Dragon Fire: Episode 10

Aric awoke to find himself stretched out on a small cot beneath a window. When he slowly sat up, his head throbbed and he felt dizzy. A clean bandage covered the wound on his shoulder.

“You should not move,” a man’s voice spoke from the shadows across the room.

“Who are you?” Aric asked.

“Some would call me an outcast, others an abomination,” the voice said.

“Which of those should I call you?” Aric asked.

After a long pause, the man answered.

“One should not be too quick to give a name. Once known, it cannot be withdrawn.”

Aric, now wearied by the man’s refusal to name himself, quickly pulled out a dagger from his belt and threw it into the shadows toward the man’s voice. The dagger cut through the air but stopped suddenly when the man raised his palm. When he closed his hand, the dagger fell to the floor.

“You would attack someone who saved your life?” the man asked.

“If you mean me no harm, why are you hiding?” Aric inquired.

“Men have hated me, once they learned my name,” the man explained.

“But I am not quick to judge people,” Aric said.

After another long pause, the man said,

“We shall see.”

When the man emerged from the shadows, Aric saw that his face was badly scarred. He had a thin beard, and his hair fell across his back. Above his bare feet, hung old and worn clothing.

“Who are you?” Aric asked, examining the man’s face.

“I am Degan Aldur,” the man answered.

Aric frowned, looking the man over, and said,

“I am sorry, but I do not recognize you.”

“That is good,” Degan answered.

“What happened to me? How did I get here?” Aric asked the man.

Degan walked over to an old cabinet and opened its doors. When he held out his hand, a bottle resting on the top shelf floated out toward him. He reached for the bottle and removed the top, drinking deeply.

“You fell from one of the rooftops. I was passing by and caught you. I brought you here, removed an arrow from your shoulder and patched the wound. Tomorrow you will be completely healed. But you must go now, for it is not safe to be seen with me,” Degan said.

“What did you do?” Aric asked.

“I have done harm to no man,” Degan answered, “but I am a drunk and a failure. Leave now.”

Aric found his weapons and moved toward the door. He turned and said,

“Thank you for your help.”

When Aric opened the door, Degan grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back inside. He extended his right hand, palm open, and four arrows shattered to the ground just as Degan quickly closed the door.

“What was that?” Aric asked.

“It seems whoever tried to kill you has returned to finish,” Degan said.

Two flaming arrows broke through the window and set fire to some rags scattered across the floor.

“We have to escape,” Aric said.

“I cannot go out into the streets,” Degan protested.

“We have no choice,” Aric insisted pulling open the door.

Beneath the door, Aric noticed that several symbols had been scratched into the floor.

“Hurry!” Aric snapped.

Degan hesitated then grabbed a cloak and pulled it around him. As he neared the door, he turned back to the room, now almost completely engulfed in flames, and held out his hand as a small cane shot through the air to him.

“Now we may go,” Degan said.

They broke through the door, amidst arrow fire, and fled. Quickly Aric led Degan through the empty streets of Ethion. When they reached the graveyard gates, Aric stopped and said,

“This way. They will not enter here.”

Refusing, Degan said, “I cannot. It is not safe.”

“We have no time for your fears. Come!” Aric snapped, pushing Degan through the gates.

They dropped behind some large headstones just as soldiers armed with black arrows arrived at the gates. The soldiers stopped but moved on at the command of their leader.

Turning to Degan, Aric said, “We should be safe for now.”

Aric noticed that Degan’s eyes were squeezed shut and his breathing was deep.

“Why are you afraid of the dead? They cannot harm us.”

“You are mistaken, my friend,” Degan said.

Aric watched as Degan emanated a black energy.

“What is this?” Aric asked.

“I tried to warn you,” Degan said straining.

Suddenly a skeletal hand emerged from the ground at their feet. Aric leapt back as more hands erupted from graves scattered throughout the graveyard.

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Published in: on October 2, 2010 at 3:39 am  Leave a Comment  

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