The Tale of Ander Collins, Chapter Three

Fiction By LoriAnn // 2/27/2009

CHAPTER THREE

Ander peered around a tree-trunk and gaped at a large, black opening in the nearest hillside. Two pinetrees stood, sentry-like, on either side of the cave mouth, their branches strategically trimmed so as not to block the entry. The cave steamed. Ander gulped.
Backing away until he felt safely hidden by a large blackthorn tree, he gulped again. “Um, excuse me, Miss Cellie, but I really don’t think I can-”
“Oh, you will leave me too!” Cellie wailed “You will leave me as all the others have left me, and I shall be all alone!”
Frantically, Ander tried to shush her. “Hush, Miss, please hush. Please, you’ll bring the dragon out on us! Shhh.” A sudden memory of his own waterworks at the castle gate zipped through his mind. He pushed it away. The poor girl was obviously sincere.
But she ignored him, continuing her sobbing, “My mother will die, and I’ll be all alone!”
Finally, Ander gave up. “Alright, alright!”
She stopped crying instantly. “You’ll fight the dragon?”
Ander sighed. “I’ll go into the cave and look for your mother. More than that, I will not promise.”
She beamed at him “Oh, thank you, Ander, thank you!”
Ander slipped out of the bush that hid them. Something about Cellie’s voice nagged at the back of his mind, but he pushed the thought away.
Glancing back over his shoulder, he hissed to her, “I don’t have much experience with these things, Cellie, what should I do?”
She bit her bottom lip. “Um, the other knights who came stood outside and yelled a lot…”
Ander spun back to face her fully “What other knights?” he demanded. “What happened to them?”
Cellie didn’t answer. Her eyes were as big as plates, and fixed on something behind Ander’s back.
He squeezed his eyes tightly shut. “What is it?” he breathed.
A blistering hot breath grazed his neck. “Oh-”
Cellie let out a little scream and ran into the protection of the dark woods.
“-dear.”
Another hot breeze snuffled at his hair. “Are you yet another tiresome, unpleasant knight, come to attempt to murder me?” a voice like sandpaper over rough stone rasped in his ear.
Ander’s knees gave out and he collapsed in fear. His face buried in the dirt, he could only whimper as a hard snout nosed him onto his back.
“Open your eyes, knight.” The raspy voice commanded sternly.
Ander cracked one eyelid.
“Both of them.”
Both eyes popped open, to stare directly into the deep-green, reptilian orbs hovering mere inches from Ander’s nose.
An involuntary cry ripped from Ander’s throat, and he suddenly found a strength he didn’t know he had, rolling up and away from the dragon’s looming muzzle. “Aiiie!” he screamed, putting up his hands to shield his face.
The dragon eyed him disdainfully, inspecting his tattered clothes and un-washed face. “Well, you don’t look like much,” he said in a bored tone. “But I suppose I can’t expect a lot these days.” He sighed - a big, hot burst of air smelling slightly of charcoal and slightly of roasted meat. “However, I am a fair creature and I won’t scorch you out of turn for your apparent lack of...” he seemed to search for the right word.
It took him so long that Ander actually peeked through his fingertips.
The dragon nodded. “Manliness. That’s the word to use. Your lack of manliness. Now draw your sword or whatever pig-sticker you think you’re going to use and prepare to fight me like a noble knight.”
Ander took another step backwards “I don’t have a sword;” he pleaded “I don’t know how to fight, either!”
“What?” A note of surprise entered the dragon’s apathetic voice; he cocked his scaly head inquisitively. “What sort of strange knight are you? Or perhaps you are a page, and your master is sneaking up behind me.” He darted a look around, and a snake-like tongue flickered out and tasted the air.
“I…I’m not a knight,” Ander stammered “I’m not a page either. I’m just a kitchen boy!”
The dragon sighed in – was that disappointment? – and puffed a black cloud into Ander’s face. “Then why have you dared to show your face in front of my home?” he growled “I eat boys like you, you know.”
