the next village they reached had been burned to the dirt the dead strewn about the area. he walked in through the smashed gates sword at the ready he knelt and examined a body of a young male badger a stab wound to the neck had severed the jugular the state of decomposition and the lack of bloat was good estimators of how long, gerin rode up holding a cloth over his mouth and nose " what news? " " dead about 5 days possibly 7...looks like experts trained pros they knew where to hit the gate to get in quick..most of these people were roused out of their sleep and hadn't had a chance to arm themselves " " how can you tell that? " " that city guard is in his underwear and was pulling his pants on the scabbard is in his right hand but no sword two more empty scabbards are over there by more city guard " looking at him on his mount " most have smashed or broken lanterns with them thus it was a night attack " he nodded and turned his already spooking mount out of the village..

bill checked the city elders house which was one of the few still partly standing the city's gold was gone as was any documents..he found a chest plate under a fallen wall the emblem was melted but it was clearly a warriors armor and very well kept. he walked out the far side and walked up to the camp that had been made the lady smiled at him he bowed his head to them all " no survivors im afraid " sitting down zisa gave him a mug of what was in human terms hot chocolate with coffees kick with a hint of cinnamon in the aroma. he sighed " but it was definitely a professional force..this armor was under a collapsed wall the owner had several valuables in his arms when he died " setting it where they could see it " that is king vagarins standard " " a supposed good friend to your king my lady? " she nodded lifting the armor up " supposed to be very good but his kingdom does nothing about the slavers and raiders that come and go from his lands " " id say he wants a cut of the action now my lady...this was a planed military strike this village is at the entrance to a series of valleys below us " pointing to their traveling direction
" and is a perfect way to cut off this region from any and all assistance if i look around " " i found them already william it was a sizable force it went around and into the valley " that struck bill wrong...he got up and went to look ignoring there questions he soon found the obvious tracks going past them he found the less obvious garin walked up seeing the new tracks " it was a HUGE force garin heavy wagons filled with supplies so many troops they had to replant these plants to cover the tracks " pulling out a trampled to mush bush from under the dirt " this is an invasion force but doing it from a raiders point of view? "
" it wouldn't arouse the kings ire if it was just raiders garin..a military invasion would " he nodded to this

the lady insisted they continue into the valley chain not only for her mission but to warn the villages and the one garrison that was in the path
he moved up near zisa and held her mount as the others rode on " im going scouting i maybe gone for several days you can send a message to me if im needed ? " she nodded " william your avoiding her " " i have to zisa or she will find a reason....or i will ' sighing heavily ' she must remain murr zisa......
what happens to those who are called and are not ?" " they go to him ..but are never seen again, occasionally it is rumored that the ones who return to him murr are made his mates and he tries to get the heir he needs to pass on his crown" he sighed again dammed if i do or don't
"well we need to know as much as possible to be able to fight them and save lives with minimal call me immediately if you even see a scout got me " " yes...she loves you william through the scales and size she sees you for who you are..and loves you for that " he lowered his head
and ran off....

he followed the hidden tracks and well into the first valley running through another village burned to the ground and slid to a stop as the battle group divided sniffing the air and tracks he turned to the left following the heavier slower wagons filled with wine and ale one of the casks was leaking and the still sweet wine was heavy in the dirt he could also smell the captured females there urine and pure fear
he followed for two days finally coming to a slow halt in a glade clearing a small stream  bubbling to the sound of the breeze in the trees
it was a nightmare scene from a medieval time females of all kinds skinned some crushed or raped to the point of hemorrhaging a few used as targets for the archers it was so strange as he entered the glade there was no smell to all the blood and death
feeling with his hand out to the air he caught the faint spell like a fine gossamer veil over the glade
he smiled as he understood it instantly and opened it freeing the glade which the smell slammed into his nostrils " a warning trip wire system clever "
he checked the ones which might be still alive and was about to give up when he found one! a big zebra lady her clothes shredded and hanging around her the stab wound to the chest had nearly been on target he used the spell zisa had on him but put his dragon strength behind it
she roused instantly and panic flooded in " be calm lady im here to help im one of the lady's guardians see here" pointing to the emblem and words on his right chest plate the terror faded and so did she passing out again..

he couldn't burn the dead it'd warn the enemy he was behind them so he set to the task of burying them digging long trenches his arms and claws were excellent for digging and he was soon setting the bodies down gently checking on the lady occasionally when she woke and sobbed out a scream
he stopped her from getting up " lady please rest your safe " "no NO NO please let me die " he blinked at that " but .." " the children!! they have hundreds of children and the young females !!! you have to stop them let me die" he could hear more there than just selflessness almost blame
" lady tell me what happened? we know who they are and it's an invasion " she calmed looking at him now as if the first time " a dragon? but your not are you" " no lady im cursed by the please" she nodded and told him so much detail that he felt as if he'd been watching the column for days she sobbed as he hoped she got to her blame " we got word warned by a rider from agasara that they were coming the council pledged to stay and fight but so many wanted to run with their children...i was the school teacher and volunteered to take them all to safety.." sobbing covering her eyes blood started to seep from her wound again "i got them out of the village into the forest where they were waiting with the rider "  smashing her fist into the dirt "lady " holding her still gently he looked into her eyes deep inside those clouded pools filled with sorrow and blame knowing as he did so she was slipping from him " you are not to blame it was a clever trap set to catch you and the children to use against the will be commended for your duty to them all restasured ..i will kill all these invaders and will do my best to save the children " she smiled and sighed dyeing in his arms

