Thursday, May 27, 2010

Allies. 42

Back in the Golden Griffin, Jax and Atol entered the inn. The place was empty now because of the later hour. Innkeeper Marik greeted them and asked if they would be needing anything. Jax waved him off but Atol thanked him and they headed up the stairs to their room. The innkeeper had given them three rooms. Aramis had taken the middle room. Jax knocked and Alee opened the door and let them in.
" Three of my favorite brothers in one room." Atol smiled and hugged Alee.
Aramis looked at him like he didn't know him, and he didn't. Atol reached for him for a hug and Aramis pulled back.
" He doesn't remember us." Alee told him." All those years down there struggling against her scrambling his senses."
Atol walked around him.
" How can I help?"
[Give him back his memories.] Jax sent. [ Remind him who we are.]
" I'll have to dig around in there to bring them out." He told them. " It won't be easy."
"Do it." Aramis said, " I need to know who I am."
" That's easy." Atol smiled. " Your my oldest brother, the god of life. Vitale."
" But I don't know this Vitale, or you."
" You will when I'm done." Atol pulled over two chairs, one from him and one for Aramis. " Get comfortable. This may take some time."

The sun blazed behind the mountain as hell came to the city of the gods. Muerte was home again, back in the cloud city the gods called home. As she walked power burned through the air around her. She was here to bring her special gift to the gods. She smiled. Death walked here even for the immortals. The path she took led her through the gardens of beauty that surrounded the city. A gray field of extended in front of her as she walked. Everything wilted and died as she passed. On the lower levels of the cloud city lived the lesser gods. Children of the elder gods like Liset, called the daughter of dawn. She ran from her small manse and into Muerte. She stopped before her with fear in her eyes and looked down. Anywhere she moved would take her onto the gray area. She saw Muerte standing among the dead flower.
" No!" She said as Muerte stepped toward her. She fell to the ground all the vitality drawn out of her.
" Don't worry." Muerte said. "The rest will soon follow."
On she walked passed the manses of Raine, god of the forest and his wife Cleo a river nymph. They died in each others arms as she passed. All along her field of death moved before her. Soon the lower ranks were desolate and void of life. Above, the more powerful gods made the fight her. They cast the magics and threw their sacred weapons at her. Be none of them could pierce her death field. So one by one they died. Some were smart and abandoned the fight and ran to earth. They knew she was unstoppable and thought maybe another time might be a good idea. So Sazar the god of the seas and Serina the war goddess fled leaving the rest behind to fight. And fight they did, or at least they tried. All through the cloud city, Muerte sent her brothers and sisters to there deaths, Finally she came to the steps of Fortis. The palace of her father and mother.The most prestigious palace on the mountain. Muerte walked up the marble steps and pushed open the doors and entered. There she found all the servants to her father. In the forefront stood Jorek, god of invention.
" What have you done, Muerte?" He screamed at her. " You have to stop this. This is your family your killing."
" Yes." She said. " But I am death. How can I do anything else?"
"But death should come at ones time." Jorak pleaded. "Not like this. Your killing everything that lives."
" That's right." She stepped closer to them. Everyone there looked down at her death field and moved back.
"As I said, I am death. And this is my gift to the world. I will empty this world of the living. Then move on to find the next world and kill everything there. The more I kill, the more powerful I'll get. My plan is to rival my father. Death will be eternal. Once I'm as strong as he is, it will be his turn."
" Your mad!!" Jorak said. He raised his staff and shot a blast at her. It hit her in her chest and she laughed. It had no effect on her.
" Now its your turn." Muerte reached out her arms to them and the death field enclosed them. All immortal life drained from them and they fell to the floor.
She looked around at all the bodies in the front hall of her fathers palace. None of the major gods were there, but almost all of the minor ones were. She smiled. She would hunt down the others in time. But now, she had a planet to kill and there was someone one she needed to find. So it was time to move on.

From his castle in Vasagi, Balthazar watched the sun slip pass the horizon. One of his nightwalkers had reported back, He had found where Valkar was hiding. He knew he better get to him for his own protection. If Muerte showed up, he wanted her attention on them instead of him. So he sent someone to make contact with him. He hoped he would hear something tonight.

