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Excerpt for The Dragons Rule- The Quest Book V by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Dragon’s Rule

The Quest

Book V

By

G. Weldon Tucker

#TheStoryteller







Recommended ages: 5-7 read to, pending skills. Reading 7-12+. Encourage your children to read! Intelligence comes from knowing more than one’s peers, and that can only happen between the covers of a book! Geography, communication, vocabulary and life’s lessons included herein! Enjoy! GWT





BOOK V

Ice Castle



One

Princess Jodania, Joey of the Red Clan, had the pattern in her mind. The Gold Clan Queen Mother had shown her the carpet with the woven map. She’d told Joey to memorize it, and she had. Her quick mind and good memory had always served her well.

The afternoon after the meeting, the dragon team lifted off from the base of the cliffs that housed the Gold Clan and quickly rose out of sight, headed southeast. There were nine, counting seven that were already in the quest, and the two golds that the Queen Mother had loaned them. Both as large sized protectors, although one was also a sign language expert. Well, at least as far as talons and huge paws might allow.

The thunder of their wings was noticeable for miles, but if any of the nearby village people heard it, they blamed it on an unseen thunderstorm and stayed safe in their homes. It was a time when mythical beasts were rumored to roam the land and people fully believed that most were not friendly to mankind at all.

We can thank our lucky stars that those days, and those beasts are long gone.

It was to be a four-day journey, days and nights. Along the way, the pair of much larger golds would find game to bring to the group. They would pause, eat and refresh themselves, then continue the trip. Every time, Joey, ever the neat one, asked Jenny, Ikfreit or Grogan to help her clean up, even if it was to throw dirt, sand or snow over the remains. Roto believed it was unnecessary and beneath himself.

Joey only knew to fly southeast, away from the Cradle of Life, as she was directed by the Gold Clan. But she remembered Goldie’s directions, too. It will be the ninth mountain, at the tip of a huge ‘V’ shaped ridge. Soon enough, they were yet one more day from that location.

The land had steadily risen, pushing them up higher and higher. The air was thin and growing much colder. It was early summer, but when the lower lands mellow and turn gold and yellow, all that happens in the highest mountains is that the snow declines some. The ice may never go away.

They followed a wide valley from up high, and as they made a turn around the headland of a ridge, there stood their destination. Well, it was a view of the spine, or part of it, anyway. Right before them was a beautiful valley in summer gold and greens, although still very cold.

This is a good place to stop to rest,” called Joey. “The land is clear and green. Perhaps we can find game!”

The two golds got the message and headed out in widening circles, looking for wild animals. It is a sad fact that everything on this world is meant to feed something else. Only the top predators might survive, but that is not a given. Sometimes, the lesser animal wins.

Not in this case, for the two golds returned in an hour carrying what had to be the biggest land animal they had ever seen. Now known as the wild ox, called a Yak, the thing was nearly a thousand pounds, and luckily, only about a quarter of the gold dragon’s four thousand pound weight. It was a struggle, and to tell the truth, he did drop it before he got it all the way up the hill to where the others waited. That was not a big problem, for they simply moved their temporary camp to supper.

In short order, with nine hungry dragons, only the horns, hooves and hide were left. If there were bones, they were crunched down. Dragons are thorough, if not neat eaters.

Once again, Joey and Jenny took turns kicking dirt over the messy remains, trying to clean up. But the ground was still frozen hard, despite the struggling arrival of green things at their feet.

Having done the best that they could, they prepared to take flight. The weather was turning foul, dark clouds gathering, but they intended to fly above them.

ONWARD!” cried Joey as she leaped high into the air and began to beat upward with powerful wings.

ONWARD!” answered eight dragon throats and they fought the air to join her quickly. No one needed sleep. They would sleep on the flight. Dragons could do that very well.



Two



On the last day, late in the afternoon, Joey began to see the pattern of the carpet laid out before her. She studied it as they approached. They had managed to get high enough to match the tip of the highest mountain in the world, one that would someday be known as Mount Everest. She thought she saw it off in the distance. Another few hours and they would be there. Or, so she hoped.

This was exhausting work, flying up here where the air is thin, and even dragon wings needed a little magic to keep so far up here.

Suddenly, one of the golds trumpeted a warning, indicating he was having too much trouble and tiring. His much heavier weight could not be supported at this altitude. Joey knew that keeping them all up here could result in the loss of any one of them. She did not feel it nearly as bad as the heavier dragons.

Go down and fly around the peaks and valleys but keep heading toward that highest peak in front of us. Try to keep me in sight to guide you.” She was speaking to the golds but was surprised when the whole team dropped away, leaving her all alone up here! However, she realized that, like she had told the Queen Mother, she had practiced all her life, flying as high as she could.

Then, surprising her even more, Ikfreit soon arrived at her side, calling, “I just wanted to get them pointed the right way. I can handle it. How are you?”

You and I flew to the Old One on those high mountains in the Gray Clan territory. This is harder, but not impossible.”

Good. We are getting closer. The sun is setting. Look at that view!”

He was right. The highest peak stood out from the rest, well above the clouds, in beautiful splendor. The sun’s bright light was already lifting from it, making it a peak of rock, ice and snow, as forbidding a place as could be imagined.

Someday, mankind would see that as a temptation and make many attempts to climb from the bottom to the top, nearly thirty thousand feet above sea level. Many determined climbers, unfortunately, would not make it back. Mankind can be like that. But then, so can nature. Not everything makes sense, right?

Despite the high altitude, hard to breathe and hard to fly, coming in by air seemed a better idea.



Three



The Gold Clan had given her excellent directions. She was to circle to the west side, where, as the sun set, the cleft a short distance down from the tip, should be out of the ice, and would be in shadow. But she was to stop outside of the cold, rocky cave and to knock hard on the outer walls until the Old One told her to come in. Joey was reminded that he was deaf.

She found the cleft, and the ledge, both free of ice and snow, then she and Ikfreit flew down to find the gold dragon that would handle sign language. “I am ready. Can you fly that high for a short time? The ledge is better than fifteen thousand feet above us. It is a wide ledge and plenty of room.”

Fifteen thousand feet? Twenty-nine thousand feet above sea level? Yes, that is a lot of fingers and toes. You might even wear a pencil down to a nub.

Yes. I am ready,” said Elphin, the sign language specialist, a gold dragon.

The two rose up the steep face of the mountain, going from rock to snow then ice. Just as it was becoming unclear if they would make it together, they soared in and over the ledge to settle down and catch their breath.

They had barely alighted on the narrow ledge, when a voice, magnified by the shape of the cavern within, cried, loudly, “WHO GOES THERE!”

It startled the two of them so much the gold almost fell right off the ledge! He had to quickly spread his wings to regain his footing!


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