A pair of chameleons huddled in a catalpa as the forest blazed around them, only to be drowned when the clouds released a deluge. Never had two chameleons been happier to be washed out of their tree.
A conversation intruded on the chameleons’ attempt to swim, as absentminded humans jogged through the steaming remains of the forest.
“Trying to burn down the forest around us is a desperate move,” Jai said.
“I wouldn’t call it trying,” Caren said.
“She did burn down part of it,” Den said. “But not all of it because this here stormbringer saved the day.”
“For once, you’re useful,” Caren said.
“Don’t start,” Jai said. “I’d like it more if we could put a LOT of distance between her and us.”
Caren stopped running. “I need a break.”
“Then you walk. We are not stopping,” Jai said.
“Relax,” Den said. “Between the fire, smoke, rain, and steam, she didn’t see where we went. She probably thinks we’re dead.”
Jai took a deep breath. “Maybe. We can walk for awhile.”
The ashes of the understory weren’t as deep and the charring of the trunks wasn’t as high.
“We’re coming to the end of it,” Caren said.
“Thanks for the obvious,” Den said.
The understory was alive and green and birds flitted nervously from branch to branch. The trees, taller than two houses, spread their green canopies over all. The emerald light was cool and soothing.
The three relaxed into an easy gait and Caren said, “Well, I think we’re…”
A cloaked and hooded figure was in front of them and purple light shot from his left hand directly at Jai’s heart.
Jai collapsed to the ground and Caren screamed and Den called a storm. “We’ll fight you to the death!” Den said.
The necromancer pulled off his hood. “If you wish, but I’ve killed the one I came for.”
Caren was sobbing, so Den knew the man was right. “Who are you? Do you work for Emeril?”
He smiled and shook his head. “She works for me. I’m rather stuck in this part of the forest. She brought you to me.”
He walked to Jai’s body, kicked Caren aside and cut open Jai’s wrist.
Den was frozen. There was no spell cast, his horror left him rooted to his place.
The necromancer collected the blood in a bottle. When it stopped flowing, he put his lips to the cut and sucked.
“Why?” Den said.
“The only thing more powerful than the blood of your enemy is the blood of your kin. With this power, I will be free.”
“We’re all your enemy,” Caren hissed.
“No. Only Jai had the potential to kill me.” He vanished in a puff of purple smoke.
C = chameleon