Book 7 - The Crimson Storm - Chapter 32: The Crimson Storm

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httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013

Why I chose to double the subtitle of this chapter the same as the title of the book is a teaser for the next chapter.  But based on all these events before and now in this chapter, there are a lot of connections I am making to the title.  But it will be answered in the next chapter.

 

Hope you enjoy this epic chapter!!

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The Wedding

New - Part 4

 

Book 8 Coming Soon!!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

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Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
This is CHAPTER 33. -_- Bah!! Oh well.

The Crimson Storm

 

Chapter 33

The Crimson Storm

 

         While the sun on its descending trip down before nightfall rises, something else happens…

         Multiple dragon fire blasts from the south explode on the Gale Heart!

         It is knocked back a bit and changes its focus off of us and on to the would-be attackers.

         Getting right to the point, I move around to the back of Annabeth.  I see that she is actually tied to a metal steak with her wrists around it.  I take my right hand up to her bonds, retract my hidden blade, and cut the rope.  As soon as that is done, I do the same to the rope around her ankles.

         “Go free the others,” I order.  “I’ll be back in a minute.”

         I immediately ran over to the far gate that had our dragons.  Taking out my sword, I slice through the lock and encourage all the dragons to get out.  They file out one at a time.  The last one to get out is Fredrick, who stays by my side.  Annabeth runs back over to me.

         I tell her, “Get everyone in the air.  We cannot let that dragon into this chamber.  Because if it is going to do what I think it is going to do, we may never beat this dragon.”

         “What are you going to do?” Annabeth asks me.

         I look back into the cage, “Going to help a friend.  Now go!”

         Going back into the cage, I go over to the Sliquifier.  Easing up to the dragon, I hold out my hand to its face.  With all that is happening right now, the dragon is breathing fast but its face is that of an active dragon that knows what is going on but is not scared by it.  It does not lower its head to meet my hand, but it does not seem threatened by me.  I pull out my sword and start by slicing through the ropes and leather straps holding the dragon down.

         Only doing this for a few minutes, before all of a sudden, the ground, walls, and ceiling above me crack open!  The ground starts shaking violently!

         I then hear footsteps running up behind me, “I thought I told you-.”

         Turning around, thinking it would be Annabeth, I am surprised…  It is Aiyana.

         She declares as she runs up to pull the muzzle off her dragon, “When I said, ‘As far as it takes…,’ I didn’t think of going as far as to create the mother of all distractions by crashing a giant winged dragon into the island!  But thank you for thinking of and starting to save my dragon.”

         Aiyana also has keys to unlock the large loop rings around the Sliquifier’s body.

         Aiyana talks to her dragon, “Don’t worry, Kaimana.  I will get you out of here.”

         I hop on Fredrick to be ready for a fast get away as the whole of everything around us is literally breaking apart.  The moment that Aiyana is able to free Kaimana, the ground breaks up completely dropping both the dragon and the viking girl into a free fall!  The ground beneath Fredrick brakes away too, so he starts flying in mid-air.  A moment later, thankfully, Aiyana flies up with Kaimana and so we both fly out of this place by going through the center opening.

         Flying up above the islands, I take in the area.  My whole crew are locked in a battle with the Gale Heart, the islands are still deserted, and the southeastern island is all but wiped out.

         I ask Aiyana, who is on her dragon next to me, “Where are all the people?”

         “When some of our lookouts saw the Gale Heart on the horizon,” she told me.  “They reported and set our evacuation plans in action.  Jarl, the dragon is-.”

         I finish the sentence, “Is going to use this volcano to transform itself into a Titan Wing!  We have to keep this dragon away from this island at all costs!  If a Gale Heart dragon or whatever this thing is called is nearly impossible to defeat just as it is, I hate to be in a fight with this thing when it is a Titan Wing.”

         Aiyana finishes, “The rest of the island is abandoned for that very reason, they are off shore to the west watching until the dragon is in the chamber, ready to transform.”

