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Noble hesitated to answer Gnol's question as they walked along.
"I think I'll just tell them the truth." He started, keeping his head down with a furrowed brow, "Tell them that the Kings Children are not dead and the Silver Order is rising back up." He started, thinking quickly as he tried to sound convincing to himself.
Comet gave a laugh at Gnols' words, "I doubt he smells any worse than an over charred, rotting deer carcass." She said as she swayed her tail, glancing back to Trevor.

Rai nodded before she readied herself for Ark to fly off, but she waited for others to hop onto their respective dragons.
"I have space on Ark if anyone needs to ride with me." She said, watching Ricki slowly climb onto Mercury and nod in agreement.
"Mercury has a bit of space as well." She said quietly, "I don't know how well he'll fly, but there's always room."

Seb looked to Crreessa as she asked him about floating. He gave a gentle grin with a nod, "Indeed I do float." He said with a laugh, "It's a perk of my magic. Flying on a dragon is definitely better as this drains a lot of energy to stay like this for too long." He looked towards Rachel with a small smile, "Sorry, I was thinking." He lied, closing his eyes as he tilted his head slightly. "Shall we be off?"
Damien watched Seb with narrowed eyes before he tapped on Orians' neck, getting his dragon to fan his wings out fully and stretch the muscles before take off. The last thing he needed was Orian to cramp up halfway through the flight.
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Duncan didn't really pay attention to the conversation behind him, he was looking ahead and kept his focus on the path. With Trevor watching their back he didn't have to divide his attention as he trusted the man's capabilities. He wasn't expecting assassins behind every tree but it would be for the best to remain as undetected as possible for as long as possible. For as far that was possible with horses and a big dragon.
The forest was silent but not in a way that made his gut twist in anticipation. It could have been pleasant if the quest wasn't serious. He couldn't completely let his guard down and just enjoy the ride.

Gnol nodded. "The truth is always good. Now we just have to work on how you are going to say it. Like your tone, the way you stand. Be fierce, be confident, be proud. Say it loud and in full confidence with your head held high and the look the Dwarven king right in the eyes. Mind you, he'll try to stare you down. Don't give in, return his stare and keep your face even." Gnol glanced at Trevor. "Maybe you can practice with Trevor, anyone who can survive his death stare can make it through a meeting with the Dwarven King."

Alan looked from Rai and her dragon to Ricki and her dragon. "Wasn't Mercury injured? I wouldn't want to strain him. But five adults and two small but highly active dragons seems like it is a bit much to carry for two dragons. If we'd have two massive dragons like the red and orange ones I might feel more comfortable sharing dragons. My Dragon can hardly fly and doesn't know how to sit still either."
"I can fly, didn't you see me earlier? I can fly anywhere I want!" Alan glanced at Terasivas, "You can't fly for very long yet and you definitely can't carry me.
Alan watched the three riders who were going on their mission. "I think with them already flying that they will draw all the attention to them if we go flying as well the eyes looking at the sky will also turn to us. Perhaps it is safer under the seclusion of the canopy, for now, so we won't have hunters or spies reporting two groups of dragons taking off in different directions."
Alan looked at his clothes. "Besides, I think I need some better clothes to fly, the wind blows right through these and I'd hate to get sick because of flying through the cold air."

Crreessa looked at Seb. "Wow, you must have been thinking like really hard then judging by the way you were staring, hope you didn't hurt yourself," she mockingly. "Come, hop on, float on or whatever, RedClaws can carry you too. You're tall but skinny enough. Let's save your energy for your thinking." Creessa waited till the other riders had taken off before she followed. RedClaws could adjust his speed better in the back then in the front or middle.
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At Gnol's remark about his death stare, Trevor glared at the dwarf. This journey could be pleasant if others wouldn't bother him. His horse was calm, surprisingly so considering there were dragons here.
"You trained your horse well," the big dragon in the back rumbled.
"I have no use for a skittish horse," Trevor replied curtly.

"I'm afraid of heights," Meria stated. "If the dragons will walk I'll gladly accept the invitation to ride on one, but if they will fly, I will walk."
"But flying is fun!" Linda said as she flew around Meria's head.
"For you, perhaps," Meria replied.
Mikhal turned to Meria. "I wouldn't let you walk alone," he said. "When Bäckahäst joins us we could fly, Bäckahäst is certainly fast enough to keep up with them, but until then I guess it will be walking pace." He gestured to Alan. "And he is right too; if anyone is looking for dragons they will see us flying. Going the first part on ground is probably safer."

