“You were asking about Goda yesterday,” she began in a soft and serious tone. “Goda is unlike any dragon you have ever encountered. He has a head of gray hair like an old man, and the teeth of a crocodile. His wings are tattooed in flames and snakes. The story is that he was born in the midst of a forest fire. As he emerged from his egg, a giant snake tried to make a meal of him. Goda bit the head off of the snake and swallowed it whole. They say the snake tried to regenerate itself, and instead the image of its body embedded itself into the flesh of Godas’ wings. The fire did not burn him, but lifted his wings so he could fly away, also etching their mark on his wings. Goda has the gift of speech, like Jarl and Kaiji, and he rules over a group of humans, like Jarl as well. However, he does not appreciate tricks or cold-blooded murder. Thievery, however, he tolerates to a point. Thieves of Honor, some of his band call themselves.”
“Sounds fairly contradictory,” Dally said as she sipped her tea.
Kazane smiled. “Yes and no. Goda will accept law breakers, but with many conditions. One: anything stolen is shared with the group. Two: stealing from the group is punishable by death. Three: all grievances will be aired in front of the group and Goda, and if they cannot be solved the parties are dismissed from the group. Four: Goda only accepts those whom he deems to be honorable souls. Anyone he takes in that proves him wrong is executed. Five: stealing from the temples and/or Guardians is punishable by death.”
“Sounds a bit like Gustav,” Celia said with a snort, “only without the honor.”
“Oh Gustav had honor,” Kazane replied, “until Kharnyx got a hold of him. Which is why Goda had no problem chasing Xander and his men out of the Ridge; he views all of Gustav’s forces as honorless as he was at the end.” Celia sighed and shifted uneasily in her seat. She smiled and leaned forward, placing her hand on top of Celia’s. “If you were truly without honor, you would not be here. You will be fine.”
“What happens if Goda doesn’t agree with you?” Dally asked softly.
Kazane sat back and shrugged. “She will not be allowed in, that is all. But I do not think we have anything to worry about.”
“Xander won’t stay out of the Ridge for long,” Dally said. “They only pulled back to regroup, and they will come in stronger next time. Do you think Goda would help us push them back?”
“Us? As in the three of us?” Celia asked, eyes wide.
Dally smiled slyly. “No. I have friends that would help.”
“Of course you do,” Celia said with mock resentment.
“As do I,” Kazane said. “But we should talk to Goda before we rally our troops.”
Dally finished her tea and set her cup down gently. “So, when do we leave?”
“We can leave after we clean up after ourselves,” Kazane said as she stood. “It only takes about an hour by dragon to get there. I will send a raven ahead to let Goda know we are coming.”
Dally nodded. ”Do you think he will help us?”
Kazane nodded as she led them back into the temple. “I do, but it will take some convincing. And if anyone can convince Goda to help, it would be you.”
Celia leaned in next to Dally’s ear and whispered, “No pressure there, Dragon Lord.”
Dally glared at her and Celia laughed. “Would you go help Kazane clean up? I need to send a raven of my own. Or two. Or five…”
Celia laughed again. “Of course. Go rally those friends of yours. We will need them, with or without Goda’s help.”
Dally watched her cousin walk away and sighed. These next steps would cross the lines of the Atlas. What was at stake was bigger than that, however, and she hoped that she could convince everyone to put it all aside and work together to defeat the Blackbloods. She shook her head and marched to the Temple library to send her ravens, and hoped they’d return with good news.