Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.|
Gangus and his brave warriors enter a dark cave and face the man-eating Drake. Who will make it out alive?
Chapter 12 (Part 2)
The Mouth of the Dragon
The Last Chapter: (part1)
Gangus held up his hand signaling the soldiers to stay while he stepped closer to get a better look.
"I BEEN WAITING FOR YOU!" a voice thundered. The Drake reared its gigantic head--its eyes, glowing and narrowing--its black pupils thin as needles and blew a sea of fire that heated the cave, like the pits of Hades.
Gangus shouted, "Tierphenjinochun!"
In seconds, the staff--its globe bright and radiating, shot out a thunderous wind-block that held the fiery sea so strongly the blaze curled and flooded backward over the Drake's head. As Gangus held the blaze, archers and lance-throwers stood high on rock ledges, with weapons pointing--waiting for the smoke to clear.
The blaze lasted less than a half-minute, but the soldiers braced themselves when they heard another intake of the Drake's breath that sounded like a whirlwind. The hissing roar of its blow shook the walls of the cavern. Twenty steel-tipped arrows cut loose striking the Drake in the tongue, gums and shattering several teeth. The lances flew down but each missed the eyes by inches as their view was marred by blinding smoke.
Pain from Volarian metal was something the Drake had never felt before that moment, nor had it ever faced a weapon like Gangus's staff. That drove the beast to rethink its battle strategy: Perhaps, take the battle outside--strike from a mighty distance in the sky, rendering their puny weapons useless. Nevertheless, the steady rain of arrows and lances kept the Drake cornered in the deep throat of the cave.
As the beast paused for its refueling process, several swordsmen rushed from behind Celio to stab the beast between its scales. The Drake, surprised by their boldness, nonetheless--swept them up in its claws and hurled them through the air. Blood splattered as the soldiers hit the side of the cavern--sliding down dead--leaving smears of blood on the jagged wall.
The Drake tried to back them out of the cave with more fire, but Gangus commanded his staff, thrust it forward, and the wind blew back the flames. Immediately Dinary, with his necklace glowing, ran forward to slash the beast's face, but a lightning-slap from its spiked tail impaled Dinary's thigh and flung him across the surface.
Dinary landed hard on his side--ripping his clothing, and tearing his flesh as he slid across the spiky edges of the rock floor. With hundreds of arrows sticking out of its body, the Drake resembled an enormous porcupine. The beast cursed at them as the blood trickled from the bulging veins in its wings.
Meanwhile, Gangus suffered a dislocated shoulder from repeatedly holding the staff against the force of the Drake's breath. Celio took over the lead and stood out front with his shield. The creature tried once more to roast them where they stood. All steadied themselves for the whirlwind intake, and then the familiar hissing roar of the blow. The cave heated as if the inside of a volcano: The flames hit the shield that turned red but held the blazing sea at bay--sending orange and yellow sparks splashing about like massive fireflies.
A hail of arrows and a few well-aimed lances continued to pour upon the Drake, but the beast shot its fire over the shield consuming all that stood along the ledges. Screams and the stench of burning flesh choked the cavern as bodies fell one by one, and ashes floated over the dead.
As a slight twinkle rose in the Drake's lifeless eyes, and two upward curls appeared at each corner of its armored mouth, Olatunji became enraged at the demise of his comrades. Though greatly injured, and with the Drake needing a few more seconds to refuel its gullet, Olatunji made a drastic move. His legs badly burned, he hobbled swiftly towards the beast then stopped--drew his long, ebony shoulder back, and threw his lance with all his strength.
As the lance sailed high above the smoke, the whooshing sound of the Drake's massive intake frightened the warriors to no end. Olatunji froze as he stared into the opened mouth of the Drake; he watched the fire emerging in the distance of its throat--raging forward like a shapeless fiery demon--and he in direct striking range of its wrath. Suddenly, the huge yellow globe burst and a massive leak of dark red spilled out onto the beast's distorted face. The lance had hit its mark, causing the beast to nearly choke on its fire. The Drake's agonizing roar shook the cavern to its depth; the walls cracked and the ceiling poured rocks that rained upon a group of soldiers--killing them instantly.
The rumbling in the cave jarred the staff from Gangus's hand as he fell; it landed several feet from him. Seeing that, the Drake bolted, mowing down soldiers, leaving several squashed in its path. Gangus yelled, "Trebeckon!" and extended his good arm towards the staff that flew into his hand. He gripped it tightly, scrambled to his feet, and commanded the staff, but it was too late--the Drake had left the cave.
Gangus, in pain--his right arm dangling at his side, ordered the badly injured to stay back while he, Dinary, Celio, and others scurried to catch up to the Drake. After exiting the cave, they stood momentarily squinting from the glare of the sun; when their eyes had adjusted, Gangus and the others gasped at the sight of his outside forces that lay dead--fried, and smoldering upon the ground. They searched around--looking every which way, but the Drake was nowhere to be found.
"No!" Celio exclaimed bitterly. "No! No! No! We couldn't have lost it."
Gangus whispered. "Holy Mother of gods," as he frantically searched the sky.
"We were so close," Dinary said loudly.
"CLOSER THAN THAT!"
Each thunderous word vibrated against their eardrums. Trembling, they turned and stood face-to-face to the colossal parted jaws of the beast. Their eyes bulged at the long, wide rope of its deep purple tongue and a half row of broken fangs. The sickening stench of its hundred-year-old breath parted their hair as its chest rose and fell.
