Burning the Midnight Oil

At dusk the whole camp was quietly readying 20 large kites. Kira was very excited. This was the most fun he’d had since the day he went hunting for Mardy’s first meal of corn snake.

As the night became darker, small groups of villagers took their places around each kite. When the moon was right above them, they moved toward the camp, shadows of the kites blocked out dragon-shaped portions of the stars.

Marduke stayed far behind, well hidden among the crags, and provided the startling, echoing sounds of a dozen dragons. The oiled skins were lit and a dance of fire-breathing dragons circled, swooped, and frightened the army out of their tents.

Men ran everywhere, screaming, some half dressed, some still in full armor. The “dragons” began landing, burning canvas, grass, ropes, and clothing alike.

Some of the villagers stole away to untie a few army horses and set them free. Some veered into the fleeing soldiers, trampling them.

In the total chaos, few were able to draw swords. The villagers ran back to camp

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