What Are Legend...By Linda Terrell
Page 3 of 4
|Blake wasn't listening. He was shaking off the sheer awe of Dark Of The Moon and was now running his hands over the stallion's satin coat.
"I wonder if I could ride this animal? Imagine sitting astride a flying horse," he murmured.
Dark Of The Moon followed Blake's hands with his head and Blake's voice with an ear.
Avon sat down with knees slightly drawn up and stared. "'Ride'? You can ride a horse?"
"Well, yes, sort of," Blake said with a slightly apologetic look.
"Where would you have gotten an opportunity to ride a horse?" Avon's voice took on its husky slur as he fought to keep it from rising an octave. "That was not part of your Natural History Studies!"
Blake riddled him with a look that clearly said 'well, obviously...' "On Exbar, Avon. It was a primitive planet. It was easier to get fuel for pack animals than for shuttles."
"Yes. Of course. How foolish of me not to have divined that."
Turning from the horse, Blake extended a hand to Avon. "Are you getting up?"
"Only as long as I do not have to join you on the back of that horse. If he'll even let you get on."
Taking his cue, Dark Of The Moon went to his knees and lowered his massive wings.
Blake grinned. "Come on, Avon. Where's your sense of adventure? Of Romance?"
Avon frowned. "In my books, thank you very much."
"Have it your way," Blake shot back cheerfully and swung himself onto the horse's back with what seemed to Avon a most expertly smooth motion.
"You mean, you'll let me?" He couldn't stop a smile.
"Naturally." Blake's hands entwined into the mane.
Then Dark Of The Moon lifted off effortlessly, his great wings sending back a wash of air and loose leaves over Avon.
Blake on horseback would have been an entertaining enough sight in itself. But Blake on flying horseback, soaring and swooping over the cathedral of trees made Avon nearly wax poetic. He stopped himself before he could tarnish his image.
Searcher's cry came so suddenly to his mind that it stung there just behind the eyes.
Dark Of The Moon dropped suddenly and with a neat and gentle tilt of his body, literally dumped Blake off into the grass then drew back on well-muscled flanks and launched himself into the air.
"Pity," Blake said, dusting himself off and drawing his weapon. "I was having a very good time there."
"So was I," Avon murmured, letting Blake pull him to his feet.
They met eye to eye briefly and Avon's sweet smile never wavered.
"Shall we see what the excitement is about?" Blake began trotting toward the glen.
"Blake!" Avon pulled him back. "A Chimera is a dragon."
"Don't be ridiculous, Avon. There aren't any dra..." He bit off the word. There weren't any flying horses, either. But the one they'd been chatting with had just taken off at the mysterious cry of "Chimera!" which everyone knew was a type of dragon.
Blake began running toward the glen, shouting back over his shoulder, "That's where Vila is!"
Feeling a bit sorry for the Chimera, Avon took out after Blake.
They arrived on the run to see a slightly scorched Vila on the ground, straddled by a Unicorn who was challenging a dragon.
Cally and Jenna stood back by a wounded deer they had tried to protect from the Chimera. In turn, Vila, who sometimes ran to unthinking gallantry, had tried to protect them.
Searcher now tried to protect them all, threatening the dragon with her decidedly deadly horn.
Its great lion's head parried and feinted as she jabbed and slashed, roaring with frustration and rage and sending out gouts of flame over and around her, yet she and Vila remained unscathed.
Without thinking, Blake drew his gun only to find himself and Avon in the line of the Chimera's fires.
Falling to the ground, they covered their heads then realized the flames were going around them as if they were encased in a bubble which they were but it was stretching the limits of Searcher's powers.
When the beast came at her again, she had little left to protect herself and Vila.
And it was Blake--who still hadn't learned to put himself first--who dove for his weapon, rolled and came up firing at the shaggy lion's head. It distracted the creature long enough for it to whip its tail around Blake's waist and send him into a tree.
Blake hit and crumpled like a house of cards and lay still. Avon's face twisted with rare pain as he tensed to leap but the Chimera was between him and Blake.
A shadow swept over them as Dark Of The Moon dropped like an eagle on top of the dragon. He battered at it with his powerful wings and taking the mane in his huge teeth, he shook the beast, filling the air with the ringing sound of an enraged stallion.
