No, actually. Girl and family trouble. School can go to hell right now
take it easy... (the eagles)
Hey guys. I send my deepest and sincerest of apologies to you great people. I have been so busy with school finals that I had forgotten that you are waiting for Chapter 11! So today, I grinded out a couple hours to give you just what you seek! Here it is! Have fun!
The Beginning of the End
We had all agreed that we would try to help each other in their rituals. All except Maeniras.
“I do not think this is a good idea,” he said.
“Why not? They didn’t prohibit aided each other!” I exclaimed.
“It is the fact that they didn’t not prohibit aided each other, Edhur! It is like they are taunting is, somehow wanting us to help each other.”
“And that is a bad thing?
“Yes! They want us to team up, just so they can say we were not allowed!”
“You are cracked, master Warden. Absolutely cracked,” said Andene.
“Maybe so. But I don’t trust this! I think we should do this alone. Not to mention how much faster it might be if we went separately.”
“Okay, how about this: We will go in two’s. Me and Ruzyle, and Edhur and Maeniras,” Andene suggested.
“That sounds good. We can finish our ritual quickly and efficiently, and we can finish the others as well,” said Ruzyle.
“I don’t know, my task is to stay here and build this chapterhouse back to its’ former glory,” I said.
“You can do that. After you capture the beast of legend of Onia!” said Ruzyle.
“I guess.” There was a long silence. “Well,” I said. “What are we waiting for?”
“For you!” Maeniras replied, chuckling.
“Okay. Where are you two going first?” I asked the girls.
“To find this magical ring, although I think we should be finding Brago first. With his help, we could find the ring easier!” said Andene.
“I told you, he could be there already!” said Ruzyle angrily.
“What are you two talking about?” I asked before Andene could respond to Ruzyle.
“Brago left us in search of an ancient treasure said to award the bearer power beyond even the gods. He thought that would help us win the war. But he never returned...”
“Did he say how long the journey would take?” Maeniras asked.
“He said two weeks. Two weeks and he would be back in Frohlich. But I waited... for over a year, I awaited his return. He never came back.”
“But he must still be alive, or you wouldn’t be so adamant about his being alive.” I commented.
“Exactly! And that is why we should search for him...”
“If he is alive, I can guarantee he will be with the Ring. If not, then he is dead.”
“Well, we shall see soon enough. Let us be on our way, Seeker. I have much anxiety towards this quest, and I do not wish to tarry.”
“Then let us be off! Farwell, Master Warden and Master Nightrider! We shall see you soon!” said Ruzyle with a slight grin on her face as she turned and trotted down the cold stone path of the chapterhouse.
“Maeniras, does this place have a name?” I asked, turning around and facing our new home.
“No, it does not, as far as I know. Although Ruzyle may know if there is one.”
“Well, then we shall name it!” I exclaimed.
“What shall be the name, milord?”
“I’m not sure, Maeniras. I’m not quite sure.”
“Well, you can think it over on our journey to Onia.”
“Indeed I shall,” I said as I stuck my foot in the sputter of Amun. Maeniras piped up, and said” “What are you doing?”
“We are riding to Onia, yes?”
“Indeed. But not on horses and ponies, on the Gavrios!”
“You have never heard of the Gavrios? You are joking, yes?”
“No, Maeniras, I’m not,” I responded faintly.
“How have you not heard of the great eagles of the north?”
“I don’t know, Warden. But why are we calling eagles? They surely cannot aid us on our journey, lest they be magical eagles,” I sneered.
“Indeed, they are,” he responded calmly.
I was so confused, and about to ask what he was talking about, when he started humming a low tune under his breath.
“Mian e lias. Li anso min, a se lan. Bagovanhnan mi elias. Mian e lias.” He said in his beautifully smooth Elven voice. It had a coldness to it; like it was the voice of death itself.
Suddenly, four huge birds appeared above the mountains to the north. They glided quickly in the gusts of the skies, and shone a bright gold as they retreated from the suns’ rays. As they got closer to us, they got larger and larger, slowing growing into a giant bird that was the size of my house. It descended and landed ten feet from Maeniras and myself.
I stepped forward when Maeniras held me back. “Be wary. The Gavrios seldom carry strangers. You are fortunate to know me as well as you do,” he said.
