Devotion

BY : Isabelle V
Category: A through F > Dragonlance
Dragon prints: 1591
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I have any claim to Dragonlance or the Dragonlance characters, and I make no money whatsoever from this fanfiction.

The elf lay on the stone floor, drifting in and out of consciousness, his head carefully pillowed on his master’s folded cloak. Though the subterranean corridor was uncomfortably damp, Raistlin found himself grateful for the clean water leaking from one of the overhead pipes. His apprentice was badly wounded, and had already vomited far past the point of dehydration. He was resting a little now, though, and no longer hallucinating, at least for the moment.

 

“Dalamar,” he urged hoarsely, kneeling down to hold a small flask to the bruised lips. “You must drink...at least a little.” Normally so polished and vibrant, the elf was an almost unrecognizable mess, despite Raistlin’s best efforts to clean off some of the blood and filth.

 

The archmage flinched anew at the sight of Dalamar’s injuries. He was covered in bruises and cuts, some of them quite severe, and his right wrist was badly fractured, but none of this was life-threatening. It was the brutal damage to his chest that had Raistlin extremely worried. Somehow, a few hours before, he had used the last of his remaining strength to close the five deceptively small wounds above Dalamar's heart and stop the dangerous bleeding.

 

Now, for the first time since leaving the Tower to follow his apprentice into town, he had a moment to think. Par Salian and Ladonna. Damn them! He had thwarted their cowardly intentions, but just barely. Seconds more and he’d have been too late. “I will destroy you for this!” he had sworn before casting the only spell he dared - a damaging but comparatively mild attack that would buy him enough time to get Dalamar to safety. Revenge would be sweet, and more than just, but it could wait. His apprentice was hovering on the edge of death, and he needed to conserve his own strength for vital healing work.

 

Stirring weakly, the elf opened his mouth to take an obliging sip of the water, barely enough to wet his lips. “Shalafi,” he managed to whisper, his accent thick, “I am sorry…” There was despair in his fevered eyes as he looked up at Raistlin. “I do not deserve to die in your arms...yet I would ask it of you.” He drew a labored breath. “Please...I failed you, but I tried...I wanted...” He closed his eyes in exhausted anguish. “...wanted so much…”

 

Raistlin bent over him, his voice commanding but gentle. “Stop wasting your energy, apprentice.” He combed back the damp hair with his fingers. “You shall not die, and the pain will subside. Aside from your physical injuries, you are still feeling the effects of several very powerful spells. It will get better, I promise.” Caressing Dalamar’s head, he continued wearily. “I have done what I can for now, but my efforts have taken all my strength. I need sleep - badly.”

 

“Please,” begged the elf in a choked whisper, unable to open his eyes again. “Shalafi...don’t leave me!”

 

“Rest easy now. Tonight you have earned my lasting respect - and my full protection. I will not leave your side.” He spoke soothingly as he settled into the corner with his back against the wall, gently shifting Dalamar’s head onto his lap, then partially covering him with the cloak. Trembling with weariness, he took the elf’s unbroken hand in his own and, just before succumbing to exhaustion, his lips moved in a soundless whisper. “I will never leave you.”

 

_____________________________________________________________

 

 

Not two hours later, Dalamar woke with a cry, startling Raistlin out of an uneasy sleep. “It’s alright,” he muttered instinctively. “You are safe now.”

Semi-conscious and entirely confused, the elf looked up at his master. “Shalafi, how…?” he asked weakly. “Where are we?”

 

“We are below the city. I will explain later. You need rest now.”

 

“Are they dead?” inquired Dalamar, faint hope in his voice. Raistlin could not hold back a bitter chuckle.

 

“You overestimate me, apprentice. I wounded them both, of course, but your life was my priority, and so I chose not to spend all of my energy on revenge this night. No, they both live still, but rest assured they will pay for everything in time,” he finished, helping the elf to sit up a little and offering the water again. “Everything.”

 

Dalamar, though still extremely weak, drank eagerly now, eventually draining the entire flask, much to Raistlin’s satisfaction. “Are you not angry with me?” he asked, with some trepidation.