In a display of his unbelievable strength, Dark Of The Moon sprang into the air, bringing the struggling beast with him, locked in his teeth. But it tangled its serpent's tail in the stallion's wings and the pair of them went down again in a knot.
Wings thrashed, hooves raked, flame scorched and screams of fury and fear ran together, piercing eardrums.
The beasts rolled and came to their feet, the great snake's tail whipped expectantly as the Chimera backed off slightly to reassess the situation. All it wanted was its lunch. The horse was just too much work but the dragon was very angry. And in its anger, forgot Searcher. She leaped and drove her horn through the back of the Chimera's skull.
Horns grew back, her mate would not.
With one tremendous belch of flame, the Chimera rolled over and died, making the ground tremble with its final flailing. Then it fell away to dust.
Searcher ran to Dark Of The Moon who stood with feet splayed and head hung low as he caught his breath. He folded his wings and then his legs and went to the ground so that tiny Searcher, who was no bigger than the deer, could lick his wounds in the old way. Normally her horn took care of such things, but it would be sometime before a new one grew in, golden and graceful and death-dealing. She was the most classic of Unicorns with her goat-like body and lion's tail. And mated to Dark Of The Moon only in the most mythical of ways.
"Can I come out now?" Vila's plea was muffled because he still hid his head in his arms.
"Get up!" Avon hissed, nudging him with his foot as he passed and was to Blake's still form before Jenna and Cally.
Blake lay partially on his side, arms flung out by the impact, a small trickle of blood running from his nostrils the only outward sign that he was hurt at all.
Touching the throat and putting his ear to the chest, Avon could discern no pulse or breathing and Blake was like a rag doll in his arms.
When Cally reached them, Avon's face was locked into disbelief. It was one thing to "threaten" Blake, exchange verbal parries with the man, quite another to actually be holding his lifeless body.
His eyes told her that he already knew. She tried to touch Blake's mind, reaching along those frequencies which were peculiar to Blake but she couldn't find his Light.
He settled Blake back into the grass and sat back on his heels. "I never really wanted him dead, Cally," Avon whispered. "It's a dream isn't it?" He reached out suddenly, taking her hand, a look like a cornered animal in his eyes. "Flying horses, Unicorns, dragons. It's a dream and we're going to wake up."
"We are all having the same dream then, Avon," she said softly, fearing Avon's odd state of mind. It was not like him to deny reality, such as it presently was.
Jenna clung to the tiny deer and cried into its fur.
Shakily, Vila tried moving, his reluctant legs bringing him over to where Avon and Cally knelt over Blake. "I, I guess this means all bets are off."
This won him the weakest of wry smiles from Avon. "You would have
"Yeah." Vila sighed.
"It is hard to lose One like that." Dark Of The Moon spoke. "He held you together, gave purpose. I regret his going. What direction will you look for now?"
"Oh, I guess Avon'll look for another banking system," Vila answered humbly without really listening to himself. "Between Orac and Liberator, he may not get caught again."
Searcher was before him as he shuffled over to the ashes of the Chimera. "You must bury him here."
"Oh, yeah, that." Vila sifted through the ashes, for what he didn't know. It seemed an interesting distraction at the moment. "But he's from Earth."
"So are we."
"Yeah. I've seen you in old books." His hands touched Searcher's broken off horn and pulled it from the dust. It caught the late sun and tossed back a rainbow. "I mean, Blake wanted to free Earth. That was his passion. He should be buried there."
"No, his grave should be here, among the Legends."
//I agree,// Cally said, rising and coming over, bringing her comfort to the numb thief who stood turning the horn over and over in his hands, tears burning his cheeks.
"It would be the safest of places. And fitting. No one can come here save the Legends."
"It's getting late." Jenna's voice reached them. The deer had scampered off some time ago and she'd gotten herself back together, barley. "I don't want to bury him to a dying sun, but a rising one. I'll sit by him until dawn." She walked over to Blake, who was still being watched by Avon, sank to the ground on crossed legs and stared at Avon for a time. "Well, what are we going to do?" she asked him.
"We?" He flowed to his feet and looked down at her, then at Blake.
Back to B7 Top