Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, here to read Part Three, and here to read Part Four.
Come in, said the voice behind the evil eyes, and see the true Isle of Dread.
Matt stepped shakily into the cave, and as he did, everything went pitch black. Whatever dark powers were in this cave, they extinguished the sunlight immediately. Shivers ran up and down his spine uncontrollably.
The eyes turned so that their dim light shone further into the cave. Follow me… said the voice into Matt’s head. Matt stood there, not sure what to do. As the creature began to walk, a scaly tail brushed passed him and made him jump back in terror. Come, human, said the voice again, to see one of the wonders of the world.
Matt walked cautiously through the dark, always staying close to the glow of his enemy’s eyes. Stand back, said the voice. Then the eyes rose higher than Matt thought possible, and white flames shot out from just beneath them, deep into the cave. In the white light, Matt could see the creature clearly. It was an enormous emerald dragon, taller than the mast of the tallest ship. He swung his head from side to side, spewing fire around the chamber, and as he did, the light of the fire danced and flickered off his scales until they shone. Matt decided there and then that the dragon was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
The white flames shot through the middle of the chamber, lighting forty huge torches, twenty on each side of a long stone pathway. Beyond the path on either side were enormous piles of treasure. Heaps of gold and jewels filled every corner. To the left, Matt saw a huge ship resting in the treasure, its flag hanging low and defeated, as if it were frozen in time right before it sunk.
Matt looked up at the huge beast, “Who are you?”
Valinar, said the dragon. Then, lifting his head and roaring, he sent echoes bouncing off every wall until Matt thought the sound of it would shatter the mountain.
“You’re so huge! I never thought a dragon could be so…..majestic.”
The dragons you know of are nothing more than fakes, said Valinar. I assume that even a human like you knows at least a little history, how at the end of the first age, Dahn, the first man, killed Bethoch and brought about the fall of mankind. What the legends do not say is how, after the fall, Bethoch’s wife became the first Drake and subjected herself to the human scum! Valinar spat. In her desperate state, she doomed herself and all of her descendants to grow into the weak worms that they are. Now they are nothing more than the other worthless kindred of Bethoch, who have slowly become more docile over the ages. Even the ones that call themselves Dragons are nothing more than grumpy housepets. But Gelidor, Bethoch’s son, did not let his hate be lessened by time... Valinar grinned. He did everything he could to teach his descendants the truth about humans and the evil they can cause. Most of his descendants are gone now, hunted down by the humans. I am one of the last.
“Just because Dahn killed Bethoch, it doesn’t mean all humans are bad!” said Matt.
You remind me of a young reckless dragon I once knew, said Valinar, a faraway look in his eyes. His name was Valley. He lived with his grandfather, here on this very island. Though Valley was not his birth name, when he stretched out his wings on this land, his grandfather said he seemed more like a part of it than a living thing. Valinar smiled. His grandfather did everything he could to protect Valley, even confining him to this desolate island for his safety, far away from the evils of man. The young dragon did not take heed of his grandfather’s warnings. He believed it was wrong to judge a race for one human’s misgivings. If only he had known how wrong he was.
As Valinar was speaking, the two had walked down the chamber between the torches until they reached the far wall, where a single painting hung.
“What happened to them?” asked Matt, forgetting caution in his curiosity.
The grandfather suffered what he had always warned about. Valinar’s eyes looked sadly at the painting. He suffered the same fate as his father.
Matt looked closely at the painting. It was truly a masterpiece. On the left lay the dying Bethoch, blood seeping from his chest. In his last moments, his head was lifted to the sky, eyes closed taking in one last breath of precious air. On the right was Dahn’s hand, stained with blood, and on the top of the frame was written two words: Bethoch’s Demise. Across the painting lay a scratch mark trying in vain to hide the hand from veiw. For the first time, Matt noticed a terrible truth: the dragon in the picture looked almost exactly like Valinar. I take after my great-grandfather, don’t you think?
Matt gasped, “But that means that the grandfather was Gelidor, Bethoch’s son, and you are…”
One day, interrupted Valinar, Gelidor was out near the shore, but Valley had gone to the other side of the island, to enjoy the forest and watch its creatures. Suddenly, Valley heard a roar. The roar turned into a screech of agony that was cut off unnaturally. Valley raced to the top of the mountain as fast as he could to see what had happened. He looked down to see his grandfather, dead on the shore, with humans celebrating around him. He rushed down to them and became their last nightmare... That was the last anyone ever saw of Valley. The docile Drake was gone forever. He returned to his birth name, Valinar, and vowed to avenge his grandfather.
