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Sir Lamar heard ringing in his ears.  That was what first alerted him to things not being quite right.  He shouldn’t hear anything with the wax in his ears.

Color flooded into his eyes, and he remembered where he was.  The Wyrm was attacking.  He sprung to his feet despite the weight of his armor and tried to understand what was happening.  Black hair caught his eye—the Princess.  The giant winged reptile hung over her.

Lamar lunged at them.  Too late, he realized his sword was not in his hand.

Light glowed deep in the beast’s throat.  Sir Lamar was too late, but still he sprinted.  Flames, yellow and orange and blinding, enveloped Garrin, who Lamar hadn’t seen until that moment.  The knight checked Princess Noemi.  She was unscathed by the fire, but utter anguish still filled her face.

Garrin dropped.

Then, almost before he saw it, the dragon fell from the sky.  Lamar had to pivot to avoid being crushed.  He spun back, panting, trying to make sense of the scene before him.  The great and evil Lull Wyrm lay in a still heap over Garrin.  So the old knight’s book was right.  The Princess’s song had sent the creature to sleep.

When Noemi reached for Garrin, Lamar sprung back into motion.  He put a restraining hand on her shoulder and held up his other—wait.  She seemed to understand, or at least to trust him.

Sir Lamar returned for his blade.  He hefted it.  It was a weighty sword, and should do the trick.  They needed to be certain, once and for all, that the beast was gone.

His boots scrambled to find hold on the smooth scales, but Sir Lamar eventually managed to climb the dragon’s back.  It rose and fell under his feet in a slow rhythm of breaths.  Lamar found his balance, raised the sword over his head, and swung.  It was surprisingly easy to sever the creature’s head from its body.

The Wyrm’s head flopped over.  Bright blood flowed out of the empty neck.  It stained the dirt and Garrin—what was the color’s name?  Crimson?  Cerulean?  Well, it didn’t really matter.  Sir Lamar slid off the corpse.

The old knight came to them.  When Lamar set his shoulder against the beast’s warm side, Ancel joined him.  Their boots dug into the dirt.  Their muscles strained.  The corpse barely moved.

It took half an hour of pushing to free Garrin.  Lamar’s face dripped with sweat.  He wanted nothing more than to collapse on the ground and breathe.  He rallied himself to his duty, though, and wriggled the wax out of his ears.

Now he could hear the Princess’s endless string of pleas for Garrin to live.  He thought of Trace.  His stomach twisted in fear that some ill might befall her and he would have to suffer the Princess’s pain.  Worry did no good, though.  He knelt beside the princess and pointed to her ears.

Her small hands shook, so he had to help her remove the wax.  “Don’t wake him,” he said as soon as she could hear.

“What?” she exclaimed.  She looked at him like he had suddenly become her enemy.

“He is badly wounded.  We must return him to the castle, and the journey will be far less painful for him if he is unconscious.”

Her brow furrowed as she looked down at her color-mate.  She reached to touch the smoldering flesh on his face, but held back.

Sir Lamar touched her hand.  “We will give him water, as one does to a fever victim.  Once at the castle, he will have the best care available.  You can wake him then.  You will see your beloved again.”

Lamar didn’t know if he actually believed that, but he truly hoped he would see his.

He and Ancel managed to carry Garrin between them.  Princess Noemi trailed behind with their packs, emptied of all but the necessary supplies.  They weren’t able to make it far before the light failed.

“We’re closer to the castle than you’d think,” Ancel promised over dry biscuits.  “We’ll have him home by tomorrow night.”

So Lamar’s plan of a circuitous route had worked, in a way.  He was glad of that and laid down to watch the stars and wonder what was happening to Trace.  He missed her more than he thought possible for a woman he’d known scarcely two weeks.  With a bit of good fortune, they would be reunited soon and all would be well.

In the middle of the night, Garrin developed a high fever.  Sir Lamar felt his hopes of good fortune dwindling.

Only two chapters left!  Let me know what you think :)

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