SETTING UP THE CAMPING TRIP
Vaughny had been surprised that their parents had allowed the band of
Icelandic Kids to go camping on the mainland. She half expected a couple
of them to pop up 'coincidentally' in the course of the three days they
would be gone.
"They were placated by the fact that me, Yzel
and Dreaem are here." her
dragon Tessoro said pointedly.
"Don't forget the pack of winged wolves and the small army of
pets." Vaughny continued. Hinting at the five full-grown wolves that
would guard their camp at night.
"I think Yzel was probably the deciding
factor. He's so big now not many would be able to best him. Regular
Lantessaman dragons are dwarfed by him."
"I've noticed." Vaughny said, "But he seems a bit sensitive
"He doesn't like to stand out."
"I'm worried I might not fit here
someday." Yzel interrupted their conversation.
The large Glenn dragon was quiet by nature but he did have worries and
that singular thought was probably the biggest of them. He knew his bond
would never leave him, but that would mean he might be the reason Koy
would have to leave his home and family behind.
"The Laedrysses will find a way."
Dreaem butted in, "They always do."
The silver Rys-Hathian flurry had been a bit on edge lately. It was early
autumn but the snowy dragon could feel winter pulling at his soul. He
hadn't intended it but Yishia, the optimistic half-sibling to Koy and
Vaughny had picked up on his thoughts and said:
"Winter pulls at us all" and she looked longingly to the north.
Though she didn't think she'd ever be able to live in the coldest places
of the planet as she liked to garden, she did feel her ties to IceLand.
Here on the main continent Meritan the pull was stronger.
Yishia shook her head to dislodge that thought and returned to her usual
bubbly personality. This trip was an adventure even if it was far from
dangerous. She wanted to have fun with her friends, stay up late and tell
stories around the campfire. And she wouldn't let even her own
thoughts spoil the fun.
"Can I do anything else?" she asked Vaughny.
"No thank you." her older sister replied and then went about
Yishia returned to the excitement of the others. Renylde had been asking
Giye to teach her how to play chess and the slightly older boy had finally
given in. He was probably hoping someone else would be able to switch with
him when Renylde's infamous tendency to live only for what was currently
interesting to her kicked in. Yavis, Renylde's older brother was keeping
well away from the danger zone. He'd taken the younger boys Havoy and
Keryk with him to go forage for food and set some traps though it was
doubtful any animals would get close enough. Humans hardly ever came to
the continent after all. But maybe Yavis' winged wolf would be able to
hunt down some unsuspecting rabbit.
That meant Yishia could either go play with Xandrya who was surrounded by
the pets, or she could go help Koy who was setting up camp with Rakyu who
was studying the manual, Theyan who was looking longingly at Xandrya and
Durya and Guryn who though they were younger than her seemed to be
"I can help." Yishia added.
Theyan promptly dropped the tent she was holding into her hands and left
to play with Xandrya. Yishia wondered if she should say something but
decided against it. After all things would go smoother without Theyan
trying to put ribbons on everything or who would demand they'd
colour-coordinate the sets.
Rakyu looked up to find Yishia
staring down at his manual, her long hair swaying gently in the wind. His
breath hitched for a while but she thought he'd been startled.
"I thought I'd help." she said.
"Thank you." he managed to answer and then immediately looked
He was a quiet person by nature so nobody actually expected him to say
much. Lately Yishia had started to appear in his dreams and that had him
up late, watching the stars to calm down. Normally that helped ease
worries and confusion but it hadn't been working. So he was very tired and
he wasn't expecting to sleep much on this trip. But not going had not been
Together they set up a tent and went on to the next one. Durya and Guryn
had managed to set up theirs as well and Koy was well on his way with his.
Rakyu enjoyed the quiet time they worked together and hoped their ultimate
goal would be realised. Like the others, Rakyu had grown up hearing
stories of IceLand, told by his parents. The picture they'd painted with
their words was bleak. Living in IceLand wasn't fun or relaxing like
living on lantessama was. But there had been parties. The villagers had
all known each other and had helped each other out. Living together in the
communal oval centers seemed both a blessing and a curse, especially
But just thinking of nights spent on guard duty, the vast starry sky above
him and the snow all around. A solitude that was both deep and profound.
