Koenigstadt – Interrogation room
The gray stone floor blurred as Davi tried to keep his eyes open. He straightened his shoulders instead of leaning against Kayla. Kayla was a dwarf, a little taller than her kin, and his blacksmith. A blacksmith was the only person that he could channel his magic through without causing damage. She also had her own fire and healing magic.
They were a bonded team. She had been running from the bond since her birth. When she had climbed into the dragon nest of gold, where he had been dying, she had bonded with him and saved his life. They were too young to bond and would never have little ones. The bond made them sterile. It also mean that they would live longer lives than normal dragons and dwarfs.
The wooden bench they were sitting on seemed to get harder and he wanted to stand up and stretch. Kayla held his hand with enough pressure that he stayed seated.
He leaned against the stark white wall, looking for some way to leave this little room. His stomach growled from hunger. It had been hours since he had eaten. He had used a lot of magic during the fight with the Dragur. When he had been forced to transform into a dragon in front of the Old One, it had taken the rest of his energy.
He needed to eat. Even if he ate, he needed to sleep for a long long time. Kayla’s normally olive complexion was white and he could feel her tremble slightly. He wasn’t sure if the change in color was from fear or from pain. No one had checked to see if she had been hurt.
He sagged against Kayla and she stroked the top of his head. His eyes closed and he was gone. She gently laid his heavy head on her lap and waited.
When he woke up, they were still in the stark room.
“What?” Davi sat up and looked around the room. He wiped off the saliva that had dripped from his mouth and ran down his face. He could smell an overpowering smell of disinfectant. Under that smell was a scent of old decaying blood. Someone hadn’t cleaned this room too well.
He felt all over and when he looked at his arms, he could see the beginnings of bruises that spoiled his skin in purple and green colors. He was sure there were dark bruises on his face and even his legs. He didn’t check his legs. Why bother?
Plus there were no mirrors in this room so he couldn’t check his face either. From Kayla’s look, the bruises must look bad. He groaned for sympathy.
“Shhh,” said Kayla in his mind. “Someone is watching us.”
He looked for peepholes or openings. When he didn’t find one, he used his dragon senses. Everything around him felt blank. Finally he opened his mouth and tasted the air. It tasted of metal and dirt.
The taste was recognizable at least to him. The wizards were using earth magic to watch them.
He’d give them something to look at. He stood up, and abruptly lurched. His hand banged against the wall as he fell into it. He stood there for a moment braced against the wall with Kayla watching him closely until he could stand without falling.
When he felt confident enough that he could walk to the door without hurting himself, he shuffled to the door. The doorknob was round and silver. He hesitantly wrapped his hand around the door and tried to open it. The door was locked.
He could feel the lock on the door. Something inside of him quested forth and prodded the lock. It was a simple lock. With his dragon strength he could have broken the door wide open. Even Kayla with her magic could have broken the door.
He glanced at her. She ducked her head.
So, there was a reason she didn’t want them to know her strength. He walked around the room, stretched his legs, tried out his whistle, which was a little squeaky and dry. Then he sat down next to Kayla.
Firm footsteps approached the door. There was a click as the door was unlocked and a guard dressed in the king’s colors of red and blue garnished with gold stepped into the room.
“Follow me,” he said. He made an about-face and marched out of the room.
They didn’t have too many choices so they followed the guard into a hallway lit with oil lamps. They could hear their footsteps echo in the hallway. The only people in the hallway was the three of them. When they reached the next hallway, the guard made a military right turn. His moves were precise and practiced.
Davi and Kayla followed. There were several lefts and rights. It was a maze in here and if they had left the room, they would have gotten lost in it. Davi shivered. Would the mages have left them in one of these hallways as they looked for a way out?
Before he could scare himself and Kayla silly, they walked through an archway covered in vines. The daylight was gone, so the ivy had was black and gray with deep shadows. He wanted to duck as they walked through the archway.
“Show no fear,” Kayla whispered in his mind.
He squared his shoulders and didn’t hesitate to follow the guard.
The smell of roses, lavender, and sage teased his nose. He whispered back to Kayla, very sure that the guard couldn’t eavesdrop on their mind talk. “It’s a garden.
