Ariol and the Dragon Part 2 of 3.

 Read Part 1 Here.

Thanric started organizing the troop, Saying “private Beclan, you and Dorivic stay here, watch the dragon, you set off with news at nightfall and exchange with another rider, same in the morning always one man watching the Dragon at all times.” He paused and looked around at the body of the dead horse and the retreating back of the Dragon. “You!” He said to one poor unfortunate. “Clean up that mess.” He said.

“What me sarge?” said the soldier.

“It wasn’t a question, it was an order, do your job dimwit.” Thanric snapped, and the private scuttled off, without the first idea what to do about the poor animals’ corpse.

 Derwyn and Alwyn peered out from behind their cart of coal. "Now we’re in a pickle," said Alwyn.

"No doubt about that." said Derwyn. "Why did she kill the horse?" he added.

"I think that was a kin-d-ness, said Alwyn, “its leg was clearly broken, there's no way back from that for a horse."

"Now there’s a truth." Said Derwyn in a melancholy tone.

The dragon was lumbering over to them. Alwyn gave a little wave, "Hi,” he said a little anxiously.

"Look what he did.” raged Y Glas Wraig Ddraig. "I'll never fly again, it’ll take me weeks to walk home, and it hurts like hell. Not to mention that poor horse. What possessed him to attack me like that?”

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It was mid afternoon by the time Karal and the troop arrived back at Orathim, and a fuss had begun as soon as they had been sighted from the castle battlements. Ariol had been keeping his word to himself and practicing sword and shield, but that had come to an end when doubled up riders had been spotted. Athnic and the other students had all gathered at the gate to watch Karal and his men enter the castle.

The excitement meant that the audience between King Marek and his middle son took place in the big audience chamber with half the population of Orathim present, and the other half standing in the courtyard outside.

The presence of the dragon in the kingdom, and the battle with it had been reported, to a chorus of various Ooohhs and Ahs. Though the confrontation between Karal and Thanric, was shall we say 'edited'. Karal had just moved on to explain 'his' strategic plan, when Prince Tarac returned and entered the chamber carrying his helmet and removing his riding gauntlets.

Now: King Marek was regarded as a good king, and not just by his subjects, other kings and queens often sought his advice, and Queen Siran as a good queen. So there was a good deal of affection for his sons, even Ariol. But in a kingdom where the monarchy works, there is a special sense of Kudos set aside for the Heir to the throne. Whilst this had been the source of some friction between the two elder siblings, they had largely grown out of it. On this occasion however, Tarac's arrival drew a scowl from his younger brother. This was due in no small part to a murmuring, in the gathered people that 'Prince Tarac would sort it all out'.

His timing however meant that the whole story had to be re-told, and by the time it had a degree of boredom had set in. A bit like watching a TV show and having to watch the tale told in flashbacks before anyone would let you watch the conclusion.

King Marek saw an opportunity to end the more circus like elements of the drama that was being played out, and stood saying, "The life of the Kingdom must continue, I will meet with the small council to discuss what action we now take." he paused and looked around the hall, "Men of the kingdom, you must stand ready we may need you to bear arms to counter this threat. But for now you must return to your homes, see to your livelihoods. If your strength and courage are needed you will be summoned by a war proclamation"

Everyone knew what the war proclamation was, the beacon on the great tower would be lit and then beacons in every village and town in the kingdom. And when that happened every able bodied man was required to appear at the gate of Castle Orathim, with any arms he could muster. And when this did occur, more than one of those arms would be a pitchfork. Although in a pitched battle a pitchfork can be as effective as a spear or a Halberd.

Everyone also knew the proclamation would be called, so most who might have to travel, arranged to stay in Orathim for the night. It was just that a good king didn’t proclaim such things, without calling and discussing what was to be done in a council. And Marek was widely recognised as a good king.

