Part 6 : Dragon vs Dragon
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Posted 27 October 2002 - 05:55 PM
Twilight 6: Dragon vs Dragon
The first thing Shivon noticed when he awoke for the second time in the small tent was the light throbbing pain in his head. The welcoming-party held for them by the bedouines had lasted intil very far into the night, and he was very hazy about the details near the end of the evening. Someone seemed to have helped them to his bed, however... He could not remember.
The second thing he noticed was the warm figure pressing against his chest. Vierna, still wearing the outfit she wore last night, that of the exotic bellydancer, was sleeping next to him. Her soft white hair tickled his chest as she slept peacefully.
The third thing Shivon noticed, and which was also what had woke him in the first place, were the sounds of commotion around his test. In the morninglight, Shivon could notice shadows of men, women and children running around the camp. Mixing with the cries of terror was the low howl belonging to Brimstone, signifying that something was definately not right...
"Vierna, wake up," Shivon said and tried to wake his lover, but he knew it was futile from the very start. Vierna simply rolled to her side and fell into an even deeper sleep. Vierna would only wake up, when she wanted to wake up.
After groggily getting to his feet, (and making sure he was respectable) Shivon slowly made his way to the entrance-flap of the tent. He pushed the flap aside, only to find chaos on the other side. The Bedouines were in a state of total panic. The animals too, were going wild and camels and dromedaries were pulling and chewing on the ropes they were tied down with. Just as Shivon was about to ask one of the frantic bedouines what was going on, he heard Lenny calling from the other side of camp.
"Shiv... wak... rna! Att... gon..." Shivon could only make out through the noises, but soon, the cause of the panic would become all too apparent. An ominous dark shadow fell over the camp, as if the sun was being blocked by...
Shivon looked up, and noticed a blue shade, about the same color of the desert. It was a dragon... a Blue Dragon, swooping down towards the camp while crying a shrill bellow to impress the puny creatures running from it even further. Just as the gigantic reptile nearly reached the camp, it released a powerful bolt of lightning from its mouth, which slammed down into the middle of the camp, sending tents ablaze and people flying through the air. Shivon felt the rush of air through his hair, pushing him down as the airborne reptile passed low over the camp and swooped upwards again, blowing a gust of wind through the camp.
Shivon was frozen by the magnificent spectacle. The dragon put a respectacle distance between the camp before turning around for a second pass. Just then, one of the dromedaries broke loose and ran for dear life. Immediately, the dragon adjusted its course to chase after the unfortunate creature. It passed over the camp for a second time, and soon arched its long neck downwards to scoop up the screaming dromedary. After the sounds of a sickening crunch passed, the dragon seemed to had lost interest in the camp and flew towards a mountain range in the distance.
Relieved that the ordeal was over, the bedouines scrambled around to find their families and belonging. A few moments later, a yawning Drow wearing a very revealing suit stepped out of her tent and stretched. "Hey, what's going on?" she asked groggily. "Whoa," she said when she noticed the mess. "Must have been quite a party."
Lenny and Shivon shared a look : Only Vierna DeVir would be able to sleep through an assault by a dragon.
"Does this happen often, chiefy?" Gerty asked the chief. They were brought into the chief's tent after helping clean up the mess and despite what had passed this morning, the chief still wore his warm inviting smile, though sadness lined his eyes. "I remember my uncle Jan complaining about gopher-offensives, but this is rediculous..."
"It happens every week or so," the chief signed. "The blue dragon Triop'isyiiljias comes, swoops down and grasps whatever comes in front of his talons. Horse, dromedary, camel, man... it does not matter to him."
"You are nomads, right?" Shivon asked. "The desert is big enough, why don't you simply move away."
"We tried," the chief sighed. "By the gods, we tried. But this is a valley, you see, with only two exits. The beast was waiting for us by the mouth of the valley, and drove us back to the oasis. Twelve good man were killed... or eaten in the proces. The blue beast must be a mage of great power. There is no way he could have known what we were up to otherwise."
"This hasn't been going on for long, I gather?" Glyill asked.
"No, just for a month or two," the chief said. "You see, the blue beast came to this valley only four seasons ago, but then, we were under the protection of the great Hyyr'uitychtj!"
"Try saying that name three times fast without coughing up a hairball!" Gerty chuckled.
