Dragon Fire: Episode 12

Aric moved backward as quickly as his feet could navigate the ground. Terrified, he watched as the dead burst forth from every grave that surrounded Degan.

Crouched behind a tombstone, Degan kept his eyes tightly closed and mumbled to himself as the skeletons began to stand and move toward Aric. Confused and desperate, Aric drew his swords.

“There!” someone yelled from outside the graveyard. Aric looked toward the gates and saw that the soldiers had returned.

At the shout, the army of the dead turned away from Aric toward the soldiers. They picked up rocks while others lifted tombstones, wielding them as weapons as they approached the gate.

“We must flee!” one of the soldiers screamed in fear.

“No!” the leader commanded, his sword drawn. “We have our orders.”

The leader breached the graveyard gates and lifted his sword to do battle just as one of the dead raised a large rock and ran forward. The soldier swung at the skeleton’s head, slicing through the neck. Feeling victorious, the leader smiled for a moment but then realized that the skeleton was still standing. Stunned, he failed to see the skeleton’s right hand swing down with the rock and strike him across the head. As the soldier fell, the skeleton dropped down and beat him with the rock until he was dead. When the skeleton rose and turned to the other dead, the slain soldier slowly stood also, his blood soaked head hanging limply to one side. Fainthearted, the other soldiers dropped their swords and fled.

Aric, still in shock, slowly moved towards the dead with his swords still drawn.

“What manner of evil is this?” he asked.

The dead quickly turned and moved to attack Aric.

“Stop!” Degan yelled.

Aric looked in the direction of Degan’s voice. He saw that Degan was calm and that a black energy radiated around him.

“He is with us,” Degan said.

In response, the dead lowered the rocks and turned toward Degan.

“Stay close and keep watch. More may come,” Degan ordered.

The skeletons nodded in obedience and began to move away, the dead leader turning to follow, until Degan said,

“Wait. Come to me.”

The leader stopped and sheathing his sword walked towards Degan, his head falling to one side.

“What was your name in life?” Degan asked.

“Lanzorm,” the dead man answered.

“Why did you want this man dead?” Degan asked pointing to Aric.

“I was following orders,” replied Lanzorm, his words slurred.

“Whose orders?” Degan asked.

“I was not given his name, sire. Only the name of he who delivered the orders,” Lanzorm mumbled.

“Then give me his name,” Degan ordered.

“Balemoss,” Lanzorm grunted.

“Where might I find this Balemoss?” Degan asked.

“Who, sire?” Lanzorm asked confused.

“Balemoss,” Degan said. “Answer quickly.”

Lanzorm stared at Degan in silence. After a moment, Degan shook his head and said,

“You may go to the others.”

Lanzorm turned away, staggering and falling as he stumbled toward the graveyard gates.

“The recently departed hold some memory of their life but not for long,” Degan explained.

“I do not understand what all these things mean,” Aric said.

“This is why I wanted to stay away from the graveyard,” Degan said.
“When I was younger, my parents saw that I had the gift of magic. They sent me away to a school to train, and I learned quickly. But on the eve of my eighteenth birthday, I felt something dark awaken inside me. No longer was the line between good and evil clear. I found myself confused and unable to tell. I fled the school to seek help from my parents, but when I reached home, I found them dead. In my sorrow, I fell across their bodies, and to my horror, they returned to a twisted form of afterlife. They were moving but still dead. They began attacking anyone or anything that looked threatening, and I could not stop them. Because of this darkness, men branded me as evil and a practitioner of black magic, but I was innocent. I had no control over this energy that reanimates the dead and moves them to defend me from anyone who gets too close. But one day I met an exiled priest who taught me how to block the magic, this energy.”

“The markings scratched around your doorframe?” Aric asked.

“Yes,” Degan said.

“I must find the priest and ask for his help again, but I will not be able to slip out of the city with them,” Degan said pointing to the dead who stood guard just outside the gates.

“You cannot leave them?” Aric asked.

“I have tried, but they are fast and will catch me,” Degan said.

“Then I will help you,” Aric offered. “But I need your help first.”

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Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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