Dragon Fire: Episode 74

Razham woke to discover the small creature Gonorap standing on his chest staring into his face as he cried,

“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

“Yes, yes. I am awake, little one,” Razham said.

“You must help Gonorap. The one called Degan is gone, and Gonorap is too small to search for him alone,” the creature pleaded.

Razham stood up and rubbed the back of his head. He looked toward the sun to estimate how much time had passed since Degan was taken. By now the troll had put many miles between them.

“He will not be injured,” Razham assured Gonorap. “Degan is far too important to the one who commands the troll.”

“Of that, Gonorap is not afraid. Gonorap fears what the witch said. Gonorap must remain at the necromancer’s side or nightmares will come from the darkness for Gonorap,” wailed the small creature.

“A witch has done this to you?” Razham asked.

“An evil witch,” Gonorap answered. “She tormented Gonorap and threatened Gonorap’s life. Gonorap just wants to go home.”

Razham listened carefully then said reassuringly,

“I will protect you, little one, until we find Degan. I am a holy man. No harm will come near you.”

When Razham saw that his words seemed to comfort Gonorap, he added,

“We must go now to Degan.”

Crossing to where the troll had been standing when he attacked, Razham bent down to examine the footprints.

Straightening up, he looked at Gonorap and said,

“We will follow his steps. Let us hope that the path is clear.”

Suddenly Razham felt a shiver run down his spine. He peered into the trees, slowly turning as he watched for movement.

“Why do you linger?” Gonorap asked impatiently. “Find Degan.”

“Someone is out there,” Razham explained.

“They want to hurt Gonorap. Always want to hurt Gonorap,” the frightened creature said.

“No, I sense no malice,” Razham returned.

Just then Razham heard a faint cry. He listened into the wind, trying to discover the direction from which the sound had come. Up ahead were the burned gates of old Ethion.

After Razham gathered up Gonorap and mounted his steed, he rode toward the old city’s gates.

“The cry comes from within the walls of the city,” Razham said.

As they drew closer, the cry sounded again.

“Help!” a woman’s voice pleaded.

“Someone is in peril. We will offer assistance then continue on our journey,” Razham said.

“No time. Find the necromancer. Gonorap will suffer nightmares from the darkness,” Gonorap insisted.

“We must not turn away from a cry for help, little one,” Razham said as they approached the gates. “Our service here will be but a moment, and then we will continue on our way.”

Gonorap began to quiver with apprehension.

Razham climbed down from his horse, slowly opened the city gates, and listened.

“Not safe here,” Gonorap whispered. “Take Gonorap away.”

Razham motioned for Gonorap to be silent then took a step inside the gates. After a moment, he heard faint sobs in the distance. He signaled for Gonorap to get behind him as he followed the sound down the street and up to the burned out remains of a house. The entry door was missing, and the rooms looked empty. The woman’s cries seemed to be coming from the second floor. He quickly made his way up the stairs and through the doorway into a room off to the left. When he saw a woman seated in a chair, her long hair covering all but one eye, he stopped. Razham saw tears falling from the crystal blue eye and felt pity.

Her skin as pale as a flower in the moonlight, she tightly closed her eyes, pushing out any lingering tears.

“What has brought about this unhappiness?” Razham asked.

“Gonorap must flee this place,” Gonorap pleaded, pulling at Razham’s leg.

“Be still,” Razham insisted. Then turning back to the woman, he asked,

“Are you hurt?”

The woman looked up and slowly turned toward Razham.

When he saw her face, he gasped in horror. The dark, stiff skin looked like candle wax in a flame. As she looked at Razham with her blue left eye, he saw that her right eye was but an empty socket. No hair grew on the right side of her skull, and when she opened her mouth, a piercing scream came forth that seemed to splinter the air. Suddenly she was joined by loud shrieks coming from every direction.

“Gonorap warned! Gonorap warned! Gonorap warned!” the small creature lamented.

Published in: on June 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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