Friday, February 8, 2008

Chapter 4: The Death of Erdon

        The town of Erdon was gone. Some buildings remained, and parts of other buildings still stood. But most of the buildings were gone, replaced by deep holes and long hollows. Caden walked into town along the main road. The children huddled around him. The streets were deserted. 

        Caden couldn't figure out what happened. There was no smoke, no fire. The buildings were just gone. Long deep hollows cut through the ground, and when they passed through a building, that part of the building was gone. There was no debris or anything else left.
        The Dragon Queen roared in the distance. The children cried and grabbed Caden. Caden lifted the stone sword, it was getting heavy again. "Don't worry," he told the children. "We'll just go to the temple. The Five Sages will protect us there." Caden said a silent prayer for the temple to still be there. 

        The temple still stood. Caden and the children walked towards the sacred gate. The deep hollows lead up to the temple, then stopped. The gardens around the temple were untouched. 
        The Dragon Queen roared. Caden looked back. It was flying straight for them. It's massive black wings blocking out the midmorning sun. It's mouth opened, and a ball of black darkness formed. Everything around it was stretched and distorted, like it was consuming the very light around it. The ball stretched into a streak. It struck the ground and the ground vanished, leaving a deep hollow as it approached.
        Caden and the children ran for the sacred gate. One child tripped and fell. Caden heard him crying. "Keep running!" He told the children. He stopped and looked back. The black streak hit the child, and the crying stopped. The child was gone, and the black streak closed in on Caden. 

        The town was huddled inside the temple. Mother's cried over their missing children. The men were gathered at the entrance. They held tools and poles, anything that would pass for a weapon. Mayor Silverthorn stood in the middle of them.
        "Have you found anymore survivors?" asked Thadeus.
        Max, the barber, closed his razors. "No, everyone seems to be here already, or they're missing."
        Caden's father didn't have anything for a weapon. "I saw what that darkness does to people," he said. "Anyone not in here, is dead."
        "Your son hasn't been seen since last night," Thadeus said. "Maybe he wasn't in town."
        "What about Sir Eric?" Max asked. "He was trained to slay dragons."
        Caden's father shook his head. "I asked around. He was in the tavern when it got hit."
        "Then we only have one choice," said Harron. "We have to bring back the old ways."
        "No, we are not going back to that," said Thadeus. "Who would we sacrifice?"
        "A lottery. Just like they did back then." The old men looked at each other.
        "I'll never approve of such a thing," said Thadeus. "The Dragon Knights were here yesterday. They couldn't have gone far. If someone can fetch them, they'll return with an army." Thadeus looked at each man, daring them to disagree with him. "We're safe inside the temple."
        "But who will we send?" asked Harron.
        The doors opened. Everyone in the temple looked. 
        "I'll go," said Caden. He was dirty and bloody. His green tunic was torn and stained. The children huddled behind him.
        The crying children ran to their mothers. Keilee saw Caden and ran to him. "Caden!" she called. He walked past her. She stopped and watched him pass to some mothers who were looking for their kids in the group.
        Caden dropped his head. "I'm sorry."