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 08th August 1809: The Dragon
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:56 PM
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(Thread between Pye and Rottlaender, started by Marashar)

Patrolling on midday during August in the Peninsula was hot and dusty work, so when finally a halt was called, most soldiers who could dropped down in what shade they could find as quickly as possible. Only a few youngsters, hoping to find a trickle of water in a deeply carved in dry stream, were exploring.

"Perhaps there are some berries there zumindest?", Freddie suggested hopefully to his friend Pye. Or perhaps, against all hope there really was a nice cool stream he just could not see?
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:57 PM
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"Vielleicht they are. Hoffenfully! I'm hungry and thirsty!" He may not have learned German perfectly, but since he spent most of his time hanging around with his German friend, it seemed that German words were not only learned but also begun to sneak into his speech. It was much more prominent of course, when Freddie was around.

"Vamos!" He ducked away from the other riflemen, seeing no use in lying or resting about when a perfectly good bush could carry berries or perhaps a bit of drink could be found in the next stream. It was terribly hot, but they were youngsters and as such could not do 'stay still'.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 07:59 PM
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"Vamos!" Freddie agreed, following his friend. "We can go down there?", he suggested, pointing to a part where a small, scraggy tree promised some handholds.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:05 PM
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Pye looked at the tree, studying the footholds that it could offer, for a moment and nodded. "Ja, perfect." He really liked how Ja sounded. It was very similar to yes and yet made him feel like he needed to open his mouth in a big way to say it. That amused him.

"I'll go down first. Then du." He began to descend towards the tree, careful not to slip or loose his footing. His hair was clammy and stuck to his skin, wet from sweat and dirty from dust. "Careful around here. It's.. peligroso! And slippery..loose rock." That was another word that he'd learned just a week or so ago. At first he thought it meant 'very gross', just as it sounded to him, and only later understood that it meant dangerous. Fire was 'peligroso' as were poisonous animals and French.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:06 PM
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... as was apparently this adventure, when quite suddenly the tree, half the slope and ultimately Pye broke loose and decented into the canyon amidst a tremendous cloud of dust.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:07 PM
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Pye was correct in calling it dangerous, he was however completely incorrect in not heeding his own warning and so, rather than being the good guide of safety he was the bad example of carelessness of youth and was by then sliding down the slope causing dust to rise and turning his lovely green uniform in a hue far from as intensively green. He tried to twist and turn quickly to slow his descend if not stop it completely.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:07 PM
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He managed to stay atop the slide and was not burried in dust. Still, he was so completely covered in it that Freddie had to look twice until he recognized his friend when he cautiously over the edge.

"Zach, are you fine?", he asked cautiously – his head appearing right over something rather strange in the newly produced cliff. It was big. Really big. And it looked almost like ... a skeleton?
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:08 PM
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"M' fine. Oww... just battered and blau...and bruised too." He answered calling up from his new perch. He felt around carefully then stopped. He shifted and slowly moved higher, where his descend had caused more earth to shift.

He stared, rubbed at his eyes which caused them to sting, he blinked several times to get the dust out of them and then speechlessly stared at what he had taken for a huge rock a second ago. It looked like bone, a part of a scull perhaps, but much, much bigger than a human or cow's head, even if still concealed under the dust and earth and all sorts of other gravel that protected it for so long.

But that was not all. As he shifted a bit to the left, he could see more of it. The scull had a side now exposed to the air and that must have been an eye socket which he saw. He was of course no expert but he could tell that what he had found was a head. From the lower part of the scull however a long protruding bone continued, which reminded Pye of a rib, only this rib grew out of the head!

".........Freddie.............. FREDDIE!"
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:09 PM
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"WAS?"
Slightly panicked, Freddie looked for a way to get down without causing another landslide.

"Zach? What is it? Are you verletzt?"
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:10 PM
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"Nein, Not verletzt! I'm gut... just ..don't think that whatever's dead here.. i've ever seen alive! Or want to see alive.. .It's huge! Come over but be careful. It's slippery.. Sehr that too!" He began to work around the scull to get more of it out of the earth and to see better what it was hoping that when he dug more he might find it was just the most terribly misshapen rock and not representing an actual animal.

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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:11 PM
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Freddie, surprisingly understanding his friends strange mixture of languages quite well, did his best to come down carefully and without causing another accident. He was mostly successful, but it took quite a long time, and halfway down he had to stay put for a minute or two. Clutching at all vegetation he could find, he sucked his breath in and dared not to move until another minor slide had settled.

It revealed a long row of ribs, still perfectly in row, though the rib cage had collapsed on itself. Some of the bones had broken, but they still looked solid enough and were pretty much where Freddie had intended to put his foot next.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:12 PM
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"What is it?" Pye called to Freddie seeing him pause for a longer time again. "Did du find something else?" He seemed to have found a particular liking for wards that went together in a near singsong way. He looked up to where the other youth was and saw more of those rib like structures although they were not the same as the one coming out of the head that he saw, but there were more numerous. He did not have as good a view from where he was kneeling as Freddie, so he hoped his friend could tell him instead

"If you see a live one, run!" He added, because he knew that something as big could eat them on the spot in one single gulp - he was convinced - and if at least one of them could run away, he could warn off the others. What was this though? it was nothing he has ever seen alive, it was far too big too! He had heard of stories, while at the orphanages, of such beasts but never thought he would see one!

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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:13 PM
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Freddie immediately looked around to see whether there was a live ... whatever ... around and promptly lost his footing. He narrowly missed the bones, but his impact shook several loose. When they tumbled over him, he produced a funny little scream, almost girlish, and scuttled away.

Then he saw what Pye had seen and gulped. Pointing with a not quite steady finger, he opened and closed his mouth several times before shakily declaring:

"Drache!"
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:14 PM
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"What the...?" Cotton, being an experienced soldier, was breaking sticks for a fire to cook the evening meal on later (and to boil water for a cup of tea now) and had just reached for another stick when he heard something that sounded like a girl's scream.

Well, not quite like a girl's scream.

For some reason, he looked around to see where the two youngest Riflemen in the company were. Not seeing them, he let out a sigh and took his rifle. Wherever they were, he'd learned that some sort of trouble was usually not far behind.

He thought they'd made their way down to the river - if it could be called a river in this heat! - and headed that way, keeping an eye out for them.

"Pye? Rottlaender?"

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:14 PM
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Freddie was still rather shocked, but when he heard the older rifleman calling, he shook himself like a young dog and started to wave his hands (which was somewhat pointless, considering the ravine was twice as deep as he was, even with arms outstretched).

"Here, Herr Cotton! Here! A Drache! It is big! And dead! And Zach found it!"
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:15 PM
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Now, where in God's green earth was 'here', precisely?

Cotton eased the rifle strap on his shoulder, allowing the weapon to slide down so he could hold it in the ready position. Even unloaded, it would maybe make an enemy think twice.

The only problem was, doing this meant he had both hands full.

What on earth did the boy mean about 'a Drache' anyway - and Cotton thought he'd managed to break the 'Herr Cotton' habit. It seemed not.

"Where are you?" he called, seeing no sign of either of the youngsters, which he ought to do if he could hear them, surely.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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 Posted: Aug 17 2017, 08:16 PM
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"Down here! Here, here... over slope!" Pye called trying not to laugh because Freddie screamed earlier, but his serious expression sobered him up. "What's a Drache?" He asked, his way of saying it rather not as clear as Freddie's. "This?.. what's that?" He asked touching the head carefully after he had made sure that Freddie didn't break anything and that he was just covered in more dust and that bones had not followed him once he scampered away. Maybe Freddie knew better what this thing was! He seemed to do!

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