Chapter 6

Beanie grabs his head, several Hashnuks have been asking him questions, all at the same time. Smiling and nodding uncomfortably, Beanie excuses himself. “I really must get back, Enkirash and the others need my help.” He then turns and runs back to the Dancing Donkey. With the mention of Enkirash, all the Hashnuks become silent and watch as Beanie wheels off. Beanie pushes passed several townsfolk and nearly knocks Sweets down at the door.
“Careful there Beanie!” Sweets says when Beanie rushes into the inn. Sweets looks out into the streets and his jaw drops. Clergymen! Dirt covered, clothing in tatters, not so long ago proclaimed dead clergymen! Racing like mad straight towards the inn. Sweets points and shouts to all in the street, “The undead! Flee, flee for your lives!” Then he frantically shuts the inn’s door and bars it shut. Sweets quickly directs the able-bodied to secure all the exits. Beanie arrives at Enkirash’s side to see that he is unconscious again. Ilma Dune, the elderly innkeeper shuffles over to Beanie. “Son, It be time to did something to heal these poor people. Ain’t right to leave them suffering like this if you can do something about it.” Ilma says.

Beanie’s eyes tear up as he looks at the fragile looking woman. “I can’t help them. I have no healing power! I wish I could heal them!” Ilma squints as she sees a strange sparkle quickly pass over Beanie just for a moment. Beanie continues, “I can’t take all this adventure anymore! I wish I had a way to escape!” Beanie stops with a strange look on his face. He puts his hand in his pocket and pulls out the rod that had so recently been sticking through his leg muscles. But instead of a shiny metal rod, it was now black and dull. Light seemed to disappear into it.
A hand reaches out and grabs Beanie’s pants. “Water,” whispers a man on a table, his head wrapped in a blood soaked bandage. Quick to oblige, Beanie helps the man take a drink. Again the sparkle surrounds Beanie, just for milliseconds. The man shudders and sits straight up. “Yeeee haw! That’s some powerful water!” Warmth flows through the man. He starts feeling beneath his bandages. “Quick, help me take these off.” “Oh no, you mustn’t!” Ilma shrieks. The man continues to unwrap the bandages and throws them on the floor. He feels all over his head. “I’m healed! I’m healed!”
There is a clamor all around calling for Beanie to bring water. One by one everyone in the Dancing Donkey is healed. Enkirash questions Beanie, confused as to what has happened. Beanie hands him the blackened rod. While Enkirash studies it there is a loud banging. The inn goes quiet. Again the banging comes, but it isn’t coming from the door, it is coming from the roof.

The sounds of clicking gears fill Beanie’s ears as he struggles to escape the grasp of the dragon’s metal claw. Screaming, he watches the sky vanish as the dragon’s jaws close around him. A heavy clattering chain quickly wraps around his leg and his is quickly pulled towards the mechanical creation’s throat. Then suddenly it releases him. A bright yellow light shines upon him. “Well, Mr. Appleton I presume? Of course you are, what am I talking about. Magic is never wrong. Luck however is a different story. And you seem to have run out of the good sort.”
There is a loud screech followed by distant voices, loud but echoed.
“There he goes Chief Inquisitor, making his escape!”
“Could there be any proof more convicting than this? Surely the work of an evil necromancer! Set up the tents next to the ruined church, I shall go interview the people…”
The voices trail off. Beanie stands up and squints towards the light. He has to steady himself with the nearest surface, the dragon must be in flight.
“Look on the bright side. You have me! Sandor the Master of Momentum, Skipper of the Skies.”
Beanie points and yells incredulously “You are a talking ring?”
Sitting before Beanie, on a pillow topped bronze pedestal is a ring with an animated face.
“And you are a bag of flesh. I rather think you are at the disadvantage.” Sandor says.
“Now quickly, as you have nothing better to do right now, where is Hashnuk? I am ready for my next conquest!”

Beanie walks over to the ring and picks it up. Sandor makes his voice deep and says, “Yes, YES! Feel the power! Be struck with awe! Now place me on… Hey wait a…” Beanie slips the ring into his pocket and climbs the ladder besides Sandor’s stand. He emerges into a small room with two windows, the dragon’s pupils no doubt. There are many levers and contraptions moving unaided here as well. Beanie sticks his head out of the dragon’s eye and can see the town below. The dragon seems to be slowly circling. Beanie also notices that a group below seems to be chasing after the dragon, and behind them a group armed soldiers giving chase, and behind them Sweets and Enkirash struggling to keep up.
Meanwhile, Brother Cancun reaches a lake of iridescent purples and blues. Chumples is up to his haunches in the liquid and it is crystalizing slowly around him, climbing his body. Brother Cancun makes his move.

