Title: The Dragons of Halloween
Synopsis: Another Halloween romp, with Brumhilda the witch and her friends, as they fight their way into and hopefully out of one adventure after another trying to solve yet more mishaps. First, we start with Oscar as it seems Brumhilda is still asleep.
King Harry and the Wolves
A cold breeze blew upon the bleak mountain. The light was grey and dull but Oscar could clearly see the big granite boulders littering the steep hillside in the early morning light. Tough scrawny weeds grew over them like tendrils of a spider web as Oscar strained on them as he clung to yet another skinny weed and hauled himself up and over the big mossy stones. The climb had been steep and Oscar stopped for a moment to catch his breath and listened. It was quiet except for the whistling wind coming from the castle perched high on the mountain walls above him. The Castle had been lain to a siege by a raft of unruly enchanted wolves for the better part of a month by now. In the quiet greying air Oscar listened intently for even the slightest movement, much less a growl from anything that might give him a nasty silver-grey furred, sharp-toothed grin. But no, much to his relief it seemed they had not yet detected him.
The castle above was the domain of King Harry. The wolves had come and had soon surrounded the king's home of royalty in the high mountains. The few castle occupants who had ventured outside since the siege had disappeared with only the wolves howls heard by those left inside the stone fortress to guess of their fate. It had been some weeks now and food was getting low and water even more scarce. In desperation the king had sent out a messenger on what he supposed would be a suicide mission to tell of his plight and hopefully bring back some much-needed help. He much regretted having to plant such a task on one of his minions, but the fellow had insisted with so much brave courage and enthused tone that King Harry had after giving him a steady eye, relented and sent the soldier outside into the fray to go forth and do battle with the wolves gnashing teeth. His task was to find and bring back none other than the much-heralded wizard, 'Oscar the Great.' For it was his wizard friend, Oscar, that the king felt would be the only person who might prove with his wily skills to be their savour. Still, it was with little hope that he would ever see the brave soldier return. But it seemed some weeks later, through a valiant resolve and no doubt a good deal of good luck the messenger had turned up on 'Oscar's doorstep albeit in a very sorry mess. So many cuts and bruises and red streaks of dried blood had adorned the soldier's face and arms and legs that Oscar had doubted the messenger would live or indeed would be sane enough to tell him of the king's message.
After giving the messenger several welcome and slightly toxic beverages he had with a slurring raspy wheezing breath told Oscar the tale of his escape from the herd of snapping howling enchanted wolves. He then told the tale of the wolves that had surrounded his master's castle and about how they had chased him throughout the mountains for many nights. It seemed that King Harry of the northern lands was stuck's in his mountain fortress and was requiring Oscar the Great's to help's him out once again.
It seemed to Oscar he would he have to use all his, umm, "Wily wizard skills." He would also it seemed need to use a good amount of his sword waving skills as well to save his friend King Harry and his faithful minions from the wild wolves that had besieged them in his high mountain castle.
After taking the messenger to a local farmer's lady wife to recover from his wounds and nurse him hopefully back to health, Oscar set forth to the task that had fallen upon his shoulders. He was quite confident that he could help out King Harry, after all, was he was none other than 'Oscar the Great!' Was he not! And so after giving his mind a good deal of head thinking and seeking encouragement from his neighbours while sharing with them a beverage or two, not to mention several chin rubs. He set forth down the forest path into the sunshine and went down and then up into the high mountains of the Northern lands with his two swords clinking upon his back.
Oscar was not exactly proud of his rock climbing skills though and would have most defiantly have taken the usual winding path through the mountains preferably with his faithful steeds and a wagon. But it seemed all those easy entrances to the castle had been blocked by the treacherous grey wolves that lay hidden in traps along its length waiting for any stranger who might just come along and then fall into their hungry mouths.
"Enchanted wolves," mumbled Oscar to himself and waved his head side to side as he toed and heaved himself up over yet another round mossy quartz boulder. He knew most of the wizards who could have set forth such a nasty spell upon the king, but there was only one he knew who was nasty enough of mind, not to mention with the motive to attack King Harry. There had been a falling out over a damsel it seemed, and Oscar waved his head from side to side again. Fortunately, the ruling council had set forth it's Marshalls at Oscar's request to go to the accused wizard's abode in the enchanted forest and with a little help from a potion he had offered them. Oscar had heard they had had little trouble capturing the said nasty wizard. The misguided fool was now awaiting trial in front of the wizard elders and whatever retribution they thought was fit. 'Probably the Bogs,' chuckled Oscar to himself as another heated breath came out his mouth while he gripped and pulled hard on the wiry vine to get himself and his somewhat large frame a few more inches up the incline.
