CHAPTER FOUR: In the Hands of Evil (11)

She was roughly dragged, (by the hair no less), over the snow covered rocks, but she couldn’t guess as to where. Her eyes were locked; she unblinkingly gazed only at what she could see, which was little more than a star-spangled panorama of the sky and the hunchbacked goblin seedily twiddling its grubby hands. Shenon could feel wetness seeping into her dress. She could feel the locks of hair being wrenched from place. She could feel the remnants of a scalding burn on her forehead. She was aware of all of this, but could do nothing.

As she was thrown into the back of a caged carriage with lattice bars, the last few precious moments of sight were filled with the dreariness of watching the cottage ignite with white hot flame. The furniture, the rooms, the belongings, even the portrait of Dhumond . . . they would all be lost. The only sliver of a silver lining for Shenon was the peace of knowing that Grom and Bornen were safely away from the sudden invasion. But for how long would they be safe?

Wheels turned in the darkness. That much she was certain of. The despicable sounds of goblins jabbering and trolls snorting could be heard. Then a sound – a far off, distant sound, but a discernable noise regardless, rang on the horizon. Snowberry’s church bells wailed in alarm. Next were the shrilling, terrified screams of villagers. The wheels never stopped turning, or so she assumed, because Shenon sensed perpetual motion from the jail wagon. At times it was quickened, others slowed, but never stopping. Occasionally hinges squeaked as a heavy door opened and shut.

First were the Fydoffs; a charming, intellectual couple from eastern parts of the Far North. They were the proprietors of a quaint, homey diner known as Happy Snacks. Guthric, the husband of the pair, had a network of scratches and scrapes along his skin presumably from his attempts at fending off the fiends attacking his wife. Then there was Teren from Toth. He was a dwarf of positive repute, who had a few local rumors of his chivalry circulating around Snowberry and was set to marry a pretty little thing from two towns over. He and Roz Greenich were tossed into the cage together. (Poor Roz wasn’t even a dwarf, just a really short and hairy man who happened to be blessed with a round face and a nose as fat as a proboscis monkey’s). After them were the Clumdum twins; born and raised troublemakers who, in spite of their various gags and pranks played upon other villagers, were quite liked. Each one sported a matching black-eyed expression of vengeful displeasure when thrown into the carriage carelessly.

Gradually the jail wagon collected dwarf after dwarf. Some were separated and taken away in different carriages while others endeavoring to escape were bound by rope and hauled off by hand. Those currently huddled up in Shenon’s were completely panicked, and many of them formed a horseshoe arc around her. They exchanged wary whispers and murmurs while leering at the lifeless maiden as one among them pushed aside two of the gawkers, elbowing their way through to get a better look.

He gasped at the sight. “Meran, Chlora, hurry over here . . . Quick! It’s Shenon!” Hedrum cried with grievous urgency.

The End

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