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The 44 Dragons
by Margo Fallis
Part Two - Arbutel - Chapter 24

          “What’s that noise? Go and see if there’s an animal bothering the dragons. If not, pick out a few, beat them senseless and throw their battered bodies back in with the others.” Darmantha didn’t like having his peace and quiet disturbed. “Don’t kill them though.”

Provan looked at Jorna. “Well?”

“Well what?” She didn’t want to be the one who went.

“Go and check on the dragons.” Provan wasn’t about to move.

           “I hate those creatures. They’re nothing but a nuisance. Why can’t we just kill them now? It’s ridiculous that we have to wait until we have them all.” Jorna protested.

           Darmantha slammed his fists down on the table.

           A frightened Jago bumped his head on the wall of the hut and pulled it out.

          “The girl told me there were forty-four dragons. We want to kill all of them together, at the exact same time. I want to make sure all of them die, the last of the dragons, forever. I want to kill them slowly and painfully. I want to roast them alive. When I’m finished what that,  I want to perform a spell, to make sure their ashes stay ashes and can’t be resurrected by Quirin, or Gordinth, and made into dragons again.”

          Provan sat up and gulped.

          Darmantha’s eyes were glazed over with evil. He looked at Provan, who squirmed.

          “Darmantha, what are you going to do with the ashes?”

          “We’ll take the ashes to the Sparma Springs, where the dragons began. I know a reverse spell. They will be sucked down into the springs and we’ll be rid of them forever. Now get out there and see why the dragons are making all that racket!”

         Jorna didn’t utter a word. Horrified by Darmantha’s psychotic obsession to destroy the dragons, she simply threw the door open, mumbled something under her breath and headed for the dragon’s hut.

         Darmantha giggled like an insane fool, wiping the slobber from his lips. He stroked the crow.  “Stupid fool, isn’t she, Erron.”

          The bird squawked in agreement and then jumped down to the floor. It waddled around, pecking at the crumbs of food lying around. 

          Wiping his brow, Darmantha took a few deep breaths to calm down. “Provan, would you come here please.”

          Provan, shocked by the change in his voice tones and behavior, got up from the couch and sat in a chair opposite the wizard.

          Darmantha whispered,  “We have visitors.” He pointed at Jago and Rosenwyn. “Dragons. Go and get them.”

          Provan walked to the door. “I think I’ll go and help Jorna.” He shouted, making sure the dragons heard.

          Erron watched as Provan shut the door. He flew up to the window and saw him sneaking around to the other side of the hut.

          Jago stood with his head stuck inside the hole in the wall.

          Rosenwyn sat with her eyes shut.

         “Gotcha!” Provan reached down and grabbed Jago by the tail and his other fist circled Rosenwyn’s throat. He picked them up and took them into the hut, tossing them on the table.

         Erron flew up and landed next to the dragons. He started pecking at their tails.   Jago hit the crow’s beak with his claws.

          It squawked a complaint and flew back to Darmantha’s shoulder.

         Darmantha pulled out his knife. “Well, look what we have here. Two of you escaped. How did you get out of the hut? The bars on the windows must not be close enough. Take them back and put them with the others.”

          Provan grabbed the two dragons and kicked the door open.

         “Wait!” Darmantha shouted and Provan stopped. “Bring them back.” He held them up and examined them. “These dragons aren’t from the hut, are you, my little ones. You’re special dragon babies. Yes, you are. Where did you two come from? Quirin? Is he here on the island? I thought I sensed his presence. Take these beauties and tie them up with chains. In fact, chain them to the altar. They might as well become familiar with their death throne. Make sure they can’t wiggle out of them. Don’t kill them or harm them too much. I need these squealing creatures to bring Quirin and the others to us.”

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