Unfortunately, it seemed, however, that the fiendish wizard would not, or could not relinquish the spell he had cast upon King Harry and his castle and they were in just as much peril from the hungry wolves waiting outside as they ever had been.
Oscar's nose was filled with the smell of decaying brush as he looked up at the moons silvery blue glow coming down upon the boulders surrounding him and was thankful it wasn't quite a full moon yet. Full moons, enchanted wolves with Halloween only a week or so away. It was a very bad omen when you had to deal with the creatures of the dark forests and that was especially true of wolves. Oscar was trying to get a grip on the next piece of rock in the high mountainsides when he smelt a slight wisp of something else drifting up to him in the cold air. He stopped halfway up the boulder, his face in close contact to the quartz surface and he twitched his eyes about not daring to move. He knew it was nearby somewhere's he could just feel it and knew it to be in close proximity. Had it seen him? He didn't know as he lay there frozen to the rock face looking for anything furry and silver-grey in the dimly lit darkness lurking around him.
Oscar had several potion-remedies on his person that he thought might do the trick against the wolves, but even so, he still had doubts. Magic was not a perfect science as he had found on many an occasion and so the doubt had lingered and Oscar had decided; with the horror of the messenger's plight hanging there terrifying his mind's eye's, he had thought it best to not to trust casting a removal spell on the wolves. There were simply too many anyway and their locations unknown, and what if some escaped? Well, the whole land might then be in dire trouble. Best he thought to do was to rescue the besieged castle folk, and worry about the nasty timberwolves a tad later on.
He didn't think any wolves would be hanging about in these inhospitable walls of wilderness. It was more like mountain goat territory or even a dragon nesting scape. But it seemed his nose was telling him he was wrong and they must have smelt his large and admittedly somewhat odorous form. He then made a dry swallow down his parched throat when he saw something animal-like moving among the boulders to his right in the dull early morning light.
He thought for a moment perhaps they might just be after birds eggs or maybe even the rarer delicacy of dragon's egg's or something of the sort and with a wry grin, he hoped the sort was not him.
He had to move quick. There was no point in waiting for one of-em to pounce upon his back. Or else he would be gone in few licks; or was that bites, either way, he had no doubt it would be very nasty.
Slowly he made a move to a better perch just a little higher up yonder. His hand had a pain yielding grip upon the stone above his head, as bit by bit, he strained his bunched up muscles to reach the higher ground above it.
Finally with more than a little trickle of sweat, despite the chilly air upon his forehead, he managed to slide onto his back and was about to launch himself once more up onto his two feet, when he heard a low growl. Suddenly right there in front of him was not one silver-grey wolf but indeed a whole pack of the said beasts. All with their tongues lolling out from their saliva drenched mouths.
The yellow-tinge of the wolf eyes stared back at him and followed his every movement that Oscar was desperately trying not to suddenly make. Of course, he had his swords, ready upon his back and would have them out in flash, far quicker than they could pounce, but would they be handy enough with so many fearsome creatures waiting to make a meal of him.
In the corner of his eye, he spied something waving idly in the wind that he thought just might just help.
He had not tried such a feat since he was all but a young boy free to do as he pleased on a hot summers day. The vine looked dry and brittle, and might very well snap with his now somewhat heavier frame.
He could see the wolves were not going to wait in this cold place of precarious perches for much longer. He had no doubt they were going to charge him at any moment. Maybe he could scare them off...? No, one maybe, but not a whole pack.
Watching the vine waving there in the mountain breeze it seemed he had no choice. Just then one of the braver of the beasts suddenly jumped forward, jaws snapping. Oscar leapt. He fell sideways in one quick motion and managed to push himself out over the edge. His somewhat stubby large hands floundered about in the air for some moments as he reached out for the dark strand of vine hanging over the boulder a good arm's length away. He cringed looking down at the sight of the mountain depths below him, as he strained to hope against all hope he would not miss, or indeed feel the vine snap in his hands.
