Dragon Fire: Episode 46

Following the orders of their master, the trolls Kimil and Undal had captured Terrin and taken him to Copperhead Camp.

Copperhead Camp was a castle that had been used as a prison during the territorial wars. Its thick stone walls rose twenty-five feet into the air with towers thirty-five feet. Underground were the dungeons, chambers where prisoners were forgotten and left with neither food nor water. The passageways had been filled with snakes, leaving prisoners with little hope of survival. For those few who escaped, freedom was guaranteed. But most of the prisoners died long before they felt the pangs of hunger and thirst. In the prison’s history, only two had escaped—one a courageous archer who broke in and rescued a young prince, the other a cursed priest.

Under cover of darkness, Atol bent low in the bottom of the boat as it drifted across the lake toward Copperhead Camp. He knew that the trolls were doing someone’s bidding, someone with great power, and this dangerous power was growing in the distance.

Only Olon had come with Atol to rescue Terrin. Idrian, far too large to slip in unnoticed, had been forced to remain behind as his wound healed. Olon stayed close to the boat as it moved through the water. He could breathe under water as easily as he could in earth.

Up ahead, Atol could see fires burning in the towers of Copperhead Camp, lighting the steps of the guards as they kept watch. He raised his head and glanced over the side of the boat toward Olon.

“Slowly now,” he ordered.

Olon circled the boat and gently rested his nose against the stern. Atol once again lowered himself in the boat as they drew closer to shore. Two of the guards spotted the boat, but seeing no one in the craft, they dismissed it and went about their patrols.

“Enough,” Atol whispered.

Olon released the boat and let it drift until its bottom scraped along the bank. After a few moments, Atol slowly slipped out of the boat and onto land.

“Stay out of sight,” Atol ordered Olon.

Keeping low to the ground, Atol silently crept toward the castle. Glancing up, he flexed each of his fingers before reaching out and grasping the outer wall. He planted both feet on the wall, took a firm grip and then slowly pulled himself up the stones. When he reached the top, he pressed himself against the wall, careful to stay in the shadows, and watched the guards. As one guard passed another, he complained,

“Why must we constantly patrol these walls?”

“Because the master says to,” the other responded.

“But why when there’s only one prisoner?” he returned.

“Because the master says to,” the other repeated.

The stench of the men floated through the night air and assailed Atol’s nostrils. Atol could not hear a heartbeat for either of the men. Waiting until both guards had turned their backs to him, Atol reached up with his tail and wrapped it around the throat of one guard, lifting him quickly off the wall.

Bringing the guard down to eye level, Atol saw that the man had only one working eye and his jaw hung loosely by one joint.

“The undead,” Atol cursed under his breath.

As Atol tightened his tail around the throat, the guard’s head broke free of the body, sending the rotted remains to the ground below. Then he flung the head out into the water, making a splash that summoned the other guard.

“Adrec,” the other guard called out. “Adrec, did you hear that?”

The confused guard called again,

“Adrec?”

Before the guard could react, Atol lashed out and wrapped his tail around the guard’s neck pulling him over the side of the wall and dropping him to the ground.

Shuddering from the encounter with the undead, Atol moved sideways along the wall to the nearest torches, pulled them free, and tossed them over the side.

With that section of the wall now in darkness and the guards removed, Atol watched the rest of the wall and the courtyard below. Six more guards patrolled the wall while two trolls wandered through the main courtyard. He would first remove the remaining guards on the wall then move slowly to any others, all while keeping out of sight of the trolls.

Turning to the nearest guards, Atol crept toward the next torch, quickly removed it, and tossed it over the wall.

“It suddenly grows darker,” one of the guards observed.

The guards turned and shambled towards the shadows that covered Atol. Fearful of being seen, Atol quickly looked for an escape over the side. He knew if they saw him, they would raise the alarm and Terrin might be lost. As he searched for a hiding place on the wall, he braced himself for an attack.

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Published in: on February 16, 2014 at 3:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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