Another one-shot that I thought of! So, the seven Ak-Baba were constant throughout all three arcs, and most of the stand-alone books as well. But what exactly were their thoughts? What did they think of the Shadow Lord's tyranny rule over Deltora? The names will tie in with Through the Eyes of a Stranger, as well.

PS: This is a LONG one-shot. 5,796 words.

PART ONE: Rise of the Ak-Baba

A bit before the time of Adin . . .

If this land held anything, I could not see it.

The order to fly over this small island country named Deltora seemed pointless to most of my brothers and sisters, but we did not dare defy the command so quickly. After all, our Master had been right many times over before. Why should that stop now? Even so, we were still doubtful. The creatures below feared us, and most of those that soared the skies. All except the dragons - those monsters we either steered clear of or hunted down, as we were taught to do.

We alone would rule the sky.

We alone would become supreme.

We alone would be feared for our power.

. . . or so our Master told us.

Not that all of us had believed it then, of course. It seemed too . . . far-fetched. Far-fetched and a desperate plea for us to help. But the promises of power! Such glorious things that the Shadow Lord beheld for us! And now - this. A pointless invasion. What, really, did this land have to offer?

Remind me why we are doing this, says Palor, breaking the steely silence. We were stupid, responds Vorys.

Silence again.

Below us, the land speeds by. Lush green forests. Silver-blue vast seas. Dancing rivers and creeks.

And the Shadow Lord plans to destroy all this. . . . I shake my head. No. Not destroy. Change. Besides, we owed our Master so much. Too much for my liking, in fact. But what worth was one Ak-Baba's thoughts? One Ak-Baba's beliefs?

This cannot be ruined. This beauty - it is too ancient, too guarded, says Heryl quietly. By what? I snap, just because it bothers me as well. The dragons, of course, replies Heryl. The others nod in silent agreement. It seems too . . . easy . . . if we could just destroy the dragons and claim the land, mutters Myrae. It does, agrees Berinn.

Only Syron has stayed quiet. The most dangerous of all of us, Syron has said nothing. And I know, deep within, that he alone harbors no grudge against the Shadow Lord. He, after all, was the first hatchling that our Master had tamed. The first Ak-Baba, the one who made the Shadow Lord realize that he could use us as destroyers and servants.

I still hate him for it.

We hover at one of the Shadow Lord's camps, where huge numbers of Greers, various servants, and Grey Guards have gathered. It is the day we will finally start the invasion, slowly. And, if our Master is to be trusted, the land of Deltora will be ours within a year.

Not that I did. I, Trylon, the youngest, weakest, most inexperienced Ak-Baba . . .

But one could hope that common sense would tell my brothers and sisters to turn tail from this foolish plan.

The Battle of the Plains mentioned in /Tales of Deltora/ . . .

The first urgent order we have ever received suddenly rings in my mind, from our Master in the Shadowlands:

Go to the Plain of Hira. The final battle is beginning, and you will be there to serve.

So much for hoping.

I abandon my position at Tora, where I have silently circled, watching the people within their protected city, frustrated that I could do nothing. But a new hope had arisen while I was there . . . this plan of a Del man named Adin, a daring quest, just may succeed. If only the Torans had complied.

The city of Hira is far from Tora, but in Ak-Baba flight it is not considered as distanced. Within hours, I arrive at the looming city and see the two forces clashing.

This battle is not like one I have ever been in. The Deltorans fight with more determination this time, as if knowing their land was the thing at stake. And through it all I see the one called Adin, the one who proposed the desperate plan to the Torans.

I wheel uncertainly in the sky, trying to decide what to do. That is solved for me when Myrae arrives at my side. There are Opal dragons fighting here, she snarls, her tail lashing to our right. This is pathetic, snorts Syron, who appears suddenly out of nowhere. Our forces are being drained by the mere efforts of those Deltorans!

Berinn, Vorys, Heryl, and Palor arrive, and we hover in the darkened sky together, as a pack. Designed, bred, raised, trained to kill and destroy. And the Opal beasts who roar defiantly know this too.

All seven of us know their weakness - their independence, the will to survive alone, and only alone. To try to force them into one would be hopeless, unlike my brothers and sisters. We pick them off one by one. That never fails, says Heryl quietly. Anyone can tell by his tone that he does not wish to fight them. The dragons seem so confident and . . . honorable. As if they could not care less if they died, here and now.

