“Blast it! Blast, blast, blast!!!” Callie snarled in frustration as she threw a stack of papers from the small desk she’d been using at the Britain Library, once again feeling as if she’d hit a brick wall. Her efforts in Skara Brae had shown no results and inquiries in the capital city weren’t faring any better, despite having uncovered even more support for her theories. She glanced to the staircase as one of the scribes, an elderly gentleman who appeared to be peeking from the stairwell to see that she was alright. Seemingly satisfied that she was, he descended once more. The energy suddenly seemed to drain out of her and she collapsed into the chair and ran her hands over her face, brushing her blonde bangs to one side.
In her mind’s eye she went over how she came to be at this juncture. Her father and mother had researched this same issue for years and were on the verge of a breakthrough…but both had been killed during a Crimson Dragon attack of Queen Dawn’s reign. Since then Callie had been doing her best to pick up where they left off but, without many of her parents’ connections, her options were limited. She was swiftly going through what money had been left to her and she had to produce something tangible before all of it would be for naught. With a lengthy intake of breath she sighed, and began picking up her papers and stacking them neatly once more. There were still a few avenues and options left to explore. Tucking her things inside the shoulder satchel she carried Callie made her way down the stairs, oblivious to the world around her. She strode towards the West Bank, planning to use the old Britain Crossroads to make her way to the moongate.
Lost in her thoughts she turned a corner and practically ran into a rough looking fellow with a few days growth of beard who was brandishing a well-used pike. His expression held that manic kind of gleam that could only be interpreted as malice or madness, and either was equally dangerous. Her senses seemed to return all at once as she realized she could hear the sounds of weapons clashing, the smell of smoke and fire, and the sight of scorch marks and trash heaps. In a panic she grabbed the little holdout dagger she carried at her waist and threw it inexpertly at the man, eyes widening in fear as the tumbling dagger only hit him with the hilt, his face contorting in fury as he readied the pike for a thrust. Heart hammering in her chest like it was threatening to burst, she swore that she was losing her mind as she felt the very ground beneath her tremble in turn with its pulsations. Only a split second before it occurred did she realize the truth of the matter.
Clad in a robe, cloak and what she swore was a jester’s hat, a man suddenly tackled her to the ground while shouting “Don’t Move!”, and with a roar that rattled her to her bones an enormous dragon lunged through the space she’d just occupied and closed its jaws upon the pike wielder. Its heavy footsteps echoed through the cobblestones and shook her body as it halted its forward momentum and lifted its prey up high. The man who had tackled her shouted to the great beast, though what he said she couldn’t hear over her own shock. She heard a shrill, panicked scream followed by a loud impact and silence. “You…You just killed him…How could you…”
The man’s robe and cloak were in bright, garish colors that seemed to match perfectly the jester’s hat that sat at a slight cant upon his head. The bells jingled lightly as he started to get up and looked down at her horrified gaze and hesitant words, and he held out his hand expectantly with a smile on his face that came so easily it had to be his natural expression. “I assure you that he will live, fair lady, though your sympathy might be a bit misplaced…I think he held little regard for your life. Talratha here just picked him up and dropped him, nothing more.” He held out his glove clad hand until Callie took hold of it, and he helped her up. “You really should be more careful though…the streets are very dangerous lately, and the guard force in short supply.” A crash in the distance and a lazily drifting plume of smoke arose to the east, and the peculiarly dressed tamer looked over to it with an expression that conveyed anxiety and indecision.
Callie looked to him and saw that he was still eyeing her with worry, and after a moment realized that he was waiting on her. “I’m fine…you can go.” She had barely finished saying it before he took off at a run with the dragon flapping its powerful wings, soaring above and just behind him as they ran towards the source of the smoke. Shaken, Callie picked up her dagger and let her sights rest on the bloodied and unconscious raider. The dragon had deposited the raider none too gently, but had aimed him precisely into one of the piles of trash that had become frequent in the cities as of late. With a slight sense of revulsion she pulled her satchel closer to herself and exited the city with a much brisker pace than she had started with. This time she kept her ears open and her wits about her, but she’d still feel safer once she’d put the larger cities behind her…