A gray shadow emerged from the twilight and stood in front of the guard. The guard saluted and then left Davi and Kayla to their fate. As they got closer to the shadow, they saw another guard, this one dress in the same uniform but in a swirling grays and white that made it difficult to see in the darkness.
A sword hung at his waist and in his hand he held a large stick that glowed at one end.
The glow was blue, a color that wouldn’t hurt the guard’s night vision. Davi could smell the combination of iron and magic in the guard’s weapons.
The idea of combining iron and magic caught his curiosity. Iron negated magic. Before he could ask how they had done that, Kayla gave him a slight nudge. Oh yeah, he needed to look harmless.
The guard turned his back on them and marched down the path. It was an expression of contempt. Or at least if he was a dragon, turning your back on an enemy was a sign of disrespect. Still if Davi had tried to take the guard, he would have been hurt by the others in the garden. They wouldn’t have been able to run away safely.
The moonlight revealed the two-story house. The air nipped Davi’s ears and he kept his eyes forward. He searched for webs of magic around the house. He must have been too tired and too worn out because he saw nothing. This house would be their prison while they were there. The guard knocked on the door.
Another guard opened it. Davi and Kayla walked in.
They wiped their feet on the rug next to the door. An older man in a black suit directed them to a small parlor a few feet away. Davi took in a couple of stuffed chairs, a couched, and a window that looked out into the darkened garden. On the window were twisted bars made of a type of iron. His stomach twisted. If they tried to escape using magic, it would be much harder with all the iron.
He needed to tell Hilda about the iron and magic combination that the guards were using. Much of his tension must have been coming from Kayla because his stomach suddenly quieted down and he could feel her smiling.
Hilda was lying scrunched up on one of the stuffed chairs. A book was lying across her thighs as she was reading. She looked up at them and smile, then straightened herself so that she was sitting.
He slid around the butler, and ran to Hilda. He pulled her up and gave her a big hug.
“What took you so long?”
Kayla was more dignified as she walked to the two of them. Then she put her arms around Hilda and they stood there. “You’ve been gone over 48 hours.” Hilda whispered.
Then she added. “There are listening devices all over this room.”
Hilda pulled away and smiled. “Let’s find a room for you two.”
“Where’s Michael?” asked Davi. At least they weren’t in a cell, awaiting execution. This kingdom still remembered the Mage and Dragon wars. It wasn’t good to be a dragon here, even a dragon that was in human form.
“Michael’s at the mage university,” Hilda, pulled open a door next to her bedroom. It had two beds. “You’ll stay here.”
Kayla wandered around the room, looking at the wardrobes, beds, and chairs. She sat on a bed and bounced. When she was finished bouncing, she went to the wooden chair and sat down. Davi knew she was looking for listening devices. He could smell two of them.
They also smelled of iron and magic.
“Michael won’t be back until tomorrow,” Hilda said. “Are you two hungry?”
Davi’s stomach roared in protest. “Please,” he said humbly.
They followed her down the stairs, turned right, and into the kitchen. A wooden table was filled with fresh baked bread, cheese and butter. Hilda sawed off a hunk for both of them. He put cheese on it and began to eat slowly.
He smiled as he heard Kayla hum in his head. It was strange to be connected to someone so closely. Still he wanted to purr and hum with her.
Hilda pulled some sausages out of the larder. Davi ate until his stomach bulged just a little. Then he drank a pint of ale. The ale settled his stomach enough that he was ready for the pudding.
“A hollow leg,” Hilda laughed as handed him the last of the bread.
He burped and sat back. He could see Sassy in the flames of the kitchen’s fireplace. She cavorted and chuckled.
It would have been perfect if he hadn’t looked out the window just then. A face stared at the four of them. His hair was long and dark, his beard was bushy, and there was a sour expression on his face.
“There.” Davi pointed at the window, but the face was gone. He must have imagined it.
Hilda looked out the window but didn’t see the spy.
Then Davi began to yawn. He followed Kayla back to their room and soon he was snoring.
Kayla stayed away until the daylight touched the window, and then she went to sleep.
Someone had to guard the dragon.