Chapter 8- The Flight To Furnost
Through the night they rode, with Uther clutching on to Zen Blade's Cloak. He'd been very cold, for he'd been in the sky for a while now, although he had just gotten used to the fact that the ground was several hundred feet below them now! He took his attention away from the ground far below and looked at the saddle below him. He'd been rather proud of the handy work he done on the new saddle that he had made for Gray Stone from simply scratch materials. The seat was warm and cozy because it was made of bearskin over cattle hide and there were many different straps and belts built into it to hold the rider to the seat so he wouldn't fly out. He even designed an extended seat incase an passenger was offered passage onto the dragon as well.
"Grey Stone!" Uther yelled over the rushing air, "how does the saddle feel to you?"
"Tell him that it feels very light. How did he manage to make it so light with all that material he used?" asked Grey Stone to Zen Blade, which in turn answered Uther Back.
"It feels light to him, how did you make it so that would not weigh him down so much?" Zen asked.
"Well you see Master Blade," Uther yelled over the wind, "unlike horse saddles, with their heavy molding and metal braces, I didn't need all that extra weight with your dragon here. He has a natural dip right below his neck, it looks very much like a saddle, so all I had to do was fit the leather to the curve of his back. That's all there is to it, Master Blade."
"Well, you've done well. It won't slip off of him, and you've added some loops in it as well, so could attach my bags here and weapons. I've never had a personalized saddle before," said Zen.
"Well, much obliged, to someone who almost killed me, and someone who saved me as well," said Uther as he patted Grey Stone on the last part of his sentence. Grey Stone roared delightfully at this and flew even faster, jolting both men backwards. Zen Blade just smirked and laughed at this, his spirits high.
Farther and farther they flew into the night. Just about close to sunrise, they could see the sliver of silver just at the horizon. This was due to the sun hitting the edge of Tiidosten, the Alagaesian Lake that borders Surda. Furnost was just east of the northern peninsula of the lake.
They flew about ten more miles and hovered down into another set of boulders near the western side of the gleaming peninsula. After dismounting and unpacking their things, a very exhausted Zen Blade and Uther slept under large boulders, shaded from the heavy afternoon sun with Grey Stone catching some unfortunate animal in the fields nearby and, with belly full, dozing off next to the other two as well. Sleep was very much welcome to the three, for they have had no rest from the previous day before at all. Exhausted and spent, regaining strength and will, the three dozed into the late evening, just as the sun was setting, casting a fantastic splash of color and splendor to the lake near by.
At sundown, Grey Stone woke up to the smell of burning flesh, a smell that he most definitely did not enjoy. Stretching like a cat after a long nap, the great Silver dragon yawn with a mighty growl and shook off the dust that he had been sleeping on. Just as he thought, they were cooking again. He was no longer hungry, for the mysterious hoofed animal that he had eaten earlier was still happily sitting in his belly. He hovered over to the other two, both hunched over and eating out of a metal cooking pot. Both laughing and talking about some hometown they used to live in. Grey Stone made his head fit between them and sniffed the pot. With that, their fire went out, which resulted in the two to burst out in laughter!
"You inhaled our fire, old friend," Zen said laughing, "why don't you put it back where you found it?"
You know I cannot breathe fire yet, said a very offended, but never discouraged Grey Stone. It is not yet time for the world to fear my flames. I can't help. I must wait for the right moment, you know.
Zen knew that he said something too harsh, he hadn't realized that the dragon would be too sensitive over that matter.
"You will soon enough my friend," he said, with a kinder voice, "you'll scorch the land with your wrath, the wrath of a dragon! You'll see."
"I'll be wanting no part of that matter, I ain't want to be roasted to death for that!" chuckled Uther, while Grey Stone let out a forgiving, ground-rumbling growl.
