Dragon Mass

Posted: December 28, 2014 in Fiction

Claude had been walking for 4 hours without seeing the sun. The canopy of the woods was thick and so high above them that he liked to imagine the sun scraped the tops of the trees. He hoped it would catch fire and burn the woods down. He hoped it would kill every stupid bug and crawling thing in this hot sticky woods. He hoped it would kill Gus too. He hoped the fire would reign down on Gus’s big fat frame and set the old man alight like a tallow torch. He hoped the meat and grease would bubble and fall of the old man’s bones in piles and rage. He imagined Gus’s idiot smile engulfed in the yellow orange of fire growing bigger and blacker as it slid out from underneath his bulbous cheeks. He hoped his eyes would melt and the the goo would slide down his greasy neck like egg yolks. He hoped that uneven beard would catch fire first, and he hoped it would hurt.

Gus was wearing a leather vest over his his white cloth shirt and Claude could see sweat literally pouring off his ass. Claude had stripped to just a simple shirt, with was untied around the color. He trudged behind Gus dragging the sled. It was big, but not heavy. It was made of the lighter wood from their homeland. The spongy, durable wood that had brought them across the sea to this sticky forest. The fat old man kept singing his drinking song. Claude looked at the vague warm glow from where the sun must have been overhead, and hoped for a spark. It was their third day in the woods, and he didn’t believe they’d find anything. “What is it we’re looking for?” Claude asked. “I told you, it’s a Dragon Mass.” Gus answered, cutting right back to his song. It was about boats and leaving your family for behind. The old man always talked about family, which was ridiculous, because he didn’t have any. Claude had two brothers he didn’t talk to. They might be dead. His older brother was still at home the last time he’d left him, and Claude suspected if he hadn’t died there yet, he was bound to soon. His middle brother had left on a boat a lot like he had, but he left for a war, not a city, and he was almost certainly dead now. He liked thinking that maybe his brother had made it, maybe he’d climbed up the ranks of a little mercenary company, or even just as a soldier in some marching army. He didn’t know why, but he liked the idea of a mercenary more. Running away to become a soldier seemed like lost rebellion.

“I know it’s a Dragon Mass, but what’s it look like?” Claude spat. “Like a great big lemon made of coal,” Gus said. “Yellow?” asked Claude. “No, Black, with specks of green and blue sometimes… but mostly black.” “And how big is it?” “About the size of a horse cart… hopefully. It might be a bunch of small ones, but I’m hoping for a big one.” “What? it might not even be here!” Claude screamed and something rippled and ran beneath the underbrush. A long ratty tail flopped into the air for just a moment before darting under the grass and roots and moss that seemed to cover everything. “It’ll be here.” Gus assured him. “Where else would a dragon go?”

Gus was right. They’d seen the ruins of the rivertown, it was most certainly a dragon. No army could have dismantled and burned so much of a place, and kept other parts so unspoiled. Buildings would stand as piles of ash that looked like ghosts right next to ones completely untouched. The ground around the ruins was untouched and showed no trace of the many men it would have taken to bring so much destruction. Claude pulled their sled while Gus lugged the pick ass and the backpack of tools. It was so hot.

It was forty five minutes later when Gus spotted it. He pulled the ax from across his shoulder and pointed the head at what looked like a big rock. It was blacker than night. Claude wouldn’t have seen it. It was so dark it hid. It pulled the light around it snug and it ceased to be.

There it was. It was big. 6 feet around at the middle, with divots and bumps all over. It rippled like sun off of fish scales. Parts were smooth like glass, and other’s rough like stone. Claude ran up and touched it. It was warm to the touch. He looked up to the unbroken canopy and wondered where it could have come from. Claude asked.

“Dragon’s wretch’em up you dummy.” Gus grinned and pulled his tools from the bag. “I mean,” Claude kept looking confusedly towards the sky, “it’s still warm,” he finished. “They’ll stay warm for years.” He said smiling, and tossed a spike and hammer to Claude. “It’s huge.” Claude said and pushed against it. He couldn’t budge it. “It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” Gus agreed, “but that doesn’t mean anything.” He said pushing the grass and a fallen tree limb off of the Dragon Mass. “How are we going to move it?” Claude asked. “We’ll have to break it apart and take a piece.” Gus said. Claude was too excited about the mass to even care about having to come back to this miserable woods. He stripped off his shirt and climbed on top of the mass. Gus took a spike and and hammer and drove it into the mass near the younger man’s feet. He brought down the ax and took out a nick from the mass. They did this again and again. The young man’s back ached, but he didn’t slow down.

After an hour of driving in the spikes and chipping at the mass, it cracked open with a hiss. The Mass stunk. The men went to work on the other side. The crust of the Mass came off in flakes. Claude picked up a piece of the dark char. It felt smooth like glass but strong like steel. The crust was inches thick, nearly a foot at points. He drove another ax strike in and heard a clang. Both men’s eyes swelled. They pried at the Mass. A Knight’s helm was pressed and dented inside the giant stone like mass. The men pried it out and Gus held it up. “This is great” he said. “It’s still wearable.” He opened up the visor to see a chalk white skull.” “Holy Hell” exclaimed Claude and turned to vomit. “Get over that whelp,” Gus giggled and swung at the Mass with his beefy frame. They chipped through more and more of hot glassy steel. “So this is Dragon shit?” Claude asked. “Don’t you listen to anything I say boy?” Gus asked. “It’s when they eat, they can’t get through all this good iron,” he said, “it all gets smashed down until they barf it up.” “That’s so gross,” said Claude pulling out a mace head that had come loose from its handle. “This stuff will burn if you get it hot enough.” Gus said, holding up a piece of the black flake. We’ll bring some of this too. It sells for tons in the trade towns.” They pulled out more and more armor and swords and laid them out on the sled. Gus put some of the greasy iron in his back pack and filled the rest with the stone glass. They trudged through the woods.

Claude remembered why he’d gotten so angry. He hated those fucking songs.

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