Chapter 12 - First Flight Day
We made our way to the village after introducing Red to the village elders. It's funny but I could see a natural affinity between the two species (elfin & dragon). Everyone was full of praise for Arvin. He was definitely a hero amongst the elfin villagers. The elfin children were seemingly infatuated with Red and he lapped it up. I think he's just an older version of Arvin.
Arvin seemed a bit distant so I pulled him aside while Red kept the elfin folk entertained. "Okay, what's up?" I asked.
For an instant I thought he was going to cry but he didn't. When he finally spoke I could here sadness in his voice, "I think Zen is angry with me. I wouldn't let him come with me to meet Red. Of course, I didn't know it was Red. It could have been another dragon intent on doing harm. I couldn't take the time to argue with him so I roared angrily at him and left. It made him cry and then he yelled he-he," a tear formed in his eye, "he hated me. I had to get to you to make sure you were safe."
"Arvin, he didn't mean it. It's an impossibility. That boy is so in love with you -- it's impossible for him to hate you. Look things are fine here. Go back to your rider. I'm positive you'll be greeted with apologies and tears. And besides," I had an idea; "You can make it up to him by taking him on your first flight today. Ah! Don't you dare say you're not ready. I know you are. Zen knows you are. You are to go to the point and do a leap of faith and fly -- I swear it's what dragons are supposed to do!"
He nodded, turned and walked off slowly towards the training field. "Hey! Put some speed into that walk or your ass will become fat!" I laughed. Arvin chuckled and picked up his speed.
"I see my son -- ugh nephew looked happier as he left. I sensed something was not right with him. Is there a problem with me?"
"No, I ugh meant my nephew. I don't have ugh..."
"Red cut the orcshit! If you are going to be with me, work with me, then be honest and truthful. And by the way he looks a lot like you."
Red looked away and then back at me. "He doesn't know that I'm his biological father. His mother was killed by some orcs. I killed the orcs that killed her. We managed to save Arvin but he got very sick before his clipping ceremony and so it was postponed and then never happened. I was in a way grateful for that but I knew he'd have trouble and have to go through the same hell I'd gone through as a young dragon.
My penance for killing the orcs that killed Arvin's mother I was sent away and forced to work for the orcs in their army. At first I refused to do things for them but they then threaten me that they would kill my son so I capitulated. I never killed for them. They knew better that to demand that of me. I hate them for taking Arvin's mother from me and for the years I missed in seeing him grow up," Red finished and stared out to the sea as we were now at the point.
"You need to tell him. Don't live a lie. Besides, I know him and a real father is something he needs," I told Red. I knew what it was like not to have parents -- real parents. Changing the subject I said, "Show me your wings."
"Show me your wings. I want to see them! Come now don't be shy!" I teased, but in truth I really did want to see them. He was definitely embarrassed. I think it must be like human guys showing each other their penises. Some are proud, some are really shy.
Red took a deep breath and unfurled his mighty wings.
Like him they were truly magnificent! They literally took my breath away. At first all I could do was stare at them, but finally I spoke or perhaps yelled enthusiastically, "They are magnificent! Awesome! BEAUTIFUL!"
He turned his head away from me which I realized was him being shy. He furled his wings.
"You-you like them?" he asked in his deep but hushed voice?
"LIKE THEM, NO I LOVE THEM!" I exclaimed, "I thought Arvin was beautiful but you really out class him a bit. I am going to teach you to fly! I will be your rider if you want."
"You will teach me to fly?" he asked.
"YES! I swear!" I ran to him and gave his leg a hug. He was a really big dragon and did I mention I was short?
The next thing that I knew a big wet dragon tongue licked the side of my face.
"Hey!" I laughed and he chuckled deeply.
"So, you will teach me to fly? I've always wanted to do that in fact sometimes when I'm alone I spread my wings and flap them but I'm too heavy."
"What do you eat?" I asked.
"The usual dragon food, vegetables and fruits."
"That's problem one! You should be eating meat," I said.
"Yes, raw meat. A fresh deer or wild hog everyday is what you need. I put Arvin on this diet several weeks ago. You see you need meat. Your body is designed to eat meat and it will as a byproduct of digestion form hydrogen gas which will be stored in your internal air bags thus making your body much, much lighter. Meat -- protein will help to build up your muscles. With training we will strengthen your wing muscles and voila you'll be able to fly."
It was a good thing I had watched `Dragons -- A Fantasy Made Real' DVD at least twenty times when I was in the human world.
"We were always told eating meat was bad for us," he said.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. That's just orcshit! Orc oppression of dragons meant to keep you weak and under their control."
