Suddenly, Dally felt a crippling wave of sickness over take her. The sky spun around her, and she felt as though she would fall off the dragons back at any moment. She frantically urged Ursa to land in a large field outside the village, and jumped off his back and hurried forward a few steps, bent over in anticipation of being sick. The nausea subsided as quickly as it had overtaken her. As she stood, the sound of approaching footsteps in the grass drew her attention toward the town. A large man approached, a large friendly grin on his weathered face. He appeared to be part giant, although she doubted it was the case. “Hello!” he called with a wave of his big hand.
“Hello!” Dally waved back.
“I saw you land in a hurry,” he said, extending his hand once he got close enough. He was very tall, broad shouldered and tan, with long wild black hair on his head and face. “My name is Ovidius. I own the inn and dragon stable over there. Are you all right?”
Dally shook his hand. “Yes. I felt very ill very suddenly, but once we landed I was fine.” Ovidius’ eyes showed concern for a split second, then he smiled warmly. “Well, you shouldn’t be out here at night. Suddene is a beautiful city, but it’s rather dangerous once the sun goes down.” He cast a worried glance at the darkening sky, then beckoned for Dally to follow. She took Ursa’s reins and led him behind her as she followed Ovidius to a building that she had mistaken for a castle from the air.
The stable was six stories high, longer than the islands of her base, and ornately decorated in gold and sky-blue swirls. Each stall had two pillars and delicately carved wood around the entrances. The straw was fresh and the softest yellow she’d ever seen. Ovidius took the reins from her and led Ursa into a stall in the middle of the stable. Two stable hands appeared from nowhere and placed a very large trough of mutton in front of him.
“Now that he’s settled, let’s get you settled young lady,” Ovidius said warmly. He guided her out of the stable and across the street to an equally ornate Inn. Just as he was reaching for the door handle, a loud screech was heard over head. Dally looked up and saw what appeared to be a dragon, but the wings seemed to be made of something otherworldly. A noxious smell filled the air, and Ovidius threw open the door and shoved Dally inside before slamming the door shut behind them.
“What was that?” she asked, taking deep breaths of clean air.
Ovidius walked to the bar, poured them both a pint of ale and downed his as he walked hers to her.
“That,” he said slowly, “was Pathox.”