Dragon Fire: Episode 17

As Razham stirred the embers of the evening fire, Brius began to awaken.

“What happened?” Brius asked, slowly sitting up.

“You were stung by one of the Xanbolusas,” Razham said. “They were advancing towards us when Terrin felt the fire.”

“Again he burned?” Brius asked.

Razham looked around to see that Terrin could not overhear.

“When the fever came upon him, a dragon appeared in the sky, sweeping fire over everything,” Razham explained.

“Everything?” Brius asked.

“Our cart and supplies are ashes,” Razham answered.

“How is Terrin?” Brius asked.

“He will recover,” Razham assured him. “When the fire came down, Briscoe slipped away into the forest.”

It was Briscoe, Brius’s wolf, who had found Terrin lying on the bank of the river.

“He will return,” Brius said as he turned his head from side to side stretching his sore muscles.

“What will we do without the cart?” Razham asked.

“I have a friend, the merchant Olds, who travels south through Grape’s Hollow to Rockhurst. We will join his caravan of supplies for now.”

Grape’s Hollow was a large mountain range said to be filled with all manner of unholy creatures. Once a year, Olds, a merchant in the farming community of Barrow’s Crossing, led the caravan through the mountains. The journey was long and hard, attracting only the bravest or most foolhardy of men longing for glory.

“Where is the bowman Vanamir?” Brius asked.

“He left for the nearest town. He said he has a friend who may be able to help us,” Razham answered.

“What do you think of him?” Brius asked.

“His intentions are noble for now, but I fear he is working towards something darker,” Razham said.

“I agree, my old friend,” Brius answered.

“He asked that we go to Ethion,” Razham said.

“We cannot take Terrin back until his memory returns,” Brius said.

“That is wise,” Razham replied.

 

*              *              *

Vanamir handed his bow to the guard standing outside the Broken Sword Tavern.

“Is he here?” Vanamir asked the guard.

“Your other weapon,” the guard insisted.

Vanamir slipped a dagger from his boot and held it out, hilt forward.

“Inside,” the guard answered, stepping aside.

Vanamir opened the heavy wooden door and walked in. The tavern was filled with guards and mercenaries drinking ale and gambling. Seated at the center table tearing at a chicken was Samuel Damis, the local landowner. With his stubby fingers, he shoved the meat into his mouth, swallowing and belching loudly in satisfaction. From a large mug, he drank deeply, wiped his mouth on a dirty rag, and then shoved another piece of meat into his mouth. Disgusted, he spat the piece to the floor.

“Gristle,” he grunted.

Samuel Damis owned most of the small town of Brightwood. The value of others was solely what they could do for him. When he spotted Vanamir, he smiled.

“My boy. It is good to see you,” Damis called out, extending a greasy hand

Vanamir declined and said,

“I understand you have been looking for me.”

“That is true. I had heard you perished in a fire,” Damis said.

“Almost,” Vanamir answered. “What do you need?”

“Of course. To business,” Damis said.

“I want you to do something for me. In the town of Barrow’s Crossing, not far from here, a farmer named Olds will be sending his regular caravan through Grape’s Hollow toward the city of Rockhurst. The success of this caravan will prove hurtful to my business. It keeps the city alive and unwilling to sell to me. You must change this. You are known for being difficult to kill. Destroy this caravan, and see that no one survives,” Damis explained.

“No one?” Vanamir asked.

“No one must live to pass through Grape’s Hollow,” Damis clarified, licking his fingers.

“My fee?” Vanamir asked.

“Upstairs,” Damis indicated, motioning with his head.

Snapping his fingers, Damis said, “Terd will show you.”

A young man carrying a large battle ax approached. Vanamir noticed an angry scar across his upper right arm.

“My name is Tiard, sir.”

“Your name is of no interest to me,” Damis spat. “Show my friend upstairs where his payment is being held.”

“Yes, sir,” Tiard said turning for the stairs.

Vanamir followed Tiard upstairs to one of the rooms. He stopped in front of two guards and ordered, “Move aside.”

The men moved out of the way, and Tiard opened the door. Inside the room, Vanamir saw a large satchel of gold and an unconscious woman bruised and bound with ropes.

With anticipation in his eyes, Vanamir said,

“Tell Damis his payment is acceptable.”

As Tiard headed for the stairs, Vanamir turned to the guards.

“Do not disturb me until I am done. Then you may do as you like with the remains.”

Vanamir stepped inside the room and closed the door behind him.

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Published in: on June 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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