Caleb's Story continued

Chapter 4 – Episode 3

Calebth thought about how much he missed his parents and swallowed a huge lump that formed in his throat.  “Mowg is in danger. We need to find a way to take him home to his family. He’ll be safe there.”

Misa sighed. “We all feel the same way, Calebth.”  But what can we do? We need a boat to take us to Dragon Island. And it takes money to rent a boat. Something we don’t have.”

He hung his head with shame. If not for him, they’d still have the gold from the mine.

Owen pinched his chin between his fingers. “We’re not far from Broadwin. We’ll go there and see if they are offering any bounties. That’s how we can get the coin to pay our way to Dragon Island.

 “This is Olog territory. There’s bound to be more troublemakers like the one I just took out.” Floren puffed out his chest. “We’ll have a pocketful of gold in no time.”

Misa burst out laughing. “You mean the ogre who grabbed you and threw you to the ground? I think the fall addled your brain. It was Owen who took care of him, not you.”

“At least I wasn’t standing there, waving my wand around and shrieking ‘Look out.’”

“I saved your hide, you ungrateful wretch.”

Owen stood with his hand on his hips, glaring at both of them. “Enough of this. Why can’t the two of you get along? You argue over everything.” He turned to Calebth. “Get everything packed and ready to go. We’ll leave first thing in the morning.”

* * * *

Broadwin was a fishing village with a busy harbor perched on the rocky coastline. Owen started at one end and went from first one boat to another, asking about passage to the Island. It wasn’t far. Calebth could see it clearly from the harbor. But one by one, the fishermen turned them down, claiming they were too busy. Or it was too far. Or they were afraid of the dragons.

They almost passed the last boat without stopping. It had seen better days. So did the man who owned it. “Captain Bounty is me name, and this here is my boat. At yer service. For a price, that is.”

Missing one eye, wearing a bandana and a gold hoop, the man reminded Calebth of the stories old-timers told about pirates. The man winked and gave them a grin big enough for his gold tooth to sparkle in the sunlight. “Sixty coins.”

Floren’s mouth fell open. “That’s highway robbery!”

“Is there something we could do to earn money?” Owen asked.

Captain guffawed. “Not unless you want to get rid of the Olog gang. They’ve been causing trouble. Their leader is Uruk. He’s bad enough. But the others even meaner and twice as big. They’ve been terrorizing the village for weeks.”

 Misa sighed. “We’ve dealt with him before.”

They thanked the captain for the information and went to the tavern to see if they could come up with a plan. They scraped together enough money to buy a pitcher of ale and took a table in the corner.  

They hadn’t been there for more than a few minutes when the gang of ologs burst into the tavern led by Olog-hai and demanded to be served. He glanced over at them and laughed out loud. “Look boys. It’s my little friends from the forest. The ones who couldn’t fight.”

Floren sprang to his feet, clutching his ax. “Okay, fellas. It’s payback time. Let’s get ‘em.” He runs up to one of them, breaks a jug of ale over his head, and knocks him out. Misa joined him, waving her wand and flinging spells right and left.

“What do you want me to do?” Calebth asked Owen.

“Protect Mowg. Make sure he doesn’t get hurt.” The ranger unsheathed his sword and followed the other two across the room.

Owen made quick work disabling one of the ogres, and Misa turned another one into a toad, while Floren cornered Olog-hai. But the ogre grabbed him and threw him into the kitchen. The cook ran screaming from the tavern.

One of them comes after Mowg after he steps on the dragon and he burps fire, singing the ogre’s hide. Calebth grabbed him, pushed him under the table, throwing dishes and furniture. . Owen saw what was happening, knocks him into Olog-hai, knocking them off their feet. Quick as a wink, Misa put them all to sleep with a spell.

“Good job, kid,” Owen said after the fight was. Surprised and pleased with the compliment, Calebth thinks maybe he’ll make a ranger after all.

After the dust settled, the mayor and some of the townspeople showed up and carried the ologs off to jail. The villagers cheered and the tavern owner served drinks all around. 

“They’ve been plaguing our little town for weeks,” the mayor said. “You get the reward we offered.”

“Did you hear that?” Calebth grinned at the little dragon. “You’re going home.”

Floren threw his hands in the air. “Let’s celebrate. Another round of ale.”

Misa rolled her eyes. “Don’t be too free with the reward. We need it to pay the captain.”

Calebth was too young for spirits, the tavernkeeper brought him a mug of apple cider.

“Too much ale makes people do silly things.” Owen pointed at Floren. Sure enough, he drank so much he got tipsy. He climbed on the table to sing, got dizzy halfway through the chorus and collapsed into a heap.  

“Cider’s good enough for me,” Calebth said. But Mowg licks ale the ale that Floren spills off the floor and burps fire. Calebth grabbed him before it can happen again.

When they got to the ship the next day, Floren came aboard holding his head. “Worse headache I’ve ever had.”

 Misa laughed. “You mean hangover, don’t you?”

He glared at her. “You’re no fun at all.”

Before Owen could tell the two of them to knock it off, Captain Bounty came by. “Keep that baby dragon down below. They’re unlucky on a ship. One wrong move and my crew could revolt.”

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