         “You ready?” I ask her.

         She nudges Kaimana to fly into the action for her answer.  I follow suit.

         The Gale Force Dragon is being bombarded with the combined fire power of twenty-one dragons, yet this massive beast is at best disoriented.

         Annabeth flies over to me on Anora and comments as we orbit the dragon to figure out what to do while the other keep it occupied, “How are supposed to stop this thing?  It’s hide is the most resistant I have ever seen.”

         “We have to keep trying,” I encourage.

         Mother flies up behind me, saying, “This dragon was knocked off guard by our attack, but when I had the half our crew come from the west to aim for its underbelly, it was flipped on its side, lost control, and crash landed onto the island that… Used to be there.  It got up from that as if the attack and the crash were a nuisance at best.”

         Just then the Gale Heart primed its fire blast and fired!  We all scattered, taking evasive maneuvers.  We manage to out fly the reach of the gas and go up and over the blast radius, once the Gale Heart set to the sulfur on fire.  But before the smoke cleared, we all heard a massive splash.  Flying over top, we see that the Gale Heart has gone beneath the surface of the water, yet again.

         Aiyana notifies, “The Gale Heart will retreat to the water if feeling immediately threatened.  It will wait for a time to strike and then do something similar to bombing runs, but in the sense that it will try to take out one to small groups of us at a time.”

         Father adds, “We have other problems.”

         He points back at the islands that are still there.  We see movement on top of all the remaining islands.  Vikings revealing long range armaments for attacking dragons using large crossbow launchers, nets, and several catapults!

         I tell the others to break off to give them multiple targets to shoot at, but to watch that we do not lead a shot from the enemy into the flying line of an ally.

         Minutes into just dodging the volleys of various fire, the Gale Heart re-emerges.

         I slump my shoulders, “Come on.  Really?  The worst time either of you could pick to start firing.”

         With a ginormous dragon bearing down on us with a multitude of other weaponry being fired at us, we are stuck between a yak and a lake of yaknog with seemingly no outlet of escape.

         For the next fifteen some odd minutes, we can do nothing but dodge practically everything.  When we try to knock out the weapons, we are cut off by the Gale Heart.  When we try to attack the Gale Heart, we are cut off by the weapons.  Annabeth has the idea to lead the projectiles of the Masked Vikings to try and take down the Gale Heart.  Yet when we all try to accomplish this, we find out that the arrows and boulders merely glance off the dragon’s skin.  It does not help that the range of the armaments are at their longest reach, so by the time the projectiles get up here -after we have dodged them first- most of them are on the downward arc after going as far as they can.  Then it does not help that the Masked Vikings notice this as they shoot lower and lower as to not do any unintended damage to the Gale Heart.

         By now, nearly a half hour into the fight, we manage to destroy the majority of the weapons the Masked Vikings have but at the cost of using up a lot of the number of shots all of our dragons have, not to mention all of our dragons are getting worn out.  We are trained to fight when needed, but not for prolonged battles, our dragons even more so.

         I have a moment to fly above the action and look below me.

         I cannot help but think, “We are fighting a losing battle.”

         Thoughts then race through my mind, “Do I surrender now to ensure no one gets hurt?  Would the Masked Vikings even care anyway?  Would they just go ahead and take us when we are most vulnerable?  Will they just let the Gale Heart finish us off?”

         As similar thoughts go through my head, I do not even notice that Fredrick starts to fly to the right.

         “Oh,” I shake my head to get back into the fight.  “Sorry Fredrick.”

         But that is not the only thing that is wrong, something is the matter with Fredrick.

         “Come on boy.  We can still do this,” I tell him, though I do not believe my own words.

         He is starting to lose altitude!

