A Transdimensional
              Portal HUZZAH!

  by Van © 2021

Chapter 3



Helplessly bound and gagged, lashed to long poles, and being carried through a forest of giant redwoods, Bonnie continued her evaluation of the ginger warriors and their equipment.  She assumed George, who was identically restrained and helpless, was doing the same, but unfortunately their knotted cleave-gags were making normal conversation impossible, just as the close proximity of their captors made it inadvisable.  Anyway...

(1) In Bonnie's opinion, the warriors' boots were impressive technology.  Her tastes about things like expeditionary clothing and field equipment was more-or-less Iroquoian.  George worried about fashion and style, but Bonnie wanted footwear suitable for rugged trails, with decent ankle protection that didn't hamper flexibility, and, if possible, could be repaired in the field.  The ginger amazons' footwear met all of those criteria.  They were more heavy duty, knee-length moccasins with thick, laced on soles than boots.  The soldiers' greaves covered the front of their moccasin-boots, but Bonnie suspected the boots laced up the front and the shin-protection buckled on in the rear.

(2) The cloth of their short, "uniform" kilts or skirts were rugged and functional, and in a variety of earth tones that blended into the forest and with each other, all minor variations on the same natural theme.  The vertical leather strips overlying the skirts were dyed in similar but not identical shades of brown, sometimes with different colored straps on a single soldier.  That said, the kilts, leather strips, and straps and belts of the rest of their kits were all of the same pattern  It was clear the "uniforms" would be effective camouflage in most natural environments.

(3) The most truly uniform thing about the warriors' kits was their breastplates and helmets, and now that Bonnie had time to examine the armor at her "leisure," Bonnie decided whatever alloy or casting technique had been used in their manufacture was unknown in Luropa (or simply wasn't used).  The metal had a mottled appearance, shot through with faint verdigris tendrils and tortoiseshell mottling in shades of rust-red, bronze, and dull brown.  The patterns were subtle, but like the soldier's earth tone kilts and different colored leather accoutrements, would blend into the natural world quite well.

(4) Their captors were, indeed, warriors.  Bonnie could see it in the way they moved, carried their equipment, and especially in the way they'd fought during the boarding action.  And the gingers were an army for the field, not the parade ground.

And they were all redheads, every single one.  Also, as far as Bonnie had been able to tell so far, they all had green eyes.  No black, brown, or blond hair.  No ebony, brown, or deeply tanned skin, and no black, brown, or blue eyes.  Every soldier in sight had peachy-pink, freckled complexions.  Also, her opinion that their captors were all more-or-less gorgeous remained unchanged.  Remove their helmets and the soldiers would be beauties, every one.  Perhaps it's a recruiting criterion, Bonnie mused.

The prisoners' journey continued.  They were carried through the redwoods without stopping for a full hour... which became two.  Swaying back and forth under the poles was getting old, but things could be worse.  The air was hot and humid, but not oppressively so.

During the second hour of the journey to their unknown destination, however, the forest began to change.  The faint trail under their captors' feet began to slope upwards, and the redwoods slowly gave way to less monumental conifer species.  Also, the air was definitely cooling and clouds were periodically blocking the sun.

And then, the trees abruptly stopped.  Ahead was a vast meadow covered in a riotous multitude of wildflowers and tall grass.  And beyond that rose the craggy slopes of a huge mountain.

The clouds were still closing in overhead, and—"Mrrrf?"  What the hell?  Bonnie could see something very big—something with bat-like wings—was flying overhead!  It emerging from one fluffy cloudbank and disappearing into another.  It was visible only for a couple of seconds, too brief a time to determine minor details like its species, size (other than big), or even altitude.


That had been George, and Bonnie realized her partner had seen it too, whatever it was.  And then—


That was both prisoners.  Their captors had produced hoods of black cloth and pulled them over Bonnie and George's gagged heads!  Bound, gagged, lashed to poles, and now very effectively blindfolded, Bonnie and George struggled and squirmed.  Unfortunately, their hoods were not only light-tight, but were making it slightly difficult to breathe.  They stopped their pointless struggles and concentrated on panting for air.

Then, they heard the steady beat of wings—huge wings—and the wings were getting closer and closer.  Then, there was a minor windstorm as whatever owned the wings in question settled to the ground nearby with a thud.

Bonnie and George were carried forward, their poles heaved off the shoulders of their carriers, and placed against the sides of what was obviously a very large animal... with scales!  Their poles (and the captives themselves) were strapped or tied in place.

