Planet of Dragons





Chapter Sixteen-

Relief and Revelation


Several hours later, Maureen was looking toward the eastern horizon.  Distant flashes of lightning and the grumbling of thunder predicted a stormy night, and the tendrils of an idea floated around in her mind.  Turning to her companion, she said,  “You know this storm would be the perfect opportunity to rescue John.”

“It would still be difficult, but with the zanlings to give direction to the whereabouts of the Guardian, perhaps it could be done.  I am willing to try,” Bralin agreed. 

Gathering her staff and pack, she headed to the door.  “We can formulate our plan of action as we head back toward the city.”  Calling to the flutter-dragons, she gave them instructions to reconnoiter as discreetly as possible and then return.  As the two lizards zipped off into the darkness, she and Bralin left the barn and started west toward the city.  After a few hours of brisk walking they were at the outskirts, and to their delight, they met nobody at this late hour. 

As the wind began to pick up, whistling through the trees, Silverado suddenly swooped down and landed on her shoulder.  John gone,’ he stated simply.  At Maureen’s query, the lizard showed her a picture of an empty cell and the presence of many men in a nearby courtyard.  He showed her the men as they prepared mounts to ride.  Lightning began flashing more often now, giving eerie detail to their surroundings.

‘Where is John?’ she asked.  Silverado’s answer confused her.  He wasn’t able to tell where John was, only that the human was not in the prince’s palace.  Her assumption was that he had escaped, especially in light of the actions of the men that Silverado had shown her telepathically.

Men coming!’ the lizard warned her.  Maggie dived from the sky and landed on her other shoulder with such speed that Maureen was almost knocked over.  The green lizard echoed her companion. 

Fly!’ Maureen commanded.  The lizards swooped off her shoulder into a nearby tree just as a mounted troop of soldiers rode into view.    

“Have you seen an abomination mounted on a tilon ride past here?” the leader demanded.

“Yes, rode past like the wind,” Maureen told him, pointing on down the road toward the southeast. 

Instead of riding on, the leader leaned over and peered into her face.  “You speak strangely.”  He peered at Bralin.  His eyes widened in shock.  “These have helped abominations.  Arrest them!” 

Maureen wasted no time.  The end of her staff smashed down across the neck of the soldier, and as he fell off, she grabbed the small saddle horn and pulled herself up onto the tilon.  It shied a bit as she snatched the reins, but it was well trained and responded to her knee signals.  Turning, she threw the staff to Bralin and reached inside her shirt for the small round object that she had hidden there.  Holding it up, she concentrated on the rider that was charging her.  Suddenly a blinding light shot out of the object, and the soldier suddenly fell out of his saddle and hit the ground with a thud. The tilon stumbled as though tired, but recovering, trotted on down the road. 

Bralin had knocked his opponent out of the saddle, but was being accosted by two other riders.  Again Maureen held out the object and focused her thoughts on the attacker and his intents, and again a beam of energy shot out from the device causing another rider to fall to the road.  The three remaining soldiers quickly turned their tilons and fled back to the city. 

Looking up at her in awe, Bralin commented,  “You are full of surprises, Guardian’s beloved.”

Laughing, Maureen put away the artifact and gathered the reins of the remaining tilons.  Handing one set of reins to the Krimlon, she held on to the others, feeling that their services would be needed.  “It is a device that one of our former crew members found on Karturm, and I felt that it might prove useful.  Apparently I was right.  It is the perfect defensive weapon, these men will wake up later feeling very exhausted, but otherwise they are unharmed.”

As Bralin mounted, the storm finally reached them.   The sudden burst of rain made Maureen gasp, but there was nothing they could do except turn their mounts to the east and ride.  On her shoulder, Silverado suddenly started squeaking very loudly, and then he flew off into the darkness.  John!!’ he said in her mind.  She saw the direction he was headed in and turned to Bralin. 

“Is there a road in that direction?” she asked, pointing in the direction that Silverado had flown in.

“Yes, Guardian’s beloved, a more direct road leading to the Greel Mountains,” Bralin answered. 

“Let’s get to it.  Apparently John is headed in that direction, and Silverado felt him.”




Dar and Litha walked quickly along the road, watching the storm approach with furious speed.  Periodically Dar looked behind him as the crashing thunder made it impossible to hear the approach of anybody. During one particularly bright flash of lightning, the Krimlon made out an approaching tilon.  Quickly he pulled his beloved off the road, and from behind a tree, they watched the lone animal ride by at an easy trot.  Dar was startled.  By the flashes of lightning, he could tell that the mount was from the palace and it also appeared to have a rider. 

Stepping out onto the road, he whistled the return call.  The tilon stopped immediately and then came to him.  Dar snatched the lax reins and pulled the animal off the road to safely examine it.  “Litha, hold the tilon while I examine what’s on his back.”  Stepping around to the creature’s side, he waited for the next bolt of lightning to illuminate the load the creature was carrying.   “Guardian!!” he shouted when he recognized the rider. 

“This is the Guardian?” Litha asked.

“Yes, Litha, the man you saw in your dream.  And it appears that he tied himself onto the tilon.  We have to find shelter soon.  May the darkness take your brother, he used the controller on him.  There must have been another one.”  Dar examined his friend as best he could in the gloom and with the violent storm raging around them. 

Walking quickly, pulling the tilon behind them, the couple continued down the road toward the forbidden mountains.  As the storm eased and changed to a steady beating of life replenishing, soaking rain, the couple was barely able to make out a path leading into the woods.  Following it, they found a small house that appeared to have been recently abandoned.  Gratefully Dar led the tilon near the gaping doorway and undid the rope holding the Guardian in the saddle. 

