Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 9

Missed the beginning? Start here.

As Betsy led the group around the village she said, “Keep quiet and keep your eyes open. This late on a Saturday I wouldn’t expect anyone to be out in the woods, but you never know.”

It took the group over an hour to get into position. Betsy knew of a cave nearby where they could shelter until it was time. Just as they were settling in Henrietta arrived carrying a bundle. She had a firm grip on the handle with her beak and so landed and dropped it before saying, “Here are some supplies. Georgette thought you could use the food and she also included a couple flashlights.”

“Excellent,” said Harriet. “Now I won’t have to go scavenging to find us food. Thanks, Henrietta!”

Henrietta stayed with the group. “I’ll be your lookout as you get close to the village and I’ll hoot if I see anything. Then once you get your diversion going, I’ll head over to the other group so that I can see the rescue. Stay hidden until I come back to let you know that the rescue has been successful.”

Everyone agreed that this was a sensible plan and after eating the food Henrietta had brought, they settled down to rest. Sabrina and Juniper huddled in the far corner of the small cave.

“Are you scared?” asked Sabrina. “I know I am.”

“Me, too,” said Juniper. “But I’m also mad! I’m tired of the bullies, the anger, and the meanness. I sure hope we can help.”

With that the two of them tried to nap. Sabrina realized that she must have finally dozed off because Harriet was shaking her shoulder, saying, “Time for action, girls.”

Sabrina and Juniper shook themselves awake and went to join the others.

Betsy was in command. “We are going to follow Harriet to a spot she knows not far from here on the edge of the village. Now you two,” she continued pointing at Juniper and Sabrina, “stay close and stay together. If something should happen, run back to the cave and we’ll find you there. That will be our rendezvous spot. OK?”

Both girls nodded. The group crept quickly and quietly to the edge of the village. They stayed behind a couple of trees while Harriet readied her bow. “Right, now Harriet is going to fire her arrows as soon as we rouse the village,” said Betsy. “I want you two to come out from the tree as I shout ‘Dragon!’ As soon as you see folks coming out of their homes, run like the blazes. We’ll cover you.”

Sabrina looked at Juniper and then the two friends nodded to Betsy.

“Harriet, wait to fire your flaming arrows until the leaders of the village decide to give chase.”

“Got it! I’ll wait until Mayor Cuthbert sends out the hunters. And I think I’ll send the arrow into the granary. That will cause a lot of folks to try to save the crops.”

“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That should keep everyone occupied one way or the other. Ready? OK, let’s do this.”

Sabrina and Juniper stepped out into the open and Betsy yelled at the top of her voice, “Dragons, Dragons, we’re being attacked.”

Sabrina and Juniper covered their ears, as Betsy’s voice was truly stupendous. Nothing happened for a few minutes and then suddenly, villagers started stumbling out of their homes in their nightclothes. Someone caught sight of Juniper and yelled, “Dragons! Over there!”

“I see them,” yelled another.

Just then Harriet whispered, “There’s the mayor. As soon as he gives the word, I’ll fire.”

The words were no sooner out of her mouth than Mayor Cuthbert yelled, “After them, men! Let’s teach those abominations a lesson!”

With that, Sabrina and Juniper ran and Harriet fired several flaming arrows into the granary, before she and Betsy headed after them. Harriet quickly took the lead and said, “Follow me! We need to take a different path so that we don’t lead them to our cave.”

The four of them ran as quickly as they could, first one way and then another, until Sabrina was completely turned around. She could hear the villagers crashing through the woods, but they weren’t getting any closer. Harriet was doing an excellent job.

“Fire!! Fire!!,” yelled Mayor Cuthbert, calling off the pursuit. “Come back! We need you!”

Soon Sabrina, Juniper, Harriet, and Betsy were back at their cave. “Did we do enough?” asked Sabrina.

“I think so,” said Betsy.

“Yes, even if they aren’t still chasing us, they’ll be really busy trying to put out the fire before the winter supply of grain is totally destroyed. And the granary is far enough away from where Roger and his family are being kept that no one should see them being rescued,” agreed Harriet.