"Scuad gléasta suas!" a female, authoritative voice barked, and the prisoners heard and felt the scrambling of at least some of the soldiers climbing onto the beast.  Neither Bonnie nor George recognized the language in which the leader had spoken.

Seconds passed... then, with a huge swoosh of wings, their scaly ride lifted into the air!

Luropeans and Moreasians had tried to domesticate pterodactyls for centuries, even hand-rearing them from the egg, but no winged dinosaur of any species had ever allowed themselves to be ridden.  Had their captors somehow pulled it off?  And as far as Bonnie and George were aware, only the smaller pterodactyl species were capable of vaulting directly onto the air.  Anything larger than a few hundred pounds had to glide into the air from an elevated perch.  Whatever was carrying them—and however many soldiers had gone along for the ride—was huge, at least the size of a baby Sky-God Honker of the Junn-Junn Wastes!

The wind whistled past their bound, gagged, and hooded bodies as the prisoners formerly terrestrial journey became airborne.  At least breathing through the hoods was now easier.  The muscles of the scaly-skinned beast flexed and rolled in rhythm to the beat of the wings... and then went still as the beast soared.  The flight settled into a pattern of several strong wing-beats... followed with periods of gliding... then more wing-flapping.

Bonnie would very much like to be able to see where they were going, but that was impossible.  She was sure that if George wasn't gagged, she'd remark that their captors were being very rude.

 Chapter 3

Mac had realized that if she was going to find out where her partners were being taken, she was going to have to take a few risks... possibly a lot of risks.  Escaping unseen from Sky Woman had been lucky.  She could only hope her luck would hold.

At least for now, the female soldiers who had boarded Sky Woman and captured Bonnie and George showed no sign of actively searching for additional crew members (like herself).  She assumed that eventually they'd realize that three of the airship's cabins had been occupied, but they only had two prisoners, but it didn't seem to have happened yet.  She hated abandoning Sky Woman to the strangers, but first things first.  She had to find and rescue her partners.

Mac knew the general direction George and Bonnie had been taken, and that they had been carried off by a sizable force.  There was a little cover on the forest floor, in the form of clumps of ferns and a few bushes, but also a lot of open space.  She had to sprint from tree to tree, find the trail of the departing party, follow, and do so while staying out of sight.  She shouldered her survival pack (blanket, first-aid kit, three day's dry rations, and two canteens), and being as stealthy as she dared, jogged away from the site of the crash on what she desperately hoped was the correct heading.

For about five anxious minutes... during which Mac was increasingly afraid she might have misjudged the direction... then she caught sight of a squad of amazon soldiers trudging down a faint trail.  Dodging from massive tree trunk to massive tree trunk on a parallel track, Mac slowly gained ground on the rearguard... then passed them and the main party came into view.  She confirmed that Bonnie and George were, indeed, in the party (bound, gagged, and being carried on poles), then settled into a careful, stealthy power-walk.  The last thing she wanted was for the amazons to notice her.  So far, she seemed to be pulling it off.

The soldiers and their dangling captives were making good time, and Mac found herself struggling to keep pace.  Apparently, the amazons were on an actual trail.  Mac had to contend with fallen trees and the leafy clumps of under-story growth.  The last thing she wanted was for a soldier to glance in her direction and notice a shaking bush or a clump of waving ferns.

Mac was no Iroquoian tracker, nor were her woodcraft skills as good as Bonnie's, but as a teenager she had stalked red deer and elk in the Caledonian forests under the tutelage of her uncles.  Mac wasn't a tenderfoot, but she wasn't a gamekeeper either.

Anyway, Mac felt herself flagging, and doubled down on her efforts to keep up with the soldiers and not get noticed.

Slowly, the forest changed as the redwoods gave way to smaller conifer species... and the journey continued.  Take a breather, why don't you? Mac mentally urged the amazons, but they didn't.

Eventually, they came to the edge of the forest.  There was a narrow transition zone of brush and saplings, and beyond was a vast meadow of grasses and wildflowers slowly rising to become the slopes of a huge mountain.  The sky was now studded with banks of fluffy white clouds.

The soldiers and their captive burdens marched from the trees and out onto the meadow without pause.  Then, suddenly, they stopped and three things happened.  (1) A pair of black hoods were produced and pulled over Bonnie and George's gagged heads.  (2) one of the amazons stepped away from the group, unfurled and raised a small red flag on a short pole, whirled it around over her helmeted head several times in a broad circle... then pointed at the ground.  And (3) a giant dragon dropped from the sky and executed a graceful landing about twenty yards in front of the amazons.

