Astra took a deep breath, biting her lip, then began to speak.
"One of the reasons I refused to marry Sir John was that I found out about his attempts to return the Cardasii to the world of living men. I'd known there was something strange about him before -- he had an air of secrets about him -- but I shrugged off this feeling, considering it to be an effect of my distaste for marriage."
Fred thought about asking her why she'd gotten betrothed to the man in the first place then, but held his tongue, figuring it had been yet another one of those spells that kept cropping up so often of late.
Astra brushed a lock of hair from her face and continued. "One day an old woman of my people, a wise woman by most accounts, told me the truth about him. The Cardasii had emerged from Averii Swamp, three days east of my home, and ravaged my people nearly to the point of extinction. This was many years before my birth. In any case, they were horrid slithering creatures covered with razor-sharp scales. Huge swordlike teeth sprouted from their mouths like weeds in an unkempt garden, and their breath is said to have a stench so vile as to make the bravest warriors vomit and faint. They also had powerful minds that could control my people...at times we were compelled to do their work for them."
"Eventually seven of the most courageous and powerful wise women of my people banded together and cast a Banishing on the Cardasii. They were sucked into a vortex to some place unknown to me, but at a terrible price. The vortex also sucked in the wise women. As they had been the most powerful of our country, this left us considerably weakened."
Fred shuddered at her tale. No wonder her people had such stories of the dragon...they'd had much worse things to worry about. Not to mention that the dragon was said to have powerful spells of its own...perhaps it had masked its true nature from them. Or from HIS people...
Fred snapped out of his thoughts, deciding if he kept going on like that it would endanger his quest and he would NOT allow that to happen. Remembering Astra had apparently intended to say more than she had, he asked her gently "And Sir John?"
The princess flinched at the very name and her voice trembled as she again began to speak. "Sir John...was in the process of collecting the magical requirements for the return of the Cardasii to this realm. I do not know how this was to be accomplished, and I don't particularly want to."
Astra sighed and looked around. "And we'd better get going too. A journey never started is a destination never reached. And that torch won't last forever either."
11/19/1999 5:29:08 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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