They finished off their breakfast/supper and cleaned up their camp site. It was already nightfall by the time they were fed and settled. The night drew a different air to the group, a certain doom that fell upon sky. They knew that Furnost was only miles away, just across the peninsula, and that Gryoger and the small settlement of bandits were parading around the town, no other town ever knowing about it. Only hours wear left before they left to their destination and Uther was already having second thoughts about the outcome of this sudden rescue tactic as he sat on a boulder looking out in that direction. How can One man and a Dragon defeat so many Murderers and assassins, he thought. He knew how dangerous they were, all of them ruthless and merciless. No dignity or respect for human life…
While Uther was brooding over that subject, Zen took out The Lotus and sat under the stars and meditated, as he always did before a foreseen battle. Pommel in hand, the mystical forest spirit's power that rested deep within the sword emanated its power to It's beholder. With his eyes closed and mind wide open, Zen was able to play out different scenarios within him that allowed him to make a plan of attack on the bandit drenched village. With the years information that he had mentally obtained from Uther's mind, he knew the layout of Furnost almost completely. He also knew the amount of dangerous men who were there as well. There must have been about a hundred or so in the village.
He had taken on many opponents at the same time before, hundreds of them. This was no different. The only difference between these savage men and him was that they probably all have killed a handful of innocentsand civilians with little or no training at all; he, on the other hand, had killed several hundreds of criminals. He was skilled at what he did and could kill individually and in numbers. That's what he did for a living. This would be no different. Gryoger would be no different. He was going to catch him and get paid for the price on his head, and perhaps save a town from total devastation while at it.
He meditated for another hour or so until he felt the rustle of a familiar current of air which must have been the glide of Grey Stones mighty wingspan. Zen looked up and smiled, then sheathed The Lotus back in its simple scabbard.
I've been thinking about the taste of human flesh, and frankly, I'm not sure if I'm going to like it, said Grey Stone, looking out in to the lake. His silver scales were dulled by the dim shadows he treaded on.
Don't worry, my friend. Soon enough, you will decide for yourself whether or not it'll be a treat for you, said Zen. Then, on another note, he said, Tell me. From your dragon memories of yours, have I taught you anything that can aid you other than what you already know?
As a matter of fact, yes, said Grey Stone.
Really? gasped Zen.
Yes. For example, dragons are proud creatures, continued Grey Stone, they like their presence to be known. When a dragon is near, you will know it. You on the other hand, it is your duty to be invisible, so you have passed that knowledge on to me. I can be almost as silent as you can, and since you have taught me that stealth can be just as deadly as brute force, it will remain in my mind forever. I cannot describe how this has helped me understand our relationship. We are two of a kind. There is no other dragon that can hunt or fight like I can. Because of you, a am more stealthy then any of my former kin than I thought possible.
Do you not think that I have not pondered on this? Ever since my mind has awoken, I have been trying to perceive what has made me different from all my ancestors. I can feel them in my blood, growling to me, roaring and screaming. They fill my blood with power and magic, never ceasing, never ending power and magic. I feel as if I have so much potential. Rich and raw power. But I have never been around any other dragons before. I've always wondered about that, to bond with other dragons. Just that thought excites me.
But I have something far better. I have you to keep me company. I am proud be stand by your side, Zen. I do believe that we are very power allies to each other. I too have been thinking about the upcoming battle, and by my standard, I think you should go in first. What do you think?
"What? Huh?", mumbled Zen. He was still thinking about what Grey Stone had been talking about before and didn't even realize that he had suddenly switch topics
Yes, Grey Stone stated simply, you go into Furnost first and take out as many as you are able to without being cornered, if you are…
I won't Zen said abruptly. They will all be disoriented and they will rally up in the Furnost courtyard, which is the part of Furnost with the most open space. Now, not all of the bandits will come out and fight you, which is where you will mainly be stationed at. A good handful of smarter thugs will most likely be hiding in the shadows, ready to attack, like Gryoger, letting others do the work for them. But I'll be the one who will finish him off. You will kill from the outside, and I will kill from the inside. Together, we will hack the place in no time at all. Now, Grey Stone. Lets go and get this over with. I want my bounty, and the people of Furnost want their freedom.
Zen stood up and dusted himself off and headed toward the dying campfire. Grey Stone followed closely behind. When they arrived at the camp site, Uther was sitting on a boulder, his pudgy shape staring off into the moon-lit Tiidosten, his eyes vacant. Then, he took his eyes away as he noticed the other two, as if coming out of a trance.
"Ay, Master Blade, Master Grey Stone. I just be rememberin' how life used to be in the old days, but by that I mean not too long ago," he chuckled.
"Ay, don't we all," responded Zen.
Zen looked out into Tiidosten for a few moments, then looked back on to Uther.
