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The 44 Dragons
by Margo Fallis
Part Three - The Dragon's Hope - Chapter 45


Marti and Claring peeked in all the huts. When they reached the last one, they saw Jorna and Provan standing at the front window watching the two wizards battling. In a whispering voice, Marti said, “Father, there are the babies, Rosenwyn and Jago. They’re in a cage and I’m sure there’s some sort of spell on it. Look at the way shimmers.”

Just then the crow flew out the window, right over Marti and Claring’s head. They ducked.

“Another spineless creature, just like his master, Darmantha, ready to flee, abandoning the others when the going gets rough.”

Claring saw the cage. “You’re right about the cage, Son. We’ll get our fingers burnt off if we try to touch it. We need to knock those two out first and then we’ll worry about the cage.” They went in search of something they could use as clubs. Both selected sturdy tree branches, picked them up and slipped them between their belts and pants. “Come on.”                         

Darmantha raised his wand once more. Instead of aiming it at Quirin, he aimed it at a dead tree and shouted, “Silbo Dompa Reebi.” At first the tree didn’t move.

Crispin whispered to Jago. “What a dope Darmantha is. He can’t even get a spell right.”

Don’t speak too quickly, Master. Magic works in its own due time.

One of the branches moved up and down. “Uh oh,” Crispin said, seeing the spell begin to work.

The other branches shook and flung up and down and to the side. The roots pulled out from the ground, tearing the dirt in long strips. Each part of the roots wiggled and twitched. A face appeared on the trunk. Part of the bark became the mouth and it stretched open to a sinister sneer. The woody eyes opened wide. 

Quirin scoffed. “Surely you can do better than this.” The tree grumbled and moaned and moved toward him. “I’m almost embarrassed for you, Darmantha. Nobody uses the old walking tree trick any more.” He waited until it came toward him and then he lifted his wand. “My turn now! ‘Candar Prefox Intupa.’” With a burst of light the tree burst into a million pieces. “There you go, Darmantha. A lifetime supply of toothpicks.” Quirin laughed, hoping to antagonize him.

Darmantha didn’t react the way Crispin thought he might. Instead of going into one of his rants, he simply smiled and waved his wand. The skies grew black with monstrous billowing clouds. Bolts of lightning shot from them, striking the ground all around Quirin.

Much to Crispin’s surprise, he didn’t move, but stood still, unafraid.

Quirin raised his wand and whirled it above his head in circles. A protective wall of filmy vapor enclosed him. “Give it your best shot, Darmantha.” Lightning struck the wall repeatedly.

Crispin put his hands over his ears to protect them from the loud booms. The odor of sizzling electricity filled the air.

When it stopped, Quirin stood smiling. “Another poor attempt by a poor wizard. Give up, Darmantha. You’ve lost.”

Way to go, Quirin. Quirin heard Crispin’s thoughts and nodded at him.

“Never! ‘Preto Zibin Altorum!’ By the power of Kumptur, my ancestor, I call upon the warriors of Utheria to rise from their graves and kill this wizard.” Darmantha shouted. His wand shot a beam of black light in the sky. It dropped and moved back and forth across the ground like a searchlight, scanning from side to side.  Rumbling noises accompanied the shaking ground.

I think we’re in trouble, Jago.  Crispin watched in terror as hundreds of skeletal arms popped through the dirt with sword in hands. Wow! Look at the skulls. I’ve never seen walking skeletons before!

 Jago didn’t respond.

Darmantha called, “Kill him!”

The warriors moved towards Quirin, their bones rattling with each step.

“Really, Darmantha. This is very tiring. I suppose you think your army of Mr. Bones can harm me. You’re not going to win, Darmantha, not this time.” Quirin stood tall, looking like a giant to Crispin.  His voice grew loud and commanding. He shouted, “This is for Gretel’s parents and Gordinth and Amtith and all the other great men, women and children you’ve killed. In the name of Zelinda, Queen of Utheria, I command these warriors to lie down and sleep. You, Darmantha, are commanded to go to the mines of Zintor, where you will work as a slave for the Rumboy Addas the rest of your days.”

Darmantha started to laugh. “What sort of foolish trick is this?”

“Ander Wil Carnie!” A beam of red light, as red as the blood of Zelinda within it, shot across the clearing and wrapped itself around Darmantha.  “You can call upon anything you want, but I have the blood of Zelinda in my wand. You are doomed.” 

