Saturday, April 16, 2016

Trouble at Home. 16

Back in New Keanna, Emrel hurried through the manor carrying clean sheets and a vial of  Dragon flower serum to Seven and Toric's suite. The time for the birth of her child was getting near and she wanted to be prepared for it. Toric, like most men was absolutely useless right now. He spent most of his time pacing and worrying about impossible complications that Macan had already assured him wouldn't happen. Seven had sent him to visit his mother back at the Collector's compound just to keep him busy and out of their way.
With the wives of Blaze and Graym, Tara and Rose and Athene there to help with the baby's birth, Emrel felt they could handle any problems that might arise magical or medical. And she was almost right in her thinking. These four could handled anything they would need with the birth of the baby, but there were other problem that might just be over their heads.
It was a beautiful day and Seven was laying in bed in her suite with her legs up and ready to give birth. Her contractions were coming at about five minutes apart, and Athene and Tara told her the baby would be there soon. Rose was there sitting at the side to take over if there were any medical complications the others couldn't handle. Emrel was there to hold her hand and to try and keep her calm. She had brought in their mothers Dragon flower potion to ease the pain of the contractions. Dasyra Eventide had always sworn that the potion was the one thing that helped her in the birth of all her nine children. The Dragon flower potion had been an old family secret of the Eventide clan. It was used for pain relief and for healing after the birth. Dragon flowers were a very rare flower that only grew in two places. In the enchanted groves of Eventide and in the magical hollow of Aspara Baugh, in Queen Nuala's garden.
Seven had been drinking Dragon flower tea for an hour and her contraction pains had dulled down to something that she could handle.
"The time is near." She said as sweat ran down her face. "The baby will be here soon."
"Yes." Athene smiled as she placed a hand on Seven's belly. "He will be a handsome boy just like his father with strong elven traits."
"And what about dragon?" Seven asked as a surge of pain hit her. "Will he be a dragon?"
"Elaric will be a very strong dragon." She said. "He will do things that make us all proud."
"Elaric?" Emrel smiled.  "That was our grandfathers name!"
"Yes." Seven said. "That's the name that Toric picked out."
Seven smiled as Emrel wiped the sweat from her brow. Now the only question was what kind of dragon, but that didn't really matter as long he is healthy.
As Athene moved her hand around Seven's stomach, the smile on her face suddenly changed. Seven didn't see it, but Emrel did.
"What is it?" she asked. "Is there a problem? Should I get Macan back in here?
"No." Athene said shaking her head. "But he missed something."
"What? Is the baby alright?"
"Yes." Athene looked up at Seven. "They're fine."
Seven laid back relieved. Then what Athene had just said hit her.
"They?" Seven pushed herself up. "You said they're fine. What are you saying?"
"I have a surprise for you Seven."  Athene smiled and looked into here eyes. "Elaric is not alone. He has two brother with him."
"What?" Seven squeezed Emrel's hand hard. "Brothers?"
"Why not? Your a twin and twins always have multiples at born. You're having triplets. Three sons and they will be here soon."
Seven wanted to scream with joy and tell Toric the good new, but another contraction hit her sending ripples of soft pain through her body. Emrel reached into Seven's mind to help her with the pain. She soothed her mind and sent loving relief to her sister in her time of need. The pain ebbed to a point where Seven could relax a bit. She was almost ready to give birth to Elaric, the first of her three children.

Down in the bay, a small fishing boat from Winterhaven sat in the cool blue water with their nets cast out fishing for red chested Sunfish, a delicacy in Winterhaven and the surrounding area. Their hold was almost full, it had been a good day. The captain of the ship, Braga Kolias was at the wheel calling out orders to the three men that manned the fishing nets. Tilkin Rinlar had had a hard day hauling in nets and shoveling fish into the hold. His face had been burned by the sun and his hands were raw from pulling on the nets. Tilkin wasn't usually a fishermen. He was a farmer by trade, but he had lost his land to a gambling debt. A full house beat his three of a kind and he had bet heavy. He lost everything he owned that night and put himself on the streets of Winterhaven. His cousin had found him work on the fishing boat to hold him until they could find a way to get him back on his feet. He never liked fishing, not even when he went out with his family. It always made him sick the rocking of the boat on the waves. Even the smell of fish turned his stomach and grossed him out. But this was all the work he could find and he would need money to bet with if he wanted to get his home back.
