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The 44 Dragons
by Margo Fallis
Part Three - The Dragon's Hope - Chapter 35

“I’m tired of waiting for Quirin and his crowd. Is everything in place?” Darmantha wanted to make sure Jorna and Provan followed his instructions completely.

“We did as you asked, Darmantha. Everything is set. The spell you told me to put on the tinkini spiders came off without a problem. They’ve been instructed what to do and when to do it,” Jorna said.

“And what about the water? Is that taken care of too?”

“I cast a spell on the Pimbo River. You were right. Quirin and the others are headed for Sparma Springs, just as you said they’d do. The spell will take place tomorrow near dawn. Tonight, they are sleeping among the ruins,” Provan said.

“I hope you did it right. How can you be certain they’ll spend the night there? We can’t afford to have them come any closer and interfering with my plans for the dragons. How many of them did you see?”

“I saw and heard Quirin, Sindri, Claring, Marti, and the girl, Gretel. They didn’t see Jorna or me. I’m sure of it.”

“Good. Excellent. If that doesn’t stop them, we’ll have a few more surprises. They’ve forgotten just who they are messing with. Gordinth wasn’t with them, was he?”

“I didn’t see the old wizard. He’s probably back at their village with the boy,” Provan said.

“Maybe it’s time I paid a visit to Gordinth and remind him that I am here. You two stay with the dragons. Don’t go near the cage, unless you want your fingers sizzled off. I’ve put a spell on it. It won’t hurt the dragons but it will harm the person who tries to touch them. Under no circumstances are you to let Quirin and his crowd get this cage, do you understand; even if it is at the peril of your own life.”

“We’ll watch the dragons. Are you going after the others, the ones that escaped?” Jorna asked.

“After I deal with the boy and Gordinth, I’ll bring those annoying creatures back here and we’ll have our rituals and ceremony, before we slice them open and skin them alive.” Darmantha’s evil laugh sent chills up Jorna’s spine. “Prepare the altar. I want it to sparkle like diamonds. Polish it until it shines. Have wood ready for a fire.” He waved his cape into the air and disappeared, leaving Jorna and Provan alone.

 “At least he’s gone now. My legs will never be the same. Have you any idea what it feels like to hang upside down for six hours? Every bat on the island pecked at me, not to mention roola bugs and jijib spiders.” Jorna rubbed her arms. She still felt their spindly legs wriggling up her body.

“There was nothing I could do about that, Jorna. If I’d argued with him, I’d have been strung up there with you. Darmantha’s overpowering arrogance sickens even me. Who does he think he is taking on Gordinth, one of the greatest wizards of all times? I think you are right after all. Darmantha is insane.”

“Why don’t we just forget about these stupid dragons and get out of here before Quirin and the others come. We’re no match for them. If those spells don’t kill them, they’ll be here by tomorrow night. How can we defend ourselves against them? I’m not guarding those two worthless creatures with my life. If I sense Quirin coming, I’m out of here!” Jorna looked at Provan. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“Well, are you with me, or are you going to stay here with them.” Jorna pointed at the caged dragons.

“Let’s give it some time. I’d like to think our problems will be over soon. Maybe if we’re lucky, Gordinth will kill Darmantha and the others will die in the river. Why don’t you get us some lunch, polish the altar and then we’ll talk about it.” Provan sat down on the torn couch.

“Do it yourself,” Jorna said and stomped out of the hut.

Provan heard the crow squawking inside the hut. “Maybe we can sacrifice you on the altar too. Annoying bird. Shut up!” Provan threw a stick at the hut door. The squawking stopped.

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