Dragon Fire: Episode 77

His hammer raised, Edron roared a battle cry and charged the field, the minotaurs close behind.

As Cerros stepped forward to meet his foe, he stopped and for a moment watched the minotaurs. Turning back to Atol, he said,

“The man will soon fall under my blade. Idrian will protect you from these monstrous creatures?”

“I must save her strength for the next strike of the summoner,” Atol explained as he motioned for Idrian to take flight.

“Then I shall stay and fight the minotaurs alongside you,” Cerros said turning back.

“No, my friend. You must defeat the man. Leave these creatures to me,” Atol said.

“I do not question your valor, but they are as giants,” Cerros pointed out.

“One does not need greater might to win a battle. Even the smallest stream will wear down a mountain with time,” Atol said.

Turning his face toward the battle, Atol began running at the minotaurs, stretching out his legs to full length, quickly gaining a blinding speed.

Cerros watched with wonder as in a flash, Atol covered the distance and leapt at the last moment between the creatures. Lashing out his tail, he wrapped it around the neck of one minotaur, pulled it to the ground, then whipped it around and tossed it to the edge of the field. The creature landed on a group of sharp rocks, tearing its flesh.

Quickly turning, Atol felt his feet slip across the wet grass as the other minotaur roared and raised its weapon, bellowing a battle cry. Atol saw that the wounded minotaur had risen, collected its weapon, and was charging toward him. He waited until just before the charging minotaur struck then leapt out of the way to safety.

The two creatures collided, the horns of one goring the other. One of the axes flew through the air and Atol, reaching up to grab it, hurled it at the closest minotaur. As the ax blade drove itself into the creature’s back, Atol ran toward it and climbed up. Grabbing the ax handle with both hands, he pulled it free and jumped up and over Olon as he shot out of the ground.

With force and ease, Olon punched through the minotaur, leaving a two-foot hole in its torso. Both minotaurs fell to the ground and instantly dissolved into powder. Atol stood, turned to face the summoner, and dropped the ax.

Nyriad shrieked as she watched the black creature destroy her pets.

“You monster!” she howled.

A twirl of energy ran up her spine through her arms and traveled from her fingers into the ground.

All around her pockets of earth began to swell and writhe.

* * *

In the wake of Atol’s success, Cerros turned his attention to Edron. Shouting his battle cry, he took to the field. When he had covered half the distance, Cerros threw one of his swords. Spinning through the air, the blade came to rest in Edron’s leg, cutting a deep gash. Cerros did not wish the kill to be so easy. Victory was always work fighting for. It must carry a great cost for a warrior. As Edron fell to his knees, Cerros drew closer.

“I was hoping for more,” he yelled.

As soon as the words passed his lips, he knew he had erred. Pride can lead a warrior to defeat, for a battle may turn. True that taunting the enemy in battle may anger him, force him to make rash moves, but victory must never be celebrated before the battle is won. Better to fight bravely, honorably, and if need be to die well.

Edron pulled the blade from his leg and threw it at Cerros. As its blade sliced through the air, Edron stood, raising his hammer above his head and slamming it to the ground. The earth shook as a wave of force ripped up the ground and slammed into Cerros like a great falling oak. Cerros flew backwards and hit the ground, sliding over the rocks and grass. Stunned from the blast, his head ached as the cold rain washed the mud from his face.

Rising to his feet, Cerros retrieved his sword from the ground then slipped it into its sheath. With a light in his eyes, he said,

“I shall enjoy this.”

Drawing a chain from his side, he whipped it over his head then struck the ground as he shouted,

“Come to me and we will fight till the devils drag us to the underworld.”

* * *

As Nyriad filled with wrath, wave after wave of energy poured from her fingertips into the earth. The pockets rose higher until they finally broke open and spiders, each the size of a wolf, began to burst forth, crawling over each other as they covered the ground.

Giggling with delight, Nyriad shrilled a chant as she raised her arms to the clouds.

“Wrap, entrap. Bite and fright. Bind his bones until he moans. Tear his flesh. Make him thresh. Take a feed and watch the bleed.”

As she lowered her arms, she said,

“Now go, my children. Attack!”

From all around her, the great spiders swarmed out onto the field as she held out her arms. The creatures moved under her power and the trees and grass in their path withered and died.

Nyriad looked up to the sky and watched the circling Idrian.

“You, creature, killed my precious Kodaz. I will tear your head from your wretched body while your master watches. Then I will call you back from the underworld and command you to kill his friends.”

Suddenly she began laughing at the thought of the delicious screams that would soon fill her ears as her enemies perished at her hands. The screams that would wash over her with such great peace and take her into a slumber for days to come.

Energy poured out of her fingertips, striking the ground before her. The earth rumbled and roots broke through the soil, carrying with them rocks and dirt. Slowly surrounding Nyriad, they wrapped their branches around her arms and legs as they lifted her.

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