Part Fourteen: Master Of The Winds


PART FOURTEEN

MASTER OF THE WINDS

Drake spun on his heel and ran back to where the ruby-red dragon was waiting. He didn’t have a sword, but who needed a sword when you had a giant flying flamethrower at your disposal?

He vaulted onto its back, and it took to the skies. He signalled towards Certrain with his hand, and the hundred other dragons who had been circling uncertainly up to this point all began flying in concentric loops around Certrain, gradually closing in on him. ‘Look for openings’, Drake called above the force of the gale. ‘Find holes in his defence you can slip through! Fire when you get close enough’. His army flew in closer and closer to the heart of the storm, trying to get their enemy within range of their fiery breath.

But of course, there was no way to relay orders directly without Certrain hearing them, and at this the man merely laughed and redoubled the force of his whirlwind. The dragon swarm was pushed further back somewhat, and Drake cursed under his breath.

He then shut his eyes for a moment, and calmed himself. What I need is answers. He asked himself the question, How can I convey orders without Certrain hearing them? And almost immediately, the answer came to him.

‘Layle!’ he yelled in the direction of the slender emerald dragon the Elves were riding. ‘Layleanel! Psychic link, myself to troops!’ There was a brief flash of white light on the green dragon’s back, far off in the distance, and Drake knew she had understood. Soon after, he could sense the hundred-or-so sentient minds that were flying all around him, felt the path opening between his mind and theirs. He singled out a small, reddish-brown creature who he had earlier noted was one of the fastest flyers of his troops, and sent it psychic orders. The dragon briefly glanced in his direction before leaving the swarm, flying straight up into the sky several hundred feet above the battlefield, and positioning itself directly above Certrain’s maelstrom. It then folded its wings and dived.

Certrain didn’t move, didn’t start, he didn’t even look upwards. He simply kept smiling as a sudden blast of air shot up like a bolt from the heart of the whirlwind, just as the young dragon was reaching the centre. The creature was knocked brutally out of the air, and crashed into the ground, raising a small cloud of dust around it; soon, the earth beneath it was equally stained reddish-brown. It didn’t get back up.

A cry rose up from several of the dragons, and many tried to pierce the whirlwind outright, but they were pushed back by the sheer force of the wind in their wings. Certrain laughed. ‘An excellent try, young hero. I am, in fact, starting to think that this battle might actually be worth the challenge. Shall we find out?’ He cackled, and began lashing out at the dragons one by one with bolts of air, sending them crashing into the ground or spinning out of control. Many righted themselves, roared and flew back into the melee. Others didn’t.

Arrows and magic projectiles flew from the direction of the emerald dragon, but all were caught in the hurricane and taken to pieces. One small ball of blue light managed to hit Certrain in the thigh; he cried out in pain and rage, then spun around and shot out his hand towards the dragon. A blast of wind, so much more powerful and concentrated than the others that Drake could actually see it, flew from Certrain’s palm and struck down the emerald beast. It fell, and Drake could not see where it had crashed. He felt as if he had been stabbed in the chest with a shard of ice; Selebriar had been on that dragon. He clenched his teeth, and scanned the ground for any sign of the green dragon, but he couldn’t see through the cloud of dust that had risen with the whirlwind –

Dust. A new idea came to him, then. Dust! Of course! Why hadn’t I seen it before–? He swallowed, as a plan began to form in his head. It wasn’t guaranteed to work. It was a brilliant idea, but also a desperate one. It wasn’t his best idea: it was his only idea. But he couldn’t think of anything better at the moment.

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