The Elf and the Orc: Part 7

     If possible, Morfang hoped he could cut the dragon and kill it. Once that could be done, well, even a leg could last a month with only two people. However, that’s only possible if the dragon is young enough that the scales haven’t hardened yet. For that, the dragon had to be at least two years old.

     If it’s older….well, then the best Morfang could do would be to injure its wings. And stick his sword down its throat for a quick death. And if the scales have hardened, he’d have to de-scale it before cutting off even a toe.

     The dragon spotted him and licked its lips again. It lumbered toward him and Morfang slashed at it, his sword hitting the dragon’s neck. It bounced back, but the attack did not go unnoticed, angering the dragon.

     The dragon tried to bit Morfang’s arm off, snapping its jaws at him while Morfang backed up and around, trying to find an opening and get the wings.

     The dragon gurgled angrily and whipped around, slamming its tail into Morfang’s side. Morfang shouted and skidded. He slowed just before Lindariel. “I told you go run.”

     Lindariel kept shaking and her skin was death white. She swallowed. “Can’t…” she choked, tears spilling out of her eyes. “I…I can’t…move…”

      Morfang cursed and jumped up. He pulled out his dagger and ran around. The dragon reared on its hind legs and roared. Morfang threw the dagger at its chest, but the knife didn’t imbed. Nor did Morfang expect it to.

The dragon stopped mid-roar and lowered back onto all fours, growling and baring its jagged fangs.

     Morfang roared back, rolling his blade around in a circle in his hand. He roared again, enticing the dragon to come at him. The dragon charged and aimed to catch Morfang with its paw. Morfang sidestepped it and bore his own teeth, hissing.

     “You’re good, but only so much,” Morfang’s father’s voice echoed in the back of his mind. The dragon tried to hit him again with its tail, but Morfang jumped over it and stabbed the tail. “If you hold back your sword and not kill, you’re bound to die.” Killing other Orcs during a practice session was not allowed. The dragon shrieked and backed away, holding its tail close. “Break the rules then. Hang them! The Eye has no need for merciful servants and I’ve no use for a merciful son.”

     The dragon cried, its head bowed.

     Rage surged through Morfang as he backed the gargling beast into a corner. “When the opening to a death blow comes, take it. You don’t have to savor it, but kill quickly if it saves your life or the life of your comrade.”

     The dragon wailed, its tail huddled under its legs like a beaten dog.

     No use for a merciful son…no use…

     Morfang roared, ready to jam the blade down the beast’s throat. A hand stopped him, holding onto his arm. “It’s injured.”

     “Let go,” Morfang growled.

     Lindariel shook her head. “It’s injured, Morfang, you said it yourself. It’s just a baby.”

    “And it will grow,” Morfang slammed his foot into Lindariel’s stomach, forcing her to release him. “It will grow, Elf! And it will kill my people as well as yours.”

     “It can’t help it!” Lindariel shouted back. “It’s its nature!”

     “Exactly! It will kill anyway because it’s its nature!”

     “Just like it’s an Orc’s nature to kill?” Lindariel retorted, coming to her feet. Morfang blinked. “How is it different?”

     “Lindariel, it is very different.”

     “And Orcs aren’t seen on the same level as this dragon?”

      “For the love of—you were just frozen in fear when the dragon was a threat and now you want to save it? You’re mad!”

     “It’s a baby!”

     “And that’s what you’re basing the argument on?” I’d have an easier time convincing her brother, Morfang thought. “E—Pr—Lindariel! Will you use your head and think if that’s even possible? The dragon will eat us if we don’t kill it now!”

    “You want me to think?” Lindariel shrieked.

     Morfang almost winced, but managed to turn it into a grimace. “Fine! The dragon ate our horse! We are now stuck here for a longer period than we originally had! Why can’t we spare the dragon and fly out of here?”

     Morfang blinked. “On the dragon?”

     “On the dragon,” Lindariel affirmed.

     Morfang laughed. “That’s funny. Very funny.”

     Lindariel glowered. “And you’re serious?”

     He stopped laughing, shaking his head. “You’re mad.”

“I’d rather be mad than a battle hardened fool! Sweet Valar! Orcs and Dwarves are all the same!”

     Did she just say I’m like a Dwarf? “If Dwarves and Orcs are so similar, then Dwarves aren’t as dumb as they look,” Morfang shouted. “Anyone in their right mind would know that it’s more convenient to kill the dragon because if you don’t, the dragon will kill and eat you. And sometimes they will skip the killing and go straight to eating!” The dragon had silenced, but kept cowering in the corner, not realizing it could strike or sneak away from the odd, arguing pair.

