Castle Roland

Tears of the Dragon Boy

by Ricky


Chapter 7

Published: 8 Apr 14

Two Mules

Bimeny landed next to the cart and ran to his mother to help her out of the carriage, but the horses smelled him and spooked.

"Calm down, you two! It's Bimeny, he's not going to hurt you."

"We saw what he did to his own kind! They were burning! We don't want to burn, don't want to be eaten!"

"Mantu," Bimeny said, "let me talk to them."

"Alright," Mantu said and he placed his hand on Bimeny's shoulder and closed his eyes.

"Stop and listen. You delivered my mother to us safely, and for that I am grateful. I grant you and all of your race safety and protection. You are safe from me and all dragons. You need not fear us ever again. You have my word."

And with that, they calmed and remained still. They knew the horse blesser had secured them great sanctuary and their names would be recorded with their race as great steeds who secured peace for their race from a fearsome enemy.

Bimeny and Mantu helped Malageth down from the carriage and into the house. Mantu went out to tend to the horses. Bimeny sat with his mother as she wept for what she had been through. And for what was yet to come.

The shock of what they had been through was starting to set in. Maybe the lack of tears was bad, in that he had no release for his feelings. And he had many. He had just taken a life. Many lives in fact, in a most horrible way. By fire. He wondered which were stronger, his feelings of remorse or anger.

"Mother," Bimeny said, resting his head on her. "I'm starving."

Malageth burst into laughter. "You just set fire to an elder, burned down his house, killed half of the Haven Plat guard, and all you can think about is your stomach!"

"Well, yeah. Breathing fire works up an appetite, I guess. And you escaped all that and learned that your son can not only breathe fire but can fly, but you haven't said a word about it!" Bimeny snapped back playfully.

"Well, when did you plan on telling me about those?" Malageth asked, smiling and wiping away the tears.

"Well, I just found out myself. Flying! How cool is that?" Bimeny said.

"What's it feel like to fly?"

"Well, it was weird at first, because I just jumped out of the window. I figured the armor would protect me from the fall. But then, all of a sudden, I wasn't falling, I was just sort of floating with a gentle up and down feeling. I could feel the muscles and the wings moving, but I don't know how. But it felt cool to be so high and to be so free. It was the greatest."

"Well, open up those wings and let me see them up close."

Bimeny stood up and thought about it for a moment. He struck a pose, and another and another, but no wings. He closed his eyes for a moment and made two fists and tried with all his might.

"I can't. I don't know how." Bimeny said. "I didn't have to do anything to achieve it before. I just ran out the window and there they were."

"I'll go make us some lunch," Malageth said, smiling as she stood up and went towards the kitchen. "Don't worry, you'll figure it out. Why don't you go see what's keeping your brother?"

"Alright, Mom."

'Maybe I have to be running!' Bimeny said to himself, and he took off running. Down the hall, across the kitchen and out the door, off the edge of the porch, eyes closed, arms out. "Jump!"

"Fly!"Thud! Bimeny lay there face down in the dirt.

"Okay, that hurt," he said as he picked himself up off of the ground.

"Hey, that was pretty graceful," Mantu said, sitting on the porch, talking to a couple of horses who were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes.

Bimeny brushed the dirt off of his scales with his hands. He looked up at Mantu, slightly red-faced. "Mom wanted to see my wings. I'm just trying to figure out how to get them out." Bimeny said with a slight smile on his face.

"You don't know?" Mantu laughed.

"How would you like a hot foot?" Bimeny said, looking ornery. "I think the breathing fire thing I can do, thank you."

Mantu just looked at him. "The what?" Mantu asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"You know, the fire breathing part." Bimeny looked at Mantu, who was absolutely clueless as to what Bimeny was talking about.

"You don't remember driving the wagon with Mother through smoke and fire this morning?" Bimeny asked, looking at Mantu as if he had lost his mind or something.

"You don't remember a flaming elder?" Bimeny added, looking incredulously now at Mantu.

"Oh, you did that?" Mantu asked.

"You were there. You saw me do it to him and then I tossed you his bow and quiver." Bimeny said.

"Well, I was quite busy looking at the wall of Haven Plat Guard in front of me. I never actually saw you...'do it'." Mantu said, his eyes now wide.

"What, you thought someone tripped on a candle or dropped a plate of flaming yak or something? Of course, I did it." Bimeny said with his hands on his hips.

