The Circle Of Dragons
Book 1 – The Beginning of the End
By Garry Brown
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CHAPTER 3 5/11
I awoke with my memory intact. I was laying face down in the desert between Mirnigast City and Hundrel village. I must have slept walked. I had to get to the inn and tell Mikal, Emily and the other members of ACID what had happened. I staggered in to the hideout the next morning. I took a look around the empty hideout. Plans were scattered all over a table. The plans indicated that they were to go after Rico again as I was told. I had to get back to Mirnigast and stop them before they are all killed.
It’s all, my fault.
I ran as fast as I could towards Mirnigast city. As I drew nearer a loud bang could be heard carried in the wind from the direction of Mirnigast. I had to hurry.
I got to the great northern gates. The guards were missing.
What’s going on?
I pushed the gates open. As I slid them open I looked up and noticed that the manor had completely disappeared. Normally the manor could be seen from outside as it stood high above the rest of the city. I could see Neil lying slumped over on the floor.
“Neil,” I ran over to him.
“Neil …where are the others?” I asked shaking him about.
He awoke and stared up at me with tired eyes.
“Cole …is that you?” he asked.
“Yeah it’s me,” I answered.
I hadn’t had the chance to get to know him through all of this.
“You murdering son of a bitch… (Cough!),” he murmured and sputtered.
“I know, but I’m back now and I’m here to help …if I’m not to late …now tell me where they are,” I ordered.
“They’re …(Cough!) …Heading for the manor,” Neil was in bad shape, he had been stabbed several times in the torso.
Neil then passed away after one final breath.
I got to my feet and continued towards the place where the manor used to be. Bodies of soldiers littered the streets and screaming citizens fled the area. I could see one Gorgan soldier staggering around. I struggled to get through the frightened crowd to get to him. As I came closer he collapsed in the road. It was Henry.
“Henry,” I cried out.
His eyes darted around looking for the source of the voice. I cambered in to view and knelt beside him.
“Come on buddy,” I said as I lifted him to his feet.
“What are you doing here?” he asked out of breath.
He had been stabbed also.
“I’m here to help,” I replied as I took his weight.
“Where are the others?” I asked persistently as I placed him down at a safe distance from the crumbling buildings.
“They … Urgh … ACID are dead and your friends were taken up inside the manor,” he was in considerable pain.
“I’d take you with me…”
“Like hell you will …go …go now and save your friends,” he handed me his sword.
“She will help you …now go!” he pushed me away.
“I’ll be back for you,” I shouted as I ran back out of the city.
I don’t know why, but I headed southeast. Something compelled me to travel in that direction. After 30 miles of constant travelling, I collapsed into the sand.
I need water.
I lifted my tired head to see a town just a few miles ahead. My aching limbs forced themselves to push me onward. I got to the gate to the town and collapsed outside. I laughed inside. I was just so glad it wasn’t a mirage. The two guards lifted me up off the ground and carried me to a hut just a little way down the road.
“We got a traveller who just collapsed outside,” one of them said as they sung my dehydrated body on to a bed.
“Oh god!” the female voice cried.
“He need fluid and quick,” she ordered.
There was a lot of clattering around and then a drop of water hit my cracked lips.
I lay in a daze as the woman continuously fed me water and rubbed me down with a damp cloth.
I slept soundly that night. The next morning I darted up in my bed. I could hear a woman singing outside the back of the hut. I dressed myself up and grabbed my things and went to thank her.
“Where am I?” I asked startling her.
“Oh goodness …you’re awake then?” she said holding her chest.
She was a fair young maiden. Her long silky blonde hair reached down to her knees and she had it tied back in to a ponytail using several hair bands.
“You’re in Talasmin …the great fishing town,” she replied finally.
I heard of this town before …mother used to have the servants buy her fish from there and only there, but I had no time to enjoy the splendid fish.
“I need transport …do you know where I can get some?” I asked politely.
“Of course, but you cant leave yet …you’re not well,” she replied.
“But I must …it is a matter of life and death,” I explained.
She didn’t look convinced; in fact she looked a bit pissed off.
“You men …everything is a matter of life or death with you …everything you do is most important,” she really was pissed off with me.
“You don’t…” I tried to explain.
“Okay …if you insist, but at least stay for dinner,” she seemed to have calmed down.
“Only if it’s quick and if I can see about transport first,” I compromised.
“Sure …the guy lives in the hut two down and to the left …it’s quite big …you cant miss it,” she explained carefully.
“Thanks,” I said as I headed towards the door.
She chased after me.
“Be careful though he’s a little strange,” she shouted after me as I left her hut.
As I made my way down the path the children all stopped playing and stared at me.
What’s wrong with them?
I carried on and noticed the large hut.
This must be it.
I opened the door and strolled in. The sound of horses filled the hut.
“Excuse me is anybody in?” I shouted down towards the back of the hut.
