Dragon Fire: Episode 63

As Aric stared in disbelief, Vanamir froze, the sacrificial blade inches from Isaac’s chest.

“What are you?” Vanamir asked, unable to free himself from the strange hold upon him.

Lifting his arms into the air, Degan commanded,

“Rise!”

Vanamir slowly straightened up as the ground in the clearing began to rumble and skeletal hands pushed upward, breaking through the earth’s surface. Vanamir’s followers watched in horror as all around them the dead rose and turned toward Degan, awaiting orders.

With a twist of his hands, the straps of leather that had bound him fell away and Degan’s hands were free.

“Attack!” Vanamir yelled to his followers.

But when Degan snapped his fingers, one of the dead stepped forward and seized Vanamir by the throat, lifting him into the air.

“Tell them to halt,” Degan simply said.

“Halt,” Vanamir choked.

Degan smiled and slowly walked toward Vanamir. At his approach, the army of the dead, twice the number of Vanamir’s men, stepped aside to let him pass.

When he reached the edge of the fire pit, he waved a dismissing hand and the skeleton released its grip, dropping Vanamir to the ground. Degan looked at Aric and said,

“Get the boy.”

Aric quickly freed himself and grabbed Isaac, lifting him off the pyre and hurrying away from the altar. He stopped momentarily and looked back at Degan. Knowing Aric was taking the boy to safety, Degan nodded his agreement.

Turning back to Vanamir, Degan said, “I have many questions to ask. To begin, why did you kill the boy’s parents?”

“They were of no value to me,” Vanamir said.

“Why?” Degan asked.

When Vanamir refused to answer, Degan commanded,

“Turn the knife on yourself.”

Though visibly struggling, Vanamir began to turn the knife toward himself.

“Will you answer me,” Degan said, “or shall I have you kill yourself slowly?”

“I will answer,” Vanamir agreed. “The man owed me money and could not pay.”

Just then one of the cultists grabbed a weapon.

“Master!” he screamed, turning on the nearest of the dead.

For a moment, Degan lost concentration and Vanamir, freed from Degan’s hold, began to flee as more and more cultists yelled and attacked the dead.

“Fight!” Degan commanded the dead.

As the dead let out a terrible roar, Degan ran after Vanamir.

The escaping Vanamir raced through a burned and crumbling archway that led into a large courtyard. A massive fountain now stood empty, its ornate carvings covered with gnarled vines rising from the blackened earth and rocks.

“Stop!” Degan commanded.

Instantly Vanamir was still.

“Turn around,” Degan ordered.

Vanamir turned around slowly and after a moment began to smile.

“Your power has limits, Necromancer. Your reach cannot extend to me and your army. It seems you must choose,” Vanamir said. “Who will you command?”

Vanamir took a step backwards toward the fountain.

“I said stop!” Degan ordered.

“If you move close enough to stop me, you lose control of the dead,” Vanamir reminded him.

Degan knew Vanamir was right. If he moved too far away from his army of the dead, they would weaken and the cult of fire worshippers would come after him.

Vanamir took another step back and boasted, “It seems our dance will have to wait until another day, Necromancer.”

Quickly turning away from Degan, Vanamir ran right into Aric’s sword.

“He has no power over me,” Aric said, lifting Vanamir into the air with the blade of the sword.

Coughing up black blood, Vanamir groped for the sword’s blade.

Taking a step forward, Aric turned his sword and plunged its blade into the ground, pinning Vanamir to the earth.

Just before Vanamir’s corpse dissolved into the earth, Aric cursed, “I hope you suffer a thousand times for every life you took.”

“Where is the boy?” Degan asked.

“I left him in a safe place until I could return,” Aric answered.

“Guard!” Degan yelled.

One of the dead marched up and stood at attention.

“Find the boy. Let no harm come to him,” Degan commanded.

Turning, the dead guard hurried away.

“Halt!” Degan yelled.

At once the guard stopped.

“Keep yourself hidden from the boy. He is afraid.”

The guard nodded understanding and left.

“Let us finish this,” Aric said.

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Published in: on July 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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