"A little respect for the great desertdweller, please!" the chief stressed in a friendly manner. "The great brown beast Hyyr'uitychtj has been dwelling in this valley before our forefathers founded this tribe. Just like us, he travelled the sands until he decided to settle in this region. When the blue beast came, this valley was often the site of grand battles, of which neither was the victor."
"A brown dragon!" Vierna said. "No wonder! Blue and Brown dragons are both very territorial! Not to mention the fact that they hate each other with a passion! But why would a brown allow you to settling in his territory?"
"Our forefathers made a pact with him. In exchange for a fresh horse for him to eat every month, he would keep us save on his lands, drive predators and other creatures away, and makes sure none of our livestock wanders off into the desert," the chief said, obviously in awe of the dragon he described.
"Of course," Vierna said. "Browns can eat and survive on sand, but they consider horse-flesh a delicassy!"
"How do you know so much about dragons?" Lenny asked.
"Duh," Vierna giggled. "I'm a Ranger! It's my job to know so much about animals and creatures! It's what Uncle Minsc taught me : To become the forest by knowing the forest. Or the desert in this case." Vierna couldn't help but smile when she thought back to the time when she told her uncle Minsc she wanted to be a ranger, and how proud he looked after she had told him.
"Fair enough," Lenny chuckled.
"The great Hyyr'uitychtj has taken his promise very seriously for generations, but recently he seems to have disappeared. We have sent envoys to the location of his burrows..."
"burrows?" Shivon asked.
"Browns don't have lairs," Vierna said. "They dig tunnels like rabbits..."
"...but no one ever returned," the chief lamented.
"So you know where this burrows is?" Vierna asked. "Perhaps we can check up on Hyyr'uitychtj for you and figure out what has happened to him. We need the scales of a Brown dragon anyway."
"Heeeelllloooo!" Gerty said, and stood on her toes to softly tap Vierna's forehead. "Anyone in there? Wasn't the 'no one ever returned'-bit a major clue?"
"We're going," Vierna mouthed.
"Figures..." Gerty sighed. "No one listens to us Jansens. It's just like my aunty Gyrr. She told everyone in Athkatla that the sky was falling! But did anyone listen to her? Noooooo... But then again, it wasn't the sky that was falling, but it was uncle Fred who emptied the rocks from his shoe after a long day of work in the gravel pit from the second-floor window, which aunty Gyrr happened to stand under before making her grand proclamation."
"We leave immediately," Vierna said. "We'll leave the camels here and procede on foot. Carla, we will take with us.She can carry our armors while we travel. If we stay downwind, we might be able to sneak up on the dragon."
"Ah," Gerty sighed. "We're all gonna die..."
Carla the mule, carrying all the armors, looked very unhappy as she trailed the sand-logged party through the rough sand of this desert valley.
"Is it just me or is that donkey giving you angry stares once in a while?" Lenny asked Vierna.
"I would be angry too if I had to drag five armors on my back," Shivon snickered.
"Hey, V," Gerty asked. "How do we know that dragon ain't dead? For all we know him and old blue-skin might have duked it out to the death by now."
"See that mound of sand over there?" Vierna chuckled.
"If you start digging there, you'll find half a ton of sandy dragon-poop... less than a day old," Vierna concluded. "Dragons are very clean creatures, and prefer to keep their waste covered up with sand or dirt."
"EEEWWWW!" Gerty shouted.
"Not so loud!" Glyill snarled at the gnome. "Or they'll be writing 'the chattering gnome gave us away' on our headstones!"
"As long as they place the right headstone on the right mound of sand..." Gerty joked.
Suddenly, Vierna motioned the party for silence. She pointed to a series of deeply dug trenches. "Hyyr'uitychtj digs those to guard his burrows from, or to ambush prey," she said and motioned the party to cling to the side of one the trenches. After coaxing Carla to enter the trench, she instructed her friends to grab their armor and weapons and prepare for possible combat. The burrows was very near...
Soon enough, the dragon turned up. First, the head left the burrows... Then, the rest of the body, while Lenny kept his hand over Gerty's mouth to silence her.