The Guardian’s limp form fell into his arms, and he dragged him into the little house and to what appeared, in the dark, to be a dry corner.  Litha quickly gathered dry leaves and twigs that had blown in through the open door and windows and started a fire in the middle of the room.  Dar pulled a cloak out of his pack and using pegs that hung above the door, draped it over the opening, shutting out most of the wind.  Litha pulled out her cloak and covered the Guardian with it. Quickly she changed into a dry set of clothes and then tended the fire as Dar did the same.  As she broke up some dilapidated furniture and fed it into the fire, the unconscious man began moaning. 

“Give him some of that stickleberry nectar that you packed, Litha.”  Dar suggested.

“He has to wake up a bit more.  I wouldn’t want him to choke to death,” she responded, worried. 

John came out of the darkness of his nightmares and felt a warmth near his feet.  He also felt the water dripping down his neck and the cold of the stones on his back.  Shivering, he opened his eyes to see two Krimlon silhouetted near the bright flames of a cheery campfire. One of them handed him a water container.  “It is the nectar, Guardian.”

“Dar?” he asked guardedly. 

“Yes, Guardian.  We found your tilon heading toward the mountains on a nearby road,” Dar explained.  “How do you feel?”

“My head aches, but that’s nothing new.  I feel . . . strange, but I can’t explain the strangeness.”  He took a few sips of the potent drink and sighed.  “Don’t call me Guardian, my name is John.”

“My brother, the prince used the controlling device on you, didn’t he?” Litha queried. 

“Yes, he did,” John replied.  “Now all I have to do is find out how to get this headband.....

“ and then I’ll truly be free of your dear brother’s charms,” he added.  He wondered why Dar and Litha were looking at him so curiously.  “Did I miss something?  Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Guardian, you have been asleep for some time, but you started talking again right from the place you left off.   It’s strange,” Dar said. 

“What?”  John asked, incredulous.   “I think you’d better explain exactly what happened.” 

“You were talking to us and then you were asleep or unconscious.  No warning at all.  Do you not remember?” Dar asked.  

John shook his head, frowning.   “Apparently Mizel has found a new use for that controlling device.  A dangerous new use.”  He pondered the situation.  The prince might not be able to kill him with the controller, but he was capable of disabling him long enough to be recaptured.  The only way John could see around it was to remove the headband.  Leaning back against the stone wall he felt the pressure of the headband against the rough stone wall. There were no resulting bio-electric shocks. Idiot! he berated himself, Why didn’t I think of this before?

Feeling behind him, his fingers located a slight protrusion on one of the stone blocks.  Remembering some of the martial arts exercises that Max had shown him, John relaxed his breathing and his muscles and then concentrated on what needed to be done.   He felt the stone again, brought his head forward, took a deep breath and jerking backwards, bashed the headband against the wall. There was a sudden cessation of pressure from his skull and a last release of electrical energy. Vaguely, he heard Litha’s exclamation of alarm and a popping sound from inside the headband.  As though through a hazy curtain, he watched Dar rush to his side. 

“Guardian, what happened?”

“I am . . . finally . . . free, Dar.”  He smiled wanly at the worried soldier.  “Finally free.”

“Guardian, you’re bleeding,” Litha exclaimed, grabbing a clean shirt from her pack.

“Bleeding?”  John asked.  He felt slightly dizzy and disoriented.  Looking down he saw the pieces of the headband lying beside him and then he reached up to feel a sore place on his scalp near his temple. 

Litha grabbed his hand. “No, Guardian.  We don’t want to risk infection.  There seem to be two places where the device implanted itself into the skin,” she admonished him.   “Let me clean and bind the wounds.”

John sat quietly while she administered to him. “Litha, may I ask you a blunt question?”

“Yes, Guardian, you may,” she answered, a little puzzled by his request.

“How did you manage to come from the same parents as Mizel?”

Looking at him steadily, Litha was unable to tell if the Guardian was joking or serious.  She decided to treat the question as a serious one.  “Actually, Mizel is my half-brother.  My father, King Reezel, put aside my mother when she had two daughters and no sons. My younger sister died in childbirth.  He married Mizel’s mother in hopes of an heir.  It worked and now Krimlon has a prince, such as he is.   At times like this, I am ashamed to be of the same lineage as my illustrious half-brother.  And I have always felt his animosity.  I do want to thank you for the warning, Guardian.”  

“After what you and Dar have done for me, could I do anything else?”  John said as Litha finished tying the cloth that bound his head wound.  He took the proffered container of nectar and drank a few swallows.  “I just wish that I could have found Maureen.”  

A flash of silver gave John his only warning of Silverado’s arrival.  The lizard warbled happily, landing on his shoulder. 

“Silverado!” John declared.  You found me...’   Then he stopped, confused, because he felt as though his communication was hitting a wall, going nowhere.  Silverado floated down and perched on his knee, looking into his hazel eyes with shining golden ones.  The lizard squeaked in consternation, cocked his head and stared.  Even though he knew by his actions that his friend was communicating, John felt nothing, and somehow he knew that Silverado wasn’t ‘hearing’ him either.  

Sighing, John said, “Silverado, I don’t have the telepathy anymore, I’m sorry.”  The flutter-dragon chirped softly and crawled up John’s chest and onto his shoulder, where he rubbed under his friend’s chin.   “Thanks, my friend,” he murmured.  The professor had realized that he had lost some of the talent while incarcerated, but had not realized that the device could take it all from him.  He felt a deep sense of loss, more than he would have considered possible.  Silverado continued to rub under his chin, and unconsciously he scratched lightly under the lizard’s.




Chapter Seventeen
Chapter One
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