Chapter Ninety-Five: In which our enemy is imprisoned

The journey from the airfield to the nearest dragon clan hall was very trying indeed. If I hadn’t been carrying the crate containing Arwel I imagine that I would have enjoyed flying down the moonlit valleys, but the crate was both heavy and awkward. I did not want it to swing too much as Arwel might get injured, which meant that I had to moderate my wing beats with great care.

The directions I had been given were very good and I had no trouble finding the cave belonging to the Windermere dragons. They beacon editedhad set up flaming beacons on the landing stage so that I could find my way and were waiting for me as I carefully set the crate on the slab of stone in front of the cave entrance. Dusky greyish green Borderlands Dragons gathered around me to greet me and watched in silence as I shifted into my natural form, their eyes round and glowing in the darkness.

“Greetings, Lord Gryf. I am Lady Fors,” a beautiful dragon said, bowing to me. “I have never seen a dragon shape shift like that. It was most impressive.”

“Greetings, Lady Fors. I thank you for the beacons, they made it much easier for me to find your Clan Hall. I hope you have a safe place where we can keep Arwel for a while. The Council members will be having a meeting later today to decide what is to be done with him.”

“We cleared out a store room that is deep down in the mountain, and my techs are installing a security system right now. The door of the room is solid oak, but we thought it would be best to be careful and add some security measures as well. This human has caused no end of trouble for us dragons, it would not do to lose him.”

“I am afraid that he is not a pleasant character to have around. His language is quite shocking when he is angry,” I said.

Lady Fors laughed. “There are no living quarters in that part of the mountain. He can shout as much as he likes. No one will hear him.”

Several big dragons carried the crate away and Lady Fors and I followed them. We went down corridor after corridor, deep into the mountain until we finally came to the store room that would serve as Arwel’s home for a while. Lady Fors and I used our talons to ease off the lid of the crate and then I lifted Arwel out and put him on the bed that had been placed in the store room. The kind dragons had also put a desk, chair and bookshelf in the room, and had provided their captive with books, pads of paper, and pens. Their kindness was more than he deserved. They had even hung some pictures on the wall and the bed was covered with a cheerfully colored quilt.

“This is going to be your home for a while, Arwel,” I said as removed the ropes that bound the man. As soon as his hands were free he took the wad of fabric out of his mouth.

“You cannot keep me locked up in here,” he said, glaring at Lady Fors and myself. “It would be cruel, and you dragons claim that you are civilized creatures.”

“We are civilized,” Lady Fors said coldly, her normally sparkling blue eyes turning a flat gray color. “Which is why we are not harming you in any way. You have harmed many of our kind and yet the punishment that we have chosen for you is lenient. Be grateful.”

The look in Lady Fors’ eyes was so chilling that Arwel shut his mouth with a snap and looked at her with a distinct look of fear in his eyes.

“Food and drink will be brought to you shortly. I suggest that you behave yourself. If you do not, I will personally put chains on you,” Lady Fors said. She then led me out of the room and she slid a solid bar of wood across the door which fell into a metal slot on the wall with a satisfying thump.

“Would you really put him in chains?” I asked as we walked away.

“Of course not,” Lady Fors said, laughing. “But he doesn’t know that.”

“Lady Fors, you must make sure that the dragons who take food to him cannot hear what he says. He is a gifted hypnotist, and he uses his voice to get dragons, and probably people too, to do what he wants.”

“I have heard about this ability of his. I will make sure that any dragon who takes him food wears earplugs,” Lady Fors said.

The dragons in the clan hall gave me a grand welcome and as per the rules of dragon hospitality, they gave me a wonderful meal that was very welcome. I had not had any food in many days. Unlike these good dragons, Arwel had not seen fit to feed me when he had me in captivity.

After I had had the opportunity to rest for a while, I took my leave of the dragons and, in my own dragon form, I flew back to the airfield. I should probably have shifted into some other form, a less conspicuous one, but I could not bear to do so. I needed to fly as myself, in my own scales with my own wings pushing down against the night sky around me. I was weary of going about in a form that was not my own.

As I flew I reflected on all that had happened in the last few weeks. I had said goodbye to my dear brother, had been captured by a human who was hundreds of years old, and had been rescued from captivity. Now, after months of worry, we dragons will be able to reclaim our young ones and hopefully life will go back to being as it was before this whole Meister business began.

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