Shadowed Moon chapter 10

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 2/12/2010

 

Chapter 10
 
My cry drowned away into silence as the driffod’s themselves made next to no noise. Franticly I ran over to a heap of rock and scrambled up it, failing to notice that three of the hideous creatures had fallen off. Halfway up the rock I slipped and tumbled back down, my arms and legs aching.
Ditri blasted through the trees, catching several of them on fire and dove towards a mound of the writhing, swarming mass of black fur. His great, green, bat-like wings flapped together beneath him, creating a sharp snapping sound that startled the animals. A sudden hope rose in me as the mound appeared to move but I soon realized that it was just the movement of the driffod’s. With a pained look Ditri turned to me in midair and swooped down lower so that his tail trailed the ground, sending several pieces of the black wave flying. His clawed arms reached out to me and grabbed my shirt, hauling me up into the air.
With some surprise I saw that the driffod’s were falling away as we climbed higher. The dragon placed me on a rock perch and struck the driffod’s with his tail, roaring and flaming in anger. He batted them left and right with powerful sweeps of his tail and the spade at the end thudded into the turf like a great blue hammer.
The suddenly his movements changed, as if he had seen something that I had not. I looked but my sight was impaired by the rock I was on so I attempted to peer over it. When I did I saw that Ditri had gone back to the mound and grabbed at it with his claws, pulling out the limp form of a wolf. I bit my lip and watched helplessly as Ditri flew higher, dropping off any ferret type pursuer. His talons were wrapped securely around Faylin as he hovered, his wings holding his heavy body airborne while he searched the trees, extinguishing the fires with the wind from his wings.
I realized that he was searching for Catalee as his eyes roved over the forest. I waved my arms in the air and yelled to get his attention. “Over there!” I called, pointing to the tree where Faylin had placed her. He nodded and went to the tree, finally scooping out the fox from the branches in his other claw.
Ditri flew over and landed somewhat awkwardly on the pointed rocks with both of the victims in his grasp. Neither of them moved.
I scrambled along the rocks closer to him and found Catalee just stirring, her mind awakened by the sudden movements of dragon flight. I reached a cautious, trembling hand out to Faylin and touched his back. When he didn’t stir I looked up at Ditri with tears in my eyes and I hurriedly blinked them away, my whole body shaking from the adrenaline.
“Lara, it’s alright.” Ditri murmured. He laid his charges down gently and smiled a little. “Those monsters will soon go away and we’ll be okay again.” He soothed.
I stared at his eyes. “But Faylin’s… dead.” I whispered.
“Really,” growled a voice. “That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
I let out a cry of joy. “Faylin!” Then my tone changed. “How could you? You made me feel guilty because you died trying to save me and then just, just…tried to joke!”
Ditri was laughing now. “I could have told you, Lara. I felt his heartbeat.” He laughed again and Faylin attempted a chuckle but ended up coughing dryly and gasping in a ragged breath.
“I’m not dead yet, anyway.” He replied but his lips curled up to show his teeth in a stiff smile.
Catalee whimpered and I went to her, checking her injuries before picking her up and holding her close to me. The fox closed her amber eyes as I stroked her silk fur. “I’ve never been, er…held before.” She said slowly and I about sat her back down again but then she added, “It feels kind of nice.” I smiled at her.
Faylin growled. “Enjoy being cuddled, eh?”
Catalee sniffed at him. “Yes, in fact, I really do.”
“Break it up you two.” Ditri rumbled in false judgment.
“Yes, lord Ditri.” Catalee replied meekly.
Faylin growled.
 
