The shrill cry rang out again, closer, and Rhinseth dove down to the peak again, facing inward this time. An enormous dragon sat there, so still that Portia thought it might have been a statue until it beckoned.
“Catad?” the dragon said. Rhinseth neighed in answer.
We’ve got to do something about that, Rhinseth said. You’ve got more power than I’ve ever seen, and mastery of the language of the Power imputes understanding of most tongues. Normally. I answered this for you, but the forthcoming questions may be beyond me. This may sting. Something in the back of Portia’s mind twisted, and she felt a sensation like her ear popping.
“Can your companion speak for herself, Rhinseth?” the dragon said. “To repeat: What are you and what are you doing here?”
“I beg your pardon,” Portia said. “I am Portia Royal, a knight of the Shine and Wild Empire. In response to a request from a local mage here, I was assigned here to investigate.”
“Why are you here on this mountain?”
“My squire ran an unerring-direction. Your first cry frightened our horses, and on some impulse I came on foot.”
“Call the squire here, but tell him not what to expect,” the dragon said. Portia bowed.
“Aaron!” she called, stepping to the lip of the summit. “Leave the horses and come here.”
“Rhinseth, hide yourself in space,” the dragon said. “Let him take the adventure without warning.”
Just as suddenly as she had appeared, Rhinseth and the dragon were gone. Portia walked down the mountain to meet her squire.
“An adventure awaits you on the mountain, she said. “I have met it, but so must you before we go on.” He nodded and walked up to the summit.
Rattelan has chosen him, Rhinseth said. He is high among our kind here.
“Tell me when the dragon has finished with him, so that I may return.”
The dragon—his name is Tadic—calls for you, Rhinseth said after a long pause.
“I thank you,” Portia said, getting to her feet and walking again to the summit.