Sheriff Moric had little leisure on his ride to notice anything as he wrestled, tricked, and manipulated the Titan Lizard along after Clint. The sun neared its zenith before the low rock formation that marked their goal intruded upon his awareness. If Georgia and her assistants were not still moving among the broken shapes, Moric might not have seen it even then, and something that big takes a lot of not noticing.

With the generous help from the excavation crew (some jumping up and down with the waving of arms might have been involved), the Sheriff found the freshly widened cave mouth quite easily, but easy stopped there quite abruptly. Georgia and her crew mildly underestimated the size of the Titan. In the ordinary way of things, the freshly blasted cave mouth would be a gaping, abyssal maw delving deep into the bowels of the earth. However, with the great lizard and his mammoth rider for comparison, it shrank down to the back door of a one room cottage through which the local knight wished to ride without dismounting. They would fit but it would not be comfortable and both parties would have to scrunch down more than a bit. Moric could shrink for the purpose, but the Titan Lizard did not want to go into that hole and a smaller rider would do nothing to help persuade the great beast. The Sheriff tried every trick he could think of, and one or two he made up on the spot, but he could not get the great lizard to move into the dark. Moric, eventually, managed to get the great head and most of the long neck to slip into the wide opening. Then the Titan froze, panting hard. From there, the lizard refused to stir.

Moric turned his attention to his surroundings, searching for inspiration. Something odd caught his eye. A great bush, like a young raspberry thicket, came trotting up around a blast scarred outcropping of rock. It ran straight past the lizard down its left flank dragging a long tail of rope dragged along the ground. Moric turned as far as he could to watch the ambulatory shrubbery, but it quickly disappeared around a tree-like hind leg. Moric waited for a minute or so, but other than a slight twitch that ran through the reptilian mountain, nothing else seemed forthcoming. So, he went back to considering the predicament.

A faint breeze snuck into the stony mound from the open spaces behind the Sheriff. Moric stretched his spine and absently patted the scaly skin in front of him like he would have a more domesticated mount while he sat and thought. The breeze played in Moric’s antlers, carrying a whiff of smoke along with the grass and a hint of juniper it had originally. When the whiff grew into a definite smell, Moric frowned. A grass fire, with most of the emergency responders out chasing lizards, could be devastating to the whole community. Right then, the smoke smelled mostly of wood, but the smoky element continued to swell as time went on.

Suddenly, Clint appeared in the rocks above the cave mouth not far from where Moric sat, green skin and gaudy red outfit standing out against the dusty, grey rock. Clint waved both long arms until certain he caught and held Moric’s attention. With a few short gestures, the Deputy told his Sheriff to “Make Ready” and “Get Down”. Almost too late, Moric realized that the rising smell could be of more immediate concern than a potential grass fire. He remembered the running raspberry that disappeared behind the Titan Lizard. A burning bush could smell rather woody.

The lizard let out a great scream of pain and rage fit to shake the world apart, that cut off almost as suddenly as it erupted. The titan had finally noticed the fire tied to its tail when the conflagration ate through enough of his scales bite into his flesh. However, just as instinct and rage tore the sound from the reptile’s throat, it also jerked the great head up. The impact against the cave roof cut off the noise and briefly stunned the great beasty.

Moric grabbed the opportunity to give the scaly sides a heroic kick and hunkered down, hugging the long back. The lizard’s nerve broke. It fled the pain behind into the inky depths, a suddenly tiny Moose clinging to his back like a toy.


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