He stretched his fingers to there very limits all the time hearing the howl and growl of the wolves snapping at him as they leered at him over the edge. Then he felt it in his hands, and suddenly it went taught. Bunching his shoulders against the strain he kicked himself out holding the thin vine and with a mighty heave, of his weight he swung himself holding on tight to the skinny plant, and went flying outwards into the free air.
When he had swung himself as far the vine would stretch, he saw another and grabbed a hold of that one too, and one by one he used the spidery vines and swung himself across the cliff face too fast for the wolves to catch him as they bounded up and down the crevices of the rocky incline trying to launch themselves at him. His heart was pounding within his large chest as he began to make a rapid escape upwards not daring to look back at what might still be following him up from the cliffside down below.
"Not too far now," he said to himself as he stood at last on the last ledge of rocky outcrop below the tall smooth castle walls. Sadly there were no more vines this high up and he knew he would have to make a daring crawl along the skinny base ledge to get around to the castle entrance.
Oscar hugged the wall close and scuffled his feet along watching loose chalky stones fall away into the darkness into the depths a long way below. He had slid his way almost to the front corner of the high castle walls and risked a look around and then upwards to the castle's turrets windows high above. But there was no one to be seen. All he could see was what looked to be some large birds whirling around way above the castle walls in the thermal winds.
'They's was probably lying down, saving their energy after being starved and thirsty's as they must be by now's' he thought. Oscar snuck his head around a block of stone and gave himself a little grin. There, still a good distance away but almost within reach were the massive wooden castle doors of the front entrance. 'He was almost there!' And there before him in the dawning grey light was the fabled stone bridge that spanned the deep mountain chasm to the castle. It had been made from the mountain's native white chalky stone and served as a forbidding entrance between the two mountains and the castle. Oscar savoured the spectacular sight, although it was not his only interest at that moment.
He stood still for several moments scanning the full length of the bridge and was relieved, as he stood there in the breeze of the high mountains wondering where they were. Had they gone?
They should have been hanging about the entrance by all accounts or least upon the bridge. But there was not a wolf to be seen and he scratched his chin in thought.
'Maybee's they were all's still down below in the rocks trying to make their way back up the mountain cliff. Could he have been that lucky? If that was so all he had to do was go knock on the front door didn't he..?
After a moment he slid down off the ledge and walked over and stood on the bridge and looked up at the giant wooden doors. He was about to approach them, and reach out a balled fist to knock, and hope someone would open them. He stopped for a moment then and laughed out loud at his own mirph and quickly put his hand over his mouth. It was then he suddenly realized that everything about him was too quiet's.
He rubbed his sores and dusted himself off glancing about at the empty bridge. He almost expected a head to pop out of the doors at any moment and beckon him inside. But alas after several moments of standing and staring, he then knew why such a thing was not going to happen or more to the point, at least his nose did.
He sniffed the air and turned suddenly to look across to the other side. He could see them, the wolves eyes in the growing morning light, looking out from the dark forest over there. He stood with his fists itching for a sliver sword or maybe two, as the animal smells wafted to him in the cool air.
Their eyes were like little yellow lights in the darkness. First, he saw one then another of the yellow eyes blinking back at him from the dark shadows on the other side of the bridge as he warily, moved his head about. It was then he picked out, even more, hiding higher up in the mountain's forest shadows. There were too many to count and who knew just how many there were hiding further inside the mountain forests on the other side of the bridge. 'Small wonder no one was game to open the front doors and welcome him inside.'
He stared into those eyes for a very long moment, until there came onto the bridged the casual patting of paws. One lone wolf had come forth into the light on the other end of the long white bridge.
Oscar swallowed and drew both his swords out with a slow metallic swish as he stretched his back with his massive shoulders. Soon more wolves had trotted in the dust down out of the shadows to join the lone wolf. Then more of the mass of furred silver-grey came down onto the bridge making Oscar grimace at their sight. Then there was more until the pack of snarling furred grey had become huge. Oscar swallowed hard watching them. Their tongues hung dripping saliva between glinting white sharp teeth in the cold air. For a moment they appeared to stand still. Then the lone wolf came forward and was followed with a stealthy evil purpose by the pack as they made a slow march across the bridge's flat white stones, their eyes steady on him as they kept coming onward towards him.
