Dragon Fire: Episode 33

Terrin held tightly to the flesh of the panther Idrian as it soared just below the clouds. He saw that the manlike creature Atol gripped with his handlike feet and balanced himself with his long tail while Olon the fish beast pressed itself against Idrian’s massive spine. As they flew toward a plume of smoke slowly rising into the air, Terrin saw below a small village, its people battling the marauders in streets filled with the dead. He leaned over to get a better view, and when he began to slip, he felt Atol’s hand on his chest.

“Careful, young prince,” he cautioned.

Moving up toward the creature’s neck, he commanded,

“Idrian. . .Dono.”

Idrian turned left and began a swift spiral downward.

When they neared the ground, Idrian landed and Atol rolled off as Terrin struggled to dismount the creature.

At once, Terrin pulled his sword from its sheath, readying himself for the charge of a bleeding, ragged man, his ax raised for the kill. Terrin bent his knees, balancing his weight, and lifted his weapon as the man drew closer.

When the ax came down, Terrin sidestepped the strike and swung at his attacker’s midsection. Stumbling forward, the foe grabbed his wound as it burst into flames, spreading over his body. Crying out in pain, he raised his ax for another strike. Startled, Terrin steadied himself and ran the man through. Their swords raised, two more warriors rushed at Terrin as he grabbed the dead man’s ax and tried to remember what he had felt back at Olds’ farm. Suddenly, the familiar heat coursed through his body as he threw the ax toward one of the attacking men. The ax made two rotations before lighting on fire and falling to the ground in front of the men’s feet. As they cautiously moved around it, the weapon exploded, sending them flying through the air just as four more marauders charged toward Terrin. Quickly, Atol dove on them. Using one hand to support himself, he twisted the wrists of three of the men while his tail struggled with the fourth. Three men disarmed, Atol turned on the fourth. Pinning his arms, Atol wrapped his tail around the man’s knees, tipping the two of them over. When they fell, Atol reached up with his foot and slammed the man’s head into the ground.

The fourth man down, Terrin moved in quickly to the other three men. He slashed at the stomach of one and grabbed the throat of the other as he felt a rush of heat run up his arm. In Terrin’s grip, the man’s neck began to sizzle and his eyes grew wide. When he shrieked, fire erupted from his mouth. Terrified at the sight, Terrin released the man as he clawed at his throat and fell over, his body burning from the inside. The last man, still holding his broken wrist, turned and fled.

“He is escaping!” Terrin shouted as Atol stood.

“No. He has no escape,” Atol assured him.

Suddenly, Olon erupted from the ground and seized the man’s throat, pulling him down and under the earth.

“You see, young prince,” Atol said.

Amazed, Terrin clearly saw Atol for the first time. He stood just over nine feet with a tail and legs as long as his body.

Terrin wondered at this strange creation and how he came to be.

As though reading his thoughts, Atol said,

“I do not know. I have always been this way. I was told that an exiled priest discovered me when I was young, alone and abandoned. He took me in and raised me. Years later, I returned to the place where he came upon me and found Idrian and Olon. I know nothing more.”

Terrin turned toward the village and watched as Idrian moved swiftly through the streets making quick work of any remaining raiders.

“Hasten! We must search for surviving villagers,” Atol prompted.

Terrin ran to the nearest door and reached for it, but before he could open it, a man burst forth and ran out into the street. He was one of the invaders. Terrified, he fled, holding a mace in one hand and a horn in the other.

“Stop him!” Atol yelled suddenly.

Terrin reached for his sword, but before he could free it from its sheath, the man raised the horn to his mouth and trumpeted. When Terrin moved closer, Olon leapt out of the ground and pulled the man under.

“He is gone,” Terrin, said looking back at Atol.

“It is too late,” Atol said.

“What do you mean?” Terrin asked.

Before Atol could explain, from the mountain range came a thundering bellow, shaking the trees and scaring the birds to flight.

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Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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