Dragonheart - Page 5

There simply must be a Power out there whose job it is to torment the fallen, or perhaps simply dedicated to my torment, was my weary thought. “You don't know what I am!” I shouted at him.

“No . . . I do not,” he agreed. “My wife believes you are an angel sent by God, but you are not, are you?”

There was simply no need for me to answer that, so I didn't.

“I thought as much,” he said in a tired voice, divining his answer in my silence. “Well then . . . I know not if you be a sorcerer or a demon to call the flames down as you did, but in truth I care not. If you will at least save my child, I will give you anything that is mine to give in return.”

The monster in my gut perked up at that; I could almost feel it licking its lips in anticipation.

“Even,” the man continued, “my immortal--”

“Don't!” I snarled, this time hating how inhuman my voice sounded. “Just shut your fool mouth and . . . and . . .” I sighed in defeat. “And all of you come inside and I'll see what I can do.”


I soon found my position reversed in more ways than just that one. Still not trusting myself, I ordered the sorry trio to the back of the cave while I kept my distance as near to the cave's entrance as possible, and in this, at least, they complied without argument. Even without the burns, they were hopelessly pathetic looking, ragged and undernourished.

Their simple tattered clothing, their bodies and hands obviously long accustomed to hard work, and their naturally fair skin browned by the sun proclaimed them to be local peasants. The man, however, had hints of refinement about his features and manners that implied he was a neglected bye-blow of a far more respectable lineage. He would never be considered attractive, but should the dun colored haystack that passed for his hair ever be washed and groomed along with the rest of him, an aspect of nobility would not have been entirely beyond him. The woman, on the other hand, with her hair as dark as midnight and her eyes as green as a field in Springtime, would have been beautiful if only she had been born to another life. A single glance told me everything I needed to know about the lot of them, especially the naked infant being awkwardly clutched to her mother's chest.


Page 5

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