Oscar took a quick look down at the sacks of potions he had prepared hanging from his sides. He was outnumbered of that there was now no doubt and no matter how quick he could be with his potions and wand, he feared it would not be quick enough. They would be upon him well before he could produce any sort of a reversal spell.
The wolves were now almost halfway across the bridge. He could not run, there was virtually nowhere to run to! He looked down at the steep mountain sides for a moment. No, he certainly was not going to jump down there's. He took a step back toward the castle doors gripping his silver swords holding them up high above his head. Waiting for the onslaught that he knew must surely come at any moment. His fists were balled tight and getting sweaty with fear that he was free to admit at that moment he had plenty of. He gave each sword a gentle practice wave at the oncoming foe.
Then there came a shadow. It went slowly across in front of him turning half of the white stone bridge to grey. He wandered for a brief second what could be producing such a strange shape from high above? He was reluctant to move his attention from the swarm steadily advancing towards him and daren't look up. Until there came a second shadow gliding above him and his curiosity got the better of him.
He looked up as a third shadow drifted across the bridge going at speed, and as he did he smiled and the shadow maker squawked down at him. It was dragons! Thorn dragons! Their smooth stretches of light coloured leathery skin whooshed through the air and came gliding on down and went under and through the bridges mighty arch. Thorn dragons were no bother, at least to him they weren't, but for wolves, they might's very well be a lethal adversary. Still, Oscar held his swords up high. He was not going to be any animals easy meal at least not this day he hoped with a nervous grin. He swallowed once again with his attention now turning to the advancing wolves. His throat had gone very dry, as he watched the swirling dragons wings gliding up and around the bridge with the wolves feet slowly padding towards him and he steadied his feet, thinking with a deep frown, 'Oh my this is not what he had planned... "It was just great's, just great!" He mumbled in ironic cynicism to himself.
The large pale tawny wings of the dragons swooped down diving and flying about the bridge. They seemed to be getting closer with every swoop they made. There seemed to be two... no there was three of them.. and then, what! One of them had just taken a swoop at the swarming pack of wolves? Oscar smiled in a wide grin as he saw the wolves scatter like a heard of frightened sheep their paws skittering over the white bricks forcing them to skid about on the stones as they tried to avoid the diving antics of the dragons. The dragons were herding them back. Suddenly the dragons claws came out and made to slash at the wolves furry silver hides. The wolves scattered in every direction. Some made high pitched howls as they ran in wild arcs across the bridge back into the forest. The giant wings continued to come down driving them into a wild disarray of running silver fur. The wolves had panicked Oscar could see that now, but would it be enough? The first lone wolf was still out there and had seemed little bothered by the dragons sharp claws. It was crouching low laying on its belly at each swoop of the dragons sharp pointed claws. It was somewhat braver and more stubborn than the rest and would not scatter easily. Oscar could see it inching its way closer to him. The lone wolf gave a sudden loud growl as once more it cowered under the onslaught of the fearsome dragon claws barely missing the wolf's long nose and it snapped it's teeth back up into the air at the dragons departing tail. Oscar knew it was time, If he didn't do something now, it might be too late's. He couldn't wait. If the pack came down out of the forest again, to avenge their leader they might not be intimidated by the dragons roaring wings and claws next time. They might follow the leader's bravery and then the castle occupants, not to mention himself would be done for.
Oscar decided he had to take the risk, and let both his swords clatter to the stones. He then loosened the bags of potions from his short coat.
He quickly rummaged about in the sacks and took out two small bottles. One green and one blue and put them down as carefully as his nerves would allow onto the stone pathing.
He then thrust his large hand inside his coat pocket and grabbed a fistful of dust tight in the palm of his balled fist. He then began to pad about his coat with his free hand. Suddenly he felt terrifying panic! 'Where was it? Where was his wand! Oh no, he hadn't forgotten it! How stupid could he be?
