Dally and Renard landed on her base, with Timur and Ryder seconds behind them. She’d flown back from Ashengard with her father’s painting lying on Renard’s neck in front of her. She imagined he was watching her fly high above the world on one of her precious dragons and was proud of her. She’d endured much since his death, and she missed him so much it hurt. She was in a good place now, doing what she loved with those she loved and trusted, including her dragons. She was glad the constant stream of air kept drying the tears that ran down her cheeks. The trade off was, however, that it amplified the redness in her eyes.
Renard laid down on his belly so Dally could hand her father’s portrait to Timur and dismount. As she slid to the ground he looked at her with a degree of concern. “Are you ok?” he asked softly.
Dally nodded and cleared her throat. “Allergies,” she replied. Timur raised an eyebrow and started to call her bluff, but Druid Krieger rushing over to them stopped him.
“Lord Dallyah!” the Druid called urgently. “Please allow me to examine that painting before you do anything with it!”
“Why?” she demanded.
Druid Krieger leaned close to her ear and whispered, “They might have done something to it.”
Dally nodded for Timur to relinquish the painting to him and he rushed off to his laboratory. Dally watched him until he disappeared into the Research Hall and sighed. She motioned for Timur and Ryder to follow her into the Dragon’s Den to get their dragons fed and settled. Dally took the opportunity to check on all of her dragons. Once she was satisfied that they were all doing well, she left the stable area and went back into the main chamber of the Den.
Three Druids were making preparations for the upcoming breeding event. The pedestal with Jul’s egg had been placed in the center of the altar-like setup, and two of them hurried off as she approached. The third turned to her and lowered his hood. “They are going to get the buckets of tokens,” Druid Tim said with a smile.
Dally sighed. “Not enough though, even with the mystic fragments.”
“No, but,” Druid Tim said with a gleam of excitement in his eyes, “it’s not an impossible number! I was talking with Buff and Plat in the Meeting Hall earlier and they agreed! I’ve done the math and everything!”
“Ok, ok!” Dally laughed. “We’ll see what we can do to get this boy in the incubator within the week.” She watched the minor Druids place the buckets of tokens and fragments around the pedestal, and the entire room was filled with a magical glow. She nodded to the trio and took her leave. She went to her chamber, tired from the events of the last few days. She entered the room to find Voron on his perch by the window, having a shouting match with Volos.
“All right you two that’s enough!” she shouted. She walked over to close the window, and as she reached for it the raven flew out and landed on the dragon’s head. Volos shook his head and Voron flew around him, coming to rest on his shoulder. Volos seemed content with that and the two of them continued to watch over the base.
Dally chuckled and shut the window. She turned to find the portrait of her father leaning up against her reclining chair, facing away from the room. There was a note attached from Druid Krieger.
“There is a spell on this. Gustav can see where you are and what you are doing. Leave it facing away; as far as I can tell there is no audio component to it. I am working on a reversal spell but it may take a few days.
Also do you know why there is a carrot on the base flags? Did Invidia like rabbits or something?”
Dally thought for a moment, and grabbed a blanket to cover the chair and the painting. Then she re-read the note.
“A carrot? Why?”