Two sibyls (witches) manage to infiltrate a wolves' cave to get back two things if great importance.
You’ve got to want it
Zanna sighed and applied herself to the task that Gwilanna had set her. The two sibyls were in a deserted clearing. Zanna was beginning to have second thoughts about having the ancient sibyl as a teacher.
“Concentrate, girl!” the voice split through Zanna’s mental tranquillity. “Hold in your head the image of Gawain and all he stands for, and want it!”
Zanna was trying to become a dragon. If sibyls could transfigure themselves into animal, it made sense that they could become a dragon, too. But what Zanna was trying to do was beyond simple transfiguration; she was trying to become a dragon. Gwilanna had claimed that she was too old for such things, that she needed someone young mentally as well as physically.
She tried again, this time feeling something shift within her, something change. Her eyes widened excitedly, and clutched at the Mark of Oomara so hard that she drew blood. Then the changes became physical; her skin hardened into a kind of shell. She gasped in delight; it was working! Then she felt the colours in her vision shift; she could now see different colours in different shades. The blues and reds she could see with additional intensity, but greens and yellows were more subtle. Then she realized she had begun to grow it was only about a metre, but she grew. Then her face elongated, forming the snout of a dragon. Her arms bulged with muscles. Her thumb stretched, forming one claw; her middle finger melded with her forefinger forming another claw; finally, her little finger joined with the final finger, finally forming the foreleg of a dragon. The same had happened, almost spontaneously, on the other hand. Finally, a long tail became an extension of her spine. Her skin, without her realising, had hardened, split into scales and become a light blue. She was complete.
She stood up straight, and realised, with delight, that she didn’t need to concentrate any more; she was a dragon, but with the abilities of a sibyl. She turned and admired the view from dragon’s eyes.
“I never thought I’d see one alive,” murmured Gwilanna, but to Zanna it was like she was shouting. “A real dragon, after so long,” Gwilanna continued, as though there was no one there.
“Why?” Zanna asked curiously. “Why couldn’t there be one alive? If Liz made more of those eggs, and some were quickened, why couldn’t they be real?”
“They would be real, but they would be born without fire, and not a natural birth, either, a little like your dragon was,” the ancient woman answered, this time without her usual impatient attitude, and there was a sadness about her, that suggested that she was not only angry about the fall of dragons, but saddened by the loss.
“And now I’m a permanent dragon, unless I purposely change my form?” Zanna changed the subject, as tactfully as she could. Gwilanna gave a curt nod.
“Now, let’s go get those dragon scales back,” she spun round and strode off into the forest. Zanna nodded, even though it wasn’t a question, and stumbled after her.
“Can I change back to human until we get close?” asked Zanna petulantly, as her head hit another branch.
“If you must,” shouted Gwilanna, who was almost lost in the undergrowth ahead. The change was quick, and then Zanna had caught up with her guide, for she had no idea how to get to their location.
“What will you do with the scales once you get them?” Zanna wanted to know as they strode along.
“Magic,” answered Gwilanna, without faltering. Zanna swerved as a branch swung low, almost hitting her.
“Where are we going?” demanded Zanna, dodging yet another branch.
“To get our inheritance,” replied the sibyl, revealing nothing, concealing everything. It was hard, reflected Zanna, to get a straight answer out of a sibyl, and she realised she was the same as Gwilanna, not willingly parting with some secrets, some small and insignificant, others large and important.
Suddenly Gwilanna stopped in her tracks; Zanna narrowly missed hitting her. Their was a determined glint in her eye that told Zanna this wasn’t going to be easy.
“Their cave is on the other side of these trees,” hissed the sibyl. “The scales will be there for sure.”
“Who are they?” demanded Zanna impatiently. “Just tell me who they are!”
“They are werewolves,” was the spine-chilling answer. “But these are the werewolves that choose to stay like it. The scales will be there because this is their biggest settlement. And if you are wondering why the scales are here, I will give you the answer, willingly. The scales are here because the polar bears are too few now. They needed some fierce animal in large numbers. This was the answer. And because werewolves have rarely been offered a task like this, they immediately snapped up the chance; they will guard these scales with their lives.”
“But if they guard them with their lives, how are we supposed to get it?” questioned Zanna, starting to get frustrated with the old crone.