That is...Dragon


Mac's heart skipped several beats and she stopped breathing!  It wasn't a pterodactly!  It wasn't a dinosaur of any variety Mac had ever seen or studied in school!  And it certainly wasn't a bird!.  It was a dragon!  Reptilian!  Bat-like wings!  Long neck and fierce face!  Horns!  Long tail!  Talons!  A DRAGON!!

Dragons were mainstays of Luropean and Morasian mythology.  Supposedly, the largest of the beasts could snatch a full grown T. rex from the ground like an eagle or pteranodon pouncing on a rabbit or compsognathus.  They were supposed to be intelligent, demonstrated a propensity for kidnapping attractive young women (usually of royal blood), hoarded gold and shiny objects, and lived in caves on top of mountains, but they weren't real!

This particular dragon was very real, and it was at least 300 feet long from nose to tail and its skin and scales were in mottled shades of brown.  Its eyes were gold or yellow, visible even at this distance, and at the moment they were focused on the soldier with the red flag.  The distance was too great for Mac to be able to hear any words being spoken, or possibly shouted for that matter, but the soldier was making gestures and pointing at Bonnie and George.  Mac could only imagine what her captured friends were thinking.

Mac remembered to breathe, and once again her heart was thumping in her chest.

By-the-way, the dragon was wearing an elaborate harness of brown leather straps.  Its color was close to the color of the dragon's scales and included generous leather saddlebags and lashed down bundles of who knows what.  The dragon was a beast of burden?  Somehow, that seemed unlikely.

As Mac continued watching (and breathing), Bonnie and George, still roped to their carrying poles, were lashed to the dragon's harness.  At the same time, half the soldiers swarmed over the dragon's body and began releasing bundles and carrying them to the ground.  This activity continued with quick, practiced efficiency.  Then, a dozen amazons buckled themselves into what Mac now recognized to be saddles, distributed across the harness at strategic points on the dragon's back and flanks.

The soldier who had waved the red flag checked Bonnie and George's lashings... then climbed up the harness, ducked under the dragon's half-folded wings, and settled into a saddle at the nape of the dragon's long neck, just above its massive shoulders.

Belatedly, Mac pulled her stereoptical-polychromatic goggles down over her green eyes, dialed them to binocular function, and watched as the dragon spread its wings and vaulted into the air.  Clearly, the soldiers and the dragon were a well-trained team.  All the nations of Luropa, Moreasia, and Gondwana had air-marines and parachute infantry, but Bonnie and George's captors were dragon-borne infantry!

Mac used her binocular goggles to watch the dragon fly away.  It steadily gained height... to about 6,000 feet... then began gliding towards the looming mountain, periodically flapping its gigantic wings to maintain altitude.

Back on the ground, the remaining soldiers here unpacking and setting up tents, as well as laying out long panels of white cloth on the ground and staking them down.  Obviously, they were setting up a small base and defining a landing zone.  It made sense, Mac supposed.  The amazons had been pitching a camp at the base the trees cradling Sky Woman, and now they were doing the same at the other end of the trail through the forest.

Meanwhile, the dragon, Bonnie, George, and the squad of dragon-borne troopers dwindled into the distance... became a black dot with flapping wings... and then a tiny black dot that might have had flapping wings.  It was still headed for the mountain.  Eventually, it's shape was lost against the jumble of rocks and forested slopes, but Mac was sure it had been headed for a shelf-like plateau near the base of the mountain, something like a fifth, possibly less, of the way up to the treeline of the snow-covered peak.  And now that Mac examined the plateau in question, the jumble of rocks on its more-or-less horizontal surface were unusually regular and symmetrically arranged.  They might be buildings.

Mac wished she had a pair of actual binoculars like the ones on Sky Woman's bridge.  They were 50x.  Better yet would be one of the large telescopes mounted in front of Sky Woman's massive Tea-Parlor/Library windows.  And while she was at it, she could use a pair of Tesla pistols and her favorite Weatherby hunting rifle... as well as the professional services of a company of well-armed Hibernian Special Services Air-Marines.

Over at the landing site, the first of the tents was fully erected.  More would soon follow.

Mac decided to put a little more distance between herself and the landing site.  If the soldiers started foraging for firewood or mounted patrols, she was too close.  Mac eased herself back from the margin of the meadow... and carefully made her way from tree to bush to rock, making sure she was shielded from casual discovery by the amazons.  She noted the amazons had posted sentries.  She counted three, and they were scanning the meadow and the forest with due diligence.