“It was you,” whispered Matt. “You were Valley.”
I have kept my vow. I have destroyed every human that has come anywhere near this island, and I will not let Gelidor be forgotten. Now, tell me that I am wrong in what I am about to do. Tell me that I am wrong for killing you… Valinar looked down at Matt to see a single tear make his way down his cheek. Pathetic human, crying that you shall never leave. Be a man and face your fate.
“I’m not crying for me. I’m crying for you.”
Ha! How could you possibly cry for me, your murderer? scoffed Valinar.
Matt met the dragon's gaze, “Because I know how you feel… to lose someone you love and not be able to stop it.” The evil glow in Valinar’s eyes dimmed just a bit. “When I was little, my dad was an amazing sailor. He used to take me out on his little boat and teach me what to do to keep it afloat. But, when my mother died, the boat trips stopped. Then a few months later, he told me we were going to go boating. I was only four, but I still remember how excited I was. He walked with me to a grey building and told me to wait there while he left to get something. I sat down on the steps and watched him walk away. When he was almost out of sight, he turned and waved one last time. Then he was gone.
“I waited and waited. That night, someone came out of the grey building and took me inside. The next day, they told me that this place, the orphanage, would be my new home. I told them they were wrong, that my dad was coming back for me, but they just smiled sadly. I lived there until two years ago. No one would hire me because I was never taught a trade. My father left me with nothing. A few days ago, I was ready to give up. I woke up and told the Creator that if I didn’t get a job that day, there was no use getting up the next morning at all…” Matt sighed. “That was the day I met Mr. Tickleten and signed on with Franklin, Franklin, & Smith.”
I am so sorry, young human, but don’t you feel hate for your father? Don’t you understand why I made my vow? asked Valinar. Don’t you want to make him pay?
Matt paused. “My father made a decision, a wrong one, and I had to pay the consequences for it, but I have made mistakes, too, and my friends and the Creator have forgiven me more times than I could ever deserve. If I didn’t forgive my father for what he did, what kind of person would I be, what kind of son? I learned to forgive a long time ago, but you still haven’t.” Matt locked eyes with Valinar, “Now it’s up to you, Valinar. You can kill me or forgive us humans and put the past behind you. The choice is yours.”
Outside of the cave, blinking in the sunlight, Mr. Franklin lay dazed. Matt’s words had carried all of the way down to him, echoing off the cave walls. Though he couldn’t hear the dragon, half the conversation was all he needed. He dragged himself to his feet, trying to process what had happened. Though his leg was twisted at an angle that worried him, he knew what he had to do. Dragons don’t show mercy! I have to warn the others before he destroys us all!
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, and here to read Part Three.
“Ahhh!” screamed Matt, sitting up and panting. He looked around at the blank faces of his companions who were sitting around the fire, cooking breakfast. “Did I fall asleep?”
“Yes, you did,” said Mr. Tickleten, smiling, “and from the sounds of things, you had quite a dream.”
“It wasn’t a dream!” said Matt. The others drew in close to hear what he had to say. “I think I heard,” he paused, “a dragon in my head!” His friends snorted with laughter. “It isn’t funny!” said Matt, panicked.
“Did he growl? Or maybe he invited you in for tea!” said one of the crew members, still laughing.
“No, I heard him in my mind!”
Once again, the four crew members roared with laughter. One of them reached into Matt’s bag saying, “I know! Let’s label the map ‘Dragon Island’!”
“No, don’t! It isn’t finished yet!” said Matt frantically.
“I’d like to see your progress,” said Mr. Franklin. “After all, you were working on it late into the night.”
Before Matt could stop them, they pulled out his map and unrolled it. All gasped as they saw the terrible mess of lines that sat on the page. “What is this?” asked Mr. Smith, looking at him.
Matt hung his head, “It’s my map.” He could feel everyone’s eyes on him. “I’m not a mapmaker. I’m just a handyman.”
A long pause followed. Matt waited for the harsh words and angy tones, but they didn’t come. He looked up to see Mr. Smith’s gaze resting on him. “I suppose we could always use a handyman when on the Bella Fawn,” he said, beginning to smile.
The company nodded their agreement, remembering their ‘seaworthy vessel’. Several of them laughed, but this time, it was a kind, encouraging laugh. Matt turned to look at Mr. Franklin. All emotion Matt had seen in him the night before was gone. His face was blank, his jaw set like stone, and he seemed to have grown a foot taller, but his eyes were filled with pain and hurt. He turned away from the others and walked off into the trees and out of sight.
