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In H.M.S. Marlborough Will Enter Harbour, an old sloop, homeward bound, is torpedoed, leaving her guns out of action, more than three-quarters of her crew dead, and radio contact impossible. But her valiant captain steadfastly refuses to surrender his ship... In Leave Cancelled, an army officer and his young wife concentrate their passionate love into twenty-four hours, knowing that it might be their last chance... And in Heavy Rescue, an old soldier, having lived on the scrap heap for more than twenty years, ...
In H.M.S. Marlborough Will Enter Harbour, an old sloop, homeward bound, is torpedoed, leaving her guns out of action, more than three-quarters of her crew dead, and radio contact impossible. But her valiant captain steadfastly refuses to surrender his ship... In Leave Cancelled, an army officer and his young wife concentrate their passionate love into twenty-four hours, knowing that it might be their last chance... And in Heavy Rescue, an old soldier, having lived on the scrap heap for more than twenty years, finds that gallantry is once again in demand when he becomes leader of a Heavy Rescue Squad...
Posted December 21, 2012
Posted December 20, 2012
A New Dawn
I land on the lush green grass and tuck my wings against my sides. The dragon leader, Roc, is percheed on a large stone outcropping on the mountainside. The elderly silver dragon cranes his long neck to look out at the crowd.
"Nym and Screech have come with a bear and a raccoon who were caught tresspassing on dragon lands." Roc begins. "Since there is no Raccoon Kingdom, raccoons may go where they wish, but since she was in the company of a bear, she will be punished along with him."
"Kill them!" A muscular red dragon calls.
"Make them suffer!" Cries a green shedragon.
Spyre rears up and shouts, "You should question them!"
Roc nods slowly. "I will see what their reasons are, and decide from there."
Murmurs of discontent buzz through the crowd.
"Then it is decided." Roc spreads his gray wings. "This meeting is over!"
I unfurl my wings in preparation to leave, but Roc calls me.
"Safyre! Come with me," The leader adds. I fly up to his perch and settle. His son, Ore, follows.
"You two will help me in questioning." Roc explains. We slip into a large, dim cave filled with the harsh light of a crackling fire.
I see a powerful black bear standing beside a small, dark gray sheraccoon.
"Greetings." I say.
"Hello." The bear rumbles.
The raccoon is unresponsive.
"We have a few questions for you." Ore explains.
"We will answer." The bear replies.
The raccoon rolls her eyes.
"First, please tell us your names. I am Ore, this is Safyre, and that is my father, Roc."
"I am Ulik." The bear's voice is strong and unwavering.
"I'm Shadow." The raccoon adds. "I was in the Bear Kingdom, living like any raccoon, eating some scraps of a fish, when HE-" she glares at the bear, "-started chasingme and basically just flipping out. I dropped my lunch but he kept chasing. He caught me and made me come here. He was raving about how 'things are changing,' and I figured he was mad. He dragged me here to talk to you."
"Ulik, is that true?" I ask.
He frowns and nods. "I wanted to ask you what has become of us. I was... drawn to this place. I knew I would find answers here."
'Maybe he is mad,' I think.
"Ulik, you are correct. Something HAS changed." Roc agrees.
I stop, shocked.
"Father!" Ore protests.
"You must be Chosen, Ulik. Shadow, unfortunately for you, you must go with them, seeing as you know all this." Roc's orange eyes glow dimly.
"You're mad! You're all crazy!" The raccoon cries, backing up. "I'll get out,I'll leave, anything! Just let me go! I don't care what I know! I'll go to the Wolf Kingdom, or the Cat Kingdom, or-or the Owl Kingdom!"
"Roc, what is going on!?" I demand, opening my wings a little.
"Safyre, Ulik, Shadow, you must find the others. The other Chosen. The cat and the owl know. You must find the rest." Roc's voice is grave.
I sigh, giving up. "Yes, Roc. We will go."
* * *
Shadow is perched comfortably on my back, huddled between my shoulders. Ulik refused for me to carry him, so I soar just above the treetops, watching his large figure on occasion so I don't lose him.
"So you really don't believe all this—this hocus-pocus?" Shadow asks.
"No. Age must have affected Roc's mind or something." I reply.
"Ulik is insane." Shadow mutters. "So, we really gotta find a 'Chosen one' from every Kingdom?"
"I guess. I'll do what Roc says. Whatever."
"Whatever." She agrees. She nestles deeper among my scales, and I hear her breathing slow.
"If they're right, the world has gone mad." I mumble.
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