Rakyu could envision himself being there and living his life.
"Would you want to live in IceLand?" he asked, not really
realising he'd been thinking out loud.
"No." Yishia's reply came, destroying his fantasy.
"I'd miss gardening too much." she added, 'Now living here on
Southern Meritan could work for me."
"Really?" Rakyu said, sounding more eager than he'd wanted to
"My other plan is to impress a dragon and stay at Lantessama."
Yishia answered truthfully. The plan had played in her head now that both
her older brother and sister had impressed.
Rakyu considered. Both his parents were also dragonriders so that was a
definite possibility for him too. One way or another he'd never considered
it before though. Something clicked now and he thought he might ask his
dad when they returned.
Theyan left Xandrya and went to
look for Vaughny. She'd promised earlier to help the slightly older girl
cook. Theyan liked all things girly. She couldn't help it. Using force
just wasn't something she'd be happy to do. So building tents? A total
drag. She'd been happy when Yishia came to help and vowed to give
Vaughny's younger sister some extra savoury pieces in her stew as
"Are you holding up?" Vaughny asked her.
"Of course I am." Theyan said bravely but her voice wavered
"I know a camping trip wouldn't be your idea of fun." Vaughny
said, "But I'm happy you decided to come along."
"As long as you make sure next time we plan an outing to make sure
it's somewhere with heating and plumbing... and void of bugs." Theyan
"I promise I will." Vaughny said.
Theyan focused on cooking and tried not to think about the little critters
in the grass at her feet. She also tried not to think of tonight when she
would have to sleep on the ground - never mind she'd be separated from the
ground by a tarp and a matras, it was still sleeping on the ground! -
A chocolate brown firelizard, detached itself from the group of animals
that was circling around Xandrya. He'd felt his bond's stress and came to
help. And his idea of help was to get rid of all the bugs around her.
Sweet though his intention was, he went to show his bond each time he
caught something so she'd know it was now gone.
Vaughny couldn't help a smile when the girl shrieked time and time again.
She'd really owe the girl big after this. Not too mention she was already
planning more expeditions in the New Year.
Renylde looked at the fire. She'd
listened to Giye and had quietly done as she'd been told. Renylde
understood that fire in a forest had to be carefully maintained or it
would spell trouble. Her parents had been hunters and she'd been taught
exactly the same lessons as her brother. She doubted Giye would have
preached as much if Yavis had been the one with him.
The two young men had gotten closer after they'd both impressed a winged
wolf. They'd gone out hunting often and probably knew more about Meritan
than they'd let on. But she couldn't antagonise Giye since she really
wanted to learn to play chess. She'd heard of the game from one of the
finders and she taken an instant like to the strategic board game. And now
she just had to learn to play it.
"I think the fire is blazing safely." she urged lightly.
Giye looked at the fire and sighed. Renylde was right. he'd dragged this
out as long as he could. So he set up the table and started to teach her
the basics of the game. Luckily Renylde was a quick study and like a sponge
she soaked up the knowledge.
"We're back!" Yavis called.
He and the two younger boys Havoy and Keryk appeared on the clearing. They
carried a rabbit and two birds they'd been able to catch with the help of
Urhmyn, the golden winged wolf.
Renylde looked up and was too late to stop Giye from getting up and
offering his help to clean the carcasses. Her dark look must have
registered as Keryk, who was the same age as Renylde sat down opposite her
"Do you want me to play instead of Giye?"
"You can play?" Renylde asked stupefied.
Keryk didn't look like the type to play boardgames. He was always at the
front of the group. Whether it was for work, fun or trouble, Keryk knew
about it and was there to do what needed doing. Somehow him sitting down
and thinking wasn't something she'd ever pictured him doing.
"Of course I can."
