Chapter 16: Roar of Flames: Dawn of The Dragon

Welcome to another Dawn of The Dragon draft release Dawnies! Read beyond the draft for announcement videos.

Jessup stares at a map of New Orleans as they docked.

“We must travel the final 26 miles via car.” Jerimiah alarms.

“What? Do we have a car? And exactly where are we going?” Zoran asks.

“Our immediate destination is the Lakefront Airport. From there, we fly to Toronto, Ontario. Further orders will await us in China Town.” He replies.

Not wanting to come across as a pessimist, Zoran kept additional questions to himself as he looks to Molly.

“I know you are worried. Let’s just make it to the car for starters.” Zoran whispers.

Running to a covered lot, Jerimiah enters a password into a keypad. They enter hastily, making their way to a black Yukon. They load the cases and took off.

Opening the glove box, Jerimiah removes a map. The map is blank. Lifting it to his face, he whispers, then blows a short breath onto the paper. It begins to glow as a single section turns red. He places the map in Zoran’s lap, turns to Molly, You may want to hold on. Placing his hand over the red spot sends the Yukon into what Zoran can only describe as hyperspeed. 

In a blink, Zoran opens his eyes to see planes. Molly vomits as Zoran and Jerimiah exit the truck to a familiar wide-eyed man. It is Father Jeffery. Zoran helps Molly as Father Jeffery and Jerimiah speak.

Zoran and Molly walk over.

“It is good to see you again Zoran.” He says.

“And you.” Zoran replies.

“This way.” He says.

He leads them to a jet. Zoran helps Molly board and exits to speak to the priest. 

“Musfall is gone. I just thought you should know. Zoran interrupts.

Zoran reboards the jet. Looking outside, he sees Father Jeffery taking a cloth handkerchief to his face.  Jerimiah and the priest exchange words, shake hands, then Jerimiah boards.

“So will that map jump us to Canada?” Zoran sarcastically asks.

“I am afraid it only works on vehicles.” Jerimiah responds.

Zoran fastens Molly in her seatbelt and then himself. He tries as best he can to explain flying to her then Kalera shifts to the forefront of his mind. What would she think of magical maps and men?  He lays back and closes his eyes, hoping to see her, if only for a moment in his dreams.

A condor lands near Kalera’s feet as a flock hovers above Xavgon.

“What message have you received?” Ask Ton.

“A message from Lord Daigle of Grayler. Ager has been granted absolute power. What does this mean?” She asks.

“It means he dismantled the Guardians of the Keys. There is no one to check him.” Maliki responds.

“They were all evil men.” She replies.

“Not Daigle. I knew his father. He hates Ager and the Guardians of the Keys.” Maliki responds.

“Not all of them apparently were evil men” Ton says sarcastically. 

“You have every right not to trust Jessup. It was not easy finding him here, but Xavgon believes in him so must I.” Kalera replies. 

“There is more. Shelleeann and Genna survived the Dark Forest. They are both being held at Mason. But we still have no word about Molly, Sundo, or Celest.” Ton informs. 

Ton leads Kalera to a tent. Entering, she finds Hiddard at the table. 

“I am grateful for your swift recovery Lord Larks.” Kalera said. 

“My recovery I owe to you as my life, my Queen.” He replies. 

“Many men, women, and children are making their way south. I did not tell the others, but Ager is building an even greater army.” She said.

“You know this how?” He asks.

“Xavgon. Our bond is growing.” She says.

Hiddard rises. Soon you will be a powerful force my Queen. 

As they continue to speak, the eggs quake. Rubbing her hands over them, they settle. Then without warning, their elemental light shoots through Kalera burning the entrance to the tent. She cannot move, and Hiddard is trapped.

Xavgon rips the back of the tent freeing him.

“Mother!” He calls out.

Kalera cannot respond as the tent is an inferno so she lifts the four eggs towards the heavens as Xavgon roars, and then their light goes out.

Xavgon clears the smoke and as he does he sees his mother sitting on the ground naked holding the eggs in her bosom. 

“Are you okay, Mother?” Xavgon asks.

She is silent to him as Ton, Kooloan, Hiddard, and Maliki nears.

“Stay back. I don’t want to hurt either of you.” She alarms.

They follow her request as she sings a song that is in her heart to the elementos though she is unsure where it originates.

♫♪ “Breathe my darling. Take a breath. Bring your trials and let them rest. Close your eyes as the blue moon shines. It will hide soon to many lights. Close your eyes and sleep this night.”♫♪

Everyone looks on as the eggs appear calm. Kalera’s eyes water as she places them on a pile. Xavgon moves in and takes them. He walks near the falls and lays there with the eggs tucked safely in his arms.

Jessup moves into Kalera’s space throwing a pelt over her.

“We must go.” She said. 

Jessup looks her in the eyes. Where shall I tell them we are going my Queen? 

“Mason.” She responds. 

It is the light of lights as Ager finds himself being bathed by the last of Liber’s handmaids for the time being. He rises to Shereen entering the room so he sends the whores away.

“Please, don’t dismiss them on my account, my King.” She says.

“So, you now call me your King. What was I before? He asks.

“You were the King, but now you are a ruler.” She declares.

As his dressers arrive, he eases his storm. One rubs him down with fine oils while another layers him in white and gold garments. Shereen places his newly engraved golden breast and backplates over him.

“As a Boolong, you are a saber tooth. Wear it with honor.” She says while strapping him in.

A shackled, boney man enters the chamber and takes to his knees. He is carrying a glass case, and inside is Ager’s newly constructed crown. It is golden with blue diamonds and a saber tooth engraved. Shereen removes it from the man’s hands.

