Did I mention we just got a trampoline? It’s all kinds of fun! All five of us kids are enjoying it. I was going to post a picture, but I didn’t get one taken yet. *sheepish grin*
Spencer and I jumped on it last night in the rain–it was all kinds of fun. People should go run around in the rain more often. 🙂
Anyway, The Sacrifice. I think you all are going to go bonkers about this one too. I’m a little scared about your reactions. . .
We’ve just about hit the climax, and then the last couple parts are winding down and tying up ends. I’m so excited! We’re almost done!
Part Twenty-second: Asking for Death
“Around that bend, sir,” Gimel whispered.
Sir Richard took a deep breath. “Thank you,” he whispered back. “When I go, I advise you to run. Return to the City, or wait for me where we tied Velvet, if you must.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” his guide said seriously. “But I cannot follow such advice.”
“Of course not,” the knight muttered, gathering up the reins. Cyrus growled. Before Sir Richard could motion for him to be quiet, a low but menacing snarl came softly in answer. Sir Richard dug his heels into Jael’s sides and urged her around the corner.
Lord Abadalyx the Insatiably Greedy stood at the entrance to his lair, red eyes gleaming furiously, and already turned towards his guests. The gleam deepened when he caught sight of the knight, and his nostrils widened and smoked.
Jael screamed and shied. Sir Richard clenched his teeth and fought to control her. Cyrus snarled fiercely.
“Who are you?” the dragon hissed softly. “Have you lost your way—or your mind?”
Another low growl rumbled through Cyrus’ throat as he barred his teeth. Sir Richard pulled Jael’s reins taunt and struggled to speak calmly. “Neither.”
“So you came here on purpose?” Abadalyx purred softly, sliding onto all four paws. “To fight me?” He began to creep forward. “You want the princess?” His front legs were so much shorter than his back that crawling made him look hunched and awkward—though no less terrifying. “You and the people of that miserable City are asking for death?”
“It is you who ask for death, creature of Insatiable Greed,” Sir Richard answered fiercely. “You have ravaged and killed and plundered, and you have touched royal blood.”
“What of the whole great City that lies in the Valley untouched?” the dragon snarled. “Imagine it laid flat but for the smoke that rose from it. So I could have made it! I had it—”
“Do not speak to me of those you spared when they are out-numbered by those you did not!” Sir Richard shouted. “You cannot deny that you are one of the greediest beasts that ever walked the earth!”
Fire poured out of the dragon’s mouth as he shrieked, “I will give you death, whether you ask it or no, impudent knight—and your wretched City will follow you!”
A gust of hot air swept through the bars of the knight’s helmet as Abadalyx the Insatiably Greedy cleared the ground between them with one flap of his great wings. Jael whirled and fled toward the path they had come up, throwing her master to the rocky ground. Sir Richard drug himself to his knees and drew his sword as the dragon towered over him, flames leaping from his mouth. His armor offered protection against the fire—but only for a few minutes, before it became unbearably hot. He dropped flat, rolled towards the dragon to escape the flames, struggled to his knees again, and stabbed for the dragon’s heart with all his might.
Abadalyx, Lord of the Skies, feared no blade, and he ignored the Knight’s useless little sword and swung at his enemy with his fearsome claws, his impenetrable coat flashing in the sun as if encrusted with emeralds—or, almost impenetrable. The ancient blade sliced through the scaly armor, missing the heart, but driving deep into his left shoulder. The monster fell back, snarling, with blood running down his foreleg.
Sir Richard jumped to his feet and swung again, but the dragon dodged. He skipped to the left and smacked his huge, right wing against the Knight as he leaped, knocking him over, and sending his sword flying out of his hand. He rushed towards him without giving him time to retrieve the fearsome weapon. Sir Richard hugged his left arm to his chest, to cover himself with the shield that was strapped over it. Growling, the dragon slid his claws under the edge of the shield and tore it away from his opponent, his claws catching the knight’s sword-arm, and tearing through the chain-mail like like mesh, leaving long, bloody cuts across his skin. The straps broke as he jerked it back, and Sir Richard clenched his teeth against the urge to cry out as the pain stabbed up his arm. Clutching the shield in both talon-ed paws, Abadalyx let a rush of fire down over it. The Eagle began to melt into golden trickles. Twisting his claws in opposite directions, he bent the hot metal into a tangle of sharp-edged steel.
Sir Richard twisted and dove for his sword, but the dragon threw aside the mangled shield and grabbed his ankle, dragging his backwards, gripping hard enough to drive the steel rings of his mail into his leg. The knight struggled to sit up and look to find his sword, but the dragon clapped a paw against his helmet, leaving it echoing; and he fell back, stunned by the impact, as Abadalyx drew himself up for a final blast of fire.