Dragon Fire: Episode 11

As he stood among the bodies that filled the streets of Silvercreek, Terrin felt hollow.

“What could have done this?” he asked.

Razham drew close to one of the dead and remarked,

“They are not dead. They are dying.”

“Spread out and search the area, but be careful,” Brius ordered.

Terrin and Vanamir took the left road while Razham and Brius turned down the right.

“Do not be long in your search. Return quickly,” Brius ordered.

“I am not certain, but I may know what happened to these people,” Vanamir said.

“What?” Terrin asked, afraid to hear the answer.

“There is a legend of a priest who turned to dark practices and human sacrifices. When the superior priest learned of his black magic, he exposed him, and he was burned alive. Only the fire could not destroy him. They took him down from the stake and locked him away in a cave somewhere deep in the mountains. There he stays in the darkness, far from all eyes.” Vanamir looked toward the mountain range as he told the story.

“How could this priest have caused the deaths in Silvercreek?” Terrin asked.

“It is said that the old priest freed himself from his shackles and began slipping from the cave at will to draw life energy from others. It is all that keeps him alive,” Vanamir explained.

 

*              *              *

 

“What do you think of this ranger?” Brius asked Razham.

“His soul hides something, but I cannot yet see what. My vision is clouded,” Razham answered.

“Something hinders your vision?” Brius asked in amazement.

“This something must be old and powerful.”

“I am ill at ease. I fear a darkness,” Razham tried to explain.

“This place, the people dying in the street. This city with no children. All very strange,” Razham said.

Behind them something stirred, and Brius whirled around toward the sound.

“What was that?”

A small long-armed creature with quills running along its back had crawled up onto a nearby post and was watching the two men.

“What is that?” Brius asked.

“Do not move any closer,” Razham said.

“What is it?” Brius asked.

“We must flee before it is too late,” Razham warned.

“Why?” Brius asked as he started to move.

The creature made a clicking noise then suddenly dropped to the ground and shot three needles from its back. Razham dove out of the way, barely missing the sharp spines.

“Run!” Rhazam yelled.

When he turned to grab Brius, he saw the old man lying on the ground with two needles embedded in his throat.

*              *              *

 

So an evil priest did this?” Terrin asked skeptically.

“You may doubt my word, but I know what I have seen. This is the work of his hands,” Vanamir insisted.

Just then the men heard a clicking sound coming from a nearby house.

“What is that?” Terrin asked.

Slowly, they crept toward the house, and when they drew nearer, they saw a small creature with long arms and a back of quills. It had crawled up to the window and was looking at them with its shiny black eyes.

“What is this?” Vanamir asked.

“Run!” Razham yelled as he suddenly bounded toward them.

Just as Terrin and Vanamir looked back at the creature, it dropped its head to the ground, exposing its back, and shot out three quills. The men quickly dove out of its range.

“Move! Move! Move!” Vanamir yelled, pushing Terrin to his feet.

When Razham ran past them, heading toward the front gates, they followed close behind.

“Where’s Brius?” Terrin asked Razham.

“The creature wounded him,” Razham answered back.

As they ran toward the walls of the city, they slid to a stop when they saw that the front gate had been closed.

“What?” Vanamir asked.

“We are trapped!” Razham answered.

Confused, Terrin said, “I do not understand what is happening. Why is the gate closed?”

“Those creatures are Xanbolusas. Their poisonous quills numb their victims to the point of death, while the creatures slowly feed on them,” Rhazam answered.

“Is there a cure?” Terrin asked.

“Yes, but I cannot make it here. I need supplies. With the gate closed, we must find another way out,” Razham said.

“I will climb out again and open the gate,” Vanamir assured them.

“No. The Xanbolusas are too fast and would strike you before you escaped,” Razham answered.

Terrin drew his sword as the street filled with the deafening clicks of the approaching Xanbolusas.

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Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 2:26 am  Leave a Comment  

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