“Dog. Who gave you permission to put your filthy hands on my crown?” Ager asks.

Chattering his teeth, the man says “No one.”

Ager knew exactly who no one was. So he moves in to strike the man down, but Shereen grabs the blade of the dagger.

“My King, you must learn when to show strength. What will he care if you take the life of his runner?” She says.

“He won’t.” Ager answers as he swipes the knife and strikes the runner’s throat.

“Send for cleaners to clean that up.” Ager orders.

Moving to the mirror, he glares at himself and whisper, I am better than you. I am better than him. I am me. Taking Shereen’s hand, he leads her to the arena. 

“Take your slop dogs! It may be your last.” A tall brute shouts.

Lord Tomas Donegal watches as many as a hundred men, women, and children are served food not fit for animals. The tall Enforcer’s fist cracks the face of a woman. Standing to his feet, Tomas moves in to assist her. Taking her hand, she pulls it away. “No!” She cries. Assuring her, she looks upon him. 

His mouth falls open at the sight of her. Immediately they embrace as a mother would her son. In his arms is Molly whose garments are torn, red, and skin burned and bruised.

“Tomas! I can’t believe it is you. I thought you were dead. I am sorry for what I’ve done. I don’t know why. It was as if I had been cursed.”She cries.

Perplexing thoughts befall him.

“What forgiveness should I offer you?” He asks.

“It was me. I made a decision. I rang the bell. I told Ager of the Coemic Passage.” She responds.

Tomas releases her.

“It was you. Ager told me that one I trusted betrayed me. I never would have thought in all of the realms that person would be you. The wife of my best friend.” He says.

Turning his back to her he is enraged.  She betrayed Bram. She betrayed the queen. Facing her causes his stomach to boil and eyes to pop. Wanting to move away, but he does not. Tomas realizes Ager wants them to turn on one another. It is not by chance he kept them both alive.

In the distance, Tomas sees two children running towards them. Both give their mother a warm embrace. It is Sundo and Celest. They are alive. A horn sounds and then loud chatter ceases. The Enforcers are handing out weapons. The weapon assignment places fighters in specific cages for specific battles. As they near Tomas and Molly, one whispers to the tall brute. 

Looking down upon them, he takes Sundo and Celest. They kick and scream as Molly and Tomas yell. Tomas punches an Enforcer then at least eight draw swords to his throat.

Molly falls to the ground raising her head to the high heavens. She curses Rose and questions her as a Goddess. “Why? You stand by and allow this realm to be torn apart. Intervene please.” She cries.

Tomas lifts her and grabs her face. 

“Look at me. You will live to see these days renewed. There are always grey storms before the calm. But when the pouring ends and the winds cease, the spectrum is at its brightest and complete. It will not end here for you nor them. I promise you.” He said. 

She looks upon him as he wipes her tears. Two Enforcers move in handing them their weapons.

They receive bows, arrows, a sword, and a shield.

“I can’t.” Molly begins to scream.

Grabbing her, “You must try.” We will fight together. He orders. 

While calming her, three Enforcers, and ten slaves near them. They to carry the same weapons as theirs. Some of the slaves are chattering their teeth as all are being driven like cattle to the slaughter.  Guards strike them with whips as they step onto a metal platform. Hovering over Molly, Tomas takes lashes meant for her as the metal rises onto the arena’s floor.

Not a dark cloud covers the beauty of the sun’s corona. All houses in the realm are in attendance except one. Flags representing each Lord has been released, but Grayler’s seats are free. This sight gives him hope.

All platforms have risen onto the dirt as they are ordered to remain still. The three Enforcers with them whispers what they must say to the King once he emerges. This is a day of all days. Ager will be in attendance. There is no doubt that his boldness will get the best of him if we win. He will come to the sands.

A Kroled exits a door as all are ordered to silence. This master of knowledge welcomes the King.

“On this day, we welcome the Ruler of the Realm, the Master of Keys, The Beholden of Men, The Light of Day, Ager, King of Kings.” He announces. Ager exits from behind a curtain. Following him is Shereen, along with ten Shellions, and his uncle, Lord Boolong.

“The rumors are true his hand betrayed him.” Tomas whispers to Molly.

Ager raises both hands as all on platforms face him.

“Giving our lives for the Realm is a just reward. All praises to the one who reigns. Mighty King, we honor thee!” The fighters shout in unison.

Shereen moves forward calling everyone’s attention to a cage to the far right.

“What is a kingdom without women and children? It is nothing. For women break their bones bringing forth life, and they give their lives. As we have since the beginning we honor our King Ager with a sacrifice!” She shouts.

The cage opens as Enforcers pull with chains like dogs Genna, Shelleeann, Sundo and Celest. They are led to a pile and chained to a wooden plank. Tomas and Molly’s eyes are fixed as Shereen orders two men to light the pile. A pin drop can be heard as they scream. Inside Tomas is running but his soul is trapped in place as Molly and he watch them burn. The agony they are suffering for the satisfaction of a madman who smiles as he looks on.

“My wife, my friend, and two innocent children.” Tomas cries as it comes to an end. Their screams silenced by the roar of flames.

Tomas turns to Ager eyeing him as he takes his seat awaiting more carnage. The Kroled once again speaks.

“History tells us of great men eaters who walked the lands of old. Many trying and failing to eradicate them or so we are told. Bring forth the monsters among men and let the games begin!” He shouts. 

Announcements:

Dawn of The Dragon received a five-star review from Reader’s Favorite. I’m not sure if you all have heard of it, but if you have you know it’s a big deal. Now, the cover may dawn the silver star.

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