Dragon Fire: Episode Six

Aric fell to his knees at the horror of the smoldering ruins. The farmhouse that he had built alongside Rassiun was destroyed. Only the barn remained. Aric, overcome with grief, did not notice Tolora as she circled him. Something was bothering her. Colby stood at a distance busying himself with the blades of sweet grass.

Tears streaming down his cheeks, Aric said aloud,

“Rassiun, my best friend, murdered and his home burned to the ground. Who did this?”

He saw the garden where Rassiun and his wife Arissa were married, torn up and overturned. Walking through the clods of earth, he suddenly realized that Arissa and Isaac, Rassiun’s four-year-old son, might have escaped to the barn.

“Arissa, Isaac!” he called.

As he turned and quickly headed toward the barn, Aric saw three armed men coming through the barn doors.

“That should take care of it,” one of the men boasted.

Aric felt rage boil up into his throat, choking the grief and pulling it away. He reached up to his back and felt the twin swords he kept there. Tolora waited beside him, the fur on her back standing up. She let out a low growl and positioned herself for attack. Aric knew he could engage the men head on, but he had learned as a city guard that charging into battle with weapon raised was for those who were physically imposing, who could frighten the opponent into surrendering.

He clicked his tongue twice and quickly ducked behind the blackened remains of the house. When Tolora did not follow him, Aric knew she had understood his command. He slipped behind the barn and took hold of the ledge, pulling himself up to the roof. Making his way across to the side, he peered over at the three men. Aric spotted Tolora crouched in a grove of trees not seven feet from the laughing men. He calculated his best maneuver. Leaping straight down was not an option. An injury would weaken his attack. Aric quickly removed the rope he kept by his side and tied one end to the top of the barn with the excess length in hand.

Staying low, he crept to the edge of the roof and turned his back to the men. He leapt out and dropped, letting the rope pull free from his hand. Tightening his grip, he swung towards one of the three startled men. He kicked him in the stomach, lifting him and throwing him into the barn, just as Tolora leapt out of the trees and attacked another.

Aric released the rope and ran into the barn after the man he had kicked. Removing his swords, Aric rushed toward him as he quickly scrambled to his feet and reached for his weapon. But before he could remove his sword, Aric was on him. With the hilt of his sword, Aric struck the man’s forehead stunning him. Slipping his swords into the scabbard, Aric grabbed the man and threw him into the wall. The man fell unconscious.

As Aric leaned against the barn wall trying to catch his breath, he noticed something dripping on the ground next to him. He bent down and saw that the liquid was red and thick. Slowly he raised his face toward the roof, afraid of what he might see. Hanging by her feet was Arissa, dead, her blood covering her face. Aric ran out of the barn searching for the third man and saw him escaping on horseback.

“Colby!” Aric snapped.

The horse raised his head from the grass and trotted over as Aric ran toward him. Matching Colby’s speed, Aric leapt on and spurred the horse on. When Colby reached the escaping man, Aric gripped Colby with his legs and let go of the reins. Tying a rope into a loop, he tossed it toward the murderer. When the loop encircled the man, Aric held the rope tightly and pulled back on the reins. Colby slowed to a stop, and the man fell from his horse.

Aric leapt from Colby and approached the man.

“Who are you?” he shouted.

“My name is Sol,” the man said.

“Tell me who sent you,” Aric ordered.

“You would be wise not to ask that,” he said.

“Where is Isaac?” Aric demanded.

“Who?” the man answered.

“The boy,” Aric roared.

“Oh,” the man said. “It is too late for him now.”

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Published in: on May 8, 2010 at 3:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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