“Would they deny one of their own kind a chance to see the scales?” smirked Gwilanna, the smug expression on her face all too clear.
“Oh no,” groaned Zanna, realising what the sibyl had in mind. “You’re not serious?”
“It’s the only way,” confirmed the old woman, with a wicked grin.
Zanna knew that the ludicrous plan that the sibyl had in mind was the only one possible, but it still didn’t give her any comfort. But, although the idea was crazy, the idea of it excited her.
“There are plans to be made though, before we can even think of infiltrating their cave,” Gwilanna voice interrupted her thoughts. “They are clever, able to outwit humans when they need to. And you need to see one, before you can change into them. I have already seen them, but I will need to interrogate one to discover what ‘security’ the scales have.”
Anticipation rose within Zanna as she realised she would have to catch a werewolf, a very smart werewolf.
They hid within the trees, Zanna in dragon shape, Gwilanna in human form. The cave they wanted to infiltrate was heavily guarded. The guards were different each day. Zanna had expected them to be shaggy-haired, dirty beasts, but instead was captivated by their savage beauty. Their hair was clean and glossy, instead of dirty and matted. As they watched, a young-looking wolf walked past, obviously in training, as he was jumping at the slightest noise. Zanna’s dragon eyes picked up that he was trembling.
“He is the one,” confirmed Gwilanna. “He is young, with not a lot of experience, and his claws and teeth are not yet fully developed. That, coupled with the fact he is new to this guarding thing, will make him an easy target.”
Zanna concentrated on the image of a werewolf, and felt the changes beginning. Her skin tightened, and grew fur. She shrank. Her claws split of into five instead of three, and all the while she could feel the shrinking and the fur growing all over her skin.
When she was done, she could feel the rippling muscles that formed her legs. She yawned and felt dagger-like canines protruding from her jaw. She also discovered why wolves would choose to stay in this form; they were so angry at humans for shunning them out of society. When she turned her head she noticed Gwilanna alongside her, in the same form. As she focused on the wolf beside her, details became more prominent; she noticed that Gwilanna had a battle scar on her snout. As she glanced at the sibyls eyes, she noticed that they were the exact same shade as before.
“Why are your eyes the same colour?” Zanna questioned, curiously.
“Because, no matter what form you take, your eyes will always be the same shade,” snapped Gwilanna, with her usual impatience. “Now, let’s get our inheritance!” With one leap, she leapt three feet. When she landed, she turned to the stationary wolf behind her, and beckoned. Zanna leapt after her, noting the feeling of exhilaration when she leapt into the air.
They were stopped as soon as the sentries noticed them. Zanna knew that Gwilanna was expecting this, but still didn’t appreciate it.
“Halt,” barked a male, baring his teeth. Zanna noticed that his speech wasn’t full human dialect, but showed some characteristics of it. “Why were you over there?” he demanded, still showing his teeth.
“That is none of your business,” Gwilanna answered, curtly. “We were doing business for his Majesty.” The guard growled at her, disgruntled that he hadn’t found out what they had been up to, but unwillingly let them through. Zanna breathed a sigh of relief; she hadn’t realised that they could speak the wolves’ native dialect. But still she didn’t speak, for if she gave the game away they would be surrounded and outnumbered. So she stared at the ground, for if she stared anyone in the eye, it would be a challenge to a wolf of higher ranking than herself, or acknowledging a wolf of lower status, and being thrown down a few ranks herself.
Most wolves respectfully made way for the sibyls, but those of higher rank (most easily distinguished by the number of battle scars they carried, as they had fight for their rank) weren’t so cooperating. One large, battle-scarred male barred their way, demanding that they tell him what they had been doing for his Majesty (for the word had spread by now of what they had told the guard).
He bared his teeth and growled, glaring into their eyes with his unfathomable ones. Zanna, not wanting to have a fight, lowered her gaze, acknowledging the wolf’s presence, and being submissive to it. Gwilanna, on the other hand, stood tall, meeting his eyes with her own, dark brown ones. Zanna followed the sibyl’s example, and raised her head, and met his gaze.
At once the wolf raised his snout and howled, capturing everyone’s attention. Zanna winced. Then risked a glance at the crowd that had now assembled around them. Gwilanna had melded into the pack. Then the wolf spoke: “I, Sir Wolfalot, challenge this impertinent youngster, who had the cheek to look me in the eye, to a fight to the death!”