"I thought you had found a stash of fire gourds or something and were using them against the guard. I never thought it came out of you." Mantu said in disbelief. "Show me."

Bimeny walked over to the fire pit where they had previously purified their stones. He made a growling noise like he was collecting something in his throat and he spit a ball of fire into the pit, which engulfed the entire pit in flames. Bimeny turned around and smiled at Mantu, a trickle of fire on his chin.

The horses ran for it.

"Uh, Bimeny," Mantu said looking slightly panicked. "Your, uh, chin is still on fire. Is that normal?" Bimeny looked down with his two eyes trying to see his chin. He took his hand and snuffed his chin out with it.

"Good question," Bimeny said as he turned his head and spat anther fireball into the pit. He looked back at Mantu and said, "Well?"

"Nope, not normal."

Malageth came out of the house with her bow, ready to loose an arrow. "Mom, it's okay, you don't need that. It's just me and Mantu," Bimeny said.

"I saw the fire," Malageth said. "It's big enough for them to see it from town."

"Mom, they know where we live. But I think with Gandoo gone, there won't be anyone coming," Bimeny said.

"You think not?" Malageth said. "Come on in, both of you, let's eat." Mantu and Bimeny both got up and followed Malageth into the kitchen, where they sat to a fine supper of Malageth's stew and hot bread with butter. It tasted heavenly. Even Bimeny said it was good and nothing had tasted right to him since his transformation.

After dinner, they cleaned up the dishes and then Malageth made them hot tea. They sat on the porch and drank it.

"They're coming," Malageth said to them both. At this Mantu and Bimeny both stood and started looking around. "Not this moment," Malageth said, "but rest assured, they will come and when they do, you can't be here. They can't let this go. They will bring guard from the other provinces. And no one is going to believe you, if you tell them why you killed Gandoo. No one knows how many they have killed to hide their dirty little secrets." Malageth said, looking at the horizon as if to see torch fire at any time.

"Let them come," Bimeny said with determined purpose. "I'll just take care of them the same way that I took care of Gandoo and the guard."

"Bimeny, when they come back, they will come with legions. They will shoot you before you would even have a chance to take flight. Or they would hold a knife to my throat to make you give up." Malageth explained.

"Where will we go?" Bimeny asked her, taking her hand loosely.

Looking into his eyes she lovingly said, "I can't leave Reentu. You and Mantu will have to go alone."

"I'm not going to leave you to face them alone," Bimeny said. "If you are gone they will have no need or benefit from harming us. They'll just leave and follow wherever they think you have gone," Malageth went on speaking. "It costs a great deal to feed and clothe guard. If you can stay hidden for a season, I think they will stop looking for you, as long as you don't make trouble."

"Me? Make trouble?" Bimeny said, looking innocent.

"Hey! I'm a good kid. They caused the trouble. I don't think the storm hiccupped anymore. I think it made me to fix the system. And I think I will go and kick it a few times just so they know I mean business." Bimeny said.

"No!" Malageth said with her eyes big. "They can't see any more of you or they will hunt for you mercilessly. No one who knows you or who has ever even seen you will be safe. You'll have nowhere to go and no one you can trust," Malageth asserted. "If you disappear for a season, they may forget about you. You can't make trouble! Promise me."

"I can't promise you that, Mom."

"Bimeny, you must. Reentu and I will not be safe if you make trouble. Now promise me."

"Alright, Mom, I promise not to go out of my way to make trouble. But if they hurt you, Mantu, or Pop, then all promises are off," Bimeny said.

She smiled, "I guess that'll do for now," Malageth said, smiling, but not entirely pleased that he could not be cornered into what she plainly saw as a promise necessary for his safety.

"I think that it will take a couple of weeks to assemble and move the guard. We’ll have to watch. When it is close to time, you can fly over top of them and let them see you. Just fly higher than their arrows! And lead them towards the mountains. They'll think you went up there and try to follow you there. They'll soon tire and it will get costly to keep so many of the guard through the winter. Maybe they'll return to Burtran for the winter. If you keep moving or stay hidden, they will probably forget about you. Then you can sneak back here and visit for a while, as long as the townsfolk don't see you." Malageth said.

"But why can't I stay? Why do I have to leave too?" Mantu asked.

"A lot of reasons," Malageth said. "You shot some of the guard, and with Gandoo's bow," Malageth started to say, but Mantu cut her off.

"Yes, but all the witnesses were killed, so who would know?"

