ourselves of these dragonkeepers once and for all.”

                                                # # #

“I’ve got to get out of here and warn the others.” Crispin pushed the dead bats off him and crawled away from the huts. “Which way should I go?” He closed his eyes and heard a voice flow into his mind.

Crispin, come to Luba. Go straight towards the tallest mountain on the island. Gretel, Marti and Quirin are here, waiting in the village at the bottom.”

“Who said that?”  He didn’t know, but he knew he should follow the instructions. “Whoever it is, I’m coming.” He looked for the mountain. “That one is tall. That must be it.” He ran toward it.

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