Dragon Fire: Episode 59

As Razham and Cerros moved deeper into Wildeye Woods in search of the beast, the treetops grew thicker, blocking out the sun.

“We know nothing of this creature,” Cerros said. “If the legends of these woods are true, there is far more evil here than we know.”

Farther into the woods, the dark forest floor lay covered with rotting fallen leaves and branches beneath the towering trees that stood like dead men’s bones driven into the damp earth.

“Perhaps we will know the beast when once we face it,” Razham said confidently.

A few feet ahead, the path turned left at a pile of rock fragments that had settled at the base of the mountain. In the treetops the leaves rustled at every stir of breeze, breaking the eerie silence of the dark woods.

When they followed the trail around, Razham spotted some sunlight up ahead streaming in through a clearing alongside the mountain’s face where it curved inward.

“I did not know sunlight still visited this place,” Cerros scowled as they stopped.

“What is that?” Razham questioned as he caught a glimpse of a giant flower bulb in the clearing, its size that of an elephant’s foot.

Cautiously they drew nearer then stopped again. With their eyes, they followed the thick stem twenty feet into the air.

“It is a mere flower, albeit a large one,” Cerros remarked.

“Not a simple flower, my friend,” Razham corrected. “It is a Oneyroot. A deadly carnivorous plant with two large vines. One there and there,” he said pointing to two smaller bulbs connected to thick vines that clung to either side of the rock wall.

“These bulbs can be detached from the wall and used as weapons. The stem has eight long vines it uses like whips, and the bulb will open and disperse a pollen, dazing and eventually killing anyone who is unfortunate enough to inhale it.”

“Is this the answer to the riddle of the guardian of these woods?” Cerros asked.

“Yes, it must be. The plant is not native to this land. Keep your distance, my friend. If it senses a threat, it will attack. Draw too close, and it will kill you then pull your lifeless body beneath its roots to feed,” Razham warned.

“How are we to safely rid this place of it? Cerros asked.

“When I was a child, we were told of the plant and taught a prayer to sooth it back into its shell. Afterwards, it may be moved to a safer location, unless it has grown too wild,” Razham explained.

“Are you certain?” Cerros asked, skeptical.

“I have done it easily many times. Do not worry, my friend,” Razham assured him.

“I have faith in you, but if you fail, I will kill this monster,” Cerros insisted.

“Stay here,” Razham instructed.

He moved ahead into the clearing closer to the bulb, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Bending down, he placed his staff on the ground and removed his shoes as he began to chant in a language strange to Cerros. Slowly he approached the Oneyroot.

Prepared to strike, Cerros warily watched the bulb as Razham drew nearer then lowered himself to his knees chanting. Gradually, the bulb opened and when the clouds passed, the sun struck the spaces between the pedals causing the bulb to look as though it had eyes.

Suddenly a greenish yellow dust floated out of the bulb.

“Razham!” Cerros shouted.

Startled, Razham opened his eyes and looked up to see the dust floating down towards him. Quickly he rose to his feet.

“The plant has grown too wild. . . ,” Razham began then collapsed as he lost consciousness.

Lifting Razham into the air, the bulb turned its head toward Cerros.

Remembering what Razham had said about the plant’s victims, he demanded,

“Let him go.”

When the plant began to pull Razham toward its stem, Cerros removed the large sword from his back and whispered something into the blade. It began to glow then lit up with a black fire.

“Release him or I will kill you,” Cerros growled.

When the plant continued to draw in Razham, Cerros marched forward to attack. Suddenly, the two bulbs attached to the mountain wall broke free, and the right one swung out at Cerros.

Spinning, Cerros slashed through the thick vine supporting the bulb, and it rolled away. Bringing his sword back into position, he spun and sliced through the thick vine of the other bulb.

The strange plant screeched in pain and drew back.

“Release him!” Cerros growled.

But the Oneyroot only looked at Razham then held down his arms while it wrapped two vines around his neck and began to tighten its grip.

Cerros knew he had little time to save Razham. Driving his broadsword into the earth, he pulled two twin swords free from their sheath. Turning his back to the Oneyroot, he held each sword close, whispering to them, then threw them, sending them disappearing into the shadows beyond the clearing.

Pulling a chain from his hip, Cerros warned, “Free him or die!”

Just as he began whirling the chain overhead, he felt a ripple in the air as both swords came spinning forth from the shadows. Flying past Cerros, they pierced the stem holding up the Oneyroot.

Quickly he released the chain, wrapping it around the base of the bulb. Then pivoting his body, Cerros tightened the chain until it tore the bulb from its stem.

When he ran to pull Razham clear, he saw the plant’s roots begin to curl as it folded and pushed up the ground beneath it. Bodies in various stages of decomposition spilled out from the roots where the plant had been feeding on them.

“What happened?” Razham asked as his mind cleared.

“You almost joined your ancestors,” Cerros said.

As he helped Razham to his feet, Cerros glanced over at the pile of rotting corpses.

“We must return to the alchemist,” he said.

“But we have not yet found what infected Baron Dumnos,” Razham argued.

“It no longer matters. That is the Baron, or what’s left of him,” Cerros explained, pointing to the decaying mass.

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Published in: on March 17, 2015 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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