Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Lord Logenburt Part Seven
It's been awhile, the mad rush of NaNoWriMo and December having messed with my ability to organize the next participant (I know, it would have taken all of two minutes), but here we are finally, back with part 7 of the exciting adventures of Lord Logenburt. You can catch up on parts 1 to 6 here.
The Lord Logenburts past were responsible for the dragon problem, at least in some abstract way, and Lord Logenburt present could put an end to it.
He decided on several courses of action at once, and his body twitched as it tried to move in all directions. Half of him reached for the crumpled leathery creature, with vague ideas of strangling it before it started baying for blood. The other half turned to crush the remaining eggs before he had to learn the collective noun for baby dragons. The third half—the part that was terrible at maths—headed for the door to get help.
He unbalanced, and performed an ungainly pirouette to right himself. He scolded himself to think things through and act logically.
But then the dragon lurched onto all fours and started crawling rapidly towards him, so he decided on a new option: run away and let somebody else deal with the problem.
He turned, wincing as his knee creaked in protest, and found the sneering Baron blocking his path. He’d acquired a dagger from somewhere; a vicious tapered blade that glinted in the candlelight like a wink. Frederic swallowed.
The Baron opened his mouth but, before he could speak, another voice interrupted. High-pitched, with a background hiss like a balloon being deflated.
Frederic whipped around. The dragon had stopped a few feet away, staring at him with large yellow eyes.
He must have misheard. It was imp—
This time, he saw the thing’s lips move as it spoke.
He raised a shaky hand and pointed to his chest. “Me?”
It nodded, then resumed crawling. Frederic backed away. It occured to him that the Baron was in that direction—and, more pertinently, the dagger—which brought him to a halt. Death behind, death ahead.
Courage, or perhaps desperation, made him blurt out, “Go away!”
The dragon stopped, and flopped onto its bottom with a dull thud. The little face crumpled, and Frederic felt a bizarre stab of guilt.
“I’m not your mama,” he said.
The dragon blinked, then frowned. It clenched its little fists, and a curl of smoke drifted out of one nostril. “Mama.” There was a steely note in its tone that made Frederic swallow again. He recalled, as he often did in stressful situations, a passage from a book.
Dragons make excellent parents. The dragoness will guard her eggs fiercely for several months until they hatch. During this time, her mate will bring regular meals, even he keeping a wary distance from the precious clutch. Upon hatching, the dragonling will imprint on the first face it sees: that of its doting mother.
The dragon continued to stare, the hissing growing louder until a blue jet of fire blasted from its black nose.
Frederic clutched the sleeves of his jacket. “Oh... well... I suppose, in a way... I mean... yes, okay. Mama.”
“Mama,” the dragon confirmed, and smiled toothily. It launched itself forward, tail wagging, and spread its wings. Before Frederic could move, the creature grasped his trouser leg with sharp claws and climbed up his body. It sat down on his pot belly, and sniffed at his jumper.
“Oh dear lord.” Frederic’s breath exploded. “You don’t want a nipple, do you?”
It blinked up at him, expression blank.
“You!” came a splutter from the Baron. With all the other horrific things happening, Frederic had blocked out his existence. He was reminded sharply with the tip of the dagger in his face. His eyes crossed to keep it in focus. “How dare you! Look here, Dragon, I’m your mama.”
The yellow eyes turned their gaze to him. There was a pause, and then the dragon said, “Bad man.” It stared hard at the Baron, then at the woman lying pale and still on the slab, and then back. “Bad man hurt Papa.”
The Baron’s lips thinned. “Time for you later.” He tightened his grip on the dagger and took a step closer to Frederic, whose back hit the wall in less than two seconds.
“You won’t steal my dragons, Logenburt!” He sprang, slashing with the dagger. Frederic pressed himself against the wall, trapped, and only escaped the blade because the Baron withdrew it. He had to, because a whirl of black jumped from Frederic’s stomach to his face and sank its teeth in is neck.
The Baron dropped the knife, and screamed in a surprisingly high pitch. He rained blows on the little black body clinging to his flesh, but the dragon didn’t seem to feel them. It flapped its wings, making the Baron turn away and close his eyes. Blindly, he clamped his hands around its back and tried to pull it off his neck. Those teeth were tenacious. The Baron let go, momentum sending him stumbling backwards, and Frederic felt it in his teeth when skull hit stone.
The Baron’s eyes stayed closed, and he stopped moving.
The dragon sat on the Baron’s chest, licked its lips with a forked tongue, and made an unhappy face. Then it morphed into a pink-cheeked human baby—Frederic noted that it was a girl dragon-baby-thing—took another tentative lick, and smiled. “Mm.”
It licked the blood off its face with relish, and then followed the trail to the puncture wounds in the Baron’s neck. Frederick strongly considered running away while the thing was distracted, but he couldn’t leave the Baron like that, no matter what he had done.
“Stop that!” he said, trying for the tone that his own mother had used to great effect.
The baby stopped.
Frederic leant over the Baron and felt for a pulse. Slow, but strong. The wound wasn’t bleeding too heavily. He’d have a stonking headache when he woke up, but unless that crack to the head had caused internal bleeding, he would survive.
He turned a stern gaze on the baby. “That was very naughty. Very.”
Its blue eyes brightened with tears, and its chin wobbled. “Bad man hurt Papa. Bad man?”
Frederic hesitated, then admitted, “Well, yes. I suppose. Bad man.”
The baby smiled and waved chubby fists. “Move Papa? Away from bad man.”
And that’s how he found himself at the Baron’s door twenty minutes later, with a dragon stuffed down his jumper and a half-dead woman propped on his shoulder, trying to edge past the servant who’d showed him in.
“Are you sure I can’t arrange a carriage for you, Lord Logenburt? Your companion looks... tired. Are you quite sure she was with you when you came in?”
“Yes,” said Frederic, at the same time she said, “Blergon,” - rather unhelpfully, he thought. She slumped further onto Frederic’s shoulder.
Her skin was milky white, and there were makeshift bandages around her arms, courtesy of the Baron’s shirt. It’d taken much ear-splitting wailing from the dragon-baby before her eyelids even fluttered.
“She’s Swedish,” he said, as if that explained everything, and pushed past the servant.
“Bye bye!” said a muffled voice from his jumper. He shushed her.
This was going to be difficult to explain to Tubs.