Caleb’s Story (continued)

Chapter 2 – Episode 2

 “Tomorrow, you will be given provisions. You and your brothers will leave at daybreak and travel to the hills above Raintown. My sources have brought me word there is a dragon sheltering in one of the caves there. She is guarding an egg that is about to hatch. Slay the mother and bring the offspring to me. Unharmed.”

     Ollie blinked with confusion. “But–whatever for? Baby dragons are helpless. And it won’t survive without its mother’s care.”     

     “And if by some miracle it did, it would be useless,” Lleroy added.

      Lleon nodded, his jowls shaking. “What he said. It would end up being far more trouble than it was worth.” 

      Morogon bellowed at them so loud the force almost parted the brother’s hair. “Are you questioning my orders, you insignificant creatures?”

     They huddled together, shaking so hard their swords rattled. Ollie cleared his throat. “No, my lord. Of course not. We will leave on the morrow.”

      Morogon the mage had big plans for the fledging. He wasn’t about to share his plans with these three nincompoops, but he’d recently discovered that if he could take possession of a dragon young enough, it could be trained to do his bidding. It would give him great power.

* * * *

      Even though skeptical, Ollie, Lleroy, and Lleon left the next day at first light, muttering all the way

     “I still don’t understand what Morogon wants with a helpless dragon.”

     “Makes no sense to me, either.”

      “Doesn’t matter what we think. We’ve got our orders.”

      And so they made the long trip over the mountains to Raintown, checking every nook and cranny. With no luck. They were about to give up hope when they came upon a small cave. Strange noises were coming from inside. 

     “What’s that noise?” Lleroy asked.

     Lleon shrugged, but Ollie cocked his head to one side. “Sounds like snoring.”  

     They climbed down off the goat they were riding, crept up to the entrance and peered inside. Sure enough, the mama dragon was inside, her dark blue and green scales barely visible in the dark cave. She slept with her wings curled around her egg, her claws extended, protecting it.

     They stood staring, their eyes as big as saucers. Lleroy gulped and whispered. “Sure is a big thing, ain’t she?”

     Ollie eyed him. “Well, what did you expect? She is a dragon.”

     Lleon hissed. “What’s the plan?”

     Ollie pinched his chin between his fingers and thought for a long time. “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll be real quiet and sneak inside without waking her up. That way we can steal the egg and get away before she knows what happened.”

     While the brothers were busy discussing their plans, Owen, Misa, Floren, and Calebth came up the trail. They’d been following the brothers’ tracks for miles. When Ollie, Lleon, and Lleroy went back inside, they hid beside the entrance, waited and watched.

     The egg was almost within reach. Things were going great until one of them stepped on the dragon’s tail. She blinked opened eyes that burned with light against her scales. The brothers froze in a pose.

     She let out an angry roar that started an avalanche. Scared out of their wits, the brothers came at her screaming like maniacs. When the dust settled, they discovered the rocks had fallen on her head, crushing her.

     Ollie elbowed Lleroy. “Go make sure she’s dead.”

     “Why me? What about you?”

     “Cause I said so.”

      Leon whined. “What makes you the boss?

     “I’m the oldest.”

     “That doesn’t mean you should be in charge.”

     “Okay. Then do it because I told you so.”

     While they were arguing, Owen, Misa, and Floren entered the cave with their weapons drawn and stared at them.

     “Do you hear the three of them?” Misa laughed, and Floren rolled his eyes. “You guys are morons.”

     “Drop your swords,” Owen demanded.

     “Says who?” demanded Ollie.  

      Floren snorted and pointed to Owen. “Don’t you recognize him?”

      “Wait a minute. I know who you are.” Lleon turned to his older brother. “Morogon never said anything about fighting a ranger, especially not the best in all the land.”

     “But what are we going to tell him when we come back without the dragon’s egg?”

     “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” They backed out of the cave, turned and ran.

      “Is this what they were talking about?” Caleb had followed them inside the cave. He held out a large egg shaped object with a jagged crack across it. When it began to glow, he fumbled and dropped it. A few minutes later, a baby dragon poked its head out of the shell, blinking up at Owen who had squatted down for a closer look.

     Misa shook her head. “What are we going to do him?”

     “Can’t we eat it?” Floren asks.

   “There you go again. Always thinking about your stomach.”

     The dwarf threw his arms up in the air. “It was just a thought.”

      “Honestly.” She turned to Owen. “Do something with him before I do.”

     “We’re not eating any baby dragon. That would make us no better than better than a mage.”

     “Poor thing.” Misa smiled down at the little creature. “He doesn’t even have a name.”

     “We can call him Mowg.” Calebth reached out and stroked the hatchling’s bright red, yellow, and blue head while he made a purring sound.

      Floren snorted. “That’s a dumb name.”

      “I think it’s cute,” she said. “And it fits.”

      Owen turned to them. “Cute names aside. What are we going to do with a helpless, baby dragon?”  

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