The one-eyed Drake--its horns sitting like a thorny crown, half its brown scaly face covered with sticky blood--rose from a hidden pocket in the ground--one of many traps it had set for intruders. While the men proved too frozen to move, Celio who stood closer to the beast was scooped up into its huge foul mouth and carted off into the first heaven.
Celio cried out as his comrades looked up in terror. He managed to scramble away from its teeth as the massive pumping of the beast's wings dislodged a great number of arrows. The archers, horrified, tried desperately to shoot more into it, but the flap of its powerful wings knocked them over. They watched as the beast soared at full tilt out of range.
Celio, struggling to keep his balance, quickly forced his shield between the Drake's upper and lower jaw to prevent it from biting down. He jabbed his sword at its tongue that tried to push the shield away.
The Drake flew sideways forcing Celio to drop his sword. With both hands, he held on to his shield that was now wedged between its teeth. His lower body dangled from the side of its mouth like a piece of wet cloth. Celio felt his hands slipping from the shield as he scrambled and got a foothold; the Drake's saliva made its teeth slip further down the shield, and the tip of a fang cut into Celio's head; blood streamed down his face and onto his shoulder.
Then what he feared most--a pulling sensation that made him use every muscle in his body to keep from being sucked into that giant purple tunnel, and then the rumbling noise heard deep from the Drake's throat signaled it was going to blow. Celio knew he had to jump, though he wouldn't survive the drop. Still, he was determined not to be eaten or burned alive.
Celio closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath. The wind whipped through his hair as he leaned far out of the Drake's opened mouth; stench-saliva drenched his face and blurred his vision as he let go of his shield and dove out falling at tremendous speed.
With only a few hundred feet before he smacked the ground, Celio made his peace with every god in the heavens. He thought about his beautiful wife and all the children they would not have together.
As his body soared downward, he saw a small spot on the ground getting larger and larger; he closed his eyes again and prayed to the gods as his ears flooded with wind that ripped through his clothing. Suddenly, something strange--he felt his body no longer falling; he seemed to have settled on something not solid, or liquid, not soft or hard, but a nothingness that vibrated.
Celio kept his eyes closed--thinking death came so instantly, he never felt the pain and perhaps was now floating in the afterworld--floating slowly and descending on the gentle hand of a god. His eyes still closed, he felt around but only grabbed air. He felt above him and ran his hand under his bottom, but again--just air. Finally, he opened his eyes and spotted a long, blue stream. He was actually gliding on a long, rod-like blue stream. His eyes darted across the blue, and they fell on Gangus's staff pointing directly at him.
The blue placed him on the ground as gently as a mother would place a child in its cradle. Celio sat panting and half-smiling when two bright lights flashed from the ground, and his sword and shield suddenly appeared.
Loud cheering startled him: His comrades, by that time, had poured out of the cave and were gazing at the sky. The once-mighty Drake, wings heavy with arrows and lances, streams of blood gushing from its veins, and a broken lance protruding from its eye, fluttered away into the distance like a gigantic drunken bird.
Back at Hayman's village, Brehira had left the ship temporarily to heal the sick; Popi came running into her, hopping up and down and blurting something, but because of his excitement, she couldn't make out what the youngster was saying.
Frustrated she said, "Popi, just show me."
She followed Popi outside, and up to the surface. After both walked a few feet from the underground entrance, Brehira stopped midway and her eyes beheld a fraction of a battered army led by her injured husband--with Dinary, Celio, and Olatunji limping at his side.
Behind them--dragging along, were Letty, Pryah, and Alema. Glad tears rolled down Brehira's cheeks as Hayman and a crowd of his kinsmen gathered around her in shared amazement. A broad smile on Gangus's face told a glassy-eyed Hayman that the deed was done.
Miles away, deep in the bowels of Bethica, stood an even darker unknown cave. Inside, giant skeletal frames spread as far as enormous eyes could see. The Drake, barely crawling--pools of blood trailing managed to drag itself to one particular skeletal head, perhaps its mother, perhaps not. It laid its battle-ravaged face upon the skull and took its last breath. Its dragon soul soared into the abyss.
Image: by Dantegrafice from Pixabay
Lord Gangus Abram Leader of his clan
Lady Brehira (Bree here rah) His wife
Dinary (Deh nah ry) Youngest Son
Celio (Seal le o) Soldier and close friend
Princess Netrekka (Neh trek kah) Dinary's Lover/wife
Olatunji (O Lah Tune Gee) Nigerian Soldier
Gangus's Staff Command Tierphenjinochun (Teer fen gin o tion)
Khimah (Kee ma) Eldest Son
Captain Dulcy P Dordrecht (Door check) Captain of the Cristofur
Judian (Jew-dee-in) Second in Command of the Christofur
Kofius (Ko fee us) The Sail Master
The Drake (like it's spelled) The menacing dragon
When Lord Gangus Abram is awakened by a mysterious voice in the night and told to seek out the Oracle Naman, he must make a journey across the Endless Ocean to destroy the Nordoxz, an undefeated race of humanoids that are controlled by powerful forces of evil.
Lord Abrams plunges into a perilous trek to obey the gods and settle in Bethica, a land of dragons, cannibals, Fallen Angels, Amazonians, and Dark Lords. He is joined by his wife, Brehira, youngest son Dinary, comrade and friend, Celio, Shapeshifter and Beast Master, Olutunji, and 750 people willing to risk their lives for land and freedom.