As evening came we were high above the forest, our packs and other supplies strapped to Ditri’s back in a sort of sling and us riding as well as none of us were very well off from the attack. Except for Narris that is, who remained unharmed having flown out of the way of the brutes as they arrived. She was in a very bad mood however and Ditri asked her about it.
Narris glared over at Catalee. “Ask the vixen.” She spat.
Catalee made a piteous sound and shrunk down on Ditri’s back as the hawk flew beside her.
I was looking out over Ditri’s rough, green and blue hide and could see the remnant of the driffod’s horde as they ran in the direction we were flying, the black blanket swarm left several members behind and as we continued I saw more and more of the black things lying still on the ground. 
“Catalee?” the forest lord rumbled softly.
Catalee sobbed a little. “Durant.”
Faylin stirred from his comfortable nap. “Durant?” He growled fiercely.
“He, I was trying to get him when I saw the, er the driffod’s.” She rushed out. “But he wasn’t in his home and so I went looking for him and I couldn’t find him for the longest time, and I, er found him but then the driffod’s were there and…” She trailed off, sadness in her eyes. “I tried to save him, I really did but the driffod’s were, well, already there and I couldn’t get him out so… I’m sorry!” She whimpered.
Faylin’s head sank down and I felt a change in the rhythm of Ditri’s flight. Narris merely clacked her predator’s beak at the fox whose ears fell flat against her skull.
“Precisely, lord Ditri.” She cawed. “That little mangy beast is responsible for the badger’s death.”
Ditri flew down in a circle and landed roughly, and unprepared, I slid off his back to tumble into drying mud. He turned a stern eye to his passengers. “Everyone get off for just one moment.” He ordered, using his lordly position in authority.
Faylin jumped off and then limped into a sitting posture while Catalee slid down the dragon’s scales and crouched by his feet.
Narris landed on the turf and glared one beady eye at the fox. “What do you have to say for yourself Catalee?” the hawk clacked. When Catalee didn’t reply Narris continued angrily. “You left him, I saw you. You just turned tail and ran off for your own safety, never even thinking about the older badger who might need help.”
“I thought he was right behind me.” The vixen replied softly.
“Well stop thinking then, you know that you’re not good at it!” Narris barked in sharp reply. Catalee hunkered down under the onslaught of the hawk’s accusations, her amber eyes miserable. Narris’s eyes, though of similar color shone spitefully as she berated the vixen, her snapping, yellow beak not far from Catalee’s head.
Faylin who had been unusually quiet during this exchange, even for him suddenly snarled; his hackles raised and snapped at the hawk, causing her to leap into the air to avoid his teeth. “Back off hawk, before I tear your wings off.” He threatened and looked very capable of carrying it out. Narris wisely hovered in the air away from him.
“This is not Catalee’s fault.” He continued. “You said you were there, so why did you not do anything?” Narris was briefly fazed by this question and then opened her beak to reply but Faylin cut her off with a vicious glare. “So she is no more to blame than you. No one is to blame.” He finished and stared at her, his eyes daring her to contradict him, to even look at him. They glared intensely for nearly a full minute before Narris landed, without blinking and turned away, covering her weakness by preening her feathers. Faylin continued his glare until the hawk shuffled in near submission.
Ditri cleared his throat, attracting the attention of both the duelers. “Actually there is someone to blame.” He said and Catalee cowered all the more. “Not any of us.” He assured her.
“The driffod’s.” I said.
“Yes, but why?”
I didn’t understand his question until Faylin explained. “Driffod’s are mostly solitary creatures who will sometimes hunt in packs or migrate in groups but never like that. First of all their migration doesn’t start until midwinter and this is summer. Second, they were not hunting; they were simply driving forward and catching whatever prey they could find on the way. What Ditri means then is what or who caused this behavior?” 
I turned to look at Ditri. “Kellen?”
The dragon nodded. “It would seem that he knows something about our plans and has made us his target. How he can control such a large number of creatures like that is beyond me but from now on it is clear that we must be cautious. He was intending for there to be casualties.”
Catalee sat up straight. “Does that mean, er, ah that he was actually, here?”
“I suspect he was controlling them from far off.” Ditri replied reassuringly but there was worry in his green eyes.
“What about the heights that made those…creatures afraid?” I asked.
Ditri smiled. “Driffod’s are like weasels or ferrets, they are scavengers and hunters and when they are in large numbers they can go after larger prey. We figured out long ago that they fear heights and that if you are caught by them, to climb a tree or rocks, or fly even and it deters them.” His expression turned grim. “They live mainly in the forests in hiding and are rarely seen, which makes this so unusual. Kellen has figured out a way to control them, this was a demonstration to us of his growing power.”
            I looked around us as Ditri turned back to the others. “Instead of blaming each other, we need to work together. Faylin, be more considerate. Narris, be less aggressive and Catalee, try to calm down.” I stifled a laugh at this, despite what we had just been through. The fox was beginning to grow on me.
Faylin was looking over the rocks and sparse grass that surrounded us and I began to be conscious of the distant thunder of a waterfall. Faylin walked over to a black lump and flicked at it with his paw in disgust.
“Why are they all dying?” I asked, gesturing to the dead driffod.
“Ran out of fuel.” Faylin spat.
“Well,” Ditri said. “We seem to already be at the waterfall and it is growing dark. Hop back on and I’ll fly us over the cliff and then we can find a suitable place to camp.” So I again tried to mount the huge dragon’s side, which is far more difficult than with a horse. For one thing, a dragon’s scales, though sharply edged, are very smooth and slick. Faylin watched me and my face grew red as I slipped down, afraid that he would laugh. But Faylin’s thoughts appeared to be elsewhere and I finally got on.
Ditri’s body swayed as he prepared to take off, and then suddenly we were in the air. The smooth flight created a sense of false ease and I was careful not to relax else I slipped and tumbled to my death. Not pleasant thoughts. Think nice thoughts. I told myself.
We flew over the waterfall and landed by the lake.
“Narris,” Ditri said. “Go find a suitable campsite. Lara, you and Faylin find branches for a fire and Catalee, you stay with me.” Narris flew off and Ditri began to pull a small box from the items on his back. Catalee helped him to unfasten the rest and Faylin and I walked in different directions to find sticks to use as firewood in the field, with only a few trees in site.
“Why is Narris so angry?” I asked Faylin as he limped up beside me.
“Everyone deals with grief in different ways. Narris uses anger. Ditri makes himself busy and Catalee becomes more…Catalee-like.”
And what about you? I wanted to ask him, wondering how he was taking the death of Durant. I soon got my answer, Faylin remained very quiet as we sat around the fire that Ditri had provided, his yellow eyes staring into the distance.

Comments

Poor Durant :( This is a good

Poor Durant :( This is a good story, Kay. I'm sorry I didn't comment on the last few. I missed them somehow, but I just caught up. How do you pronounce Lara's name? Is it Laira? I realized when I thought that Faylin was dead that I actually liked him, for all his gruffness. And you're doing a really good job of developing characters (such as Lara asking too many questions all the time). Also, what did you make your cover for your book on? It's really neat. Would it by any chance be Print Shop?

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 02/15/2010

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The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Lara is pronounced...gee i

Lara is pronounced...gee i never thought of it before: like 'lark' but with an 'ah' sound on the end. (and minus the K, :) though i almost like the sound of 'Laira' better. I noticed looking back over the first few chapters-and wincing painfully as i read them-that Lara was a very flat character so i tried to start doing more with her. And i didnt make the picture, LoriAnn did and she simply used whatever program that was on her computer already, you'd have to ask her what it is. THanks for the comment! :)

Kay J Fields | Tue, 02/16/2010

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

Poor Durant!! BTW, Kay, I

Poor Durant!!

BTW, Kay, I love Faylin. He's awesome! 

And I really like this story. It's like the Dragon Keepers Chronicles and Narnia all rolled into one! :0)

Heather | Sat, 02/20/2010

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

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