Finally, Mac found a stunted fir set back from the meadow that she could climb, then found a nest of branches from which she could observe the camp, the meadow, and the distant mountain.  Mac had some thinking to do.  Also, now that she'd stopped moving, she found herself shivering, but not from cold.  If anything, in her leather coverall she was too hot.  Mac realized she was suffering from delayed shock, but she could handle it.  She had to handle it.  Bonnie and George were counting on her!

 Chapter 3

Bound, gagged, hooded, lashed to the flank of a gigantic flying beast (with scales)...  This was a first for both adventurers.

Bonnie and George were sure they were airborne.  The wind was whistling past their bound, gagged, and hooded bodies.  Another clue was the periodic thump... thump... thump of their transport's giant wings, in rhythm with their bodies bobbing up and down.  Otherwise, they were largely clueless.

Bonnie was finding the near total lack of information to be frustrating.  Had she been captured in the course of their various adventures before?  Yes, of course, but the near sensory deprivation while something really interesting was happening was new.  As for George, her brilliant partner was kidnapped all the time, so Bonnie assumed she wasn't all that distressed.  (She was wrong, by the way.  George's heart was hammering and she was panting through her gag and hood.  Georgette was anything but calm and relaxed.)

The trip lasted... a half hour?  Possibly.  Several long minutes, anyway.  Then, it felt like their ride swooped in for a surprisingly gentle landing.  What Bonnie and George assumed were the amazon soldiers climbed over their bodies and began untying the ropes lashing them in place.  The prisoners were released from the flank of their flying transport beast... released from their carrying poles... their feet and legs untied... and finally, the hoods were snatched from their gagged heads.

Bonnie and George blinked in the sudden light, looked around, and...


That had been mostly George, a wide-eyed, very startled George.

Bonnie's eyes were also wide, but her vocal reaction had been a gasp, mostly absorbed by her gag.

Their ride was a DRAGON!  Bat-wings—formidable talons—long neck and fiercely smiling face with a long snout and horns—dagger-like, no, sword-like teeth—long tail—and it was the size of a house!  A large house!

It wasn't a dinosaur.  It wasn't a mammal.  It was a DRAGON!  A creature of fairy-tales and myths!

George had always wondered (even as a child) why there were dragons and dinosaurs in children's stories and the ancient sagas, but only dinosaurs in the real world.  It didn't make sense.  Anyway...  "MRRRF!"

The dragon was resting on its stomach in the center of a courtyard paved with flagstones.  Its tail was coiled and its neck turned back so its gigantic golden eyes could watch the prisoners and the ginger soldiers unloading various other bundled cargo from the stout leather and metal harness strapped to its torso.

One of the soldiers made a gesture and the dragon swung its head close and nudged the warrior's body.  Its massive head was larger than the soldier herself, but its movements were gentle and precise.  The soldier chuckled, vigorously stroked the dragon under its chin, then gave as much of the beast's head a hug as she could manage.

They were in what might be called a forecourt in front of the entrance of a huge cave, and from the vista of the slopes and the landscape beyond and below, were at some elevation, perhaps on the slopes of the large mountain they'd seen earlier.  That was all Bonnie had time to see before the noose of a lasso was dropped over her head, tightened, and she was led away at the end of her leash by one of the soldiers.  They were surrounded by an "honor guard" of at least a dozen of the ginger warriors, all armed with clubs or staffs (and belted swords).  George had received a leash and handler of her own and was a few steps behind Bonnie.

They passed between a massive pair open, dragon-size wooden doors, and entered the main entrance of a large cavern.  Off to their right was a dragon-size alcove covered with loose straw.  The captives assumed it was the dragon's bed.  Similar large alcoves were carved into the walls of the cave.  Some were being used to store supplies, and others were dragon-beds, some of which were occupied!  Bonnie counted four more of the huge beasts, all in shades of gray and brown.

One alcove to the left of the main entrance was a combination smithy and leather workshop.  A ginger clad in only a loincloth was pumping a set of bellows while a second, wearing a loincloth and leather apron, was busy pounding something on an anvil with a hammer.  Both redheads were gleaming with sweat, and their long red hair trailed down their backs, plaited in tight single braids.

Other redheads were milling around the cavern.  Some were in armor, others were topless and clad only in loincloths, like the two metal-smiths, and others wore simple tunics or shifts of natural linen and leather belts with pouches and knives or short swords  The unarmored gingers were either barefoot or wore sandals or military boots without greaves.

