Dragon Fire: Episode 55

Crawling along the rocky ceiling, Atol slowly worked his way deeper into the belly of the dungeon. Along the walls, the torch lights smoked and flickered in the thin air. As hundreds of vipers slithered over one another, intertwining and hissing, the floor seemed to be moving. The damp air was filled with the stench of decay and waste.

At each torch he passed, Atol reached down with his tail, pulling the burning wood free, and snuffed out the flame. With few torches lighting the passageway, Atol’s work was quickly done. He did not need the light to see, giving him a small advantage over the guards in this level of the dungeon. Suddenly, a door opened at the end of the long hallway, and Atol quickly pressed himself against the ceiling.

A guard stepped out of the room and paused, turned and cocked his head to one side as though listening. He glanced up and down the passageway then cocked his head again. When he tightened his grip on the shaft of his spear, Atol thought he had been spotted. But the guard turned his gaze back into the room and said,

“Silence, Dynn. I am trying to listen.”

Finally, the guard shook his head in disgust and turned back into the doorway.

“If something is out there, I cannot tell. Your tongue will not cease!”

Mumbling his displeasure, the guard closed the door and Atol moved across the ceiling. Slowly reaching down with his tail, he opened the latch and the door swung open.

“You forgot to close it, Upol,” a voice scolded.

“You are mistaken, Dynn! I know I closed it!” Upol complained.

When the guard approached the open door, Atol slipped inside the room, keeping himself pressed to the ceiling.

“Why do you worry?” Dynn asked, balancing the blade of his sword on the stump of his left arm severed above the elbow, while his right hand polished the steel.

“You know why,” Upol replied.

With a smirk, Dynn wagged his head and said,

“Oh yes. The great one.”

“Master says he is to be the heir to the throne,” Upol said.

“Perhaps,” Dynn returned, “but he is no ruler. I remember the days when I was of the royal guard. That king was a ruler.”

“You tried to kill him,” Upol argued.

“True, but he was a good king. Kings rise and fall, but gold will always make the decisions,” Dynn said smugly.

“It was a cowardly thing to do,” Upol replied.

“What do you know of bravery? You were shot in the back and thrown down here by your own men,” Dynn chortled.

“No, Dynn. I was betrayed and put here by a corrupt general,” disagreed Upol.

“Senseless words from a cowardly guard with more worms in his belly than guts,” Dynn snapped.

“When the master frees us, I will slice the smile from your rotting face,” Upol snarled.

When the master is finished with us, we will fall back into our grave,” Dynn reminded him.

“Then we shall settle this in the nether realm,” Upol growled.

“I quake in my boots,” Dynn said sarcastically.

“Be still!” a voice boomed just before something shook the wall.

“You have angered it,” Dynn whispered.

“No, you did,” Upol returned.

“QUIET!” the voice boomed again.

“Forgive us, Delch,” the guards spoke.

Atol noticed that the wall to the next room had no door, perhaps a design to keep out unwary travelers. Near the ceiling was a small break in the stone for air. Atol narrowed his body and slipped through the opening.

Once on the other side of the wall, Atol saw that Delch was not dead like the others. He was a large brute formed from bones, dirt, and bits of putrid flesh.

“Some type of golem,” Atol thought to himself as he watched Delch curiously.

“I will destroy those fools,” Delch growled.

“The master engages mindless cowards,” a voice from the table commented.

Atol saw that the voice belonged to that of half a man. His body ended at the waist and rested on the table next to a ledger.

“Zhan, how much longer must we wait here?” Delch sighed.

“Until the prince dies or master gains his rightful place where he cannot be defeated,” Zhan explained.

“Where is this prince so that I may kill him?” Delch asked.

Zhan looked over at the ledger.

“He is in the pit, but you cannot kill him. Master says that only the pit will put an end to him,” Zhan said.

Atol had heard of the pit. It was a black large hole that ran the length of the dungeon ending at its lowest level. Down there, a flood of snakes coiled, lashing out and biting the bodies of prisoners tossed to their death. Atol’s heart sickened. He must reach the pit at once! If the young prince was still alive, he would not be for long.

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Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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