Chapter 6 “Well, should I use the eye to guide me? Let the voices do it as with the saddle? Or are you the one who does it? Lead me, as you so conveniently stated, like a newly born hatchling fresh from the nest?” “In this,” stated Noraxxis, all traces of sarcasm fading from his voice, “we need to be serious. Dragonmagic, if used in the wrong way or if used too much, can kill both of us and I don’t want to die, or at least not today.” “So, are you going to blather all day, or are we going to get started before other guards show up looking for him.” Micah threw a casual hand in the direction of the trussed up guard. A small flame blew out of Noraxxis’ lips as he sighed heavily, “Dragonmagic is drawn through two, the holder and the wielder. I am the holder and you are the wielder. You open yourself up to it through a link of blood. My blood and yours, that allows you to can draw on the power that I hold. That drawing is what makes dragonmagic so dangerous. Most humans aren’t strong enough. They find themselves overwhelmed and the Dragonmagic consumes them. It ravages their body, burns through them, scours their bones and leaves nothing behind but a burnt out husk or sometimes ash.” Noraxxis paused, making sure that he was paying attention, then continued, “Through strength of will and conviction, you control how much power you need without letting it burn you out. After that, you shape or mold what you have drawn into what you need. That, is what poses the danger to me. If you fail and draw too much or can’t control the shaping of what you do draw, and I can’t contain what is left, then I die. Is that simple enough for you?” Micah, realizing that for once Noraxxis was completely serious, straightened and leveled a serious look at him. “What the hell? Isn’t there another way? Something else we can do to free you? Some way we can practice? I don’t feel like dying either and I certainly don’t understand what I am supposed to do.” Noraxxis shook his horned head and growled, “We don’t have time. All we have to do is open ourselves up to each other. Allow our souls to merge and become one. Only through surrendering to each other can I release the magic and can you draw on what is needed to free me.” “So,” Micah stated again, rolling his eyes at the dragon. Noraxxis gave him a sideways glare as he flicked his eyes back to the door the guard had entered. “It’s easier if you concentrate on something and allow your mind to drift, you should feel the link between us. Clear your mind of everything but the eye. Following the almost hypnotic tone in the dragon’s voice Micah did what he was being told. He didn’t feel anything at first. Nothing, then he remembered what Noraxxis said about surrendering to the bond and there it was. He could feel it like a pulsing artery, linking the two of them together. Slowly, so as not to lose his tenuous grip, he probed gently until he was one with Noraxxis and the eye. He could feel all three joining together. It was then that he heard the voices. “He does well Noraxxis, he learned that really fast.” “Yes he did, Noah,” answered the dragon, his voice seemed to be floating in his mind, “a lot faster than you did your first time.” Micah realized that the voices that had spoken to him earlier were all talking to Noraxxis now, as if they were all old friends. Not wanting to intrude but knowing that they only had a little time he also tried speaking with his thoughts as he assumed the others were doing. “What do we do now?” “Now,” answered Noraxxis, and Micah felt the dragon pull back from the other voices and fill his head completely, “we join our life forces together through our blood. You must feel for what fills both of us, sort of like the bond that you used to join us together. Unlike it though, in order to draw on the magic you must surrender.” Again Micah allowed his mind to drift along the link and slowly he felt it. A walled space seemed to fill a place in his mind and inside Noraxxis, but every time he tried to reach into it he couldn’t. He kept trying and was repelled each time. It almost felt like he was trying to push through a sponge that never ended. Thinking about Noraxxis’ words, he took a deep breath and slowly allowed his mind to release, let loose of the switches that filled it and surrendered. Almost like a small trickle of water breaking free from a frozen stream, he felt a sense of power begin to flow. Liquid heat filled his body and after a few moments he felt it coursing through his veins, all the way from his head down to his toes. The damn separating the two suddenly burst apart in his mind and a raging torrent of power washed over him. “Don’t draw too much,” called out Noraxxis in a desperate voice that filled every crevice and corner of his mind. “Remember what I said about burning yourself out. You can and will kill both of us if you allow it to overcome you while we are linked.” Slowly, Micah forced his mind to settle, fought like a drowning man trying to save himself and slowly gained control. For a moment it was like grabbing at the last branch as you were falling over a cliff. He struggled, clawing and kicking for a foothold, trying to find a way to hold onto his sense of self. Then he found a foothold, sort of like a step or a hand reaching out to save him inside his mind. His link with Noraxxis pulsed all around him and drawing slowly upon it, he scaled the cliff that he had almost toppled over and began pushing back the dragonmagic. Drawing a ragged breath, he gasped, as the burning fire in his veins faded to a tolerable level, “I have control.” With a shaking hand, he scrubbed away the beaded sweat on his brown and asked shakily, “Now what do I do with it?” The