One moment the dragon was up there, big and mighty. Certainly not as high up there as Lotye and the crew of the Calinda would have liked, but it was still above them. It came towards them in a controlled dive, the wings laid back, flames flickering out of its throats, while Lotye followed the flight of the arrow with her eyes after shouting the last syllable of her spell.
The next moment, the dragon came crashing down. The head of the arrow had barely touched its scales when the beast suddenly stood motionless in the air. For Lotye it looked like the scales were overlaid with a grey, rocky texture. She even thought to hear a cracking noise as the dragon’s bloated body turned to stone. Though this created a new problem. Damn it, those plans have a habit of working out far too well, Lotye thought. The dragon was falling right towards them and she watched helplessly as the already big beast got bigger and bigger in her field of view. Only some bold and hasty manoeuvre saved them, but as the ship was suddenly pulled up and away from the rocky danger, Lotye felt like she was being thrown over board. With all of her strength she had to cling to the rail as the dragon turned to stone whooshed down past the ship and towards the ground right next to her. She had to focus entirely on staying on her feet and so didn’t notice that Peino had slipped and disappeared.
The danger was far from over, though. Lotye had nearly forgotten about the lower, second dragon, but it was still there. It took some effort and cranking of her neck to see it, but when she finally saw it, she realised that it was much too close. And then, all of a sudden, she didn’t see it any more at all. Pure darkness surrounded her, she could only make out hints of movements around her. At first, Lotye was shocked, but luckily she had the presence of mind to realise that it had to be one of lord Nightwise’s spell and so she just continued to hold on to her life and to the wooden railing in front of her. With a snapping bang, the darkness faded again just as quickly as it had come.
When Lotye saw the dragon again, it was too late. Its enormous wings hit the ship not far away from where she was standing. This time, she wasn’t able to stay on her feet. She was thrown back and her body hit the deck hard. Every bone in her body hurt, but apart from a few scratches and bruises and tears in her clothes, she seemed unharmed. I probably should thank the gods for that later. Slowly and weak-kneed, she got back up on her feet. The ship was still shaking. Or maybe only she was. Only now she realised that there was something missing. A whole part of the ship, to be precise. Complete with the person that had been on that part.
“Peino!”, she whispered worriedly. Cautiously, setting one foot in front of the other, Lotye approached the breakage, not sure what she was expecting to see. When she heard the noble elf cursing, she felt a wave of relief running over her body. While sailors began to run to the railings to take the remaining dragon under fire, she was still moving much slower and therefore wasn’t the first one to reach what had once been the bowsprit. Next to the man she recognised as the ship’s unsympathetic first mate, she went down on her knees, her hands holding onto the broken wooden planks, and looked down to see the Prince entangled in a rope and the mate trying to rescue him. They were out in the open, completely unprotected should the dragon come back.
“Hey”, Lotye said, turning her head to Beau, “is there anything I can do to help?”