The roar was long, rattling the windows, a resounding battle cry. Fear chilled my blood, but didn't send me diving for cover. I'd seen a dragon hunt before, knew the effects of dragon cries on mortal creatures.
Kurlog clenched his fists, looking up to find the dragon. "Stupid beast. Stop lighting my town on fire." I barely heard him as the roar continued.
My ears were ringing by the time the metallic sound ended. "Your other rival?"
The warrior was furious. "Stupid mongrel lizard." Kurlog wasn't listening to me, and started stalking down the street. "Come out where I can see you!"
"What are you trying to do?" a stranger hissed from a nearby alley. "Hasn't he done enough?"
Kurlog continued calling for the dragon, and another roar started. This call was louder, and made my chest resonate. Finding it hard to breathe, the pain in my shoulder increasing with the dragon cry, I stumbled to the new speaker.
The stranger saw me approaching, and darted into the street. He was a scrawny human, disheveled and soul stained, eyes red-rimmed from dragon fire. "Silly girl. Get under cover." He pulled me into the shadows, and I crouched amongst a half dozen other humans.
"Why would you stand in the middle of the street?" a young woman asked me. Her hair was singed short, a crispy burn covering most of her left arm. "Rhaelgyr would have eaten you if you waited."
I shrugged, my head throbbing. The spirit wound was not just an ache, was now a stabbing pain. It felt like broken teeth and rusted metal were churning around in my bones. I wanted to throw up.
I wanted to beat up Steven for bringing us here.
"She looks sick,' a boy commented.
"Maybe we should give her to Rhaelgyr to cover our escape." This from a young man, voice barely deepened to adulthood. He stood in the back of the group, bravado warring with cowardice in his voice.
I laughed bitterly, clutching at my shoulder. "Humans are so stupid. Dragons don't eat immortals." My laughter choked off at a fresh surge of pain.
"Bitch," the young man swore. He kicked me squarely between the shoulder blades, driving the air from my lungs. The rest of the group shoved and jostled me, and I fell forward onto the sidewalk. I kicked back, lashing out in anger, shoulder flaring in pain.
The jostling stopped, and a spicy eddy of wind surrounded me. The humans screamed, suddenly running, and I looked up. Hovering in the street, perched on one foot, hung a bulky dragon, scales nearly black in the might. Venom dripped from his snarling lips, igniting as it fell to the ground.
"You must be Rhaelgyr," I said, gingerly sitting up. I'd said dragons didn't eat immortals, but the big warrior beast before me looked pissed and hungry.
~You're not from around here.~ Rhaelgyr's voice was loud in my head, overwhelming and dangerous, his presence invading me. I'd been shocked by Kurlog's voice when he first spoke to me; the dragon left me quaking.
"No, I'm not." I didn't want to anger the dragon any further by playing coy.
~Yet you travel with Kurlog the Fool.~ With two sweeps of his enormous wings, the dragon settled to a sitting position. Even on the ground, he towered two stories above me.
"Random happenstance. I'm really just passing through." The pain in my shoulder made my teeth chatter, and I wanted to throw up.
~That's what the other one said.~ He turned his head, jewel-like eyes sparkling with reflections of the fire.
"Other one? That's the guy I'm really travelling with." Rhaelgyr had to be talking about Steven.
~That's too bad. He's-~
Rhaelgyr's statement was cut off as Kurlog came pouncing out of the shadows, swinging an obsidian-bladed axe.