dragonmagic tingled, almost like a pleasurable caress, a whisper of fingertips moving across bare skin and through his blood. His whole body shivered, he had felt what had happened when it went beyond that caress. Power, unlike anything he had ever felt had rushed into him and he had known momentarily as the voices had shouted into his head what he could and couldn’t do with it, but just like he had pushed the power away to reasonable levels he had also pushed away the voices until they were nothing more than a muted buzzing behind his ears. “Now,” Noraxxis’ growling voice cut into his thoughts, “you have to shape what you have drawn into something that will free me. Something that can cut through my chains and the blood that binds me to them. Please Micah Williams, please free me!” Micah heard the desperate edge in the dragon’s voice and wondered how much time they had and glanced about the room looking for something useful. He saw it lying on the stone where he had refused to pick it up. The black blade’s edge gleamed in the flickering light and he knew what he wanted the magic to form into. Picturing a sword in his mind’s eye he shaped the fire burning through him. Suddenly a glowing white hot blade of liquid fire filled the air above the chains. Staring wide eyed at what he had created, Micah dropped his hand, thinking at the same time he wanted Noraxxis free. The white blade cut through the air with a hiss and went through the chains as easily as a hot knife passes through butter. As soon as one of the links was parted all of the chains came undone and lost their golden sheen. Noraxxis stared at him in shocked surprise, the now iron chains slid off his scaly body. The dragon’s face twisted into a malevolent expression and the look in the dragon’s yellow eyes promised violence. Mouth opening wide, Noraxxis showed all of his glittering long teeth as he let out a mighty roar that thundered off the surrounding stone and crashed into Micah’s ears. “Free!” roared the Dragon fiercely. Finally I am free, after so long!” Several of the chains links caught on the enraged dragon’s ridged back and giving his body a brisk shake, he snapped them like dry twigs. The dragon’s large yellow eyes fixated on the ceiling above him. Noraxxis let out a low ragged snarl. “You had best get underneath me! Because those that imprisoned me, held me captive and made me commit atrocities in their name are about to pay for their actions!” Not knowing what was coming, Micah did as he was being told and threw himself under the dragon’s belly. Thrusting upwards with his powerful legs, Noraxxis drove his ridged back into the ceiling. A shudder shook the stone Micah’s feet and white mortar dust filled the air as it showered down from the spider web of cracks covering the ceiling. A vicious snarl cut through the air as the dragon raged and thrust his body several more times into the overhead ceiling. A thunderous boom filled the air as the overhead stone shattered in an explosive spray. Giant stone blocks and broken timbers began raining down all about them as the ceiling tore loose and smashed into the floor in jagged chunks. The crashing filled the room and echoed in Micah’s ears. The cloud of mortar dust caused his eyes and throat to burn and Micah felt several shards of rock and wood strike his armor and a few bounced off his helm, close to his eyes. After one piece tore into his cheek, he hastily slapped down his visor, grateful that he had listened to Noraxxis for telling him to have put on the armor and for standing over him. If the dragon had not been protecting him, he would have been crushed by now. He felt the warm flow of blood trickling out of his cheek, flowing down his neck and he looked upwards making sure that he was completely under the angry dragon. Around the sides of Noraxxis, who now seemed bigger than he had first imagined, he saw a gaping hole. Noraxxis seemed to shudder with pleasure as he reared up to full height. With a loud roar the dragon shoved his horned head up through the massive hole. Micah watched as the dragon’s chest expanded, growing to almost twice its regular size. A roaring whoosh filled the air as the dragon released a great blast of flame into the overhead building. Noraxxis dropped back down with a satisfied expression twisting his wide mouth. Over the moans and screams of men dying in the chambers above and the sounds of crashing rocks Micah heard. “Climb aboard my back and strap yourself in.” Again Micah hesitated, then the memories inside of the dragon’s eye told him what to do and he leapt up onto the dragon’s lowered shoulder and scrambled over to the saddle. Following the voices instructions, he quickly slid his legs under the straps and pulled them tight. “Are you on yet?” called out Noraxxis, flicking an aggravated look back over his shoulder. Seeing that he was, a decidedly satisfied expression once again curled his fanged mouth as the dragon directed his gaze pointedly upwards. “That should buy us enough time to escape.” With room to move, Noraxxis turned half on his side and drove his powerful back legs into the massive doors on the other side of the room. An ear splitting crack cut through the air. A second kick from the dragon and a blast of wooden splinters and torn iron filled the air as the two doors exploded outwards. Sunlight streamed in through the opening and for a moment, the dragon didn’t move. Micah wondered why until he saw Noraxxis blinking in the bright light, hastily trying to adjust his eyes. Through the haze of mortar dust still filling the air, Micah saw armored men filing out into a courtyard carrying all sorts of weapons. Mostly what he saw were crossbows, aimed in their direction.