Tainted Victory – Chapter 3, Part 1 (Page-a-Day)

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Chapter 3: The Assault 

The eight members approached the large door separating the dragon from the rest of the world. The sky remained overcast, and drips occasionally fell from the gray sky. The team’s footsteps splashed mud and water side to side and trailed a path up to the gate. The gate itself stood bodies above Goblet, the tallest  of them. It was thick metal and steel. Goblet raised his knuckle to knock on the metal. Hugh forced his hand down. “That would not be okay,” he said. 

“With it being metal and all the dragon could melt the door in a few minutes,” Colt said. “They have real, hot, breath, and flames.” He pulled his hands apart like the fire from the previous night sat between his palms.

“Thanks for the demonstration,” Evelyn said. She scanned the blackened, burnt stone wall. Her gears were clicking and turning into place. She spread her stance, then crouched. She looked to Hugh before she leapt. “Keep to the plan.” Hugh nodded. She pushed off from the muddy ground. Her body arched through the air and landed on the rocky face of the castle. Her fingers and boots scraped down the castle face. Dirt puffed into the air and covered her in more black, as if it were noticeable. Her boots caught the extended edge of a brick, and stopped her. She exhaled, crouched again leapt again. Her boots and hands caught each successive brick to pull herself up higher and higher until she reached the lookout at the top of the castle. She flipped over the wall and landed full footed on the brick. She looked down on the rest of the team. She pointed to her left, stepped off the lookout and out of sight. 

“I could do that,” Raisor said. 

“Not the time to measure jump lengths,” Olivier said. 

“Hounder could absolutely jump up there. Right boy?” Colt looked down at the rapidly wagging tailed dog. He gave a full mouth smile. 

“Mission, we have our mission to complete,” Siguard said. He clanked his gauntlet against his shield. It rang out in the courtyard. 

“Yes,” Hugh said. He took a center position among the group, then pointed to Siguard and Goblet. “You two grab the doors.” He looked back to Colt. “Is Hounder ready?”

Colt knelt down and whispered in Hounder’s ear, scratched his chin, and backed away. “Yes, just had to give him the old…”

Hugh cut him off. “Good. Magic ready?” Claudia strung an an enchanted arrow into her crossbow behind Siguard. Olivier chanted a spell from behind Goblet. A red aura began to swirl and mist around the top of the cane. Hugh nodded. 

Siguard and Goblet grasped the massive handles. A cool wind swept by the team. The two began to pull. It budged little by little, inch by inch. The strain was invisible under Siguard’s armor, but Goblet’s massive forearms tensed, and pulsed with strain. The door splashed mud upward, covering both men and the magic users around them. The first cracks in the door began to open. Hugh took a step back. Hounder’s hackles rose and snarled an uncharacteristic deep growl. Hugh followed its gaze up to the amber eyes staring out the other side of the door.

The team caught a glimpse of the dragon’s massive red head. It gave a low, feline growl. The growl was followed by a loud click, and building of bright yellow in its throat. The dragon opened its mouth and let loose a loud click and deep orange flames. Hugh held his hand up for protection. The massive door took most of the hit. The fire splattered and sparked against its deep, high body. Only spits shot out and quickly evaporated to steam when the rain hit.

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