Dragon Fire: Episode 50

Razham slid his foot back, bent his knees and braced himself for battle. Two of the dead broke free from the pack among the trees and moved toward Razham. He closed his eyes and focused on the sounds around him. With almost no light in the woods, he knew his eyes would betray him. He began whispering a prayer to himself, and when he finished, he opened his eyes. He breathed a word of gratitude that the darkness of the night was gone. As the dead drew closer, Razham saw that some of the figures were not dead but alive, bewitched by a spell of magic.

“How many, my friend?” Brius asked from his place in the wagon.

“Legions,” Razham answered. “Most are unaware of our presence, but soon they will know we are here if Cerros does not return.”

With a quick swing of his staff, Razham beheaded one of the dead who drew too close. The lifeless, rotting body fell to the ground.

“These who come close are not magical,” Razham said.

“I do not understand,” Brius said.

“Those summoned by magic do not fall as easily as those who are trapped souls searching for peace. The bewitched will assault even though their head may have been removed. The only way to stop them is to completely dismember their remains,” Razham explained.

“This is evil!” Brius said.

“Yes, but this evil is not from my hand,” Razham affirmed.

“They come at us!” Brius cried.

Razham turned toward Olds and saw that one of the dead was reaching out for the wagon.

Razham took a step forward, disappeared, then reappeared beside Olds. Quickly he swung his staff and separated the head from the lifeless body. From the force of the blow, the head struck a nearby tree and fell into Olds’ lap. When the sleeping Olds shook awake, he began screeching, scrambling to rise and toss the head from his lap.

“Quiet!” Brius barked.

Olds clambered from the wagon but heeding Brius’ warning, moved quietly.

Suddenly the woods grew eerily still. From deep within the forest, the tops of the trees began to bend left and right, sending the nesting birds into flight. A deep, hollow roar filled the air, shaking the ground.

“What is that?” a terrified Olds asked.

“You have awakened some creature,” Razham warned.

Waves of the dead kept advancing through the woods, growing closer to Razham and the wagons.

“We are running out of time,” Razham forewarned his comrades.

“Cerros will return before the sun sets,” Brius responded.

Razham moved away from the wagons back into the clearing and held his stance.

In the distance, something like Razham had never seen dropped from the trees. It was a giant of a creature and stirred fear even in the heart of the old warrior.

“Olds, have you done everything in life that you wanted to?” the terrified Brius asked.

“I do not understand,” Olds responded.

“I have seen Razham with that look, and its end was not good fortune,” Brius replied.

With every step, the ground rumbled beneath its feet as the creature moved closer.            Positioning himself for battle, Razham lifted the staff and ordered,

“Get behind me!”

The monstrous creature seemed to grow larger as it advanced toward them.

“Brius, you and Olds must flee. I will do battle with this evil,” Razham said.

Prepared to die, Razham stood his ground waiting for the attack, but just moments before it reached the tree line, the creature suddenly stopped.

“It will not advance any farther,” a voice said from behind them.

Olds and Brius turned to see Cerros standing tall in full armor. Upon his legs, forearms, and breast, he wore plates of steel, the breastplate with a family crest engraved into its metal. One large sword was sheathed over his right shoulder, and two more swords were sheathed to his right hip with a long chain coiled up on his left hip. A glowing blue gem hung around his neck. Cerros looked nothing like he had before.

“Do not fear, Razham,” Cerros said.

When Razham turned slowly, Cerros added,

“It will not enter the clearing as long as I am here.”

Razham shook off the effects of the prayer he had been repeating and saw how majestic Cerros looked as he stood proudly, a warrior who had survived far more battles than he wished. Both joy and sorrow were in his eyes.

“Let us leave this place,” Cerros said, turning to go.

Brius and Olds went ahead a safe distance while Cerros waited for Razham.

For a moment, Razham was transported away. He saw Cerros covered with blood, standing in a field of grass. The kingdom of Ethion loomed in the distance, smoke rising from its walls. Cerros faced a giant of a man who wielded a large hammer. An axe his only weapon, Cerros fell to the ground, his armor torn and broken. As he struggled to stand, his hand went to his throat and he pulled the blue gem free from his neck, holding it up. Razham’s vision ended in a flash of blue light.

“Are you well?” Cerros asked with concern.

Razham looked at him and said,

“Yes. I am sorry, my friend. It was an honor.”

Cerros gave no response, but his eyes told Razham he understood.

The two warriors turned and left the clearing in silence.

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Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 3:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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