Dragon Fire: Episode Seven

Fog fell on the land like a sheet draped over a body. Dipped in moonlight, a single carriage drawn by six horses passed through an empty field with only an occasional vulture for company.

Inside the carriage a man, his face shaded by the hood of his black cloak, peered into the darkness searching for unwelcome eyes. Satisfied that he was alone, he sat back and heavily sighed as the carriage cut through the night and entered a mountain pass. Glancing out the window, he saw that the trees would not grow in this desolate place where only scavengers dared come near.

The carriage came to a bumpy halt, and the horses softly neighed as the driver hopped down and walked around to the side. Opening the door, he spoke softly to the man within,

“The horses will go no further, my lord Nesmoru.”

Nesmoru stepped down from the carriage and removed his hood.

“Do not speak that name anywhere but in the kingdom,” Nesmoru ordered.

“Sorry my king,” the driver said as he bowed.

After searching the spot, Nesmoru found the rocky path he had taken only a few times before. Pulling the hood back over his head, he walked up into the mountain to the mouth of a large opening in the rocks. Nesmoru shivered at the thought of entering. He took a deep breath trying to shake off the panic that seemed to tug at his cloak.

When he slipped inside the dark cave, echoes of voices past arose calling him to turn back. Farther down the passage, a fusty sign warned that only the dammed dare advance. Stepping past the sign, Nesmoru reached into a recess of the cave wall and lifted a lamp to light it. As he inched forward, the cave grew darker for even the moonlight failed to reach its forbidding surfaces. When he stepped into a large open area, Nesmoru felt the temperature rise. Resting the lamp on the cave floor, he dropped to his knees and bowed, placing his head on the ground.

“Report,” a deep voice ordered.

Nesmoru answered, “Sire, your will has been done. It is completed.”

“The prince is dead?” the voice asked.

“Yes, sire,” Nesmoru replied.

“Liar!” the voice roared, shaking the cavern and causing Nesmoru to tumble backwards. “”The boy is no more dead than you are!”

Nesmoru quickly explained, “But, sire, I saw to it myself. He was sent down to the dungeons and went over the waterfall. He could not have survived.”

“So I am lying then?” the voice snarled.

Terrified, Nesmoru could not speak.

“Listen to me, you fool. I have spent two lifetimes fighting for the power that is now only days away. I will not have your idiocy cause my downfall. The boy must die! Like his father, he possesses the power to stop me. My scouts give me news that the boy is alive but with no memory. Find him before the past returns to him!” the voice demanded.

Nesmoru slowly stood up and said, “Yes, sire. Worry not about the boy’s father. King Lanidus is dead by my own hand. He will not trouble you.”

“When I name Lanidus, I do not speak of the boy’s father.”

Nesmoru froze in his steps but quickly bowed and left the cave.

*              *              *

Terrin woke in moonlight, lying in the grass. His skin still felt hot, even as the cold air caressed his face. Struggling to stand on unsteady legs, he looked about for a sign of Razham or Brius.

“I seem to remember Brius being restored by Razham’s hand,” Terrin told himself as he braced against a tree. In the corner of his eye, he sensed movement just beyond the trees. Slowly, he crept one foot at a time, making his way forward. Out of the clearing and past the trees, Terrin watched through the darkness.

“Razham?” he called out.

When no answer came, Terrin moved further away from the clearing. He hoped Razham had not abandoned him. He remembered the tavern in flames but could not think what had started the fire. Terrin tripped over a low-hanging branch and stumbled, falling to his knees. He did not know where he was or how to get back to the clearing. The trees seemed to move in on him as the moon crept behind the clouds.

In the lingering silence, Terrin began to panic. Suddenly the silence was broken by the sound of approaching footsteps. Terrin slowly looked around trying to find the source.

He turned left then right but stood still when he felt hot breath on the back of his neck and smelled a foul odor that burned his nostrils.

Although he was afraid to face what stood behind him, he found courage and dove forward. Rolling up, he turned to see a large ogre standing over him, a line of spittle dripping from its lips. Just as the creature drew closer, Terrin heard three quick whirs. The creature fell to the ground, three arrows in its back. Out of the shadows, a bowman in dark clothes stepped forward.

“It is dangerous to be in the woods alone at night,” the fair-haired man said with a smile.

Extending a strong hand, he introduced himself.

“My name is Vanamir, and I believe I have just saved your life.”

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Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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