Chapter VIII: Dnagnumroj
by Jason Alan
I’ll try to keep the intro brief. This is the next chapter of my book, For Want of a Stone. The first seven chapters can be found here. It isn’t a first or even a second draft, but it isn’t the final draft either. It’s a work in progress. Every time I read through a chapter I see more things that need changing. I’ve spent the last three days editing this particular chapter, so while it’s not the final edit, it’s pretty close to it and good enough to post. I think. Let me know what you think.
Chapter VIII: Dnagnumroj
Marten’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“So the story goes, it comes when the sun is highest in the sky. The first noon after the flag is raised. If it is true, if it does exist,” Marten swallowed hard, as if a rock was in his throat. “If it does, it should be here at any moment. Just wait with me and stay quiet.”
Just west of Logan’s castle, his home, they watched and waited. They sat as far back from the edge of the bank of trees as they could without their view being obstructed too much. They kept their eyes on the clear blue sky and his newly constructed masterpiece in the foreground. His pride and joy. His crowning achievement. He smiled when he had thought of that clever turn of phrase as he was putting the very last stone at the apex. A crowning achievement indeed, and he had felt like a king. Not merely a prince, but a king.
“I am aware of the myth, father. I still say that your faery tale will soon prove itself to be false.”
Although he didn’t believe the stories that he had been told, there was a tiny part of Logan that wanted this legend to be true. He thought, looked and acted like an adult in many ways, but he was still a boy. Almost a man, but not yet.
For a moment he entertained the idea of vanquishing the beast, powerful sword in hand. To become the hero of not only all who knew him, but to whomever heard the tale in generations to come. A man of legend, of consequence. He quickly dismissed this thought as silly and childish. Muscles or no, he was not and probably would never be the warrior type.
“Hush, boy. Just wait. Give it some time and see for yourself what happens. You may call me an old fool only if it doesn’t show itself.”
Marten’s voice was even quieter than before. He was beginning to think his father really did believe in this thing. He had always thought of him as a more sensible man than that.
“Just remember one thing if nothing else,” Marten grabbed his arm. “Look at me, Logan.”
Logan turned his head and didn’t think he had ever seen a more serious look on his face. “Yes, father. I’m listening.”
“Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do NOT look into its eyes. If this, thing, whatever it is, shows up, it will kill you if you do. Legend has it that if you look into its eyes, your heart will explode in your chest.”
“Yes, I am well aware.”
Marten’s look remained the same, possibly even more grave than before. “I am serious.”
“Very well, very well.” Logan heeded his warning but was losing interest in the tale. He yawned when his father looked forward again.
But then as his head tilted slightly up, he thought he saw something there. Something in the eastern sky. A little black spot far off in the distance. Logan rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger and looked again but it did not go away. It was a bit larger, in fact. Larger and closer, and blacker than an unlit cellar at midnight. And as the seconds ticked by, it was only growing in size. He felt a chill race throughout his body. But still, he was sweating.
Marten saw it too, just a brief moment after the boy did. Despite what he had been told about this creature all these years, he couldn’t believe what his eyes were showing him. He was still hanging on to the hope that it was but a story that the elders told to scare the children, but it was dawning on him quickly that it was real. Very real. It was unmistakeable, that dense black fog could be nothing else. It was the dark beast. Dnagnumroj. His mouth was wide open, as were his eyes, in horror and shock.
Before they could say anything, half of the other side of the world that had been blue only seconds before was darkened. Darkened in the shape of a tremendous dragonfly. A horrifying shriek penetrated their being and filled the air. It was so loud they covered their ears but it was still painful, like freshly forged daggers being slowly inserted into their skulls. Marten later described the sound as similar to steel being scraped across stone, though amplified a thousand times over. He was already mourning the loss of his home before it had begun. No doubt the beast would rip through the town, destroying all in its wake. In the back of his mind he prayed for the safety of his family and loved ones. May the gods be with them.
