The days went by; it was clear to Norgarth that she had regained some of her strength, she seemed healed yet still she just laid there staring with her black eyes at the roof of the cabin. He explained to her slowly, said how it seemed that objects she was carrying, an eye, an ear and others had been pulled into the portal along with Zhangs body. The lie, he believed, was the only thing that could prevent the young sorceress descending into madness, and he hoped, evil.
As he spoke he watched Haennah’s blank expression change to one of pain, despair, longing, and anger. Suddenly she grasped out at Norgarth and gripped tightly to his shoulders. Instinctively he braced himself and grabbed her wrists, preparing to kill her with his bare hands lest she conjure some magic against him. Yet there was no malice in her touch. She slowly wrapped her arms around the gruff dwarf’s wide shoulders and hugged him her head buried under his chin.
‘You saved my life Norgarth, and for what it is worth I will never forget what you have done for me’ For a moment he sat rigid, unused to such affection and vulnerability from a woman who had often argued and balked against his opinions. As she gently sobbed , he uncomfortably pushed her down onto her bed. ‘Rest now’ He left the room as she fell again into exhausted slumber.
* * * * *
Her head pounded, the ribs around her new heart ached, and she felt flushed. Even tight shut it was as if the morning light was scorching the back of her eyes. She opened them and stared up in the soft light. Her head still pounded, and the ceiling made her queasy. ‘Eyes shut !’ she thought.
Her fingers ached on her left her hand, and then she remembered one was missing ‘It’s all in my mind, if indeed it still IS my mind.’ She lay there listening to two of the Templars outside the cabin. Their voices were low, a private conversation, but in the silence of the room they filled Haennah’s ears.
‘Tis not natural’
‘Wat is these days brother’
‘I tell thee, I know the cap’n has his reasons but I for one would like to know what happened to her and why allofasudden ‘tis of such importance that we have to be flying ‘round keeping away from civilized places just for her sake.
‘You think too much. Remember before he was a Templar he was a trusted friend and protégé of our great fallen leader, may he rest in peace. It’s only right that another dwarf hero take up the mantle. ‘
‘Yeah but I’m not saying that’s not right, I’m..’
‘..And so before you interrupt again brother, if he has reason that the sorceress.. and remember they have knowed each other longer than we have knowed him… what was I sayin’ yeah his reasons must be good reasons. If she needs rest away from folks, and flying into the wildernesses as we are is what he says we must do then so be it.’
‘’spose… but tis still not natural. And her waking nearly ev’ry night screamin’ as she does, it’s creepy’’
‘Always one for lookin a gift horse in the mouth. How many of our brothers did we lose against those dragon creatures, and in the fire at the temple? I for sure am liking the chance of not getting killed at for a change.’
‘Again my Templar brother you misunderstand me meanings. I mean ‘she’ and all is not natural. You saw plain as day when he hauled her carcass on’t deck. Bloodied, flayed , and as dead as a doornail to all she looked. Yet now not a scar upon her….. except the ones she already had of course.’
‘Of course brother, and what precisely are you getting at?’
‘Well I mean, when we took that accursed dragon rod, remember. She went crazy mad and demanded it, cursing the Templars and threatening the wrath of her so called Goddess upon us if we didn’t give it back. And then when it looks like we gonna have to fight her, us surrounding her wit swords drawn and shield raised we was, she just commands our knight to hand it , and he does so without question.’
‘Well it was either that brother, or end up frazzled to a crisp, you seen what magic she wields, never mind that sword of hers. Rather she be on our side than against if I rightly say so.’
‘That’s against the code and you know it.
‘I’m not saying she should join us jelly brain, merely she makes a better ally than an enemy, and I think Norgarth is thinking that too. Anyway you is just scared of her, I saw you when you tried to move her clothes’
‘I had been asked to tend to her best I could, and clearly she was in pain, I merely offered to see what was ailing her.’
‘And then when she snapped at you nearly peed yer pants, yes we know. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t want your grimy mitts pawing at me neither.’
‘I’m not used to Infernal speak, it startled me. Bloomin Teiflings , they is not natural.’
Haennah listened, part of her wanted to giggle at such silly boy talk, but she also felt unnaturally angry at what she had heard. Then her mind raced, her body became taught with rage ‘Foolish, feeble, floundering fools. What do they know of me, they think me unnatural? Pitiful mortals fear what they cannot comprehend and so they should. Their lives are but wheat sheaves in the wind compared to me. I have lived an age beyond men and endured. All life must end, yet I will live on, all will be judged unworthy and I will have my rightful prize for good or for evil. But in the name of my Goddess I will rebuke that evil and destroy its tyranny, yet they dare look upon me and say that I am tyranny and I am evil?
