Here we go Chapter 2 as promised nice and long too :)

Chapter 2

Corvus beat Piper back though only just. He did have an unfair advantage. As they flew once over the island it seemed almost completely covered in forest, apart from a few sandy beaches and higher peaks. In total the island was roughly three and a half kilometres square but looked uninhabited.

Corvus had Sigrid fly alongside Aileas, he lifted his helm to allow her to hear him. "Is it just me or are you more pale than normal?" Piper either hadn't heard him or was too preoccupied with something. honesty he didn't know which he like least. Pipers temper was as fiery as her hair and as sort as Terrible Terror's attention span. When she was worried it was for good reason.

Piper had been Corvus' oldest and closest friend for years. They knew each other's deepest fears and inner most secrets. They couldn't hide anything from the other of an long period of time, not that they normally would. So her silence at losing the race and his quip worried him.

They descended to almost sea level before heading to a large tunnel in the cliff wall, Corvus though not ever liking the idea of chief was the 'official' leader of the 'tribe'. Naturally there were people who felt that they could do a better job such as Asmund, one of the triplets however his sisters Aslog and Aslaug kept him in check. Most believed The Council worked well if a bit slow at times, it was these times or when it was too urgent to call a meeting when they turned to Corvus for the deciding vote.

The tunnel lead them to the underside of the largest peak almost completely hollowed thanks to the veritable army of Gronkles used in the 'construction'. In the main cave space there was water deep enough for Scauldrons to live happily. It was breathtaking the light reflected off the pools to cast an almost eerie blue effect on the whole space.

Corvus came in low zipping under the rope bridges that allowed the human residence to cut out long walks or climbs. Sigrid glided in to a lower platform where most of the primary riders awaited him. As Corvus looked around he saw:

The Triplets; Asmund, Aslog and Aslaug with their Deadly Nadders; Mace, Maul; and Club respectively.

Balthazar and his Monstrous Nightmare Flamestorm

Gull and her Stormcutter Overwatch

Hector and his Skrill Stormchaser

Eindride and his Changewing Smoke

and finally Jorunn and her Razorwhip Slicer

They all turned at the sound of Sigrid's approach. A Night Fury's distinct whistle being unmistakeable. Corvus slide from the saddle as Sigrid landed. With one swift fluid motion He removed his helm, overcoat and back pack. As they dropped to the fall he was approached by Hector who bowed low in respect. Corvus hated this. This is why he had formed the council, however Hector was a man of great honour and respect. He was the groups best scout often away for months at a time mapping and scouting the area around the Island. Currently though he was home thankfully, over the past few weeks a single Dragon had been probing the tribe's boarders. Each sighting had been deeper in, though not directly towards the Island but hopping from outer island to island as if looking for something. The group had enemies sure you can't go around freeing slaves and dragons , hunting trappers and in some unfortunate cases exterminating stubborn foes. It pained Corvus to kill but as his 'Farther" had said; "Sometimes you have to kill to protect, but it must always be your last choice not your first. It will and never should be easy to do either, that is what will set you apart from the monsters in this world." It was for this reason that Corvus had issued strict instructions that they were to watch and not engage unless attacked first.

"My Lord Corvus." Hector's voice was deep as distant thunder but Corvus knew that Hector would rather bloody his hands saving a life than taking it. His dark eyes flicking up to meet Corus' own "The dragon has been sited again." he paused as Corvus returned the bow and as the stood the clapped arms, palms to forearms.

"Scout Master, how many times to I have to tell you Corvus was fine before we lived here and it is fine now."

"At least one more Lord." He looked over Corvus' shoulder as Piper landed on the platform. "What is wrong my lady? The news I bare is not so grave." Piper gave them all a sort nod and headed to the Map Chamber.

"Come my old friend." said Corvus placing his right hand on Hector's left shoulder guard "Shall we? Everyone inside." the nine riders entered the Chamber where Piper had gone before.

The Map Chamber was also the Briefing room where the Tribes Rider Squadrons were given the days flight plan and patrol details. It was a wide short room with a large scale map of the Island it's surroundings on the far wall. There wasn't much more room to add to now having explored huge portions of the area. Facing the Map Board were five rows of tiered wooden benches in a slight semi-circle to allow each rider a clear view. The riders filed into their seats except for Hector who stood that the front to deliver his findings. Most of the Dragons head poked around or above the seats.

Hector stepped over to Jorunn. "May I borrow a few throwing blade my dear?" In reply she pulled ten short blades from her leather work belt and passed them to Hector "My thanks." he said with a short bow.

"I am getting them back right? Slicer hate it when I need to make more."

"Then make them out of Gronkle Iron instead." Chipped Gull. The two of them had never seen eye to eye but they work as a team well enough.

Jorunn was about to reply when Corvus cut them off. "Don't start. Not now. Hector, please."

Hector stepped over to the map and be putting blades in Island on the map. "As you all can see this dragon has been systematically going to every single Island in this area. Now from sightings I can say that roughly they come from here pointing South-east. It is my theory that it was look looking for something."

"Was?" Corvus as leaning against the seating one across his chest the other absently playing with his beard.

"Aye was." Hector repeated. "As of this moment they are here," he put one last bade into the board. Close. Far too close."And look to be there for the night at least."

"They?"

"Yes this time there are more than one."

"Number and Species?"

"Four. A Deadly Nadder, Stormcutter, Rumblehorn and a Night Fury."

"Night Fury?" Some of the riders whispered in unison. Corvus stopped and looked straight in to Hector's eyes.

"Aye a Night Fury, with my own eyes." Hector said, answering Corvus' unasked question. Even Sigrid had stepped forward now. They had not seen another Night Fury since Sigrid's Farther had passed away seven years ago. "That is not the biggest thing." everyone one Dragon and Human held their breath. What could be more shocking than another Night Fury? Hector took a deep breath. "They have Riders."

Everyone gasped. Everyone except for Corvus. His expression that of a mighty tempest turned to the group. "Bal!" his voice that of a commander broke the spell on them "Bal, gather as many Nightmares as you can. Nets too big and strong. Triplets go to the Armoury and get ten crossbows and a Hundred Speed stinger bolts in Quivers of ten."

"Yes, Chief."

"What will we do?" asked Hector?

"We are bringing them in. All four." Corvus said smacking his closed hand into his palm for emphasis. "The rest of you make ready. We leave at sundown." Corvus stalked out of the Chamber. Piper watched him go. She hated seeing such a kind and loving person change so much so quickly least of all him. Though she would never admit it, he scared her like this and that scared herself even more.