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Short Story Friday: The Gate p.12a- Dragon’s Heart


Tweet of the Day: The Genre Mashup We’d Like to See: Evil Overlord Romance!

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P.1 P.2P.3P.4P.5P.6a P.6bP.7P.8P.9P.10P.11P.12bAftermath

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-Data Corruption 37%

-Current Countermeasures: Infective

-Life Support Systems Backups Activated

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The sands stirred on the table. Forest, mountains and seas appeared on the large table top.  Fires burned along the edges, to the North, where the eleven woods met the mountains, and to the West, where villages fell to sea raiders. The crept up to the center, like flames consuming dry parchment. Tiny figures moved away from the fires. They represented thousands of refugees fleeing the enemy.

Simon waved his hand over the map, “The situation at the moment is dire. We held the enemy back and destroyed many of its ships, but with the new attacks from the North plus the refugees our forces are stretched thin.” His features matched the description of the situation.

“We will push them back,” said Prince Richard, standing at his father’s side.

But the king said nothing. His chin rested on his palm, his eyes fixed on the map. I looked at Lysandra. A wild idea sprung to mind the moment I saw her golden eyes. “Sire, we need new allies. Perhaps Dargo-Lhud will help us.”

“That is not possible Paladin Jonah. The law forbids it. For once you ask a dragon for help he will claim lordship over you. I will not be ruled by serpents!” said the Prince.

“The alternative, your Highness is to watch our World burn around us,” I said.

“Sir Jonah is correct, we need all the help we can get. Go and fetch the dragon,” King Stephenson said.

“At once Sire. Simon, can you take Lysandra and me to his cave?”

“I don’t think that is a good idea, my friend?” Simon said.

“I can’t go, I’m an elf!” said Lysandra.

“Can you do it, Simon?”

“Yes, I can,” he said with a sigh.

“Then lets go, you too Ly,” I grabbed her by the waist. Grizzle bounded forward and sat at my feet. “Before we go your  Highness, if I were not to return, could you see to it that Valiant, my horse, be set free from the royal stables?”

He nodded, “Go with my blessing. May the Twelve protect you.”

The throne room disappeared in a blur, replaced by the dark mouth of Dargo-Lhud cave. I handed my sword and shield to Lysandra, “You two stay here, it will only take a moment.”

“Wait,” said Simon. He took my hand and with an incantation placed an orange flame in my open palm.

“That would have been handy the last time around,” I said.

He chuckled. Ly stroke Grizzle’s fur.  I went in. The path was easier to follow. “My Lord, I come in behalf of King Stephenson!”

Dargo-Lhud lowered his head to my level, “So you came back, young knight.”

“Yes, my Lord. We need your help.”

“Do you?”

“Yes, the armies of the Overlord march across the land. We fight against them, but their numbers are endless. Soon the land itself with burn to ash,” I said.

“Indeed it will, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

“But with your help-”

“With my help? What exactly do you propose, Paladin? That I fight your battles for you? That I swat away at the minions of the Enemy? They are but a symptom. This is a cancer, a cancer that will consume all. The only way to see this through is too cut the cancer out. But are you willing to see this through the end, Sir Jonah? Will you? For there is no question this World is at an end. It will die. But if you will it, a portion of it could live again. Are you willing to sacrifice it all for a new life?”

“I will do whatever is necessary to stop this menace,” I said.

“You don’t understand. So close to the truth, yet you don’t understand. But you will, soon enough.” I followed, dwarfed by the gigantic lizard shape. Outside the others stepped back, even Grizzle cowered behind Ly. “Well, since you are all here, it is time to go.” He lowered a wing, “I believe there is enough room in my back for all of you.”

I carried a trembling Grizzle and climbed over Dargo-Lhud’s long neck. Ly sat behind me, her slender arms gripped around my waist, “Turnabout is fair play, no?” she whispered in my ear.

Simon rose in the air and then vanished. “It seems the mage has his own ways of travel,” said Dargo-Lhud. “Hold on!” He jumped from the ledge and dived for the forest floor below. With a few mighty beats of his wings, he climbed back into the sky. We headed North, into the heart of darkness.

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-Data Corruption at 41%

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