“Good to know... “I said as I gazed at the head beast, much larger than the others. He seemed to tower over the other eagles as if they were nothing. That was certainly not the case; they were twice the size as I.
“Greetings, Gavalos, lord of the Gavrios!” Maeniras exclaimed, giving it a sullen bow. I did the same, but steadily. I didn’t want to offend the great beast.
“Greetings, exile. What would you have of me, now that I have come at your heed, yet again?” the bird responded in a deep, archaic voice.
“I would have you carry us to Onia, my lord. I...”
“EXCUSE ME?! YOU WOULD DARE ASK SUCH A FAVOUR?!” it boomed.
“I know, I do not deserve such a luxury. But please, hear me out. I will explain why you must help us, if you would listen,” he responded quickly and calmly.
“You think I have the time or patience for your insolence?”
“I only ask you to give me five minutes. It will only take that for me to convince you.”
“I doubt that, but I will give you the chance. Now, explain yourself!”
So Maeniras went on to explain what had happened, in detail. And he did so swiftly and efficiently, as though he knew every detail, memorized it, and perfected the explanation over decades of practice.
“Hmph... It seems you two fight for a worthy cause, and a fatal one at that!” Gavalos commented on our plight. “I will carry you two to Onia. Under one condition.”
“And what is that, great Gavalos?”
“When you find your brother, Edhur Draconnan, you will not kill him. You will utterly decimate his existence, and disgrace his soul.”
“He has no soul, great one,” I said.
“Then mutilate him, devour his very essence, and spit it into the abyss from whence is predecessor came. I want you to not only kill him, but make him regret every decision he has ever made in his life. Make him beg for mercy; make him wish you were as forgiving as your family would be.”
“I was already planning on it, my lord.”
Here's Chapter 12. I haven't a name for it yet, but I'll work on it!
We rode the Gavrios for miles, high in the sky with the rest of the birds of prey. They preyed on other smaller birds. It was gruesome.
“Maeniras, how long until we reach Onia?” I yelled over the high winds of the sky.
“We won’t cross the Rudarian Strait until midday of the next day, so rest. We have a long journey ahead of us,” he replied.
I heeded his recommendation, and fell asleep almost immediately on the giant bird. I wish I hadn’t, because I had a very terrifying nightmare.
I was sitting is a dark courtroom, alone. My mouth was gagged and my hands were bound behind me. I tried to jerk them loose, but they bounds were too tight. They wouldn’t loosen.
The room was quite dark, but there were torches lit every ten feet or so, lighting a slight area around them. Under the light of the blazing torches, I could see blood red walls, with spiky supports and dark paintings hanging from a pick in the wall. Wait, it wasn’t a pick: it was a bone.
I looked past the bone-hung paintings to the final sconce directly in front of me. It shone brighter than the others. It lit a dark, evil throne at the top of a few small steps. A dark purple carpet crept up the steps and under the damnable throne of pure evil. On it sat a man, his head hung and arms on the throne’s rests. He wore a cloak as black as sin, with dark purple streaks playing down the fabric. On its back I could see traces of a crest of corruption: a silver skull and cross bones in the center of a darkened sun; the symbol of a malignant god.
His head was covered by a dark helm, whose make looked that of a powerful demonic smith of great skill. The top had twin horns, only slightly protruding the helms’ base. His cuirass had a skull engraved in the breast, and smaller skulls around the outer rim. His greaves were made of fur and steel, capped by a small skull on the knee. At his right side, leaning against the impure throne rested a large sword. It had to be six feet long, from the hilt to the blade’s tip only. The handle itself was two feet, from the pommel to the blade’s beginning. It was a giant man’s sword, and it didn’t seem to fit this one.
The sword glowed and hummed with destructive energy. I could feel its corruption from my seat, which was nearly fifty feet away.
After a moment, a huge creature marched into the dark courtroom. The man sitting upon the seat of poisonous filth did not lift his head; he was unmoved by this gigantic creature’s arrival. It was eight feet tall, at least, with muscles as big as my torso. And that was just its upper arms. The beast was a dark skin color, and had a ragged face with many scars; it looked like a battle-hardened giant. But its claws and black wings told otherwise; this giant was a demon.