Back in Prafa, Valkar sat with Jandar and Rage talking about how things were moving along. Reports from the scouts said the sighting of nightwalkers were becoming less and less. This pleased them but confused the to. For some reason Balthazar was pulling his nightwalkers back to Yadessa.
"This means he's pulling his army close to him."
" You think he's up to something? Jandar asked.
"I think he's a devious schemer." Valkar said. " He could be up to anything."
Just then the door opened and Azeal ran in.
" Father, you have to come quick!"
" Whats wrong?" He asked."
" There are nightwalkers outside the gate."
" Are we under attack?"Rage asked as the all jumped to their feet.
" I don't know." Azeal said." There's only three of them."
They all looked at each other.
" Three?"" Valked said as he headed for the door with Rage and Jandar following.
" It could be a distraction." Rage said.
" I guess we'll see soon enough." Jandar summoned his staff just in case and all three of them ran for the gate.
Up on the wall they looked out to see the three vampires wait for the. It seems they had come and asked for Valkar by name in Balthazars name. once there, Angela and Arturus joined them. They wanted to know what was going on out there.
" We're about to find out." Azeal told them.
Down in front of the gate stood three nightwalkers. They were dressed in rags with no weapons or armament. Pitiful creatures Jandar thought.
" We have come with a message from the King of the Vampires." One called out.
" I'm the King of the Vampires." Valkar called back. " Not your master. What does he want?"
" My Master wants a meeting with you as soon as possible." Came from below.
" Why?" Valkar asked. "Does he plan to give up?"
" He did not give us a reason, Just the message." They answered. " What shall I tell him?"
" To go to hell." Athene said as she appeared at her mothers side. They all smiled.
" What do you think?" Valkar asked.
" You can't be serious?" Angela pulled Valkar around to face her." After all the things he's done? You can't trust him!"
" You know I don't trust him." Valkar said. " Not for a second.  But we have to see what he wants."
" No you don't." Arturus said." Its a trap."
" Maybe." Rage said.m "But maybe not. We don't know, that's the point. Besides. We'll protect him, he's not going alone."
" Damn right, he's not going alone." Azeal said. " I'm going"
" So is Sting." Angela said.
" Anyone else?" Valkar asked.
" Yes, us." Jandar raised his hand.
" Lets make it a party them." Valkar through up his hands.
" Be serious Father." Azeal told him. " We go or no one goes."
" Aren't I the King here?" Valkar said sternly." I could order you all to stay."
" You could." Rage said. " But do you think we would follow that order? Take it from me, My clan wouldn't obey.
" Very well." Valkar turned back to the nightwalkers.
" Tell your master, we'll meet him in Jorania." Valkar called to them. "There will be six in my party. If I find that he brings even one more, he won't find us there waiting. Tomorrow, noon."
" He may not agree to a meeting during the day." They called back.
" Then there will be no meeting. Now get away from my city."
" As you wish."
The nightwalkers turned and swiftly run off into the forest and out of sight.
" You think its a trap?" Valkar asked as they all left the wall.
" I don't know." Jandar said. "But we'll be prepared. Jorania is a good choice, its deserted now. I'll have Jayce send his sunbirds to cover our backs."
" Great idea. As a matter of fact." Valkar waved Azeal over to him. " Send some people out to check the forest. I want to be sure their all gone."
" Right away father."