Rachel gave Fiona a tap on her neck and the yellow dragon beat her wings and lifted into the sky. It looked like everyone was ready and it was time to fly to their base. The place would probably be deserted; the Silver Order had too many casualties. It hurt to know she would never see many of the riders she had known so well.
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Noble only laughed at Gnols' comment, "I may have to take him up on that." He said as he petted the side of Comet, "I've had to gain more confidence when I have to work with a stubborn bitch of a dragon like Comet anyway." He jested, feeling Comet's chest rumble in a way much like a purr. She was used to his negative jabs, and she quite enjoyed the banter they created.
"I am glad the horse is not skittish." Comet commented to Trevor quietly, "Things like Skittishness travel rather unwell for most other forestry animals. If they sense somethings nervous then nerves will wreck havoc around all creatures, and we don't need a deer running out in front of us in fear and getting hurt." She said, Noble giving a weak nod.

Ark nodded at Alan's words, "The kid speaks with a great lot of sense." She commented before she looked to Meria and lowered her wing, "Feel free to climb on my back and I can carry you. I wish not for you to exhaust your legs."
Rai rolled her eyes to Ark and gave her a gentle pat on the side, "Mikhal can hop onto Ark as well, Alan you can hop on Mercury. I doubt carrying two will be too hard on him."
Mercury gave a weak smile as he lowered his head, he felt bad for being injured. Ricki pet at his neck quietly before she offered her hand to Alan to help pull him up onto Mercury's back.
"Even if it's a smooth path, a Dragons Gallop is rather fast." Ricki added quietly, Rai only nodding in agreement.
"Walking first. Get everyone comfortable, especially since Mercury doesn't have a saddle and riding bareback on a large scaled beast isn't the best for pants or thighs."

Seb moved his feet onto the ground and walked over to RedClaws, moving to gently place his hand on the Dragon to show he wasn't a threat. The beast probably already knew it, but it was a force of habit for Seb.
He didn't respond to Crreessa's mocking tone, only hopping onto RedClaws' back without any problems.
"Perfect." Damien said before he braced himself, feeling Orian's body flex as he moved to take off into the air quickly.

Orian spun as he took off, breaking past the trees without breaking a sweat and spiraled before leveling out and staying in the same spot as he waited for the others. He waited for a few moment before he made his way towards the Silver Order.
Damien watched the horizon with a worried look on his face, he only hoped some of his team members still remained. He wasn't fond of everyone there, but there were a few he wanted to be alive... For their sake.


The sun shone through the trees and vines in the heart of the dense forest. Dead trees had been knocked down and now moss started to flood over them, mushrooms growing under the branches of the taller trees. There had been a battle here, but it would look like it was centuries ago.
This wasn't true, the battle had only taken a few months prior to the group meeting. The overgrowth and wilderness were caused by a third partys power that kept it hidden and safe. The Kings men weren't going to find the Base of the Silver Order.

A large statue of a dragon laid against the top of a broken cave, it's eyes closed and vines grew over and around it's body. It's dark grey stoney scales glistened in the small amount of light that trickled to it. It seemed to be laying in wait...
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Duncan cringed a bit at the remarks about skittish horses, his horse was very skittish. He needed to keep the reigns tight and constantly reassure and calm the beast. He missed the horse he had lost. That was a magnificent beast, smart, tough and calm. This horse was untrained and probably still stressed by the events that lead to the demise of his trusted companion. He sighed and patted the neck of his horse, feeling a bit guilty he was comparing the two. The horse couldn't help it either and they would have to make the best of it together. He just hoped that keeping in front and the dragons down the wind would keep his horse from running off.

Gnol chuckled briefly before he listened to the others. "Say, Noble, how are we going to introduce you? full name title and everything?
You know the usual blah. Name, family name, of something, the whatever, from wherever, the umpteenth ruler and so on. What is your long list ceremonial blah introduction? Aren't royalties suppose to have that?"

"Yes, Ma'am," Alan said when Rai told him to sit with Ricki. Alan took Ricki's hand and gracefully climbed on Mercury's back. Alan leaned a bit sideways. "Mercury, if you start to feel pain or more pain, let us know, we don't want to strain you." He wondered just how fast a dragons gallop was and if it was comparable to a horse or a different kind of gait.
He had to feel how the dragon moved to know if he could sit like on a horseback or that he had to take a different position for the best comfort or least amount of pant tearing.

RedClaws immediately followed the other dragons. With his powerful wings, it only took a few beats to get off the ground and a few beats more to catch up. He mostly didn't care what they would or wouldn't find at the Order. A very small part of him did though, there was a little knot of anxiety for what they would find there.
Crreessa was just curious to see where her brothers life had been as rider.
"How far is it?" Shouted Crreessa to get above the noise of the flying dragons and the wind pulling at her words.
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Trevor nodded when Comet spoke. While he wasn't fond of the beast, at least it shared his ideas about skittish horses. He watched the horse Duncan was riding; it wasn't a good horse in this situation.
"Duncan, how attached are you to that horse?" he asked him.
He let Gnol and Noble deal with all the nobility nonsense; he really wasn't going to the dwarves to listen to the dwarven king and Noble exchange titles.

