Ch. 318. Risk

Temple of Flidais, Underground Raurugia

To say that Y’lanna was surprised by the turn of events would be quite the understatement. When she saw Ruili, there was an expectation that he would be able to intervene on her behalf. She was quite wrong, though that was merely the first surprise. The second was the underground waterway. These miniature humans were using her as a boat – a rather awkward and, to be honest, quite denigrating act – but she was determined to get through this with whatever dignity she had left. The third and perhaps biggest surprise was where she ended up and just who she ended up there with.

The priestess of the temple, or whatever was the appropriate title under this religious order, was a strange woman indeed. Her soft voice, her legs seemingly glowing from the faint firelight, but even more so was this other man who looked very much like Ruili except…

Yes, this must be one of Ruili’s identical brothers, but which? Though she supposed it didn’t really matter for now, as it appeared he was in the same boat as she was. They did seem to have some measure of freedom, though she could feel the presence of many other creatures hidden gazing upon her. She daren’t try anything at least not yet.

“Thank you. That netting was getting a bit too tight for my liking,” she stated, dusting off the last of the netting and futilely attempting to dust the water off her dress. The nearby fire surely would aid in the drying process, and she set about the task of drying herself off.

“Though I am afraid your friends here have made a bit of a mistake. I am no Swartsalf, and I would very much doubt that I would make a good subject for ransom.” She had to think of the exact way she was going to play this. Should she reveal that she was from another dimension, another world, and play the all-on-my-own card? Or something else? Or do both?

“Though, if I may be so bold to ask, what would you need mercenaries and weapons for? Is the Temple going to war?” She had decided that she would try this tack first. It seemed odd that not only would a religious order be kidnapping people for ransom but would be using that ransom for weapons and mercenaries. A rather odd juxtaposition to Y’lanna’s sensibilities though, of course, for all she knew this could be par for the course in this world.

Usaneri Mountains, entering the Ogil Valley

Even when dealing with a dragon on the ground, an unfamiliar situation, the crew of the Calinda had had enough encounters with dragons in the past to know how to manage one’s attention. Of course, that was on the ship, as a single unit. They were all on the ground now as individuals, which completely changed everything.

Tayli was almost smacked down hard by the creature’s flailing tail. It was only Beau’s timely intervention that managed to save her. Ionas was too busy staying out of its way and trying to come up with a way to fend it off – but fending off a hungry dragon only meant one thing. You had to kill it, for the creature would keep coming for you until it or you were dead.

He could try for the creature’s eyes but that most likely would only enrage the beast further, making it more dangerous and making it less predictable. The only real continued chance against this beast without the Calinda’s ballistas was to find somewhere where the dragon could not follow or reach them. Some kind of natural shelter or an area of dense forest where trees would make it impossible for the Dragon’s larger frame to fit.

First though he need to prove to the dragon that that he was a threat, but not enough of a one to warrant his attention while Jeneyeru was still in the creature’s face. He had spread out, shuffling along with his dagger ready, to where Ionas found himself at a decent angle to guarantee that the mage would not be hit. He let the simple, unenchanted dagger fly towards the creature, aiming for just under the palette of his lower jaw to make the dragon think twice about coming after him.

With that taken care of he was now wide enough and free enough of the dragon’s attention to look for a way to escape. Further down into the valley, the woods did seem to get much denser. Dense enough that it would significantly hinder the dragon’s progress but wouldn’t hinder them to anywhere near the same extent.

“Keep heading down into the valley. The denser forest should drastically hinder it’s movement.” Ionas announced to those nearby as he started to slowly advance towards the valley.

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