As Tilkin stood at the rail of the boat pulling up the net, he gazed out over the water. He was hoping to see one of the Mermaids that swam in the bay and played with the sailors. He could use a pretty distraction. Something young and sweet to take his mind off his troubles. As he stared out, he saw something surge in the water. It looked like a bump that was moving through the waves. It could be a Mermaid he though for a minute. Then he realized it was to big to be a Mer person. It could be a whale, they swam in the bay a lot. But a whale would be bobbing in and out of the water, not swimming straight in towards the cliffs. Tilkin dropped the net and raised his hand to shield his eyes from the sun. whatever that thing is, it was just about to the boat. They had to get off the boat before it crashed into it.
"Braga! Tilkin yelled. "Get off the boat! Something is coming at us!"
Tilkin reached out and grabbed the rail and jumped just as something crashed into the boat and it exploded into pieces. Fish and debris rained down into the water as a great surge hammered past them. Tilkin floundered in the waves trying to stay a float as the monster barreled pass. From under the sea, he saw a great tail as it sped toward the cliff. Something was heading for the Dragon city. And whatever it is, it's big.

The sun was high and it was looking like a beautiful day as Tobyn Avenda started on his way up onto
the walls of New Keanna. Today was his fifth day on watch over the gates of the city. It was a job his father Graym had gotten for him and he planned to take it very serious. Tobyn, a medium sized teen with brown hair and gray piercing eyes and his father the Shadow Angel hadn't been getting alone very well lately. His grades had been down lately in school and he had been lost in class. Confused actually, but it wasn't his fault magic history and ancient studies didn't interest him. But Graym thought as one of the founders of the city, his son should help set an example for the rest of the young and excel at everything. Tobyn tried, he tried very hard but he sometimes he just couldn't grasp what the teacher was saying. It was like the words would get all jumbled in his mind and they just didn't connect. Sometimes he thought there was something seriously wrong with him. His best friends Luca Rudd, Blaze's son and Quynn Tyr was sweeping through their classes like wildfire and so was Tobyn's sister Jocea. They tried to help, but it didn't work. He seemed to be the only one having these problems. It was embarrassing. He was the oldest of all the children in New Keanna and simple lessons seemed to elude him and he didn't know how he could fix it. He wished there was someone to talk to. Quynn was his usual anchor, but he was away with Ranjer on some strange mission. He wished there was some way he could talk with him and get his confidence back.
After seeing Tobyn's last grades, Graym had given him a stern look. He sat him down in his study for a talk.
"Can you explain this?" He asked.
"I can't understand what Master Aeson is talking about." Tobyn said. "Father, it's like he's talking a different language that I just don't understand."
"How can that be?" Graym asked him. "I've reviewed his classes and they seem simple enough to me. You're just not trying.
"I try father." Tobyn threw up his hands in frustration. "I try very hard. In the beginning I understand, but as he gets deeper into his lecture, his word jumble up in my head and I get lost. Quynn said there's a look in my eyes like I was far away, but I'm not. I'm right there but I just don't understand."
"Then maybe school isn't for you." Graym looked at him with disappointment. He had such high hopes for him. Tobyn had always seemed so bright. "You are to report to Captain Stroker for training. Maybe a little hard work marching and standing guard will clear that thick head of yours. I want you there first thing in the morning. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes father." Tobyn looked down at the floor as he turned and left his fathers office. Out side his mother waited to comfort him. But Tobyn would have none of that. He didn't want to be comforted, not after he saw that look on his fathers face. He just pushed away and ran off. Rose called after him.
"Tobyn! Wait!"
But he didn't stop. He ran for the door and was gone out of their apartment. Rose grabbed the handle to the office door and pushed it open and went in furious at her husband.
"Graym Sewell Avenda!! Do you see what you've done to your son? "
Graym stood up to calm her down and explain.
"No!" She yelled. "Not this time. You do the battles out there with the dragon's and I take care of the children, that was your promise. Now because your son is having trouble, instead of listening and trying to help, you yelled at him in disappointment. Don't you know that boy worships you! Did you know that while you were away back in Dansport, he sat at the window staring out looking for you for months!"