Aramis took his seat in front of Atol. He was very nervious, he had no idea exactly what Atol was going to bdo it him. He knew he was about to enter his mind and look for past memories. Memories he wasnt surewere even there.
" Relax Aramis." Atol told him. " I'll try not to hurt you."
" Hurt me?"
" Yes." He said. "The mind is a very delicate thing. And this is not something I like doing."
Aramis looked from one brother to bthe other. He wanted to get up and forget the whole thing. But he needed his memory back, and he needed it now.
" Lets get this over with." He said as he griped the chair.
" Look at me Brother." Atol told him. "Into my eyes. Im going to go into you mind and together we will try to bring the real you out. Relax and listen to my voice. Find peace in it. Feel the love I have for both you and Jax. When I tell you to close your eyes we will both dive into the past. Close your eyes now."
Aramis closed his eyes and saw memory sparks firing off. He saw himself as a young man. drifting in and out of the clouds. He was fly in with Jax. They were laughing and looking at the world from up high. He saw himself Sitting in a field growing flowers, He could smell their fragrant scent in the air. He then saw himself in the ocean creating plants and animals. This was something he could feel he loved. Making life. Breathing life into different creations.
Then he sdaw himself in a marble palace standing in front of two people. A beautiful woman with stars in her eyes and hair. Her breath was like a spring breeze. He knew the was his mother, Sailia. He remembered being with her in the winds as they created beautifully colored birds. Then the man he leaned what life really meant from, his father Rimnar, the high father.Rimnar sitting on his throne teaching him compassion and loyalty. Bravery and sympathy, all the things the god of life would need.He remember his sister Rhee and growing plants and trees for the mortals to feed on. How pleased she was with his help to feed the world. Then he saw Alee and Alea and he rode with each o9f the on their journey through the day and night skys. One by one the faces of all his family pastede through his mind. Then he saw the beautiful Muerte and a stab of pain went through him. One look in her eyes brought back his love for her. He remembered their palace in the cloud city of the gods. Laying together and making love. Then he saw her kill. A bolt of pain ripped trough him as again and again she destroyed things he created. He remembered their arguments and fights, her mad ambitions to rule the underworld.
[We're almost done brother.] He heard Atol say. "Theres only a few more things to remember.]
He saw the wonderful island continent of Tolcantia filled with handsome people. They had roads and machines that took them to a higher level of civilazation. Then Muerte destroyed it all and sank the island killing everyone. He saw her laugh and he felt the death of all those millions of people. He knew then she had to be stopped.
He saw himself bring her to the underworld and trap her there. He remembered their years in confinement and then her escape and his release.
[Wake Vitale!]
he opened his eyes and looked and them.
[Well?] Jax sent.[Did it work? Does he remember. Is Vitale back?]
" Vitale will never be back." He said. " He's gone.I am Aramis now. But yes, brother. I remember everything."
Jax jumped to his feet and hugged him.
[Welcome back!!!]He said.
" Thank you Jax." Aramis held his brother. " For staying with me."
[ Of couse I'd stay with you. Who else would be by your side.]
Aramis turned to Atol and hugged him.
" You to Atol. Thank you for helping me."
" Glad to big brother." Atol smilede. " What now?"
" We find the dragons and get on with putting Muerte down for good."
" You mean that?" Atol looked at him in shock. "Shes your wife?"
" Not anymore, shes hurt to many people for me to protect or give her any quarter. She must die!

Late in the night, Valkar walked through Prafa. It was his habit to walk all through the town at night to assure himself that everyone there was safe and sound. Suddenly he heard his name being called.
[Valkar!]
He looked around hoping that it wasnt someone needing help from an attack. From the air he saw his great grand father come sailing down. He lookeed like he'd been through a hard time in the underworld.
" Grandfather, your back."
[ Yes I am.] He said. [We have trouble. Get the others, I have alot to tell you.]

Gathered in Luthers house, Jandar, Rage, Cutter, Eheren, Athene, Valkar, Azeal and Tanis all greeted Baron Valkar on his return.
" We're all here, Grandfather." Valkar said. " Tell us what you found."
[ You were right.] He sent. [Shes not intesrested in making vampires. She has something even worst in mind.]
" What could Possibly be worst then that?" Eheren asked.
[ She plans to kill everybody.] The Baron said.
" You mean except the vampires?" Azeal asked.
[ No.] He told them. [I mean every living creature on the planet. Animals, plants, insects, men, woman, everyting, dead. She wants to make the planet dead and barren.]
Everyone in the room looked at him with their mouths open. They had to have heard wrong. That was insane
" Father, that cant be right." Azeal said.
[ Sh's the death goddess.] The Baron said. {She now thinks its her job to give the world her gift of death.]
" But that's insane!] Jandar said.
[ You think so?] The Baron said. [ Once she's done, she's going to move on and find more worlds to gaive her gift to, and she's a goddess. She might be able to do it.]
Everyone in the room began to talk. Shouting at each other their disbeilief at what they had just heard. Standing next to each other, Jandar,Rage and Valkar turned to beach other.
" I'll bet thats what Balthazar wants." Rage said. " He knows her plan and he wants to join us now."
" He thinks we're the only ones that can stop her." Jandar said "And he wants to be safe."
" I still don't trust him." Valkar frowned. " But he may be able to help."
" So what do we do about Muerte?" Cutter asks." Rage? Valkar?"
" We need Aramis and Jax back to help fight her." Jandar told them. " Only they can match her powers."
" Then we have to find them, but how?" Azeal asked them.
" We can look." Eheren told them. "But I think their going to have to come find us."