Both Meria and Mikhal got on top of Ark; first Mikhal helped Meria up and then he handed her the water dragon. Then he got on the dragon himself, with Linda pulling on his backpack in an attempt to help him.
"Ready," Mikhal said and the fairy dragon perched on his shoulder.
"We both are~" she added.

Rachel joined Damien in the air and flew alongside him. She hoped it wasn't as bad with the Order as she feared it would be. If they would be the only ones left...
Don't think that, Fiona thought to her. Don't get ahead of things. We can mourn them if we are certain they are dead.
"You're right of course," Rachel whispered.
Crreessa wants to know how far it is. I am unsure how long it will take because I don't know our precise current location. That is what I will let RedClaws know
"Okay." It was hard to speak in this wind, it was good dragons could telepatically communicate with their riders and each other.
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Comet rolled her eyes at Gnols' words. "I don't think we need to do all that Posh stuff. Noble is of Royal Blood, his very existence is his introduction!" She said with a rumble from her chest.
Noble sighed, looking to Gnol with a weak smile, "I'll just introduce myself normally. No need for a long Spheal." he smiled before he looked to the leaves above them.


Ark looked back to Meria and Mikhal as they climbed onto her back. She folded her wings back in order to keep everyone safe on her back. The larger dragon looked to Mercury and lifted her head up as she started to walk slowly forward.
Mercury nodded towards Ark as he glanced towards Ricki and Alan on his back.
"Comfortable?" He asked nervously, Ricki gave a nod and a smile.

The hybrid girl looked back towards Alan with a bigger smile. "He might be injured." She started, "But that's not going to stop him!"
Mercury lowered his ears a little at Ricki's words as he followed after Ark quietly.
"I'm sorry I don't have a saddle." Mercury uttered quietly, more to himself than anything.


Seb lowered himself to RedClaws body, closing his eyes as he focused on that voice again.
"Where are you?" He asked out loud, frowning as he didn't get an answer.

Orian fanned his wings out as he glided quickly, he glanced back as he heard Crreessa's voice, relaying the message to Damien.
Damien hesitated before he replied. "Not too far. As soon as the light forest breaks into a dark thicket and higher trees." He spoke to his dragon, Orian sending that to RedClaws to relay to his rider and passenger.

Orian fanned his wings in suddenly and dropped down to gain some more speed passively, before he spun upwards with the speed he had gained.
Damien gripped onto Orian's reigns as he closed his eyes. He felt his tether to his dragon strengthen for a moment as he thought of what moves Orian would do next.
As the Tether linked their minds properly, Orians' markings glistened brightly.
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Duncan glanced at his horse. "Not very much," he admitted with slight apologetic tone in his voice. This horse had brought him this far and was coping as good as could be expected. But in truth this horse wasn't more than a quickly found replacement of his well trained, battle hardend destrier that had died in a dragon attack. He still missed the noble steed that once was his companion in his travels and tournaments. "If I didn't need this horse to travel I would leave it under someones care." Duncan reasured his horse again when it acted nervously again.

Gnol looked from Noble to Comet. "You need your dragons attitude." the Dwarf remarked amused. "Comet nailed it." It was unfortunate the forest didn't let them travel faster, but traveling in the open was too risky at this point. His horse whinnied shortly and Gnol patted him. "Yes, I know, there are probably wolves and bears and whatnot in the forest." Gnol wasn't worried, the group was large enough to scare off any predator within a mile.

Alan put his thumb up before he tried to find the best way to sit while dragonback riding. When he felt he was sitting as comfortable as he could he tuirned his attention to Ricky again. "How good are you at handiwork? Perhaps we can craft a makeshift saddle for Mercury when we camp later. We could perhaps grabs vines, twigs or whatever to make something perhaps?" he paused before he winked and grinned. "I have quite nimble fingers so I'm sure I can help you out there." Usually his nimble fingers helped him to some coins from other people pockets but he was sure he could help with making some kind of rope saddle or whatever.