"But nothing!" She slammed her hands on his desk. "Has it occurred to you maybe there is something wrong and that's why he's doing so bad!!"
Graym looked at his angry wife. That thought had never occurred to him. He always thought his children to be perfect, unable to do any wrong.
"Graym." She said after calming down a bit. "Tobyn is sixteen summers old. He's becoming a man and he isn't the perfect little boy that plays with his toy dragons anymore. He has to learn responsibility and patience and he has to learn these things from you. He has to learn to be a man before he can be a warrior. Aeson and the other teachers can't teach him these things, only his father can and that's you! If there is something wrong, we'll figure that out but don't let him hide away feeling like his father doesn't love him."
"THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!" Graym jumped from his seat. "I never said I didn't love him!"
"But that's what he heard." She said softly. "Children read more into your words then what you might be trying to say. He heard your anger and your disappointment more then your words. Get up out of that chair and go find him. Right now, he is the most important thing in your life."
Graym stood up and walked around the desk to kiss her and tell her she was right and he was sorry, but she stopped him with a hand.
"Go find Tobyn now!"

Graym searched for hours for Tobyn. He checked with Blaze to see if he was there, but neither Tobyn or Luca was there. Tara, said the boys had been there for a few minutes, but Tobyn had seemed upset and they left. Then he checked with the rest of the manor, but they were no where to be found. Frustrated, Graym checked with Dreik and that's when he got the notice that Jandar and Rage wanted to see all the Dragon's and Shadoe's for what he called an emergency. There was trouble in a far off land and Rage wanted all hands ready to go. He thought it might be that important.
When Graym tried to explain this to Rose, she just turned away and told him to go. She would find Tobyn and do whatever she had to to deal with the problem, but she wanted him to know how disappointed she was with him.
"Go be a hero." She said with venom in her voice. "I will take care my children."
Graym tried to reassure her that he would fix this when he returned.
"That's IF you return." She slammed their bedroom door shut in his face leaving him standing there looking confused. Graym shook his head and grabbed Retribution, he opened the doors to the balcony and took off to meet the others for the mission.

For the next few weeks, Tobyn joined Captain Stroker in his training class for the city guard. He worked hard at sword training and learning the rules the guards needed to know and the responsibility's of standing a watch. He wanted to show his father he wasn't a complete failure. Captain Stoker worked him hard, pitting him against boys his age, then older men in the guards. He learned the discipline and the technique of one and two handed warfare, then moved up to the next level of training which was unarmed hand to hand. There, he did well. He went home each night bruised and sore, but it was worth it if he could gain his fathers respect back. Each night his mother would prepared a nice hot bath for him with a touch of foxglove and a pinch of numbweed to sooth his pain. He knew she was still mad at father for what he had said, but Tobyn couldn't shake the feeling that it was all because of him, and that made him work harder each day to learn as much as he could.
The next morning as Tobyn started on his way across the wall, he looked out and saw something strange in the bay. It looked like a water dragon, but that isn't possible. Nautica was away with father and Maxius died in the Shyr fighting for Aqualona. Could it be something else? Whatever it is, its big and heading right for the cliffs of Kolvir. That means it will be in the city in less then an hour.
Tobyn turned from the wall and ran to the gong set at the stairway. He grabbed the hammer and started banging the alarm. Captain Stroker came running out from the guard house to see what the threat could be.
"There!" Tobyn pointed out into the bay. "Something's heading in to attack!!"
"That looks like a whale." Stroker said dismissing him. "Nothing to worry about."
"Excuse me sir but that is no whale. And its not a dragon either. We're about to be attacked!!"
"Nonsense." Stroker said annoyed. "Maybe your father Graym is right. Maybe this isn't for you. You're relieved of your post. Go home and find a girl to play with."
When Tobyn heard his father's name, he lost his composure. He grabbed Stroker by the front of his tunic and pulled him to the wall.
"That is not a whale." He pointed to the mound in the water heading their way. "And if you won't do something, I will!!"
Tobyn let go of the captain and took off down the stairs. He had to get to Denner in the Manor before it was to later to warn them of the attack. Running with all his speed, Tobyn made his way through the city and to the Manor. He busted in the front door yelling for Denner and anyone else that was there.
"What is all the noise about?" Denner asked as he came out of his and Nautica's apartment. Tobyn ran up the stairs to him.