“What now?” asked Juniper.

“Now, we wait for Henrietta. We can’t move until we know Roger and his family are safe,” said Betsy.

They all sat and rested, tired from all the running. After about thirty minutes, Henrietta landed at the mouth of the cave.

“Everyone is safe,” she reported. “The guards raced to help with the fire, so it was easy to get the family out. Georgette and Tom are taking them to one of our safe locations and I’m supposed to guide you there as well.”

“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That is great news.”

Then she turned to Harriet and said, “What will you do now?”

Harriet looked sad as she said, “I’m not going back. I’ll go with you to the safe spot and then ask Georgette and Tom how I can help the most. I know there are others who don’t believe Mayor Cuthbert but who won’t speak up. And now, thanks to me, the villagers are going to have a rough time getting through the winter. They’ll need help, but getting them to see that will be tough.”

“You’re right,” said Betsy. “Well, we can’t solve that tonight. Let’s head out and find the others. Lead on, oh wondrous owl.”

Henrietta chuckled as they set off for the safe camp.

Next Part

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Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 8

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Georgette, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina arrived at a forested area just outside the village. Sabrina noticed many animals and a few humans were already gathered talking and planning. Georgette immediately took charge of things.

“What have you found out,” Georgette asked.

Tom, one of the men, answered, “I’m afraid the leaders have locked Anne, Roger, and their children in the underground cellar where the roots are kept. There is only one way in or out. And the leaders are planning on a dawn inquisition and speedy execution.”

A small badger spoke up. “It is true that there is only one way in for you, Tom, and your kind, but we have been tunneling into that cellar for just such an occasion and last night I snuck in after the leaders dumped Anne and Roger and I talked with them.”

“Great work, Clarence!” said Georgette. “Can the tunnel be made large enough to get them out?”

Clarence shook his head as he said, “Not in time. The leaders arrested them last night, and then deliberated for much of today, but the plan is now definite. Torture and execution in the morning.”

“That’s horrible,” said Sabrina, and all of a sudden all eyes were turned toward Sabrina and Juniper.

“Who are you?” asked Tom.

Georgette said, “No time for their stories now, but they are here to help. They got caught on the wrong side of the river and I was taking them to the secret tunnel when Betsy caught up with me. Now we have six who need to be saved.”

Tom nodded and went on, “Did Roger or Anne have any suggestions, Clarence?”

“No, they are pretty shaken, as you can imagine. I did get them some food and water and finally both children fell asleep. Little Benjamin cried for the longest time, saying that he didn’t mean to tell about his rescue and he really thought his friend was a good buddy. I felt so sorry for him especially.”

“Well, we have to get them out tonight. Thankfully the root cellar is on this edge of the village, so once we get them out of the cellar, it will be quick to move them to safety, but we need a plan,” concluded Georgette.

Betsy nodded and said, “We have thought of several different options, but they each involve hurting someone on either our side or the other and we’d really like to avoid that if possible.”

“The root cellar is kept shut with a bar that hinges up or down. It wouldn’t take long to get the door open,” said Tom.

“And I can be inside to alert Anne and Roger so that they have their kids in their arms and are ready to run the moment that the door opens,” said Clarence.

“You guys just need a distraction on the other side of the village,” said Sabrina. “Maybe Juniper and I could do that?”

Betsy said, “That would be terribly dangerous. Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes,” said Juniper firmly. “None of the villagers have seen us, and I imagine that seeing a dragon, even one as young and small as I am, would cause a considerable uproar.”

Tom laughed and said, “You’ve got that right! But they have guns and you could get shot.”

Georgette looked around the group and then asked Tom, “Just how many of you villagers are left who don’t believe in the leaders’ agenda?”

“Obviously none of us do,” Tom said, and the other six people nodded vigorously. “After all, we’ve been your link to the village and have helped many to escape. There might be another dozen or so who are leaning our way, but haven’t committed.”