There was another rusty scream, and now most of the eastern sky was pure black. A malignant pearl that came alive and excreted anger and hate. They had the exact same ominous feeling at that moment. It was like that part of the heavens had never even seen the color blue. As if orange and lavender were alien concepts, and never had a single cloud graced its presence. They felt the sky had wept and spoke to them, saying it would never see another color again. They silently mourned for a split second and then-
The shriek ended with a tremendous bang, and the earth shook beneath their feet. Pieces of stone flew in all directions as many years of hard work and dedication were instantly turned to dust. Another howl erupted from the black cloud, this one clearly of triumph. Marten was mesmerized so much by it all that it took him a few seconds to realize what was happening. Logan was up and running. Running like he had never run before, a twig propelled by the winds of a hurricane, fast and determined. But he wasn’t running away.
Logan Montfort was bolting full speed toward the thing.
Marten tried to yell at him, but no words came out. His throat was a dry and empty chamber. He got up and started to run toward the boy but tripped on a root and fell, his forehead taking the brunt of the fall. The world faded in and out as he struggled to get back up.
Logan made it to where the line of trees met the field and stopped suddenly. He started to panic as he looked up into the trees.
Where is it? Where in the name of the blasted gods is it?!
He had hidden a bow and arrows in one of the trees a week before, and now it was gone. Gone. He was going to die here for nothing. A thief must have stumbled upon it in the night while he was at home. The despondency of it all hit him hard, and angered him. The realization of epic failure. The product of all those years of toiling, mostly alone; his tireless dedication, turned to a cloud of dust and pile of useless rubble in an instant. He wasn’t even going to see the monster before it ground his bones to dust with one stomp of a leg, or whatever was embedded in that cold, bleak expanse of darkness.
Then he saw it. It must have fallen when the dark beast struck the ground with such an awe inspiring force. The ground, as well as his sacred castle. Hot rage swelled inside of him. This destructive trespasser angered him to no end, and he intended to use that anger against that abomination. He picked up the bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver. He pulled back as hard as he could, taking his time to concentrate and aim near the top of the dark cloud and launched the arrow. It disappeared into the expanse. Did it hit? He didn’t know. There was no way to tell. He couldn’t see a thing beyond the black.
He couldn’t see anything but the rage that boiled inside of him either. Nothing at all beyond himself and the idea that he was the king and his castle must be defended at all costs. He was blind to everyone and everything else.
At that moment he thought he heard something that could only be described as a harsh wind being sucked into a cave. But he wasn’t quite sure if it was real or not. Then the entire world suddenly went dead silent. Not only that, but everything slowed down. Time was a bead of molasses crawling down the side of a tree.
His anger was swept away by some unknown force and the deep recesses of his mind took over. An image appeared that may have been a memory or a hallucination. He couldn’t tell which. His eyes were tightly closed but he wasn’t aware of it.
It was early morning. The sun had just arrived beyond the horizon to greet them, and only them. Logan was once again a tiny, fragile baby in his mother’s loving arms. He watched as his mother held him, together once again, in a rocking chair on the front porch. Back and forth they swayed as a gentle wind caressed them. She was stroking his hair and smiling. He could see her face in the new sun. So peaceful. So serene. Only the sound of the chirping birds and the gentle squeaking of the the rocking chair were there to keep them company.
And it was still and quiet, in the world outside his mind, but there were no birds. They had all fled in fear. Exactly what he should be doing, he thought.
Run, right now! Damn the castle!
The silence and that sense of peace in him was broken with another roar from the grisly throat of the beast. His eyes snapped open but he didn’t need them to see that he had angered it even more than it already was. But something else was happening. That black fog of malcontent surrounding the beast was shrinking.
At that moment his father was next to him, a trickle of blood running down the bridge of his nose and his hand on Logan’s arm, attempting to pull him the other way.
He would drag the boy back if he had to. If he had the strength. Not that it would do much good to run from something that size. Something so fast and with the ability to fly on top of that. He didn’t see a way out, he felt that they were dead already. Just two more victims of that ancient monstrosity. Another chapter in the unfinished tale of this centuries old brute. Perhaps it was even millennia. There was no way to know. Despite the urge to run, he felt an even stronger urge to see it, and from the looks of it, they were both feeling the same way. They could see part of its ample wings already.
The onyx mist seemed to be sucked into the beast at every pore in what they now could begin to see was a lizard-like body. They stood there in awe and after a few long, tormenting seconds, the darkness was completely gone. Now they were part of the very small group of people who had actually seen it without its shroud, and the only two who were still among the living. As far as they knew. Whether they would stay that way to tell about it was another story. Another story, indeed. And their chances of survival just then got much, much slimmer.
