Chapter 24

Chapter 24

A Chapter by Isemay

It didn’t matter what that monster had made her face look like. The elf couldn’t know for sure that she’d been turned into a monster like him. And if she had, there would be a way to fix it. There would have to be.

Still, Kaduil was almost relieved when Olthon stepped away from him cursing in elvish. Vezar was thwarting the elf’s attempts to track them with Syr’s threads. The threads weren’t cut, but they were so pressed down that it was as if they ended abruptly. They were moving in a southerly direction, it was the only small help Olthon had been able to gather. The roads split toward Wreton and the Acrine Bridge.

The Acrine Bridge is where the elves expected Vezar to go. But Kaduil had the feeling they might be going toward Wreton. 

Tirnel snorted derisively, “Why would they go to Wreton? There’s nothing there. Once they cross the Acrine Bridge Vezar will have his choice of roads and he knows that side far better than this one.”

“I don’t know, but I know Syr. If you say you have a reason to think they’ll go one way, she’ll go the other just to spite you. She knows how to lay low and how to keep out of sight. My Syr told me once, being a thief is only partly about the thieving, most of it is in the not getting caught. It’s rare for my wife to find herself-”

“It’s still disgusting to hear you call her your wife. Even now that she’s been altered by Vezar.” Tirnel grimaced. “He’d be a fool to listen to a thief and go in a useless direction, Vezar is no fool.”

“But you are.” Olthon’s annoyance was as plain as the loathing on Tirnel’s face had been. “She’s clever, and he’ll use her skills and cleverness precisely because he isn’t a fool. He may not be as familiar as she is with this side of the Acrine, but I can almost promise you that girl knows more than one way to cross the river. I would hesitate to say that any direction she goes in is useless.”

“What are you suggesting, Father?” Tirnel’s glower reminded Kaduil of Syreilla when she’d heard about the last shipment they’d had robbed. She’d left the mine looking like that and come back with a cart of all of their goods and then some. No one had dared to rob them since.

“I’m suggesting we send men in both directions. We know he’ll cross the Acrine. Let them take the long way. If you see or hear of a pair travelling together on the road to Wreton follow them at a distance.”

“Why not just kill the thief and let him try to find his way on his own? It would make him more predictable.” The elf he’d heard called Dolthidir suggested.

“At this point it might be kinder.” Maethion suggested cautiously.

“You’re not going to kill my wife.” Kaduil straightened and drew his axe. “You don’t know for sure what he’s done to her and she’d be safe at home in the mine if you hadn’t dragged her out of it.”

Holding up his hand placatingly, Olthon dismissed the suggestion, “Killing her would be a waste. Even if our success is limited, she’s the only reason we’ve been able to track him as well as we have. We need her alive.”

“We’re going to Wreton.” Kaduil put his axe away. He wouldn’t be following at a distance if he found them, he’d be taking his wife back to the mine. “Take your elves any way you want.”

“Very well. Dolthidir, I want you to come with us. The rest of you go to the Acrine Bridge, cross and wait for word.” Olthon instructed grimly. 

They’d found the pair by late morning. A father and daughter had stopped at a farmhouse to rest with a dead friend they needed to get home to Wreton. Speaking briefly with the farmer and his wife, Kaduil was sure it was them. The father had looked at his daughter in a way no father should be looking at his own girl, and she seemed oblivious to it. The girl was sweet and considerate, apologetic that she’d gotten sick.

The sickness concerned Olthon greatly. As they rode, the elf began to try again to pull at Syreilla’s strings, this time to make her want to be away from Vezar. He nearly fainted as the monster finally noticed. Vezar made it clear his hold on Syr was strong and he was not going to release her.

Kaduil picked up his pace and the wagon came into sight. Olthon hissed at him to wait but Kaduil put his heels to the horse intending to fetch his Syreilla. The other elf shot past him. He hadn’t yet reached the wagon when the anguished roar reverberated through the air, it felt like the ground shook, the sound could be felt in his bones. The roar of a dragon in pain.