Yes, we will use that strategy. Never find yourself fighting a dragon alone - always have a brother or sister at your side, orders Syron. We all assemble into position, a sort of arrow shape. Syron at the head, Vorys and Myrae behind him, Berinn, Palor, and Heryl following, and me in the back. It is actually easier to be last - the ones in front cut a way in the air, making it effortless to fly.

We attack as one, screeching our fury at the Opal dragons. Syron selects a weak-looking one and soars in for the kill.

It is then that I hesitate and look down, and see the mass of fighting humans and monsters. Greers, Vraals, and other Shadow creatures were battling to their deaths. And it is then that I see Adin, the belt of steel and gems shining at his waist. Only one medallion remains empty, and I know then that he has not succeeded.

The dragon falls from the sky, one last rainbow flame gushing from its mouth before it crashes to the ground, lifeless.

And the sight of a defeated one seems to enrage the Opal beasts more, so much that they are willing to cooperate with one another. They roar as one creature, their joining fires lighting up the dark sky. And I know that it is their way of saying that they refuse to give up their land, their skies.

Then they rush at us, their flame blazing and shooting at us. We dive with screeches of fury, frustrated how they were reacting. Never have we fought more than one dragon at a time, and the way they were working together . . . that was unheard of, in all the long years we were sent to destroy them.

I realize that they are trying to split us up, so that we cannot work together in the safety of numbers. I screech in defiance, letting them know that I am fully aware of their plan. One of them turns at my cry, the rainbow eyes flaming fury. A huge one, larger than the others for all their great size. I know that Opal dragons are none like the Amethyst ones, who prefer to hide rather than fight. These beasts are different.

Syron's order rings in my mind. Never find yourself fighting a dragon alone - have a brother or sister at your side, he had said. I know that, at least, is sensible. I try to see through the smoke from the Opal dragons' fires and the darkened skies itself.

Vorys and Palor are fighting side by side, defending one another. Heryl and Sryon are together. Only Myrae and Berinn are separated by the fierce dragons, and both are suffering from blasts of fire, smoke rising from their feathers.

Myrae! Berinn! Come towards me! I screech, wheeling away from the glaring giant of a dragon. Only Berinn turns, rushing away from his attacker. Myrae, however, was startled by my cry and loses height, falling for one second before heading towards us. Stay with me, and watch the Opal beasts, Berinn, the oldest of us, instructs. We know that, snorts Myrae, but you can tell that it is taking much effort for her to stay aloft.

Then something catches my eye, something moving far away but getting nearer. I turn my head and look that way, then almost screech in surprise at what I see.

Hundreds, thousands perhaps, of Torans are sweeping in from the western side in one great colored wave. Torans! snarls Myrae, seeing them as well. What are they here for? They cannot fight, says Berinn. But I see the glint of an amethyst gem in the first Toran's hands, and know exactly what they had come the great distance for. They may not be able to fight, but they are the ones who will help the Deltorans win the battle, I say quietly. Myrae and Berinn both turn to stare at me, confusion roiling in their orange eyes. How? Their magic cannot be worked from such a distance, says Berinn, sounding doubtful. Instead of answering, I turn and fly away from the battle, knowing exactly what will happen.

Flying for the Shadowlands.

Flying from our defeat.

And behind me, a great light flashes and a roar of triumph rings across the land.

The night the Belt was taken apart . . .

Tonight may be the last time you can redeem yourself, Ak-Baba, hisses our Master, Especially you, Trylon. Fleeing from battle is unacceptable. I can feel the others staring, but ignore it.

Many times over I was reminded of my flight from the Battle of the Plains. I was spared, however - even I knew that the Shadow Lord could not risk injuring us further after what the Opal beasts had done to us all. Tonight, you fly into the city of Del and to the topmost tower of the palace that stands on the highest hill. Kill anyone who stands in your way. And do not fail me. The voice fades, and we all take to the air as one.

Clouds cover the skies of Deltora, making it easy to fly under cover without anyone seeing. We can all sense our Master's sorcery starting to warm behind us in the Shadowlands, knowing he will conjure a storm to serve his purposes. Syron is in his mode, his eyes flashing even in the dark and his wingbeats hurried as the bloodwrath bred in us Ak-Baba fills him to the highest point so that he turns at intervals and screeches at us to make haste.

I do not feel that way. I have not felt that way in centuries I have put behind me. This night feels too much like the day of the Battle of the Plains for me to be comfortable, and I am quite certain that many of my brothers and sisters feel that way as well. This plan to destroy the Belt of Deltora is less straightforward, certainly, but even simple plans may fail.