It saw them. And they knew, but not for looking. They felt it.
“We have to run. Now.”
Marten’s voice sounded calm somehow, as tranquil as the scene that Logan had imagined just a moment before. Like he was sure it was all a dream and he would wake safely in his bed at any moment and it would all be over.
As they looked down to avert their gaze from its eyes, they both saw the arrow, stuck straight up into the ground next to the beast’s giant scaly foot. All that time Logan had spent practicing with the bow had proved useless. What did he think he was going to do? Bring down an ancient and gigantic beast with nothing but a cheaply made bow and equally constructed arrows? He called himself a fool in his mind as his heart pounded at his ribs. Clearly it wanted him to get the devil out of there. And fast.
They started to back up, slowly, still mesmerized by its stature, its grandeur. It truly lived up to its informal name. The dark beast. A massive winged lizard that looked to be more than fifty feet tall. Thick, dark green and black scales covered its body, and it had a tail that coiled like a snake ready to strike its helpless prey. The legs it stood on were thicker than a mature oak tree trunk at the base, in stark contrast to the arms. They were small in comparison, but could easily rip a man in half if he were unlucky enough to be caught in their grip. When it spread its wings, they blocked out half of the sky above them.
And it was angry.
The dark beast reared its head back and straight up, letting out a massive roar. Declaring its hate to the heavens, defying the gods and daring them to halt its vengeance.
“Now’s our chance. Go.” Marten said, again speaking rather calmly considering the circumstance.
But Logan didn’t even hear him. He had already started running, leaving the bow behind. He was much faster than his father, too. As he watched his son go he tried to keep up with him. He thought that maybe Logan would be fast enough to get away, even if he wasn’t able to do so himself. There was that faint glimmer of hope, at the very least.
It was quiet for a moment. The only sounds were their feet crushing leaves and their labored, staccato breathing. Then they felt an intensely hot wind behind them, pushing them forward. Logan looked back just long enough to see that Dnagnumroj was doing some heavy breathing of his own. The trees behind them were ablaze, and the flames were quickly getting closer. The air temperature seemed to rise with every passing second, and the trees behind them were popping as the fire instantly engulfed them.
It was definitely angry.
“Go! Go!” Marten had somehow caught up and was trailing close behind him.
Another roar behind them. And a crash. The beast had kicked over a wall that had partially remained intact. It went down like a bunch of toy blocks stacked by an infant. A piece of stone the size of a large dog flew by their heads. It hit a tree in front of them so hard it got stuck, splitting the tree in half.
“I don’t think we are going to make it, son!” Marten yelled, “I want you to know that I love you!”
Logan said nothing. He only ran.
Several trees snapped like flaming twigs behind them, quickly slamming to the ground with a hollow boom. The wind from their fall only fanned the increasing flames. Another burst of fire surrounded them. They couldn’t run fast enough, it seemed. If they didn’t burn, they would most likely get stomped flat. Or eaten. Marten gasped at the idea of being swallowed, maybe even while still alive. Drowning in fire and gasping for air in the stomach of that terrible creature.
That’s when Logan stopped. His father didn’t see him at first, and almost knocked him over as he caught his balance.
“What are you doing?!” he screamed at him, panting feverishly. He surely was not whispering or calm anymore. “It’s still coming! We have to run!”
“Hush, father.” He looked up and left, then right, then back to the left. Panic started to set in again, just like when he couldn’t find the bow and arrows.
Another howl tore through the wood and more trees crashed behind them, this time closer. Too close. Marten looked back and could see it through the blazing trees. It was almost close enough to see its anger, as if that was possible. For a moment it seemed like it could be. He thought of its eyes and the horrifying death it would bring. Just the thought of it brought the feeling of tiny bugs crawling underneath his skin. On top of that, he was burning up. He couldn’t remember ever being so hot in his life.
“This way,” Logan said, and took his father’s hand. They went a little further and to the left, and around to the other side of one of the biggest trees there. He found what he was looking for.
“Right here, father.”
“We cannot stop! We must run!”
Logan paid no attention. He grabbed a round steel ring with a chain attached to it, but at the same time, Marten grabbed his other arm.
“We must go!” his father yelled, pulling him hard in the other direction.
But the boy did not let go. His grip on the ring was just as solid as his father’s on his arm. Marten pulled until the chain ended and they both slammed to the ground.
