A Dragon Just Wrecked Your House – Deal With It
My head pounded beneath the duvet of rubble. It was dark. Something breathed low and long overhead, the stench of sulphur stinking out the air. It rolled and smoked, sickening my insides as the acrid stink of burning flesh wrapped around my lungs.
It had come so suddenly. We should have listened to the warning, but my father was too proud. He said that it would never find us.
He was wrong.
The curse had spread through lands far better protected than ours, seeking us out. Its blackness smote the landscape like a cigarette burn. I’d told him to put it back, to beg for forgiveness, but he wouldn’t heed me. He didn’t understand that the sorcerer would never stop. And now his vile worm had found us.
I heard the vibrations of its body through the fallen brick as its scaly stomach scraped the scorched ground. It sifted the wreckage, searching for my father.
Still eyes stared at me from beneath the crush of the chimney breast. The beast would fail its mission and nobody would discover the stolen relic. A half dead smile slipped as consciousness fell from me.
The words fogged through to my ears. I resisted the urge to open my heavy lids, the voices and movement in the room setting me on edge. Vague details of the dragon drummed into my daze. Loss bubbled up in my chest, reminding me of the dead look on my father’s sooty face.
“Spare her. She might know where your treasure is.”
“And what’s in it for you?” croaked the distinctive voice of the aged sorcerer.
My jaw tightened as I listened. They were bargaining for my life, the younger speaker reasoning with the older. I squinted between my lashes, realising my mistake with a sickening pang in the pit of my stomach.
“Then it is settled. Take her and find the goblet. Bring it to me unmarred and you can have the girl.”
My limbs tumbled unsteadily to the floor, stumbling as I tried to run, but the black clothed guards smiled in my face and adopted their attack positions. My feeble legs fumbled, backing me into my new masters. His hands curled around my wrists.
“To the tower,” he hissed.
Did the sorcerer understand the bargain he had partaken? I couldn’t say, but the vampire’s motives had me balanced on a knife edge. They are creatures not to be trusted with matters of life and death such as the goblet. It was greed that drove them.
It was greed that drove them all to possess it. My father included.
The look in his eyes when he’d beheld that goblet had frightened me. He’d murmured of its glorious power, stroking its golden surface with the polish brush. I’d told him that he didn’t need it. What good could it bring?
What good indeed…
It had brought plague. It had brought the sorcerer’s curse. He wanted it back. He wanted it back all for himself. Without his cup he would turn to dust and disintegrate in the wind like a ghost of the flesh.
I didn’t understand the fascination. I didn’t understand the need to live forever. But the sorcerer did and demanded his goblet returned.
But nobody could find my father. The village hid him, not understanding what he had done. They thought it was another of the magic man’s cruel recriminations. It didn’t occur to them that my father was the one in the wrong. Enraged at such thoughtless actions, the wizard had sent his worm.
We’d run. Every step took us further from home, the dragon following not far behind. And so it had caught us minutes before we fled.
The vampire pushed me into the tower room. His eyes glowed as silver orbs in the pale light whilst he removed his gilded gloves. He circled me, tutting at my apparel and teasing my scruffy hair. “You know what I am… Interesting.”
“I can smell a vampire from a mile off,” I murmured.
His eyes lifted to my barely concealed flash of fangs. “Wolf girl… I haven’t met one of your kind in a very long time. Does the wizard know?” I looked away from the vampire and his sing song voice, causing him to chuckle in delight. “No… No our dear acquaintance doesn’t know.”
“What do you want the goblet for?”
He slanted his gaze on me, smiling still. “Why would an immortal like myself want such a useless trinket as that?”
“Then why did you bargain with him?”
“You aren’t too bright, wolf maiden…”
The vampire seated himself on the edge of the bed, at home with the four poster like he’d stepped from the same century. I reminded myself that he probably had. Vampires were never really as young as they seemed and this one was far too suave and controlled to be freshly turned.
“I don’t want his goblet. I want you.” He licked his lips, settling back against the bed, the bile bubbling in my stomach. “I have no intention of searching for his ridiculous mug. It’s no use to me.”
He rose from the bed, moving towards me with his disgusting grin on his foul mouth. I backed towards the door. Fingers clawed behind me, hopeful.
“I want you, my darling. I want a new generation of supernaturals. You’re going to give them to me.”
“And if I refuse?”
His eyes flashed fierce white fire. “That’s not a choice you’ll be allowed to make.”
My back met the door, his breast pressing against mine. I drew my hand against his heart and dug with all my might, wolfish claws gouging the offending organ as my free hand clamped against his putrid mouth.
The body fell back against the floor. Red flesh, still and dead, rolled across the flagstones like a shrunken fruit. I closed my eyes and sniffed the blood. Something tense inside me released, the red essence dripping down my wrists and over my flesh covered veins.
I licked my hungry lips. And now for the sorcerer.
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