Extract from Aquila & The Serpent
"As soon as I left the safety of my hideaway, a continuous, vile hissing commenced. One step, two steps and I was prancing along the magic stairway. Far beneath me, lay the ice-field and upon that, like a scorch, the shadow of the snake.
It happened quickly enough. The fiery mark on the landscape below was extinguished and its writhing spirit ascended. As I moved my foot forward, the very next stair promptly came ablaze. The stairway was trapped in his tentacle.
He was a comical brute – no longer a shadow now – but a grinning scaley face veering towards me. The upper jaw was hook-ended and his mouth contained many tiny teeth. The bulbous eyes were set high on his skull.
He struck out for my right arm and I was just able to fend him off. With one great waft of the rod, I sent him reeling and wriggling back two-hundred yards or more. He near whistled through the frosty air – almost back into his embers.
Then I noticed something else about my wondrous stave. While one end retained its ice coolness, the other was already glowing a dull red, as if it had been plunged into a furnace. If the reptile launched a second attack, I resolved to fight fire-with-fire.
There was a technique to be learned. As I twisted the weapon, sparks flew-off and my hand became the engine of a whirling, burning baton. I wielded a poker freshly taken from the coals and whisked aglow. Catching him on the rebound, I used the tip of the rod to twirl his slinky body into a loop and his nodding head was fascinated. He was stopped in his tracks.
I was able to knock him back one more time but still he returned – this time looking more incensed with rage. His whole purple length was quivering and his jaws were shaking like a mad dog's.
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