         Looking around me, the other dragons are doing the same.  They are flying towards the northeast island to retreat.  I see Anora above me.  She and Annabeth are several hundred feet above me and about a hundred yards from the island.  Fredrick and I are only a hundred and twenty yards from the same island and about a hundred feet above the island itself.  Anora is one of the last to sink.  Already ahead of me, Fredrick begins to dive forward to fly under Anora.

         “Good boy,” I tell him.

         I mean, if we are losing altitude because Fredrick is losing his strength, we might as well be productive as we go down.  Seeing Anora’s trajectory and accounting for Fredrick’s slow loss of altitude, I pick a point where Anora and Fredrick should cross paths.  This point is just at the top edge of the island.  I therefore point Fredrick in that direction to allow him to do the rest.

         Anora is heading to the northeastern island, but by the looks of it, she is losing too much altitude too fast that neither her nor Annabeth are going to make it.

         “Annabeth!” I yell.

         She turns around to look at me, I yell again, “Get ready!”

         “Dawn,” I call out.  “Go after Anora!”

         Dawn and Fawn dive down to get into position.  Fawn is one of the few dragons that still have enough strength to maintain their own altitude.  I see that everyone else is retreating to the same island for their dragons are done too.

         Anora and Annabeth are no longer flying but are now falling.  This creates a problem.  I thought we were barely going to make it before by me aiming Fredrick to collide with Anora at the last possible moment to push both dragons to safety while Annabeth and I jump off our dragons and onto the island or have Fawn catch Anora and I catch Annabeth as we all dive for the island; but now, Anora is not going to make it.

         I am now within fifty yards of the island and Anora and Annabeth are only fifty yards above me, but falling fast.

         “Annabeth!” I call out again.  She looks from the back of her dragon from an upside-down position.  “Get ready to jump from her and go in my direction!”

         I ready myself to by taking my feet out of my stirrups and crouching on my dragon, balancing myself on the back of Fredrick.  One last check, and Fredrick has plenty of altitude left to make it.

         Coming up on twenty yards to go, I announce to Annabeth, “NOW!”

         Annabeth pushes off Anora and I dive forward, twisting my body to face Annabeth.  Moments later I catch her as she falls.

         “Fire your grapple,” I quickly say.

         We both fire at the same time, aiming for any part of the side of the island we could get that is above us.  Holding on to each other, we brace as we swing and then slam into the side of the island.  I grimace on impact.  Both of us instantly look down to see a successful catch by Dawn and Fawn.

         As we lay against the side of the island, I caress the back of Annabeth’s head as I lean my forehead on hers; I whisper to her, “I am so sorry.”

         Though everyone appears to be safe, when we both look at each other, we both know what has happened.

         She mouths the following words back at me, “I am too.”

         Not an action of ourselves, we feel ourselves being pulled up.  Looking up, we are about twenty feet from the top.  Closer than I expected.  Making their job easier, Annabeth and I collect our feet on the side of the island and walk the rest of the way up.

         Once at the top, we see that two Masked Vikings are pulling us up.  As I make sure everyone is accounted for on the island, I detach the line of my grappling hook off from my bracer to being to walk away.  Annabeth does the same with hers.

         By the looks of their numbers, every Masked Viking in creation is standing around us.  Three to four vikings taking hold of each of my family and friends.  The two Masked Vikings that pulled us up, put one of their hands on our outside shoulder, leading us forward.  Looking ahead, I see a very content Einar Verodfellar.  Both vikings make us stop, then kick in our knees, to force us to kneel.

         Einar looks down, smiling, “See what I mean young Annabeth?  Prepare to join the growing line of fallen foes at my hands.”

         Einar proceeds to take out his sword, but using the butt end of the hilt he swings in a backhanded motion and hits me in the side of the head.

         Instantly, everything goes black!

 

         “Jarl.  Jarl,” comes a soft voice.  “Come on Jarl, wake up.”

         Stirring, I begin to wake up.

         “Careful Jarl,” Annabeth says as something pull on my hands to keep from falling back.

         “What?” I ask.

         Annabeth answers, “Don’t fall back.”

