We were at a crossroads. Literally. We could head back to Lord Vhalantru’s house in hopes of discovering where the beholder went or we could head to the warehouse district and down to the dragon. Time was short and we had to pick one.
“Orbius, the beholder, is the bigger threat. We need to kill him.” Myntilly’s voice was firm.
I shook my head. “But we don’t know where he is. We know where the dragon is.”
“Yeah, who knows maybe we could trade with the dragon. Offer some treasure in return for the collar.” Sadi looked around to see how this was received. “The collar is the key. We get it and ‘Game Over.'”
After a little more debate we decided that the dragon was the way to go. We headed to the warehouse district. The city was covered in smoke. Acgar summoned Hamouk and flew ahead to make sure we wouldn’t be detoured by fissures and lava. As we reached the warehouses, she landed. “There is a funnel cloud of smoke swirling around the city. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. I wish I had time to study it.” The travel was so slow going that it was close to dinner time when we arrived at the freight elevator.
I looked at the group. “Let’s eat something before we go down. Who knows when we’ll have a chance again.”
Ian smiled. “That’s an awfully Dwarvish thing to say! You never cared much about food before.”
“You should always eat before battle. My grandmother taught me…..” My voice trailed off. “Right. Weird. My grandmother was a weaver and lived in the desert.”
Sadi laughed. “Trust me. That’s just the first of many weird things that will pop up. Reincarnation is weird, even if you stay human. You have all these like tribal memories. And they feel real. You’d swear that it was you living them.”
I’d forgotten how hot it was down in the dragon’s den. The lava spurted up every once in awhile and the pools bubbled and spit. It was unpleasant.
“Shall we try talking with him? Myntilly, you’re the most charming of us. You up for it?” She smiled and nodded. “I’ll add an eagle’s splendor to be even more charming.”
She took a deep breath and entered the cavern. “Anyone else going in?” Albion, the dwarf fighter, nodded abruptly and walked in. “One dwarf deserves another!” I said as I followed him.
The dragon, Molten Wing, rose from one of the lava pools. He was big. I’ve never seen a full grown dragon up close. I spotted the collar on his tail.
Myntilly bowed deeply. “O great Molten Wing! We offer you a trade. Treasure for that insignificant trinket you wear on your tail. It is not worthy of you.”
The dragon smiled slowly, revealing gleaming teeth. “You speak fairly for one of the weak. Come closer.”
Albion had been inching to the left of the dragon while Myntilly was speaking. Molten Wing shifted slightly to keep him in view. “Look! You’ve brought companions. Boon companions, no doubt. Could dwarves be any other kind? How…. tiresome they are.”
Myntilly laughed. A little too heartily, I thought. “We are mere adventurers who have heard tales of your –”
“Spare me your lies! I know who you are, Divas. You dare to enter my chamber? You dare to bandy words with me, little girl?” He shot flames into the air. “What could you offer that great Shebolith could not match or best?”
“Shebolith? Have you seen him lately?” I couldn’t help but speak up.
“What do you know about it, dwarf?”
“I know that Shebolith won’t be visiting you anytime soon. We killed him. Pretty gruesome actually. Do you know how long it takes someone to burn to death in lava? Wait, I bet you do know.”
The dragon chuckled. “Would you consider yourself worthy of taking his place? Would you bring me slaves and gold?”
I waved my hand dismissively. “Done. Consider it done.” I pretended to take his order like a tavern wench. “What’ll it be? Girls? Boys? Goblins? Our special today is blackened Kobol.”
….. To Be Continued.
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