Zanna winced, then gulped, as she realised what she had to do. Her eyes found Gwilanna, who nodded her head. Then she looked round; some looked frightened; some looked entertained, but most were devoid of emotion. Then she turned back to glare at Sir Wolfalot. He was studying her with conflicting emotions; anger flickered in his dark eyes, but curiosity dominated his face; he was waiting to see if she accepted. If she accepted, it would be a fight to the death; if she declined, she, alongside all associates, Gwilanna included, and their mission would be a failure.
So she did the only sensible think she could do; she accepted. Curious gazes became focused an intense stares, some with anticipation, some with no emotions to give. A wolf stepped forward and proclaimed where the battle would take place. Zanna interpreted that they were free to fight wherever, but if one admitted to the other, they would survive, but be thrown down to all but the lowest rank.
Where are they?
Gwilanna had soundlessly slipped out of sight. When she heard the challenge being issued, she winced, but resumed her search. Her apprentice had done exactly what was necessary to buy some time. She didn’t have a very good chance of winning, the sibyl reflected sadly, but there was a slim chance, as she was smaller and more nimble than Sir Wolfalot. She also had the gut instinct that most humans carried; the instinct of survival.
The girl had done more than buy her time, realized Gwilanna. She had drawn the wolves’ attention away from everything else, including her. She risked a glance back; the wolves were all together, forming a large circle, and that was where Zanna was.
Then she turned back to the job at hand; the girl had bought her time; don’t waste it, she chastened herself, as she hurried away. There were only two wolves that hadn’t joined the circle; the guards of the scales, guessed Gwilanna, as she spied two wolves at the entrance to a small alcove. She spotted a mass of items, but two caught her eye in particular; two green, glimmering, plate-sized things; the scales.
“The battle will commence in three, two one,” proclaimed a wolf, and lifted his snout to the sky and howled, marking the start of the combat. Sir Wolfalot leapt at Zanna, but he was too slow; she got under his guard, and gouged his stomach with a lethal claw. Her opponent yowled in pain and rage as he twisted to try and reach her and failed. He landed with a soft thump and a small cloud of dust.
He growled as he spun to face her. This time he didn’t leap at her; he charged at her. She leapt out the way and landed behind him. She spun round a second before he did; she managed to scratch his back before he spun round. But then he thrust his head forward and bit her arm. She swung her other claw upwards and caught his arm; he yowled and backed away, his rage filled eyes never leaving her face.
Then he turned round and loped away, out of the cave. She followed, tentatively, though, as she didn’t know if he’d stopped and was ready to claw her. When she reached open air, she raised her nose high and breathed deeply, trying to catch a scent of her opponent. He appeared to have vanished.
Then she realized; shape-changing wasn’t against the rules. She gripped the weeping mark on her arm, and concentrated on a sparrow. With a slight noise, she became a bird, and flew high into the tree tops. That was when she saw what he’d done. He’d run off, tended his wounds, then set up a trap for her; he had hidden himself up a tree, and his eyes were fixed on the bird she had become.
She flew to the ground and changed back to a wolf, keeping her eyes fixed on the two flickering eyes watching her, and then she bounded towards him, taking care not to run right into the net.
“Come on down, you weakling,” she taunted him, all the while circling round the net, watching the shadow that glared at her, shaking with rage. Then she leapt up at him, and sank her teeth into his foot, causing Sir Wolfalot to howl in pain. Then he struck at her, forcing her to let go. But she had caused enough damage to his foot now.
He hopped out the tree, giving an involuntary groan as he landed on his scarred foot. Then he began circled her, his dark eyes flashing. Then he struck at her, but she nimbly jumped out the way. But his leap carried him too far, Zanna realised now. If he’d have hit her, it would’ve stopped his momentum from carrying him further, and instead it would’ve been used to claw her with more power. But she had avoided him, and his momentum had carried him further, towards a towering oak. Then he hit it.
Zanna approached the motionless heap, noting that he still breathed; he merely was unconscious. She could kill him here and now, and therefore finish the challenge. But something stopped her, for she couldn’t bring herself to kill him.
The moment had passed and she had made her decision when he woke up. When he was able to upright, he turned and faced her.
“Why didn’t you kill me?” he asked, and there was curiosity in his eyes now. “Why didn’t you end the challenge, and kill me?”