The brown dragon Hyyr'uitychtj was gigantic. Not as half as big as Arokh, Vierna mused, but still quite imposing. Unlike other dragons, Hyyr'uitychtj was a flightless dragon and had a smooth back, save for two small stumps : the rudimentary wings. Hyyr'uitychtj was definately another type of dragon alltogether. He had relatively short legs with webbed toes for digging, and a short, but very thick neck on top of a very, very muscular body. His desert-brown skin was leathery and thus less thick then the scales of the chromatic dragons, which was painfully obvious by the many battlescars over his body, most fairly recent. The dragon had a blunt snout, filled with many broad teeth. Its tail was the only part of his body which had the same length as that of a chromatic dragon, however. All in all, Hyyr'uitychtj looked like a cross between a bulldog and an alligator, with a little dragon mixed in.
As the party were making their best efforts to remain hidden, the dragon's nose suddenly rose into the air. And before too long, he was staring in the direction of the trench Vierna and her friends lay hidden. But to Vierna... the dragon seemed nervous.
Vierna raised her hand and gave her friend the sign to keep their weapons handy. After doing that, she stepped into plain sight.
The dragon's eyes grew wide as soon as he saw the Drow appear.
"Dragon!" Vierna spoke respectfully. "I would have word with you..."
"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!" the giant dragon shrieked like a girl and dove back into his burrows with great speed.
"That was unexpected," Vierna muttered.
"Well," Glyill chuckled. "We might have just found someone with less courage than you, gnome."
"Watch it!" Gerty smirked. "Or I'll shove a turnip where the sun don't shine!"
"Follow that dragon!" Vierna giggled.
"I'll just go... shine my boots," Gerty said.
"Come on, chicken," Lenny chuckled and dragged her into the burrows by the back of her leather.
Hurridly, the party made their way through several huge tunnels, reinforced with the dragon's dried saliva until they came to the center of the tunnels : A huge dug-out cavern containing several heaps of treasure and a small collection of books. But the dragon was not in sight.
"Where the hell did it go?" Glyill asked. "He cannot have gotten past us."
"Gold...." Gerty drooled.
"He's here," Vierna smiled and took a handful of coins from the pile. She strolled over to the middle of the cavern and wiped some sand away with her foot. Afterwards she dropped the coins into what appeared to be a hole in the ground... but which turned out to be the dragon's nose. Hyyr'uitychtj rose from the floor and coughed violently to remove the gold from his lungs. Then, he noticed the adventurers inside the burrows.
"AAAAH!" Hyyr'uitychtj screamed again and backed into the wall, looking much like a frightened kitten. "I don't wanna end as some Drow matron's handbag! Please don't kill me, please! I'll doing anything but JUST DON'T KILL ME!"
"Don't worry," Vierna said and patted the cowering dragon gently on the nose. The dragon flinched, but was a little relieved.
"R...r...really?" Hyyr'uitychtj asked carefully.
"No," Vierna said. "Come on, why don't you have a lie down?" she asked, remembering that dragons prefered to sleep on top of their hoards.
"Are you nuts?" Hyyr'uitychtj challenged. "Something sharp might puncture my skin and I'll bleed to death without even noticing!"
"You're joking!" Lenny said.
"I haven't slept in two months!" the dragon retorted.
"How... Why?" Vierna asked.
"Why I'm so afraid of everything?" Hyyr'uitychtj replied. "Well, it started after me and that bastard Triop'isyiiljias were fighting for our territories again. As usual, the coward was flying and keeping his distance, while I mauled at him repeatedly. But suddenly, he whips out this orb which shines at me... And suddenly, I'm so afraid I just HAD to run away. I just couldn't bare his... scary... teeth... and... icky lightning!"
"I don't care much for lighting myself," Vierna nodded.
"Sounds like he enspelled you, somehow," Shivon said. "That orb sounds like a 'manipulator', which is often used to influence a certain individual. Very expensive to make and hard to come by... But also very fragile."
"Problem is, I can't do anything about it," Hyyr'uitychtj shuddered again. "Just the mere thought to encountering that blue blowhard again..."
"You'll have to show us where the lair of Triop'isyiiljias is," Vierna said.
"EXCUSE ME?!" Gerty yelled, making Hyyr'uitychtj jump with fear.
"It's quite safe," Glyill agreed. "Dragons sleep for days after having eaten fresh meat, correct, Vierna?"
"Correct," Vierna grinned. "As long as we are quiet, we should be safe."
"And we cannot just leave things this way," Lenny said. "These kind people, as well as this dragon are suffering because of that beast!"
"We'll have backup waiting outside too," Vierna grinned and nodded at Hyyr'uitychtj.