Ariol was in the mood to do what was expected of him, and was planning to return to practice sword and shield, even though he knew the master of arms would be joining the small council. But he felt a hand on his shoulder; he turned and saw his mother.

“Ariol," she said, "Come with me." There was a hard determined look in her eyes Ariol was not used to seeing there. The thought of, not following her never entered his head.

He followed her to her rooms, and waited whilst she dismissed two ladies in waiting. "Sit down." She said. Pointing to the big upholstered wing backed chair, he always called his mothers private throne.

Ariol sat. Queen Siran went to the door, unhooked the key from her belt, locked the door, bolted it, and hooked the key back on her belt.  Then she walked to her chair sat down, put on her reading glasses, a great new invention she was immensely proud of owning, picked up a book and started reading.

Ariol was puzzled, “Mother?" He questioned.

"Yes dear" Queen Siran said quietly, in a very matter of fact way.

"You wanted me for something?"

"Yes dear?" She looked over the spectacles at him, “I wanted you to stay here with me.” She looked back to her book.

“Er what?”

The Queen put down the book looked at him and said. "Today one of my son's almost killed himself trying to fight a Dragon. The king is now holding a small council, there is only one decision they can make. The beacons will be lit, and tomorrow my husband and two of my sons will go out and try again. Any or all of them could be killed. And I can do little to stop any of it."

Ariol realized that behind the unaccustomed hardness in her eyes was fear and sorrow.  She leant forward, “But you. You I can keep safe, you will stay here in this room, close by me, and you will not leave my side till this business is done with." She paused for a moment, "I know boys, and you are still a boy. I do have a brother you know, you’re a lot like him. And I know you’d think it a great adventure to sneak off with the Army to see all the excitement."

She leant back in her chair, and picked up her book again, "You will stay with me here, and you will be safe."

"But." Said Ariol, hoping to explain what Emrys had told him about Dragons.

"No Ariol!” Here anxiety leant a knife’s sharpness to the hard edge in her voice, “No buts, no excuses, and no cleverness like your 1001 excuses for missing a lesson. You stay here with me, till it’s over."

Perhaps if Ariol had been older he might have had the resolve to argue his case. But he wasn't, and he couldn't think of a way to explain himself he thought would work. So he spent the remainder of the day with his mother, meals were brought and actually it was not an unpleasant time. As they talked Ariol tried to introduce the subject of Dragons twice, but Queen Siran, forbade the subject to be spoken of. “However this turns out there will be plenty of talk of dragons afterwards.” She said.

There was however a forced light heartedness, and a feeling that Queen Siran, was running on adrenalin.

As it was, even a worried and stressed Queen has to sleep, and in the small hours of the morning, as Ariol could see through the window, the beacons being lit, he could also see his mother had drifted into a fitful sleep. His own room was next door to his mother's Childhood experience had taught him, he would never get the key from his mother’s belt. But he had another if physically more dangerous option. He knew that the balconies of the two rooms were barely a step apart.

He could not put it into words, but somehow he knew there was a way he could help. At that point he had only a vague notion, of somehow talking to the Dragon. But he decided that the risk of getting to his own balcony and out of the castle was worth what he thought the potential reward was likely to be. Quietly he stood, walked to the window. He opened it softly, stepped out onto the Balcony and shut it behind him. He did not look down, climbed over the balustrade, for a moment realized it was somewhat wider than a step after all, took a deep breath and jumped.

He caught the balustrade of his own balcony, but missed his footing, and held on only with his hands, scraping his cheek on the stonework, as he fell against it. He dangled there for a moment, his heart beating faster than he could ever remember. And yet, he was most worried he might have woken his mother. He managed to get a toe hold on the balustrade and pulled himself up, clambered over and stood on his own balcony catching his breath, risking a glance at the drop. This however just made him feel dizzier, and if anything made his heart beat faster.