“Because I’m not a murderer,” she answered, curtly. The wounded wolf nodded, as though this was a sensible answer. “Any smart wolf would do the same, avoid killing when he could,” Sir Wolfalot added. Now let’s get back to the cave, and I’ll tell them how you beat me, and I acknowledge your supremacy in battle,” sighed the wolf, and took an unsteady step forward. Zanna knew that the wounded animal would honour his word, she could read it in his eyes. Nodding, she helped him take another step.
Gwilanna carefully noted the sentries’ nervous eyes, always flicking around. Then she showed herself to them. Their ears flattened against their skulls as they poked her with their spears.
“Please, may I praise the honoured scales?” she pleaded, hoping against hope that they would not deny one of their elders a chance to pay homage to the scales.
“I’m sorry, but no one is allowed to see the scales,” apologised one of the sentries. “His Majesty’s orders.” Gwilanna silently cursed them, then turned around and walked off, not even acknowledging his apology. One of the wolves snarled at her impertinence, but did not pursue her.
Then she thought of a plan; she would brew a potion, a sleeping potion, and slip into the guards’ dinner, for the wolves did not tear at the carcass of an animal like savages, but cut chunks of meat from it and gave it to each wolf on a plank of wood. She smirked to herself; those wolves would wish they had shown her the scale.
Zanna helped Sir Wolfalot into the cave, where he proceeded to tell everyone about his defeat, and that she was a better fighter than he was, then he headed towards His Majesty and began talking to him on a low voice.
Then Zanna spotted Gwilanna hurrying towards her, with a cunning smile on her face.
“I have figured out a plan,” she muttered, then lowering her voice a bit more, said: “We’ll have to drug the guards.” Zanna felt nervous, but acknowledged that the plan was the only one they had, so she nodded her agreement.
“Brilliant,” hissed the sibyl. “We shall now collect the necessary ingredients: Honesty flowers, thyme, and a hair from true wolf …”
Under Gwilanna’s supervision, Zanna set about searching for each plant. When she found some, she returned it to Gwilanna, who approved of it or threw it away with a snort.
When the plants had been found, they lit a fire and, after scouting the surrounding area with their superior vision, returned to their human forms. Summoning a pot, Gwilanna found a small spring near by, and filled it with the water. Then, after turning back to her wolf shape, set about slicing the herbs to the right size. When the water came to the boil, and the herbs were cut to satisfaction, Gwilanna picked them up and threw them into the pot, proceeding to stir the contents with a wooden spoon that she had also conjured up out of thin air.
“Watch carefully, and memorise,” she advised, as she continued stir the potion. “This is a basic Sleeping Draught, not usually made for things like this.”
Will it Work?
It was nightfall before the potion was to Gwilanna’s satisfaction. When it was done she conjured a small glass jar, complete with a lid, out of thin air. She slowly tipped half the potion into it. Then she acquired another, and emptied the last half of potion into it.
“In case we happen to lose this one,” she explained, as she transformed. Zanna nodded to show that she understood, while she imitated her teacher.
She questioned Gwilanna why they couldn’t use one of their own wolf hairs. All she got was: “Are you a true wolf?”
All the wolves were snoring, presumably taking a nap. Zanna watched as a large shadow prowled among the sleeping figures, finally stopping, and bending down. She reached into that dark glossy fur and jerked her arm back, her claws clutching onto a single hair. But that was not the most important thing at that point; the wolf had awoken with a surprised howl of pain.
His dark eyes searched for the culprit, and found Gwilanna trying to blend in with the crowd. She alone might’ve been inconspicuous, if it wasn’t for the hair she was trying to secrete out of sight.
He gave a roar; a roar of rage this time. He leapt through the crowd, making a lunge at the impertinent wolf who had stolen one of his magnificent hairs. It wasn’t the hair he was after; he was seeking revenge, and he wouldn’t stop until he succeeded.
Zanna fought to keep them in her sight, all the while thinking of something she could do. The only thing she could even consider was entering the fray herself. Easier said then done, she realised, as she pushed her way through the muttering huddles of wolves, all swivelling their heads, trying to keep the pair in sight.
She gave in trying to fight her way through them, and instead leapt through the air, trying to keep air borne until she found a spot to land. As soon as she landed, she was in the air again, trying to keep focused on what she was trying to do, trying to ignore the exhilaration that was coursing through her veins.