"We're under attack! Something big is coming out of the bay!!"
Denner looked to Tobyn and saw the fear in his eyes. He ran back into his apartment and grabbed his sword.
"Show me!"
Together they ran back to the wall where Denner gazed down and saw the creature rise out of the water and start its way up the cliffs.
"CAPTAIN STROKER!!" He yelled. "We're under attack! Get your men ready for battle!"
Captain Stroker gave Tobyn and mean look then called for archers to man the wall. In a few minutes, fifty archer were shooting down at the climbing beast. Arrows hit it and sank deep into its flesh, but it kept on climbing.
"Tobyn." Denner said. "We need more help. I need you to go and see if Shayn and Ono are back from Tir Na. Get them here fast."
"Yes sir!" Tobyn said. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to try and stop it from getting into the city. You should go! Hurry!!"
As Tobyn watched, Denner shifted forms and became a huge ferocious Griffen. He spread his wings and launched himself out off the wall.
Tobyn took off down from the wall and head back to the Manor to look for the two princes. He prayer they were back or they all might be in big trouble. In his mind, he was screaming out for Quynn to come home and help them.

At had been a busy morning as Quynn, Ranjer and the others stopped to rest. They had been traveling south all night and they were just about to enter the Dwarven lands. Bly, Niro and Rowyn were busy setting up camp. They had decided Myor and Quynn needed time to sleep. Ranjer and Hoddie had gone out to hunt up something to eat while Quynn and Myor relaxed. Suddenly a voice screamed out in Quynn's head causing him to fall back in pain. Quynn grabbed his head and concentrated on the voice trying to see who it was calling out to him. He knew it wasn't his parents, both Jandar and Rage would find a more subtle way to contact him. It had to be someone else familiar to him. Quynn listened to the call, then he recognized Tobyn Avenda's familiar mental touch. Something dire must be going on. He had a panicked sound to his call.
[Tobyn. What is it? What's wrong?]
[Quynn?] Came his answer. [Is that you?]
[Yeah, its me. What's wrong? Are you ok?]
[No!] He sent. [New Keanna is under attack. We need help. There's no one here except Mr. Denner and he can't fight that thing alone.]
[What's attacking the city?] Quynn asked him.
[I don't know what it is.] Tobyn said. [But its huge and climbing the cliffs to the city. My mother and sister are here and Ariel is about to have her baby. You have to come back and help!]
Quynn knew there was no time for him to fly back. By the time he got there, the city could be torn to pieces. There had to be another way. Another Dragon he could call that was closer and could go to the city's aid. Tempus and Professor Insa were in the academy. They were to far away, Torch and has clan were in Slovinia, again to far away. That only left Gird in the Egg chamber. He wouldn't be any help, he's to small. Then needed something bigger. Then and idea hit him. It was risky, but it just might work.
[Tobyn.] Quynn sent. [I need you to do something. It's a bit scary, but it might save the city if you succeed.]
[What is it?]
[Do you remember the cave I showed you when we were ten? The one with all the jewels and gold in it?]
[You mean that haunted cave where Gird lives?]
[Yes.] Quynn sent. [I need you to go in there. I know it's scary, but there's something in there that might help if you can find it.]
[What?] Tobyn asked.
[You hurry and get there. I'll tell you once your in. Be quick.]
Tobyn hurried out of the Manor and made his way to the the west end of the city. As he ran, he could hear screams and roars from Denner and the creature as they battled just out beyond the wall. Tobyn hoped Denner could hold the monster until he could find whatever Quynn was sending him for.
As he approached the entrance to the cave, Tobyn took the key he had found in the Manor and put it in the locked gate and turned it. The lock clicked and the gate swung open and Tobyn went in. At the entrance there was a barrow filled with unlit torches. Tobyn grabbed one and lit it from the torch at the entrance and went in.
It was hot and humid in the cave, almost like an oven. Tobyn slowly walked in holding the torch high to keep the shadows back and away from him. He passed mounds of gold and silver coins. There were bars of platinum and bronze with huge stones of obsidian and jade scattered all through the cave entrance. Tobyn wiped the sweat from his brow and moved on. He really didn't like this cave. He had a real scare here when he was younger. Quynn had tried to show him the cave, when this huge bat winged creature had come out. Tobyn ran screaming from the cave. Quynn tried to explain that it was just the caves guardian, but Tobyn refused to come back here. Until now.