“Just give him a bit,” said Mr. Tickleten slowly. “Let him cool off.”
Once again Matt remembered their delima. “Mr. Smith, we have to leave!”
“Because of the dragon?” asked Mr. Smith doubtfully.
“Yes!” Matt sighed at the crew’s muttering. “Listen, just stay here and don’t go anywhere until I get back!”
“Where are you going, lad?” asked Mr. Tickleten nervously.
“To find Mr. Franklin!” called back Matt, sprinting into the trees. As he followed Mr. Franklin’s path, he found himself getting ever closer to the mountain. Just great, he thought. He went to the mountain.
Good, replied a deep cruel voice in the depths of his mind. He will come right to me; see if you can stop the inevitable, little human. I’d like to see you try. Matt broke into a cold sweat, and he doubled his pace, running as fast as he could.
John Franklin huffed and puffed as he made his way up the mountain. He looked up to see that he was making good progress. “If we are to ever conquer this insane island, we must know what we are up against. Dangers on the mountain, huh? We’ll see about that, Mr. Smith. Stay safe with your handyman as I truly discover the reason we are here. I wonder how much farther to the top.” said John Franklin to himself.
As if in answer, his mind replied, Most likely a while at the pace you are going. See that cave up ahead? If you rest in it a few minutes, you will be able to continue on faster.
“True,” replied John, “but it’s so dark in there, almost unnaturally dark.”
All the better, a place away from the hot and torturous sun. John nodded and turned towards the cave. As he walked to it, a hand touched the back of his shoulder.
He spun around to see Matt behind him. “What are you doing here, handyman?”
“I’m here to get you!” said Matt. “You can’t be up here. It’s a long story, but I can sense evil up here. Can’t you feel it? It’s like a stench that won’t go away!”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” snapped John. “Don’t you talk to me about evil. You told me that people were different than I thought. You told me to trust. I trusted you, and look where it got me!”
“John, calm down!”
“Call me Franklin, Mr. Franklin!”
Matt stepped back. Once again, the voice rang out in his head. Ah, he has come right to me. Die, human! From the terrified look on Mr. Franklin’s face, Matt knew that he heard it, too. A fiery white glow shown out from the cave.
“I’m sorry for what I’m about to do!” said Matt. As fire shot out of the cave straight at them, Matt jumped at Mr. Franklin and pushed him back, sending him rolling down the mountain. Matt flattened himself just in time to dodge the flames that flew at him. When he stood up, he looked down the mountain to see an unconscious, but breathing, Mr. Franklin, lying on his back in some bushes.
Well, looky here, said the voice in Matt’s head again. He turned to the cave to see two glowing eyes. You seemed to have ruined my good time. Come with me, human. We are going to have a nice long chat.
Matt sighed. Even he knew it generally wasn’t a good idea to refuse dragons. “What are you going to do with me?”
Oh, little friend, said the voice as the eyes seemed to smile darkly, trust me, I know how to treat house guests. Especially… unwelcome ones!
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Click here to read Part One and here to read Part Two.
Matt stepped off the Bella Fawn onto the Isle of Dread, followed by the young Mr. Franklin, Mr. Smith, Mr. Tickleten, and four other strong sailors. After a brief meeting, it had been decided that only the eight would go: Matt to make the map, the sailers to protect them, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Smith because they were too curious for their own good, and Mr. Tickleten to be an unofficial referee between the company owners. Matt shouldered the pack of mapping equipment from the company, most of which he had no idea how to use, and they set off.
It was a beautiful morning for walking. Birds sung in trees nearby, the occasional rabbit would skip across the path, and deer grazed off in the distance. Before long, the group forgot that they were on an island no one had ever returned from and began to talk and joke. Indeed, it seemed ridiculous to believe that this was the feared Isle of Dread.
“That’s where we’re heading, men,” said Mr. Franklin around noon, pointing up at the single mountain on the reasonably small island. “From there, we will be able to get a view of the entire island.”
“I disagree!” said Mr. Smith emphatically. “We should circle around it. We don’t know what could live up there! Caution should be our first priority.”
“No!” cried Mr. Franklin. “If we are going to make any progress, we must know what we are up against! We must attack this head on!”
Mr. Smith almost replied, but before he could, he saw Mr. Tickleten’s pleading glance from nearby. “Very well,” he said. “Have it your way.”
