Haryk figured that his last thought, as he was about to be swallowed whole, was that he wouldn’t ever get that plate of roasted boar, or that pint of beer. He had spent his last fucking day on this earth starving, standing around in a library watching the mage sift through scrolls and tomes. His belly hadn’t had anything in it save some magical potion that had given him diarrhea and for all he knew, since he woke up 6 years older yesterday, he hadn’t had anything to eat for years.
While the teeth closed in around him, he thought it was oddly humorous that in a way he had become a decent meal himself!
He concluded quickly he was being eaten alive and so shouted the only thing he thought of with his parched throat.
“I just want a fucking beeeeerhhhhhhiirrrr!!!”
He shut his eyes and waited to become an elf sized snack but tthe teeth never closed, at least not around him.
For at just the moment when the fangs would seize him and the jaws they were attached to would lift him up to be swallowed, they froze in place! So close were they that he could feel their tips brush his burned skin. Then, the teeth pulled back and the head, neck and body of the massive beast above him rose into the dark cave! It just floated upwards like….
“Magic!” cried Haryk. “Floating dragon magic!”
Haryk couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It could not have been the doing of Andril, who at that very moment was facing his wall of fire, behind which the monsters thrashed and clawed the ground. There were no other skinny bookworms running around in the caves he knew of. Who could he thank for saving him until he died in a few minutes from having his flesh cooked by lightning? Besides, it was hard to be thankful, for Haryk was so burned and in such agonizing pain from the creatures’ attack that he was more dumbfounded than anything else. The inevitable had been delayed, and that was about it. It was a great show though.
The beast thrashed around wildly in the air above him as if some invisible giant’s hand gripped it tight. Slowly, it sailed through the air like a child’s toy away from Haryk. He lay on the floor, his skin blackened and fried, watching it all.
Then, a second miracle occurred.
At that moment, a cooling sensation began in his arms and legs. Haryk knew what it was, because he had heard his soldiers describe it as they died. It was the cold that was felt before death took them. And he was certain that this was what he was feeling. Death was knocking and it wanted to come in out of the chill.
He began to think nevertheless that this was not inside of him, and that it was on his skin. It was on the surface, the outside and it felt good! Haryk took his eyes away from the floating dragon beast, and the mage’s fire wall and thought nothing else could surprise him. But he was wrong because when he looked down at his fried skin, he saw that it was no longer burned at all. He had been healed! Whatever or whoever was responsible for the miracles could cure wounds as well!
“More fucking magic! Skin fixing magic!” He could have kicked somebody.
Presently, he heard a man’s voice shout, “Follow me you two! Follow me if you value your life!”
I do! I do value my life! He thought just then, and he turned, as Andril did, and they saw the last person they thought they’d see.
“You’re dead though!” Said Haryk.
“He’s right,” said Andril, “You really should be dead you know.”
The boy who had once worked for them, the boy known as Tahg, motioned for them to pass and then he turned and faced back into the tunnel. “I will tell you all about how I did not die, if you’ll just move your Lordly asses down the tunnel please!”
Haryk and Andril needed no second set of instructions. They ran on ahead as fast as they could. it wasn’t that fast, but they were trying.
The man placed his hand against one side of the tunnel and Haryk watched as it began to meld with the stone of the cavern wall. A shimmer spread through the stone and a wave rolled across it as if the solid rock were becoming a liquid. Like someone pulling the taffy candy at the fairs in Black Hollow, Tahg pulled at the stone, forming it now with both hands into a kind of door to seal off the tunnel. The stone simply pulled away and reshaped itself into a blockage. Tahg moved his hands as if he were spreading plaster on a wall, and sealed any holes from the floor, to the ceiling. When the passageway was completely sealed, Tahg turned back around, and raced on, catching up quickly to the exhausted men.
“Last time I saw you,” gasped Andril, “you were being carried in a dragon’s grasp.”
“Last time I saw you,” said Tahg running alongside of them now, “you were too.”