He opened his window and experienced a sense of finding refuge, as he stepped into his room, closing the window behind him. He put on some warm clothes to ward off the chill in the air of the cold spring night, including his home made waistcoat and belt, put flint and steel, and a small folding knife into his bag. He normally used the bag to keep his needles and thread in, and he thought about taking them out, to make more room, but then thought they might be useful so left them in there. He slung the bag over his shoulder. Went to his door, and quietly opened it just a crack.

Ariol could hear the castle waking, the lit beacons were calling the entire country to arms, and the castle was getting ready to receive them. But for now the activity had not reached this part of the castle, and as far as he could tell his mother had not woken and discovered his absence.  He took a circuitous route across the castle to the kitchen, where there was as much activity as anywhere else. He knew he needed water and something to eat, for his journey, and was wondering how he might get such provisions unseen, before remembering something Emrys had said about people not noticing anyone who were doing their job.

He took a deep breath, pulled his unruly forelock over his face, and trying to make sure he was always looking away from everyone, walked boldly to the hooks where the aprons hung, and put one on. He then joined a group who were emptying things out of the larder and whilst 'helping' filled his bag with cooked meats, and a loaf of bread. It was actually harder to find a moment to break away, as the round faced cook urged everyone to greater effort, and demanded, 'no slacking'.

Eventually he did so, picking up an empty stoppered jar as he did so. Purposefully walking with it to the pump sink. He un-stoppered the jar, worked the handle of the pump and filled the jar, re-stoppering it pushing the cork in with the heel of his hand.

Then Ariol made his way via another convoluted rout to the 'hidden gate'. Old King Manrac's paranoia had led him to include an escape route just in case he got trapped in the keep. Ariol had discovered it the previous summer; a stair ran down into a tunnel under the wall of the castle, and from there under the moat, emerging in a copse of trees, perhaps a hundred yards from the castle wall. The tunnel was dark, smelt awful and at one point in it, there was always places where, for yards at a time, there was at least a foot of water to wade through. Somehow the previous summer he had managed to avoid explaining why his clothes stank quite so much. But it was worth it to emerge into the quiet wildness of the clearing at the other end. And in this case, a chance to get to the dragon, to perhaps stop what he increasingly regarded as a moment of madness.

He dug his flint and steel out from under the meats and bread in his bag, managing to spear his finger on one of his needles, which he carefully wrapped back in its little felt book. There was a ledge where he had hidden an oil lamp the previous summer; he lifted it down, and gently shook it, hearing the liquid slosh about inside. He cut a small lock of his hair off with the small knife, mussing it into a bundle which he wrapped about the wick. It took him a few attempts to get a flame from the flint and steel but at last he did managing to light the wick of the lamp.

By now it was more than an hour since he had left his mother, and as he set of down the tunnel, he suddenly felt guilty, knowing that when she woke she would be angry and distraught. But something was also telling him, he could make this better, he could stop something bad happening. That even though it was the opposite of what everyone else was ordering HIM, and telling him to do, and what they thought were the right thing to do, he was still doing the right thing.

It was another half an hour before he came out of the other end of the tunnel and stopped to check his provisions in the moonlight, to make sure none of it had been splashed by the rank water in the tunnel. Satisfied it was OK He tore a small piece, off the loaf of bread and popped it in his mouth.

"Good evening, Ariol, or perhaps at this time of night I should say good morning." Said Emrys.

Ariol almost choked on his mouthful of bread. "Mmmnnnnfff, what? Mmmnnff, How?" he said jumping to his feet.

"Logic, young prince logic, one day that lesson will take," said the old man rolling his eyes.

Ariol swallowed and coughed. "But. But er..."

"All this excitement, I thinks," said Emrys, "Ariol will want a part in it, and how would he get out of the castle? I thinks, Manrac's escape tunnel would make the most sense." He paused smiling at Ariol. "Simple really." He added.

"Are you going to take me back to the castle?" Asked Ariol, partly looking a little downcast, but also partly ‘thwarted’, as it were.