         “Why?” I further question.

         Annabeth gives me a moment, but only a moment is needed to see where I am.  The darnkess has dawned.

         Annabeth and I are facing each other on a suspended platform of only two parallel bars spanning about five feet wide attached to a pole in the center going above us intersecting with a group of chains that make an “X” shape.  These chains extend outward and are attached to the outside of the opening of the once ash and pumice rock top I saw before in the center of the island.

         But now, we are standing over the very chamber that by the looks of it, the Gale Heart is now in, submerged in lava!

         Our wrists tied to each other -my right to her left and my left to her right- around the center pole with only that to grab onto and the poles beneath our feet to stand on.  Stand is a generous term as I find myself constantly trying to correct for balance to stay on top of the poles, same situation for Annabeth.

         Annabeth asks me now, “Are you alright?”

         “I’m fine,” I reply.  “I have a slight headache.  Though I think that is the least of our worries.”

         A voices pipes in from the side, “Astute observation, Jarl.”  It is Einar Verodfellar.

         Looking up I see that our contraption we are standing on is slightly beneath the level of the opening that the Gale Heart must have created when it shot out the center here.  So, I had to look a little higher at Einar Verodfellar standing by.  There are numerous torches, fire place torches, and caldron fires lit everywhere to light the scene.

         Questioning Einar, “What do you want?”

         He laughs, “Oh, the better question is, what can you do for me?”

         “Well,” I contend.  “What can we do for you?”

         “Glad you asked,” he states and then looks up and barks out, “I will show you what you can do for me!”

         Looking up even further, I see all around us as I saw before with Annabeth and Cazi, that there is a massive crowd watching.  Of the first two levels, it is all Masked Vikings.  All the other levels, including the tops of the island, are the various viking people that have been living here.

         “You two,” Einar announces.  “Can be my example to all to show everyone what happens when someone stands in my way!”

         Just then all the Masked Vikings called out in unison, “OO-TOO-RAH-AH!!  OO-TOO-RAH-AH!!”  But curiously enough, none of the viking people joined in.  They all remained silent.

         “I told Annabeth before, and I will tell you all again now.  Every time someone who stands in my way and says to me, ‘I will not get away with my deeds.’  I still stand before you now with them the same result.  All the foes I have ever faced are nowhere in sight.”

         The Masked Vikings again sound their chant and again the viking people do not join in.

         Things quiet down but Einar pauses; so, I instead speak up in a mocking tone, “Oh, Mr. Verodfellar, sir?”

         A bit annoyed I interrupted his monolog, he irritatingly addresses me, “What, Jarl?”

         “Um,” I begin.  “That statement is not entirely accurate.”

         He laughs, “Excuse me?”

         “Oh, come now, you have not forgotten them already,” I counter.  “The Izarian vikings.  Though fractured in numbers, there are still an Izarian populous, so… Not all the foes you have faced are no longer standing.”

         Now frustrated that I mention them, but he keeps his composure and says a rebuttal, “Your grasping at details.”

         “It’s still true, though,” I jump in.

         Finally acknowledging it, he responds, “Yes, but as you say they are a fractured people.  One of them is standing right here with me.”

         He brings up Lilah who looks down and says, “I’m sorry Jarl.  I should have waited for when you were ready.”

         I shake my head, “I don’t think it would have made a difference.  They were expecting us anyway.”

         “You’re quite right,” Einar continues.  “You know, hope is a funny thing.  It can be used to inspire and empower others, but it can also be used for the individual.  Aiyana Thorgard thought that she had the hope of one day doing enough errands for me that she could have her dragon back.  But by dangling that in front of her, I was able to bring my next closest foe to my doorstep and soon doom.  She should have put her hope in something else.  I was never going to let your dragon go.”

         Aiyana interrupts, “But you promised.”