RedClaws passed the messages on to Crreessa and she nodded.
Crreessa turned to Seb when he asked 'where are you'. "I'm right here silly," she responded. "Where else would I be? Geesh boy, that thinking earlier must really have hurt your brain badly." She shook her head. Just her luck, she had a passenger with mental issues.
Her eyes followed Damien and orian and when the marking glistend she bend a bit over to be closer to RedClaws ears. "That look so pretty, do you have glistening markings too?"
RedClaws nearly choked on air when she asked that. "I DO NOT GLISTEN!" Crreessa rolled her eyes. "Ok fine, drop the mood already." she paused as a mischievous glance entered her eyes. "It's just you would look so pretty in sparkly, glistening markings," she said
sweet-voiced.
"Female, I swear I'll drop you if you ever again put me and the words sparkling, glisening or any other synonims of the word in one sentence." Redclaws roared.



"You follow the group of the Dwarf, I'll follow the rest that flew off." the female shapeshifter said to her brother. She was the faster of the two afterall so it made more sense she'd track the dragons that flew off.
"Fine," the borther replied. "You better hurry." She left immediatly but couldn't resist slamming her tail against her brothers snout when she passed.
The male trotted out of sight of the group on horseback. He especially didn't want to get too close to the big old dragon or the smaller dust-speading dragon. No he had to track as inconspicuously as possibly. Good thing dragons have a distinct scent and the scent of a dwarf and two humans was easy enough to track too.
He was glad they managed to avoid the hermit all together when they noticed two groups departing.
When he came a bit closer he had to back away again as the skittish horse of the knight smelled him.
Another peak made the Dwarf's pony act up. He had to be more careful and increased the distance again. He wouldn't loose them if they were out of sight, he could smell their tracks.
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Trevor and the old dragon were in the back and listened to Duncan and Gnol. Trevor's horse snorted and moved its head, as if it was nervous about something. It passed as quick as it had come.
"Hm..." the dragon rumbled. "Let's see how brave that horse is." He breathed in and let out a short roar as he shot some hot smoke to the horse.
Trevor let out an amused sound as he watched it, looking at what would happen next. His horse had barely reacted to it, a few sideways steps and some nervous snorting that were easily corrected with a tug on the reins.




Mikhal sat on the dragon behind Meria, who sat behind Rai. It was his second time on the back of a dragon and it was a good way of travel. He kept an eye on where they were going, checking his mental map. He had travelled around in the area a lot. "We'll have to camp in the forest," he said. "I don't think we'll reach a village before the night if we go in a straight path to the coast."

The fairydragon flew around, not being able to sit still for very long. She flew in front of Terasivas. "Hello big guy," she cooed. "Are you enjoying the ride?"




Fiona flew closer to RedClaws, but matched Orion's speed so she wouldn't fall behind.
I do glisten, she thought to him. When the sun shines on my scales. Fiona once had to cover me with mud when we were on a covert mission, because the sun was out. She directed her thoughts to Orion. Do I need to hide my scales? It's partly clouded now, but when the sun shinies I might draw some attention.

Rachel heard the thoughts Fiona sent out, being linked meant she could hear it all - Fiona didn't need to direct her thoughts to her.
She had her eyes on the horizon, looking over the forest. While she dreaded going to their base, she looked forward to seeing the place too.
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Noble gave a bit of a laugh at Gnols' words. "She's trying to teach me." He said with a weak smile, moving to pet Comet's neck before he winced at the Older Dragons roar.
Comet fluffed her wings at the roar, holding back on letting out her own roar. She kept her head down as she watched the area, her tail swaying slowly before she looked up to the tree tops.
"How long until we get to the fortress?" Comet asked Gnol as she looked over towards the Dwarf. She wanted to dart ahead and fly, but she knew she wasn't allowed to.


Ricki looked back towards Alan as he spoke to her. She blinked and looked down at her own hands before she looked back to Alan.
"I..." She started, "I don't know. I've never tried anything." She gave a weak smile, moving to gently pet Mercurys' side.
"When we settle down for the night we can definitely give it a try." Ricki said with a bit more of a smile, "I'll take first watch, I don't often need a lot of sleep."

Rai nodded at Mihkal's words, "Understandable." She said as she glanced back to the two behind her as Ark continued to walk, lifting her head up to look to the sky. "We can set up camp in the next meadow." She said, "That way we'll have time to get up a good base camp for us before the sun fully drops."


Seb stayed silent as Crressa called him silly. Should he tell the others what he was hearing? Or should he stay quiet until he knew what he was really was correct and not just a trap on himself.

Orian looked back to Fiona as she spoke to him, he pushed the question to Damien and got a shake of the mans head.
"No, you should be fine." He said gently, "I believe we'll be dropping towards the treeline rather soon." He said before Damien flexed his hands on the reigns and Orian started to drop in altitude as he was told to get closer to the trees.
"We'll be safe." Damien spoke out loud, loud enough for Orian to hear and transfer to everyone else. "We're nearing the base. We should be there just before sundown."

