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« Still Looking | Main | What Dreams Are Made Of »

Girl in Ice

Gaius the Archivist followed his drunken friend,  Walter, into the vast chamber and stopped, his mouth open.  There,  up near the ceiling,  like an insect trapped in a garden spider's web, waited Marcie, unconscious, woven into a latticework of ice. Much to his relief, she was not naked, clad instead in a pale shapeless gown that struggled to hide her female form.

"Marcie!" he shouted and then started forward, but Walter grabbed his arm and stopped him.

"Let Lilli do her work, young Gaius," he said in a kindly voice. "You do not have the ability to free the girl. The dragon does."

Gaius stopped and nodded, taken aback.  Walter was a man of many emotions, but kindness was a virtue he'd never before revealed.

Walter resumed speaking.  "Now, listen to me,  Gaius---this is important.  There is a door hidden behind the ice. It leads out of this chain of caverns.  Once Lilli frees your girl, the two of you need to go through the passage beyond that door as quickly as you can and get as far away from here as possible. Understand?"

"You need to come with us," Gaius replied.

"No. If I survive this, Lilli and I will go out the way we came."

Gaius looked at him fearfully. "What do you mean by that? If you survive this?"

"Later, Gaius," Walter growled. "Just do what I told you. Lilli, go ahead and free the girl. We don't have much time."


Both Walter and the dragon turned to face Gaius.

"What now?" asked Walter in exasperation.

"Your dragon friend melted stone back in there in the passage we came through. She'll roast poor Marcie alive with those flames."

The dragon stared at him, her eyes revealing laughter. Gaius marveled at the beast, remembering the various artworks depicting her kind--how could a mythical creature be captured on canvas so accurately by thousands of artists over the centuries without actually ever being seen?

That question remained unanswered,  but Lilli the dragon answered Gaius' spoken one.  "Mortal man," she said, "there are fires, and then then are fires." She turned then and faced Marcie frozen in ice, releasing her flames.


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