Thursday, September 26, 2019

163 - “The Rooster That Wins” - Tonklyn - A Tale of Heroes

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The cold air of the higher altitude swept around the drakemaster and cut through the gaps in Tonklyn’s cloak. His nose and cheeks felt frozen. I should have worn the scarf they offered me. Instead, he kept his face lowered to hide behind the master’s back. He pulled his hood down further.

The drake circled twice in the shadow of the mountainside before Tonklyn had the rider ease on the reigns and signal the beast to descend. This drake was of a larger variety, almost as big as a young dragon. It was a dark green. In other circumstances, Tonklyn would have admired the creature, especially in flight. But now, his legs, after being strapped into a kneeling position on the saddle behind the drakemaster for so long, were cramping, and his hands were also going numb from the cold. That the sun had dropped below the mountaintops a few minutes before was making it even worse and the constant up and down undulation of the wing flaps was none to pleasant, either.

“Is that it down there?” The drakemaster shouted over his shoulder. He pointed to a spot on the darkening mountainside. Tonklyn squinted in the wind, and then called out a confirmation.

Tonklyn’s guts suddenly swelled up into his throat as the drake began its harsh descent. How can this guy stand it? These drake trainers must be pretty hardy men. He admitted to himself that he had been impressed with the way they had captured and wrangled the various drakes, preparing them for the attacks. The mages had helped, but it had still been difficult to keep the beasts controlled until it was the proper moment to unleash them on the churches. They showed that the cult of The Dragon’s Flame had been growing, especially in the right realms, and it would soon be time to grow even more.

After a few unnerving turns in the air, Tonklyn could more clearly see the familiar landing built out of the side of the mountain. Sitting on it was the imposing figure of Kirraxal, the dragon. Kirraxal was easily twice the size of the drake they flew, and he was sitting comfortably in a regal posture waiting for them to land. His head followed their approach. Tonklyn’s heart raced. He always got tense when he saw his liege lord. His mind raced through a review of all he had done in the last months. Had he forgotten anything? No, I’m good. I think I’ve already reported it all. Still, his confidence was always a bit shaken by the presence of the dragon.

With a flurry of wings and a lot of jostling, the drake landed as far away from Kirraxal as it possibly could. As soon as it folded its wings, it crawled even farther toward the edge of the balcony. It held its head low and focused on the greater dragon. It hissed softly, with fear.

Tonklyn and the drakemaster immediately began unstrapping themselves. They clambered across their saddles and the neck of the drake to jump down onto the stone floor. They knelt and bowed. Kirraxal huffed an acceptance of their humility and a draft of hot sulfuric breath wafted over them. Tonklyn stood as the drakemaster tended to his beast and began unloading Tonklyn’s supplies.

“The attack was successful," Kirraxal said. It wasn’t so much of a question, or a request for an update, but more like a statement. It might have carried a bit of a congratulatory flavor, but Tonklyn knew better. Kirraxal’s voice was deep, with an edge of a hiss still lingering in his draconic accent.

“More so than I had even imagined!” Tonklyn said. He walked over to the growing pile of bags and trunks. He picked up his staff, lit the oculus dangling from the end with a wave of his hand, and looked over his items. “The Church was caught completely by surprise and their councils are now in total chaos. Whatever influence they had with the King is shattered. The Wizard’s Guild is dissolved, and its members are in prison or in hiding. Other factions in the realm are clamoring over each other to fill the void.”

The dragon nodded and turned toward the cavernous entrance passageway built into the side of the mountain. Tonklyn grabbed a large bound sack and told the drakemaster, “That will be all. I will take care of these things later. Return to the lower reaches.”

“But sir...”

“Go. Now.”

The man frowned, nodded, then addressed his mount and climbed back up in the saddle. He saluted and lifted the drake into the air. Tonklyn hefted the sack and hurried after Kirraxal.

“It was really amazing to watch,” he said, catching up to the dragon. “It was very much like a rooster fight.”

The dragon's eyes glanced sideways at him, curious. It was an odd expression for a dragon's face. Tonklyn explained, “when men make two roosters fight, there are no real victors. One bird ends the battle bruised and bleeding, hardly standing. The other one lies dead on the sand. It becomes dinner. The real winner is the one who’s watching, the one who staged the fight in the first place!”

Kirraxal laughed with a deep rumble. “You humans have peculiar ways. I’m always amazed at what you will do to each other.” He continued toward his chambers. “That’s why you will always be easy to rule.”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
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