“Damn your eyes, father! I know what I’m doing!”
Marten was somewhat dazed, but was getting to his feet in spite of it. Logan was already up, pulling the door up from the ground and slamming it against the large tree. The top side had been disguised with the leaves and sticks of the wooded area, which was quickly becoming nothing more than a charred wasteland.
“Get down in there, father!” Logan said, pointing at the hole in the ground. “Now! For the sake of the gods! Go!”
Marten wasn’t used to having orders barked at him from his own son, but given the circumstances he understood that time was of the essence and wisely, he chose to waste no more of it. He ran around the door and jumped down into the hole. The boy hopped in after him and pulled the door down with a chain that was on the inside. He steadied it with one hand so as not to attract the attention of the beast by slamming it, although his first instinct was to do just that.
“We have to go down. If his foot goes through, we will surely be crushed,” Logan told his father, as quietly as he could without being drowned out by the noise above them.
With the door closed above them, it was now as pitch dark as a coal mine. But not as dark as the mist that had disappeared into that monster. There seemed to have been an extra layer of dark painted around it somehow. Some kind of evil magic at work. Logan shivered a little at the mental image.
He felt around and found some matches and the lantern he kept there, and lit it. A long stairwell appeared before them, flickering in the new light. Marten stood there, eyes wide open, wondering if it was here the whole time or if his son had made this as well as the structure that was now not much more than dust and rubble. He tried to see how far down the stone steps went but couldn’t. The light didn’t go down far enough for him to tell.
Questions flew through his mind. Why would his son have built this? How did he have the time? Was Logan expecting Dnagnumroj? If so, why build the castle if he knew it would only be destroyed? But he didn’t ask the boy anything. He just remained silent for the time being and followed him down. He didn’t know where they were going but he definitely wanted to find out.
They could still hear the muffled crashing of the dark beast’s footsteps above them, as well as another thunderous roar. They maneuvered the stairs quickly but carefully.
“Hold on,” Logan told his father, reaching into his breast pocket and pulling out a key. “We are almost there.”
Another crash, and then another. The next one that followed was not muffled at all. It was thick slabs of wood snapping in half like toothpicks below Djagnumroj’s scaly green foot. A rush of heat flew in and grasped them again. Logan gave the lantern to his father and jumped down past the last six steps, key in hand.
“By the gods! That was the door!” Marten said, pointing out the obvious. Another roar filled the world, planting metal spikes in their ears. The enclosed space made it seem ten times louder. Maybe it was, he thought.
“I know!” said Logan. He put the key into an enormous door. It looked to have been built a thousand years ago. Still sturdy, though, from the looks of it.
They felt the heat getting worse behind them. Marten looked back and saw what he knew was coming. The light from the fire that was on its way down to them. If the boy didn’t hurry, they would surely be cooked.
“Open it!” he dropped the lantern in a panic. It exploded a thousand pieces of glass at their feet as he grabbed the door handle right above Logan’s hand. The fuel from the lantern caught on fire and with it, the back of one of the boy’s legs and both of Marten’s. They screamed together, bonding as father and son in pain and fear.
The door opened and as they went through the flames from the beast’s jaw engulfed them. Their pant legs were already on fire, and the flames from the throat of the savage beast forced their shirts and hair to join them. Logan was shoved violently through the door and Marten came in after, closing it as hard as he could.
But their clothes were still on fire.
Logan stopped to think as best he could and ran about a dozen steps. He came back with a large pot and doused his father with water, then handed it to him. Marten returned the favor by pouring the remainder on his son, extinguishing the flames. They both sat on the dirt floor, nearly falling down in exasperation. Breathing heavily, hair and clothing discharging smoke, they stared at each other in disbelief.
“We shall be safe here.” Logan said.
There was one last blood curdling scream from the beast and then all fell silent once again.
* * *
Marten unbuttoned his shirt pocket and pulled out a cigar that somehow managed to stay mostly dry. He pulled some matches from another pocket, but they were soaked. There was a lantern sitting on the floor near them already lit. He walked over to it and took a knee, taking off the lid as he looked around.
“This isn’t new. You didn’t build all this, did you?” He returned to that calm voice again, like they were sitting on the porch together, drinking tea in the morning and having a little chit-chat.