“Just a …MINUTE,” a voice cried.
I remembered the young maidens words.
“I was just wondering if I could buy one of your horses,” I shouted as I made my way towards the back.
“Is that …SO,” he replied.
“Yes …how much are they?” I carried on with the necessary questions.
“How much you got? …TALLURES,” he shouted.
I delved in to my satchel. I pulled out my hand and held only forty tallures, a piece of string, a bit of flint and a button. Nowhere near enough. I then found myself holding up my sword.
“I will exchange you a horse for a very finely made sword,” I shouted back.
The man popped out from behind me and grabbed the sword. He was a very short man. Only about three foot tall. He eyeballed the sword carefully.
“Hmm …I have a horse you can have …SWIZZLE-STICK!” I found his problem to be that he would shout the last word he spoke.
A horse trundled in to view.
“This is a fine horse, but he has become very lazy and is a stubborn old MULE,” he explained.
My eardrum was beginning to take the brunt of his shouting.
“It’ll have to do,” I sighed as I grabbed its harnesses.
“Thank you,” I said as I began to take the horse with me.
The horse head-butted me in the back and pushed me forward. I jumped on the horse and walked it out of the hut. Once I had collected supplies I sped out of the town. The fair young lady chased after me.
“What about your dinner?”
I ignored her and carried on galloping on the horse.
I estimated that the trip to the chambers of hell would take about 3 days. I didn’t know what was happening to Mikal and Emily, but I knew I had to be quick. That night I slept beneath the stars and ate a rational feast. Swizzle-stick looked content as he lay down and fell asleep. As I looked up in to the clear night sky I could see all different constellations. Orion’s belt could be seen as clear as crystal. I drifted off in to a sound sleep.
The next morning I awoke bright and early. I strapped the supplies on to his back and set off for the chambers. The desert stretched on for as far as the eye could see. Swizzle-stick neighed in anguish.
A camel would have been better on this terrain.
The horse struggled through the sand.
“You tired old boy? …Okay …we’ll rest for a while, but I’m sure there’s a town just ten miles away,” I said as I jumped off of him and began to take the load off of him. I fed him some of the hay in my satchel and poured some water in to a bucket for him. I didn’t worry about the rations because I knew we’d make it to the town before nightfall.
Elves populated the town. They were very friendly, but I had no time to be the perfect guest. I dropped Swizzle-stick at the yard and I went to the bar for a relaxing drink.
“Hey ya matie …ya look like ya gotta lot o’ your mind,” the barman said as I slumped down on the stool by the bar.
“Yeah …can I have a drink please,” I sighed.
“Sure …what’ll it be?” he replied.
I wasn’t sure. I’d never drank in this bar before and I couldn’t get drunk
“I’ll just have a cola,” I replied.
The barman looked puzzled.
“I’ll have a beer,” I remembered that cola was taken off the market and was only sold to rich families.
Mother used to give me a glass of cola one night every week when she knew that Rico was getting a new stock.
The barman smiled and went off to the keg. The Elf that was sitting beside me turned towards me and began to blabber. Well it started off as blabber, but when I heard some familiar words I began to get very interested.
“…And that ACID, well they were fighting for a good cause weren’t they? …I’d been trying to destroy that bastard Rico for four hundred years and never…” he explained.
“Excuse me!” I was in shock.
I would never have believed that Rico was over one hundred, let alone four hundred.
“He’s how old?” I asked in disbelief.
“Well …he was born four hundred and seventy-three years ago in December, so that’ll make him four hundred and seventy-two.”
Oh my god!
The Elf carried on talking in to the night.
I awoke the next morning and the Elf was standing over me.
“Last night ya told me that ya were chasing Rico on a horse whilst he was in a flying house …is that correct?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I replied rubbing my eyes and sitting up in my bed.
“Only yesterday did a strange object fly above our heads during the day …now that ya mention it …it did resemble a house,” he explained.
“Okay …would you be able to show me where it headed?” I asked.
“I know exactly where it was heading, but it’s no use,” he replied.
“His magic is too strong …he cannot be defeated,” he explained.
I shrugged my shoulders and looked between my legs.
“But I need to get to the chambers of hell and stop him before he rises the circle of dragons,” I shrugged.
“If that is true then we must leave immediately,” he said shocked as he grabbed his bow.
“I’ll get the horse,” I suggested as I dove out of bed.
“Forget the horse …we ‘ave faster transport,” the Elf nudged me.
“Just get your things and meet me outside,” the Elf then left me alone to get ready.
I waited outside of the inn with my satchel in my hand. The Elf then drove up on strange animal. It looked like a flying fish and it was carrying a carriage behind it. The fish was all bright colours and glistened in the sun.
“Come on boy …what ya waiting for …get in,” he motioned.
I slung my bag in to the carriage and clambered in.
“My names Cole,” I said.
“I’m Quinn, nice to meet ya,” he replied with a smile.
