Dragons Eye II: Farsigh
This is a continuation of the Dragon Eye series I first published on G+ a couple of years ago. I will publish new pieces of the story every couple of days...
Copyright Dark Aelf, 2021
Anthem spread her wings, and following Elsie's lead, approached the tower just above the white-tipped waves of the ocean. From this vantage, Anthem felt her speed and strength as they scanned the platforms high above them.
Elsie and Anthem worked as one, pulling back and rising to circle the isolated tower, tentatively burning more minor web connections and looking for the enormous spider on the isolated structure.
The platform's giant spider had ducked out of sight beneath one of the platforms, leaving thousands of tiny spiders milling aimlessly where she had been. One firey breath from Anthem was sufficient to turn them all into dust, and for a moment, Elsie forgot about Sentience and wonder if there was a counter somewhere that kept track of spiders burnt. Then Anthem turned her mind to egg sacs, igniting them on each platform into a fiery conflagration that defined waves of rain.
Fire spotted the danger before the others, and they turned to burn away the thick interconnecting webs that other giant spiders were even now mounting to help defend the attacked tower. As Anthem torched the large nets, the advancing spiders fell helplessly into the ocean far below.
She rejoiced in the carnage and her son's frenzied praise.
As she fought, she vaguely heard Elsie's referring to the rainbow. "I have not seen a rainbow-like that before. It doesn't move."
Fire shouted, in reply, "There might be gold there! We must get to the rainbow." Something deep within Anthem sent a thrill of ecstasy racing through her blood.
This time, Anthem did not respond to Elsie's nudge. Instead, the giant spider was once more visible, retreating to the tower and a remaining web pathway back to the other towers. Anthem dove low and fast and then slowed her momentum with a vast sweep of wings to flame the spider's legs and body in one solid sheet of fire.
Just as the spider started to catch alight and squirm in pain, Anthem's mind was touched by another. She did not have time to consider all the possibilities. Then it struck her hard a second time: the essence of her daughter Ice. While it disappeared, as fast as it came, it was enough for fierce emotions to ignite within her, for a moment throwing her off balance.
Too close, as she passed, the stricken spider made one final lunge high into the air. The talon struck Anthem a glancing blow, sticky green venom oozing from the smallest of cuts.
Anthem slowed, and her wings beat slowly as she hovered above to smoking ruins screaming her victory as the ruins of the flaming spider crashed down onto the lowest platform, and burning shreds of web fell into the ocean.
Then, she felt the poison, and before she could respond to the dragon's cry, she felt confusion overtaking her.
This time, when Elsie nudged Anthem in the direction of the rainbow, she complied.
It was an awkward landing next to the rainbow. Almost immediately, the dragon form started to collapse into Anthem's body. In turn, her body folded onto the platform, with tiny burning filaments of web falling from the sky around them.
Fire said, uncertainly, "You did it!"
Elsie asked, "Is Anthem alright?"
Fire said, "Her human form is weak."
Elsie cried, "No, she is injured. Look!"
Her leg had a green, sickly scar, pulsing dangerously. Anthem opened her eyes and said, "Must find... Your sister..." and then she fought for breath, "Only one can help me, and you must not..."
Anthem's eyes closed.
The air was thick of water vapor steaming off the platforms and the feel of static electricity in the air. Silence closed in around them as the rain-drenched platform was clothed in blackened silken strands.
Elsie asked, "What do we do now?" But no one replied.
Elsie slowly turned around. The platforms were misty, dull, and lifeless. The storm had moved further out to sea, and as the clouds blew away, the rings of a great gas giant floated in the sky above them. She paused and watched as it came into view, its storm clouds crackling across the surface.
Then she kept turning. Elsie gasped as she came in view of the rainbow. She had never seen one so bright and so close. She could almost reach out and touch it.
Fire shouted a warning, "No! Not yet, get the gold!" Then, as an afterthought, he said, "And my mother."
Fire looked keenly out of Elsie's eyes, blocking her vision. Then, finally, he said, "There! My Gold!"
"I can't see."
Fire moved to one side, and Elsie saw a small bag. It was the sort gold should be in, and it looked full. So Elsie said meaningfully to Fire, "Our Gold."
She waited while Fire ran through the options. He eventually said, "Our." But Elsie detected a little reluctance and stood her ground. Her mother had told her about such occasions and could not let the moment go past without straightening any possibility of future misunderstanding. As a show of willpower, she turned to Anthem and used her shoe to scrape off the venom burning Anthem's skin. Elsie reached into a pocket, and found her last emergency piece of chocolate, and put it carefully into Anthem's mouth, under her tongue, trying not to remember how that mouth had recently been a furnace and the tongue a scary forked instrument of terror.
Elsie said to Fire, in a reasonable voice, "Well?"
Fire said, "It is my nature to seek and hold gold from all, save the forever one I will share my life force with."
Elsie said, "I am nearly seven. I am prepared to share the gold with you."
Fire said, "It is a deal."
Elsie picked up the heavy bag of gold and tugged Anthem into the rainbow under Fire's instruction. At that moment, the rainbow let go of the ground. They started moving upwards, slowly at first but rapidly accelerating. Fire caught sight of a fabulous airship traveling towards the platform from the corner of Elsie's eye.
And then, everything went black.
back to the Index to Dragons Eye II (index, characters, background, maps)
The homeworld of the Wraiths (we met Growl, Wander and Belle in an interlude) is a water-world orbiting the ringed Gas Giant Farsigh. It is one of the eight worlds Sol has had a close encounter with (background).