Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Battle of Fisheye Cove - Part 13
He had no idea where this terrible creature had come from, whether it had been living here for days, or had just arrived. But here it was and all his dreams were going to be snatched away along with his loved ones.
What overcame Perovich then even he couldn’t explain; perhaps a manic reaction instilled by the cruel twist to his moment of triumph. Even if the barrier above held, the creature would find its way in. Worse, it was out there with his family; he prayed that it hadn’t noticed the fishing boat yet. And at that moment, he decided that he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that it wouldn’t.
So a strange courage instilled by fatalistic abandon overcame him. He was going to keep this creature from his family and while he was at it, have his treasure too; if only for brief moments.“Well, let the gods conspire against me”, he chuckled to himself.
He gestured his contempt at cruel fate to the dragon above, and shouted. “Listen you ugly lizard, this treasure is mine! It’s not for stupid snap-jawed worms that can’t even break a little glass!”
The dragon might not be able to hear him, so he added several more gestures to make sure his point was clear. Then he proceeded to pry out the eyes of the statue with his dagger, and held the huge gems, bigger around than his fist, up to mock the dragon more, but it was already gone.
There was no telling how long it would take the thing to find the entrance, or whether it could even fit, so he tossed the gems in his satchel and went down the rope the fast way, burning his hands in the process. Just as he reached the bottom, he heard a crashing as the fallen tree by the hole he had entered was violently thrown aside. Gods, he thought, that was quick.
The rope, staff and his sandals he left where they were. Grabbing his torch stub, he ran for the far side of the room from where he had entered. In the dim light, he could just make out a dark arch between two pillars there. Running, he fanned sparks from the torch stub, snagged another from his bag and lit it. As he passed the open arch, he threw the sputtering torch in as far as he could.
On his toes and as quiet as possible, he sprinted down to the dark end of the hall and the other statue. He heard the crashing from the stairs as something large was forcing its way through. As he approached, he realized the statue was of Alaric, the Lord of Storms, one of the gods that no sailor wanted to anger. The statue’s right hand rested upon the pommel of a greatsword point down in front of it. Its left hand held aloft a lightning bolt that glinted in the dim light. A cloak flowed as if frozen in a storm breeze at the back of the statue. The flared cloak had enough angle for him pull him self up on it. Crouching in the stone folds behind the figure like some small child playing piggyback, he was off the ground and effectively out of sight of most of the room.
From here, he could see that there was a circular opening over this statue too. But instead of looking up into a pool, it was a copper dome of some sort, with a rod and a sphere suspended in the middle of it. Both the sphere and the bolt held by the statue looked to be wrought of gold.
He forgot about golden treasure as he heard the black dragon push its way into the room; and he began praying silently and reverently to the God of Storms for forgiveness for his wayward actions and thoughts.
Slowly, quietly, carefully, he pulled himself up and peered over the statue’s shoulder. Across the hall he saw the creature heading towards the tunnel the torch was down.
The black dragon that appeared so huge in the pool above him was dwarfed by the gargantuan statue of bronze, but it still looked large enough to consume a family of fishermen in one meal; and savage enough too.
The creature walked with a slight limp, and held one wing a little stiffly as if it pained him. Was it injured in a fight? What creature could hurt a dragon like that, he didn’t know, but if it couldn’t fly well at the moment, the gods had given them all a chance. If only he could slip by the beast, perhaps block the entrance somehow to slow it down. With the Foam Lady turned with the wind, the creature would never catch them in the water.
As he prepared to leap down and make a break for the exit, his gaze travelled up to the top of the great bronze idol across the hall and he saw the soulless black holes where before beautiful green orbs had appeared to gaze down. It made the statue seem somehow sinister and angry.
At that moment, a low clink sound echoed across the hall, as if someone were toasting with crystal goblets. It wasn’t loud, but it didn’t need to be in that deathly still chamber. It took him a moment to register what it was. Somehow, while shifting his weight only slightly, the two large gems carelessly thrown in his satchel had clinked together.
The dragon turned and looked directly at him across the chamber. Even in the dim light, he could swear he saw an evil smile crossed its crocodilian face, and then it spat.