He cracked his whip and the fish darted forward.
I then zoomed all the way to the chambers of hell with Quinn and a new hope for Mikal and Emily flowing in my veins.
We arrived at the chamber unnoticed. The manor sat outside the entrance in all its terrible glory.
“See …he is an evil sorcerer …how he became the world leader, I will never know,” Quinn sighed.
“Maybe that was sorcery too,” I suggested.
Quinn looked deep in thought.
“Maybe …you’re right,” he said quietly.
We stared down in to the blackness of the cavern. An emanating heat came from inside.
“These caverns lead close to the earth’s core …closer than you’ve ever been before,” Quinn explained.
“Yeah well we haven’t got a choice …I’m going in,” I said as I stepped in to the mouth of the cave.
Quinn followed me and we both ran down the cavern against the hot wind that blew in our faces.
The Chambers of hell looked like the inside of a volcano. Lava and fire spurted randomly in several places. We had an arrived in time for the ceremony. I could see Rico reading from the king's diary waving his arms in gesture towards nine sacrifices. Lights flashed around the chamber. Guards were dotted around in various places. Rico's generals were witnessing this most triumphant time. The nine sacrifices were nobody in particular, but
they seemed terrified. I had to do something to stop the ceremony.
I shouted over to Rico. He turned and faced me.
“Kill him,” Rico’s general, Holas ordered the guards.
They jumped in to action. Quinn sat down and meditated.
“What are you doing?” I asked, confused.
“Shush …keep them busy …I’m going to cast a spell of stillness,” he explained.
“Oh right!” it meant nothing to me.
A gunshot brought me back to the situation. I ducked and pulled out my sword. The black blade glistened …it seemed to sing to me. I jumped in to the battle and pounced in to action. I began to slice guards up as they charged towards me. Bullets seemed to bounce right off of me. Mikal and Emily saw my courageous act and joined in. Mikal punched the guards holding him and freed Emily. Rico carried on with his ceremonial garbage language. I didn’t understand a word, but by the reactions of our surroundings, the earth sure did.
I flew forward from an impact in the back. It was a bullet wound. I had been shot square in the back. I lay unable to move by Rico’s feet. He acknowledged my presence and stepped on my head twisting it in to the ground as he carried on speaking the ancient code. My head pounded and I knew what was coming up next. I had been having these headaches every night since the experiment, but when they ached as much as this, I knew exactly what was going to happen. My blood began to boil and my eyes began to become very heavy. I could feel my body begin to shake and then I opened my eyes widely and my vision had changed. All I could see was the blood flowing through each person. I also had new strength. I lifted Rico’s foot and picked myself from the floor. I stared at Rico for a second. It seemed to go in slow motion. Rico cackled as the ground began to shake.
“Useless fools …you’re too late,” Rico laughed.
The earth trembled and lava sprouted higher in to the air and with a tremendous force. I flew around destroying all around me and then I picked up Emily and dropped her near Quinn. He was very distraught. Before he could finish his spell he had been slashed in the throat to quiet him. It had been general Holas. The general now stood beside Rico Gorgan and they looked upon his triumph together. I calmed down and the power subsided.
“We gotta get out of ‘ere,” Mikal shouted over the noise.
I turned and looked towards the nine sacrifices. Nine evil spirits came from beneath them and dived in to their bodies. Then their bodies began to mutate at an alarming rate. First their skin changed in to scales, then their eyes changed from human to lizard like and then their bone transformed and wings sprouted out of their backs. The nine dragons were all different colours. The black dragon laughed as he formed.
“Oh Tragor …it is I who awoke you …I am your master,” Rico shouted up to the gigantic creature.
“You? …My master? …I have never heard such filth,” he bent down and picked up Rico in his left claw.
Rico wasn’t scared he kept calm.
Mikal had already picked up Quinn and was leading Emily out of the caverns.
“Come on Cole …we gotta go,” he shouted back at me.
I just couldn’t take my eyes off of what I saw.
For some reason I felt that the book was important to the quest.
“I’ve got to get the book,” I shouted back.
“Book …what book?” Mikal shouted, but I’d already jumped out and back on to the ledge.
As I grabbed the book I continued to listen to the dragons talk. They hadn’t even noticed me and the general was already running away.
“Understand this, worm …I have no master,” the black dragon laughed as he brought Rico closer and then breathed on him.
Rico began to scream as he watched himself melt away to nothing. It was like eye-candy to me. Rico had got everything he deserved in my eyes. I then grabbed the book and legged it out of the cavern.
We watched as the nine dragons fled the cavern and filled the sky, each one carrying their individual coloured gem.
I knew that the quest that had been placed before me, to defeat these dragons was going to be difficult, in fact more difficult than anything that I have had to accomplish before in my life. I don’t even know how we were going to defeat them, but there has to be a way. There just has to be…
I just hope we can find out what it is before there’s nothing left to save.