Wordcount: 557 words
Look By Water and Stone
After a short argument in which Gray once again refused to leave, it was decided to send Rock-rock down to see if there was a path hidden at the base of the canyon. Because of the narrow width at the top it was impossible to see the bottom or the river and Wendy was reluctant to risk the possible white water rapids without knowing if there was a way to get out of the water. It took a bit for Gray to get this concept across to the rockdog, since the concept of ‘go see if there is a path and come back’ was a rather foreign train of thought for the predator. He finally settled on something along the lines of ‘go see if there is a safe place to rest,’ but Rock-rock still gave him a slightly confused look before sinking into the ground.
Wendy watched the dog disappear into the earth and wondered who had dreamed up such an odd animal. The rockdogs looked like a cross between a mastiff and a monitor lizard, thick stocky animals apparently more stone than flesh, with a stench somewhere between wet dog and sun-warmed potting soil. She didn’t remember the animals from Heather or David’s stories, so they must have been an earlier creation. Possibly someone’s reinterpretation of a dragon, she supposed.
“So if he finds something, we take the river, eh?” Gray was peering into the canyon trying to catch a glimpse of Rock-rock. “Maybe it’s best we go, they stay.” He turned to look at the two horses and Riley. “Less risk, and better those expendable take the chance.”
“Since when am I expendable?” Wendy glared at him but Gray only shrugged and went back to looking for Rock-rock.
“I want to come too!” Riley protested, “It’s my map and I’m just as good a swimmer as anybody else.”
“Actually it’s Riovan’s grandfather’s map.”
“But she gave it to me.”
“And I’ve got it now.” Wendy sighed at Riley’s stubborn glare. “Look at it this way, if you go the Black will want to go too. Do you really want him trying to swim in that?” She gestured to the canyon. “I know I want Moony to stay here.” Except that she didn’t. Wendy really wanted the unicorn down there with her, because magical plot coupons were normally hidden behind a series of traps and tests.
“I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Moonstar bobbed his head nervously. “I don’t want you going in there alone.”
“Hey, not for nothing I’m going.” Gray looked over at the unicorn with a frown. “I could be leaving you here.”
“Yeah, but you’re not, are you,” Moonstar snorted. “And don’t tell me it’s some grand unselfish gesture, you just want the flute when we’re done with it.”
Gray just grinned.
“Wait, he wants the flute? Why?” And suddenly Wendy was even less enthused about going in after it with only Gray for backup.
“The Flute of Five Winds can control the elements, he wants to carve out a realm for the rockdogs away from man.” Moonstar stomped the ground in explanation, “He can build his own closed canyon system, they’d be able to get out but no one could get in.”
“Sanctuary,” Gray nodded then looked downwards as Rock-rock started barking. “Looks like we’ve an in.”