"No, they weren't." Bimeny said. "As I was flying off, I saw servants and some other people sneaking out of a secret gate in the wall. We don't know what they've seen or who they told."

Malageth just smiled and put her hand on Mantu's shoulder. "Look, your brother is going to need you and your special talents. Go and look after him for me. We'll be alright and I'll sleep better knowing that the two of you are safe and together." Malageth looked over at the fire pit, which was still shooting flames as high as the roof. "And you, young man, better put a cork in it. They'll see the smoke all the way in Haven Plat."

Bimeny was busy looking over his shoulder, still trying to find out how and where the wings came out from under the armor. He looked a bit like a dog chasing his tail, but much slower and discreet.

"Still no luck with the wings, eh?" Malageth asked.

"Uhm...well no, not yet. I guess I have to really be scared or in need to make them come out. It seems that once I'm no longer afraid or in need, they just go" Bimeny said, starting to chase his tail again as he kept turning, trying to see where his wings were stored. Malageth just laughed and walked away.

The next morning, Mantu and Bimeny started to pack for the mountains. They knew what to take, because they had gone there hunting many times. They also knew that they would have to travel light. Bimeny's pack was empty of clothing, because he felt no heat or cold. He had a blanket and pillow for comfort. He offered to take some of Mantu's belongings with him to share the burden. There was one major battle to be fought yet, though.

Mantu went to Hamu's home and found them sitting together on the porch. Hamu was smiling and smoking his pipe as he rocked in his favorite chair. Puffing on his pipe, he said, "Well, I guess you're here for my answer." Smiling, he looked up at Halgreth, who was sitting on the porch railing. He placed his hand on his daughter's knee. "Of course, you may have my daughter's hand and I'll be proud to have you as a son." He looked back at Mantu, expecting to see a broad smile, and found him to be looking down at his feet.

Halgreth stood and was down the steps in a flash, "What is it?" she asked. Mantu looked her in the face and then to Hamu, who had a troubled look and was waiting to see what could dampen such a joyful occasion. He figured it must be bad. Maybe Reentu's passing or the like.

Mantu sat on the steps and started to relate the day's activities. He began with the summons and ended with the battle. Just then, Bimeny came around the corner. Since everyone had seen Bimeny in his altogether, he figured that no one really cared if he wore clothes or not. Most people had seen his scales and had gotten used to it already. Everyone, that is, except Hamu and Halgreth. They had heard of the changes but had not seen either of the two since they came down from the storm, four days earlier. Hamu stood and came down the steps and walked over to Bimeny. He took him by a shoulder and turned him around.

He walked over to Mantu, "I don't mean to question your truthfulness, I know you don't lie. But you mean to tell me that this little boy whom I've known since they delivered him some fourteen seasons ago can fly, breathe fire, and single-handedly killed most, if not all, of the Haven Plat guard and the Elder Gandoo as well?!"

Mantu pulled Gandoo's bow and quiver out and handed them to Hamu, who examined them.

"It is indeed Gandoo's bow. It has his mark on it. I remember it from our youth. But still, breathing fire and flying? No one can do that." Mantu looked over at Bimeny and gave him a nod towards the fire pit.

Bimeny was unhappy for Mantu, but delighted to show off his new talent. He jumped up on the wall of the fire pit and looked at Hamu and Halgreth, whose eyes were glued on Bimeny. He looked back at the fire pit and spit a small fireball into the fire pit. It exploded into flames. Bimeny jumped down into the flames and walked out of them, stomping his feet to put out the flames that were traveling from them. Hamu and Halgreth just stared open-mouthed at Bimeny. Hamu staggered back a little and was helped to the steps by Halgreth.

Bimeny walked up to Hamu. "Uhm...the flying thing, you're going to have to just trust us on. I've only done it once and I'm not sure how I did it yet. I think I have to really need to fly in order for it to happen. I'm just not sure yet," Bimeny said softly.

"Gandoo really did mean to kill me. I saw the men on the hill digging a grave. Gandoo even told me it was my duty to die so that others would not be afraid to go to the mountain. He said that if the community saw that the storm made mistakes, that no one would go and take the chance on a blessing. I guess we know what all the graves on the mountain were really about. I just wonder how they missed me." Bimeny said.

"They were watching as we came off the summit." Mantu said. They had guards there at the end of the storm. You were over the cliff face when we all came back. They must have figured they had them all because no one was left on the summit. You came up much later, after they had gone." Mantu said.