“My lord, the Gavrios have picked up the Nightrider and the Warden, and have begun their journey to Onia.”
The man remained silent in his throne.
“My lord Kane? Are you well?”
“Send the revenants,” he commanded.
My nightmare shifted to a bright room, where thirteen argent beings sat at a wide table. They looked deep in debate, and two were especially heated.
They boomed and yelled each one louder than the last. Finally, a handsome and powerful man stood up and bellowed: “Both of you, ENOUGH! We cannot help them, and that is final!”
“But my lord, Gailos, they need our help! With Menos overthrown and possibly dead, there is none to stop the Defiled from killing the Chosen!” rebutted the female to his right.
“I concur!” said another. Murmurs and whispers of agreement ran throughout the table.
“If we help them with every little fight before the final, they will not be ready! They must be ready for what the Fringe will send to Tierra!” said a slight god in golden robes at the other end of the long table.
“Silence!” yelled Gailos. My father looked much different than when we met at that rocky overlook behind our Acacian chapterhouse. His face looked coarse, and yet, there was a sense of angelic aura about him; like his power was so great it emanated from his body. “There will be no more debate. We will not help them, and that is final!”
My dream faded into black, and my unconsciousness drifted away. I awoke on the cold, unforgiving ground of a dark, dank forest. In the distant sky, I could see black figures flying away. The Gavrios were leaving.
“Where are we?” I mumbled as propped myself onto my elbows to get a better view of my surroundings. To my right, a great wall of trees stood, towering above me in power.
“We’re in the outskirts of the Agunae Forest, the great timberland of Onia. We shall rest here the night. It is nearing dusk. Come, I set up a camp nearby in the forest.”
He helped me up and we walked into the Agunae Forest.
“How long have I been out?”
“Five days,” he responded.
“Five days?! How?”
“During your sleep, Gavalos and the other Gavrios were attacked. You fell off of his back, and hit your head on a rock. Don’t work, you were fully healed by his magics.”
“Oh. Are the Gavrios okay?”
“Yes, they fought valiantly against the gargoyles. But we cannot tarry here, let us move.”
The forest was all a deep green, with vibrant colours that jumped out and snatched my eyes. All manner of vegetation grew around us, in all manner of shapes and sizes. Countless animals frolicked on by as they chased their prey and were chased by predators. The forest smelled of dew and rotting timber. The air was dank and cold; something like the decaying flesh of a week old corpse lying in the middle of an eroding battlefield, being slowly eaten by vultures and other bottom feeders.
We walked along the shrubbery for hours, hoping over logs and ducking under falling trees. I was wondering when we would find the camp. Maeniras had said it was nearby. Where was he leading us?
“I thought you said the camp was nearby. We have been walking for many hours, master Warden!” I commented.
“It is, and we haven’t. The Agunae is magical, and evil. Time seems to go by quicker here. We have only been walking for less than a half an hour, Edhur.”
We stopped once to drink at a celestial-like pool of clear spring water.
“The water here comes from the Uraminas headquarters, only a few leagues east. We can get there by morning,” Maeniras explained.
“Should we not stop for the night, lest we are attacked by some unsavoury being? You had said you set up camp” I asked.
“Do not fret, master Nightrider. I have Nighteye; nothing and no one will be able to sneak up on us without me knowing.”
“Well, that is reassuring. Let us be off.”
We walked along the jungle floor for what seemed like hours. The sun was setting in the north. We hurried under the cover of a few fallen trees for shelter from the night.
“The forest yields great and terrible beasts at night. We must cover and be concealed until dawn,” Maeniras said.
“How will the shamed trees of the Agunae help us? These provide no shelter.”
“You have no faith! Watch and learn, Nightrider. You may just gain valuable knowledge.”
Maeniras stood in front of the fallen trees, and began to wave his hands around and around. At first, it seemed to yield no result. But after several boring minutes that seemed to be a lifetime, more trees began to form in front of the under of the other trees. More fallen trunks and branches emerged from nothing, blocking the way into our shelter.
“How did you do that?”
“Wood elves have an inherent ability to create mirages of nature; fallen trees, trees that seem to be blocking paths, animal apparitions, and such,” he said delightfully.
