Dragon Fire: Episode 25

As the bandits raced toward the wagons, the caravan drivers whipped the horses, fighting to reach a place of shelter and a point of defense. From the back of one of the wagons, Terrin fired arrows at the bandits who tried to climb inside. Cerros had drawn his ax and was advancing on the bandits, slaughtering those on foot and knocking others from their horses before his weapon came down for the kill. Terrin leaned out of the wagon and saw Vanamir riding alongside the caravan, some of his arrows finding their mark while others fell to the ground.

When Vanamir reached the head of the caravan, Terrin’s wagon suddenly hit a bump in the road, throwing him out and to the ground with a thump. He tumbled for several feet before stopping and pulling himself up. Spotting a charging bandit, Terrin removed his sword from its sheath and positioned himself for the attack. The bandit drew forth his weapon and let out a battle cry as he came closer. When Terrin raised his weapon to block the bandit’s downward swing, he felt his arms fold and his feet fumble. He fell backwards as the bandit rode past and circled around for a second try.

Scrambling to his feet, Terrin saw that Cerros had broken away from the caravan and was coming back to help him. Realizing that he would not reach him in time, Terrin readied his weapon and closed his eyes, trying to call forth the fire he had felt when Brius was stabbed and Razham charged the creature back at Olds’ farm.

With the bandit almost on top of him, Terrin felt the familiar heat rush over him and down his arms. Raising his blade, he focused on the bandit’s sword. This time when the bandit swung down, Terrin swung upwards to meet the blade.  When the weapons hit, an explosion of fire burst forth, knocking the bandit from his horse.

The horse galloped away as the bandit struggled to pull off his mask, now on fire.

“Who sent you?” Terrin demanded, standing over the bandit.

“Leave the boy,” Cerros advised Terrin as he pulled up his horse. “He is not worth your time.”

Cerros extended his hand, but Terrin hesitated, glaring down at the bandit as he lay in the dirt.

“Hurry; we do not have much time,” Cerros urged Terrin.

Terrin grabbed his hand, and Cerros pulled him up into the saddle.

“Tell your master that we will not be stopped so easily,” Cerros told the bandit before he turned and rode towards the caravan.

When they reached the wagons, Cerros said,

“I will not ask you now the question of the fire but will come to you in time for an answer.”

“Thank you,” Terrin said a little dazed.

Riding up to the front of the caravan, Cerros waited for a break in the argument between Olds and Brius. When the men grew quiet and Olds spurred on the horses, Cerros said,

“They have broken off the attack. We can slow the horses and let them rest. I must speak to you, sir.”

Brius looked past Olds and saw that Terrin struggled to stay upright, his head still spinning.

“What happened?” Brius anxiously asked.

“He fell out of the back of the wagon and must stop,” Cerros answered.

The men rode on in silence as they searched for a grove of trees and a clear stream.

 

 

*              *                *

Later as Brius and Olds sat with Razham and Terrin around a small fire, Cerros approached. When he stood silent, the men looked up at him inquiringly. He spoke in a low voice so no one would overhear,

“We have a spy among us.”

At Olds’ welcoming gesture, Cerros took a position by the fire.

“Always we have spies,” Olds said.

“Yes, but this one tries to sabotage us.”

“We have had a good journey, and we have been attacked many times before,” Olds pointed out.

“How is he sabotaging us?” Brius asked.

“That last stretch of country is usually peaceful,” Cerros reminded Olds.  “We only suffer glances from packs too timid to attack our large numbers so near the city. Yet this day, we were set upon by a large group that quickly broke off. They did not come to steal. I believe they were called in.”

“Who would do this?” Brius asked. “We carry only food.”

Both Cerros and Olds shared a look that made Terrin uncomfortable.

“You are not suggesting?” Olds began.

“He has tried in the past,” Cerros answered.

“Not to kill,” Olds replied.

“Who?” Brius again asked.

“Damis, my competitor. He has tried to slow us and even take our supplies to sell them himself. But never has he tried to kill us,” Olds said.

“Had I not reached the boy in time, the bandit might have killed him,” Cerros said, pointing to Terrin.

“Perhaps Damis has grown desperate. But how could he set a trap? We take a different route every time. He does not have the men to cover every path,” Olds responded.

“I agree. This is why I believe someone who travels with us is working for him,” Cerros said.

“Who could this man be?” Olds wondered.

Terrin thought back, remembering Vanamir’s missed shot that sailed too wide. And during the battle, he had not hit his mark as usual. Terrin felt a cold shiver run through him as he looked at Olds and said,

“I may have the answer.”

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Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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