Hamu smacked his fist into his hand. "That sounds so much like Gandoo," Hamu said. "He was always pushing for me to go up the mountain. Back then, we had no choice. If the elders said go, you had to go. I always left my stones outside the summit when we went. No stones, no Storm selection, so it passed me over. He always looked rather disappointed that I came down unblessed with my stones intact. You see, he was sweet on my Analeese, but she would have nothing to do with him. She just didn't trust him for some reason." Hamu finished, looking at the ground.

"So now what?" Hamu asked.

"Bimeny and I must go into hiding for at least a season." Mantu said. "Mom says they will come in force to look for us. She must stay with Reentu and says they will be alright if we're not there. Mom figures that if they follow us up into the mountains, it will cost them too much to keep a force up there in the winter, looking, and they will reduce them to just a few. Without all the resources being spent, they will most likely forget about us. Then, maybe in a season or so we can come back and visit as long as the townsfolk don't see us."

Mantu went silent, feeling a knot in his throat. "It's no life for your daughter, or for my wife." Mantu said. "I love your daughter. I love her enough to let her go." Mantu turned and walked away, not looking back at Halgreth or Hamu.

Bimeny walked up to Hamu and looked him in the eyes. "I know if there was any way... He really loves your daughter. Mother wanted me to tell you that she would still like for you to plant our fields. She has no one to tend the animals, so she will be keeping only a few. You can plant if you will share enough food for them to survive. Mother says she will still be happy to spend time with your daughters and to cook when you are there. She will also share meat when she slaughters," Bimeny finished.

"Bimeny, please tell your mother that I accept her offer and we are here if she needs anything, anything at all. We will be here for her."

Halgreth had tears falling from her eyes as she stood on the porch, watching Mantu saunter almost aimlessly into the darkness. Bimeny gave her a gentle hug and then followed after Mantu. It was about a twenty minute walk back to the house. When Bimeny caught up to his brother, he was sitting on the fence between the two properties. He heard Bimeny coming up on his right and turned his head to hide his tears. Bimeny put a hand on his shoulder and then hugged his brother hard and held him as he wept. Neither one said a word for a long time.

After what seemed like hours to Bimeny, they walked the rest of the way home. It was probably not long at all, but it just seemed that way. Time has a way of stretching when things are sad. And speeding up when things are happy. Bimeny thought to himself.

When they got to the house they started up the steps. Mantu put his hand out and stopped Bimeny. He sniffed the air. "Something is not right!" he whispered, placing his finger to his lips. Mantu backed down the steps and guided Bimeny around the house towards the barn. When he thought it was safe, he whispered, "I smell someone here. I smell fear in their sweat. I doubt they came here on foot. Let's check the barn for horses."

Mantu made his way over to the barn and laid Gandoo's bow on the ground. Pulling a couple of loose boards, he could see there in the stall was Stargazer.

He whispered to him in horse talk. "Stargazer, are there strangers here?"

"Yes. Two from the council are inside. The others like us are tied up in the stall on the other side. I heard screaming from the woman and the old one, then all went quiet. One of the soldiers brought those two in and tied them. Why do they hurt their own kind?"

"I wish I had the answer, Stargazer. I really wish I knew. Have you heard anything from those two since they were tied?"

"Couldn't get them to shut up! They're braggarts, saying that they don't talk to workhorses. They were bred for the elite guard. They are the fastest horses and ridden only by special assassins for the Guard. They eat only oats but I know I saw one eating some hay from the trough when she thought I wouldn't notice."

"Thanks," Mantu said. "Let's see if we can drop them down a notch or two. Listen and be quiet." Mantu whispered quietly to Stargazer.

Mantu snuck back out through the boards and motioned for Bimeny to come over to the hole. He quickly told Bimeny everything Stargazer told him. Bimeny's eyes flared when Mantu told him the part about the yelling and then the silence.

"Wait until I give you the signal and then come in quietly," Mantu whispered.

"No, if I come in then their horses will smell me, you idiot. They'll go nuts."

"I'm counting on that," Mantu said as he knocked up an arrow. "When they come out to investigate the noise, they're not going to bring Malageth and Reentu with them. We can take them then, while they are no threat to Mom and Pop," Mantu said with a smile.

Bimeny smiled and whispered. "Good plan. Glad you're on our side."

Mantu walked into the barn and up to the stall with the Guard's horses. They were beautiful steeds indeed. They were covered with red blankets with a black raven woven into the fabric.

