|copyright Christina Wald|
Chapter 9: Lost is Found
WORDSWORTH AND THE DRAGON
by Scotti Cohn
Copyright Scotti Cohn
Lost is Found
The muddletongue handed his torch to another muddletongue. He tried to open the little bag, but his fingers were too thick. As he struggled, a strong, cold wind gusted across the clearing. The muddletongues stopped growling and grunting. They looked up, down, and around, their red eyes glowing, their wild hair blowing in all directions. Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed.
Eyes on the sky, the muddletongues paced back and forth, bumping against each other, growling and shoving. Klause got back on his feet. Wordsworth fought against his captor harder than ever, kicking and squirming. Suddenly the muddletongue released him, and he fell on the ground. Just then, something much heavier than Wordsworth landed in the clearing. Thud!
Looking up Wordsworth saw the muddletongues running for the hills. Some leaped into the air and flew away. Then he saw what they were so frightened of. The falling object had green scales. It had wings. It had big spikes coming out of its head and long, pointed teeth. Wordsworth shouted for joy. At least he meant to shout. It sounded more like a squeak. The terror he had felt staring into the red eyes of the muddletongue had not yet faded away.
Dashburn Drak the Fifth tilted his head back and let out a roar louder than all the muddletongues put together. The few muddletongues that were still in the clearing shrieked and lumbered into the woods. With one quick movement, Dash yanked the bars off one side of Phrasia's cage. Wordsworth and Klause hurried over to her.
"Phrasia, are you all right?" Wordsworth asked. "What are you doing here?"
Phrasia threw her arms around him. "I was trying to find you!" she exclaimed. "I got worried after you went into the forest. I never should have let you go!"
She kissed Klause on his forehead and scratched him behind the ear.
"Why were you worried?" asked Wordsworth. "Did you think the dragon would hurt me?"
"No," she said. "In fact, the dragon was the reason I wanted you to go. You needed to meet Dash to see that he is not something you have to fight or kill."
"You already knew him?"
"Yes, I've known him for a few years now."
Wordsworth watched as Dash smashed what was left of the cage with his feet. His green scales glittered in the firelight. I'm going to ask the king about the days when people and dragons were friends, Wordsworth thought. Or maybe Lord Reading will have a book about it in the royal library.
"Thank you for saving us, Dash," Wordsworth said.
"Yes," said Phrasia. "I know you did not want the muddletongues to know about you."
"True," Dash said. "I surprised them this time, so they ran. But they will soon get over their fear and try to hunt me down. I will have to be on my guard."
"How did you know we were in trouble?" Wordsworth asked.
Dash lifted his paw to his chest, touching the small bag of Dragon's Troth stones. "The stones made a low humming sound and began to tremble," he said. "I knew someone who wears the Dragon's Troth was in danger. I always know."
Phrasia held up her hand so Wordsworth could see the dark orange banded stone in her ring.
"I have a Dragon's Troth, too," said Wordsworth. "Oh, no! My Dragon's Troth!" He dropped to his hands and knees and started searching in the dirt for the little bag. He could only hope that the muddletongue had not taken it with him.
"Wordsworth, you don't have to do that," Phrasia said.
"Yes, I do! I have to find it!"
"You do not have to find the Dragon's Troth," said Dash in his scratchy voice. "The stone will find you."
"What?" said Wordsworth.
Phrasia reached down and helped him to his feet. "You just have to say these words," she said. "I summon thee from far or near. Dragon's Troth, thy way is lear." A puzzled look crossed her face. "Thy way is... oh, dear. It looks like you won't be able to summon the stone until the missing letter is returned to Atoz."
Before Wordsworth could reply, he heard the sound of a trumpet coming from the woods. A horse neighed and someone shouted, "This way!"
"It's the knights!" he exclaimed.
He turned to warn Dash, but the cold, strong wind had already begun to blow. The dragon rose into the air and quickly vanished into the dark sky.
"Here they are!" shouted a voice.
Five knights in chain mail rode into the clearing on spirited warhorses. As always, Wordsworth wished with all his heart that he were one of them. While four of the knights went to check the surrounding area and look into all the huts, their leader approached and dismounted. Wordsworth recognized Sir Clooney.
"I am glad to see you are safe," the knight said.
"Thank you, Sir Looney. I mean..."
Sir Clooney dismissed Wordsworth's concern with a wave of his hand. "We were only able to find you due to the strange behavior of a bird," he said.
"A bird?" Wordsworth said.
"Yes, a falon." Sir Clooney sighed. "You know, a small hawk."
Wordsworth smiled. "I understand."
"The bird kept diving at us and flapping its wings, like it wanted us to follow it. And sure enough, it led us here."
"No one else around, sir!" shouted a knight. "But we found the letter!"
Back through the forest they traveled. Sir Clooney led the march, carrying a torch to help them find their way through the darkest parts of the woods. Wordsworth and Phrasia each rode horseback behind a knight. Next came Klause pulling a cart which contained the letter C, wrapped in the blanket Phrasia had provided. Two knights brought up the rear.
Labels: Chapter 9