The Wanderer, Part 33
This story is part of a series, this is the thirty-third part.
You can read the first story here: The Wanderer, Part 1
and the most recent story here: The Wanderer, Part 32
Tas and his scaly new mentor soared through the ripping winds, tearing into them with as much force as they delivered. Tas was exhilarated; he lost his breath every few moments. Tas’ wyrm scar rippled with purple flame and smoke from it billowed into the air over his shoulder as he gripped the dragon closely. He was empowered; he could feel his eyes pierce through shadow, rock, and mist alike and his arms gripped with strength he had never felt before. They seemed to be able to zoom in infinitely, he could see details about the shadowy tundra below him. And he felt an incredible fiery power surging through him on the back of Arcartre.
Do you feel the shadow surging through you Tas? Its power can be overwhelming; try to moderate your consumption.
Tas’ looked down to see that hands were shaking violently as he held on. Not only were they shaking, but they seemed to be burning. He was so strong, but completely uncontrolled. He held onto Arc so tightly, he could feel his breath struggling. He pushed inside of himself and began to breath through his nose as Yao taught him. As he did, the world around him slowed and he could feel his body calming down. Tas could feel the energy concentrating inside of him, pulsating with the waves of his own breath. Time seemed to slow and Tas mind melded into the dragon’s as they soared.
They shared memories, mostly, and emotions about particular places and people. Yao was of particular interest to the dragon, but Tas refused to talk more unless the dragon did and neither of them seemed to care much about the other’s opinion.
Tas could see through Arcartre’s eyes; the dragon was scanning the horizon, then pushed against the air time and time again to ascend and see higher. With his mind he pushed the dragon’s wings to flap harder their strength began to combine. Then everything went black.
All of a sudden the dragon spoke, or rather thought to Tas. His head was swimming.
You are stronger than I could have imagined, young Tas, apprentice to Yao. Your wound gives you great strength. I will teach you to use it, if you set me free.
Tas woke up slowly to find himself soaring above the cloud with a dark sun beating down on him. They continued to descend. Tas was ready to bargain with this creature; its powers obviously complimented his own.
“I think you are very useful to me, Arcartre. You know about Melkar and his freedom to roam my world. Would you help me to end his conquest? And even if you did, how can I free you? You are a shadow dragon from the nether. Could you even survive in the light of our sun?”
Of course I could, the dragon thought gruffly. Tas could feel the emotion, a scornful and nasty response, one tasting of bitterness. He had become used to the dragon’s great pride. They were unified, in a way that Tas couldn’t explain or understand. He truly felt as though he had known Arcartre for his entire life, though at the same time felt a strong distrust for the winged beast and his sinister nature.
You are right to distrust me, Tas. Don’t forget that. I could survive your world, remember that I can create magic too. Free me, please and I promise to help you stop the evil Melkar.
They continued soaring through the air tearing into clouds and weather for some time longer, giving Tas the opportunity to practice steering the unforgiving nether weather. Tas could feel himself fading, but he paid it no heed. Then as they were roaming, the dragon under him began to shake; he split into 3 dragons and the one under Tas was smaller. They all bellowed shadow-fire down into the sky as they ripped into the clouds. They dove together until the one under Tas shook violently and the larger, singular version of Arcartre was back underneath him.
I can do things that you can only imagine, Tas. Do not underestimate me. Help me and share my eternal power.
Tas took what the dragon said to heart; this was no kitty cat from his local town. Arcartre could destroy a castle with a swipe of his tail. That kind of power would be unimaginable. He would be a king!
Tas loved soaring through the air on the dragon’s back. It was the most exciting thing he had ever done and he had a hard time stopping. Their connection had gotten markedly stronger; Arc was getting good at fast too. Arc flew back to the mountains over the valley with trees thousands of feet high and tens of feet wide. A dark river roamed in the middle of it, ice chunks were laden on the surface. Arcartre returns to the cliff where they started and dove into a wide spiral. Arc swept his giant wings before landing on the ground in front of Yaina, Yao, and Ice.
Ice looked at Tas apprehensively, but Yao seemed to be at ease, undoubtedly enjoying the incredible sight of the nether at the dragon.
“How can I free you?” Tas asked, pretending to be only mildly skeptical of his own ability to free this monster. He made sure Yao could hear.
The dragon spoke aloud now; his voice hissed and steamed as he spoke. “You will have to create a portal in your world, through a star ceremony. It is the only way to walk between the worlds; at least for me.” The dragon looked at Tas then hesitated. “Unless you are a dreamwalker, apparently, as you are Tas. Through you all of your friends can do as you please and travel between dimension at will.” The dragons snout curled into a sinister grin.
Yao looked gleefully up at the dragon. “How do we know to create this ceremony, dragon? What are the specifications?”
“Paj will tell you,” the dragon said confidently. “Certainly he is back at the monastery by now. And Fei will be able to help as well. Obviously, this will attract Melkar.” the dragon hesitated. “We have a history. However, this will also be your opportunity to banish Melkar, and anyone he brought with him back into the nether,” Arcartre said curtly, another grin forming. There was something so sinister about the dragon that it made Tas question trusting in the beast at all. But he brushed it off and remembered how Melkar could have already destroyed Bahar. He needed this ally.
He also wondered about this teachers and the monastery. It was decimated when Melkar attacked and Tas couldn’t imagine that the monks were already back there. But he supposed there was nowhere else to go.
Yao motioned for Tas and Yaina to come over and walk with him. Ice trotted alongside both of them, continually looking up at the dragon.
“Tas, it seems we have met our ally. If the dragon is loyal to his word, we might not even have to battle Melkar at all.”
“Do you think that Arcartre is the stronger?”
“I think its likely. But I also think that Melkar is very sly and cunning and that he will likely hear about our alliance from his spies.”
Yaina stood next to Yao, finally speaking loudly against the wind.
“When you go back to the monastery uncle, I want to come with you. There is nothing left in Bahar for me.” She looked resolute.
Yao was surprised for a moment, then agreed. “Yes, you are a part of this now, Yaina. As much as I dislike admitting it, it’s the truth. We can’t leave you to be discovered by Melkar.”
“Well, we better get going,” Tas said curtly. He began walking again and heard Yao behind him shuffle to catch up.
Yaina laughed quietly to herself and they were on their way against the tearing winds until it all faded to black.