"Well really I should, but then I thinks, you’re on a noble quest to prevent a war with the dragon, and save the kingdom. And per-haps you should have your head for once."

"You make me sound like a horse." Said Ariol, sitting back down, a little indignantly and pulling out a leg of roast chicken.

“Well there are a lot of similarities between a teenager and a horse.” Said Emrys. "They are often willful, can sometimes kick out at the world, and occasionally smell."

"Well thanks a bunch." Said Ariol through a mouthful of chicken.

"Speaking of horses,” said Emrys, stepping forward into the moonlit clearing as he did so. He was holding the reins of two horses which had been standing quietly behind him, but which now followed the old man forward. "The Dragon was last seen nearly 20 miles from here, a little way east of Fustal. On foot, the army would likely overtake you."


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Derwyn sat with his feet close to the fire. "An army after us, come morning, look you."

Alwyn said, "So excuse us, to-mor-ow, if we wait out of harm’s way, till carnage is done."

"Well thank you very much," Said Glas Wraig Ddraig.

"S all right for you, we don't have 3 inch ar-mour pla-ting over most of our bodies." said Alwyn a tad indignantly.

"And neither me, nor Alwyn are re-ally sold-ier material anyhow." Said Derwyn.

"Hmm," said Y Glas Wraig Ddraig inspecting her wing. "Well at least the bleeding has stopped."

"Looks nasty that." said Alwyn. Do you want a little of our whiskey here?” Said Derwyn.

"No little one. “She said, “Alcohol doesn’t work on dragons, I have no idea why.” She paused, “I'm just glad the only casualty was a horse. I'd forgotten how insane people here were." Said Y Glas Wraig Ddraig: stretching her neck up into the sky, and wincing a little, before bringing her head down again level with the two Deheubarthians.

“How far do you think we came today?” asked Derwyn, pouring a little of the Whiskey into his own cup.

“Perhaps five miles, maybe less.” Said Alwyn.

“Dragons are not built for speed on the ground.” Y Glas Wraig Ddraig said.

“Now there’s truth.” Said Alwyn.

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Ariol and Emrys had been riding for about three hours as the sun began to rise. When Emrys had brought the horses out of the Shadows, Ariol had somehow imagined a headlong gallop to try and reach the Dragon before the Army. But only for a moment, a gallop would wear the horses out in a few minutes. They had been alternating between a walk and a trot, and had just reached the village of Fustal, which meant they were about 18 miles from Orathim.

They stopped and let the horses drink from the trough on the village green. And Emrys somehow produced a nosebag with oats inside, for each horse.

“Your brother had his moment with the dragon over the hill there, about three miles from, here.” Said Emrys informatively, “A Dragon on the ground would be moving some, to do more than 7 or 8 miles in a day, and this one has an injured wing, so I think we should catch up with them after an hour’s journey or so from here. But we will let the horses rest for half an hour.”

“Mightn’t the army catch us?” asked Ariol, glancing behind them, but seeing little except the road leading the way they had come.

“Not likely,” said Emrys matter of factly, “I doubt they will have even set out yet. And dragging ballista’s, and that Trebuchet Athnic is so keen on, they won't make anywhere near as good time as us. I doubt they will even get here till midday at the earliest.”

Ariol was a little bemused by Emrys's relaxed approach to it all. "I don't even know what we will do when we catch up with this Dragon." he said.

"Well let’s have a chat with it when we find it. And see where we go from there." said Emrys.

They were just taking the nosebags off the horses when they heard the sound of approaching hoof beats, approaching at a trot.

“I thought you said they wouldn't have started out yet?” Said Ariol.

“That’s a lone rider you twit, not an army.” Said Emrys.

A little indignant at being called a twit, Ariol said, “Well yes but it might just be a scout.”

