Gaston looked around the dragon’s lair and attempted to calculate how much treasure they were leaving. “Once we have some time away from the Ildonian threat we should come back and finish the job. This lair has stayed hidden for a long time, I’m sure the dragon will keep it that way for a while longer.”
“Sir, I like the way you think,” Jarik said with a smile. “I know you and I could handle ourselves against the dragon, but these darn spell slingers need time to learn spells that could help in a fight. Steel is the only true way to get to a villain’s heart.”
Firae crossed his arms and glared at Jarik. “Wielding arcane forces against one’s foes is a delicate dance of intuition, skilled learning, and concentration. You should be happy to have spell casters backing you in a fight.”
The young men had taken all the gold and jewels they could carry and made their way from the dragon’s lair. Once again Arlin cast a spell to cover their scent in the caves. They tied their bags to the horses and headed out as fast as they could. The six urged their horses into a gallop as a small silhouette formed on the horizon behind them.
“Looks like he wasn’t so dumb. Stick to the trees, the leaves should cover our escape from his sight.” Firae shouted over the din of hooves upon the ground.
As they rode the silhouette maintained its position in the sky. A few times it ducked under the tree cover but always pop back into view.
“He’s tracking our scent,” Gaston said from the lead.
“His nose must be more powerful than my spells. There is a river ahead. We can lose him there.” Arlin said.
Once the river was in sight they slowed the horses to a trot. The group proceeded to make their way up river, sticking to the tree cover and shallow river bank. Gaston crossed the river and galloped away from the party and then retraced his steps back to the river. The young man had hoped the extra traveling would throw off the dragon’s scent and buy them time to escape.
The dragon’s silhouette grew large. The beast crossed the river and landed. It snorted fire and sniffed the air. “I smell the blood of my next meal. Quit your running so I may eat you in one bite.”
The young men stopped, frozen in fear. Even the horses sensed the danger and did not make a sound. The sound of large leathery wings shook the forest as the dragon took to the air again. Its red scales sparkled in the morning sunlight as the carnivorous beast circled high above them.