Obviously, the cave was home to both the dragons and a sizable force of ginger legionaries.

Bonnie, George, and their escort passed through a narrow passage protected by two different sets of heavy drapes, and out into a vast, torch-lit cavern with multiple trails leading in different directions.  More gingers were present, most in tunics or shifts, and carrying bundles or small casks or pushing laden carts.  A few paused to point at Bonnie and George as they were led across the cavern, over an arched bridge, and towards one of several tunnel openings.

They entered the tunnel and the path started descending in a series of switchback turns... then arrived at another large, open, torch-lit cavern.  This time, however, there was a stream of clear water running down the center, several small, steaming pools to either side of the stream tucked against the cavern walls, and something like fifty naked gingers!  Some were in the stream, scrubbing and rinsing themselves (and each other), some were soaking in the large side-pools (which were obviously geothermal), and some were lying flat on stone tables and receiving massages.

Shouts and greetings were exchanged, or Bonnie and George assumed they were greetings.  The redheads were speaking a completely unknown language, a mixture of guttural and melodious tones and syllables with a lilting rhythm.  There was also laughter and leering smiles as the naked bathers converged on Bonnie and George and began divesting them of their clothing!


The gagged complaint was from George, of course.  Bonnie would just as soon be out of her boots, leather pants, blouse, and scarf.  It was hot in the bathing-cavern, and the humidity had to be hovering close to 100%.

The captives' naked, freckled, fit, athletic, and beautiful handlers took full precautions, unbuttoning and removing their clothes and changing their bonds progressively.  Bonnie and George remained helpless during the entire process.  Bonnie stood perfectly still, assuming a bath would follow.  George, however, wiggled, squirmed, kicked, and did her best to impede her divestiture.

The gingers found George's resistance highly amusing.  Jeering and manifestly unnecessary poking and prodding of George's increasingly exposed body happened.  It was most unseemly.

Bonnie's costume was met with curiosity, but the various elements of George's ensemble produced highly amused astonishment.  The corset and her frilly lingerie, especially, was the source of great merriment.  Poor George blushed as deeply as Bonnie had ever seen her blush.

Meanwhile, Bonnie and George's former escort had removed their boots, armor, kilts, tunics, and loincloths, neatly arranged everything off to the side in alcoves chiseled into the stone walls, then returned to supervise the final arrangements.

Soon, Bonnie and George were completely naked, except for their knotted cleave-gags and rope bonds.  Their wrists were crossed and raised behind their backs, their upper-arms pinned to their sides, and their shoulders yoked in classic box-tie form.  Their ankles were hobbled about twelve inches apart, as well.  Obviously, their captors knew how to handle and restrain prisoners.

And then... Bonnie and George received the expected baths.  Multiple grinning redheads scrubbed them clean from head to toe.  Hard cakes of cedar-scented soap and rough washcloths were employed, and this happened at the downstream end of the running stream—and the stream in question was cold!

Bonnie endured the chilly bath with stoic indifference, as her Tuscaroran relatives would expect.  The water wasn't that cold.  George, however, whined, wiggled, and shivered, much to the continued delight of her ginger handlers.

Finally, the prisoners were led (or dragged, in the case of George) to one of the hot-tub side-pools.  There, with a vigilant redhead on either side to keep them under control, they were allowed to absorb the welcome heat of the very warm water.  Prisoners and handlers basked for a few minutes... and during that interval, Bonnie and George watched as their clothing—all of their clothing—was carefully bundled and carried away.

Finally, Bonnie and George watched as their original escort left the pools, dried themselves with fluffy towels, and began donning their loincloths, tunics, boots, and armor.  Again, Bonnie noted that while the cut of all elements of the soldiers' garments were uniform, as if cut and sewn from a single set of specifications, they were dyed in subtly different shades of brown, gray, and green.  No two were alike, and a few of the kilts and tunics were tie-dyed in two or three different shades.  All of it looked like reasonably effective camouflage.  The warrior in Bonnie was impressed.  What George the fashionista made of their captors' sartorial choices Bonnie could only guess.

While their escort were dressing and donning their equipment, other still naked redheads used towels to dry Bonnie and George's bound bodies, including their hair.  Then, they produced combs and brushes and started dealing with the mare's nests of their tangled, tousled, slightly damp, brown locks.  Again, the ginger's handling was no nonsense, but their hands were surprisingly gentle.  Were they in charge?  Yes, but they didn't seem to have any interest in being mean.