“No your brother left two riders to track the Dragon one arrived back at the castle last night to report, before we left, and another left to replace him.” Emrys produced a water skin from somewhere and took a drink. Ariol thought how much more convenient it seemed compared to his own stoppered pottery jar, which made the water taste vaguely of old stale wine.

“I'm guessing he's returning to relieve the other,” went on Emrys, “so he can report back to Orathim,” he paused before adding, “or at least the army when he meets it on the road.

“Shouldn't we hide?” Asked Ariol: looking about, at the distinct lack of hiding places.

“Why? Asked Emrys, “were just travellers on the road? Why should he pay any particular attention to us?”

“Oh?” said Ariol.

The rider appeared between the houses at the end of the village and trotted to where the pair were standing, with their own horses that were finishing the contents of their nosebag, next to the trough. The rider slid from the saddle and led his own horse to the trough. "Good Morning" he said To Ariol and Emrys, patting his horse’s flank firmly with an open hand.

Emrys replied "G’ Morning" in an accent that would have put him as a native of one of the Northern villages of Thimril.

The rider removed his riding gauntlets, "Where you headed?" he asked the pair.

“Ah were off down to Agathira,” said Emrys in the entirely convincing accent.

“You'd best put it off, for a while” said the rider, ”there’s a dragon on the road between here and the border.”

“Well I heard there was a dragon about,” said Emrys wide eyed. “But I thought it must just be tall tales. There’s been no dragon in these parts for hundreds of years.”
“Well trust me this one is no tall tale,” the rider said, feeling himself the authority on the matter. “I watched it walking the road to Agathira yesterday. I’m going down to relieve the soldier keeping an eye on the beast now in fact.”
Emrys resisted the temptation to ask ‘if the beast was so dangerous, how might it be watched with safety’. Instead he said, “Well we shall certainly give our trip a miss today then.”

The rider looked more closely at Emrys, "I have an odd feeling I know you."

Emrys laughed, “A lot of people say that, I think I just have one of those faces, he said, smiling

The rider laughed too, “There's too many of those kinds of faces,” said the rider and laughed. “I work guard duty sometimes, and a good guard can’t assume he recognises someone. Always check papers, even if I know the face.”

Emrys laughed,” A good policy young man,” he said, and then snapped at Ariol, "Get those nosebags packed away boy, look to your chores.”

Ariol tried to look busy.

"Ah, youngsters hey, said the rider, “always slacking off."

"He's OK,” said Emrys, “Just needs reminding to keep his nose to the grindstone every now and again."

The rider’s horse had now drunk its fill, and the rider slipped his gauntlets back on, "I need to relieve my comrade, have a safe journey back north." He said.

“Thank you.” Said Emrys, “Good luck with the Dragon.” He added.

The rider climbed on his horse, “Luck shouldn’t come into it,” he said, “it’s wounded, and the army will be on its way with heavy weapons to deal with it soon enough.” He saluted Emrys and Ariol and urged his horse in the direction of the road to Agathira.

As the rider disappeared down a dip in the road Emrys said in his more usual accent, “I think we should take an off road rout from here on, just so we don't run into his companion on the road.”
“When he thought he recognized you, I thought it was going to get 'complicated'.” Said Ariol, “It was a good job he didn't know you.”

“Oh he does know me;” Said Emrys, “His father had ambitions for him, and sent him to me for math’s less-ons every week for two years. A nice boy: name of Cuthnil."

Ariol was wide eyed, “Then how on earth didn't he recognize you?” he asked.

Emrys’s tone was very matter of fact, “Because I didn't want him to.”

“That's a neat trick,” said Ariol buckling up Emrys’s saddlebag. “You have to teach it to me some time.”

Emrys guffawed, replying, "No I don't.”

Emrys mounted his horse, grumbling under his breath about ‘old bones’, and Ariol followed suit, but without the grumbling, and somewhat lithely. Then the pair followed the road out of the village until they were beyond the fields. Emrys then led them off the road and began following a deer track up the side of a low ridge of hills. Quite quickly they had climbed high enough that they could see the road snaking out beside them. Not long after they could see the rider who had stopped at the village trotting a little way ahead of them.