“I cannot believe you are going to smoke that smelly thing at a time like this,” Logan scoffed at him, changing the subject.
Marten set the lid down slowly and picked up the lantern, lighting his cigar with the flame. He grimaced as he lit it, tasting the fuel, and set it back down.
“Son, if you had not just saved my life, I might take umbrage to your needless inclination to consistently meddle in the affairs of your father.” He took a puff and savored it, then exhaled deliberately. He was almost visibly doing his best to try to remain calm. “But need I remind you that if it was not for you and your delusions of grandeur, we would not be in this situation.”
He took no notice of the boy’s wish to speak.
“This cigar, young man,” he said and took another puff, exhaling, “is no more hazardous to my health than the pork you so readily shove down your throat at the dinner table.”
“And furthermore,” he was now pointing a finger at him, waving the cigar about with his other hand, and his voice got louder, “this… THING we have just encountered, this monstrous beast thing that nearly took our lives, is not called the slayer of kings for no good reason!”
He was pacing now, worrying about Florence. He had made sure to leave his daughter with a friend before they had left. A friend who he was sure that believed in the “mythical” beast. So for the most part he was confident that she was safe, but that didn’t stop him from worrying. Not one bit.
He was also hoping that everyone else in town took to their cellars in preparation for what might be, and to their amazement, what actually had just come. He had warned many people about the danger, but more than half of them, in fact almost all of them, took it as Logan had until mere moments ago. A story to scare the children.
Logan said nothing. He knew his father was not done. The man was fuming, and he understood that it was all because of him and his unrelenting need to build his now leveled castle.
“It was here before.”
Marten stopped pacing and looked at him harshly. “What?”
The boy noticed he broke his father’s train of thought, but it was too late. What was done could not be undone.
“This cellar. It was here already. I found the entrance a few months ago. There used to be a castle here, many years ago,” he sighed audibly. “A real castle.”
Logan looked down at the ground, feeling ashamed and crestfallen. Insignificant. The people he knew and loved faced the very real possibility of getting slaughtered and the town that raised him would probably be completely destroyed. All for nothing else than his own vanity. That and, like his father said, his delusions that he was something bigger than the sum of his parts, something more than just a boy from a small town. A boy on the verge of manhood, but it didn’t make much difference. The only difference was that the people of Kingdom wouldn’t lynch a boy. But they might lynch a man, and he was teetering close enough on the edge of manhood that it wasn’t completely out of the question. It happened very rarely, but they had been known to hang men for less.
His father said nothing and went back to pacing, smoking his cigar like it was the last one he would ever enjoy. Perhaps he was waiting for Logan to continue, or maybe he was too worried about the town’s people to care. There was still only silence from above, which almost surely meant that the ancient beast was on its way to Kingdom to mete out its vengeance. A vengeance that was no more deserved than a newborn baby being struck by its parent for crying.
“You had a lantern lit already,” Marten said, still pacing, now a bit more frantically. He only stopped pacing when he said something, every time pointing his finger at him, as if to keep reminding him it was all his fault.
It’s all your fault, boy.
He could almost hear his father thinking it, just as if he had said it aloud. And he felt he was a boy again, in his father’s eyes. After so many years, so many attempts to earn his manhood.
It’s all your fault.
Logan said nothing.
“You had a lantern lit, and a bow and arrow at the ready. You knew it was coming, didn’t you?”
He didn’t expect an answer, and didn’t get one. His father’s voice was getting louder, and the blame finger seemed to somehow get louder as well.
“Why did you have the door locked? You obviously knew that monster was coming. We were almost killed, if you hadn’t noticed!”
“I did not know, father.” He was still looking down, making random patterns in the wet dirt with his finger. Maybe he could dig a hole and bury his head in it, he thought.
“The devil you didn’t,” he said dismissively. “Do what you must and what you may, but do not take your own father for a fool. I’ll not tolerate it.”
He didn’t point his brown stained finger that time. He didn’t even look at his son. In an instant he went from giving blame to not giving a damn. Or a fine job of pretending that he didn’t. Logan thought that if his father was acting, and he hoped he was, he should perform in the next play that was held. That was, if the town still had a place to conduct it.
They sat there in silence for what seemed like an eternity piled upon an eon, with an extra day thrown in for good measure. Marten continued to smoke his cigar and Logan merely sat with his head in his hands.