She spotted Gwilanna and her pursuer; the sibyl still outrunning the wolf, and the latter still roaring his frustration and snapping at her. Zanna expected fear to be in her voice when she spoke, not taunting words laced with sarcasm.
“Can you not catch me?” she smirked as she ducked and weaved through countless wolves. This only angered her attacker even more, making him snap at her and swing his arms that ended with deadly four inch claws.
This caused Zanna to gulp in fear for the sibyl; she may have been a little short-tempered at times, but she was her teacher, and ancestor in a way. But she need not have feared, for Gwilanna was faster and more nimble than her pursuer. He may have been heavy of tooth and claw, but he was slower, and his mind not sharp.
While Zanna was standing their, watching them and worrying, they were getting further and further away. She sighed and tensed her leg muscles, preparing to jump. As she flew threw the air she aligned her body to land near to the pair.
As she landed, Gwilanna flew past her, and then a few seconds later so did the angered wolf. As she glanced at him, she noticed that there wasn’t just anger in his eyes; there was curiosity too: he was curious why she had taken his hair, and why she was still clutching it as though it was solid gold.
Then he took another swipe at the evasive wolf, and missed. Then he snarled and leapt at her. She paused, as she could no longer hear thumping footsteps behind her. Then she became aware of the huge shadow that had flown overhead, and glanced upwards. If she was surprised, she didn’t show it. She merely sidestepped the serrated claws as they plunged towards her. Her dark eyes met his, and the look of hatred that accompanied that glance shocked even her. Then he crashed to the ground, motionless.
Is it over?
Zanna and Gwilanna cautiously approached the heap that the wolf had become. Zanna saw that he was struggling to breathe, due to a fact that he has blood pouring from his nostrils, also accompanied by a large lump on his head.
“He’s struggling to breathe,” she reported, quietly. “Also, he’s got severe concussion.”
The sibyl was silent as she observed the motionless body, looking for signs of life. Her eyes raked his body, with an unusual hunger. Then she bent down, examining the body. Then she straightened with a flourish. In her paw was a single dark hair (the other must have been lost in the chase).
“We’re still going ahead with the plan then,” said Zanna in an undertone, for wolves were beginning to cluster round the motionless heap of fur and whispering to each other; a few were throwing filthy looks in their direction. Gwilanna looked at her as though she was speaking a different language. “Of course we are! Do you think we went through all of this for nothing?” It was a rhetorical question but Zanna shook her head.
An angered howl cut through their quiet conversation. A large wolf was heading in their direction, and he wasn’t happy. He didn’t wear a badge or hat, but Zanna and Gwilanna knew who he was; the ‘policeman’ of this community. Everyone parted way respectfully, allowing him through without complaint.
He had obviously run all the way, but he showed no sign of weariness. As he reached them, Gwilanna silently bowed her head, but Zanna stood tall and proud; the wolf within her to proud to submit so easily. When he noticed her defiance he growled, not a threatening growl, but a warning growl. Zanna ignored him, and stared into the distance.
“You are under arrest,” proclaimed the wolf, grabbing her wrists so hard it hurt. The surrounding wolves gasped; it was apparent that was rarely any troublemakers in this cave. Zanna thought about struggling, but then realized it would land her in more trouble, and if she went along quietly she would buy Gwilanna some time. So she quietly allowed herself to be led away. As to where she was going, she didn’t have the faintest idea, for there were many places she could be lead to.
Her escort led her across the cave, with wolves parting to the sides, making her feel as though she was in a parade. A few smirks and angered glares followed her. She hoped Gwilanna was still creating the potion, for if left too long, it would be ruined, and they would have to start anew. At one point she stumbled, and the wolf’s claws drew blood from her wrist. As she was dragged along, Zanna realized she was in a different part of the cave, for the walls were becoming narrower every step she took, and the walls also glittered with a variety of crystals: quartz, mainly, but she also glimpsed the odd ruby or diamond.
Then she was thrown against a wall, and left dazed on the floor. Behind her she heard a door slam, and heard claws clicking on the stone floor. As she struggled to her feet, and turned, she saw bars, wooden bars, created from the bark of trees. And also, stationed near the door, were two sentries, ordered to guard her and prevent her from escaping.