         “Promises are a funny thing too,” Einar goes on.  “Someone will believe in a promise sometimes more than they believe in hope.  Say what people want to hear, and then you will soon get what you wanted in the end.  Promises and hope are so easily broken.  My hope is built on the power that the Dragon Conquerors once had and will soon have again!”

         The Masked Vikings call out the chant again.

         “I do have to ask, Jarl,” Einar inquires.  “If you knew we were expecting you anyway, why did you come anyway?  And what was your plan to begin with?”

         Before I could answer, a bone chilling, deep roar could be heard below us.

         “Not as ceremonious as I was wanting,” Einar announces.  “But behold, our salvation has come.”

         Another roar is heard and from the lava below emerges the Gale Heart.  As it comes out, its new size rattles the sides of the chamber which in turn rattles where Annabeth and I are.  To keep steady, we both grab onto the pole.

         Seeing the Gale Heart emerge and exit out by way of the now gaping hole of where an island once was, the now Titan Wing Gale Heart launches into the air.  Its massive wings, while swinging them back and forth in the air, creates enough disruption in the air that the sound created by them is quite loud.  The Gale Heart rises high above the islands, goes to the north island, turns around, and looks down upon us all.  The Gale Heart is more than twice its own size as before and now is probably half the size of a Red Death!

         Einar raises his hands up in the air, “I present to you the salvation to us all.  The Gale Heart dragon, the champion of all Titans!”

         This time everyone cheers and applauds, but the Masked Vikings are still more exuberant than the viking people.

         While the cheers continue, I change my attention to Annabeth, “I’m sorry for getting you into this.  This is all my fau-.”

         Annabeth lifts her hand up to my mouth and tells me, “This isn’t your fault.  We all chose to come with you.  I chose to come with you.  If you were going on a trip to face down the Red Death by yourself, I would be the first one to be by your side.”

         “Thank you,” her statement gets me to smile a bit.

         Annabeth is starting to tear up as she says, “I just wish we had more time.”

         “There is still hope,” I reassure her.  “Even if I don’t fully believe it myself.  If there is still time, still a fraction of a chance… I heard some wise woman once say, ‘A chance is better than no chance at all.’”

         She chuckles as a few tears streak down her face; her voice cracks as she tries to say, “I’m scared.”

         “Shh,” I hold her closer to me.  “I’m here.”

         Laughing a bit, she retorts, “I’m not scared at you, I’m scared of not being able to be with you.”

         She lowers her head.

         I smile, “There ya go.  You are learning.  This is the best worst time to make a pun.”

         “Know this Annabeth,” I lift up her chin.  “I will never leave you.  I promised you I would be with you for the rest of our lives, I will the first one by your side as we stroll the streets of Valhalla.”

 

         We both rest our foreheads on the other’s and just look down.

 

 

         We both say a prayer together.

 

 

         All outside noise sounds morph into the sound of a distant breeze on the water… Until a piercing, higher pitched roar splits the moment.

         Looking up, Annabeth and I both see that it is not the Gale Heart.  The roar happens again.

         Annabeth states, “That is definitely a dragon call.”

         I start smiling from ear to ear, “That’s not just any dragon call.”

         The roar sounds again, but much closer.

         Einar as well questions what that is going on.

         “Hey Einar?!” I call up to him.  “Remember that thing you said about hope?”

         He slowly responds, “Yeah.”

         “There is something else you should know,” I reply.  “Trust.  Trust is a very powerful thing too, but it too is a funny thing.  You put your trust in the right things and in times like these where there is little or no hope and everything seems lost, trust may just return the favor… Even if it has been five years.”

         Out of the blue, a dragon blast can be heard and shortly thereafter be seen heading straight for the Gale Heart.

         For the first time, I hear it groan in pain.

         “WHAT?!!” demands Einar.  “NO!!!!”

         The same roar happens again but followed now by two other roars of slightly higher pitch.

         Still nothing can be seen until the Gale Heart dragon just starts to flail every which way as small explosion litter its body.  The Titan screams in pain.