By the time we reach Del, a full-out thunderstorm is raking the entire land. It is an unnatural one, however. The lighting is too dark, the clouds tinted red, the rain icy cold, and the winds too strong. The tower is lit by a brief flash from a lightning bolt, then plunges into the darkness of the storm. These winds are to our disadvantage, not theirs! screeches Palor furiously, shaking the rain from her wings - but they get drenched again in the few minutes we take to hover and plan. This is of no use to us, agrees Heryl in a disgusted tone. We can hardly see in this downpour!

Even Syron does not erupt with fury at how we are openly doubting our Master's wisdom, but forms a plan. The tower is still visible, is it not? As long as it is, we will still triumph! he screeches at us. Fine! we all snarl, and leap into the dark sky, back into the berating wind, freezing rain and darkened clouds.

The wind seems to suddenly stop, dropping to a gentle breeze. What was that?! cries Vorys, flapping upwards. Shut it, you are giving away our position! snaps Syron, but he looks pleased with the change in weather. Make haste - the Belt is ours to destroy now! he screeches, swooping towards the tower.

We follow helplessly as Syron hovers above the tower and destroys the roof, cutting it off neatly with a single swipe of his enormous tail. We hear cries of surprise from within, and know then that we must get rid of the guards watching the Belt. Syron shoots us a glare, as he knocks the first guard crashing down to the ground. Well? he snarls, doing the same to another. We will let you finish the job, Syron, I growl back, refusing to move from my place in the sky. Syron whips around and lunges at me, screeching furious challenge.

I see the attack coming, knowing that this is the way to rile him. So I easily dodge his gaping beak and malicious eyes. The guards are all dead, and the others swoop in for the destruction of the Belt. Syron and I, however, remain locked in battle.

You have nerve now, do you not? he snarls at me as I dive beneath his lashing tail. No, but you have had ignorance for a long time yet! I retort, swiftly flapping to the side as Syron's long neck lunges for my own throat. Thunder rumbles above, and with it comes a furious voice from across the Barrier Mountains.

None of you are to fight! Settle your disagreements, or be sentenced to mutiny!

Both Syron and I glare each other down before we both move towards the tower. Both of us grip a gem at the same time, tearing the thin steel of the Belt even more. I tighten my lethal beak's grip around the precious lavender-colored stone and shoot one last hateful look at my so-called brother and join the others above.

What do we do now? screeches Myrae, hovering uncertainly. As if to answer her question, our Master's voice came to us from the north. Heryl, take it into the Forests of Silence, into what they call the Dark. There, you will find a knight named Gorl. Give the gem to him, and then listen for further orders. Heryl nods and flies northeast, the topaz glinting in a flash of lightning. Berinn, take it to the Lake of Tears. In the center you will find a rock shaped like a begging human. Place the gem in its hands. Stay near the Lake for further instructions. We watch as Berinn turns tail and flies away into the night.

Palor, take your gem to the deserted city of Hira and give it to the great snake named Reeah that awaits there. Then wait there, as well. Palor gives us a nod, then wheels around to the north. Syron, you place yours in the heart of the Shifting Sands, in the great cone-shaped dome called the Hive. Let the stone fall through the top, then wait. Syron shoots me a furious glare, reminding me that I will have to deal with him sooner or later. I growl, letting him know that I am fully prepared.

Myrae, your stone will go to Dread Mountain, where the toad Gellick dwells. Make sure that it goes with his treasures, disguised. Myrae disappears into the stormy darkness as well. Vorys, take yours to the Maze of the Beast. My servants await there, and they will place the gem where it belongs. Vorys turns west and flies through the now slightly lighter rain.

And you, Trylon. How ironic it is that you possess the diamond, symbol of purity, strength, and courage, when you have none of those qualities. Perhaps delivering the stone to the Guardian's home will aid you in that area . . . my Master's voice fades into laughter, which in its turn slowly becomes no longer audible.

I continue to hover in the same place, furious at what my Master had chosen to say to me. Anger that had no place within me builds up, and at last I lash my tail in fury, feeling it slam into the high walls of the Del palace, and fully ignoring the pain that it causes. I have no choice, of course. So I fly on, to what will become the Valley of the Lost.

