The dragon took to the sky to get a better view of her victim.
Goom stretched and strained as he climbed nearer and nearer to the glowing lute. A cacophony of geologic destruction was all around him.
His left leg was badly burned from the molten rock that struck him. He relied more heavily on the strength of his upper body to compensate for his useless leg.
And as if all that wasn't bad enough, he could now feel strong gusts of wind stirred up by the dragon's mighty wings as she readied herself to take to the sky.
Down below, the Ulimni continued to torture Dennis and Murt even though Goom had showed no signs of backing down. Murt felt as if his bones were expanding outward.
He could feel his muscles beginning to tear apart under the extreme pressure. He shrieked in pain like a Pond Sprite being twisted to death.
Through it all, he tried to concentrate on using whatever magic he had to fight against the arcane forces of the Ulimni.
He commanded his body to push back against the mounting waves of torturous pain.
He commanded his body to push back against the mounting waves of torturous pain. He tried to extend his magical efforts toward Dennis as well, but it appeared as though he'd already passed out from the tremendous pain.
Inch by inch, Goom approached the lute until he was within an arm's reach of the small platform on which the lute had been placed.
He reached for the edge of the platform, but he didn't have the strength to hold his body up while reaching upward, and he was forced to grab onto an exposed rock below the edge.
The wind from the dragon's wings was all around him, and he could see the beast appear in the sky to his right. As she approached, Goom watched as she inhaled a great breath of air.
The wind from the dragon's wings was all around him, and he could see the beast appear in the sky to his right. As she approached, Goom watched as she inhaled a great breath of air. Soon, she'd exhale a blaze of fire that would turn him to ash.
Goom steadied himself before making a desperate leap toward the lute. He grabbed the edge of the small cliff and tried to pull himself upward.
He looked like a six-year-old boy who was trying to pull himself out of a swimming pool instead of just using the ladder.
His face was streaked with muddy sweat, and he screamed through the pain as his fingertips struggled to maintain their grip on the flat rock.
The dragon had fallen silent in between her inhale and exhale. She flapped her wings and moved through the air until her face was at an even level with Goom's straining body.
Murt, in the shadow of Skrye, looked up at his struggling brother. In this moment, Murt was outside of himself.
He felt no pain as he watched the dragon preparing to melt his brother against the peak of the mountain.
Streaking tears ran from his gray eyes down the sides of his wide face, but his gaze was serene.
He was unable to assist his brother with magical aid, but he closed his eyes and offered a prayer of strength.
Goom made his last effort to pull himself up, and finally he was able to get an elbow then a booted foot up and onto the surface of the niche. He took the lute into his hand.
The dragon began her death roar, and soon the torrent of fire would follow.
Goom stroked the strings of the magical lute, and the euphonic sound reverberated across the mountain top.
It echoed outward like a mesmerizing ripple and seemed to silence the pandemonium of sorcery and dragon fire that had enveloped Skrye.
Goom had never played the lute before, but his fingers moved deftly across the fourteen strings, and he pulled music from the instrument as if he were possessed by Yahni, the god of music.
The power of the heartstrings flowed through his body, and a glowing golden aura surrounded the dwarf like rising smoke.
It was said that the soft melody of Goom's unconscious strumming could be heard across Fairyland from the Southern Forest to the shores of Ekwar.
The dragon continued to hover in the air before Goom, but she produced no fire. She was spellbound by the dwarf who nimbly plucked at her heartstrings.