         “WHAT IS HAPPENING???” again demands Einar.

         I answer, “What did we say about there being a chance.  Meet a long-time friend of mine that I have seen from time to time, as if watching over me, my family, and friends.  I met him in the beginning at a moment when he to saw who put his trust in him and who didn’t.  Meet the first Titan Wing dragon I ever saw.”  I pause as the very familiar roar sounds off, “Aqua Blue, the Titan Wing Grapple Grounder.”

         Everyone looks up as the Gale Heart, it is visually angry.  But then it starts to lose control of its positioning and then starts to fall out of the sky.  As it does, chaos ensues.

         Everyone above starts to retreat as the massive dragon plummets to the ground.

         The thing is… Where is Annabeth and I going to go?

         Minutes after the Gale Heart started to fall, it is way off to the side, but the sheer size of the dragon as it hits the ocean off to the west creates an earthquake that shakes the entire island.

         Annabeth is knocked off her pole and starts to fall down, until I wrap my legs around the pole, stopping Annabeth from going further.

         “Annabeth!” I yell.  “I got you.”

         A moment later, Annabeth says, “Your legs are starting to slip under the weight.”

         “No, no, no, no, no, don’t talk like that,” I quickly say.  “Do not go there.”

         Annabeth counters, “I’d rather you live.”

         “Don’t say that!” I snap back.

         Annabeth cries, “I’ll cut the ropes.”

         “No, you won’t!” I order her.

         “Wait,” Annabeth’s tone completely changes.  “I’m slipping.”

         The way in which our hands are tied together makes it if there is tension on one side, then the top part of the bond will get smaller as the bottom part gets bigger.  The rope begins to pinch around my wrists.

         “I’m slipping, Jarl!!” Annabeth yells.

         With all of my might, I try to her up, but… But… the bonds do not hold.

         My life slips through my hands!

         I reach down to grab her hand, but our fingers merely brush each other.

         “JARL!!!”

         “ANNABETH!!!!”

         My life screams for me as I watch in horror.

 

 

         As if everything slows down to a snail’s pace, I watch as my heart, my life… My Annabeth is ripped away from me.

         My life is about to end!

 

 

         My right arm still extended downward, I try for my grappling hook, but I see that it is jammed.  Annabeth tries hers, but she never reloaded her hook.

         Annabeth continues to fall into the chamber…

         Whoosh!

         I stare downward.  I see nothing.

         It takes me a second to realize Annabeth is gone.  But not from hitting the bottom, she still had a few hundred feet to go.  My heart races as I try to figure out why.

         Just then my awareness of what is happening around me comes back to my focus and see that the whole eastern island is collapsing.  Then a large chunk come crashing down and hit one of the support chains.  The whole apparatus swung free.

         Now, I am falling!

         Completely confused by what is going on, I look in all directions but do not see anything.

         A large dark shadow comes out from my right and runs into me.

         Annabeth’s voice calls down to me, “Nice… Of you to drop by.”

         Overjoyed to her voice, I do not know what else to say but comment on the pun, “Very… Very… funny.”

         Dragon feet have a hold of me, but it is not the Grapple Grounders.  Even in the moonlight, I instantly recognize the scales.

         “Star Scream?!” I call out.

         The big boy lets out a roar of acknowledgement.

         Then noticing the yak in the sky, I tell him, “Man, did you just have a growth spirt?”

         “Jarl,” Annabeth informs.  “Star Scream is now a Titan Stormcutter.  That’s why he has been so secluded and less energy all this time.  He was preparing to transform!”

         “Remind me to give you an extra helping of Dragon Nip when we get home,” I say as Star Scream emphatically nods.

         Star Scream lets me off on the southwestern island so I can hope back onto the Titan behind Annabeth.

         Annabeth jumps off Star Scream and I grab her arms to pull her into a huge kiss.

         Three minutes later, I look at her, “Now, let’s go finish this thing!”