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Part Twenty-Four - What Followed

Tom closed his eyes and laid his head in front of Zawkane’s right eye. He didn’t care if he was being watched as he cried openly. He had found a friend in a most unusual shape, and now he was dead. What would have they been able to do together in future weeks. In only half a day, they had come this far. It wasn’t fair that such an honorable creature have its end like this.

A light as bright as the sun impacted Tom’s eyelids and he had to turn away. When the light diminished, Tom searched for its source, but instead of that he found Zawkane’s body gone. “What happened?!” he yelled.

“I have no idea,” Chaphar answered. “That never happened before.”

“I’ve never seen it happen either,” Shehleg said.

“But what happened to Zawkane?” Tom asked again.

“He lit up like a star and then vanished,” Shehleg answered.

“Not only his body, but all of his blood too,” Chaphar said looking around. “Everywhere his blood landed, it isn’t there now.”

“Could this be a dragon thing?” Shehleg asked.

“No, then the other dragons would be gone too,” Chaphar answered.

“But then why did he disappear?” Tom asked standing up.

“I have no idea,” Chaphar said again.

“Shehleg, do you have any ideas?” Tom asked looking at her. She shook her head slowly, “Not really.” She then added with a little more confidence, “He is the only red dragon we saw die. It might have to do with that.”

“I doubt it,” Chaphar said walking around the field. “But what other differences were there?”

“He said he saw Aetos,” Tom answered.

“That must be it,” Chaphar said nearly excited. “Aetos must be behind this.”

“If that is true,” Shehleg added. “Then we may never know why it happened.”

“But how could he have seen Aetos, I saw nothing?” Tom asked skeptical.

“Because Aetos chose us not to see Him,” Chaphar answered.

“But why?” Tom asked.

“He has His reasons,” Shehleg said walking up to Tom. “If I remember correctly, you were hungry before. If you are still, we should get going. No food here for you.”

“Are you serious?” Tom said glaring at her. “I’m supposed to just leave?”

“Yes because there is nothing more to do,” she answered.

“No, I will not just forget about Zawkane,” Tom said turning away.

“We aren’t asking you to,” Chaphar said walking up to him. “But do you know how to go about searching for him?”

Tom sighed. “No.”

“Then taking care of our own needs is the best course of action,” Chaphar said.

“It is what Zawkane would want you to do,” Shehleg added. “He wanted you to go out and use your honor and courage. You can’t do that here.”

Tom looked to the ground. “Okay,” he said nodding. He spun around and jumped onto Shehleg’s back in one quick motion. They then galloped into the trees.

Copyright © 2010 C. L. Richardson, All Rights Reserved; "Untamed Picture" © Nathanael Eisner