Dragon Fire: Episode 23

Dawn was just breaking as Terrin rested against the wall of the caravan wagon. He had hardly closed his eyes. All night, images and thoughts had flashed through his mind as he struggled to take in everything he had been told the day before. He looked at his hands and tried to comprehend how they could perform such magic.

“Still trying to understand everything?” Vanamir asked.

Terrin slowly looked up to see Vanamir approaching.

“I am confused. If the story is true, I am the son of a dark, evil priest,” Terrin said.

“You have much to consider,” Vanamir remarked, “but do not let this news disturb you. If you are the son of a king, you must act as a king’s son. Do not listen to wild stories and rumors.”

Terrin nodded solemnly.

“You are right. It is hard to believe that everything that has happened, at least that which I can remember, has been caused by me,” he said.

“What do you mean?” Vanamir asked.

“Before you joined us, Brius was stabbed. When I reached out my hand to him, I felt a heat rush up my arm and saw the wall behind him explode into fire. I thought little of it at the time because I was concerned for Brius.  Looking back now, I see that the fire may have been my fault. And the event last night, the explosion of fire, how else could that have happened?”

When Vanamir heard a loud screech, he glanced up and spotted a large bird, circling overhead just above the tree line.

“Do not move,” he ordered, pulling an arrow from his quiver.

Drawing back on the bow and taking aim, Vanamir fired off a shot but missed the bird, sending the arrow sailing wide disappearing behind the trees.

Vanamir cursed.

Glancing over at Terrin, he smiled.

“The sun was in my eyes.”

Terrin shared Vanamir’s smile, and the two rode on in silence.

“I have taken this route before. It is a peaceful ride for a small traveler, but I have heard stories of larger caravans being attacked by roving packs of orcs and trolls,” Vanamir warned.

“Together?” Terrin asked.

“No. They hate each other and will not hunt together. But different packs have been known to hunt in the same area along with bandit camps here and there.”

“Bandit camps?” Terrin asked, feeling foolish for knowing so little.

“Camps of thieves waiting for passing caravans,” Vanamir explained.

“They just wait for a passing caravan?” Terrin asked.

“Like a spider waits for its next meal,” Vanamir said with a smile.

“Hold your tongues,” a large man ordered as he rode up beside them.

His arms and neck were thick with muscle, and his hair and beard had grown long and wild. On his back was strapped a long handled ax, and a sword was sheathed at his side.

“You women cease your chatter of flowers and butterflies,” he ordered. “We are passing through dangerous territory.”

Terrin watched as the man nodded and rode ahead.

“Who is that?” he whispered.

“His name is Cerros. He is head of Old’s guards. I have heard stories about his exploits. It is said that he once tore the head from a dragon,” Vanamir answered.

“Can that be done?” Terrin asked.

“I do not know, but I think it wise not to question him. In these lands, a fearsome reputation is not ignored. I prefer to remain unknown. The less people know about me, the more I can deceive them,” Vanamir said with a wry smile.

Movement in the distance caught Terrin’s eyes and he stiffened, carefully scanning the horizon. When he saw nothing, he relaxed until he noticed Cerros staring at the tree line.

“What did you see?” Vanamir asked.

“I fear we are about to be attacked,” Terrin answered.

As Terrin slowly reached for the bow and arrow Olds had given him, Vanamir pulled another arrow from his quiver.

Suddenly, shouts erupted from the tree line as birds fluttered into the air and masked men, some on horseback and others on foot, crashed through the trees, brandishing weapons that flashed in the sun. From the other side of the caravan came more shouts as a band of men charged toward the caravan.

“Ambush!” Vanamir shouted, drawing his bow.

Published in: on December 7, 2011 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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