"No! Nada, uh-uh, nope, as if!" Hyyr'uitychtj said hurriedly.
"Okay now, lizard," Vierna grinned. "You'll lead us to the lair of Triop'isyiiljias or... or..." Vierna said, looking around, "I'll poke you with this stick!"
"OH!" Hyyr'uitychtj shouted. "You're mean!!!"
"Don't make me poke you!" Vierna grinned.
"She will, you know!" Shivon added. "I've seen her do it before!"
"Okay... just don't poke me, okay," Hyyr'uitychtj said, considering the current danger.
Together, the group walked towards the exit of the burrows, towards the sunny outside. Immediately after exiting, more exitement ensued when Hyyr'uitychtj spotted a vulture flying over. After bellowing another shriek, the big dragon stuck his head down the sand and would not move...
"This is gonna be a loooooonnng trip," Gerty sighed.
It was evening when the party finally arrived, though it would only taken them an hour if they didn't have to deal with a jittery dragon. After a short climb, Vierna stood by the entrance of the cave leading into Triop'isyiiljias's lair, which, to the party, had all the characteristics of a gaping maw, ready to strike.
"Cute..." Gerty shuddered.
"Alright," Vierna said. "Blues love to display their thropies, so this item should be easy to find."
"I've seen one of those orbs before, in a magical lock-up in Suldenesselar," Shivon said. "I'll recognize it when I see it."
"I'll go in with Glyill so we can get it," Vierna said, and smiled when she heard Gerty's sigh of relief. Glyill had the iron nerves that was necessary for this job. Vierna knew Gerty was very dependable, but dealing with dragons was definately be too much for her. The experiences in Icewind Dale dealing with the dragon Cryos came to mind. "If the dragon starts waking up, you must cast invisibility on us and get out as fast as you can. I'm guessing the dragon won't pick up on our scent, since the three of use are of elven heritage."
"Guessing?" Glyill said.
"If the dragon gets close enough he'll know where we are..." Vierna conceded.
"We smash the orb, and we need to have Hyyr'uitychtj here standing by, so Lenny and Gerty must keep him here...." Vierna said.
"Will do," Lenny said.
"Hey, Len," Gerty said, while the three elves made their way into the dragon's lair. "You're a paladin, shouldn't you be inside that dragon-hole and making self-righteous remarks right now?"
"Gerty, I'm a paladin, but that doesn't mean I'm suicidal," Lenny said.
"Okay, drakey," Gerty said. "You stay here or.... I'LL EAT THIS TURNIP!"
"No!" Hyyr'uitychtj shouted.
"She'll do it!" Lenny smiled. "I've seen her do it before!"
The dragon's lair was quite different than the burrows of Hyyr'uitychtj, and had more of an emphasis on beauty and class. A huge pile of gold lay neatly arranged against the back wall, while several huge silken sheets adorned the walls. High above the gold pile, several prized items were placed on outcroppings of rock. There was a gold buste of a dragon, a painting of a dainty lady, a staff of the magi, a battered piece of armor which sported the insignia of the Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart and... a red shiny orb...
And, of course, there was the dragon... A big blue lizard, looking a lot more elegant than Hyyr'uitychtj, with his wings folded gingerly over his body. The loud snores of the big blue beast echoed through the carvern.
Shivon pointed and nodded once at the red orb in the center of the throphy area. Glyill then pointed to a path between the rocks which needed to be climbed to reach the orb. It seemed that, just about the orb, one must give the other a boost before she could reach the orb in question. Then, while Shivon hid behind a large rock, Vierna and Glyill silently, ever so careful, snuck past the dragon's large nose. After a tenuous moment, when the dragon seemed to snort while Vierna passed, but went to sleep again, they silently crept towards the pedestals. Supported by Glyill, Vierna hoisted herself up to the platform near the orb... Then, disaster....
While Vierna stepped on the platform, she accidentally knocked a small pebble from the edge of the platfrom. All three elves held their breath as the pebble skittered over a number of rocks and finally dropped on top of Triop'isyiiljias... right between the eyes.
The huge dragon stirred and let out an annoyed groan. The dragon rose with a bellow, luckily just after Shivon had cast his spell and turned both Vierna and Glyill invisible. But the crisis didn't end there. Shivon saw the dragon had narrowed it's eyes and was sniffing in the direction where he had last seen Vierna.
