When Magic Ruled The Worlds
In The Lair Of The Dragons
With the dragon's sharp talons firmly gripping his shoulders, which pinned his arms against his sides, he could not reach down and grab hold of his magic wand. Higher and higher the dragon flew until it seemed that Svarthofdi could almost reach out and touch the clouds which floated lazily around the mountainsides. Like a helpless flea, on the back of a wild animal, the little Elf realized that he was merely along for the ride.
Svarthofdi became even more concerned when the dragon stopped flapping its wings and began to circle an especially high mountain. At first he wondered why the creature was acting this way, but when he noticed that the dragon's neck was stretched downward, and its head was moving from side to side, the Elf realized that the great winged beast was searching for something that should be there,..., or even more terrifying, possibly something that did not belong in the mountain below.
After several more times around the mountain top the dragon folded its wings back slightly and dove towards whatever it had been searching for. The quick increase in speed made Svarthofdi dizzy, and as the rocky ledges below came closer and closer he wondered if the dragon intended to land, or smash him up against the side of the mountain before eating him.
As Svarthofdi screamed, just moments before they would have crashed into the side of the mountain, the dragon flapped its enormous wings vigorously, which had the immediate affect of slowing down its descent. The little Elf watched with horrified fascination as the dragon gently lowered itself, with him firmly in its grasp, down onto a ledge on the side of the mountain, which appeared to be near an entrance to a cave.
With a final flap of its wings the dragon carefully balanced itself on the ledge. As the great beast folded back its wings the full force of its weight pressed down on Svarthofdi, nearly crushing him against the rocks below, and making it impossible for him to move, let alone escape. With every labored breath he took Svarthofdi saw his chances of survival quickly slipping away. He was terrified of the beast that held him in its grip, but he feared what might lurk in the darkness of the cave much more.
Then, without warning, the dragon, which held his life in its talons, roared so loudly that it echoed throughout the mountains and down into the valley below as well. Despite his dire predicament he thought it strange that the creature did not spew forth fire with its great demonstration of fury. Svarthofdi did not have time to consider this oddity for very long, however, because the moment the dragon's display ended he heard an ominous sound coming from within the cave. The noise reminded him of something heavy being dragged across a rough surface.
Despite only partially wanting to see what was about to emerge from the darkness of the cavern, Svarthofdi struggled within the grip of the talons, that held him tight, until he was able to squirm just enough to move his head towards the opening. As his eyes adjusted to the blackness of the cave he spotted something that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up on end. There, set against the blackness, two golden eyes peered out at him. As they blinked he noticed that the pupils were elliptical in shape, and were set on their ends in each eye.
While Svarthofdi awaited the inevitable the gold orbs of light grew in size, as did the volume of the scraping sound from within the cave. Moments later the cause of his fear began to take shape as it emerged into the light of day. The great misshapen snout of the beast was the first to show itself, followed quickly by the huge jaw and ominous yellow teeth, which seemed to be a warning of what was yet to come. Then, as he watched in horror, a great light shone from the creatures belly. This light grew in intensity until it was released in a roar of flames from its mouth that shot forth a hundred feet into the air.
As though responding to the larger dragon's signal the smaller creature, which still had him pinned against the rocks, roared again. Its bellow was meek compared to the other dragon's roar, and once again Svarthofdi could not help but notice that the smaller dragon did not spew forth fire. From this observation the analytical mind of the Elf ascertained that the two beasts were mates, and that the heat generated in the belly of the female possibly had two purposes. One was to warm its eggs in the frigid heights of this mountain region, and the other was to destroy any enemy that might dare wander into its lair to steal its eggs, or kill its young. His hypothesis was partially confirmed when the smaller dragon, in a show of submission, bowed its head at the feet of its larger mate.
Suddenly the smaller dragon lifted Svarthofdi off of the ground and dropped him at the feet of the female fire-breather. For a moment the two dragons stared at one another. Then, as if she were admonishing her mate for the small meal he had brought to her, it roared loudly spewing forth a long string of flames that filled the sky with the acrid smell of smoke. Having been thoroughly belittled the smaller male dragon turned, spread its wings, and flew down into the valley below, presumably in search of a more fitting meal for its mate.
With the male now gone the female turned its undivided attention to the tiny morsel of food that it had been provided with. As the huge creature lowered its sensitive snout down towards its meal it, like most creatures, sniffed what it was about to eat. This immediately gave Svarthofdi an idea which might give him a chance of escaping the clutches of this vile creature. With a quick hand he reached into his belt and pulled out his wand. The little Elf then pointed the magical stick not at the dragon but towards himself.
" I ask that I be made to smell like rotting feces,
Spewed forth from every loathsome species,
Let this creature breathe in my sickening smell,
Make it so strong, that any appetite it will repel ! "
The dragon turned its head back and forth from one side to the other as he began to speak, almost as if it were curious as to what he was saying. By the time he had repeated the magic charm for the third time, however, the creature's expression had changed to one of total revulsion, and fury.
After a few short whiffs the dragon winced, drew back its snout, and shook its head several times as if that might help to get rid of the horrid stench emanating from the creature below it. When this was not enough to rid itself of the sickening smell the dragon, to Svarthofdi's delight, took several steps backwards, and appeared to be retreating to its lair.
The Elf's joy was short-lived, however. The dragon, instead of entering its lair stopped at the entrance and narrowed its golden eyes angrily at him. After the beast sniffed the air several more times the little Elf watched in horror as the creature's belly once again began to glow white hot. As the dragon opened its mouth, and bared its ugly teeth, Svarthofdi realized he had but one chance to live, though he was not entirely sure if that desperate action would save him either !
As the dragon sucked in a long deep breath Svarthofdi made a mad dash for the edge of the cliff. The moment that he reached the ledge, that the smaller dragon had landed on only moments ago, he heard the female belch forth a mighty torrent of liquid flames. Knowing it was now or never the little sorcerer closed his eyes, gripped his wand tightly in his right hand, and dove over the side of the mountain.
There was not time to be grateful that the dragon's flames had gone high and missed him completely, nor was there time to scream as he fell at an alarming rate to the valley floor below. Battling the strong winds, which were trying their very best to rip the wand out of his hand, he once again pointed it at himself, and in a high-pitched tone, which indicated his terror, he shouted :
" As the eagle flies, and the song bird sings,
Grow for me a strong pair of feathered wings ! "
A hundred feet from the ground Svarthofdi felt a sharp pain suddenly emanate from his right and left shoulders. Moments later that pain turned into sheer agony as two huge wings shot out of his body and unfurled. As Svarthofdi screamed in horror he realized that his descent was slowing, and he quickly discovered too that if he shifted his body ever so slightly he could catch an updraft under his immense new wings and slowly and safely ride a thermal to the ground.
Despite the sheer agony he was experiencing from his ripped flesh, it worked to perfection ! His wings, buoyed by the warm rising thermals, stopped his free fall, and allowed him to not only circle the valley to look for a safe place to land, but also to maintain, raise, or lower his altitude at will. Soon the thrill of flight dulled his pain and made him forget about the dragon which had almost incinerated him moments before. Unfortunately for Svarthofdi he also lost sight of the sky above him where the male dragon was still circling the valley looking for its prey. If he had taken a moment and gazed up he would have seen the dragon fold its wings and begin to dive down on him !
- End Chapter 19
- Next : Chapter 20 : The Valley Of Death
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2019.