The stony figure above the cave gate opened an eye as they heard the wingbeats. They stayed completely still but pushed a mental message off to a figure hiding in the trees.
Both of them gave a general mental nod to each other as they readied themselves to whoever was on their way. Kings men or not, they would be met with a force to be reckoned with.
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Gnol looked upwards after Comet asked the question. "Not before nightfall. We'll have to camp somewhere, we might reach the border tomorrow in the late afternoon if we make good speed and leave at earliest convenience, otherwise it'll be another night sleeping under the stars" They would have to move out of the forest if they really wanted to make good speed but perhaps there were some paths not too well known to the public they could travel. "Once we cross the border it'll be another day or two at a good speed."

While Gnol's horse only stiffend at the roar, ready to sprint away if needed, Duncan's horse on the other hand bucked and reared and Duncan found himself dazed on the ground looking at his horse getting away as fast as it could. With the help of some colourful words and expressions Duncan scrambled to his feet and went in pursuit of the darn beast. He couldn't let his horse get tangled up somewhere and hurt itself. Luckily it was an easy to follow trail as there were many broken twigs, trampled bushes and deep hoof prints.

Gnol looked at Trevor. "I suppose our knight needs to find himself a new noble steed if he wants to continue his quest. This one clearly isn't suitable in the companion of dragons." He said, "not that riding anytime some will be comfortable at all, I imagine his bum to be black and blue before nightfall." Gnol spurred his horse to go a little faster to aid Duncan in finding his horse. If Duncan wouldn't find his horse they wouldn't be able to make it anywhere near the border within a day.




Alan grinned and half-bowed as far as he could. "Fortunately my dear lady, I'll be at your disposal to teach the fine art of rope-knotting-saddle-making-craft-stuff or whatever it is called. I'm sure we'll be able to get something decent finished this evening." It was only finding the right materials and a little imagination according to him.

Terasivas turned to Linda "Oh boy this is so great! Wait till I'm as big as Mercury tomorrow and than Alan can ride on me!" He looked Linda. "I can carry you though, do you want me to carry you on my back?"




RedClaws glanced at Fiona. "I recall that, pretty blinding on the wrong side." Crreessa stretched and started wondering about what kind of acrobatic stunts she could do on a flying dragon. As her thoughts started going towards a sychronised flying spectacle a warning growl of RedClaws made her stop her daydreams.

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Trevor grinned as Gnol talked to him and he nodded. "When we get to the fortress I'll make sure they swap his horse with something better," he promised.
With Duncan going after his scared horse and Gnol followed Duncan to aid him, Trevor enticed his horse to go a bit faster so he could ride alongside Noble. Keeping the new king safe was their first priority and while Duncan had taken that job, he was occupied now.

"They will catch up," he told Noble. "We won't stop and wait for them."




Linda almost squealed. "Aren't you adorable~" she said. "Young dragons are just the best!" she flew to Meria and the small blue dragon she was holding.
"And what about you?"
"We're going to try and find mommy," the young water dragon replied.
"And I'll stay with you until we do," Linda promised, before turning to Meria. "I hatched two sets of offspring already, and they all made it to full-size adults."

Not that full-sized adult fairy dragons were anywhere near impressive, but Meria smiled and nodded. "In that case I would very much appreciate your assistance with the little one," she said.
"The next meadow is good," she then said to Rai."




Fiona spread her wings and soared down to the treeline, flying just above the leaves. Once she noticed an opening she pulled her wings closer and dove underneath the canopy. The forest here was made for dragons; the trees were big and had wide canopies, leaving plenty of room between them for dragons to fly, although there were still a lot of sideway manoeuvres to be made.
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Noble looked towards Trevor as he said they'd catch up.
"We're not... going to help or wait for them?" He asked in mild confusion before he sighed and gave a bit of a nod. "Right, Okay." He said as Comet swayed on her feet impatiently. She twitched her wings, she wanted to fly. She wanted to bolt into the air and show off, but she knew she wasn't supposed to, and it would knock Noble off, much like Duncan and his horse.


Rai looked over to Linda and Meria when they spoke before she gave a small nod. Ark lifted her head as she heard their words, looking at the sky before she looked over towards the treeline to see the nearby meadow. "Not too far." The dragon hummed before she looked to Mercury. "Are you alright little one?"

Mercury jumped slightly as he was spoken to, the humans on his back able to feel the tremble down his spine. He nodded hesitantly before he lowered his head again. He looked to his paw with a bit of a whine, getting a gentle pat on his neck by Ricki.
Ricki leant down and gently stroked at his scales. "We'll have a look at that once we're settled." She said to him quietly.