“I thought you were a night elf?”
“I am. As a warden of Uraminas, we were trained in nature magic to aid our hunts. Wood elf magic is a major aspect of that, and my specialty.”
“Oh, that is very good to hear! But how will we use this shelter if you have erected more trees that block our way?”
“It is just a mirage, Edhur. You can walk right through it.”
“Andene, where are you?!”
“In here, Seeker! Come gander at what I discovered!”
“What is it?”
Ruzyle stepped deftly and quickly into the room, looking for Andene. She was standing over a stone table in a large stone throne room. They entered the adamantine mines of Ka-Zuld, a dwarf nation in north-western Tierra. The dwarves of the Ka-Zuldan Mountains are hardy, and arrogant. They do not like visitors, even other dwarves. Very few are allowed past their stone gates at Aldu, their second largest city, next to the capital, Ka-Aldu. Save worldly politicians and a few well-known traders, none are allowed in.
Andene and Ruzyle heard that Brago might have been taken hostage by the dwarf underground gangs, who may be helping the rebels. They traveled there in a few days, and were denied access into their country.
“Listen here mister, I must get in! Brago Thadon may be here!” Andene has yelled at the petite gate guard.
“I’m sorry mistress Winterhold, but no one is allowed to enter Ka-Zuld at the moment. If sir Thadon is here, I’m sure he will leave eventually.”
“No, you don’t understand! He is being held hostage! By your gangs!”
“Ma’am, I’m sure he’s fine. Now please, you’re holding up the line of people who actually have business in Ka-Zuld.”
“No! No one will stop me now!”
At that time she unsheathed her large claymore and sliced the guardsman’s head clean off his head. The other guards were so dumb struck that Ruzyle and Andene had enough time to run past them and down the stairs of the Gates of Aldu. At the bottom of the steps they started to hear guards and yelling from all directions. They ducked into a nearby alley and trudged into a sewer refuge.
“You fool! Why would you do such a thing?!” Ruzyle screamed at Andene the second they stopped running.
“Let me explain. Brago told me before he left that he heard about a powerful artifact here in Ka-Zuld. A ring!” she said. “The Ring of Agathon!”
“The Ring of Agathon? Are you sure that was it?” Ruzyle seemed skeptical. “I thought it would have been in Varuh, in the Calhenian Mage’s Guild.”
“No, There is a vault here, deep in the adamantine mines, that holds many great treasures of the old world. The stories say that the people of Agathon came here before the Reckoning to hide from Menos’ minions. They thought the deep caves and caverns of the mountains would protect them. The truth was it made them even more vulnerable. The demons of the Fringe are innumerable; the people of Agathon were not. They died in those caverns, but left one thing behind; something that no god has ever been able to open or break,” she explained.
“And what is that?”
“A golem of immense power. No god has been able to defeat it yet. No mortal has dared try in thousands of years. But one person learned the secret to its defeat.”
“Who? Let us find him! We will need his knowledge!” Ruzyle exclaimed.
“It is Brago. He learned how to defeat the golem. That is why he left and came here, I assume.”
“So, it seems Ka-Zuld is where we both have to be. At least that makes it somewhat easier for us,” they both chuckled a little.
“I wonder where Brago is,” Andene said, snapping Ruzyle back into reality. “His tunic is here, but nothing else. No other signs he was even here.”
“Give it here,” said Ruzyle.
Andene handed the tunic to Ruzyle, and continued to search around the stone table.
She looked up at Ruzyle, who ripped the shirt in half. “What are you doing?”
“If this is indeed his tunic, my magic can lead us to him.”
“Every person had magic; that has been proven many times. Most people, however, lack the will and mind to harness their magic. The magic of an individual, however weak they may be, will rub off on cloths, armour, weapons, and such.”
“He would have left a magical trace on this tunic, if he has worn it on the past two months. I can show the trace in the form of a small, blue line that we can follow to him.”
“So we follow this magic trail and find Brago!”
“And possibly the vaults of Agathon as well!”
Nice job, Darklightr! Excellent description during the dream sequence. And great atmosphere in the forest. I'll be looking forward to Chapter 13.