In the meantime, Vierna was being absolutely still. She was faced with a choice. She could run to grab the orb and smash it, but the spell would fail and the dragon would probably snatch her before she could reach the orb. "Hey, over here!" she suddenly heard call from below and, to her horror, noticed Shivon stepping out in the open.
'I can't let him eat Vierna!' Shivon thought as the large dragon arched his long neck downwards until his maw was inches away from his own face. The dragon snorted once, almost knocking the hapless elven mage off his feet. Face with this creature, Shivon had to fight to keep from flinching... as well as to keep himself from wetting his pants.
"Well, well, well," Triop'isyiiljias chuckled. "It seems dinner is on my doorstep."
"Ermmm, th..that's not... why I'm h...here," Shivon stammered.
"No?" the dragon said with amusement. "Pray tell..."
"I... I just wanted to... express my... admiration..." Shivon said, hoping to keep Triop'isyiiljias distracted while Vierna did her thing.
"Really?" the dragon said, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
"I mean... the grace you display in flight... when you dive it is like..."
The sound of breaking glass echoed through the cavern.
"What?!" Triop'isyiiljias said and noticed the two elves in the back of the cavern. "FOOLS! I'll eat you whole!"
"Hear that bellow?" Vierna shouted at Triop'isyiiljias.
Indeed, a low growl could be heard from the distance, but was approaching fast. Soon enough, a snarling Hyyr'uitychtj burst into the cavern and slammed into the startled Triop'isyiiljias. Triop'isyiiljias tried to mount a defense, but the re-energized Hyyr'uitychtj, being enraged to the point of breaking, gave him little hope. Triop'isyiiljias's usual tactic using flight to avoid Hyyr'uitychtj's bite and claws would not work in the enclosed enviroment of the cavern, and it showed. A swipe of Hyyr'uitychtj claw ripped one of his wings to shreds as the blue dragon shrieked in pain. Immediately, the enraged brown dragon jumped on top of Triop'isyiiljias, while slashing wildy. The ground shook as the two dragons rolled and fought through the entire cave.
Seeing that the blue dragon was about to be tossed against the back wall, Glyill felt it best to abandon her perch. She jumped to one of the silken drapes and used it to swing away just before the hulking blue dragon slammed into the wall. The silk didn't hold her weight, though, so she ended up sliding over the floor towards Shivon's location.
The blue dragon was panicking fast and, this, was constantly being thrown into the back wall. Vierna, picking up on this little fact, focused her attention on one of the huge stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Immediately, she began to cast Mordakainen's Force Missles : a present from aunty Imoen for her nineteenth birthday.
The missles slammed into the large rock, and it soon came crashing down, empaling the hapless blue dragon through the chest. Hyyr'uitychtj didn't hesitate for a second and clamped his huge jaws around Triop'isyiiljias's neck. One final jerk of the head, and the battle was over...
"I claim the hoard!" Hyyr'uitychtj yelled before Gerty could speak up as she entered the room.
"Hey! No fair!" Gerty yelled.
"I cannot thank you enough..." Hyyr'uitychtj told Vierna with forced humbleness. "I am finally rid of that blue bastard... As well as his damnable spell."
"You could repay us," Vierna suggested with a smile.
"She would like to have some of your scales," Glyill finished.
"My... scales?" Hyyr'uitychtj asked with surprise. "Well... fair enough," he conceded and scratched his own belly with his hind leg, loosening a number of leathery scales, which Vierna deftly caught and stored in her Bag of Holding.
"And you," she told Shivon. Without warning, she snaked her arms around him and gave him one of the most passionate kisses she had ever given. "I love you... That was very brave, but... please don't scare me like that ever again."
The blushing Shivon couldn't reply immediately.
"Great, now we only need to find the horrors of that lost city, and we can go home," Gerty snorted.
"Lost city?" Hyyr'uitychtj asked. "Say, you aren't talking about Handretta, are you?"
"Yes!" Vierna said. "Do you know where it lies?"
"I do," Hyyr'uitychtj conceded proudly. "I know this desert like the back of my paw. I will lead you there, if you like."
"Good, but first let us get back to the bedouine camp!" Lenny said. "It'll be quite a party when they know they're rid of that blue bugger."
"They'd better have horse!" Hyyr'uitychtj added, then smiled.
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