Orian suddenly dove down below the trees, folding his wings in with ease. He knew this forest well, he had grown and trained through here. He just hoped that at least one person would still have remained after the-
Something sped past him, a small rock. A warning shot, of course.
Orian sent a message to Damien as his human nodded, standing on his dragons back as he wrapped the reigns on the harness before he leapt into the trees as Orian stopped in a small clearing covered by trees.

The stoney statue watched Orian carefully, not moving until told otherwise, or if there was any sign of trouble.
Damien landed in the tree next to the figure and swung, the figure leaping back before swinging towards the male quickly, both of them locked in a general standstill in hand to hand combat, hidden in the leaves of the trees.
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Duncan looked over his shoulder and when he noticed the clearly amused Dwarf behind him he shook his head with a suppressed curse. "I'm sure you can find something more useful to do than to follow me," he said to Gnol as he followed the rugged trail his horse had left behind.

"What? And miss this phenomenal quest of finding the knight's horse? Not a chance, I want to sing songs about this epic quest." Gnol said, not even trying to hide his amusement. "How's the knightly bum?" he inquired as seriously as he could.

"Are you mocking me sir Dwarf?" Duncan informed cooly.

"Not at all sir knight Human, I wouldn't dare." Gnol replied as innocently as possible.

"Yeah, right, well I think you can..." he stopped mid sentence as he heard a horse whinnying. "There she is!" Duncan rushed to the sound and found his horse all tangled up in some chest-high bramble bushes.

"It's all right, I'm here," he cooed as he tried to grab the reins.
Gnol got off his horse and started to cut down some of the bush.
It didn't take them long to free the horse but it cost a lot of strength to keep the horse from fleeing again. Wildly the horse reared again but with Duncan and Gnol hanging by the reins the horse tired herself out and stopped.

Duncan checked her for injuries and sighed. He looked at Gnol. "I'm not going to make it to the fortress with my horse."
Gnol nodded, even though there weren't any visible injuries it was clear it could go no further in the companionship of dragons.

Gnol turned to Duncan. "What do you suggest? Walking will take too long."

Duncan nodded pensively. After a short silence he turned around and examined the surroundings. "Are you well known in these woods?" he asked Gnol.

"Well, I wouldn't exactly say well known but I can find my way and I know a couple landmarks." Gnol said as he stroked his beard.

"Excellent, Hawk Rock? Half Tree? You know those?" Duncan asked hopefully.

Gnol nodded slowly. "Yea." the Dwarf replied.

"Good, find the others and follow these directions, I'll meet you there." and he gave Gnol the directions.

Gnol climbed back on his horse and spurred him, back the path they had followed and in pursuit of Noble and Trevor.
When he reached them he made his horse set pace with Trevor's horse. "A slight change of plans gentlemen, Duncan gave me some directions to a safe lumberjack's house and he'll meet us there. He hopes he can switch horses there because he can't use his current one. It's either that or we walk all the way to the fortress at the border."




"perhaps we can find some herbs as well to make a paste or something? Perhaps make a makeshift bandage or splint or something, if needed?" Alan asked. Not that he was a herbalist or anything of the kind, he only knew of a handful of medicinal herbs. He patted Mercury on his back reassuringly.

The next meadow were the best words he had heard since travelling on dragon's back, he was starting to get sore and the strangest muscles he didn't even know he had were acting up. He shifted a bit to try and sit more comfortably.




RedClaws followed suit, when he flew through the opening in the canopy he couldn't deny that he felt a jolt of happiness going through his body. Of Course he remembered the bad days but the good memories were also still there. This was home. One of the places he considered home anyway.

Crreessa looked her eyes out, it all looked so majestic to her with the wide canopies, the huge trees and the vast amount of space between the trees. Dragons could fly here, train, practice, play. She could almost feel her brother going down the same path as they were.

RedClaws halted when Damien and Orian stopped. He landed behind Orian, still between the trees.
Crreessa tilted her head. "What's Damien doing now? playing hide and seek in the trees?" she asked although she could hear and smell Damien perfectly fine so she knew where he was.
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"Exactly," Trevor replied to Noble as he took the lead. "We're not waiting or helping; they can catch up with us."
"The horse seemed fast enough when it ran away," the old dragon rumbled, followed by a snicker.
Trevor let his horse go at a stepping pace; he would give them an opportunity to catch up, but he wouldn't wait around for them. He was certain both Duncan and Gnol knew this area well enough or were skilled enough at tracking to find them again.

When Gnol rode alongside him he listened to what the dwarf had to say. "Okay, take the lead," he said as he held back his horse a bit to fall behind Noble again. And closer to the old dragon who walked there too.




