Friday, July 14, 2017

Flash Friday # 259 -- Dusty & Friends/4

Before Dusty could get her wits about her, the cart began to move at a steady roll, though it hit every bump and hole along the first few yards.  Dusty couldn't get back to her feet, and panic almost made her cry out.  She did not want to go with the orcs and with ... whatever they had here in the cart.

"Are you alright?" the little voice whispered.

Not quite human, she had realized.  More sibilant and she thought of many dangerous creatures that could lure a person to their death.  She tried to back away but her feet tangled in a pile of cloth and she went down again, though at least she landed on something soft.

"I'm -- I'm alright," she said and tried to get better control of her emotions. She spoke softly because she could hear orcs chanting on both sides of the cart. They were loud enough, though, that she thought even if she shouted no one would hear her above their sounds.  Did they do that on purpose?

The sound she had first heard had sounded so pitiful that she didn't think the cry had been faked.

"My name is Dusty," she said and tried to get a touch of normality to the situation.

"I don't have a name yet.  My mama calls me My Boy."

"Oh, I don't think that will do," Dusty replied. That won a little giggle from the child.  What species didn't name their children right away?  She couldn't think of any.  "I'm afraid I can't see you in this darkness, little friend."

"Here I am."

A soft blue glow came from the left corner of the cart, illuminating the bars of a small cage. Dusty blinked and focused --

And all hope of normality disappeared.

"Dr-dragon," she said in a soft whisper.  "Baby dragon."

The light flickered out, and she heard a soft sniff.  "I'm sorry.  I'm too little to hold the light for long."

"You did wonderfully," she praised, just like she would have her younger cousins.  "You gave me exactly what I needed -- the chance to see where you are so I can help get you free."

"You'll help me?" he said softly.  "Truly?"

"Truly."  She had a duty to get the little guy free before his mother came looking for him and destroyed everything in sight trying to find her baby.  Though, in truth, she would have tried to get him free anyway. The orcs had no right to hold any child, no matter what the species.

The orcs had begun moving quickly now and on what she thought must be the road heading west out of the oasis.  She could see little spots of light coming through the stitched edges of the coverings, and her eyes had started to adjust.  Good.  She wanted out of here quickly --

Oh, but then what?

Dusty had crawled to the cage.  She could barely see the door and lock which did not look difficult to manipulate.  Orcs had large hands, after all. They didn't do delicate work.  She could probably get it open -- but then what?  They couldn't just leap out of the cart and run. The orcs would catch them before they could get more than a few yards.

"We'll have to wait until night," she said very softly.  "Otherwise we'll be spotted right away."

"Oh," he said and tried not to sound too disappointed.  "But you will stay and help me?"

"Yes.  I promise.  And I will call you Blue.  Is that all right?"

"Oh yes.  I like that name!"

Dusty would help him.  She would have tried to help any little creature, human or otherwise, captured by orcs.  However, finding a baby dragon was a real problem, though.  She would need to get him back to the palace and find a way to get him to his mother before the dragons came in force hunting him.  She'd heard about dragon raids, though there had not been one for more than a century.  Only fools took anything from them, let alone one of their rare young.

Fools and orcs.

"I'll see if I can get the lock open now while we have a little light," she said and bent close to the bars.  "It doesn't look difficult --"

Just then the orcs stopped chanting, and she heard a few shouts.  The cart started to roll to a stop, but before it had come to a rest, an orc had torn open the back left corner of the covering.  Dusty managed not to yelp as she dived for the only cover she could find, a huge pile of cloth beside the cage.  Some of it tumbled away as she slipped under it, and she hoped the orcs thought that only a reaction to the cart suddenly stopping.

"Food," the orc bellowed.  It tossed something that splattered against the cage and then made an odd grating sound.

Laughter, Dusty thought.  She stayed very still with only a slight peak out of the cloth that covered her.  The orc had turned to talk to another, the rumble of their words shaking the cart.  Watching them, she was convinced they didn't know she was there.

Dusty hardly dared to breathe for fear that the creatures would find her.  They were in no hurry move on, either.  Dusty wished she understood orc and knew what they were talking about.  They did a lot of gesturing with stubby fingers pointing back the way they'd come.

Maybe they'd head back to the city.  Oh, that would be so nice.  She'd get Blue free, leap out and run to the guards, and they'd get her back to the castle.  Grandmother would know just what to do.

The orc grabbed the covering and tied it back down.  In a moment the orcs started another chant, and the cart began to move again.  Dusty pushed away some of the cloth and waited, hoping....

They kept going straight.  Dusty tried not to sigh with disappointment.

995 Words

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