"Hey, guys," Mantu said. "Are you two paying for that straw you are eating? I think we have a plowshare for each of you."

"He speaks our tongue!" one said.

"We are not workhorses," the other said.

"I believe you. It doesn't look like either one of you two mules have done a decent day's work in your life."

With that, the horse nearest to Mantu kicked the stall, hoping to kick Mantu.

Mantu whistled in horse tongue. "Well, now then, that looks like it will be expensive to fix. I don't know if the two of you together could work that off." And he nodded to Bimeny to come in. "Let me introduce you to my brother. He is the one that your masters came here to kill. He doesn't speak your tongue, but I don't think words are required here anymore. You see, you brought the assassins here, and with all the running and hiding, my brother hasn't even had time for lunch yet today."

And with that, Bimeny walked up next to the stall. It was only a moment before they were in a lather.

"Hi, boys," Bimeny said with a smile. "Who'll be first on the dinner plate?"

The horses immediately pulled at their reins.

"Eat the workhorses," one said. "They have more meat."

Stargazer whinnied and said, "Oh, we have a deal. He has agreed not to eat us because we saved his mother by outrunning some of your 'Elite' Guard."

"But wait, we are like you too!" the other said.

"Oh no, as you were so quick to point out, you were bred especially for the assassins of the elite guard. That makes you different, I think," and Stargazer laughed and kicked the stall just to add to their fear.

As Bimeny climbed the stall wall boards, both horses emptied their bowels.

"Hmm, cooked or raw, both are tasty."

Then Bimeny breathed a small flame from his mouth and the horses went mad. Kicking and screaming as loudly and as furiously as they could. Bimeny moved around the wall of the stall to remain out of sight of the horses. They continued to kick furiously. Mantu pointed his arrow to the barn doors. Bimeny turned now to face the door also, still standing on top of the wall boards of the stall. The door opened and one of the guards came in. He was wearing the traditional uniform of the guard, but he had a raven on his chest like the ravens on the horse's blankets. Mantu loosed an arrow with deadly accuracy. The guard took it in the neck and fell instantly to the floor, dead. They dragged him the rest of the way inside.

"What's with the raven?" Bimeny asked. "I've never seen that before."

Mantu looked at it. "No clues," he said, "but it's on the horse blankets too. It could just be that they came from another garrison," Mantu said.

Stargazer piped up, "It's a special assassin's mark. That's what the nag said to me anyways." Mantu relayed the information to Bimeny.

"What do we do now?" Bimeny asked, his heart pounding. "Only one came out."

"I don't know," Mantu said. After thinking for a few moments, he said, "We could wait. It will be light in a few more hours. We can see better then."

"He can see better then too. I can see in the dark, he can't. I say that I fly up to the roof and go in through my window. I might be able to get in between him and Mom. If he tries anything, then I'll just roast him." Bimeny said without a hint of fear.

"Can you fly?" Mantu asked. "Did you figure it out?"

"I don't know, I'll just have to 'need to' " Bimeny said. He thought for a moment.

"I know, I'll climb up in the loft and just run out the doors in the top. That's more or less what I did at Gandoo's and it worked." The horses startled when Bimeny started to climb to the loft. "Mantu," said Bimeny, "We're going to need the nags to be quiet now. Tell them that if they are quiet that I will only eat the guard. I will let them go." Mantu obliged, the horses fell silent.

Bimeny went up into the loft and opened the front doors. He backed up to the back of the loft and ran as fast as he could out the front, arms outstretched. For a moment he felt like he was flying. Straight down to the ground, Thud! "Oooooh, that hurt," Bimeny said. It was pitch black out. Bimeny got up and dusted himself off. His armor kept him from serious injury but it still hurt a lot.

"Bimeny?! Are you okay?" Mantu asked in a quiet panic.

"I'm good," Bimeny groaned. "The flying thing didn't quite work the way I intended, though. Look, it's plenty dark enough for me to climb the tree next to the porch and get into my room. Just give me a few minutes. I'll give you a signal and then you come in." Bimeny said.

"Okay, what's the signal going to be?" Mantu asked.

"I don't know," Bimeny said. "I'll think of something. Just watch for it."

"Watch for what?" Mantu asked.

"You'll know it when you see it or hear it or something. I'll make it loud," Bimeny said, now losing patience and sneaking away.

It was as black as it could be. It was that time in between the sun and the two moons. There would be no better time. Bimeny moved as if the intruder could see as well as he could. He watched the windows and the doors.