“We’ll have to go home soon,” Marten said, breaking the silence, still actively not looking at him.
“I know, father.”
“Or rather, back to what may or may not be left of our home. I imagine that…” he paused. “That thing is probably already finished by now. To him…” another pause. “Or to it, or whatever it is, destroying a town such as ours is nothing more than child’s play. Rebuilding will be a far greater task.”
It’s all your fault.
Again, Logan said nothing.
“The gods only know what the people will plan to do to you, Logan. You may want to stay here for a while.”
He almost never called him by his name. Only when he was angry, or dead serious and making sure that he was really paying attention. He had done it twice today.
“No, father. I shall go with you. I cannot and will not hide from this. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
He went back to pacing. Pacing and thinking. Logan continued to sit there, watching him, having no idea what to say or what his father was going to say. He thought it best to choose his words wisely, even more than usual. It wasn’t as if he had come home late for supper, after all. He may well have caused the destruction of every building in his home town. No lives lost was the best he could hope for. Even though almost everyone had a basement and likely saw the towering beast with enough time to get to safety, it was an unlikely scenario.
Even if all the people survived, the livestock was still an issue. As much as the farmers may have wanted to and even if they had enough time, they couldn’t hope to fit all their cows and pigs and fowl in the cellars. The surviving animals, if there were any left, would likely have plenty of broken fences to take advantage of and run away, wandering off to parts unknown.
“I am so sorry, father. So very sorry. I do not know what else there is to say.”
Marten did not reply. He merely continued pacing, looking around at the giant room they occupied. The high ceiling was was arched, and at its apex, almost directly in the center, was a small hole. Roots from a tree had broken through, but that tree had been ripped out of the ground. He saw the doors on the north and south sides, both immense and grand. Not merely doors, but beautifully sculptured pieces of art.
Marten stopped pacing and broke his silence. “What is behind these doors?”
Logan could still sense the anger behind his father’s words, but there was a noticeable drop off from before. He was starting to calm down. For the time being. The vitriol would most certainly come back before they returned to town.
“Wine in one, books in the other.”
He went right back to pacing.
“Fat lot of good either of those will do for us. Perhaps you can bring all the town folk a bottle of wine and a book. I’m sure that would make up for the loss of their homes.”
There was an ample condescending tone in his father’s voice, but it merely accompanied the anger instead of replacing it.
“Yes, that’s a fine plan, indeed,” Marten continued, voice rising once again. “We can all sit around in the open air. Enjoy the view. Get drunk and read books!”
It’s all your fault.
“Father, I underst-”
“We should go.”
It was abundantly obvious that he didn’t want to hear a word of what Logan had to say.
“Let us go back up and see if it is safe.”
Logan nodded and reluctantly got up, brushing the dirt from his pants, although it didn’t make much of a difference. He was still wet and his clothes were spotted black and grey in the places where they weren’t torn or burnt. He felt even worse than he looked, though. He felt burned internally, almost beyond recognition. And he certainly was not in any sort of hurry to see his little corner of the world in the same condition as he. Or worse.
They walked to the stairs and proceeded back up to the surface to assess the damage and see if it was alright for them to leave. They agreed without speaking that it was not wise to waste any more precious time.
Logan insisted on going first and moved what was left of the door. Marten, who was extinguishing the lantern, offered no resistance. The anger was still deep in his eyes, and he was sure enough in his mind that the danger had passed. The boy would be safe.
As they walked back up the stairs, they were too busy with their thoughts to realize that everything above them had gone silent. For the most part. There were no roars from this new beast (new to them, for only the gods knew its true age), and no crashing of its scaly feet. No rumbling of the earth. Only the faint popping sounds of the few trees that were still ablaze.
Logan slowly peeked out his head, just enough to see out. He could see the beginning of the road leading to Kingdom, and some of the remnants of what had been his home for quite some time. But no dragon. No dark fog. He poked his head out a little more, enough to look all the way around and still saw nothing but fire and smoke and trees. Logan sighed again.
“It is safe, father.”
“Let us go. I imagine we will have a busy day ahead.”
Logan just nodded solemnly and began walking. His father looked around for a moment, sighed, and followed.
He couldn’t see his father’s angry stare but he could surely feel it burning into him, in some way even worse than the heat from the mouth of the dark beast.
It’s all your fault.