Dragon Fire Episode 42

As the vengeful dead who had once filled the palace halls dove at the king, Aric watched in horror. When the king cried out in pain pleading for mercy, Aric could watch no more. The large creature of flesh struck out at the soldiers who fought in vain to protect their sovereign. His body torn to shreds, the king fell at last to the blood stained granite floor.

“That was unsettling,” Aric said.

“I am sorry you had to see that,” Degan said. “I took no pleasure in it.”

Suddenly one of the skeletons approached Degan then stood in place awaiting orders.

“Find Gonorap and return him to me,” Degan commanded.

The skeleton bowed in obedience then turned his head and clicked to one of his compatriots. The two left the throne room then returned shortly, one of them carrying a terrified Gonorap. Covering his eyes, Gonorap trembled as he swung from the bones of the skeleton’s fingers. As the skeleton came closer to Degan, the link between Gonorap and Degan reconnected and the skeleton collapsed, dropping Gonorap to the floor. At that moment, Aric heard Gonorap begin to mumble. Straining to hear, he finally turned to Degan and asked,
“What is he saying?”
Degan paused for a moment then leaned toward Gonorap. When he straightened up, he explained,
“He begs us not to eat him.”
“Is that an option?” Aric said in jest.
Gonorap began to shiver violently.
Degan reached out, lifted Gonorap, and gently slipped him into the pouch on his belt.
“Rest,” Degan said. “We will not eat you. You have my word.”
Degan tapped his staff on the stone floor as he walked away from the carnage. Aric followed close behind, struggling to wipe the bloodshed from his mind.
Once they made their way back to the king’s garden, they mounted their horses and left the ruined city far behind, returning to the abandoned town and Sheizariel.

When they entered the city gates, Sheizariel suddenly appeared in the middle of the road, frightening the horses. With singleness of purpose, she demanded,

“What of my father?”

“Rainbow Creek guarded a terrible evil that once had free reign on the land,” Degan began.

“Yes,” Sheizariel agreed.

“But this evil escaped and corrupted whomever it did not consume. Your father, I am afraid, did not survive,” Degan answered.

Distraught, Sheizariel bowed her head.

“He was insistent that I stay behind. I believe he knew he was not returning.”

With saddened eyes, she looked up at Degan.

“Thank you. You have repaid your debt. You may go.”

Degan bowed to Sheizariel and turned to leave.

Aric and Degan rode out of town in silence until they reached a small stream near the road. Dismounting to let the horses drink, Aric said,

“We did not search the entire kingdom. Perhaps her father was in another part.”

“No. He is dead.” Degan sighed.

“How can you be certain?” Aric asked.

“I saw him. He was one of the dead who killed the king,” Degan answered.

As they continued on their journey, Aric did not speak further. He could see that Degan was deep in thought and wished for quiet.

At last they reached Ethion. As they slowly rode across the field which ended at the front gate of the city, Tolora bounded out of the woods and came alongside.

“What shall you do now?” Aric asked.

“I thought I was to help you,” Degan responded.

“Yes, but you have enough to worry you. I will be hunting down a band of assassins and cannot ask you to risk your life or peace following me down a path of vengeance.”

“If is a dangerous path, then I must join you. I could not bear for your spirit to be one of those who follows me,” Degan said. “You forget that you have helped me beyond measure. Now I must help you. It is only fair.”

Aric paused for a moment then smiled,

“Thank you, Degan. You are a faithful friend.”

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Published in: on October 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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