From a high ceiling stained black with smoke, came a single rope. Its thick, dusty weight hung limp, partially blocking out the face of a dragon. Seavor was of average size, just under two foot long. His skin was grey, stretched tight across his bony body. Behind him were three other dragons, hidden in the gloom.
Sid followed Miles towards the waiting dragon, glancing around nervously. His friend walked calmly with no hesitation, although Sid noticed he held something in his right hand, fingers clasped tightly around it. He wondered why Miles would need him. It was only ever Miles who dealt with the dragons, and so no one else ever had the need to talk to them. Fear slowly crept up his body as he explored possible options in his head.
When they came close to the suspended rope, Sid hung back. He stood still, waiting while Miles spoke.
'Sir, I've come and brought him here, the one I talked about, as you requested.'
The creature before them flicked his small, mean eyes over the pair of them. He spoke in a soft, rasping voice.
'I was told you came with two others.' He looked towards the door they had come through, and then gave a slight snort. 'It doesn't matter. He looks like you, are all people the same?'
Miles stood patiently. 'Yes, I guess we are to you.'
'Well, he hasn't got a Pass,' he stared at Miles for a moment, 'yet.'
Sid noticed his friend shift ever so slightly on his feet. Was this bad? He didn't even know what a Pass was, or why he might need one.
'Of course,' the dragon continued, 'if he were to stay with me... It may be possible. I know you're anxious about this.'
'That is true, although I can't leave him with you. You know that I can't trust you, but I am also under an oath.'
The creature's mean face changed from hard to angry. 'Get out!' he spat, and turned, leaving them in the company of three cruel dragons, who looked like they meant business.
Miles ran towards Sid and spoke in his ear. 'Whatever happens, stay right by me.'
It had been minutes already. The steady tapping of Jordie's fingers against the wall was increasing in speed. She glanced down at their jailer, watching his sharp claws and teeth. But that wasn't all, she knew the dragon was more dangerous than simply an oversized lizard. Although he was only three feet in length, his jaw and legs were powerful. His thin, scaled body lay on the floor, ready for anything.
She let out a sigh and tried to forget about the dragon. Although he was creepy, she knew Miles must be in a far worse situation. Another minute passed and just as Jordie let out a second sigh the door flew open and two bodies hurled themselves at her.
She instinctively grabbed the nearest of them and ran out. They darted back through the dusky corridors, not stopping until they had stepped back onto the street outside. Little sounds of pursuit had followed them very long and once they were standing in the thin sunlight, silence reigned once more. This did not make the three safe, however, so they continued away from the ominous building at a brisk walk. It was several minutes before Jordie finally spoke up.
'So... how did it go?' She asked quietly.
'Um...?' Sid looked quizzically at Miles. He had no idea if it had gone particularly badly, that could have been a completely normal encounter with a dragon for all he knew.
Miles let out a sigh. 'Not good, though I hardly expected much different to have happened.' He looked sad for a moment, then regained his normal composure. 'It was probably worth it anyway.'
'So you're not going to tell us what this was about?' Jordie was annoyed, now that the immediate danger was past.
Another sigh. 'Er... maybe later.'
Jordie gave an irritable huff. 'maybe later' could only mean that he had no intention of letting his friends into actually knowing what they were doing, it should be their own businesses just as much as his.
They walked in silence for a moment. The sun was now fairly high in the clear sky and rain had turned to drizzle, although the air remained cool and stale.
'So, how did last night go?' Sid turned to Jordie, breaking the silence.
She ignored him, why could he never shut up? But then she realised he was only trying to brake the tense mood which hung in the air. The atmosphere could do with being lightened up a bit. 'It was alright. I didn't get there in the end though.'
'Miles asked me to check out some falling down house somewhere.' She explained, then seeing Sid's confused expression, she added 'We going to stay there for a couple of nights- or days.' She gave a small sigh. It had been a long night, and she was very tired.
Sid heard her sigh. 'You didn't manage to get any sleep at all then?' he asked, understandingly.
'I'm a bat!' Jordie exclaimed, exasperated. 'How easy do you think it is for a bat to sleep at night? I had to eat as well as travel around doing what Miles asks when he never says even why!'
'Jordie.' Miles' soft voice stopped her. 'I'm sorry, you can sleep soon. I know it was a lot to ask, thanks for last night.'
Jordie was silent for a moment, surprised by Miles. 'Um... yeah. No, I don't mind, I feel I never do anything, you're always doing all the work... whatever it is.' She stopped and gave him a bright smile. 'It's ok, I'm fine.'
Sid punched her lightly in the arm. 'Hey, you do more work than I do.' Seeing her face, he quickly changed the subject. 'So what's our new house like?'
Jordie laughed, surprising herself. 'Oh you know, it's lovely; if damp, creepy, practically in ruins, tiny, one room shacks are your kind of thing.'
'You never told me all that, you just said it fine.' Miles feigned offence.
'Yeah well, you didn't exactly ask how many rooms came with what style of decoration.'
'I'm sorry my questions fall short of your superior standard.'
Jordie gave him a sideways look. She liked it when Miles was just relaxed and funny, not busy saving the world. She didn't want to say anything though, in case she reminded him of something that might make him go back to 'important superhero' mode.
'Hey, you said you didn't get there, how do you know what its like if you weren't there?' Sid asked.
'Oh, um…' She looked uncertainly at Miles. He gave her a look back, and the tiniest shake of his head. She looked back at Sid, who was watching suspiciously, eyes narrowed.
'How long have you been doing this?'
'What?' She couldn't think of anything to say to cover up. 'Sid…'
'I can't believe this! You were just complaining about how no one ever tells you anything and you're doing exactly the same to me. I know I'm not good enough at anything to be much help, but you don't have to treat me like a kid! I thought you at least respected me that much.' He turned and walked away.
'Sid, please!' Jordie called after him. She felt terrible, although she could only have known this was bound to happen.
'Sid!' Miles' shout stopped him instantly. He could do that, talk in a way that most people wouldn't dare oppose. He could be very persuasive if he wanted to be, he knew how to make people listen.
Sid slowly turned round, but before he could say anything Miles spoke. 'Don't be stupid, you're in more danger than you realise. We'll go to this shack of Jordie's, and then you can shout at me as much as you like.'
'Fine.' He shrugged his shoulders and walked stiffly back to them, walking on without looking at them.
Jordie followed miserably. She'd hated not telling her friend what she thought he should know about anyway. And she'd probably made it worse by taking it out on Miles because he told her to stay quiet. Even worse, she'd thrown her anger for Miles towards Sid by being unkind to him. She quietly walked behind the two boys, watching her feet.
It was silent. The quiet hung, almost like a fog, over the land. All the normal sounds which could have been expected to be heard at dusk were either muffled by the thick atmosphere or there was simply nothing there to make them. Miles stood under the lifeless form of an old tree, watching, listening. His eyes continuously scanned over the landscape, searching for movement. The still silence had been making him increasingly uneasy. But although it was unnatural, he knew it was probably better the quiet stayed for the moment. Any sound he heard right now was likely to be a sign of rebel dragons being nearby, something Miles would prefer to avoid.
It would be dark soon. If he wanted to get back before Jordie went then he'd have to leave. Casting a last glance at the surrounding scenery, he turned and headed back towards their temporary home. However, just at that moment his head whipped back again. He had heard something, the shrill call of a bird. Although it was far off, he knew what it was. Just as he had feared, rebel dragons were out there, and causing damage. They had probably attacked the bird, or its nest, but he doubted they would be content to only chase after birds, especially when there were bigger pray around.
Sid will really want to kill me now, he thought as he left the company of the dead tree and ran back to the shack.