To the vast wings of an Ak-Baba, the flight from Del to the Guardian's home is not that far. But to me, it feels like ages. Ages of watching beautifully rugged, wild land pass beneath me, and knowing within that it will be destroyed. And this time, I cannot deny it - the Shadow Lord will destroy everything, and twist everything else to suit himself, bending the Deltorans to whatever his wills may be.

I start to fear that the diamond may crack, the way I tighten my grip on the gem.

Many times on the trip, I turn around to try to see the raging storm above Del. Dark clouds, tinted with red, fill the skies here as well, but no thunderstorm is passing. Flashes of light can be seen, but that is all that is there to remind me of our raid.

Then I enter a valley, already filling with unnatural mist and killing any creature or living thing in its path. The Guardian's mansion of glass shines as brightly as ever, and I silently land myself before its doors, waiting for the further commands that my Master will surely provide.

Place the diamond on the steps, then come back to the Shadowlands. Your role is complete. I almost snort at the words. "Your role is complete" is another way of saying "You are now useless, so get out of my way." But I do as he says, leaving the shining diamond at the mercy of Fardeep the Guardian. I leap to the skies, the draft my wings cause blowing away some of the swirling fog creeping into the valley.

I fly, emptied of feeling, to the wastes known as the Shadowlands.

The battle of the Ak-Babas in /Return to Del/ . . .

Another call to the city - another battle, this time in which, once again, revolt has risen and it would be best for Ak-Baba to stand by, ready to fly in and crush the opposing side. I start to realize that there is a pattern here, repeating itself through the endless ages. Peace, tyranny control, a rebellion, then peace again. To be followed by another being's control.

I shake my head to clear my mind of these thoughts. What matters now, what only matters, is that I must get to Del before it is too late. The fact that Vorys was assigned to my place above the Valley of the Lost showed that my Master was already doubting my faith. What he does not know is that all of us are in his debt, and in that way, none of us can break free from his grip over us.

Until our debt to him is paid, and I know that is impossible.

I was sent to guard the Forests of Silence, although that was the first place to have its precious gem taken. Another obvious sign that I am no longer a trusted servant - just a hangers-on, serving not out of loyalty and faith but out of what I owe. That I do not like.

Del, to an Ak-Baba's wings, is only a few minutes from the Forests. I fly there and wait, knowing with pleasure that the others will take longer, especially Syron. Syron, who has earned a special kind of rank among my Master's plans and often changes territories to observe. And he is the farthest from Del, still reporting in the Shadowlands.

One by one, they arrive. Heryl. Berinn. Myrae. Palor. Vorys. And Syron, last. We hide in the clouds, as ordered, not to show ourselves until the vital moment. As usual, Syron is debating his strategy, wondering what would be best to destroy the signs of resistance.

Has he even told any of us what is going on down there? hisses Palor, her eyes flashing indignantly. She receives no answer, as none of us have been notified of the situation. And if Syron knows, then he has no intention of telling us. We all know that. But he surprises us, there in the thick cloud, flashing lightning and rumbling thunder.

Apparently, the three we have been sent to kill survived and have completed the Belt. They were going to crown the false king our Master has played into the game, but the Ol managed to get them here instead. And now, our Master has planned for them to witness everything they value destroyed. Syron looks at all of us. We are looking at one another, baffled at why he would choose to finally see through the haze in this particular moment. Using what, may I ask? mutters Vorys. That, of all things, should be quite obvious, snorts Syron, and it seems sincere. We finally realize how. Ah. The Place, of course, sighs Berinn.

We continue to hover, the thunderstorm blocking out any chance of hearing or seeing what was happening below. Then the command comes. A single word, full of fury mingled with determination and triumph. The Shadow Lord's order.


All seven of us dive down from the clouds, screeching in the sky. And it is then that we finally see the truth . . .

People, of Del, of the Shadowlands, of other tribes, milling everywhere. Panicking. Thunder rumbles and lightning flashes, illuminating the scene, although it is not necessary. The Place is already brightly lit. But it comes to its end as, with a groaning, crashing sound, the platform completely collapses, scattering debris and rubble everywhere - making the people panic even more. We let out our unearthly cries in the storming sky, circling above like hunting hawks. Hawks about to dive in for the final kill.

Unlike what most believe, all seven of us are hesitant to attack.

And who are we to blame? After what we witnessed in the disastrous Battle of the Plains, were we so eager to destroy everything in this land of hidden magnificence? The answer is no - and we must not let anyone, let alone our Master, know that.