The lone wolf was advancing getting ever more confident in its daring approach toward Oscar. Oscar could see it there. It was going to pounce any second as his hand kept padding his coat. He saw the look in the lone wolf's eyes and knew the time was now. Then to his surprise, a swath of giant dragon wing came down between him and the snarling wolf. The dragon with its pointy hooked claws pointing forward came across the pathing stones gliding along the bridge's surface very low, straight for the wolf. The wolf cowered and made a yelping growl up at it but there was no room to stand its ground and it retreated just in time to miss having its growling mouth impaled in the sharp claws. But it did not retreat far. Just then Oscar had remembered with a shock what was in his back pouch pocket. Of course! He had put it there for easy access. "Stupid! Stupid! Arrgg! how dumb's could he be!" He yelled at himself in frustration and whipped the wand out. He held the long wooden wand out high just above himself, and with the clenched the dust in his fist being gripped even tighter, and keeping a steady eye on the still advancing lone wolf. He thrust his fist out and let the dust go into the air.
He glanced up at the dragons gliding up high in the air, and he knew their illusion of safety was almost over.
With his wand in hand, he gave it a little quick flick. The dust from his fist had formed a dark grey cloud of powder floating in the air in front of him. Then the grey cloud began to sparkle and Oscar shaded his eyes as he flicked his wand again. Suddenly there in the air, the dust turned to green flames. Bursting into the air they grew suddenly until they became a gigantic fireball. He heard the wolf that had been about to pounce on him, make a sudden screaming howl from somewhere in that bright green fire. But no it was not over yet. Oscar carefully picked up the two bottles and spilled the liquid contents out onto his two silver swords that were laying on the stones in front of him.
The liquid flowed down the length of the sword and as it did the silver sword turned suddenly into a bright steel blue the other became a shining bright green. Oscar put down the bottles and brought forth his wand. He gave two quick pointed waves at the swords and muttered out words in a strange, but well-practised language. The lone wolf was still howling before him and had taken to twisting and running in wild circles, trying to relieve itself from the evil of something unseen. The green flames had now gone and Oscar looked toward the end of the bridge watching to see if the others would come rushing down to avenge their beleaguered leader.
He didn't have to wait long as he saw the first of the packs front line wolves make tentative steps back onto the bridge. He had no choice he had to continue and do it now while they were all still there together. He bent down and grabbed one sword and then the other and holding them up glowing in there new colours in front of him he slowly brought them apart. Holding them as tight as his large fists could hold them he then smashed them together creating an astounding metallic clang. The blades clapped together and there was a flash every bit as bright as a bolt of lightning and there came forth a massive thunderbolt of coloured light thrown across the bridge in a thunderous roar. The rainbow of light filled the whole bridge and went on up into the mountains engulfing the wolves and it's brethren high up into the forests. Eventually, the roaring sound dissipated and echoed off into the mountainsides and slowly faded.
The bridge became it's customary white once more and Oscar became still. His eyes eventually settled down on the lone wolf sitting on the bridge in front of him.
The morning sun was making its first appearance of the day from just behind the mountains ridge. Bit by bit the golden glow extended slowly into the forest and Oscar gathered up his swords swishing them carefully back into their accustomed position upon his back. He then tied his potion bags once more around his somewhat large blossoming waist. He then padded himself down and took a moment to look at the lone wolf still sitting there in front of him.
He looked down and gave the silver furred creature a cheery grin. It slowly rose off its haunches and padded softly towards him. Oscar reached down as it approached and offered out his hand almost touching the long nose.
The wolf looked at the hand before him for a moment. It then brought out its long tongue and gave the hand a testing lick. Oscar laughed, and padded the wolf's silver-black fur on its long narrow head. He had almost forgotten about the other wolves, but when he looked up to see them a frown came to his forehead. He squinted his eyes for somewhat of quite a few moments, but it seemed they were not there! Where had they gone...?
Oscar scratched his head and pondered. "That wasn't supposed to happen." He kept looking about but there wasn't a silver grey-haired timber wolf to be seen in the distance anywhere...
Oscar stood there for some moments and then shrugged, "Hmm... must have magiked them off to, somewhere's else... perhaps... maybee's." And scratched his chin for a good while longer. after a moment he looked down at the lone wolf now patiently waiting at his feet. "Now then, what shall we call you?" He looked at the wolf seeming to be grinning back at him. "How about Matilda, yes, you look like a Matilda to me. Now, let's go see if King Harry has some scones. Lovely nice warm buttery scones, that his cook's is so famous for."
Together the wolf and Oscar walked up to the two large wooden doors and he knocked upon them loudly... and shouted,