 

“Only at your inability to close your mouth and allow us both a bit of sleep!” Raistlin’s words were harsh, but relief shone plainly on his face. “Now, do shut up!” He closed his eyes and lay a hand on the tangled raven hair. Dalamar sighed contentedly and leaned his head into the gentle touch. Despite the damp cold and his own considerable pain, being so close to Raistlin brought him more peace than he could remember feeling in a very long time.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

“We have given you ample time, Dalamar Argent, and that time has long since run out. You must make a decision.” The man sounded tired, but resolute.

 

The elf took a steadying breath. “I have told you - I shall not betray him, and if you would only listen to -”

 

“ENOUGH!” The woman’s voice was like frozen silk. “So...this is how you repay our trust in you?” She began to walk toward him. “You would throw away this opportunity?”

 

“I cannot do otherwise. He is the greatest wizard in history, and you know it full well!” His voice was low, almost a growl. His defiant eyes blazed with hatred in the dim candlelight of the basement room. “His loyalty is to the Magic, first and always, as is mine. I realize what you are, now...what you all are.” He glanced at the man sitting in the shadowy corner.

 

Dalamar had been thoroughly unprepared for this encounter, and he no longer held any hope that it would end well for him. He was highly accomplished, yes, but hardly a match for these two seasoned archmages. If they could not see reason, then he would accept his fate. His Master’s work must be protected at all costs.

 

Shaking, but resolved, he continued. “I will NOT be the pawn of your corruption, and I will NEVER give him up to you! If you served the Magic instead of yourselves, you -” but he was suddenly writhing in agony on the floor, blinded by Ladonna’s spell.

 

“How dare you,” she stood over him, furious. “We had hoped you would prove more useful...but at least I shall have the pleasure of breaking you!”

 

“Ladonna,” admonished Par Salian calmly. “There is no need for such drastic measures. I realize that he must die. There is no other way, but we should make it quick. We are not savages.”

 

“Oh, yes!” snarled Dalamar, as he rose to his feet in an act of pure will. Blood poured from his nose and mouth, and he clutched his broken right hand to his chest. “The benevolent White Robe! You pretend to show mercy, but you will turn your head and allow her to have her way, as you’ve always done. Call me a traitor if you like. YOUR treachery is against Magic itself, and your soul is far blacker than my Master’s robes! I know what you did to him, out of fear and cowardice, so do what you like to me! I will suffer it gladly, knowing you will NEVER defeat him!”

 

A second attack, and he collapsed instantly, trying vainly to catch his breath, to regain some measure of control over the electric pain coursing through him. Twisting her face into a malicious smile, Ladonna dragged him by the hair into a sitting position, then shoved his back against the wall. He could feel her soft breath in his ear as she crouched beside him. “Your beauty is exquisite, Silvanesti.” She traced her fingers through the blood on the side of his face. “Too bad I haven’t the opportunity for a few moments’ pleasure…” she said, glancing sidelong at Par Salian, “before I tear out your treacherous heart!”

 

Her hand was on his chest now, and the burning pain now spreading through him made the earlier spells seem like the work of a novice. He couldn’t move, nor scream, and he knew, somehow, that he was also being prevented from losing consciousness. But he would endure it. For his Master he would endure it. Yes, Raistlin. Focus on Raistlin, and on the Magic.

 

Ladonna’s cruel pleasure was evident in her face and in her low laughter as her fingertips slowly burnt themselves into his flesh, and her spells worked their way into his mind.

 

The pain!! Gods, there was nothing now but searing agony in body and mind, and, through a fog of hallucination, Dalamar could only hope that it would be over soon, that he could escape into the cool, placid quiet of death; and that he was not sorry to have exchanged his life for Raistlin's. But the impossible pain continued for what seemed like an eternity.

 

Then, suddenly, from a great distance it seemed, he heard shouting, and finally felt himself released - free to collapse, helpless, onto the floor. Barely conscious, caught between horrifying visions and brutal reality, he soon sensed a familiar presence. Warm, thin fingers touched his face, and he heard a soft, commanding voice mutter “sleep,” as he slipped into senseless oblivion.



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story