Beanie, inside an enormous mechanical dragon, circles high above the town of Vermillion. His friends below follow his course on the ground while soldiers pursue them, weapons waving threateningly. Beanie grabs a pair of the largest levers and begins moving them about. The dragon rises and falls, twists and turns, as Beanie fights against the controls. Flailing about he pulls on a chain hanging down from above and a terrible jet of flame shoots from the dragons mouth. “OOO, AHHH” Beanie says as he pulls on the chain a few more times. With some basic understanding of the controls now, Beanie manages to steer the dragon and set it on a course for the soldiers.
“Ha ha ha!” Beanie laughs, “this should scare them off.” Flames shoot forth from the menacing mechanical dragon as Beanie yanks the chain once more. But this time the chain falls from the ceiling, broken. The flames flow endlessly from the mouth of the dragon. The heat in the chamber rapidly increases as the flames begin to lap back towards the dragon.
Panicking, Beanie pulls the talking ring out of his pocket. “Sandor, what do I do? I broke your dragon!” “What the blazes! Quickly, put me on your finger before you are roasted!” Beanie slips on the ring. He begins to feel even hotter, he looks at his hand and notices that he has begun to glow orange, like the hot blacksmith’s poker. The flames vanish, but instead of relief Beanie is filled with horror as the dragon is moments away from crashing into the ground. There is a tremendous crash, earth is heaved up into the air in all directions. When the dust cloud clears only the dragon’s back legs and tail protrude from a large crater, it’s front half buried. The soldiers are nowhere to be seen. Several men arrive, all calling out for Sandor. Enkirash and Sweets also arrive. Sweets begins to tear up. “Oh, poor poor Beanie!”

The group of men, ex-lizard-goat-cultists posing as clergy who were recently killed but somehow resurrected all thinking that they are each a man named Hashnuk, converge on an opening beneath the tail of the dragon and proceed, single file, inside.

Several moments later one of the Hashnuks emerges and approaches Sweets and Enkirash. “My friends. My sadness for your loss. Beanie is dead. But Sandor is alive!” Out of the dragon come two more Hashnuks, supporting a slumping man. He is completely glowing with an orange hue, his head hangs on his chest as he struggles to shuffle along with support. “Please my friends, do not be…” “Freaked out?!” Sweets exclaims, “What is that? Who is Sandor?” “My friends, Sandor is a ring, he is magical, intelligent, and currently bonded to the flesh of Beanie. His attempt to protect Beanie from death failed. But he is able to animate his, um, corpse? My friends, Sandor is in shock and trying to come to grips with his failure. For the time being, it would be best just to go along with whatever he says.”

Enkirash lifts Beanie’s head and examines it. He opens Beanie’s eyes and taking a device from his pouch shines a light into them. Beanie’s jaw begins to move slowly. “Hello, I am Beanie Applesauce, pleased to meat you. Boy am I tired, that was some crash eh? Well, I should get to work getting my ride out of this ditch.” The words obviously flowing from somewhere other than Beanie’s mouth, and with a different accent. “Yes… Of course.” Enkirash acknowledges slowly. Beanie turns to face the dragon and flops to the ground on his back. His head then rises akwardly, his spine and neck arching backwards until his body flops forward. He props himself up with his hands then the glow fades from his body. The tail of the dragon then comes to life an begins scraping away the dirt covering the dragon’s top half.[9:24 AM]Enkirash tells Sweets that he can find no trace of Beanie’s soul. Beanie my indeed be lost forever. But Sweets pushes his sorrow aside. “I am obligated to help my friend in anyway I can. What should I do?”

Sweets, wiping tears from his eyes, lays on his back. Doing so he brushes Beanie’s sword. With blinding speed Sweets grasps the sword and brandishes it above his head. “What has happened to my master!” the sword bellows. Rays of light pour out of it, the color shifting from a brilliant white to a crimson red. Unable to control his body, Sweets swings the sword so that it is parallel with Beanie’s body, just inches above him. A moment later Sweets moves again with blinding speed and places the blade of Forenda against Enkirash’s neck. “Sorcerer, you will remove the ring from my master’s finger lest I remove your head from your neck.”