So we watch with horror as smoke gushes from a tower. Unnatural smoke, red as blood, edged with grey, with grey light swirling in its deepest parts. We know too well what this monster is, before it takes shape with reaching hands and revenge-hungry eyes.

The Shadow Lord.

We would be doomed if we showed resistance against his mighty control - all of us know that. So, a screech of fury ripping from our throats, we separate and attack the falling palace of Del. I fly to another tower, where armed archers await and take aim at me. Out of the corner of my eye I see Syron, swooping in, targeting a group of three. And then I realize who it is. The three our Master has tried, again and again, to destroy. And Syron, believed to be most loyal, must go for them.

Arrows start flying like hail, all directed at me. I fly higher, avoiding the now more sparse volleys as they start to ration the arrows. I look down, but then snatch my head up with a screech as light almost blinds me.

My cry is joined simultaneously as the brilliance strikes my brothers and sisters. As it slowly dies down, I try to fight down the panic rising within me. I know what that flash means. What it means for me, and Deltora, and my Master.

The tower! The tower! I screech, as the panic overwhelms me completely. The same seems to have happened to the others, and together, we flap to the tower. The tower that was meant to guard the Belt, until nearly seventeen years ago we robbed it of its treasure. And the tower that our Master's form had seeped out of. To feign where our loyalty lies.

PART TWO: Outflying the Shadow

The undoing of the final plan in /The Sister of the South/ . . .

A little less than two years after the uprising in Del, we are called to assist yet another battle. One that all of us sense will be our last, because, unknown to most, we Ak-Baba are omniscient. Which means, in a way, all-knowing.

Not all-knowing, of course - we just have a way of discovering things we are not meant to. Especially Palor, the second Ak-Baba (after Syron). And in that call, the fatal call to Opal Territory, all seven of us could sense our doom in it.

But what did that matter? We had lived long enough - long enough to watch the uprisings and falls of Deltora. Syron and Palor even stood by as Pirra was diminished into the wastes of the Shadowlands, its beauty and lore gone. And all of us felt as though we had no more reason to be alive. . . .

Along the way, I meet Heryl and Vorys. Both of them are quiet, but we all know what the other is thinking. About the coming battle.

Together, we fly to the great plain of Opal Territory, and see beneath that full-moonlit sky that golden topaz dragon that our Master had told us to target, and kill if possible. We hesitate at the edge of the plain, simply watching the giant beast, gliding through the skies like wind. We were promised to be rulers of the sky. The dragon outflies us by far, sighs Myrae, as the gold dragon passes by us. Then fight. But not as viciously as we usually do. Pretend - pretend that we have been weakened, I reply. All of my brothers and sisters turn to stare, their orange slit-pupil eyes wide in shock. But the surprise dies soon. Of course. Of course we will, Trylon, says Berinn, in a very soft voice.

We then make a thunderous entrance, splitting the sky with our screeching and swooping in from above. The topaz dragon turns its head sharply, then lets out a rush of flame at us, roaring its fury. The humans riding upon its back seem alarmed at our appearance as well, but all seven of us can see the glint of moonlight upon tampered steel, and know that they are completely willing to fight us, for the sake of their land. Syron's eyes meet ours in turn, just a split second, then he rushes at the dragon, his screech at full tilt. And then Palor pulls me aside, pushing me backwards in the air with her tail.

They spoke to me, Trylon, she whispers, hiding me in the many shadows of the night and staring me down with her fierce eyes. They told me that you would be the last of us fighting to defy the seven dragons. And that you alone will put an end to how the dragons view us, and let us die in peace. I stare back, baffled by what she just told me. Who? I ask, trying to steady my suddenly quickened breathing. That, I cannot say, for I am honest when I tell you that I am not sure, replies Palor, and we land on the plain together. Then who are you to believe them? I say, lashing my tail.

I have all faith in them, Trylon. They have told me so many things that came true, that shaped us, the killing machines called Ak-Babas. That makes me wonder if Palor was truly not quite right in her mind, as Syron used to say. Then how can it be true? I am the least experienced of you all . . . I trail off, in thought. Exactly! The dragons will ignore an Ak-Baba that has gone through only eight centuries. To them - and to us - you are still but a fledgeling that has just taken flight! insists Palor, the gold-orange eyes flashing.