Harriet, a tall woman with long grey hair, said, “I was listening around the village earlier after Anne and Roger had been arrested and there was a lot of dissent. However, I wouldn’t want to trust any of them not to give us away.”

Georgette said, “No, we certainly can’t let them in on the plan or take them with us, but if they are uncertain, then they probably wouldn’t react as fast to harm any of us.”

Everyone thought quietly for a moment and then Georgette said, “We need to wait for dark. By then we can have Sabrina and Juniper in position on the far side of the village. Betsy, I want you to take them and watch over them.”

Betsy nodded and said, “I am happy to do that, and I know a place on the other side of the village where the three of us can hid once we’ve roused the village.”

“Excellent,” said Georgette. “Harriet, could you go with them as well with a bow and arrow, just in case.”

“For sure,” said Harriet. “With any luck, I should be able to injure anyone carrying a rifle, enough so that they are out of action, but not seriously hurt or killed.”

“That’s the plan,” said Georgette. “Now, we need to be able to communicate since the timing will be critical.”

Just then Henrietta landed in the center of the group. “I’ve been observing and listening and I think that your plan has about the best chance of any I’ve thought of. I’ll be your messenger, especially since I want to keep an eye on those two,” she said pointing a wing at Juniper and Sabrina. “I didn’t get them off the mountain to have them become rifle prey.”

Georgette chuckled and said, “Thanks so much, Henrietta. I know you don’t normally get this close to the village, so we are doubly grateful for your help. Now then, we have a few hours until it is dark enough to move. Betsy, I want your group to head out now and find a good spot to await your diversion. Then see that everyone is fed and gets a bit of a rest.”

“Right you are,” said Betsy and she, Harriet, Juniper, and Sabrina began to leave the group.

“Harriet,” said Georgette, and Harriet turned back. “Can you fire a flaming arrow when your diversion starts? Aim it into the edge of the village where it won’t set anything on fire, but where it will start the commotion. We’ll be watching and that will be our cue as well.”

Harriet patted her quiver filled with arrows and said, “Excellent idea. I can do that. I’ll wait until it is completely dark. We are lucky that the moon is a new moon.”

With that, Harriet, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina headed out, grabbing some provisions before disappearing into the woods.

As they followed Betsy, Sabrina thought, It all sounds fine and dandy to be a diversion and certainly we are the newcomers and the villagers don’t know us, but can we really do it? I sure don’t want anything to happen to Juniper. She is so young and small and she has become my true friend.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 7

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Georgette led Sabrina and Juniper the rest of the way down the mountain and into a forested area where they stopped for lunch.

“Now I want to hear your stories. How did you ever land in this mess?” said Georgette, as she handed out the lunches.

Both Sabrina and Juniper shared their experiences with her, and then Georgette said, “The world can be a very cruel place at times. Both of you have been bullied by your peers which is inexcusable. Unfortunately, being different is never easy, and it is all too common that those who are different get picked on. But Sabrina, the adults in your life should definitely know much better! That French teacher has no business being a teacher at all! And I get that your father is hurting, but he should know better than to take it out on you!”

Sabrina answered her. “I think that he wants to toughen me up so that I don’t suffer as he has, but I’m just not tough.”

Georgette said, “I am sick of folks talking about being tough. All that becomes is meanness. Don’t they realize that kindness and gentleness are the true strengths? Anyway, if you’ve finished eating, we’d better get moving.”

They hiked through the forest and after a few hours came out onto the edge of a meadow. Georgette stopped them and listened very carefully. “Someone is coming,” she said. “Get back into the forest behind that big tree while I figure out who it is.”

After about ten minutes they heard Georgette calling out a greeting. “Hey, Betsy, what are you doing huffing and puffing way out here?”

Sabrina and Juniper peeked around the tree they were hiding behind only to see a large brown bear lumbering over to Georgette. After Georgette had greeted her friend, she called to Sabrina and Juniper, “It’s OK. Come on out and meet Betsy.”

Once Sabrina and Juniper had been introduced, Betsy turned to Georgette and said, “I’d heard something about you being on a rescue mission, but I had no idea that you had two young ones.”