As Tobyn moved deeper into the cave, he saw the abundance of riches there. Huge diamonds and emeralds. Ruby's the size of his head and sapphires like melons. He was amazed at the riches stored there. He had no idea the city had such riches.
Suddenly something called out to him in his head. He thought for a second it was Quynn, but the voice was different then his old friends.
"My name is Tobyn Avenda. Prince Quynn sent me here to find help for the city."
"You know my father?" He asked.
"The city is being attacked and there isn't anyone here to protect it accept Mr. Denner. Right now he is fighting out there all alone. Prince Quynn sent me here to get help."
"This is my home." He said. "My fear means nothing when New Keanna is in trouble. I will go fight the monster myself if that is what it takes to save the city."
Tobyn stepped forward as a Sunstone the size of his head started to glow and shake. Tobyn picked it up and his life changed in a flash.

Out beyond the city walls, Denner dived down to attack the monstrous creature ascending the cliff towards New Keanna, It was huge, bigger then any Dragon he had ever seen. It was covered with scales but built like a man with two massively muscled arms and two sturdy legs. It hand claws that had to be at least five feet long and a great barrel of a chest. It had a fish like head with deep black eyes and a mouth full of jagged teeth that could swallow one of the city's biggest wagons in one gulp. Denner estimated the thing had to be more then fifty feet tall with flippers and fist that could devastate New Keanna if he didn't stop it. His Griffin form wasn't big enough to do any real damage, so he shifted to a Red Dragon form. He knew he wouldn't be as strong or powerful as Rage or Blaze, but he had to try. That thing had to be stopped before it tore down the whole city.
As Denner dived, he took a deep breath filling his dragon lungs with air. He could feel the chemical reaction deep in his chest as the air turned into a flammable gas. He narrowed his wings and ducked beneath the Bog things swipe at him then aimed for its chest and released his blast. Flames shot out from his maw and blasted at the monster's chest as he sped pass. It howled in pain as its chest caught fire. As smoke rose up at it's face, it started to beat it the flames with its wet moss covered hand. In seconds the flames were out and it turned its attention back to the battle just as Denner was coming turned to attack again. Reaching back, the Bog thing threw out its hand and launched a mass of mud and moss into the air at Denner. He turned just in time to keep from flying right into it. The mud flew pass him and crashed into the wall knocking men back and off the wall.
As Denner turned back to the Bog thing, it reached out and smacked him sending him tumbling through the air. He opened his wings to slow and steady himself, but he was to late. He hit the wall with a crash and fell down knocked out onto the ground. The Bog monster roared and with heavy steps, headed straight in for the kill. All it would take would be a few stomps and Denner would be dead and the city would open for the attack.

With a sudden stab of pain, Seven screamed out as she leaned forward to push. It was time for Alaric to make his entrance into the world. Emrel held tight as Seven squeezed her hand. Athene sat ready between her legs whispering a pray to Aramis the god of life for a safe birth. In her mind, Athene heard her mother warn her of what was going on at the gate.
[The city is under attack.] She said. [A dangerous man is trying to get his revenge on New Keanna for his own past mistakes.]
[Mother!] Athere sent. [This is not the time. Neither Ariel, Emrel or I can go out to fight!]
[I know Sweetheart. Steps have been taken to protect you. But you must hurry. If all three are not born in the next ten minutes, none will live.]
[Then make sure your help is able to hold the attack away from here and I will bring them into the world!]
Just then, Alaric's head crowned and push out into the world. Athene gently reached out and guided him as he pushed his way out and fell safely into her hands. Athene whispered a soothing sound to him as she cut the umbilical and held him up for Aramis to bless. A light shined in through the window and touched the baby, and it started to cry.
"What is his full name?" She asked.
"Alaric Tanyl Norstin." Seven said as she smiled and Emrel wiped her sweaty brow.
"Aiya Alaric Tanyl Norstin." She presented the baby to the gods. "Welcome to our clan. We must send word to Toric that he is now a father."
"He knows." Seven said as she laid back and the pain started again. "He is on his way home. I think Elaric is coming!"