I heard the squeal of an excited elfin boy and turned to see Zen joyously riding on his dragon's back. I knew it was time. Arvin was going to fly. The timing couldn't have been better.
"Are you firmly strapped on?" I shouted to Zen.
"Yes! I am strapped in so tight my balls are squashed flat!" laughed Zen, "We're going to FLY!" His excitement was evident. He continued, "Zeek and Zac will be here in a second. Hello, you must be Red, Arvin's uncle. I'm Zen, Arvin's elf and he's my dragon. We will be together forever! You okay with that?"
Red chuckled deeply replying, "Yes, yes. I'm happy my boy has found someone like you."
I noticed Arvin give Red a curious look and then a smile as if things suddenly made sense.
"Okay my dearest friend, don't let the imp push you into doing something your not ready for," I said.
"Imp! Indeed!" laughed Zen.
"And you our first dragon rider, who shall be know wide and far as Zen The Incredible, the First Dragonrider of Landsphere," I said cheerfully.
"You honor me, my king, King Gladimhere," he said but instead of being in jest it was said with true sincerity.
I noticed Zeek and Zac had arrived.
The moment of truth had arrived.
"Go with love and magic," I said which was then repeated by Red, Zeek and Zac.
"I love you Arvin. Let us be as one. Let us FLY!" said Zen and with that Arvin moved forward, unfurled his wings and leapt forward and off the cliff as he gave a mighty flap of his wings.
He was airborne! He was flying! Both he and Zen were shouting with jubilance. I watched as they went higher and higher then into a short dive with Zen screaming like a kid on his first rollercoaster ride. Back up Arvin climbed through the air turning and maneuvering perfectly. After a half an hour they flew over us and Zen shouted, "Meet us at the training field!"
So we all ran to the training field. Poor Red was completely out of breath by the time we got there. A crowd of elfins were watching the sky in awe as Zen and Arvin performed various maneuvers.
As the two landed all of us cheered so loud they could have heard us in the village and beyond.
I led the way to the two followed by Zeek, Zac, Red and the rest of the elves.
Zen deftly dismounted his dragon stood by his dragon's front legs. As I approached the Arvin lowered his head and eyes to the ground and Zen fell to one knee in a bow. In unison the two said, "Your Majesty" and then remained silent and with heads bowed.
After a fleeting moment I realized I needed to say something.
The words that poured from my mouth loud and clear were, "Rise, Lord Commander of the Dragons of Dragon's Tail and Sir Zen, The Incredible." I hoped they were the right words.
It was a joyous moment for me. Seeing Arvin and Zen flying was a dream come true. Well, half true -- we need to find some platinum deposits so there could be fire.
After all congratulated the two heroes I decided we should have a feast in celebration and today should be name First Flight Day. Everyone agreed and several elves ran ahead to spread the news.
By feast time I noticed a renewed relationship between Arvin and Red not as Uncle and nephew but as father and son.
During the feast I saw to it that Red began his new diet. Between the two they consumed three large hogs and a deer. Of course they ate alone and away from the elves which the elves preferred and frankly, so did I.
About a week after Arvin and Zen's first flight Zen spotted some shiny rocks on the face of one of the mountains in Tail's End. It turned out to be sperrylite. Arvin was a bit weary about consuming the rocks but Zen talked him into it. He was glad Zen had because he found that he did have a taste for it. The interesting thing is that turn into a white liquid like substance that was stored in a pouch in his mouth cavity which he could control how much of the substance that spewed out of the pouch.
Late one evening when elfins were all asleep Arvin, Red and I snuck off to the point. I knew that his flight bladders contained hydrogen gas and if the mineral he had chew up contained platinum it would ignite the hydrogen.
The first time he tried to breathe fire only hydrogen hissed out of his mouth. His second try there was a `pop' flash of ignited hydrogen that was still in his mouth cavity. The third try he seemed to get the hang of it and a brilliant blast of fire erupted from his mouth. For the next hour or so he practiced breathing fire.
Red was the typical proud father. He could hardly contain himself. "That's my son! My son, Arvin, Landsphere's first fire breathing, flying dragon!" He shoved me gently with his nose every few moments saying, "That's my son! Isn't he great?"
Finally after two hours of spitting fire I suggested that we call it a night.
"Okay, but first, Dad it's your turn to spit fire," said Arvin.
"Me?" asked a shocked Red, "Ugh, well, I haven't eaten any of that platinum stuff. So I can't."
"Dad we just have to swap spit like I've seen Zeek and Gladimhere do," laughed Arvin.