     “Fine then!” Lindariel shouted back. “Kill it after we get out of the Heaths!”

     “All right!”

     “All right!”

     “Get on the damn dragon!”

     “You know what I will!” Lindariel approached the frightened dragon and stopped, fear halting her again. Morfang smirked, sheathing his sword.

     “Can’t get on, can you?”

     “Shut up,” Lindariel mewed, shaking. The dragon aimed to sniff her. Lindariel shrank back while it snuffled her shirt. It growled. Lindariel jumped back, screaming one shrill, short note. She backed into Morfang.

     Morfang lifted Lindariel on his shoulder and carried her to the Dragon, setting her onto its back. The dragon was still too scared of him too fight back at being tamed (which just comes to show how young the dragon still is).

     Morfang swung up behind Lindariel. “Do dragons understand your language?”

    “I don’t know,” Lindariel whispered.

     “Try.”

     Lindariel shivered, her flesh developed goosebumps as she stuttered a command. The dragon stood and walked out. With another command in a shaky voice, the dragon launched into the skies heading westward.

      “Now this isn’t so bad,” Morfang said, glancing carefully from side to side. “Look, there’s the Grey Mountains.”

     “I’m not looking,” Lindariel mumbled.

     “What? You’re not scared of heights are you?”

     Lindariel sniffed and nodded.

     Morfang shook his head and wrapped an arm around her. “You’re not going to fall,” he assured her. “I got you. You’re not going to fall. Trust me. I promise we’ll land before night.”

     Lindariel nodded.

     After several hours of flight, the dragon curved slightly toward the south, but not too far south. They passed over a plain and when the sun began to sink, Morfang rubbed Lindariel’s shoulder. “Tell it to land as soon as it can.”

     Lindariel obeyed and the dragon descended to the mountains. Once landed, Morfang slid down and helped Lindariel off the dragon. Still shaky, Lindariel pressed her face against Morfang’s chest.

     The moment they were both situated on the ground, the dragon took off as fast as it could.

     Morfang stared in the direction where the dragon took off, which was back east toward its home. “I didn’t get to kill it.” Lindariel laughed against Morfang’s jerkin. “What?”

     “Did you really want to kill it that much?”

     “It killed our ride. It’s only fair we kill it in return and eat it.”

     “Gross,” Lindariel giggled.

     “Anything’s food. Besides, it can’t get worse than now. We haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

     “Morfang, I love you but you’re a fool.”

     Morfang blinked. “Excuse me?”

     “You are a fool.”

     “You said you loved me.”

     Lindariel looked up at him, and blinked. “Did I?”

     “You did.”

     Lindariel blushed and stepped away.

     “Lin—”

     “I think I’m going to get some more sleep,” she interrupted, talking quickly before entering a small cave and curling up behind a rock. Morfang frowned, leaning against the wall opposite her. He watched to see if she’d stir and fess up or explain herself.

     Nothing of the like happened and the fatigue of the journey he had with her began to bare down on him until his eyes finally closed and drifted to sleep.

     He was kicked awake. Morfang groaned and caught the ankle of an Orc, thickly booted. “What?”

     “Get up, Maggot.”

     Morfang obeyed and blinked the weariness out of his eyes. “There’s an Elf maid here to.”

     “She’s mine,” Morfang growled, “And not to be harmed.”

     “Who are you to give orders, Maggot?” the guard who grabbed him demanded.

     “The son of Gorbag—”

     “Never heard of him.”

     “He’s a captain of the Morgul Army.”

     “That explains why we never heard of him,” another chimed.

     “Carry your Elf if you don’t want harm to come to her,” the captain offered. “We won’t be so kind to offer again if you refuse.”

     Morfang stepped forward and hoisted an awake and frightened Lindariel and followed the guard down into the mountain. “You’re Free Orc-Kind are you?” Morfang asked.

     “That we are,” said the one beside him. “Since the death of the Goblin King sixty years ago or so, these parts have been governed by Igrim Shapogrataar.” Morfang almost stopped, but skidded instead and kept walking. “You’ve heard of her?”

     “I don’t think there’s an Orc alive who does not know Mother Shapogrataar,” Morfang answered. Though he kept walking, a numbness he never felt before shivered up his spine. Never in Morfang’s life had he thought that he’d one day be this close to Igrim Shapogrataar—the oldest Orc in history; the Orc Mother.

By Britanny Silverneko

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