Ander hid his face again, coughing on the smoke. “There was this girl, sir!” he scrambled to explain, hoping to save himself from a fiery end. “She said you took her mother and that I had to save her and…and…” he stumbled to a halt, too afraid to admit that he couldn’t resist Cellie’s charms.
The dragon was silent.
Ander lowered his hands slowly. The dragon was shaking his hand.
Ander braved a question. “Um, so…did you?”
“Did I what?” the dragon asked
“Uh…” Ander was afraid to go one, but now that he had opened his mouth, he though he might as well find out what he wanted to know. “Did you kidnap Cellie’s mother?”
Unexpectedly, the black dragon began to huff little flares of green fire, accompanied by a rhythmic grunting sound. Ander muffled a scream, and then realized that he was laughing. “Ever heard of the Feielves?” the dragon asked
“Uh…” Ander wished he had a more intelligent-sounding answer “No.”
“Well, that “girl” was probably one of them, and no, I don’t have her ‘mother’.” The dragon’s eyes rolled in exasperation. “They love to lead travelers astray, and often bring them to my cave, hoping to get a good fight. Especially that queen of theirs; she hates me.” He looked troubled.
“But what about—“ Ander began to ask, but the dragon interrupted him.
“Luckily for you, toothpick, I’ve just eaten my lunch, and I’m not hungry for Boy ala Scrawny.”
Ander was amazed. Who would have ever guessed that he’d be having a conversation with a dragon? Or that dragons had a sense of humor?
The dragon suddenly poked his nose into Ander’s face. “Say, are you looking for a job, boy? I could use a hand in tidying up in my cave, and you’re small enough to get into spots I can’t reach.” He grunted “Plus, I usually don’t eat my hired help. Not exactly the best way to get loyalty, you know.”
Ander took a hesitant step back from the twelve-foot-tall lizard. “What happens if I say no?” he asked with more boldness than he thought he had.
The dragon shrugged his great, scaly shoulders. “Nothing. You go on your way, and I go back to my cave. You hope not to run into any more feielves, and I hope that no more non-knights bother me for a while.”
Ander stood for a moment, undecided. The dragon seemed nice enough, but he wasn’t too sure on whether or not dragons kept their word – especially when it came to frying their servants alive.
The huge, black dragon began to look impatient, waiting for his answer; and Ander noticed with trepidation the dark smoke that lifted lazily from his horny nostrils.
“Um…” Ander tensed. Then, with a sudden, snap decision, he spun on his heel and ran. Before he had even gone six steps, a gust of wind from two enormous leathern wings knocked him to the ground, and a large claw pinned him there, rolling him over roughly. The dragon’s snout was mere inches from his own, and his teeth were bared.
“I suppose the feielves got their entertainment.” His voice is thick with annoyance. “You do realize what a grave insult it is to run from a dragon’s question, don’t you?”
“N-no…” Ander stuttered, trying to suck in some cool air. The dragon’s heat seemed to boil every breath. “I’m really, really sorry…” he wished desperately that he had peeked at the books on dragons he had seen in the palace library the few times someone had sent him in there to dust. “Please let me up, I can’t breathe!” he gasped airlessly.
The dragon didn’t move, but only narrowed his eyes.
Emboldened by the lack of breathable air in his immediate vicinity, Ander heaved upward with all his strength. “I said I’m sorry, now let me up!”
The dragon reared back and roared a broad stream of fire. Ander yelped, and instinctively threw his hands over his head. The flames were not aimed at him, though. He craned his neck to see the once-green scenery behind him now dark as charcoal and ten times as hot.
“An apology is more than mere words, boy knight,” the dragon’s voice was mocking. “Enter my service, serve me well, and perhaps I will forgive you.”
“O-of course. I cou–couldn’t be happier,” Ander hastily agreed, having no desire to be burnt to a crisp.
Finally, the dragon released him. “Good,” he said slowly. “Good.”