He had left his home and his friends and his family in order to get to Grey Stone and me. He trusted us. Blindly. He didn't give up, even though I threatened to kill him. Grey Stone would have devoured him easily with one word. How the tables have turned. I now have compassion for his crusade. For his cause. How very strange. This is too much for me, I am not a savior. I am an assassin. But then, why am I doing this out of my own free will? Or am I?
Grey Stone the gently interrupted his thoughts.
Remember we share a bond, Zen Blade. Our hearts are intermingled. My wants are your wants. Remember that we can easily influence our emotions. I want to save this town. I want justice to be served. I know this because of what Uther has told me. Uther's words of power cannot lie. I cannot ignore his words, his plead for salvation from misery. It fills me with a sense of purpose. A greater purpose then that of hunting a bear or surviving a shrouded life in the forest.
Zen looked back at the gleaming Tiidosten, it looked brighter then it had a few minutes ago. A genuine smile crept slowly on his unshaven face. His silver eyes glowed in the darkness.
"So my dragon has finally found his purpose amongst the world. How very interesting."
Grey Stone eyed him slowly and stood up.
"I think its about time you suit up, Master Zen Blade," said Uther, sitting up from his trance and walking over to their belongings. He pulled out his battle armor and laid it out for Zen. Zen looked sternly at the battle garments before him, then walked over and began attaching each piece to the corresponding part of his body. He wore a chain mail shirt, a helm, wrist guards, and shin guards, all of which were made of light but sturdy material. He didn't usually wear any armor if any, but when going into battle, he'd better be safe than sorry. He had tied various cloth straps around his body as to muffle the sound of armor clinking against armor, which would be a dead giveaway if he were to approach a victim with stealth. He attached his array of throwing spikes and throwing knives around special pouches and leather folds attached his legs and thighs, and attached several battle daggers on his arms. His poison tipped blow darts wear attached to his chest in a special pouch along with its reed. He then attached the Lotus to his left hip, feeling the familiar weight of an old friend by his side. Finally, he put on his dark, light-weight cloak and pulled the hood up. He pulled out his short bow and quiver of arrows out of the bags and held them out to Uther.
"If you really are a Dauth Man, as you say, you can then humbly hold this weapon and use it with an accuracy only a Dauth archer would be proud of," said Zen to Uther.
Uther's eyes twinkled as he received the well used weapon of precision. "I know I can still hit the mark while on horse back, I do it all the time to test the agility of my saddles I create. Yes, Dauth Pride still remains in me bones. Can't rid me self of it. I'll be your long shot, for Dauth, for Furnost."
Alright then, done deal. Grey Stone, are you ready, old friend?
Grey Stone just looked in the direction of Furnost, and held back from giving an ear-splitting, ground-rumbling battle roar. Instead, he bared his foot long teeth and a low, rumbling growl. He was ready as well. He settled down and regained his posture, then knelt down so the others could saddle him in. Once he was fitted, they got on the saddle and strapped them selves in. Once seated, Grey Stone turned his neck around and faced the Armored Zen Blade, and Uther, with his bow strung and an arrow in hand. He looked at both of them with two big silver clear eyes. Uther nodded in a solemn agreement, and Zen Blade smiled his crooked smile. Grey Stone know that that smile meant somebody was going to die, didn't matter who, but someone was going to end their life by the edge of his blade.
Zen then said to both, and to himself as well, "We are ready then. Into battle we go. No one will stop us. No one can defeat us. Anyone that stands in our way will be destroyed. Let's take the new residents of Furnost by surprise. A surprise they will never forget!"
With that Grey Stone thrust his powerful translucent silver wings into the night, flying faster than anything in the sky, a silver streak shining on Tiidosten. Which a power whoosh, water sprayed around the Silver beast till it climbed higher in the sky, hidden over in the clouds, crossing the bright full moon.
Furnost. Blood. Revenge. Justice. Price. Mercy.
Mercy for those need it the most, even if their savior is a monster.
Sooooo...Wada ya think?! I love where this story is going, and its gonna get a lot more twisted as the chapters play on.
The Chronicles of Zen Blade II is coming out pretty soon! So stay tuned for more, kiddies!
Please Review, Review, Review and did I mention, Review? See you all soon and thanks for reading!