Then she fell back down with an involuntary groan. Her brain was not responding at that moment. Then she firmly planted her paws on the ground and pushed herself into a sitting position, and examined her cell. It was bare, save the rock.
Then she allowed herself to fall back to the ground, frustrated by how helpless she was. Without Gwilanna, she was stuck there. She would either be punished and released, or left in there until she was punished and released. She gave a soft growl of discomfort, as she wondered and what she might have to endure if she was punished, or Gwilanna managed to get her out, but then she was caught.
The wolves were returning to whatever they had been doing, so she guessed that Gwilanna had managed to get a hair, and was busy brewing the potion. At least, that’s what she hoped. She reflected on her options: try and escape on her own, which would mean relying on a distraction; wait until Gwilanna tried to get her out, if she even tried to; or accept whatever punishment the wolves decided to give her, then be released. She decided to wait and see if the sibyl would help her, and if not, wait a little longer for a distraction, and if none came, accept whatever punishment they decided to give her. She also realized that, as a descendant of the red-haired child of legend, Gwendolen, she must have inherited some of her magic, and if the wolves were superstitious, she could use that magic, she could probably use that to escape.
That presented her with another choice. She reconsidered her actions, and decided that, rather than accept her punishment, whatever that may be, she would perform a little act of shape-changing; in fact, the idea was so entertaining, that she shifted it up to the top of her
‘to-do list’. Her arm shivered where the Mark of Oomara was carved into her skin, the wound that never healed.
But as her heart pumped faster she knew she would have to change to her dragon / human shape. She concentrated on the dragon shape, knowing the larger size would intimidate her sentries. She felt the changes begin, starting with the tail that shot out of the base of her back, but still cloaked in wolf fur. Then she felt her features begin to shift shape slightly; the snout broadened, the teeth became serrated, and slightly longer, her eyes changed shape and position; they spread further apart, and widened to become the wide, blue orbs of a dragon. Then the skin hardened into a blue shell, and loosened, as though it didn’t quite fit. Then the limbs: her legs shortened slightly to become the muscles limbs of a dragon; her arms lengthened, growing into the skin; and then her claws, formidable as they were, lengthened, sharpened, and widened, becoming deadly weapons. Then her tail grew a spike, an isoscele, as it was called, one of the very pieces that Gwilanna currently sought. Suddenly, she reared high, complete, and dangerous.
At that moment one of the sentries turned to check on their charge; and got the shock of his life. There, in the cell that had so recently held a bemused wolf, now held an angered dragon, its eyes gleaming with fire. It reared and belched a tongue of flame; the guard had to leap out the way or get incinerated. The bars of the cage were burnt down, until all that remained was smoke.
The other sentry had now realized what was going on, for, as he had spun to confront the prisoner that was escaping, he become almost nose-to-nose with an infuriated dragon. So he’s done what instincts told him when faced with a larger predator than himself; run in the opposite direction.
The other, it seemed, was paralyzed with terror as the dragon leapt forward. Then the terror became too great, for the combined fact that he could get burned or crushed (the passage was too small for Zanna to spread her wings, so she had no choice but to land on him); he gave a yelp of terror, turned tail, and ran.
Zanna gave a satisfied growl, and proceeded down the passage way. When she emerged into the main cave, she roared, capturing everyone’s attention in a single instant. Nearly everyone’s eyes were wide with terror, for everyone knew what she was, and why she was here.
Give Them To Me!
She gave a thunderous growl, searching for Gwilanna’s familiar form. When she didn’t find it, she gave a growl of displeasure. But she was secretly pleased that the sibyl wasn’t there; it made it a whole lot easier to question the wolves, for, if her teacher was there, too much contact would blow their cover.
She gave another growl, recapturing everyone’s attention. Then, a heavily muscled wolf stepped forward
“What do you want?” Even he couldn’t keep a tremor of fear out of his voice. She surveyed the surrounding wolves.
“You worship two scales; two dragon scales, then you have the nerve to ask me what I want?! You know what I want, and I will not causes unnecessary bloodshed, but if you do not give me the scales, I will have no choice. And if I’m not allowed to have them, who has the right to even pay homage to them?” She answered, and her face was temporarily contorted with longing, then she quickly wiped the emotion off her face, and gave another growl to reinforce her reply.