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Ander squinted in the dimness of the dragon’s cave. Even though it was still broad daylight outside, the inside of the cavern was murky with old smoke and hovering dust. The dragon apparently hadn’t had a human in his service for quite some time.
“Where should I start?” Ander asked, his voice echoing more than he would have expected. This cave was seemingly much larger than what he could see, stretching back far into the gloom.
“Anywhere you like,” his new master’s voice was nonchalant. “Just get started.”
Still too shaken by his near-flame encounter, Ander didn’t press him further, but silently began picking up scraps of wood, leaves, and other debris to carry outside. Several times, his fingers lighted on things that felt frighteningly like bones, but he refused to examine them and determine what kind of creature they came from.
As he worked his way further back into the cave, it became apparent that the whole place was more or less empty. No treasure. This puzzled Ander, as he was certain that all dragons had some sort of a horde – but as far as he could see, there were no glittering baubles or shining coins anywhere. He peered around, deeper into the murk.
“Looking for something?”
Ander spun around to see his master’s brightly gleaming eye fixed on him. Heat radiated off the scaly nose; and a horn the size of Cook’s best rolling pin shone with a lackluster gleam in the dusky light.
“Uh, I just – that is, I was just wondering…” Ander stammered, caught by the dragon’s metallic gaze.
“Yes?”
“Um…what do I call you?” he blurted
The dragon seemed to relax just the tiniest bit. “Master will do,” he rumbled “but my name is Thraluic. Thraluic the Strong.”
Ander nodded and gave a little bow. “It’s very nice to make your acquaintance, Master Thraluic.” He said politely.
The dragon looked surprised. “You have good manners for a kitchen boy,” he said.
Ander shrugged. “Cook used to be a governess before the king demoted her to cook. She pretty much raised me.”
The dragon gave a little puff of smoke. “Hmm. Carry on.”
Ander worked for nearly an hour, hauling loads of old leaves and bones to a pile in the clearing. Finally, he collapsed beside the mound and wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. His arms and cloths were filthy, covered in dust and scraped by the sharp bits of rubbish he had been carting around. Looking above his head into the darkness of the top of the cave, he groaned. The place was covered in cobwebs, far out of his reach.
“Is something wrong?” Thraluic looked up from where he lay on the other side of the clearing.
Ander shook his head. “There’s no way I’ll be able to clean out up there without a ladder or something.” He pointed. “I’m way too short.”
The dragon swelled to his feet and came over to give the ceiling a closer look. “Hmm,” he grunted, smoke puffing from the side of his mouth. “I hadn’t even noticed. But that’s easily taken care of.” The dragon took a deep breath.
Ander stepped back apprehensively.
Whoosh. A fireball burst from deep in Thraluic’s chest and erupted through his lips, outlining the dagger-like teeth in a white-hot inferno.
“Whoa!” shouted Ander, scrambling backward and falling awkwardly to his rear. He scooted further away and watched in amazement as the cobwebs in the cave flared brightly for a bare moment, and were consumed. “Awesome!” he yelled.
The dragon looked over his shoulder at the boy, an expression of wry amusement on his scaly face. His gaze caught on the heap of trash and rubbish piled in front of his cave. “Well, now,” he rumbled. “We can’t have this – the neighbors will complain.”
Ander shrieked in half-surprise as another, smaller rush of flame poured from Thraluic’s mouth and enveloped the garbage-heap. In an instant, it too was transformed from damp, dusty litter into grey ash.
Ander leaped forward, forgetting, for a moment, his fear of his new master. “That was amazing!” he exclaimed, poking a toe into the already-cooling ash. Thraluic grunted and moved away, as though regretting his momentary lapse in aloofness.
Ander didn’t notice, staring up at the threadlike char lines on the ceiling, the only remains of the cobwebs that had been there only moments before. The cave was still dark and, well, cave-like, but it was much cleaner now, and looked almost…inviting. This feeling surprised Ander a bit, but he shrugged inwardly. This was home now, at least for a while.
It was quickly becoming dark outside; and Ander’s stomach rumbled, informing him that it had been far too long since Cook’s oatmeal this morning.
“Um,” he started tentatively. “Do you have anything I might eat, Master? If not, I can find stuff in the woods…probably.”
The dragon humphed. “Not this time of year you won’t, unless you can eat green nuts and raw leaves." He disappeared into the cave. “Stay there,” he ordered over his shoulder.
Ander peered in after him, amazed at how quickly his master vanished in the darkness.
Thraluic was soon back, with a large haunch of meat in his claw. “Here,” he said, dropping it onto the now-bare stone in front of the cavern.
Ander stared at the meat – deer, he thought.
“Um,” he said again, unsure how to proceed.
Master Thraluic snorted, a cloud of smoke streaming from his nostrils, and rolled his golden eyes. “What do you want now?”
Ander winced. “I’m sorry, Master,” he apologized, “But could you maybe, you know, flame on it a bit? We humans don’t usually eat our meat raw…well, most of the time anyway…” he let his voice trail off.
Thraluic blinked. “Oh.” He breathed in, and engulfed the haunch in flames.
Just as quickly as it had begun, the fire died away, though Ander couldn’t tell if the meat had been roasted or just, well, burnt to a crisp.
Too hungry to wonder about it anymore though, he began to pull the charred meat apart and stuff it into his mouth, blowing on his fingers when the hot meat burned them. To his surprise and delight, he discovered that while the outside of the meat was thoroughly burnt, the inside was deliciously well-done. He ate until he could hold no more, and then wiped his hands on the dew-damp grass.
Overhead, the stars were peeking through a thin layer of wispy clouds. A sudden exhaustion hit Ander – after all, it had been an extremely difficult day. In a matter of hours, he had assisted the princess – the royal heir apparent! – in her clandestine elopement; been forced to leave the castle and the only home, or job, he had ever known; been lured into possible danger by a mysterious girl with less-than-honorable intentions; and become the bondservant of a dragon! Ander smiled – he had every right to be tired after today. With any luck, tomorrow would be less fatiguing, but if he was perfectly honest with himself, Ander enjoyed the excitement of his new life. It was certainly a change from the ovens and dirty-dished he had always known!
Without realizing it, Ander curled up in the cool grass outside Thraluic’s cave. Within moments, he was asleep; watched over by a nocturnal, draconic gaze.

