“Aye,” the innkeeper replied. He motioned for her to follow as he went behind the bar and poured himself another pint. Dally perched herself on a stool in the middle of the bar and waited for Ovidius to continue.
Ovidius turned to her and opened his mouth to speak, but paused and looked at her quizzically. “I beg yer pardon, miss, in all the confusion I forgot to ask ye yer name!”
“Dallyah,” she replied as she took a larger sip of her ale. To her surprise, the innkeeper smiled as if he was greeting an old friend.
“Aurora and Jarrod’s daughter Dallyah?”
Dally nodded slowly, unsure of the already confusing situation.
“I knew yer father well,” Ovidius replied with a hearty laugh. “And yer mother. Wonderful people they were. Used to come here often, and sit at this very bar, and drink and tell tales with the townsfolk. When yer uncle did them wrong, well, we went to war to defeat him. Word of ye and yer sister got less and less frequent…until ye came back and claimed a base! Then ye tamed Necryx…”
Dally choked a little on her drink. “Wait, people know about that?”
“Aye, milady, ye are rather famous in these parts,” Ovidius said with a wink.
Dally blushed. “Ah, well…er…yes. What were we talking about? Pathox? Yes! Pathox! Tell me more about Pathox please.”
Ovidius threw back his head and let out a roar of a laugh. “Ye are most definitely Aurora’s daughter! Alrighty, back to Pathox…thing is, no one really knows very much about that dragon.” He leaned his forearms on the bar and held his stein between his large hands. “He’s been around for as long as anyone can remember. Only comes down at night. His mere presence can make a person sick, ye see. Likes to perch himself on the courthouse or the jail if he stays in the town for any length of time.”
“Do you think that’s what happened to me when I was flying over?”
“Aye, most definitely. The thing that puzzles me, with yer case, is that the sickness wore of rather quickly. Most people are sick for hours, even days after coming in the most indirect contact of his trail. Some say it’s his breath, some say it’s his wings. Either way, most in Suddene don’t go out at night for very long.”
Dally shuddered. “It was very acute, but it went away almost as soon as I landed.” She stifled a yawn as she finished her sentence, and Ovidius laughed.
“Aye girlie, ye must be tired after all that. I’ll fix you a room. How long do ye think ye’ll be staying?”
Dally thought for a moment. She was very intrigued by the town, and Pathox. Something was begging her to stay…
“At least a few days, if that’s all right,” she replied.
Ovidius smiled. “Of course it is. Now, follow me,” he said, leading her through a door in the back of the bar that led to a staircase. She followed him up two flights of stairs to a very large room with a very large bed, two very large windows, a very long couch and a very big desk.
“This is the room yer parents would stay in,” he said softly as he lit the lanterns. “I don’t let many people stay here, maybe three or four at most since they were here last.” Dally gave him a grateful smile, but he held up his giant hand in protest. “Now, don’t thank me. It’s the least I can do for the daughter of my king. And don’t ye try to pay me either,” he scolded as she reached for her money pouch. “I never took a gold flake from yer parents, and I won’t take from ye either.” He patted Dally on the shoulder gently. “Get some rest, lass, we can talk more over breakfast.”
Dally watched him as he shut the door behind him. She turned and flung herself onto the bed and was asleep almost instantly.
From a roof across the town, dark red eyes watched the window of the inn over a thin beak. He saw her jump into the air and fall. He heard no screams, so he felt safe to assume she was safe. Satisfied, Pathox flapped his wings twice and took off toward the mountains for the night.