As told to Clayton Trembell
I had walked to the Trinsic gates that night. As a
young, well trained warrior, I felt prepared for anything the undead armies
of Juo'nar could throw at us. No, of course, I wasn't alone. I might only
be as yet an inexperienced warrior, but I'm only idiot enough to go to
Trinsic... not to go alone. I could see my own nervousness echoed in the
fidgeting of my comrades, but when any of our eyes met, we smiled bravely.
Roland, the most experienced of us, took a deep breath and then began
climbing over the barricade.
I moved to follow, when suddenly the silence of the night was blasted
by a shrill roar. In the distance, I saw a flash of light, but it quickly
disappeared. Roland by this time was on the other side of the barricade...
alone. He turned and beckoned to us to follow, and then looked on in puzzlement
as we began edging backwards. Despite the overriding desire to turn and
flee, I somehow found control of my arm, lifted it and pointed behind
Roland. And began to whimper. Roland, sensing the fear in my stance and
manner, blinked his eyes and then turned around in one sudden movement.
I stood terrified, afraid to move forward but somehow resisting the urge
to run away in panic and leave my friend. All of our other companions
A large dark shape ducked down under the sandstone arch at the entrance
of the town and bent down towards Roland. Puffs of flame escaped the sides
of the dragon's mouth as it slid nearer to Roland... stopping barely a
foot away from him. From just behind the massive beast, I heard soft laughter.
Nothing menacing... almost inviting. From out of the shadow of the dragon
strolled a woman. She was dressed in a revealing black leather outfit
that contrasted harshly with her pale skin. The staff she carried shimmered
a faint but resilient blue. She whipped her raven black hair playfully
and then stroked the dragon's head between the two great piercing eyes
that remained locked on Roland.
The woman turned to Roland and said, "Dost thou know who I am?" Roland
didn't move a muscle or dare reply, though I did notice a puddle down
by his feet that had not been there before. The woman noticed it as well
and laughed harmoniously. "I supposed ye do."
She glanced at me and then back at Roland. "I'd like the two of ye to
do me a favor... thou would both be willing to do me a favor, wouldn’t
ye?" she asked. I couldn't speak for Roland at this point, but I was certain
that any attempt I made at a reply would result in total panic followed
quickly by an abbreviated effort at escape and the kind of heat only freshly
smithed swords ever know.
"Good," she continued, not really expecting a reply, "I want ye to bring
a message from me to everyone ye meet. Tell them the story of how we met.
But more importantly, I want ye to tell them the fate of those who try
to bring dragons, or any enslaved animal for that matter, into Minax's
realm." She closed with a dark chuckle that was spared the burden of any
At that the dragon raised his head. Roland uttered a feeble cry and collapsed
in a motionless heap. The dragon ignored Roland, lifted its head over
the barricade, and spit something dark toward me. It landed with a crispy
squish and lay before me on the ground twitching.
One of the former tamer's hands appeared to have merged with the scorched
wood of what was probably once a very nice shepherd's crook. He convulsed
on the ground. I could almost hear him screaming soundlessly when one
eye fluttered open painfully and stared directly at me. He seemed to be
begging for death. Minax watched him in amusement, then her deep, soulless
eyes met mine and she said forebodingly, "Oh yes, he'll live on for quite
some time yet in exquisite agony. Make sure not to leave out that delicious
little detail when ye recount the deeds of this night." She chuckled again,
and I could feel any thoughts of manhood draining from my body and fleeing
into the black sky.
"Farewell, my puppets, I'm sure we'll meet again." And with that she
and the dragon turned and left.
I sit in the bars of Britain each night retelling this tale. It's dark
outside now. I order another ale and wait for the sun to arise. I recently
vowed never again to set foot into a dark night. The only thing I fear
more than that night is the thought that Minax would actually come after
me for not doing so. The smell of leather fills my nostrils, and my ale
slips from my hand as I begin to panic. I prepare to leap over the bar
and hide beneath it when I notice that it is only a warrior wearing armor
made of leather. Still shaking, I stand with my hands on the bar trying
to slow my breathing back to normal. Then I go over to where the warrior
is sitting and a surreal calm say, "I had walked to the Trinsic gates
From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online, February 24th,