The whole company relaxed, glad to be rid of the argument. As they walked, Matt made his way over to Mr. Tickleten. “Has Mr. Franklin always been so snobby and stubborn?” asked Matt in a low voice.
“Well, that seems a rather harsh judgement, considering you haven’t known him very long.”
“I don’t have to. It’s kind of obvious.”
“I suppose you have a point,” replayed Mr. Tickleten, chuckling. “To answer you question, no he has not. He used to be a very kind man, always generous and loving. But after his wife died, something in him just sort of snapped. For weeks afterward, he wouldn’t talk to me or anyone else. He just sat in his house with locked doors and closed windows. Then, he threw himself headfirst into his work, striving for success and fortune. I don’t know what happened to him during that time, but he has never been the same man since.” Mr. Tickleten sighed sadly. “I’ve tried to get him to open up and tell me what happened to him, but he wouldn’t have it. Now I’m afraid it’s too late.”
Matt looked over at Mr. Franklin, walking with head held high. “What about his father, the other Mr. Franklin?”
Mr. Tickleten grinned, “No need to worry about him, lad, he’s always been a big curmudgeon.”
That night, the party set up camp in a little grove of trees not far from the beach. They put down their packs and started a campfire. The full moon cast shadows of the trees dancing around them, and soon, theories of why it was called the Isle of Dread began to surface.
“I think it’s because a wielder of dark magic cursed this place,” said one of the sailors.
“I think that it’s because cannibals are hiding here, waiting for the perfect moment to attack.”
“You can guess all you like,” Mr. Tickleten said with a twinkle in his eye. “But I say it’s a dragon.” All grew quiet as they waited for an explanation. “Drakes may be kind and gentle ever since they submitted themselves to the authority of humans, but dragons are another story all together. The true sons of Bethoch! They speak straight into the minds of humans and are made of death itself—” A crash filled the air from somewhere on the island, causing everyone to jump.
Slowly, as night wore on, all finally fell asleep, all except for Matt. After the others were down, he pulled out the mapping equipment and stared at it. He took the two things he knew how to use, a pencil and a piece of paper, and tried his best to draw where they had gone. To his frustration, art was a lot harder than he had anticipated. By the time he put everything he had into it, it was little more than the scribblings of a young child.
“Can’t sleep either?” asked Mr. Franklin, propping himself on and elbow.
“No,” said Matt, hurriedly stuffing the “map” in his bag. “Just getting some late night work done on the map. What about you?”
“I just can’t believe that after all these years I’m finally here, at the Isle of Emily.”
“Who is Emily?”
Mr. Franklin got a far away look in his eyes, “My wife, such a dear little thing. As frail and beautiful as a rose without thorns.”
“What happened to her?”
“It took her,” he said shakily. “The plague. She was so delicate, and it came so fast. I knew I had to get the doctor, but I didn’t want to leave her side, so I made a terrible mistake. I paid a boy off the street to run and fetch a doctor. He returned with a man in a white coat and a doctor’s bag who said he required payment in advance. I gave the money to him, and he asked me to leave the room while he examined her. A few minutes later, I came back to find the man gone and the window open. And Emily was… was dead.” A cold chill ran down Matt’s spine. “It was that day I realized that the world is a terrible place. People will do anything in their quest for power. There is no way to change it, only to join it.”
Matt stared into the fire. “Not everyone is terrible, you know. Not everyone is a cheater, or a con, or a fake. Some people just....”
“Just what?” snapped Mr. Franklin.
“Some people, Mr. Franklin, just want to help.”
After a long time, Mr. Franklin spoke again. “Call me John.”
Matt looked over as John Franklin laid down with his back to him. Matt smiled, knowing he’d made a friend, and leaned against a tree to sleep. As his eyelids drooped, he looked up at the mountain. Dragons indeed, he thought, amused. As he drifted to sleep, another thought crept into his mind: Imagine, a human scoffing at dragons; then again, people can be stupid.
Matt blinked. Where had that last thought come from?
As If in answer, a deep booming voice rang out in his head. Pathetic creatures. You dare assume that the Creator gave you all of the land and sky and sea to chart and rule. You foolishly believe that humans can stand in sacred places and command all living creatures as if they were slaves, and you imagine that the world would tip out of its orbit if you were not there to watch over it. Mankind stands on but a hanging thread as the world takes its course beneath you. You have carelessly leaned out to take control of power that is not yours to harness, and this time, it will cost you.
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.