Simon Knox and the Prophecy of Asragur

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Chapter 17

Snow had fallen in Boscra and covered the forest like a soft blanket. An icy wind blew through the camp of the shadow wolves and Oldur listened to the haunting calls of the beasts, as their prisoner. They had locked him up in a small cave, guarded at the entrance by two of Tamir's black companions. Escape was out of the question. They would kill him on the spot.

Oldur was wrapped up in his cloak full of holes, cold and cowering at the back of the barren cave. After a while his eyes grew accustomed to the dark. To his horror, he discovered that he wasn't the only one to partake in the hospitality of the shadow wolves. There were bones scattered all over the cave of those unfortunate enough to have lost the gruesome game of the shadow wolves.

"Ha, you fools!", Oldur thought scornfully as he kicked aside a skull of one of his own kind. He snickered grimly to himself as he sank his yellow teeth into the remainder of a raw leg of a rabbit one of the guards had tossed in to him a short while before.

He, Oldur, was definitely not going to simply give up. He refused to die at this place! It wouldn't be long before his lord broke Asragur's spell and rescued him from this predicament.

No sooner had the Nagrim finished the pleasant thought than a raven quietly glided into the cave, unnoticed by the guard.

"Oldur, it's nice to see that you are finally getting what you deserve", Agraq cawed maliciously and laughed at Rodan's hated servant.

"What brings you here?", Oldur snarled at the leader of the ravens.

"The spell of the dragon king has been broken!", crowed Agraq and fluttered his wings. "Be ready, Nagrim! Rodan will be meeting Tamir yet this night and will free you out of your prison, much too early if you ask me", Agraq regretted and took off avoiding the bone that Oldur angrily threw at him. "One of these days your feathers will likewise adorn Rodan's coat", Oldur thought confidently and watched the raven fly pass the guard.

Things would finally take a turn for the better for him this night. Rodan would trick the shadow wolves into helping him and then it would just be a question of time before the blood of the Chosen One would be shed and Asragur's prophecy reversed. Morana would then be at the mercy of dark powers for all eternity and Rodan would be their king. It was an extremely pleasant thought for Oldur. Before he could fantasize any further, a disturbance arose among the pack of wolves.

A black whirlwind of dry dust and snow descended in great speed upon the hideout of the shadow wolves. At once they were on alert. The calls of warning of those who patrolled the forest were carried by the wind throughout nocturnal Boscra. Before the wolves even knew what was going on, Rodan materialized in the midst of the pack and looked into the leader Tamir's wary eyes. While the dark beasts gathered around their leader with their hackles up, growling and baring their teeth, Rodan looked around triumphantly and calmly brushed the dirt from his coat, the feathers of which shimmered blue in the moonlight.

"Welcome, Rodan of Xuria", Tamir began, silencing the snarling wolves behind him. "We hardly dared hope that the day would come when you would escape the claws of the dragon king. It's time to seal our alliance and for you to fulfil your part of the agreement", he reminded Rodan about his promise, mumblings of agreement coming from the other wolves.

"Not so hasty, Tamir", Rodan countered and raised his hand. "We don't want to put the second step before the first one, do we?", Rodan replied slyly.

"As I recall, you are providing shelter for my servant Oldur. I do hope he is well, not that he means that much to me!", Rodan waved his hand indifferently. "But nowadays it's so hard to find good personnel to perform the dirty work."

"Not to worry", Tamir reassured the black elf. "Not one hair of the Nagrim has been harmed. Even though we couldn't help playing a game or two with him", Tamir smirked and the other wolves gave a scary laugh. "Go, bring the Nagrim. His lord is asking for him!", Tamir ordered, and a black shadow left the group to fetch the much-hated Oldur.

Rodan stood facing the leader of the shadow wolves without fear. Oldur soon came running to his lord and threw himself at his feet whimpering. "My master, my beloved lord, you can't imagine what I've been through!"

"Get up and shut up!", Rodan commanded his servant gruffly, before Oldur could continue his story. He turned to Tamir. "You have kept your word, Tamir. I see that your hospitality did Oldur much good. He is no longer as fat and sluggish as he was", Rodan noted acutely. "Concerning my part of the agreement, I will keep my word. As soon as I have shed the blood of the Chosen One, you will be freed from your curse", Rodan promised the shadow wolves.

There were excited whispers among the wolves. "I heard that the Chosen One, in the form of a human child, had come to Morana", Tamir spoke again.

"You have heard correctly, Tamir", Rodan confirmed. "A boy with red hair came through the Gateway of the Worlds and has set out to fulfil the prophecy of the dragon king, in the company of moor elves and a cliff dragon."

Tamir tilted his head to the side in thought. "Martial moor elves accompanied by a cliff dragon? Such adversaries should be taken seriously, in case it comes to a fight. I assume however that the wise Rodan has already concocted a plan before coming to me."

Rodan looked confidently at the company of bloodthirsty creatures. "That I have. Within the next two days the boy and his travelling companions will pass through the Gate of the Damned at the foot of Mount Tularon. We will leave for the mountain yet this night and cut off their path from the east. The Chosen One must first pass through the Gate before learning where the Well is located. He will be given a clearly visible sign. This sign will betray him and mean his ruin. Only if we get there first and rid ourselves of those bothersome elves and the dragon, we can prevent Asragur's prophecy from being fulfilled. You will then be freed from your agony and rule over Boscra forevermore. Just remember: I want the boy alive! He is to die only at my hand. Kill all the others!", Rodan shared his devious plan with the wolves.

The prospect of being freed from the curse and ruling over Boscra, as well as the thought of fresh blood, filled the pack of shadow wolves with a wild lust for hunting. Ready for the all-deciding battle, Tamir turned to his brothers. "You heard what Rodan has proposed. Are you ready to fight for your destiny? Do you wish to be freed from your eternal shadow existence and win back the rule over our former empire?", he stirred them up and looked at them expectantly. They gathered around him growling and ready to depart. Tamir nodded in satisfaction. "Then it's off to the hunt, and death to anyone who gets in our way!", the mighty wolf summoned his murderous brothers and joined their deafening howls, so loud that they could be heard beyond the borders of Boscra, frightening all the beings of Morana.

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