Athene looked down to see another head crowning. Quickly she passed Alaric over to Rose, who wrapped him in a soft blanket, then Athene got ready for the next birth.
"Push." Athene told her.
Emrel lifted her into a sitting position and Seven pushed out allowing Elaric his chance to enter the world. The baby slid out right into Athene's waiting hands. Shew reached over and took a blanket to wrap him in.
"He is very handsome." Athene said. "What are you naming him?"
"Elaric Jakari Norstin." Seven said. "He's named after Jake."
"Aiyi Elaric Jakari Norstin." Athene lifted him for his blessing. Aramis shined his light down on the baby as its made its first cry. "Welcome to our clan!"
Rose took both babies and held them down for Seven to see.
"Aren't they beautiful! You should be so proud."
"I am." Seven said. She relaxed for a second knowing she still had one more to go. "But there's one more. Toric Rensan is waiting to for his chance at life."
Rose took the babies to a cradle Seven had made for Alaric and put them in to sleep. Emrel promised to conjure two more when they were done and Seven could get some rest. Just then there was a knock at the door and Syrune Brightsong hurried in to tell them about the attack. Seven pushed away the blankets and started to get up. Emrel stopped her and pushed her down.
"Where do you think your going?"
"To protect the city." She said. "I'm a Dragon, I'm responsible."
"Not today." Athene said. "Your about to deliver a baby, or did you forget. You can barely walk much less fly or fight. Someone else will have to it. Trust the gods, they won't let us down."
"I hope not because here comes Toric!!"
Emrel grabbed on as Seven strained to push the last baby out. As Athene watched, she saw the baby's bottom crown and stop as it was stuck in the birth canal. Rose rushed to Sevens side and told her to stop pushing.
"Somethings wrong." She said. "The baby's coming out the wrong way! Don't push, just breathe easy"
"We should call Macan." Emrel said. "He'll know what to do."
"I know what to do." Rose said. "We'll have to use magic. Athene can do it."
"How?" She asked. "What should I do?"
"Put your hands on her stomach and close your eyes." Rose guided Athene's hands to her belly. "Do you feel the baby?"
"Yes." Athene said. She had her hands right over baby Toric's body. "I can feel it right here."
"I want you to visualized the baby, can you do that?"
"Yes, I see him." She smiled.
"Now, bring him out carefully. Concentrate, he'll come to you."
Athene summoned her magic and called out to the baby. Seven's belly started to glow and Toric disappeared out of her womb and reappeared in Athene's arms crying.
"Aiya Toric Ransen. Welcome to our clan."

After Seven and the babies were safe and in the care of Emrel, Athene shifted and took off out the window and headed to the wall. She saw the Bog monster coming toward the wall as she flew in. The guards were all gathered on the wall firing arrow after arrow into its hulking body causing absolutely no harm at all. As she reached the wall, she spotted Denner laying passed out at the foot of the wall. The monster was heading right for him. Athene flew up and hovered before the creature and spread her arms to cast her first spell. She shot an bolt of lightning at the monster, causing it to stumble back a few steps and fall to its knees. It climbed back up on its feet and looked at her and roared and threw another moss ball at her. Athene dived down out of the way and sent a power blast behind her as she flew pass the monster. Howling the Bog thing quickly spun around and cast a moss wall in front of Athene. Unable to avoid it, Athene flew right into it and found herself stuck like a fly in a web. The Bog thing roared out in triumph beating its chest. With Denner and Athene down. it was now free to attack the city. With a triumphing grunt, it headed in to smash Athene, then on to Denner and New Keanna.
The monster took three steps and reached for Athene, when suddenly something roared and a blast of hot burning sand streaked out and hit it in the face. The Bog thing fell stumbling back as a bronze Dragon with huge wings and a thorny ridged brow came flying out of the city to attack. Sandstorm flew in and snatched Athene from the moss wall and carried her back to the wall.
Shocked, but comfortable in the claws of a Dragon, Athene let the Dragon put her down on the wall.
[Thank you for the save.] She sent. [But who are you? I know all the Dragon's in our clan, I've never seen you before.]
[I am Sandstorm.] He sent. [You make sure Mr. Denner is alright. Let me deal with this thing.]
[That thing is big.] She sent. [You won't be able to destroy it alone. Keep it occupied while I check on Denner. We'll be there to help in just a minute.]