Beyond Palor's voice, I can hear the roars and screeches of fighting from far away. Then I feel Palor's claws grip my wing and turn back to her, the light in her eyes dying. I know we Ak-Baba are not supposed to believe those things, but I am not ordinary. I have the spot marks upon me for a reason, you know, she hisses quietly, the words penetrating the sounds of fighting. Do you want me to know, or not? I ask, glancing at a particularly large splash that covered her left eye. No. We are not here to discuss that. What they told me to tell you was that when you will one of the last of our kind to be threatened by the Jewelai Draconaes, sighs Palor. I narrow my eyes at her.

Wait a minute. You said before that it was me alone. Why do you speak as though there will be more now? I snarl, but only quietly. Because Syron and I are going with you, replies Palor tartly, lifting her head as the screeching intensifies. We should go now. Attack, but beware, she says quietly, then takes off from the flat ground. I pause for a moment, thinking, then follow her.

The minute I look at the scene, I nearly regret it. Heryl lies on the plain, a deadly neck wound shining scarlet. And the fact that there are two dragons, aided with humans and the Belt of Deltora, makes me falter slightly in the air. Syron is basically unhurt, trying to close in on the topaz dragon without much success. And then I can see the bred Ak-Baba bloodlust gleaming in his eyes, and know that he, at least, will never agree to follow me into exile . . .

The thought makes me pause again. Exile? How did that thought come into my head? But as I survey my options, I know it is the only thing I can do. Hide. Hide until the Shadow Lord forgets about one of his most deadly weapons, for I have many centuries ahead of me yet. And with the guidance of Syron and Palor, perhaps I can survive. . . . I hear a ghastly ripping, then a gushing sound, and know that the last plan of my Master has been triggered. But before I can react to that -

Trylon! Down! Myrae suddenly screeches, and I instinctively dive at her cry. A blue and silver blur of flame grazes my wing, but does little damage. The dragon of the lapis lazuli! I snarl, flapping to extinguish the small flame. Myrae joins my side grimly. Let it fight. We will work together, as brother and sister, as we have been taught to do forever.

I look at her in shock - but then I realize that, against her will or not, Myrae at least will always remain loyal to our Master. Until her last breath. Very well, I reply, and we hover side by side.

The dragon eyes us with interest for a moment, then rushes at us suddenly.

And the strangest thing is that, as it flies towards us, it knocks me aside with its wing.

On purpose.

And so I can only watch in horror as Myrae plunges to the soil of Deltora in a blue and silver inferno, covered by the rushing, lethal gray tide.

You. They told me to spare you, snarls the dragon, shoving me into the shadows, like Palor had done not long ago. Who? I ask, not willing to let my guard down. It does not matter who they are. Or do you wish to die, Ak-Baba? The starred beast's tongue flicks out, its gemlike blue eyes hardening into azure glass. No, it does not, I quickly agree, I will go with you.

I do not know why I am telling you this, but my name is Fortuna and you should hide here for now. Do not fly in until only two are left, and smear these on your hide so that it will look as though you were injured. That said, Fortuna scrapes a clawful of berries from a nearby bush and deposits them at my feet. Thank you, I say quietly, doing as she said. Good. And know that - know that I forgive you. For what your kind has done. And then Fortuna swoops into the full moon night, leaving me confused and disoriented.

As I make claw marks using the scarlet juice, I sneak a glance at the battle. Three Ak-Baba lie slain - Myrae, Heryl, and Berinn. Syron, Palor, and Vorys are in the sky, fighting for all they are worth. I twist my neck around and look at the imitation blood. It looks real enough, and I then know that I can fully trust Fortuna.

Then Vorys falls from the sky, lifeless and flimsy, his feathered wings obscured in a blaze of emerald green. I limp into the moonlight, then take to the skies to show that my wings are perfectly fine. Palor and Syron meet me in the night, and we let out one last cry to the moon. One last screech, one last attempt to let them know that we wish we had nothing to do with the invasion of Deltora.

We then turn and flee from the deathly battle, and the gray plain. We outfly the shadows of what our Master had conquered, our defeat, our past, and fly for the future. And the dragons regroup behind us, and we hear them roar flame as one . . .

Our Master had promised us we were to be rulers of the sky.

But, right now, I am satisfied to be the ruler of my own heart and my own loyalties.

So how was that? Please remember to R&R, I would appreciate all constructive criticism or flames! XD lay off the flaming if you could, but I won't mind that much.

And congratulations to anyone who's made it all the way down here! My thanks to anyone who does!