The time transpired slowly, and the students of the dragonite language puzzled over his weird dialect. The forest masked them from intruders, as imps could possibly be around the corner. The chirruping of the suzukibs was deafening. Even Er. Seljuk, the Marginalian emissary, would have abhorred the monstrous noise. Tefl was not quite as known for his patience. Then, Tefl inquired about Bamut, the dragon king.
“Does Bamut know that the prophecy is about to be fulfilled?” asked Tefl.
“Bamut suspects that it is so. He who stopped the religious wars can surely tell the fulfillment of the prophecy,” said Truliso.
“But surely this was a lie,” Poxig thought to himself. Only the king of Marginalia has an extant copy of this document, written in the tablet of days. If only they could get access to it! But they would have to infiltrate the castle keep, which was no easy task. In any case, to take any stock in what the dragon whelp said was a mistake.
They asked Truliso to put in a good word for them when they saw the dragonite clan again. There was a great likelihood that the dragon would be attacked by humans again, since they were largely misunderstood. Dragons were subject to the same moral forces as humans. Some of them knew magic arts, and dark and light magic.
“Then, what is your mission?” asked Tefl.
“I must reach the circle of sages and tell them that the prophecy is about to be fulfilled,” said Truliso.
“But your wound is still bleeding,” exclaimed Poxig. “You’ll never make it!”
“I have to reach the sages with a secret message from the dragon king, or all will be lost.”
Tefl and Poxig could not tell if the dragon whelp was being duplicitous, but they had to act on faith. Without proper medical attention, Truliso would surely die. The only option was to search for a healer in the nearby town of Gaia. If one could be found, the dragon could continue on its mission, but without the help of the young heroes, it would be a lost cause.
As they traipsed through the forest, they had to scout for imps and make sure that there was no threat to their new acquaintance. Tefl was still without a sword, and Poxig remembered that they were still very much in danger because of imp raids. Many of the nearby villages had been burnt, and Excelsior could have had the same fate had there not been the royal guard to defend it.
“We mustn’t tell anyone about Truliso,” Tefl said, “or else they will form a search party and kill him.”
“Agreed,” said Poxig.
They went to Gaia proper, and could see the great tower of Marchion looming before the hamlet below. The people of Gaia were peace loving, but depended on the power of the earth to protect them. Since the earth had been rotting, their vulnerability to attack had become likely. As they went in the city gates and paid the toll, they immediately went in search of a mage who was skilled and gifted in the healing arts. Of course, this sort of magic was light, while the black arts were not known to them. Tefl admitted to Poxig that although he didn’t believe in magic, if anyone could actually heal the dragon, he would be persuaded.
As they stopped by the butcher’s and the baker’s, they acquired necessary provisions. Tefl bought an inexpensive sword from the weapons dealer, and gave his shepherd’s crook to Poxig. He named the short sword after his aunt Broomhilda.
Poxig knew that most of the townsfolk of Gaia were concentrated on the grosser elements of life, and very few were educated or had subtle thoughts. These people shouted in their faces to buy and sell rather than to heed the quiet words of the wise.
“12 GP for a mask!” shouted one vendor.
“2 GP for a loaf of bread!” shouted another.
How they would find a white mage in all of this mess was subject to dispute. Tefl began to get wrapped up in the madness, and he was almost willing to depart with his last 10 GP. But he had to have some means to hire the white witch that they would find in the magician’s guild.