Queen of the Hall P2

[Stonehall]

Spreading her wings wide into a gliding descent, she landed gently onto the balcony. She lurked towards the entrance, sulking in. The stench of soldiers was gone, a nice relief, but instead, replaced with something new. Bird? No, not just any bird, a crow. She had caught one or two in her day, but she felt something suspicious about this one. As quickly as she could, she clambered into the hall, slowly following the scent. She walked over to the fork in the hallway, and could smell the bird on her left where her unhatched was, so left she went. The queen wouldn't let anyone touch her egg, especially not a pesky bird.

Crow had explored the room in greater depth noticing a hallway that led to a large doorway, the entrance. Before he could approach it, he heard a loud stomping sound from behind, and saw the dragon enter the room. With a high pitched squawk, he fluttered behind one of the chiseled pillars that remained intact. The dragon was truly majestic although much smaller than he expected. Most of them surpass sixty feet, but she was only half that which meant she was either more vulnerable or full of poisonous unpredictability. Her black scales melted beautifully into the darkness and her wings, torn in many places, spread in vast intimidation.

“Come out and face Cathenae, Queen of the Hall!” She roared, causing the ground to shake.

Outside of the fort, the group waited impatiently. Kain, gripped the holt of his sword in anticipation. This felt like it would be one of the best fights he would have, maybe he could enter the tales of legends. Kain Dragonsbane, it could work. The soldiers sent questioning glances to the weapons master that had joined them, Sarala and the orcs scoping out the area. Suddenly, the ground shuddered with the roar of the queen sending most of the group staggering with frantic gazes. Kain placed his hand against the door to stable himself, and the spellsword did the same. The rest stared at the great door, wary of what danger was truly inside. Her shrieking roar echoed and vibrated through the crumbling stone and Kain looked up in fear, in awe, backing away quickly as if worried it might tumble to bits.

Crow poked his head from behind the pillar, and waddled out from the shadows. Eyes locked on the dragon, he moved slowly towards her, puffing up his chest to give a slightly intimidating appearance.

“Just a bird,” she muttered, looking down at the feathered threat.

“Not just bird, I am Crow Skeldergate, and I… I come to negotiate,” he replied as sternly as he could.

“A talking bird? How did you learn it? She questioned in confusion. “What negotiation could you possibly want?”

“A story for another time, but I inform you that Warfall wants the fort back,” he answered.

“And why does it matter to me?”

“There is party of Warfall people waiting, raring for a fight. I see you have an egg? You wouldn't want any harm to come to it.”

“If I give them the fort, I keep my egg? Are they a true threat?”

“I’m afraid so. Deny this and you might have half of Sarnia aiming to kill you. You could stay here, no more living in fear, a whole army to guard you. You could live happy and grow strong but only if you agree to the offer.”

Cathenae nodded in thought, but quickly heard the voice at the back of her head.

“Somewhat convincing, but I have foul trust in him and in what will come,” the voice commented, echoing inside her head.

“I trust him and will see to it that I negotiate,” she growled, turning her attention back to the bird.

Crow watched in confusion as the dragon talked to what seemed like no one. Maybe she was indeed a mad queen, although there are already many strange things that reside in this world.
“So you wish to negotiate?”

“I do.”

“Is it fine if I unlock the door so they may enter?”

“Of course. I have always wanted to open that door. If you could possibly open it, it would truly amaze me.” The craftsmanship was indeed of great skill and elegance, but with her strength opening it meant damage to the very thing she admired.
Crow calmly walked towards the great door, quickly picking up two twigs from a small pile of branches and carried them underneath his wing.

“If I may ask, who is in the river?” He asked, attempting small talk to calm the tension.

“He wanted to be my mate, or at least forced me to, but a monster was what he truly was. He was the one who took me from my home, hurt me, abused and tried to breed with me countless times,” she answered. “The egg isn’t his, but I told him it was. Less reason for him to hurt me. It didn’t work.” A puff of air escaped her nose and ruffled the bird’s sleek coat.

“Why is he in the river?” Asked Crow as he flapped up the large lock on the door. He pecked at it.

“The voice told me to kill him. I did it in the night and dumped the bastard into the river, haven’t looked down there since.”

“The voice?” Questioned Crow as he worked.

“He caused it. It haunts me in the back of my head, bossing me around and advising me.”

He felt sorrow for the dragon. He may have faced his hardships, but nothing compared to hers. He didn’t know what love was, never had it, never felt it. But what she went through was definitely not love. Only, it was what she needed by what he could tell.
A click and the door was unlocked, but it was too large for him to open. It would take him ages to budge, but luckily he had someone who could do so.

“Cathenae, would you mind opening the door for me?”
With a nod, she kissed the side of her egg, walking to the door. She placed her thick claws on the groaning wood and began to pull.

Everyone else waited in the darkness, their torches scattering light across the grand door and all its engravings. Complete eerie silence across the land for one collective moment..

“I hope the bird is alive…” muttered Kain, watching the door.

“After that? I’m not so certain.” Tei’ron responded.

A loud creaking cut through and everyone stared up at the door which budged a few feet inwards. A scaled hand reached to the outside of the door, pulling it open further. When the door was halfway open, the group was looking at eyes. One glassy, one foggy, both of the threat they came to snuff out. It was a fleeting moment, one Sarala would not forget. Having stood now at the front, this ancient beast of legend was only steps away and she couldn’t help but slowly reach out a gentle hand in an attempt to grasp the encounter. A thundering heart, calm mind, completely star struck. There were no more words to describe it except that its scales seemed to glow under the sky with such mysterium...the young woman was completely still after that.

“The queen has given the chance of ne…” Began Crow, but was interrupted by the sound of clanging armor and instant regret.

(Caribou & Bug)

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