Darmantha struggled to pull it off. He hit it with his wand, screaming and cursing to no avail. Before another blast of raging anger erupted from his mouth, he disappeared in a flash of brilliant orange.

 “Well, that’s the end of him,” Quirin said, slipping the wand back in his pocket.

At the same time, the warriors vanished, along with their weapons, turning to a powdery dust.

Jago and Crispin appeared.

“Wow! That was cool! I knew you’d beat him. Where did that red light come from? Was it really Zelinda’s blood? What is it like in the mines of Zintor and who are the Rumboy Addas?” Crispin’s questions kept coming and coming. “How many other people did Darmantha kill?”

“Boy, that’s enough questions for now. I’ll answer them all later, but first, we need to find Jago and Rosenwyn.”

* * *

Jorna and Provan watched in horror as Darmantha vanished amid a flash of blood red swirling lights. “What was that all about? I’m getting out of here,” Jorna said. She turned to leave the back way.

“I don’t think you two are going anywhere. You’re fearless leader is gone. Now, what shall we do with you two?” Claring found great pleasure in tormenting them with fear.

Provan opened the front door and ran. He hadn’t noticed Jago and bumped into the invisible dragon. “What the…”

At that moment Crispin and Jago became visible.

Provan stood looking straight up Jago’s fiery nostrils.

Jago gave a little puff of smoke and flame.

Provan fainted on the spot.

Marti and Claring grabbed Jorna by the arm and took her outside, joining the others.

“Tie him up,” Quirin said to Marti. “Claring, you’d better tie her up too. We’ll decide what to do with them, or maybe we should let Jago decide. Would you like that, Jago?”

The dragon snorted a large flame, burning a path towards Jorna’s feet.

 “No! No! Please don’t let him roast me alive.” She cooperated while Claring tied ropes around her ankles and wrists.

“Now, let’s find our missing dragons.” Quirin and Crispin went into the hut and saw the cage. “I see Darmantha’s put a spell on this.” He touched the cage with his wand and the shimmering prison vanished.

“That’s good, Quirin. It’s gone, just like Darmantha. You’re more powerful than I ever imagined. Will I be as powerful as you someday?” Crispin smiled and ran to hug the wizard.

Quirin shook his head from side to side. “So many questions. Didn’t Gordinth teach you about patience? If not, I certainly will.”

Little Jago and Rosenwyn flew into Quirin's, licking his face and squealing. “There’s someone I want you to meet,” Quirin said. He opened the door to go outside when a blast of air nearly knocked him off his feet. He looked up to see Rosenwyn, with Gretel and Sindri on her back.

The dragon landed near Jago.

“Well, it looks like the whole family’s here,” Quirin said.

Gretel jumped off Rosenwyn’s back. “Where’s Darmantha? What happened? Did you kill him?”

“You ask as many questions as the boy,” Quirin laughed. “Jago, Rosenwyn, I want you to meet your descendants, Jago and Rosenwyn.” He held up the baby dragons and tossed them into the air.

. They flew directly to the large dragons, zooming around them in excitement.

Thank you, Quirin. You’ve saved my babies and united us as a family. Rosenwyn shed several dragon tears. They splattered on top of Crispin’s head.

“Hey!” he shouted. “I’m getting wet!”

 “Don’t mind them, Crispin. Dragon tears are magic. It’s rare when a dragon cries. Their tears have magical powers. If one lands on you, you have the gift of everlasting life. If two land on you, you have the gift of wisdom, goodness, and laughter. If three land on you, as Rosenwyn’s did, you have the power to restore life. I only know of one other wizard who had that power.”

“Who was that?” Crispin knew the answer.

“Gordinth.”

“You mean I have the power to bring Gordinth back to life?” Crispin couldn’t believe it. “I’m going to live forever, I am wise, good, and funny, and I can bring Gordinth back to life?”

“You may, but use some of that wisdom before you make the decision.  The power to have eternal life is good only as long as you want it. Gordinth did have that power, but he chose to give his life freely. There must have been a reason, Crispin. Maybe that reason is you? Gordinth led a long, good life. He taught many great things and he will always be with us in spirit. Think hard about it, boy, before you bring him back. What we want isn’t always what should be.” Quirin walked over to the dragons, leaving Crispin to think.


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