The Dragon’s Temporary Refuge
Tac sat on the ground, embarrassed by his irrational impulse, and tried to calm his feelings as he visualized everything that had happened in his life during the last half year. Images floated into his mind, replacing one with another-Tod, Lana, Natalie, Nicholas, Alisa, Home and Natalie’s baby. He was sure that he had found the right key to open the gate. ‘My family is expecting a baby and I am sure that there cannot be any more important reason for me to be at home than this?’
Almost immediately he felt Galibur’s touch on his shoulder. The eagle pointed at the wall which had started to pulsate to allow the Portal to open. The movements in the wall increased accompanied by an intense, rumbling sound and, as the pulsations completed their cycle, they felt the hair and the feathers on their bodies being ruffled by the Force. Both of them did not resist this time, allowing it to embrace their bodies and take them into the depth of the vortex. The second time it was not so terrifying because now they expected to see their green and habitable world again. One thing that they did not expect was that the injured dragon that had chased them on the lake, and fled from the battlefield, had taken refuge on a nearby slope. The shoulder of the dragon had continued to bleed so he had decided to give his body a rest on this ground and, by chance, he observed the disappearance of Tac and Galibur into the mountain.
The dragon felt a strong urge to follow them so he jumped down and glided on one wing to the wall. Anger made him forget about the danger of this action. Naturally, he was sucked into the gate too and moved towards the other exit, completely confused and disorientated. He arrived at the other side of the mountain at the same time as they did and, in his confusion, he had knocked them down from the little platform where they had felt themselves safe.
So, as it happened, Tac and Galibur fell down on the top of a small tree which grew right beneath the slope, while the dragon rushed over them trying to reach the top of the mountain where he expected to arrive at his home. When the creature could not find his nest in the usual place, he became even more scared. The pain of his wounds increased and he started looking for any place where he could rest and take time to think over his dilemma. His eyes caught a glimpse of a vertical crack on the mountain on the opposite side of the narrow valley and, since he was happy to have a place to hide, he squeezed into its tight entrance and found that it led to a spacious, but dark and silent, cave.
The smell which was in the cave appealed to his senses. He quickly found a small pool of raw oil close to the wall, licked up all of it and then he lay down to rest. Living on the hard rocks of the mountain, he did not need any special bed and was used to sleeping on the open ground. Another strange quality that he had inherited from his ancestors was the gift of being able to hibernate for a long time and he decided to use it now. He put his heavy head on the floor of the cave and closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of relaxation which gradually came over him. Slowing the beat of his heart, he concentrated all of his strength on the healing of his terrible wounds and slowly fell into a deep, long sleep.
Tac and Galibur, after the unpleasant experience of the free-fall, had landed on the sharp branches of a tree. “Now I know the purpose of a tree that grows in this place. It is placed here to catch unlucky travelers from a parallel world.” Joked Tac, stretching out his hurt back.
“Why do you think we were knocked down?” Asked the eagle.
“I think it’s more correct to ask who knocked us down.” Responded the cat.
“I saw the shape of a big body flying above us before I concentrated my attention on your falling figure, thinking about whether I should grab you in my claws or let you grow wings before you had reached the ground.” The skin around Galibur’s round eyes closed into laughing lines.
“I am glad that I did not need to do it but, at one moment, the idea of growing wings appeared in my mind too.” Tac admitted. “Do you think that we should stay here until morning.