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Part Thirteen - Zawkane

Chaphar began standing while whispering to Tom and Shehleg, “We need to be ready for anything. We can’t if we are on the ground.”

Tom saw the logic and stood too. Shehleg clearly understood also as she stood. Tom felt like turning and running away, but the canyon behind him and the two horses at his sides kept him firm. With no way to run, he felt trapped in a prison. To help relieve his fear, he reached left to touch Chaphar’s shoulder. It helped enough for him to face the dragon, which was already upon them.

The dragon scanned each of them in full. It appeared as though he saw every inch of them. A look of confusion crossed his face. He spoke words which seemed to be just as much to himself as to them, “Under normal circumstances, I would have burned you to ash.”

The dragon looked to the ground and began sliding his pointer claw through the grass, tearing up turf and leaving a small trench. “But I can no longer justify those orders by my honor.” He looked up at them but continued to claw the ground. “I therefore will leave you be.”

He turned to leave, but stopped and asked, “I have not had much to eat recently. Could you point me toward the nearest mindless animals?”

Tom was too scared to say anything even if he did know what the dragon was asking. Neither Chaphar or Shehleg said anything either. The Dragon nodded, “I understand that you trust me not. We are enemies your kind and my kind.”

The dragon spread his wings, covering them in their shadow. “I will leave you now. I hope you do not remember me as just a red dragon, but by my name: Zaw-kane.” He slowly pronounced his name, syllable by syllable so they would catch it. Then, with a mighty flap, he was airborne.

He turned and flew toward the nearest large patch of trees. His altitude was barely above them. His wing flaps were nearly inaudible and he scanned the ground looking for food. After a minute, he was out of sight.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner