“I think this is what you don’t grasp,” she said with polite patience. “Most of nature is profoundly logical without consciousness. Just being conscious does not make one profound. All of dragondom is not big enough. Now, I hate to be rude but Mary is in
peril. Have we discussed this enough that…?”
“Absolutely,” said Spark, springing to his feet. “I’m off to the council. I’m guessing that they’ll agree at once to Mary’s request. Meanwhile, please feel free to enjoy our hospitality and make yourselves at home. I’ll be back immediately as soon as I know.”
Ceidwad and Lladwr gave dignified nods as he dashed away, leaving them with sitting with Lipperella. At once Laora and Edward scurried forth and plopped down directly in front of them. Lipperella looked at Laora and raised an eyebrow. Laora looked at the grass. Bit by bit she began studying Ceidwad with rapt admiration. It was quite something to be recognized as ‘pretty’ by such a large and important bird. She saw something in the grass. “Got ‘im!” she said, snapping up a vole. “Would you like half, Ceidwad? I’ll split ‘im with you.”
“Oh, thank you sweetheart. Don’t mind if I do.” she said, neatly snipping off and swallowing the squeaking end. “They’re delicious.”
“Edward doesn’t like them, so I guess I get to share one with somebody.”
“Well, he wouldn’t dear. Humans like things like this cooked…don’t you, Edward?”
Edward looked up from his piece of stick with a wary nod.
“And you’re very lucky, since you’re able to do things I couldn’t possibly manage…”
“Like what?” said Laora with astonishment.
“Well, you have hands on the wrists of your wings for one thing,” said Ceidwad. “so that means you could cook Edward a nice, fat vole…with your momma’s help, of course. And not only that, you’re going to be coming into your flame soon, and then you can toast ’em on the spot.”
“Your…” hollered Spark, as he lunged into view, out of the cavern entrance, “Your request has been granted!” Everyone looked up as he hurried over to the grassy spot. “However, the council feels that it can spare none other than Tors and Kast and me, and that’s only two thirds as good as you might think, since I can’t spout fire!”
“We’re certainly most grateful for all the help we can get,” said Ceidwad, “but why are so few of you able to come?”
“The clan’s preparing to move us to the Black Desert and since our survival seems to be at stake, they’re afraid to let go of very many,” he said, pulling a grass stem to chew on.
“But you’ve been here above three hundred year,” said Ceidwad with wide eyes. “What has caused this?”
“I reckon you and the White Witch haven’t heard from Elves nor Niarg since your return, aye?”
“Oh, oh!” said Ceidwad. “This has to do with Demonica in some way, doesn’t it?”
“Well, Spitemorta, to be exact…”
“Actually,” said Lladdwr, “Mary had hoped you’d ‘ave heard from the Elves, since the only safe place she could think to flee to with her enchanted ones was Jutwood Forest.”
“I see,” said Spark. “Well, according to the Elves, Spitemorta and Demonica have convinced the people of Loxmere-Goll that we dragons carried out plans laid by Niarg and the Elves to set fire to all their sukere fields. Right now they’re preparing for war with
Niarg and the Elves. When you showed up Tors, Kast and I were getting ready to leave
for Niarg to see if taking the entire clan to the Black Desert is warranted. Meanwhile, the
whole clan is being made ready for an immediate flight the moment we return. So, the
council is sending the three of us to your aid before we go to Niarg, provided we set out
“Things are deteriorating far faster than we’d expected,” said Ceidwad.
“They only approve if we can be gone within the hour,” said Spark. “Are you two right ready for a return journey?”
Ceidwad and Lladdwr nodded in unison. “Let’s go,” said Ceidwad as they sprang to their feet and gave their feathers a thorough shake.
Spark drew aside for a farewell with Lipperella, Laora and Edward and the Mob that they knew would end the moment Tors and Kast appeared up the stairs. They had scarcely had hugs all ’round when the pair came bounding out into the open with bags and gear. Spark gave Lipperella an extra squeeze and started off.
Ch. 42, Stone Heart
Carol and Tom Phipps