[Yes ma'am.]
With Athene safe on the wall, Sandstorm launched himself back into the sky. He flew straight up, then turned to dive at the Bog monster. As he dived, Sandstorm roared and sent a tremendous wave of heat down at the Bog thing. It tried to cover its face form the blast and took another step back. Sandstorm dived until he was just about over head, turned up and smashed down with its tail. The arrow head shape at the end of his tail smashed down and split the Bog thing right down the middle. It screamed as it stumbled around swinging its arms trying to hold itself together.
Sandstorm roared in triumph, He thought it was all over and he had won. Then he looked down and saw his mistake. The monster was not done. It was pulling itself back together. Its torso had already reformed and the head was filling back in.

Down at the foot of the wall, Athene had dropped down to check on Denner. She lifted him into a sitting position, them smacked his face litely to wake him up. Denner opened his eyes and moaned in pain.
"What happened?" He asked as he looked up at her. "Athene?
"Yes." She said. "You were in a battle. Something attacked the city. It must have hit you and knocked you out."
"A big ugly mud thing." He reached up and rubbed his head. "What happened to it?"
"It's right there!" She pointed to the thing fighting Sandstorm.
Denner looked up and saw the Bronze and the Bog thing in battle.
"Who the blazes is that?
"I don't know." Athene said. "But he called me ma'am and you mister. Whoever he is, I think he knows us."
"He fights pretty good." Denner said as he got up. "But I think he'll need our help. You ready?"
"Let's go." Athene smiled.
Taking a running start, Denner jumped into the air and shifted back to Dragon form. He grabbed Athene and put her on his back and headed into the battle. Like an arrow they charged right in. Sandstorm had turned in flight as he saw them coming so he was out of the way when they started to blast the monster. Athene raised her hand and sent a blast of power at the Bog monster while Denner took a deep breath to get his fires burning again. Her blast hit the thing making it scream. As they streaked pass, Denner let go with his flames. The Bog thing beat at the flames, then jumped for Denner. Denner swerved to the left, then flew around the monster shooting flame. It burned with intense heat as they started up for another pass.
[Your flame isn't hot enough to kill this thing.] Sandstorm sent. [And neither is my hot sand. But if we blast it together all three of us, we might be able to take it down.]
[Good idea.] Athene sent.
[I'll go left, you go right and we'll hit together.] Sandstorm banked left for a turn and Denner went right. They both turned and came back at the monster. Moss balls flew like arrows at Denner as he zoomed in at the monster.
[On three.] Sandstorm sent. [One, two, THREE!!]
Heat and hot sand flew at the Bog thing tearing into its mossy body. At the same time from the other side, Denner blasted it with his flames and Athene with her power blast. The creature screamed as pieces of it burned and tore off away from it's body. It grew smaller and smaller as they kept on with their attack until there was nothing left but the man that had been buried under all that moss and magic. He looked up at them and said something and fell over dead.
Denner and Sandstorm circled then landed on the field outside of the city. Denner shifted and he and Athene walked over to the body.
"I never would have guessed there was a man under all that muck." Denner said. "What did he say before he died. I didn't hear him."
[He said thank you.] Sandstorm sent. He shook his head and stared down at them.
"Thank you for your help." Athene smiled. "We would not have been able to defeat him without it."
[You're welcome.] Sandstorm sent. [But it's my city too. It was my duty to fight.]
"Who are you stranger?" Denner asked. "I feel like I know you."
[You do.]
Sandstorm shifted and Tobyn Avenda was standing there in brown and tan leathers.
"Tobyn?" Denner looked at him in complete shock. "How? what?..."
"I think Graym is in for a big surprise." Athene laughed. She reached out and hugged Tobyn. "Welcome to our clan Sandstorm.

It was early evening when Quynn woke up. Myor was there on the other side of the fire and Ranjer was next to him sleeping. Yarden, Bly and Rowyn were also asleep while, Niro and Hoddie stood guard. As he sat up, he remember the dream he had just had. So Tobyn is now a Dragon, Quynn smile. Good for him. He deserved the honor. What disturbed Quynn was the Bog monster. There was a man buried in that thing. It could only have come from one person. Bram Thorn. He would have to tell the others when they woke up. But now, he needed more rest. They still had a lot to do and a long way to go before this would be over.