Thursday, September 9, 2010

Part 47 by Taylor

Laurel and Kyrain walked quietly through the evening dusk towards Cerelda and Rhovanion. "We'll have to travel a little slower since you're riding a horse, but still, we should get there in plenty of time." Laurel chattered as they walked. Kyrian was beginning to be a little doubtful about the wisdom of their plan, but still, she followed Laurel's lead.

An hour later, they reached the castle in Lylle where Landlion was imprisoned. Kyrian had pushed Rhovanion hard the whole way, and the tired mare was glad to stop. Cerelda landed heavily a few feet away, and Laurel motioned for Kyrian to come. Kyrian grabbed a long coil of rope from Rhovanion and fashioned a harness for herself. Cerelda grasped the other end in her claws and took off. Kyrian gasped as she suddenly shot into the air, unprepared for the sudden jerk. She lost her grip on the rope and flipped upside down with a scream. Laurel yelled, but she couldn't really do anything. With an intense effort, Kyrian righted herself and grabbed the rope tightly, breathing hard from her frightful experience.

Although she was careful never to let anyone know, she had a fear of hights. She had tried to keep her courage up by not thinking of what she planned to do, but her upside down ride had dissolved all former confidence she might have had. She couldn't believe how Laurel rode that dragon without so much as a rope holding her on. She was tempted to yell up to Laurel to call off the whole thing, but she decided against it. Besides, Laurel wouldn't let her back out now anyway.

Suddenly, Cerelda cupped her wings and came to an abrupt halt in the air. Kyrian flew forward under the dragon and was jerked to a stop twenty feet ahead. She moaned and held her stomach where the rope had practically cut her in half. "What was that all about?!" she yelled at Laurel. The elf didn't answer, just wheeled Cerelda around in the other direction at full speed. "Ow!" Kyrian was jerked violently in the other direction.

Cerelda dropped swiftly, and Kyrian screamed as the ground rushed up to meet her. "Oof!" She hit the dirt hard and lay face-down, not moving. Laurel jumped off of Cerelda and ran to Kyrian. "Are you all right?!" Laurel asked. "No, I am not all right," Kyrian's muffled voice came from the ground. "I'm dead." Laurel couldn't help but laugh. "Seriously Kyrian, are you okay?" Kyrian sat up with a groan and glared at the elf. Laurel shrank back.

"Why did you do that? That wasn't the plan!" Kyrian said vehemently. "Kyrian, the plan is impossible. They must have figured out that we came over the wall last time when we captured the king," Laurel answered. "What do you mean?" Kyrian asked. "The whole city is heavily fortified, with many soldiers on the high places specifically looking for anyone trying an air raid."

Kyrian didn't say anything for a moment. Neither did Laurel. Both were lost in thought. "I might have an idea," Kyrian said slowly. "Oh, what is it?" Laurel asked eagerly. "It's risky," Kyrian cautioned. "Who cares?" Laurel shrugged. Kyrian sighed. Typical.

The moon was merely a sliver in the sky, a distinct advantage to some extent. Although, it would hamper one prospect of Kyrian's plan. The two girls were hidden at the edge of the forest which was a little ways from the walls. They could see soldiers pacing the wall, bows ready, eyes searching for intruders. "Ready?" Kyrian asked Laurel. "Ready." Laurel answered, bow poised. "Now!" They both loosed their arrows, each one finding the mark. Two soldiers cried out and fell to the ground far below. Quick as a flash, they shot again, with perfect accuracy. Two more men mysteriously screamed and dropped. Yells echoed through the city as soldiers ran from the barracks to investigate.

Through all the confusion, the girls continued to pick off soldiers. Laurel shot a soldier through the heart, but instead of dropping, the man behind him caught the body. By the angle of the arrow, he was able to determine the general direction that it had come from. "Run!" Kyrian shouted. Both girls dove out of the way just as the whole area around them was peppered with arrows. Laurel narrowly escaped injury, only made possible by her elven qualities. Kyrian wasn't so lucky. "Ow!" Laurel twisted around to see Kyrian rip an arrow from her lower leg. "Kyrian, are you all right?!" Laurel crawled over to her. "Yeah, I'll be fine," Kyrian said with an effort. But Laurel was not fooled. "What kind of plant will help this?" she asked. "Um...." Kyrian tried to think, but was a little light-headed. "Greenlights blossom," she finally said.

Laurel ran off into the woods to search for the plant. Time was running out, their plan was working, but was now working against them. The soldiers were pouring out of the city to squelch the rebel uprising. Something caught Laurel's eye; a miniature forest of small, plain, pale green flowers. Without hesitation, she ripped up a handful and ran back to Kyrian.

"Is this it?" she showed the plant to the wounded girl. Kyrian's eyes widened in surprise. "Yes, that's it! Where did you find it?!"
"Just over there," Laurel answered off-handedly, applying the plant to wound. Kyrian was still shocked, Greenlight was not known to grow in those parts. She had just sent Laurel away so the Dragon Rider wouldn't be killed. "Can you walk?" Laurel broke into Kyrian's thoughts. "Um, yes." Kyrian struggled to her feet with Laurel's aid. Once she was up, walking became easier, and she soon ran with Laurel.