“We would give you them, if they had not been stolen,” the wolf managed to say, before a tremor of fear racked his body.
Zanna gave a snort of displeasure, and breathed a great sheet of fire into the air. Everyone present shied away from the heat, and blinding brightness of the flames.
Then a pair of strong claws gripped her throat, and Zanna seized control of the dragon’s mind quickly, before it could do any more damage, for she had not been in control for the previous actions, and it was not her way to intimidate people to get what she wanted. She hurriedly subdued the dragon’s desires and plans, and placed her own in their place.
“I don’t think that was really necessary, do you?” Hissed the creature that now had its claws around her throat. She managed to sight of the wolf, when she turned her head around. But that could not be! The wolf looked exactly like the one Gwilanna had become, and its eyes were hazel instead of the wolves’ colour dark brown. She could not help it; she let out a gasp of incredulity.
Then the claws gripped her tighter, drawing green blood despite the armour of the scales protecting her skin. Her gasp of incredulity became a growl of pain.
The dragon within Zanna seized control again; it flapped its wings, trying to sweep off the attacker. When that didn’t subdue her tormentor, she, or rather, the dragon who had seized control of her, used its tail instead. Around came the spiked isoscele, stabbing at her assailant’s back. A sickening thump and the vanishing claws from around her throat told the story.
Zanna pushed aside the angered being within her, and turned around. A wolf was already examining her, but leapt out the way as Zanna turned around to see the damage. With claws more dangerous than any human invention, but as precise as a sharpened sword point, she turned Gwilanna over, fearing to see what damage she had done.
What Have I Done?
As she was turned face-up, Gwilanna gave an involuntary groan. Zanna hoped she was returning to consciousness, but it wasn’t; the sibyl may have been unconscious, but she could still feel pain.
As for the wound itself, well, it was there to read on Gwilanna’s wolfish face; pain. But Zanna refused to give up on the sibyl; she bent down and examined the wound; no ichor (dragon blood) had feel into the wound, thankfully, as dragon blood was lethal; it would’ve killed her instantly. It was as clean as a wound could be (the isoscele was the cleanest part of a dragon). It was short and deep, but had punctured muscle rather than any major blood vessels. It was still bleeding, but not as much as it would be if it had wounded a human rather than a human in a wolf guise. But it still made Zanna wince at how deep it had gone.
Thankfully, Gwilanna had already taught Zanna how to concoct a healing potion. She snapped some orders at some wolves that jumped to attention and hared off in search of the ingredients. Meanwhile, Zanna ransacked the cave in search of a cloth. When she found it, she flew back to where Gwilanna lay.
Wincing at the pain she must’ve been causing the sibyl, Zanna set about wrapping strips of cloth around the wound, stemming the flow of blood. Then she checked if she was breathing; he was, just.
Then she got the shock of her life; the eyelids flickered! It wasn’t much, but it showed she was on the way to recovery. That was all Zanna needed. She sat on her haunches, cradling the sibyl’s head, ashamed that she had brought about all this pain.
The eyes opened, yet they did not contain accusatory glares, but conveyed their silent thanks. The white cloth that cloaked the wound was already soaked in blood, so Zanna changed it to a clean strip of cloth. The sibyl gave a sigh of discomfort as the cloth was wrapped around her wound, but otherwise remained silent.
“I thought I was going to die then,” whispered Gwilanna, trying to push herself into sitting position. A sigh of relief rose from the surrounding wolves, for they had not heard Gwilanna speak.
“You are under arrest,” growled a husky voice from behind them. “I will not stand for this kind of thing here!”
Let Us Go!
Zanna spun round, and came face-to-face with the guard that had arrested her earlier. She growled at him, but he was not faint hearted. He stood his ground and tensed his leg muscles, preparing to leap at her.
The dormant dragon within instantly seized control, and roared at him. The wolf gave an uneasy shudder. The dragon Zanna had become raised its head and breathed a rippling sheet of fire, making everyone lower their heads and flinch from the unaccustomed heat.
Zanna tried to exert her control but the dragon was too strong. He pushed her aside as a human would push aside a small dog. Anger filled Zanna, descendant of Gwendolen, as she realized how helpless she was, and she managed to harness that anger and use it, as a power source to gain control.