Finally, their ginger amazon escort decided the prisoners were ready.  Bonnie and George were led from the bathing chamber, clean, naked, bound, gagged, and hobbled, with their long brown hair loosely framing their gagged heads and draped down their backs.  Their feet were bare, but so far the floor was level, smooth, and not especially rough.

The resulting journey lasted at least twice as long as the one from the landing site to the baths.  Most of it was in dimly lit tunnels leading up, but occasionally they crossed the side of a large shaft with blue sky far overhead and torch-lit depths below.  One such shaft was very large, indeed, and as they crossed on a side trail set into the rock, Bonnie looked up and watched a dragon appear at a large cave opening something like five-hundred feet over their heads, spread its wings, leap into the air, and glide to another cave opening on the far side of the shaft.

Occasionally, single or small groups of gingers passed them in the tunnels or could be seen trudging up and down trails on the far sides of the shafts.  A few were in armor, but most were in undyed linen tunics or loincloths and bandeau-style bras.  All were flaming ginger redheads, every one, and all were fit, athletic, and beautiful.

Finally, they arrived at what was apparently their final destination.  A beautiful woven tapestry hung across the end of a tunnel and was being guarded by a pair of legionaries armed with shields and formidable looking spears with leaf-shaped points.  Their boots were polished and their armor the same dull, mottled mix of grays and browns as Bonnie and George's escort, but their tunics were natural linen, not earth-tones.  The spears were crossed, barring the escort party's way.

The ginger amazon at the front of the column, stepped forward.  The guards uncrossed their spears with a snap, and she stepped through the slit in the center of the tapestry-drapes and out of sight.  There was a brief pause...  Then, a voice barked a command in the gingers' unknown language.  The guards held open the tapestry-drapes, and the party stepped through, taking Bonnie and George with them, of course.

The captives found themselves in a very large chamber, indeed.  They lifted their heads—and their eyes popped wide in wonder and amazement.

The space was a vast dome, with stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites against the walls, like huge pilasters.  A large, dragon-size cave opening was off to their left, shielded by colossal versions of the tapestry-drapes of the human-size opening through which they had just passed. The floor was perfectly level and tiled in a mosaic that was obviously a detailed map.  Groups of tables and chairs were against the walls, between stalagmites, and were mostly laden with scrolls and books.

Directly ahead on the far side of the chamber was a dais with a large, ornately carved, throne-like chair.  It was flanked by a pair of guards in armor and undyed tunics, armed with spears and short swords.  Sitting on the throne was a beautiful woman wearing a long, pleated gown of thin, tightly-woven, natural linen with bare arms and a plunging neckline.  A simple crown of gold graced her brow, and not to Bonnie or George's great surprise, her long hair was flaming ginger.

But most remarkable of all, reclined in very large alcoves on all sides of the chamber at various heights were a dozen or more dragons!  All of the great beasts were at their ease, but quite obviously interested in what was happening down below.  Their scales were in a variety of shades of brown, gray, and tan, with most in combinations of different shades in subtle mottled or striped patterns.

The literally regal woman in the long gown and simple crown stood, took a few steps forward on sandal-clad feet, and raised her right arm towards the captives and made a graceful gesture.

The escorting amazons quickly untied and removed Bonnie and George's gags, straightened their hair, then resumed their posts.

The woman (Queen?) gazed across the chamber at the captives.  Her expression was at best neutral, at worst, hostile.  Finally, she spoke:

"Cé tusa?  Cén fáth a ndearna tú ionradh ar ár réimse?"

It was the same unknown language Bonnie and George had heard before.

Bonnie frowned and looked at her partner.  "That sounds a little like Hibernian, don't ya think?"

George gave a slightly rope-encumbered shrug.  "Perhaps an obscure dialect of Caledonian.  Nothing I'm familiar with, I'm afraid."

"Same here," Bonnie sighed, then cleared her throat and affected a shallow, rope-impeded bow.  (Might as well be respectful.  It couldn't hurt.)  "I'm sorry, uh, Your Majesty, but we don't understand."

"Her Majesty" glared at the naked prisoners for several seconds, lifted her gaze to stare at one of the dragons, then returned to her throne and sat.  It was now quite clear that she wasn't happy.

Bonnie and George exchanged a concerned look and shook their heads.  This was not how they'd thought the inaugural flight of The Spirit of Sky Woman's would go.

 Chapter 3


Chapter 2
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