A tremendous crash woke him and fine dust fell on his upturned face. He opened his eyes in alarm but saw only profound darkness. Blind? Another explosion just beyond his head drove him to sit up in alarm and he groped across a rough stone floor, feeling his way away from the fearful blasts.
“You've got to come out now!” a voice roared, making his head ache with the reverberations.
“How?” he shouted back, groping around for a wall or something to give a frame of reference. “I can't see.” A third explosion rocked the chamber and he desperately staggered to his feet. The cavern sounded as if it was crumbling and he could barely remain upright when his reaching hands finally met a wall to help him balance. “What's happening?”
“You are under attack,” the deep voice returned. “You are outside the Seal. You must break through before they find the cavern. Feel your way toward my voice.”
He staggered against the wall, groping along as the pounding continued, bringing down a rain of rubble onto his head. “I can't break through solid rock. Where are you?” he called again.
“I am right here. You must wish very hard. Feel for the power. Yes, right there. Now push!”
The terror of being buried in a collapsing cave, of eruptions, of utter blindness and the alarming awareness that he could not even remember his own name combined to flood him with adrenaline. He wanted out, even if his own death awaited him on the other side of this wall. Out!
Abruptly the rough stone barrier disappeared and he staggered through, almost thrown forward by yet another explosion and landed on his knees on a ridge in bright daylight. With bloody knees he realized he was naked as a baby and he rose up painfully. At least he could see but the light almost burned. When he finally got his vision to focus he saw something so large he had to step back.
A gold and black iris, flecked with fire and as large as he was tall blinked at him no farther away than his reach. The iris belonged in an eye the height of a house. He tilted his head back to look up and up and found the face of a golden dragon, scales and spikes flaring about the jaws and sharp ridges over the eye that had come down to his level. An entire dragon lay draped over a black cinder mountainside, gold and glittering like a jeweled necklace on the throat of a lady.
I'm dead, he thought.