Disclaimer: I do not own DragonFable, or the associated characters, blah blah blah.
Summary: See Previous Chapters
The latest war finally over, Vaneria wandered through Dragesvard.
With the number of Heroes who had been called in to help, and Galanoth's notorious dislike of dragons causing most of them to leave their usual long-distance transport at home, the queue for a ride home on the Griffin stretched around several blocks. Recognizing a few people, Vaneria waved at Rune, a rogue who shared her philosophy of not charging into danger unless you had to, before falling into step with Intex, a Hero of Falconreach with severely questionable taste in potential boyfriends.
Intex was headed to the edge of the settlement, and if the small, black tail poking out of her pack was any indication, Vaneria could guess why. "You'll have to take the long way around to make sure Galanoth doesn't spot you. Is Hellebore big enough for that kind of journey?"
Intex tried not to look guilty, but wasn't very good at it. "What makes you think Hellebore isn't back in Falconreach?"
Vaneria pointed. "His tail is sticking out, and I can hear something munching on Special Dragon Chow."
Intex tried to twist enough to tuck the tail away, but froze as the two women spotted Galanoth headed their way. Luckily, the Dragonslayer could be particularly dense at times. "Finally, Dragesvard is safe. I couldn't have done all of this without you. Now, there is just one more pressing matter that we have to deal with..."
Vaneria instantly tried to walk away, but Intex grabbed her before she could escape, refusing to deal with Galanoth by herself. "Oh, I heard about that. Someone was throwing an end-of-war party, I think?"
Vaneria stared. It could have been worse, like going on another quest, but why was a party so pressing and why did she have to stay for it? "A Party?"
Galanoth either ignored her tone, or just didn't notice it. "Yes. Olaf's parties are legendary and this one has been going on for a long time."
Intex nodded. "Oh yeah, I've seen the notes around town. It must be some party. Why didn't we go before now?!"
Galanoth fixed her with a look of faint disapproval. You tried not to be openly disapproving of Heroes, if you could help it. Vaneria only got away with her disapproval because no one wanted Lady Celestia coming around to explain things to the offended party over tea. "We had more important things to do than attend a local party. Besides..." Galanoth held up a piece of paper, "...We just got invited today. Olaf sent us a note."
Vaneria sighed and exchanged looks with Intex. As much as they both wanted to get out of Dragesvard, jump on their dragons and go back to where it was warm, it didn't look like there was much of a choice. Intex shrugged. "Saving an entire town comes with benefits, I guess. Let's go."
Galanoth, Intex and Vaneria walked around the side, after five minutes of ringing the doorbell went unanswered. "Knock knock! Anyone...home?"
Vaneria bit her lip to keep from laughing. Apparently, there were certain aspects of colonizing the frozen north that hadn't occurred to certain people. Olaf looked very relieved. "Thank goodness!"
Simultaneously, the other guests started shouting. "I can't turn my head!"
"WHAT? Has someone come to save us?"
"I don't care who it is, someone fetch an ice-pick!"
Galanoth looked even more expressionless than usual. "Save you?"
Vaneria was rapidly losing the battle with amusement. "You guys look you're having fun!"
Helga was too upset for her usual pastime of trying to flirt with an oblivious Galanoth. "Fun?! HA! I'll give you fun – "
Ingaberg cut her off with a delicate cough, before the accidental double-entendre could go any further. She glared at Sven, or at the back of his head. "We WERE having fun until SOMEONE had the bright idea of having us all jump in the pool!"
Sven was facing the other way, but still replied. "Don't look at ME. No one made you jump in."
Astrid shrugged as much as a person encased in ice could. "I don't see the big deal, guys. I'm still having a great time."
Astrid had always been a bit on the strange side. Vaneria cast a slow warming spell on the pool, to melt the ice but not send anyone into shock by a sudden extreme temperature change. "So you guys have been frozen solid in this swimming pool for ... how long?
Helga closed her eyes, looking pained. "It seems like weeks."
Oslo joined Ingaberg in glaring at a certain other party-goer. "...And Sven keeps singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
Galanoth was, for once, lost for words. "How are you still alive? How have you fed yourselves?"
Olaf had unfrozen enough to exchange looks with Sven, the kind of look that suggested a humorous (for everyone else) story that would never be admitted to anyone, even at a bachelor party or under torture. "...It hasn't been easy."
Gerda sighed loudly, "This has not been Olaf's best party."
Galanoth matched the sigh. "We'll get you out of there in no time."
Aisha appeared out of nowhere, prompting Vaneria to let loose with a string of words she had learned from Zhoom when the Ranger had been training a particularly stubborn and obtuse Hero. "No, you WON'T!"