His horse screamed and turned, refusing to go toward that sound, bolting in terror. Struggling to get free of the stirrups Kaduil flung himself off of the beast and spun to run back toward the wagon. The monster had pounced on the horses pulling the cart now at a dead run and they screamed and fell. It felt as though he were running in a nightmare, the air was as thick as honey and his ears rang.

The growing beast that was Vezar roared again, now in fury, and struck at the cart. Kaduil could see that he picked up the limp form of a child from the back with his bloodied, clawed forearms as he took to the air.

He reached the cart after the hideous creature had pushed off, making the wooden thing crumble. The elf hadn’t attacked Vezar, he could see that as Vezar flapped massive wings and carried Syreilla into the sky. Dolthidir had attacked Syr. In the child’s form Vezar had put her in, she’d been helpless to defend herself.

Weran and Bhirren were suddenly at his side and he realized the ringing in his ears was his own voice screaming out for Syreilla. Falling to his knees as he watched the dragon fading into the distance with his limp passenger, Kaduil didn’t know if he should be praying Vezar could save her or not, but he would regardless. His golden wife. She needed to live.

“I told him to stop you, not to attack Vezar.” Olthon took in the destruction and the withered husk of the dead elf.

“He didn’t,” Kaduil panted hoarsely. “That knife-eared kin-f****r attacked Syr. She’d been put in a child’s form, she was helpless.”

“She said Vezar loved her, I thought she had been deceived…” Olthon sounded amazed. “He never intended to assume anything like his true form ever again. To see him embrace his dragon half for her sake is…” 

“He looked more than half dragon.” Weran muttered darkly.

“No, a true dragon would be larger, more formidable. He’ll be easier to track this way at least. Villagers will be talking about the dragon that flew overhead with a child in his clutches for months.”

Kaduil covered his face. He needed to find her before the elves did. They wanted to kill both her and Vezar. Rubbing his face and coming back to his feet he pulled his axe wordlessly as Olthon dismounted to get a closer look at the dead elf.

“One of these boxes should be used to hold Dolthidir’s remains. I would have him returned to his kin.” 

Olthon never saw the blow, Kaduil’s axe cut the elf down like firewood. 

“We bury them both here by the road. I’m not going to let them kill my golden-haired girl.”

“She may already-” Bhirren gently tried to broach the subject.

No!” His hands shifted their grip on his axe and the dwarf in front of him took a step back. “She’s not dead, that damned dragon wouldn’t have taken her if she were. He’s going to do anything he can to save her and I’ll hunt him down and take her back.”

The two dwarves set about digging a shallow grave as Kaduil searched the broken wagon for anything of use. The food from the farmhouse was untouched, it was in the same box as Syreilla’s tools. Some were missing, and as he turned what was left in his hands he remembered watching her dress and put all of her things into their places. Her pouches of supplies for dragon’s fire were here, and her boots. He took all of her things and put them in his saddlebags. There was no doubt in his mind that he could find her. She’d want her things back.

Opening the other boxes he came across another corpse. This one laid in something like repose. “Dig a bigger grave. There’s another corpse here.” 

Weran climbed into the wreckage to look, “The one that Syr wanted to get to Wreton, I’d bet. We could get a cart off of a farmer and take it where it needs to go, it’s in the right direction.”

“You can. I’m going after Syr. If you get back to the mine before I do, tell Batran and Mordaeg I won’t be coming back without my wife.” The look on his face must have been grim because both dwarves bowed to him.

“Clan Hammersworn will welcome you both back, Kaduil Hardjaw.” Bhirren gripped his shoulder as he climbed from the broken cart. “We’ll take the body to Wreton and then go back to the mine. If you need help killing that dragon, send for us. We’ll come, and we’ll do what we can.”

“I won’t need help.” Kaduil didn’t know how he knew, but he did. Vezar was nothing he needed to be afraid of. He set off in the direction the dragon had flown.

© 2021 Isemay

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Added on December 27, 2017
Last Updated on January 29, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods




Spent some time away from here but I've come back to peek in and post again! Review my writing and I will gladly return the favor! I love reading other people's stories, and I try to review hone.. more..

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