“Yes, they managed to get themselves trapped on the wrong side of the river and I’m taking them to the secret passage so that they can get home,” answered Georgette. “But you didn’t come all the way out here just to hear that. What brings you so far from home?”

“I was looking for you,” answered Betsy. “We have a big problem. Remember Anna and Roger and their two small children?”

“Yes, we are getting ready to send them along the secret passage once their youngest is a bit older.”

“Well, we can’t wait. They’ve been arrested. And the leaders of the village say that Anna and Roger will be publicly tortured in the morning. Once the leaders have gotten all the information they can out of them, the entire family is to be executed.”

“What,” exclaimed Georgette as both Juniper and Sabrina gasped in horror.

“Yes,” said Betsy. “The leaders are tired of losing villagers. The population has dropped so low with all those who have chosen to leave that it is barely sustainable. The leaders are determined to find the escape route and use it themselves. They want to attack the dragons on the other side of the river.”

“No!” wailed Juniper. “They can’t do that. We’ve left them alone. We’ve never hurt them.”

“Hush, little one,” said Betsy kindly as she patted Juniper. “I know that and nothing is going to happen to the dragons. In fact, if the leaders had half a brain between them, they would realize that the dragons could do a lot more to them than they could do to the dragons. But we don’t plan on letting things get that far, do we, Georgette.”

“Indeed we don’t. I take it that rescue plans are being prepared.”

“As we speak,” answered Betsy. “But we need you.”

“How ever did the leaders suspect them in the first place. I know Anna and Roger would never let on,” said Georgette.

“From what we can gather, little Benjamin let something slip. Remember when he wandered away from home a few months ago and fell into the pit, breaking his leg. And he was rescued when Jerome told his father where he was. Well, apparently little five-year-old boys don’t keep secrets very well and he told a friend how a cute raccoon had found him and calmed him, and so forth. At least that’s what we are thinking, and the story got back to the village leaders.”

Georgette shrugged. “Sounds likely. I wish people had more smarts. Poor Benjamin fell into that stupid trap and was nearly impaled by the sharp sticks the hunters had set in the bottom. Instead of being thankful that Jerome had found Benjamin and had the good sense to notify his parents, so that Benjamin was rescued with nothing more than a broken leg, all they can see is that it is an abomination that non-humans can talk and think.”

“I know, but some folks just can’t change,” said Betsy. “But now we have to hustle! No one will do anything until you approve the plan.”

Georgette turned to Sabrina and Juniper. “Your trip just got detoured. I hadn’t planned on having you get anywhere near the village, but we have to rescue this family.”

“And we want to help,” said Juniper.

Sabrina nodded vigorously. “Yes, we’ve been talking about stopping bullies. Well, this is the time to put our words into actions,” she said.

“Thanks,” said Georgette. “We have to travel fast now. Sabrina, you get on my back and hold tight. Juniper, you climb onto Betsy.”

Once the girls were securely on top of the fox and the bear, Georgette and Betsy took off at a run. They sped straight across the meadow in the direction of the river. As the fox and bear ran, Juniper and Sabrina looked across at each other. What now, thought Sabrina.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 6

Missed the beginning? Start here.

The next morning Juniper and Sabrina awoke to find Henrietta and a fox standing outside the cave. “Wake up, sleepy heads,” said Henrietta. “Georgette and I have arrived with breakfast.”

“Food!” exclaimed Sabrina. “We’re so hungry.”

Sabrina and Juniper sat down with Henrietta and Georgette, a gorgeous red fox, and began eating rolls laden with honey. As they ate, Henrietta brought them up to date with the situation.

“Georgette is the leader of all non-human beings on this side of the river. She has agreed to help you find your way back to your home, Juniper, and she also agrees that for now, Sabrina, that is your best option as well.”

“Thank you so much,” said Sabrina in between bites.

As Sabrina and Juniper ate, Georgette began her tale. “Long ago, there were no humans in this world, but one day, a large group suddenly appeared. We don’t really have any idea where they came from. Maybe they came through the way you did,” Georgette said, looking at Sabrina.

