Kettleturner knew that something strange had happened as he had explored the caverns. For him only a few hours had past and yet night had already cast it's dark cloak across the sky. Furthermore the amount of snow which lay thick on the ground could not have fallen in so short a time. Slowly the dwarf left the lair. "No doubt about it" he said to himself "I'm under surveillance." Something was watching him.

Suddenly he noticed a huge snowdrift just in front of him. He laid his hand ion the hilt of his axe and moved slowly forwards, ready to pounce. When he got to within several meters of the drift he noticed a faint plume of smoke rising from the troubling shape.

-"By all the gods, a Dragon. Surely it's a dragon" he said to himself. "The damned thing will reduce me to ashes if I don't manage to take it by surprise."

So saying he savagely fell upon the poor beast. The dragon surged from it's hiding place and spoke a few unintelligible words. Kettleturner was stopped dead in his tracks, paralysed.

-"The filthy thing has cast a spell on me. I hate magic!"

Slowly approaching , the dragon explained to our friend that he wanted to form an alliance with the dwarf, for he felt strangely drawn to him. This done, he removed the spell. Kettleturner, mad as hell and rather scared, asked for a moment to consider the proposal. He was thinking

-What on earth would I do with a dragon ? It's just not done... I would never get a moments peace with that great lump of meat at my side. He must surely be here to spy on me... If I go home with a dragon on my heels I can be sure of a very special welcoming committee. And he will probably seize the occasion to grill my compatriots, saving me for last and reducing the realm to a heap of ashes. On the other hand a dragon could come in handy : he could protect me and would certainly help me get around faster ( which is not to be sniffed at in the present situation). My first priority must be to get to Ripewood to warn my king of the great misfortune which I have discovered here. However I don't see myself passing through the town in the middle of the Spring Festival with him at my side. It would be total mayhem. What a fix to be in , Kettleturner old boy, we're going to have to play this one close to the chest.

The dwarf called out to Defnael :

-"Hey friend, come over here a minute."

The dragon approached :

-"So, have you made up your mind?"

-"Sort of" What do I get out of all this. How can I be sure that you won't play some nasty trick on me at the first opportunity?"

-"Oh that's simple. Look at this..."

Defnael held out a strange object to the dwarf :

-"I think you know a valuable object when you see one. I ripped this from the hands of an unfortunate thief, now no more than a memory. The poor man crossed my path as I was coming here. To tell the truth I'm rather proud of my exploit. Well you see, I will give you this object as a token of my friendship." The pendant, which Kettleturner now held in his hand began to shine with a strange light.

" Look's like it's magic. And I hate magic!"

"Effectively yes it is. It gives protection from pain. The poor unfortunate who wore it before you didn't suffer at all when I killed him"

-"Very well I accept your gift but only under certain conditions :

Firstly, you must take me to Ripewood as fast as possible, I've got an urgent appointment there."

-"Understood, climb on my back, you can explain the rest as we fly."

Kettleturner didn't like taking orders from anybody but caught between the prospect of upsetting a dragon, the desire to rejoin his own kind as quickly as possible and the possibility of being caught up in some sore of shady deal, he didn't hesitate for long. He climbed up on the enormous creature. The latter rose up and threw himself of the top of the cliff, direction, North. Kettleturner gave a faint cry of terror, then feeling his that his mount was steady, he held on firmly and took a deep breath.

As for Defnael, he was pleased with himself for having managed to convince the dwarf so quickly. "How nice it is to have someone touch me with something other than animosity" he said to himself. "I like the gentleness of this contact." The feeling which up until now had been a source of confusion for him was transformed into waves of pleasure. His great heart seemed to burn, it's heat warming every fibre of his powerful body. He would have liked to sing like the elves, to thank his new friend but a voice roused him from his dreaming

-"Secondly, none of my people must ever see you and I will never bring you to Moonless Hollow or to the of High Centre. Not even to Ripewood for that matter or to the elves. Once we arrive, you will set me down several miles from the meeting place and I will continue my journey on foot. Afterwards we'll see. I bet my king will send me searching every hill and vale for those who have left the Crystal Mountain".

-"Very well Kettleturner, very well." And Defnael closed his huge eyes hoping to recapture the instant of intense pleasure he had felt before.

Kettleturner hung on even tighter feeling the dragons flight falter. Beneath them the countryside flashed by with incredible speed and nothing in the world would have enticed the dwarf to jump from his mount's back. Yet despite it all, he found himself smiling, he seemed to be reliving a scene from his childhood and after all, not everyone got to ride a dragon!!!



Kettleturner (chapter 5)



At the same time :

Alise (chapter 6)

Defnael (chapter 6)

Ewyn (chapter 6)