They ran far away from their hiding place, all the way to where Cerelda waited. "Let's go!" Laurel jumped onto the dragon's back and Kyrian whipped the harness around herself. This time she was prepared when Cerelda took off, although she still wasn't comfortable with the height.

They flew around to the side of the castle, where the advancing troops wouldn't see them. A lot of the troops had left, but still, there were many at the castle. "I hope this works," Kyrian whispered to herself. They flew over the wall where the soldiers used to be. Kyrian felt Laurel slide down the same rope she hung from. They could see a high rooftop rushing towards them. As soon as they were over it, Laurel cut the rope, and they dropped silently to the roof.

Once they were down, Laurel knew right where to go. She had badgered the poor formal King Ire until he had told her where the dungeon was. Winding through the narrow streets, they finally reached a barred door. Kyrian quickly and quietly subdued the guard and tossed the keys to Laurel, who tried one after another until she found the right one.

Cold stone steps led down into the damp darkness below. Laurel recklessly ran down the stairs, Kyrian following more carefully. Once their eyes adjusted to the dimness, they were able to depict a row of filthy cells. As they walked, they tried not to touch the dripping walls. "Landlion," Laurel whispered into each cell. Kyrian couldn't see as well as the elf could, she mostly relied on sound. "Landlion!" Laurel cried, rushing to a cell. Kyrian blindly followed. She could hear Laurel frantically flipping through the keys, trying to find the right one.

Finally, she got it, and flung the cell door open, almost hitting Kyrian in the face. "Kyrian, help!" Kyrian rushed in and felt around for Laurel. "Where are you?"
"Over here!" Laurel sounded almost hysterical. Kyrian groped her way around, finally hitting Laurel with one of her flailing hands. "Give me a knife!" Laurel yelled. Kyrian reached in her pocket and handed over a blade. Laurel snatched it and started cutting something; Kyrian could hear fibers snapping. "What are you doing?"
Laurel didn't answer. Landlion moaned slightly as Laurel shook him. "Laurel? Kyrian? What are you doing here?" he asked groggily. "We're rescuing you!" Laurel said firmly. "No," he said feebly. "Here Kyrian, help me get him up," Laurel instructed, ignoring Landlion's protests.

Kyrian grabbed his arm and hoisted him up with Laurel's help. Landlion couldn't seem to support his weight very well for some reason. "Laurel, what's wrong with him?" Kyrian said with an effort. "His leg is injured," was all Laurel would say. They managed to get him to the dungeon door. Where they were immediately confronted by five armed guards.

Laurel and Kyrian couldn't reach for their weapons without dropping the wilting Landlion. Besides, it was too late. Each man had his sword drawn and pointed at the invaders. Suddenly, a huge rock dropped from above and crushed them instantly. Laurel and Kyrian looked up and saw Cerelda flying overhead. The dragon swung around and flew low over the city. When she came directly over them, she flapped slowly, hovering. The rope, still tied to her, fell on Kyrian's head. The girls tied the dangling rope to Landlion and themselves, an  action that cost them precious time. The troops had quickly discovered that no one was in the woods, and were swiftly returning to the city at the shouts of their comrades. Arrows whistled by them. "Go!" Laurel screamed to Cerelda.

With a great effort, the young dragon lifted her precious cargo into the air. Her wings worked overtime to get clear of the wall. Laurel knew that Cerelda couldn't go for long with such a heavy load. Suddenly, one of the whistling arrows hit Cerelda in the underbelly. Normally, the arrows just bounced off her hard scales, but this one came from behind and nosed under the tip of a scale, piercing flesh. The injured dragon let out a scream and, despite her best efforts, lost altitude. Laurel felt her dragon's pain, and quickly untied herself, pulling herself hand-over-hand up the rope to her faltering dragon.

Kyrian knew they were about to have a rough landing, and she braced herself accordingly. Cerelda spread her wings as she fell, landing more gently. Still, Kyrian and Landlion rolled on the ground upon impact, Landlion crying out in pain. Kyrian didn't cry out. "I must be getting the hang of this landing stuff," she thought wryly.

When she checked Landlion, she found him to be unconscious. "Just as well," she thought. "I'm sure he's more comfortable this way." She ran over to Laurel and Cerelda. "Is she all right?" she asked Laurel. The elf turned a tear-stained face up to Kyrian. "I don't know what to do. She's in such pain! I don't know what to do." Laurel kept repeating that she didn't know what to do, biting her knuckle and trying to keep her tears back. Kyrian suddenly whirled around when she heard a terrifying sound. Shouts of men coming after them.

Hey guys! I know this is kind of a cliffhanger and may put the next writer in a tight spot, but my part is already huge, so I thought I had better stop. If, of course, you want me to write some more on this part, I certainly can. =D

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