“In any case,” Georgette went on, “we welcomed them to our world and tried to help them adjust. The leader of the dragons greeted them, but she was met with great hostility. The new settlers, for we found out that was their intent, to take over the land, began shooting arrows at her. No amount of talking would convince them that the dragons meant them no harm. So the dragons left. Things became even worse when we discovered that their belief system would not allow for intelligent non-human species. They began preaching that we were abominations which had to be slaughtered so that they could take over this world.”

“That’s horrible,” said Sabrina, with her hands over her face.

“Indeed,” agreed Georgette. “As the years went by, the land was settled as you now find it. Most of the non-human species have moved across the river and live with the dragons, your people, Juniper.”

“But we have humans as well,” said Juniper, “and they are nice and we all get along just fine.”

“Very true, little one,” said Georgette. “As the humans settled in, some of them started to doubt what their leaders were saying. Some of them wanted our help and believed that we could all live in harmony. They learned that humans are no better or worse than any other species. We are all equal. And so, the secret passage was developed.”

“Secret passage?” asked Juniper.

“Yes, as Henrietta said, I am the leader of those who remain on this side of the river. We stay here so that we can help any who are caught on this side of the river but who wish to live differently. We try to make friends with those humans who seem interested, especially the young. After all, no one is born hating. Hatred has to be instilled in them. We try in small ways, to undermine the teachings of the leaders.

“And when we find those whom we are sure want to live a peaceful life, we send them along the secret passageway over to the other side of the river. There, others work with them to be sure they aren’t spies or enemies trying to infiltrate, and once we are sure, they are helped to start new lives with most of our world.”

“Wow,” said Sabrina. “That is amazing. And you say, most of your world. Does that mean that this part of the land is much smaller?”

“Yes,” said Henrietta. “I fly over much of this world, and the reality is that the river has cut off this section of land separating it from the rest of the world. This part is bordered by the mountain cliffs, the river, and off to the west, by the ocean.”

“And the humans have just enough land to survive on, but occasionally they try to expand, to get back up the mountain and along the cliff you too came down, so Henrietta and others on this side, as well as the dragons on the other, patrol the area to be sure none can cross,” said Georgette.

“The otters and other water creatures keep a sharp eye on the river as well,” said Henrietta. “We would welcome any who want to work in harmony, but we won’t be threatened or bullied by those who think we are evil!”

“So does that mean you can get me home?” asked Juniper. “I’m sure my parents are very worried by now.”

“Messengers have already been dispatched to bring word to your parents,” said Henrietta. “They should know by now that you are safe and that you will be coming home as soon as we can manage it.”

“How long will that take?” asked Juniper.

“It will be several weeks at least,” said Georgette.

Juniper started to cry. “Weeks! I miss my mom. Oh, why can’t I be like the other dragons? Why can’t I fly?” she wailed.

Sabrina put her arms around the little dragon and said, “I like you just the way you are. I think you are perfect, and if others can’t see that, well that’s their problem.”

“Well said, Sabrina. Now if you two have had enough to eat, we need to be on our way. Thanks so much, Henrietta, for bringing them off the mountain. I’ll keep you posted on our progress,” said Georgette.

“Yes, thank you so very much,” said Sabrina and then without even thinking, she stood up and gave the owl a hug.

“Well, yes…” blustered Henrietta. “Anyone would have done the same.”

“Not anyone,” said Sabrina, “and you know that. We could have been found by those people in the village.”

“You saved us,” said Juniper, “and maybe one day I’ll be able to fly like you.”

Henrietta chuckled and said, “I’m sure you will. Now be on your way and remember, do everything that Georgette tells you to do. She knows how to keep you safe.”

“We will,” both Juniper and Sabrina promised, and with that, they headed down the trail to the meadow.

“Now if that isn’t a sight,” said Henrietta as she swooped over them, “a fox, a dragon, and a girl.”

Georgette laughed and said, “Thanks again, Henrietta,” as both Juniper and Sabrina waved.

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