Comments

OOOOOO! "...watched over by

OOOOOO! "...watched over by a nocturnal, draconic gaze." You put the next chapter up. Very good, although I am slightly angry at that, whatever it was, little girl. Naughty child! Anyway, very good...like the suspense...can't wait to read more!!!
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"Pretty soon people are going to come to look at it. And some of those people will be... realtors!"--Klaus Baudelaire

Ariel | Sat, 02/28/2009

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

I love Thraluic. :D He

I love Thraluic. :D He reminds me of the dragons in Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.
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In this sinful world there is no such thing as "peace" unless someone strong enough is willing to protect and defend it. -Norm Bomer, God's World News

Anna | Sun, 03/01/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I like this dragon. Although

I like this dragon. Although it suprised me when I read that he was black and not green as I had imagined him to be. To think, that adorable little girl that I liked so much, was such a terrible whatever-elf. Has any one here had deer? I'm not sure if I have or not. What does it taste like?

I like this chapter (and I also like the fantasy part of it, just to let you know).

The Brit | Wed, 03/04/2009

so good (the story I mean)

I just love the dragon. Once again I think of The Two Princesses of Bamarre. But there isn't any black death. Deer which, when cooked up to eat, is called venicen TASTES good. But I can't stand the texture. All fatty I guess is I would describe it. Yeah... if you want to know more Velocity's dad hunts deer and brings it home regularly.
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I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Wed, 03/04/2009

:)

I think you mean Gray Death. lol - it's kinda sad that I know that.