“Couldn’t he just look over here and see us?” Said Ariol.

“No.” said Emrys simply.

“But surely we must be visible from the road, if we can see him he should be able to see us.” Persisted Ariol.

“All his attention is on the dragon,” said Emrys, “If he turns to look up here we shall simply stop, just shapes in the landscape, he just stands out because he’s on the road, the other way round, you would be hard pressed to spot him I guarantee it.”

When they reached the top of the ridge, is the distance they could see the Dragon walking along the road next to the horse drawn cart, Ariol had watched leave through the gate of Orathim.

After about an hour they saw the rider who had spoken to them in the village of Fustal almost reach the Dragon, and join another rider. They travelled a little way together, for about 10 minutes, before one turned and started riding back towards the village.

Ariol and Emrys were themselves quite close to the Dragon now, and started down the hill, from their vantage point on the ridge. Ariol glanced behind them and in the distance could see a column of what looked like smoke on the Horizon, “Er Emrys," he said.

"Yes I see it." Said Emrys, adding, "Even a small army, can raise quite a bit of Dust." He glanced round himself, and momentarily stood up in his stirrups, peering at the dust cloud on the horizon. "They are a good 4 hours behind us." He said.

He stood up in his stirrups again, and looked ahead, "If we follow this track on the left, we should come out ahead of the Dragon. And avoid your father's watching guard until we are with the Dragon itself."
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Alwyn was standing on the dickey perch of the cart next to Derwyn who had the reins, “Looks like last night's companion has gone home.” He said, “Leaving a new shadow for us." He added and sat back down.

"There's an army on the way for sure." Said Derwyn, he looked at Y Glas Wraig Ddraig, "I'm sorry we can't do more to help. Are you sure you can't go faster?"

The dragon looked at him, and for all the world, she might have been looking over the top of spectacles. "Believe me I am going as fast as I can."

"A real pickle and no mistake." Said Alwyn.

"I'll try not to hurt them, but if they start slinging rocks at me, or firing Ballistae, it could get really difficult." Y Glas Wraig Ddraig, said miserably.

"Well now what's this?" Said Derwyn, stopping the cart.

Two riders were approaching, and old man, and what looked like a fourteen or fifteen year old boy.

As the two new arrivals got closer the elder called out “sut ydych chi.”

"Ah a Deheubarthian." Said Alwyn, "That explains why they're not runn-ing  screa-ming in the opposite direction." He called out, "And hello to you too, in this heathen foreign land."

Emrys and Ariol stopped in front of the cart. "We heard about your difficulties." Said Emrys, "My young friend here thinks he might be able to help."

"And what might a little one like you do to help?" Asked the Y Glas Wraig Ddraig.

Ariol suddenly felt that he was on the spot, "I don't know exactly." Said Ariol. "I heard you were hurt."

The dragon gingerly lifted up her wing, and with a degree of sarcasm said, "What do you think?"

Ariol said the first thing that came into head, "If it was a tear in my coat, it would be easy, I'd stitch it up."

Emrys said, in his matter of fact tone, "That sounds like a plan."

"Sorry?" Said Ariol, “You really think I can just stitch it up, and she could fly away?”

"Well why not?" Said Alwyn, wide eyed, and truthfully suddenly a little exited. "When I was not much older than this little one, “He said pointing at Ariol, “I was mining coal, and the chap next to me mistimed his strike with his pickaxe on the coal face, it ricocheted off and went right through my thigh. I thought I was a done for, to be honest, but they cleaned me up and took me to old Gwennan.  She doused me in spirits which stung like hell and then stitched me up. I was sick as a dog for weeks, but old Gwennan pulled me through."

He looked about, "well if they can stitch me up, then why not a dragon."