"Dragonfruit!" Linda exclaimed when she saw Mercury was in pain. "He needs dragonfruit! That will heal him up. I will go find some!"
And off she went, disappearing between the trees.

"She's a bit rash, sometimes," Mikhal commented as he looked in the direction she had disappeared into. "But most of the time she's a good ally to have." He paused, followed by a sigh. "She has gotten me into trouble as well, but I love having her around."
He shifted a bit; while he had experience riding on horseback, he wasn't used to sit on their back for a long time. And he certainly wasn't used to riding on dragonback.

"Will your horse be joining us again?" he asked Meria.
"I'm sure he'll join us before the next morning," she replied.




Fiona landed next to Redclaws and Rachel slid off her back. She had seen Damien jump into the trees and she was certain he would do well on his own.
"Keep an eye on him," she said to Creessa. "If he needs help, call me. I'll be back soon." She walked to some bushes and disappeared between them.
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Comet ruffled her wings, travelling at horse speed made her impatient. Noble felt her impatience as he moved to put his hand on her neck, feeling a spark of energy rupture between the two. Noble pulled his hand back and looked to his palm, the rune of fire on his hand glistened slightly; he hesitated as he looked to Comet. Comet gave him a nod as she stayed facing away from him and folded her wings back slowly.

"When we bunker down for the night." The dragon started, her voice sounding more regal than it did before, "I will need to flex my wings, I will have to take to the sky for a bit. I promise you I will not bring unwanted attention, my scale pattern allows me to be essentially invisible against night sky."


"Dragonfruit?" Ricki replied to Linda as she squeaked before she disappeared. "Oh, okay." She looked to Mikhal hesitantly, "She will be able to find us when we settle in the meadow, yes?"
"We're already there." Rai said wit a bigger grin, she stood on Ark's hackles. Ark walked to the middle of the meadow before lowering her wings for the humans on her to hop off.

Rai hopped from the hackles of her beast and landed with ease, her feet looked to barely touch the ground as she sprung around excitedly.
"Merc, come here." Rai said, "Lemme have a look at that paw, Ark have we got any spare leathers?" She asked her Dragon, Ark waited for the humans to hop off her before she slipped her snout into some of the sidebags.

Mercury walked to where Rai was and suddenly collapsed onto his stomach, causing Ricki to leap off and offer her hand to Alan.
"Are you okay Mercury?" She asked as she put her other hand onto Mercury's side.


Orian walked up to the cave entrance before the Statue let out a loud snarl, suddenly fanning out his broad wings as he stood. Stones and rubble fell from his figure as he pulled himself away from where he rested.
Orian lowered himself to the ground and let out a rumble back before he paused, "Ram?" He chirped, watching the larger dragon hesitate as he looked over Orian. "Ram!"

Damien almost danced with the figure in the trees, both dodging each others blows before the figure kicked Damien's leg, causing him to slip to the ground with a loud grunt.
The figure in the tree paused at the sound and hopped down the branches to Damien to help him up.
"Well shave my horns, I thought you died!" A female voice said before Damien was hugged tightly, "Ram, Stand down! We have friends!"

Ram fanned his wings out as he climbed down from his spot as rubble fell off his body. The large black and brown dragon was not like the others the humans had seen; he was a lot broader and heavy set. He didn't seem incapable of flight, but it would seem he was more adapted to running on the ground. Thick muscled legs covered in plant matter and vines from however long he was sitting up as sentry.
His horns coiled much like a Rams, an Ode to his name maybe. His head was broad and his muzzle, while long, ended more like a crocodiles than the other dragons.
The beast lifted his head before he gave a large grin to Orian. "It's been a while Starface!" He said to his dragon friend before he lowered his head to head bump him slightly.

Seb watched everything from the back of Redclaws, he could feel the energy that was talking to him around here.
He slipped off Redclaws back and gave him a small pat on the side. "Where are you?" He whispered again, walking towards the cave entrance before he froze, shuddering. "Of course, staying safe are you?" He asked in a foreign language."
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Gnol led them to the place Duncan had described, it took a bit longer than he had said because Gnol had to look for the landmarks. When they reached the house of the lumberjack he looked around. "Perhaps Noble and the dragons can stay a bit behind so they aren't in direct sight immediately but not far." he said to Trevor.
The Dwarf examined the house, bigger than he expected for a simple lumberjack. "Good folk!" he shouted when he couldn't see someone immediately. The door opened a little later and a man appeared in the door with one arm hidden behind the door.

"Exactly how good of folks are you?" the man asked, even though his face had a smile that could pass as friendly his watchful eyes inspected the good folks at his place.

Gnol raised his hands to show no harm. "Good enough to put up with Duncan Ferillion," Gnol said casually and the recognition in the man's eyes byu hearing the name was enough for Gnol to know they were at the right place.