What do they know of evil, I have seen true evil , I have been touched by evil the likes they cannot imagine. It has penetrated me, defiled me, yet I have survived. The dark power is defeated, and in its place a sorceress. Yesss, Yet I shall not be dark, but beautiful beyond enduring, worshipful and terrible as the Fire in the Night, Dreadful as the lightning. All shall love me and despair.’
Strange sounds, like dripping water, broke into her rage, and she gasped shocked as she realized her own thoughts, and what she was about to do. The sparks of electricity that had danced along her arms, skittering across the floor, subsided. The two men outside continued to talk oblivious to what could have been.
She slumped back down on the bed and looked at the ceiling. ‘My mind is not my own it seems.’ She wiggled her fingers, muttered words and a spectral hand apparated and picked up the nearby looking glass. She studied her face, the small blue dragon scales highlighted her temples, belied her distant draconic heritage, seemed more prominent. She looked at her arms, calves, tail, and elsewhere. ‘Indeed my dear’ she thought to herself, ‘the legacy of my bloodline becomes stronger every day. I am pleased.’
She stared at the reflection of her eyes. She thought she saw something different in those solid black orbs, a distant wispy blue glow, like looking up from a deep well at a misty sky. ‘The dark well of my soul?’ She mused. ‘Or another’s? I have you in my eye and I shall keep you in my eye till you learn to behave. Yet am I in good spirits? Good or bad I must be in control of them!........I must make more of an effort to be well, yet I am undone, or at least my clothes…. A spell of mending shall be of aid, and good practice.. little steps my little dove, little steps.’
The next day was bright yet the sound of rainfall from outside her cabin was a distraction . Her legs were unsteady as she padded to the door and opened it. ‘Where is the rain?’
‘Wha - What rain?’ answered the startled guard. He stepped back looking surprised as she gripped tightly against the door swaying slightly. ‘I thought I heard rain?’
‘Lady Haennah, you are not yet strong enough.’
‘Yes food , do you have any, we are hungry. Food and sunshine.’
She watched the man hurriedly walk towards the galley. Haennah stepped away from the door, felt her head swim and her legs buckle slightly. ‘So we will , I will, crawl if need be.’..
Norgarth sat in the sun studying his book; he was at first puzzled at the sounds of a girl’s voice signing a sea shanty. He recalled how what seemed an age ago now, Haennah used to sing it, and how her silliness annoyed him. He looked up and saw her crawling towards him a stupid grin on her face. ‘Feeling better it seems?’ He grumbled.
‘It’s no concern of yours girl’
‘The fact that its upside down from here does not hide the fact that you are reading somatic draconic. And it is also a fact that I speak dragon quite fluently, plus you will never learn to read or write it properly from studying that.’
‘And what would you suggest I do instead then,’ he replied gruffly.
‘Why would you be wanting to learn to speak Dhovah anyway? You’ve never shown any interest bef….’ Her eyes widened in surprise as she spied the thin scaly tail of a dragonling wrapped around the dwarfs neck, it curled around into his shirt and as she twisted her head to look she spied the balled up shape of a sleeping hatchling copper dragon.
‘Oo Pahdul! Tol mii druv hi laan wah tinvaak Dovah. Fos brit Pahdul.’
‘Wait that’s too fast.’ The dwarf scowled ‘Did you call her Paddle? That’s not her name’
‘PAH – DUL! Dear Norgarth, it means baby. So what have you called her?’
When the dwarf pronounced the hatchling name Haennah could not help herself and laughed out loud. ‘You can’t call her that!’ she exclaimed ‘ while it may be a fine dwarven sounding name it means nonsense in Dhova.. in fact it’s even worse .. you basically named her toy-fox-brush. Dragon names all mean something. If she was hatched from the flames of the temple then Kiinnolyol would be suitable. It is an important part of their legacy.
‘And I suppose your name has some stupid dragon meaning behind it.’ He snapped angrily.
She looked solemnly at him before speaking, ‘Rei means Line, as in lineage. My family stopped using the first half... Monahrel .. it means……. Matriarch.’ She cast her eyes downwards ‘ I must find out..’ her voice trailed off.
‘The ghost dragon you said you saw’ his tone became serious. ‘Haennah?’
She looked up and gave a wry smile. ‘Scooch up and I will help you and Pahdul. Now first thing you need to know about the script of Dhovah is how it is formed, claws, wings, and tail marks…so …’