Dragon Fire Episode 44

 

Several days had passed since Terrin disappeared, heading out on his own. When Brius discovered Terrin missing, he had quickly packed his wagon with supplies and struck out to find him.  Faithful Razham sat beside Brius in the wagon as they scoured the countryside. In his concern for the boy, Olds was eager to help, but Cerros, who considered Terrin trouble, had reluctantly come along.

“Lorinton is not far from here. Perhaps Terrin is there,” Olds suggested as the wagons rumbled along.

“I do not think Terrin would linger in that place. Lorinton is a large village with many people,” Brius explained.

“He is strange to me,” Olds said. “He has a unique ability yet he is not comfortable in the company of others?”

“His story is a complex one, and. . . .”

Brius trailed off when he saw a young woman come up over the hill and onto the road. She was running straight towards them.

When she neared Olds’ wagon, he stopped and held out his hand to support her.

“I need your help,” she said breathlessly. “I am the alchemist for the village of Yavasadir. The baron who rules that land is taking peasants from the streets and forcing them to fight each other to the death.”

“Who is this baron?” Cerros growled, rising from the wagon’s seat and dropping to the ground.

“He is Baron Dumnos. I believe he has been infected. He led a small hunting party of twelve men into the woods outside Yavasadir,” she said, catching her breath. “But only nine returned. He must have been wounded, scratched perhaps by a plant or creature, filling him with poison. I must enter these woods and discover what has done this so that I can make a cure.”

“What happened to the three men who did not return?” Cerros asked.

The alchemist dropped her head, and when she again looked up, her face was full of sadness.

“Whatever beast Baron Dumnos and his men went into the woods to hunt is still in there. I cannot search for the cure while the creature still lives. I am not a warrior.”

Cerros looked up at Olds then back to the woman.

“I am on a journey to find a lost comrade. Perhaps when I return—” he began.

“Olds and I can continue the search,” Brius interrupted.

Cerros looked back at Brius.

“We shall keep looking for Terrin. You and Razham must go and help. . . .”

Brius stopped and asked, “May I know your name?”

“Forgive me, sir. I am Lullian.”

Brius nodded, “I am Brius. This one beside me is Razham. He is Olds, and the large one who stands with you is Cerros,” he said. motioning to each man.

“Do not worry. Return to the people of Yavasadir, and wait. Cerros and Razham will help. They will come to you when the forest is cleared.”

“Thank you. Have a safe journey, sir,” Lullian said and hurried away, back over the hill.

“If I am to hunt, I will need to make a stop first,” Cerros informed Olds.

When Cerros walked to the back of the wagon and loosed his horse’s reins, Olds called out, “Brius, come. Join me in the wagon.”

Without understanding why, Brius handed the reins to Razham and took a seat in the lead wagon just as Olds spurred the horses and turned around.

After riding in silence for an hour, Brius asked Olds,

“Where are we headed?”

Olds glanced back at Cerros, whose horse trailed behind, turned around and whispered,

“Browell.”

Brius reeled back, almost falling off the wagon. Olds reached out to catch him and pulled him back.

“The buried kingdom?”

Olds nodded then once again looked back to be certain Cerros was still far behind before beginning the story.

“Long ago, the kingdom of Browell fell under a witch’s curse. Crops were dying. Livestock perished. Children disappeared. On his deathbed, the king gathered his best men and challenged them to a tournament. The champion would lead the king’s army to the witch and slay her in hopes of lifting the curse. When the Champion was declared, the army began its march in search of the witch. In the weeks that followed, the king’s men found the witch and killed her, but the king died before his men could return with the good news. When the townspeople saw that the crops and livestock begin to thrive and the children were once again safe in their play, they cheered and awaited the return of the conquering heroes. One day the king’s army returned, but the Champion rode in alone. He was the only man who had survived the battle. In accordance with a decree set down by the king just before his death, the Champion was declared the reigning king of Browell. The Champion took his rightful place on the throne and for the four years that followed, he prospered, marrying and fathering a son. But this happiness was short-lived. It seems the witch, once thought dead, had returned and cast a curse upon the kingdom, burying it in a cavern deep beneath the earth. Everyone went mad, and with a thirst for blood, began killing each other, that is except for the Champion. He was spared by the witch and had to watch helplessly as his people, even his family, tore each other apart. In the end, only the Champion remained. Driven by a heart full of rage and a hunger for revenge, he clawed his way out of the cavern, determined to find the witch and kill her for what she had done.”

“The Kingdom of Browell is still cursed to this day?” Brius asked.

“That is the legend. Only the Champion knows if the curse remains. No one else who sought the answer has ever returned.”

Mile after mile they rode in silence until they reached a long stretch of cold lonely woods. In a clearing of dead grass and rotting trees, Olds brought the wagon to a stop and waited for Cerros to catch up.

When Cerros approached, he climbed down from the horse and tied it off. Looking at Olds, he said,

“I shall return shortly.”

Olds nodded and Cerros walked away. Against one of the dead trees lay a large rock. Cerros moved the rock aside, revealing a wide opening. Cerros looked back at Olds and said,

“You know what to do.”

Cerros stepped into the opening and disappeared.

Mystified by what he saw, Brius turned to Olds and asked,

“What did he mean?”

“If he takes longer than a day to return, I am to seal up the entrance and leave him.

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Published in: on December 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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