No Sense of Time
Disclaimer: See chapter 1
Annie sat by the fire that Monica had made, because even though Annie had been camping before, the only times she got to make the fire was when she had a lighter of some sorts, and hers had gotten lost in the loading of the van. She was wrapped in the silk dress she had bought when they went on their shopping spree a few hours earlier. Monica had been big on buying weapons and armor, but they didn't have that much in the way of short girl shaped armor, so she settled on buying the child sized chainmail shirt and leather leg protectors. She also didn't like any of the knives or swords that they had, the design and weight were always off, she said. Annie thought she was just put off by the fact that there were no magic things for sale.
Monica hunched down in her makeshift seat of leaves off of some of the trees and wrapped her cloak around her as she tried to get closer to the fire and not have her chainmail heat up and cook her. Annie looked pretty, but unhappy. She had gotten a little carried away in the dress shop, and she had been flirting with the fitting boy, but she had gotten a few things that suited her. Right now she had her favorite outfit on, a slim white dress with no sleeves, the jacket consisting of two sleeves with a billowy dark blue cloak attached to it. Her slippers matched also, and she had been conned into buying the matching hair decorations. She's surprised Monica with her sharp haggling skills and left the shop with the whole outfit for half its original price. Some if it might have come from the fact that Annie had filched the slippers, and anything else that caught her eye that she wanted but didn't want to spend hours buying.
Monica thought they looked rather right, if you were going by a story tale plot. Annie was the pretty princess with tricks up her sleeves at every turn and Monica was the gruff but loving protector of the princess. She shook her head, wondering if this world was affecting her brain. When the hell had she become the protector of the group?
" Monica?" Annie asked, sounding very small and very far away. " How are we going to save Erin? I mean, that dragon was huge! And he probably breathes fire and has impenetrable scales and poisonous claws and lives in a lake of lava!"
" Calm down!" Monica shouted, Annie's hysteria infecting her as the younger girl went on.
Annie hiccuped and took a swig out of the silver flask that she had stolen, though she wasn't sure what was in it, it warmed her and made everything feel really fuzzy. Monica would have taken it away from her, but Monica had admitted to looking at the thing and said that if she would share she would let Annie keep it. Annie vaguely remembered Monica asking her just how much of their stuff was stolen goods and she had just smiled at her short friend and continued to put the ornaments into her hair.
" We'll find shome help, I pwomishes you." Annie said, talking around the mouth of the flask.
She was frustrated, Annie was. No matter how much of the stuff she drank, it didn't end. It also didn't get her drunk either, which was what was really bugging her. She wanted to get drunk, and she wanted it now! She growled and capped it, stashing it in the many pockets that her dress seemed to have.
" We'll need weapons, some heavy magical artillery, maybe some soldiers to distract the thing for us, and more bait to distract it from Erin, if it hasn't eaten her yet..." Annie sat and thought really seriously.
Monica just stared into the fire and ignored her friend, letting her ramble on until Annie fell over, drunk as a post and passed out to boot. She giggled evilly as she snagged the flask out of her pocket and proceeded to try to drain it herself.
Erin lightly set the platter onto the stone table, pouring a bit more tomato smoothie into the large goblet. She placed the murge stuffed peppers onto the matching silver plate and sprinkled the fireweed seasoning on them, sneezing when they started smoking and burst into flames.
" Bravo!" Faram clapped his claws together. " Couldn't have done it better myself."
She smiled at the dragon, even though she was still wary of him. He hadn't eaten her like she thought he would have, but instead had set her lightly in the kitchen and told her what to make for dinner. When she explained to him that she had never heard of any of the ingredients, much less cooked with them, he shrank himself to a more human size and proceeded to point out the things to her and told her how to make everything. She thought she did rather well, considering that she wasn't a good cook anyway, and she had never handled these ingredients.
" Thank you." She bowed politely and sat at the other end, digging hungrily into her mashed potatoes and butter.
Faram was a big dragon, but the bigger the dragon, the more magic he had, and so he had used that magic to shrink himself to a size that would be less threatening to Erin. He didn't think that him being big enough for Erin to come only to his eyeball would scare her, but he had willingly given in to her stuttered plea and she had been much more compliant since then. He decided that he liked her best so far, but then again, he had only known her for a few hours and there had been other girls. He turned his thoughts away from her and to his food. He couldn't think straight when he ate.
Good for him, Erin could. She knew a few things about him, that he was a little under nine hundred years old, and he had gotten a little huffy when she asked. He gleamed a very appealing shade of blue-green, which reminded her of rolling seas. His eyes were the classic scale rimmed, slit pupil dragon eyes, but they were a bright golden amber, like the color metal gets when you heat it just enough. He liked folding his wings around him like a cloak instead of furling them against his back, he just had to watch out for the spines that grew out of the points on them. At his present size, his claws didn't look so harmful, but when you had compared them to the whole length of your leg, you tended to be a little cautious around them.
" After dinner, why don't you wash up in the falls and then take a look at your room?" Faram asked into the silence of the dining cave.
" That sounds nice." She said, taking the last bite of her potatoes and standing up. " Where are they?"
" Down the left corridor and two right turns will take you to them. Don't forget to take some soaproot and a few towels with you." He called as she disappeared down the dark tunnel.
Faram sighed a gusty hot breath, narrowly missing setting his goblet on fire. He wondered why this girl was different from all the others. Her clothes were stranger than any of the others he had brought, more like men, but had a feminine touch to them. The patterns he had never seen before, and yet she moved very comfortably in them. She was calm about being taken, where some of the others had to be locked in the room for a few days before they could bring themselves to accept their fate. She said she had come from a different world, but when she tried to explain it to him, he had gotten quite confused and upset. Metal things that threw more metal things that tore people to pieces, metal carriages that ran on gasses and polluted the air, boxes that made noise and told stories and sang on their own with no human powering them? These all seemed very frightening, but when she had mentioned some of the storytellers and the tales they told, he thought that maybe he would like to hear some of them, since she seemed to remember them very well.
He yawned and got up from the table, changing back into his larger form as he walked on his four feet back to his bedroom and lay on the pile of silk covered rocks that served as his bed, curling his tail up to his nose and blowing out the many candles with a small puff of breath. He would worry about everything tomorrow, because this maiden stealing business was hard work.
Erin sang to herself as she sat in the shallows of the falls and rubbed her skin with the soft roots that foamed when she touched them to water. She didn't not like being here, but she also wanted to be back with Annie and Monica, and to be back home, surrounded by Tolkein and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. Damn, she missed home.