"Where is he?" Bimeny said out loud. Then he saw it. But it was strange. He could see the outline of the intruder moving between two windows. He could see him through the wall. But he was all green, like everything else Bimeny saw in the dark. Bimeny turned his head to look back at the barn. He could see Mantu and the four horses. He looked to see if he could see the dead guard. Barely. Then it hit him. Body heat is what he saw. That's why he could see the guard moving between the windows. He was hot and close to the wall. Bimeny looked and tried to see Malageth and Reentu. He couldn't. They must be tied up in their bedroom.

He knew the guard was upstairs on this side of the house, so he moved around to the back side of the house, away from the windows, but there was no tree here to climb. Bimeny thought, 'I could sure use those wings right now,' but nothing happened.

Bimeny thought, 'If I could just reach the window,' and he leaned forward and pushed off with his toes and he was there. He was hovering right in front of the second story window. He reached out and grabbed the window sill and quietly pulled himself in. His wings tucked themselves away as he did. Bimeny snapped his head around, trying to see how and exactly where they disappeared to. He was chasing his tail again for a moment. 'Boy, I wish I could see where they go,' he said to himself.

'Reentu's room, they're not in there.' He moved towards the door, watching to see any movement and moving very quietly himself. He opened Reentu's door and stepped into the hall. He could see the guard still moving between windows. But where were Mom and Pop? Bimeny moved down the hall to the sewing room. Nothing. The bathroom. Nothing. Malageth's room. Something, faint.

They're here! He opened the door and stepped inside. What he saw next stunned him. Pop was dead on the bed, his throat had been cut, and lying across him, obviously trying to protect him, was Malageth. Her arms had knife slits and gashes where she fought against them bare handed. She had several stab wounds on her back. Bimeny felt a great lump form in his throat. His eyes wrinkled up as if to cry. He gritted his teeth in anger, but no tears were to be had. As he laid a hand on his mother's lifeless body and felt the heat slipping away, he couldn't hold it in any longer. He let out a scream so loud that the windows shook in their frames.


Just then the door flew open and the guard dove on Bimeny, stabbing him everywhere he could with his knife. He was easily twice the size of Bimeny and wearing chainmail over hard leather. Bimeny could do very little to defend himself from someone so big, but the knife blade was not getting through. Bimeny stopped fighting. The guard kept stabbing, and realized that his attack was ineffective. The knife was not getting through, but Bimeny was no longer fighting him.

In his confused realization, he sought Bimeny's eyes to see if they were open or if he was knocked unconscious. Bimeny was biding his time. Mantu was coming, and he didn't want this guard to die too fast. Bimeny let loose a small growl in his throat and looked the guard eye to eye. They were inches apart when the guard saw the flames in Bimeny's eyes. Bimeny exhaled and fire came from his mouth and smoke from his nostrils as the guard got up off of him and slowly backed away through the door. Bimeny was on his feet and backing the guard down the stairs.

"Who sent you here to do this terrible thing?" Bimeny said to the guard as he backed him down the stairs. The guard said nothing. "Don't make me ask you twice. I am deciding now whether to let you carry a message back or to just cook you here and now. So who sent you?" Bimeny asked again.

"Ma-Ma-Ma-Morgreth of the council." he stammered, still backing through the kitchen.

"Where can she be found?" Bimeny asked.

"Hammersted," he said quickly. Bimeny was now backing him down the porch steps, past Mantu, who was cautiously making his way forward in the dark.

"Take a message to her. Tell her I'm coming and she is going to slow roast on a dragon's fire. Tell them all!" Bimeny said, more angrily than Mantu had ever seen.

"I will." The guard said and he turned and ran toward the barn.

"Wait!" Bimeny ordered. And the guard stopped in his tracks and turned to face Bimeny.

"Never mind, I'll tell them myself," and he loosed a fireball on the guard that instantly engulfed him in flames.

"Bimeny!" Mantu said, now seeing the anger in Bimeny's face by the firelight of the burning, screaming guard, who suddenly went silent as he fell to the ground. Bimeny just looked down at the ground. The weight of the situation was dawning on Mantu.

"No," he said as he looked at Bimeny. "Tell me they aren't...." and Mantu stopped short of saying it, as if not saying it could change what he knew from Bimeny's saddened face. Mantu turned and ran into the house.

Bimeny leaned forward and with a gentle push and flew off into the night.

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