Chapter 9 - Agreement
I woke suddenly when I heard a huge splash in the water. It was Arvin with Zen. Zeek sat down next to me as Zac joined the other two in the pool.
"How are you feeling?"
"Good, you look better."
"How long have I slept?"
"This is our third and last time in the pool. Arvin is doing really well. I think he'll be strong enough to fly soon. Zen pushes him like you. He really didn't mean what he said and when Zac and I were doing our exercises he did them too. He pushes himself to like you do, he says he wants to be like you."
I smiled. "Zeek do you know what a bow and arrow are?"
"I hadn't seen anyone with one."
"You wouldn't unless you were hunting with us. We don't use them as weapons."
"Why not?" I asked.
"They -- the orcs out number us at least fifty to one possibly more. Our elders thought it better to be subservient than to die fighting. I always disagreed but I also respect my parents enough to not spear an orc with an arrow. I hate them for what they did to my oldest sister. They raped and murdered her then blamed it on the goblins. Goblins are nasty creatures but the do not seek carnal knowledge outside their species. My eldest brother was beaten to death in public for standing up to them for their crime. I would have been beaten to death for having injured those orcs had you not rescued me."
"But I was the one that injured them."
"True but I being known for my oddities such as being a dragon lover and professing lies that a human boy existed in our world and as the injured orcs to save face swore that it was I that injured them for no reason was guilty. I, of course was not allowed to speak in my own defense. Such is the justice of orcs."
"Do you think others of your clan will join us in the fight?" I asked.
"I think so especially because Zac and Zen are very popular amongst their friends. I think having seen you and Arvin may also have a great effect at least among the younger elves and possibly some of the elders. I hope my parents will be among them."
I almost said, "Yeah, it's a bummer when your parents hate you", but I didn't. He already knew about how my parents put me in the hospital.
"Come on get up," he said as he stood, "There's a small pool over here and I noticed the plants in it are very healing."
I think the most healing thing was being close to him in that pool. I so wanted to kiss him but I didn't want to scare him away again. Besides, I was hard as a rock and didn't want him to know that!
When we returned to the cave there were four elves waiting for us.
"Father!" said the three boys. Two of them ran to embrace their father. A smiling Zen remained seated on the dragon's back until Arvin lowered himself and then he too joined his brothers in embracing his father.
I stoically waited for their embracing to finish.
"Ahem," said one of the older elves.
The boys drew back from their embracing.
"Gladimhere," said the older elf, "I am Alsmere, the eldest of our clan. This is Zayne, father of the three boys, my son, Alsom and Shorm, second eldest of our clan."
I nodded to each as they were introduced.
"We request the help of you and the dragon to protect our village and there are many in our village who wish to join you in the ensuing war against the orcs. We wish you to be our leader."
"I accept your offer but it is up to the dragon to make his own decision in this matter. He is my friend and I consider my equal. If he accepts then I want him to be my second in command along with his dragon rider. It will be the dragon that makes the decision but he will have the rider to give him counsel."
Zen's attention snapped to me. He looked a little concerned over my statement.
"Dragon do you accept our request to help us fight against the orcs?" asked the eldest elf.
"Let me first consult with my rider," responded Arvin and then took a few steps towards Zen. "What say you rider, shall we agree?"
Zen puffed up his little chest, standing tall as he could for a twelve year old elfin boy and replied, "I agree dragon. It is in the best interest of all."
Zayne, the boy's father, eyes grew wide with surprise. "My youngest is the dragon's rider?"
"Yes sir, they have an unbreakable bond. Logically, it was the best choice although I do not believe that logic was involved in the choice. Zen is the smallest of us. He is the lightest of us and so will not tire the dragon out as much as I or your other two sons. As he grows so will the dragon. All your sons are blessed with empathy, compassion, bravery, honor and intelligence. Whether it was the choice of the dragon or the boy or both I do not know. In my world it is considered the greatest honor to become a dragon's rider and it is rare for an elf to be named as so." At least it was true in the stories I had read.
Zayne approached Arvin, "Promise me you will protect him."
"On my life I shall promise," responded Arvin.
"Then it is agreed," spoke Alsmere.
I quickly slapped my right fist to my chest over my heart, "My word is my bond." Not sure where that came from, probably some movie, but it sounded good.
"Excellent! Then we shall have a feast tonight to celebrate. For you mighty dragon we are preparing three large roasted hogs. Come let's all return to the village," said the eldest ebulliently.
Alsom who had been silent during our negotiations yet his excitement showed in his eyes as he took off running. Alsmere explained that his son was anxious to spread the good word of our agreement.
The villagers were excitedly preparing for the celebration when we arrive at the village. Elves would bow as we'd walk by them. One female elf swooned when I nodded and smiled at her (Oh! How seventh grade!).
Arvin was walking fairly slowly as the young elfin children seemed to have no fear of him and were all trying to talk to him at the same time of course. He finally stopped and lay down so as not to trample on any of them. They were all Zen's playmates and Zen was eating up the admiration he was getting from his friends. Eventually there were a bunch of elfin children sitting on his back. He stood up with of squeals of delight from the little ones now on his back. Chuckling to himself he continued on towards the town center.
Tables were being set up in the town center. I was invited to sit and have a drink. I have no idea what it was that I was drinking but it was delicious. I was told it was zarac milk. I had no idea what a zarac was.
It seems a lot of the excitement was it would be the first time many of them had seen a sunset. I'll admit it was a beautiful sunset.
I found out that the reason there were such a small party of orcs here was that the elves had been very subservient and there wasn't a need for more orcs to be stationed here. These orcs and probably along with Arvin had practically ridden Dragon's Tail of goblins. Elves were supposed to be in their homes with shutters closed an hour before sunset or be subject to being killed by the orcs. The fact that one small elfin boy seem to disregard all the rules wasn't seen as a problem. The dragon kept to himself and left them alone so that wasn't seen as a problem.
Goblins would attack a small child but rarely an adult and would never dare to enter the village due to the orcs who were about in the evening and early morning.
The orcs would return to wipe out the village sparing none. Such was their nature it seemed. Alsmere told me that there would be at least five thousand orcs sent to wipe out the village. Yes, they were dumb, slow but they made up for that in numbers. To save face the orcs that I banished would grossly exaggerate their plight. I would be said to be at least ten feet tall and the dragon even bigger.
The good news was it would take them at least a month before they attacked because they were so disorganized and they would argue amongst themselves as to who was going to be in command. Of course once that was settled they would become single minded. Destroy the human, the dragon and the elves.