I burst out laughing and Red looked shocked, Arvin talked him into it and then explained to Red what to do. Within a few minutes I was watching the two trying to see who could produce the biggest flame. Red won.
My friendship with Red became closer and closer. During workout he'd push himself to the limit. The father and son relationship between Red and Arvin was developing well too.
I knew Red would be ready to fly within the next two weeks. Then we would have two dragons in the air. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen. Zen and Arvin reported that the orc army was on the move and heading to Tail's End. They estimated about two thousand orcs were on the move.
We were well prepared. I figured we'd kill or wound about two hundred with the various booby traps the elfins had built along the Narrows. This would confuse them and hopefully show them we were a formidable enemy and maybe even surprise then enough that they'd turn back.
I held Red and Arvin back as a last line of defense. It was not easy to convince them to remain out of the fight unless we were beginning to loose but they finally capitulated to my command.
We figured they would attack at night thinking that the elfins would all be asleep and they had great night vision. We could hear the yells and cries of orcs getting injured or kill by the booby traps we'd set.
My archers were all in place as soon as the last booby trap fired we lit the two bonfires on the pathway which gave us the advantage of seeing them while my archers could shoot safely from the shadows. No mater how good their night vision was the bright light of the bonfires impaired their night vision. Any that managed to get passed the archers would be smashed by the logs being dropped on them.
After three hours of getting no further than the bonfires the orcs retreated. At daybreak Arvin and Zen did a reconnaissance over the area and reported that there were a few wounded orcs further inland and that it was safe to reset the booby traps and remove the dead orcs.
The body count on their side was seven-hundred and ninety-eight. We had no idea of how many were injured. We had no injuries or deaths on our side. It was a victory for us but we knew it was only the first battle. There would be more to come. The next time there would be more orcs. Red figured they'd send at least five thousand. There would be five hundred orcs standing rear guard to prevent any retreating.
We would be outnumbered twenty-five to one. We couldn't afford to keep the battle to just the Narrows. Red and Arvin were the only ones who had seen the land north of the Narrows. We would have to use the dragons in the coming battle. I finally decided there was too much that I didn't know.
I think my bonding with the older dragon seems to have increased our senses of knowing when the other needs us as I heard the large dragon approaching.
"We need to speak," I said.
"That's why I'm here," he replied, "I sensed you needed me."
"How long before they regroup and attack?"
"No less than three months -- probably more like four. They will have to move their troops from the Northlands. Then they will argue over tactics and who's to command. I should be ready to fly within a month or less. I shall work harder."
"What worries me the most is what happens if we should happen to win the next battle? They will send even more orcs. With 5000 we are outnumbered twenty-five to one. I can't see us wining that. We need allies others to join us in our fight."
"That will be difficult. There is so much distrust between our species."
"Any possibilities that we could recruit more dragons?" I asked.
"Always possibilities but probably from those who are secretively free thinkers. I know of a few who might be persuaded especially if they know that a magical human will be leading them. Just the thought that you might exist was what drew me here."
I was thinking over what Red had said when he mumbled, "And should you find a younger more attractive dragon to ride I would humbly step aside."
I looked at him and shook my head, "Oh, dude, get real! What the fuck! You think my friendship with you is that weak that I would want to ride a younger dragon! Fuck man! Dude! YOU ARE MY DRAGON! LOOK AT ME! WE -- YOU/ME -- WE ARE A TEAM. LET ME NOT HEAR ANY MORE FOOLISH TALK LIKE THAT IT WEAKENS US!"
Red moved forward towards me and gave me a dragon's kiss (he licked my face with his very wet tongue). I licked his cheek in return. Until that moment I had not realized the strength of our bond. With him I knew we could win. His wisdom and judgment I trusted more than anyone including Zeek. Red and I spent the rest of the day training. Zeek, Red and I plus Arvin, Zen and Zac slept under the stars that night. I think Red enjoyed Zeek's company and discussion as much as I.
Our talk that night was mainly about approaching the dragons. Zeek insisted that he fly with Red and me because he wanted to bond with his own dragon. He'd already seen it happening in a dream. He said in his dream he saw a dragon flying north to get the northern elves to join our battle. In his vision he saw those elves were skilled in creating the finest swords of incredible strength.
Zac had a similar dream and insisted that he ride with Zen and Arvin as he too wanted to bond with his dragon. His vision took him across the sea to meet with the dwarves.
For the next month we all trained hard and so did the elves from the village. Arvin and Zen continued their flyovers often with Zac going along. Red, Zeek and I began flying after three weeks and finally we were ready to visit the dragons.