It worked, and she closed her jaw and terminated the flow of fire. She spread her wings and flapped them (the height of the cave allowed her to be airborne), gaining altitude every time she flapped her wings. She saw the whole of the gathering, and how scared they were, and she shuddered, that she had been the one to cause this.
However, it was to her advantage, so she used it.
“Allow me and this wounded wolf to leave this place, unharmed, and I shall not harm you,” She roared. The wolves remained silent, and a few shook their heads.
“What do you mean?” Her voice faltering, as she realized they would punish her, if she didn’t do something. “Let us go!”
“Even if you killed us all, you would still be wounded,” someone said smugly. Zanna spun round, searching for the source, and failing to find it. But in her heart she knew they spoke the truth.
“That maybe true, but none of you can fly,” she smirked as the wolves’ faces contorted with anger as they realized she could escape. Still smirking she grabbed Gwilanna’s limp body and flew toward the exit.
But they had thought of something she had not. The wolves began blocking the exit. Zanna faltered on her flight to the exit, realizing she couldn’t fly forever. She released a belt of fire, to no avail. The wolves seemed to know she would not willingly hurt them.
They closed ranks around her and Gwilanna. She gulped, and slashed at the front line. The result was two wolves backed off, howling in pain. They seemed wearier of her now.
But as they circled her, she realized their was more than apprehension in their eyes; their was the need for revenge, and they wouldn’t stop until they got it. Gwilanna was right, she reflected ruefully, they are very smart wolves.
One bold wolf leapt at her, jaws open in a grin of anticipation; she intercepted him with a single swipe of her claws. He fell back to the ground, clutching three deep gashes on his arm; without meaning to, Zanna had given him the Mark of Oomara. Shuddering, he glared at her, his eyes mad with rage. Zanna felt as though that anger was a spear, wounding her with its razor sharp point.
A few other wolves leapt at her at the same time, one succeeding in opening a gash on her forearm, another scoring a deep scar on her stomach. The final one was bitten, and fell to the ground with a sickening thump.
The rest of the pack just harried her, trying to exhaust her by continuously turning.
Release Us, Or Die!
Zanna gasped, and accidentally released a tongue of flame, incinerating a wolf foolish top enough to come in reach.
“Tell them: Release us, or risk a dragon and sibyl’s anger,” hissed Gwilanna. Zanna nodded.
“Release us, or risk a sibyl’s and dragon’s anger!” Roared Zanna, hoping she looked intimidating. A few looked angered by this statement, but most appeared curious, and apprehensive.
“Show us this sibyl,” demanded a voice. Zanna nodded, and looked down at Gwilanna, who nodded in confirmation, and released her concentration. An audible gasp swept the room as they beheld the ancient sibyl.
“Now, release us!” called Zanna, hoping this would be enough. Sure enough, a host of wolves began unclogging the exit. Pleased with her efforts, Zanna sat back and waited. As she and Gwilanna approached the exit, Gwilanna whispered: “You do know they have the scales.”
This statement caused Zanna to stop and stare at the sibyl.
“Never Trouble Us Again”
“Ok, I will go and get them,” Zanna answered petulantly, and turned back to the cave.
As she approached the cave again, there was a flurry of activity at the entrance; the wolves had obviously been keeping watch to make sure they left.
She entered, to find the wolves clustering around the entrance, ready for her.
“Give me my scales!” growled Zanna, hoping they would give them up without a fight. Unfortunately for her, some wolves’ blood still boiled with anger.
“I don’t think they are even yours,” said their leader smugly. “For the scales we hold are green, not blue like your scales.”
“They are not mine; they are my ancestor’s,” Zanna answered, hoping this would pass, untested. It did.
“Fine. Fetch them,” he snapped at a wolf. Then turned back to her. “You’d better be telling the truth, witch, or you’ll wish you’d never met us,” and so saying he swept the scales from the wolf’s grip, for he had returned a few seconds earlier.
“Now leave, and never think to trouble us again,” so saying he spun round and disappeared amid the crowd. She breathed a sigh of relief, and flew out.
When she returned to the sibyl, Gwilanna snatched one, leaving Zanna the isoscele.
“At last,” she breathed, admiring the scale in the light. “I have waited so long.” So saying she swept away into the undergrowth, summoning Zanna to her.
By Abi Billingham
Born March 26th, 1998
11 yrs old when I wrote this