Plots within plots and barbarians, too.
A shadow passed over the larger moon, briefly obscuring the light. All eight wyvern abruptly pinwheeled, each reptile turning and diving in a different direction. They called out, their raucous cries serving to keep the flight from separating too much. Rave concentrated on his link to his wyvern. What has he seen, to make him react thus?
The thought that only a dragon was large enough to blot out the moonlight crossed his mind a moment before whatever it was crossed over the moon again. This time, Rave focused on it. Not a dragon, he realized. A drake. In the draconic hierarchy, drakes ranked just below dragons and, in fact, were sometimes larger. But drakes weren’t intelligent. They were deadly hunters of anything they could catch, and certainly wouldn’t be opposed to snacking on wyvern. Or human.
Rave clutched his mount a little more tightly and mentally urged the beast to fly faster. Tarr’s wyvern was alongside him and keeping pace. The rest had scattered, and Rave hoped that the drake would pursue one of them rather than come after the two beasts flying tandem.
No such luck. As the distance between individual wyverns grew, it became apparent that the drake was chasing them. Rave guessed it was because their wyverns were slightly slower than the unburdened ones, and perhaps the fact that they stayed together also swayed the drake’s pursuit in their direction. The larger drake was faster over a distance than the wyvern, so it was only a matter of time before the drake wore them down. The beast was patient. It kept its superior altitude and made no effort to close with the wyvern.
Their smaller beasts did the only thing they could—they flew as fast as they could. It wouldn’t be enough, but landing was the worst thing they could do. So long as the drake was above them, they couldn’t use their superior agility to change course, the larger beast would mark the changes and follow with ease. Rave racked his brain for ways to defeat the drake. He just didn’t have any experience with combat spells, a lack he resolved to overcome as soon as possible.
Tarryn, however, didn’t think in magical terms, he was more practical. Rave blinked sheepishly as he watched Tarryn turn and let fly with his sling. He should have thought of that himself. Immediately, he pulled out his own sling, fitted a stone into the cup and flung the rock at the pursuing drake. He sighed as he realized the drake wasn’t close enough—the rocks fell far short. But perhaps when the drake closed in for the kill, the slings could be used to better advantage.
Half the night passed in silent, deadly pursuit. The larger moon set and the smaller moon was past the zenith. Rave thought there was a hint of grey in the eastern sky, the first sign of the approaching dawn. The wyvern were slowing, exhausted. The drake was still there, patiently tracking them, waiting for the wyvern to ground.
Rave knew the pursuit couldn’t last much longer. Abruptly, the wyvern folded their wings and dove, heading for the ground at a high rate of speed. Rave concentrated on his beast, trying to turn it back skyward, but the wyvern wasn’t listening to him. Frustrated, Rave looked back for the drake, sling in hand. He wasn’t going down without a fight.