And I'm glad Thraluic's a hit. Thanks to Shaut'tol, who originally came up with the name. I had a pic on my blog at one point. I'll see if I can't find the link.

Ah, here it is: http://musings-in-a-strange-land.blogspot.com/2008/07/ok-first-word-of-e...

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Wed, 03/04/2009

Yeah that's it grey death!

Yeah that's it grey death! oops.
cool picture of Thraluic by the way.
Through my incredible skills (yeah sure, that's it)
I manged to find that forum where you and all those other people wrote Ander's story. I really like it. But it just stopped right there. Did everyone suddenly lose intrest in it or what? I like. Oh wait never mind I won't spoil anything for the others here. But I understand what you meant about how much work goes into changing it. you really did change a lot of things
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I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Thu, 03/05/2009

:)

Did I change OK things? lol, hope so.
And yeah, it kinda got too strung out to continue. Don't worry though, I have an ending in mind

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Thu, 03/05/2009

you did a great job.

you did a great job. Especialy with chap 1. Somehow I don't think what was written originally would have worked quite as well. lol
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I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Thu, 03/05/2009

Thanks

That's a relief. :) I liked the way the story was working out, so I'm trying not to change too much.

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Fri, 03/06/2009

LOL! Love Thraluic! He's

LOL! Love Thraluic! He's awesome! I love dragons anyway... :0) And I really like the direction this story's going.
And the last line..."watched over by a novturnal, draconic gaze" is super cool!
Can't wait for the next chapter!
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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"

Heather | Thu, 03/12/2009

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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"

coming soon

Next chapter is written, but I lost my memory stick that it's on. So there's no telling when I may post. Sorry

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Fri, 03/20/2009

I lost my memory stick too!

I lost my memory stick too! But there wasn't anything VERY important on it. This is catastrophic!
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I personally predict that the world will come crashing to a halt if you don't forward this to 50 Gazillion people by noon tomorow!!
-me (in parody of a chain e-mail)

Keri | Sat, 03/21/2009

LOL

LOL, found it. After searching through every single pair of pants I own, and digging through three backpacks; under my mattress; and in a big crate of books...I found it lying calmy under the edge of my bed. LOL - just submitted chap 3 - should be up soon. :}

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"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Sat, 03/21/2009

Memory sticks

Yeah, a whole new reason for writers to freak out...Mine had pencil shavings before the most annoying guy at school fixed it for me.
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The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Fri, 03/27/2009

Formerly Kestrel

love it: want

love it: want more.
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Seen on a billboard advertising
a Septic Tank Company:
"We're #1
in the #2 business."

Sarah | Fri, 03/27/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

GOOD

GOOD chapter. At first, I was having the dragon a girl in my mind. I think it was because of "Enchanted." (The movie)Anyway, nice!
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"Their most active years are the first six months"--Old Fashioned Girl, referring to cats.

Kendra | Sat, 04/25/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Well, while I wasn't sure

Well, while I wasn't sure that the girl was a princess, I at least thought she was good. Or not bad. Whatever. I always liked dragons, and I'm positive they can't all be bad. If I had to be a servant, I guess it might as well be for a dragon. Awesome chapter!

"Oh lovely snowball, packed with care
Smack a head that's unaware.
Then with freezing ice to spare
Melt and soak through underwear!
Fly straight and true, hit hard and square.
This, oh snowball, is my prayer." - Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes

Bridget | Thu, 05/07/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

!

I loved IT!!!!

Have you read the two princesses of bammar. It sounds a lot like it exept for no gold and its a male and, Her cave was almost clean And too dark. And the girls sounds like those... Umm.. I fergot what their called. And when you said  ' wil-ow-wisp' I thought of The Never Ending Story ( good book). I like it so far

Doing good

Kassady | Tue, 02/23/2010

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
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Write On!

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