Lief closed his eyes, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Oh yeah, AND we had a party crasher."
Vaneria made sure that she was standing behind Intex, who had a better chance at defending herself, as she carefully let Skysong out of her carry-pouch, keeping the dragon carefully behind her, ready to change from baby-size to regular-size at a second's notice. "Aisha! What are you doing here?"
Aisha managed to convey an evil glare, which was actually not so easy while in Dragon Form. "Who do you fools think sent you the invitation? I found our last battle... unsatisfactory. I demand that you fight me again when I am unpoisoned!"
Vaneria and Intex exchanged looks, keeping their voices as low as possible. "Galanoth, do you have any more Dragonbane?"
Galanoth's voice was equally low. "No, I used the rest of it on my blade!"
Aisha made another impressive attempt at a glare. "Dragons have excellent hearing, hero. Plus, I'm RIGHT HERE!"
Galanoth returned a somewhat more potent glare. "Leave these people out of this, Aisha."
Aisha radiated smugness. "I think not, Dragonslayer. Once I've finished with you, I will take my time with them. Quit stalling, FACE ME!"
Galanoth looked worried, for once. "She's at full strength now, Vaneria, Intex. I have no idea how we're going to defeat her."
Intex took the plunge. "Well, I suppose this is the best time to tell you. Galanoth... I am a DRAGONLORD!"
Galanoth stared at both of them in disbelief. "WHAT?! YOU?! WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!"
Vaneria returned one of outright incredulity. "How could you NOT have noticed? Didn't you see my pet dragon fighting beside us? Skysong wasn't exactly subtle!"
Galanoth shrugged. "I thought it was a horribly deformed dog or something! I thought it might hurt your feelings if I said "Man, what happened to that dog?!" I'm not totally tactless."
Vaneria closed her eyes. "You've never seen a baby dragon before?"
Galanoth shrugged again. "I've seen a few, but I thought that there was no WAY that you'd have a dragon with you if I was there too. So that's how you know so much about Dragonlords. It all makes sense now."
Intex nodded. "That's why most of the Heroes were late; we were trying to convince our dragons to stay at home, with various degrees of success."
Vaneria indicate Intex with a wave of her hand. "What she said. I'm sorry that I lied to you but your hate runs so deep... I didn't want anything to happen to Skysong."
Galanoth looked almost thoughtful. "Your bond with your dragon must be very strong."
Intex nodded again, with unshakable sincerity. "It is. Hellebore and I have been through a lot. I trust my dragon with my life."
Galanoth slowly inclined his head. "Just as I trust you with mine. None of that matters now. Maybe there is ONE good dragon in the world. If you raised it... it must be a worthy creature ... The exception to the rule. If you and your dragon have the power to defeat Aisha, then do it. Save those people!"
Intex looked triumphant, the default setting of any Hero about to get into a fight. "I will. Thank you for your understanding, Galanoth. I know that you think all dragons are evil and must be destroyed."
Galanoth's face was hard. "Prove me wrong, Intex."
Vaneria grabbed the opportunity. "Well, I see that you have things well in hand here. I'm just going to go now…"
She bolted away before either of them could stop her, Skysong following.
After Aisha was defeated, Vaneria expected to be able to leave what she had long since termed "Snowy Hell", but again, her brothers stepped in as she was lining up for the Griffin, insisting that she finish learning how to be a Dragonslayer as well.
Calling them all out of their minds had not helped, nor had threatening to make them babysit Skysong while she spent days gathering the needed Ice Dragon Scales.
Chance the Polar Dravir probably never knew how lucky he was that Vaneria didn't toss her weapon and strangle him with her bare hands, then just go through his pockets and office to find the Enchanter's Stones.
Eventually, however, she completed the training and quests and she was on her way back to the warmth of the Sandsea. Whether he listened beyond a few key words was up for debate, but at least Zhoom was willing to listen when she wanted to rant about something.
Well, willing to listen enough that he could nod, agree and/or make sympathetic noises at the right times, and Vaneria felt the need for a long rant about idiot brothers.
A/N: Rune belongs to Kirei Ryuusei. Intex and Hellebore both belong to MyGoldenEyedAdonis, and all are used with permission.
So, we've finished the Ice Orb Quest Chain, and it is back to the Sandsea. Next Chapter will be either Mogloween, or fast-forwarding a bit and remaining in the Sandsea. I haven't decided yet, so if you want one or the other, let me know. If you want me to mention any of the other Quest Chains, let me know in a review.