Let's give it a try. Said Emrys looking at Ariol.

Ariol took a deep breath and without speaking a word, his expressdion said, ‘well OK then.’

So the Y Glas Wraig Ddraig laid her wing out carefully on the ground and Ariol pulled out his biggest leather needle, threaded it with his thickest thread and tried to push it through Y Glas Wraig Ddraig wing.

This did not go well. Y Glas Wraig Ddraig roared and pulled away. Knocking Ariol off his feet, But was immediately very apologetic. "Sorry, sorry, you’re not hurt are you?"

"No no.” Said Ariol, picking himself up “I think I would be able to get the needle through, but you would have to hold still for me." Suddenly doubtful about the plan.

"I don't think I could," said the Y Glas Wraig Ddraig, "It's very very sore, and even if it weren't I'm not sure I could just sit and let you drive that thing,“ she indicated the needle, “through my skin."

"What was that you said about dousing you in spirits?" Ariol asked Alwyn.

"Well Gwennan used whiskey, half of it on my leg the other half in me." He smiled, "it still hurt like hell but I didn't care.

“Do you have Whiskey?” asked Ariol.

“Well just a little, a meagre supply, for the cold nights on the road you understand.” Said Derwyn, a little sheepishly, like a naughty schoolboy caught cheating on an exam. “But whiskey doesn’t work on dragons?”

"I think I might be able to help there," said Emrys. “The whiskey would still be good to clean and sterilise the wound, I have something else that might help our good Lady." he took a smallish bottle from his bag. "If you were to drink this, you would sleep soundly. For at least a couple of hours," He said, "Long enough for Ariol to do his work with your wing."

“Are you sure it would be enough?” Asked the Y Glas Wraig Ddraig eyeing the bottle a little cautiously.

“Oh yes,” said Emrys,  “for a grown man I'd use two drops in a cup of water, a single drop for a woman, and thin it further for a child.” He looked the dragon up and down, “All of This bottle should be exactly right for your weight and build.” He smiled a slightly annoying smug smile.

"And I will be awake again before this army gets here, I would not want to be caught napping as it were."

"Don't fret, you will be awake in time " said Earls. 

“OK, not much to lose really,” said Y Glas Wraig Ddraig. And she put her head forward; Emrys uncorked the bottle and poured it into the Dragons mouth, and she swallowed, licked her lips, and looked surprised. “Mint?” She said. “That was a surprise; I was expecting something that tasted like a stagnant marsh pool.”

Emrys smiled again, “No harm in a bit of flavouring.” He said.

It took a few minutes, but slowly Y Glas Wraig Ddraig fell asleep, Alwyn started washing the wound with the ‘meagre’ supply of whiskey, this turned out to be six pint bottles. (There was in fact another ¾ of a bottle in Alwyn's bag.) As he did it Derwyn said, "It will be a long jour-ney home."

“There’s a truth,” said Alwyn.

Ariol soaked thread in the whiskey as suggested by Alwyn, and started stitching the wound together. It was slow work, the dragon’s wing might not have been armored like the rest of her body, but the skin of the wing was still like thick leather. After an hour his finger ends were sore and he had barely worked halfway down the tear in the wing. It was getting a little easier, as the skin thinned a little towards the trailing edge. But there was another problem; he was running out of thread.

"Emrys?"He said, "I don't think I have enough thread to finish it."

“Don't worry,” said Emrys, “keep going, I'll find you more thread. Pass me your knife."

Emrys took the knife, took off his cloak, and cut it the whole length down the middle, and began teasing out the warp and weft, which was duly soaked in whiskey and handed to Ariol at intervals.

At last Ariol tied off the last stitch, just as the Y Glas Wraig Ddraig was beginning to wake, and as the column of dust on the horizon was drawing threateningly close. Not to mention that there was little left of Emrys’s cloak except the collar.

Read part 3 Here.

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