Keryk was close friends with Havoy who was Giye's younger brother. Keryk
had learned from Havoy's father Biroy when he'd taught his own sons. Keryk
liked to be able to do a lot of things. So though he liked to be outside,
to hunt and trap, he also wanted to be able to think logically so he
wouldn't make mistakes. Chess had been a fun way to learn to plan.
Renylde set up the board and gave him the white side. She would regret
giving him an advantage. It stung a bit that she thought so little of him.
But she wouldn't underestimate him for long.
"I'll show you how it's done." he said and started the game.
Night had fallen and the Icelanders
were sitting around the fire, lazy from overeating and being outdoors.
Dragons lay around the camp, a living wall of hide or scales and around
them the pack of winged wolves patrolled, occasionally howling to announce
their presence to nearby predators.
The teenagers felt completely safe and didn't even notice that Sveryk, the
father of Keryk had indeed snuck by to see if there were any problems. Koy
and Vaughny might pick the knowledge from their draconic bonds later but
for now they were too busy telling stories and making sure everything went
The stories stayed tame until the youngest children went to bed. Xandrya,
Durya and Renylde taking a tent while Guryn, Keryk and Havoy took another.
They would be joined by Koy later who'd figured these two might be the
ones he had to worry about most. Vaughny would take a tent with Yishia and
Theyan. The last tent would be occupied by Yavis, Giye and Rakyu who'd
probably stay up late anyway. The dragons would keep an eye on them.
Dreaem had promised he'd go after them if one -or all- of them snuck
But Koy shouldn't have worried because the three older boys were on their
best behaviour and spent their time telling ghost stories that managed to
frighten them into staying awake.
So it wasn't strange that the morning after those three were still conked
out in their tents while the others prepared breakfast and went to haul
water from a nearby stream.
Vaughny was on cooking duty again and she honestly enjoyed scrambling eggs
and frying bacon. The smells were wonderful and the gentle breeze wasn't
strong enough to chill yet though that wouldn't take much longer.
Dreaem popped into her mind and told her:
"I'm thinking of returning to Ryslen for the winter. There is talk of
a flurry being flown."
"Good for you." Vaughny said, genuinely glad for their draconic
friend to have found a purpose.
"I was wondering though..." the
"Would you and Tessoro come with
"I would very much like to experience the
flurry." Tessoro added her opinion.
"It's more than a flight." Vaughny said, "It's a frenzy.
Wouldn't that be a bit intense for our first experience?"
"Most flurry participants stick to one
conquest." Dreaem assured her,
"Just think of it as having plenty of suitors to choose from."
"I wouldn't be against it." Vaughny said, in fact she'd always
been curious about dragon flights. She'd heard stories but from being
around Lantessama she'd learned that there really was no pressure. She
could spend the time of the flight in her room though to be honest, she
wasn't intending to. The prospect was a thrilling one.
"You could maybe take a couple of the others
with you for company." Tessoro added, "I
bet some of the older ones would appreciate the chance to bond."
"Koy can follow up on matters here." Dreaem
"Are we really doing this?" Vaughny asked.
"I want to come!" Yishia screamed.
Vaughny's little sister had always been quite sensitive to the voices of
dragons though Vaughny had never realised just how much she caught.
"Go where?" Theyan asked.
"The flurry." Yishia nearly screamed, "To bond!"
Instantly Theyan forgot about being outside and hardly having slept a wink
the night before: "You have to take me too! You promised you'd take
me somewhere fun!" Theyan insisted.
At which time the others got closer and got a quick introduction. After
some bickering Rakyu and Renylde were the other two who pulled rank, age
and bondless status to get invited.
"I guess we have to ask your parents first." Koy said.
"They won't object." Renylde promised and was proven right.
Read about the Flurry hatching at their respective
Rakyu - Theyan - Yishia
Continue to Part 3:
MAIN - PROLOGUE -
STATS: [Koy] [Vaughny] [Yavis]
[Theyan] [Giye] [Rakyu]
[Yishia] [Renylde] [Keryk]
[Havoy] [Durya] [Guryn]