The barren land of Xome cradled a secret portal leading to the sacred cave of Khuzdoh where the Blue Fire lived.
Kalum, belonging to a long line of fire breeders needed to possess the trinket, the Scepter, that controlled the ancient fire to attain the highest honor of his order – the gift of controlling the element of fire.
If Sikam agreed to give Kalum a safe passage, one without war or worry, then Kalum would return the favor by not claiming Xome and leaving quietly after his mission was accomplished.
Sikam was a peaceful man. He was never inclined to war –always wasted too much time and gained nothing really, in his opinion. The way Kalum had proposed the terms to him may have been less than charming but at least he was asking for a favor in his own arrogant odd way. Perhaps, he would agree to share his journey to Khuzdoh with the landlord of Xome as an additive to sweeten the deal?
Kalum agreed. And the two went on their way.
How do you suppose that sat with Ducai and Ric? Not too well. Not too well at all.
It is said the two sneaked into the secret portal behind Kalum and Sikam and followed them quietly up to the cave of Khuzdoh. They all saw the Blue Fire together, sleeping curled up in the Scepter standing aloof on her torch-lit throne whilst Narzul, the fire dragon and guardian of these magical entities, sat bowed in attendance.
Kalum stepped inside the circumference of the throne, whispering a few verses in some tongue that Sikam did not understand. Narzul stirred but did not look up. In fact, his alert shoulders and back slouched a little, indicating a sudden onslaught of slumber. Had Kalum's verses drugged the creature magically?
Sikam did not ask but watched quietly.
Kalum advanced toward the sleeping Scepter and once he was but a foot away, he waited for a fraction of a second before leaping forward and grabbing her with both hands, jerking her out of her throne. The Blue Fire in the Scepter bubbled and rolled and an immense wail unleashed from her bosom. The torches lining the edge of the throne came to life and danced around in frenzy trying to find a way to swoop down on Kalum and free the Scepter from his grasp. But the light from the Scepter herself kept her guards at bay.
Narzul still slept.
Kalum grabbed the globe mast of the Scepter and covered it with his massive palm. Now his verses were loud and passionate and Sikam could see tongues of Blue Fire leaping out of the glassy globe and immerse into Kalum’s person. Kalum was consuming the sacred fire. But before the ritual could be completed, something drastic happened. Two fresh bodies stumbled onto the throne and broke Kalum's concentration.
Narzul woke up.
That gigantic mass of fire and gold and ash stood up to his entire height and roared. His roar shook the gravel on the floor and the boulders lining the walls of Khuzdoh. The Fire in the Scepter grabbed Kalum by the neck with her thick blue tongue and started to strangle him while her fiery guards swooped down on him and stung his limbs.
Sikam saw Kalum fall as he saw Ric and Ducai rush out of the deathly cave to save their own limbs from being turned into dragon feed.
Sikam was a brave man. He also carried a sword. He leapt forth and sliced the flying fires one by one but they multiplied and attacked him. Kalum managed to free his neck from the Scepter’s grip and jabbed her in the middle of the throne floor where the ground grabbed her so that the Fire couldn’t move and was trapped within. Then he unsheathed his own sword with one hand and slashed each firefly diagonally into neat halves till there were none left.
But the fight was not nearly over yet.
Kalum got back to the stuck Scepter, now reciting perhaps another verse to possess the Fire as she remained trapped within her glassy confines.
Narzul had seen them both, Kalum and Sikam, and now wanted revenge. He breathed fire.
Sikam jumped out of range and Kalum tackled it with the very Scepter he held in his arms. The surface of the Scepter deflected the dragon’s breath and it shot back full force into the dragon’s chest. Other than making the beast more beastly and furious, it did little damage. Narzul was up in a moment to strike again. But this time his fire met Sikam's sword. The weapon burnt red and stung the Lord’s hands. He dropped the blade but picked up a burnt out torch and flung it into one of Narzul’s eyes.
Narzul lost an eye and bleated with pain. Just then Sikam picked up his sword again and drove it home into the dragon’s chest. The impact was immense. It was like sticking a raw blade into a pile of fiery coals. Tongues of fire leapt up. Tongues of fire swirled around Sikam and grabbed him, scorching his skin to bare bones.
Sikam writhed and screamed with agony and fell into darkness.
To be continued...