"Duncan huh, how can I know you didn't kill him and leave his body somewhere in the forest?" the man asked still in a conversational tone but the slight narrowing of his eyes showed he was still suspicious about the group.

Gnol shrugged, "Duncan is too busy trying to get his horse this way, we went ahead. He couldn't leave the horse alone although he should have. Duncan also said to remind you about a certain cat and a moat"

The man nodded once. "Fair enough, we'll see, behind the house is a paddock, you can lock your horses up there. I'll unlock the back door, you can wait in the kitchen."




"Sounds like you'll never have a dull moment with Linda by your side." Alan said grinning.

Alan took the hand to get off, although he didn't really need the help. He looked worriedly at Mercury. Terasivas wriggled free and ran to Mercury's head. "Are you ok? Do I need to help you up?" Alan just hoped Linda would return soon. "hope the dragonfruit Linda spoke about isn't far."




Crreessa watched with mild interest to the fighting in the trees. When Damien fell out of the tree she burst out in laughter. She leaned against RedClaws, "Did you see?" she managed to squeeze out between laughs. "He...fell..out..of...the..treeeee." RedClaws didn't respond to his rider. She wiped some tears from laughing from her eyes but when she looked at Damien she nearly started again.

She cleared her throat to keep the next guffaw down and focussed on the other person, she was sure she would start laughing again when she would look at Damien.
"Nice move," she complimented as she leaned casually against RedClaws, her tail swaying from left to right.

RedClaws looked at Ram silently, he wasn't sure he could trust any reactions so he remained silent.
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Trevor nodded and the old dragon also nodded to show he agreed with that.
After Gnol announced their presence, Trevor watched him and the unknown man interact. He noticed the hand that stayed behind the door and the watchful gaze. Good, a man who wasn't easy to trust strangers. The man reminded him of himself.

"Noble," he said, looking back. "Leave your dragon in the forest and join us. Dragons can't fit into that house and we don't know yet how this man feels about dragons." He dismounted his horse and walked it to the paddock behind the house.




Mikhal chuckled as he got down from the dragon. "No, it's never dull with her around," he stated.
He held out his hand to Meria, to help her down.

Meria, holding the young dragon in one arm, smiled at him when she took his hand. "At least there is plenty of water here," she commented when her feet touched the ground. "It cumulates... that way," she turned to look north, but didn't see a body of water at the surface. "Probably underground. But there is a slow stream west of us."




Rachel returned to the scene after a few minutes and watched Damien being helped up. She smiled and shook her head. "Getting rusty, Damien?" she asked.
Her eyes moved to the female who hugged him. "Is everything okay?"

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Comet gave a grumble at the mention of staying behind in the trees. She did this too much already, she glanced to Noble as he rubbed her neck.
"We'll be okay Comet." Noble said as he slipped off her back, moving to grab his bag and slipped his dagger into his pocket before he looked towards Comet again. "I'll call for you if I need you, blend into the trees." He moved to press his head against hers, getting a low rumble from his dragon before they pulled away.

Comet stepped into the trees hesitantly, watching Noble as he walked to join the others. She fluffed her wings before she leapt into the trees with ease, her midnight scales helping her blend in with the dark leaves in the shadows.

Noble walked towards Trevor and Gnol, taking a last glance towards the trees before he breathed in.
"Right." He breathed out, "Ready."


Mercury gave a tired grumble in response of being okay.
"Your paw hurts." Ricki said quietly as she knelt down to pull his injured leg out from underneath him. "It's alright buddy." She said to him, moving to put her bag down before she moved to rummage through it. "I think I have something to at least numb the pain."

Ark watched the humanoids and the smaller dragons quietly, looking to Meria as she spoke about the water.
"It is underneath." Ark spoke gently, "The water flows in rivers underneath the rocks below the meadow." She watched Rai as she hopped from her back and landed easily, heading over to Mercury and moved to kneel by his paw.

"Bear trap?" She asked with a tilt of her head, "Some sort of trap for trapping large beasts, probably some spraining." She sighed. "It'll heal up perfectly fine, Walking on it won't be too hard. We could make him a splint if Linda can't find any Dragonfruit."


Damien and the Female stepped away from each other before Damien turned to the rest of his group.
"My friends, this is Kela." He said with a grin, "She's one of the oldest members of the Order. As you can see, she's not exactly human."
Kela punched Damien in his side gently with a small smile, she moved and bowed to the group. "As Damien said, I am Kela. My dragon is over there, his name is Ram."

Ram lifted his head proudly as he was introduced, Orian used the time to smack at his face and ran away, causing the barreled dragon to chase after him.
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