Author’s Note: This additional scene takes place during Chapter 24 of Mistress of Agony (Iron of the Innocent, Volume 2). These characters do not appear in the novel. Spoiler warning! I recommend reading this after you read that chapter. Click below being fully informed.
City of Clendon
Characters: Evtaf, Linsei, and Mersius
Stone and mortar, the city wall was a heavy barrier against the danger beyond. It was wide enough to walk and fight. Its edifice tall enough to keep out the unwanted, and its parapets designed to protect those willing to die to keep it secure.
Three soldiers assigned on the east side for their duty shift stood their post. The night felt tense, and the black, threatening clouds came closer. One of the soldiers sniffed the air and rubbed his face. Rain was coming, and the thought made him feel even more miserable. He grumbled to himself.
“Having to stand out here in the open all night and now cursed rain is going to fall? Could it get any worse?” Evtaf asked, speaking more to himself than anyone.
The sun set some time ago, and the three kept their watch as ordered. Evtaf never liked wall duty, and he spread his misery around to all.
“Perhaps if you didn’t whine about it all the time, command would assign you somewhere else. The more you gripe, the more you will do it,” Linsei said.
“Aye, they simply want you to learn to shut up. They’re teaching you a lesson,” Mersius added.
Evtaf walked over to an oil lantern hanging on a stand and tapped it. It swung slowly, its light flickering and casting shadows along the stones. “Maybe it’s just the night rotation. I can’t see anything out there, especially with these clouds blocking the moons and stars. Makes me jumpy,” Evtaf said.
Mersius nodded to himself and shot a look at Linsei. Evtaf was young and only been with the city guard a couple of months. He was eager and green. He was quick to confront and displayed little compassion for the people he interacted with despite his training. His sour disposition failed him.
In charge of the group for the night, Mersius noticed Linsei gripping her sword hilt with white knuckles. Tall and strong, she was welcome on his watch. “Do your duty, Evtaf,” Mersius said. “That is your task at hand. Nothing more.”
The clouds passed over the city, thick and ominous. Lightning crackled, flowing among the immeasurable shapes and textures, unwilling to reach down.
Linsei spoke, “There’s light enough for you now. Perhaps if you have a keen eye, Evtaf, you can spot a criminal or an enemy prowling about.”
A smirk touched Mersius’ face as he glanced at Linsei. Her tongue was sharp and quick, dividing the weak from the strong on numerous occasions.
Evtaf shrugged his shoulders, moved to the edge of the wall, and gazed down into the darkness highlighted by the short flashes from above. He coughed. Then his brow furrowed as he stared. Confusion filled his eyes. “What is that?” he asked.
Below him, along the wide expanse of grass he could see movement when the lightning sparked. It was small at first, but began to grow rapidly.
“What do you see?” Mersius asked concerned. He stepped over next to the private and looked over the edge of the wall. Evtaf pointed and the two looked hard where he indicated.
Linsei shook her head figuring Evtaf was jesting to keep their boredom at bay. Anything to pass the time, playing off of her sarcastic comment. She raised an eyebrow, suddenly hearing something odd. The problem with the sound was it did not come from below the wall. It came from above. Looking up, Linsei’s eyes widened. Stumbling backward, her hand went for her sword, but she tripped over her feet. Falling hard, her armor rang.
The sound drew Mersius’ and Evtaf’s attention, surprised by the unexpected clangor. Rushing over they stood ready to help. Mersius’ compassionate face was full of uncertainty. “Are you all right?” he asked.
Linsei’s face was pale, drained of blood, and filled with terror. She pointed with a quivering finger, her lips moving trying to speak. Evtaf glanced over his shoulder.
“Dragon!” Linsei managed to say with a tight throat.
The beast was nearly upon them, massive wings holding on to the night air. Burning eyes blazed in the darkness as its maw opened. Inner fire glowed within its fanged mouth, bursting forth in a swirling column of conflagration. The intensity of the destruction filled the area. The air combusted, scorching the three soldiers, and penetrated their nostrils and lungs with its jealous presence.
Evtaf moved with jerking motions. He twisted and spun, trying to run from the flame. Stumbling with burning eyes, blind, he hit the edge of the inner wall tumbling over. Plummeting, the burning man screamed with agony until he was silenced by the ground far below.
The dragon passed over the wall, extending its wings. Angling them, the beast slowed itself taking in another deep breath. Numerous dark shapes, like itself, with shining black scales appeared. They dropped from the clouds above, gliding at great speed toward the unexpecting city. They passed over the walls unhindered and unwelcome.
I have recently joined the StoryFire app created by Jesse Ridgeway and Brian Spitz. StoryFire is a group and solo storytelling platform. I thought it would be fun to write some flash fiction on the app to interact with my readers and get to read their work too. This scene below is my first story on there. You can download the app from Apple or the Google store. Stay lit! 🙂