quickly burying the last he rushed out after the wagons and found them the next day, more dead females the warriors and slavers drunk or busy raping the ladies two were tossing ladelfulls of slop at the children in caged trailers the ladies not in use were chained to these he snarled silently slipping into the brush eliminating a tripwire spell.
he reached out as a male wolf was about to impale a young lynx girl on his arousal and crushed his throught snapping his fingers onto her mouth "shhh i am one of the ladies guard im here to help" the wolf was pulling on his fingers trying to breathe "stop or i will do you like you were about to do to her" the wolf went wide eyed in terror " and ' looking in front of him ' mines much bigger and longer " the wolf fainted or passed out from lack of air he flicked him hard into a tree bone cracked " can you be calm?" she nodded he let her go " thank you " hugging him suddenly  he smiled " i need you to play act like he did that to you alright and go over to the others tell them i need them to distract the able guards and hopefully bring out the mage"
" i can do that "" then soon as you see me start fighting start setting the others free " she nodded " and be careful " " i will sir dragon "

moving close to the mages tent he heard the guards shouting about the females the leader came out with the mage at his side looking for the reason of the commotion he slipped in behind them, he jumped cursing as a guard slammed into him from behind trying to run out of the tent they both went wide eyed
he snarled and slapped the warrior away the mage opened some kind of portal and tried to escape he snagged his leg and listened to the shouts of surprise from beyond the portal he yelled for help as bill reached through he caught a glimpse of a castle throne room and a near black tiger sitting on it he grinned "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO TRESPASS IN MY PATH"  he ripped the arms off the mage and brought them back with himself "here mage enjoy your return home" tossing the limp body through "tell your warriors king vagarin. william the dragon is coming
they will curse the day you sent them to there ends at my hands " he learned the portal magic and closed the gate roaring through it into a castle who knows where in the world from here
he looked up as the warriors gathered to attack, the ladies holding their own now with renewed hope
he just smiled and let lose the dragon...they never had a chance

soon as he washed the blood off he attended to the ladies and children many were dazed with shock a few were just so furious they kept chopping the dead warriors into tiny chunks till they were winded
he smiled and gently hugged the young lynx who was still nude and bouncing in joy the others smiled one reminded her of her state a quick yelp and she was gone in a blur " well ladies once i get some healing magic's into the worst of you. i want you to get out of the valleys " they all looked on in amazement he smiled making eye contact with each lady the lynx came rushing forward to sit quickly in front of them
" i know what im saying ladies..and though it sounds like the thing to do, fighting them isn't what you can do best right now it's helping the wounded and the children..' pointing to them still sniffing some calling softly for mothers that would never come ' a lady swore me to save the children the school teacher that was tricked into leading her villages children out into there hands she blamed her self till she died...i need you to get them to safety they cant and are helpless in this state this is not an order from one of the lady's guardians but a wish from the dragon who saved your lives that you will get out to safety and remember this they killed your mates fathers brothers..dont let them kill you too if they do then those who died will have for nothing they need you i need you to be safe and away from the valleys if they recapture you " he sighed " i will be held back by the fate of the children like those who died you understand?" they nodded and agreed to do as he asked

administering the healing magic's to those he could help one of the last was a very young lady wolf her hemorrhaging was so bad he knew the brutal rape shed suffered would claim her life he smiled and brushed the hair away from her eyes " hello there young lady " she smiled weakly her hand reached up to touch his cheek she had a flash of surprise "warm...dident...expect...that" " why ? do dragons not have fiery passions and tempers?" she smiled in earnest " im cold" with a smile he gently picked her up  cradling her in his wing the warmth stopped her time soon claimed her life
he cursed his lack of abilities softly wishing he knew surgery instead of how to rebuild an engine he could have saved her...if only....

he was sorely tempted to go back to that castle but knew the king would have had his mages and his guards ready for just that eventuality
he looked as they got ready to leave he sighed " do any of you know her name? "setting the wolf down next to the others "invaness i think sir dragon"
" then they all shall know her name as will their king before they die ... go now im going to light a funeral pyre now i want them to know im hunting them...take care avoid the main road they will have scouts to let them know of troops and traders" they nodded and rolled out he waved to the lynx she bowed to him and nearly fell off the wagon.
he smiled then it faded as he turned and inhaled deeply his flame filled the clearing and beyond all things burned in that heat he slipped away to hunt the invaders

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11/5/2000 12:59:00 AM