Dropping like Flies. 41

The palace of the governor of Remod had quieted down after the feast was over. Everyone had retired to their chambers except all the guards at their post and most of them were drowsy. Atol had been the guest of honor dressed in the finest ware the governor could find. Many toasts had been made in his honor and the city's, for they were all happy the war was over and their long feud had come to an end. It was time he left he thought. His brother the sun god had called to him earlier and it sounded urgent. As he walked out of the palace he wondered what Alee wanted. What could make him come out of the sky to find him? He had said something about Vitale needing him. But what was he doing free and out of the underworld. He hoped it didn't mean what he thought it meant. That would be something to horrid to think.
The Golden Griffin was not to far away. He could be there in a snap but he decided to walk, it was a most beautiful night. As he walked he passed a couple in a garden arguing. He smiled and waved his hand and the man took the woman in his arms. He apologized and kissed her deeply. Atol stopped and whispered to the wind.
[I feel your love for her. Now show her.]
As the kiss broke up. The young elf knelled down and took her hand as she blushed in surprise. Atol walked on, he knew he was proposing to her. He also knew they would be happy for the rest of their lives.
The city of Remod had celebrated long into the night and it seemed like in the palace, most of the people had gone home to rest. But still there were a few out. Over in the city center he saw someone that looked familiar. It couldn't be, he thought. But who else had such rich red hair as his younger brother Jax . But what was he doing here? Had the celebration brought the god of laughter here? No, it had to be Vitale. Jax was always at his side. If he was in trouble, Jax would be there.
Atol watched Jax leave the people he had been with in the center and start down the avenue. He was heading in the direction of the Golden Griffin. As Atol watched, a group of strange men began to follow Jax. Could this be just a coincidence? Are they just heading in the same direction as Jax? Then Atol saw the swords and weapons they were carrying. Dressed as he was, these men probably thought Jax was a rich man with a lot of coins in his pouch. Atol knew Jax didn't carry any money, he didnt need it. They were going to try and rob him. Not my little brother he thought. He know the likes of them couldn't kill Jax, but they could cause him pain. If they could catch him. Gods did feel pain.
The Golden Griffin was at least six city blocks away from where they were. These men would corner him before he could make it there if Atol didn't warn him. If he did, Jax could be there in seconds, but he wouldn't. He would want to fight, Atol knew that. And he could take them all, he knew that to. But the god of love hadn't had a good fight in a long time. So why not?
There were six of them advancing on Jax spread along the street. One was standing next to a cart pulled by two oxen's. He was alone just pulling out his sword. Atol sent a message to the oxen and it kicked out and got the man in his back. Then with there teeth the oxen pulled the man under the wagon to hide him. One down, now there were five. Atol smiled and moved to the man closes to him. A simple illusion changed Atol's appearance to that of a dancing girl. He whispered to him.
" Turn to me."
Hearing the sweet voice, the man turned to look at him. What he saw was a shapely beautiful girl dressed in red silks dancing seductively in the streets. He couldn't resist this beauty. As if hypnotized he dropped his weapon and staggered back to Atol. Atol put his arms around him and with a touch on his neck, knocked him out. Then there was four. Two men were just about to Jax. He had to warn him.
[Watch your back little red one.] He sent. [There's two men about to brain you.]
Atol saw the slightest move from Jax letting him know he had heard him. As both men brought down their clubs to bash him, Jax moved. He moved so fast they didn't even see him. But they felt there clubs when they came back and hit them dropping them to the floor. Two left with Jax at one side and Atol at the other. The two god brothers smiled at their adversary.
" Run away or end up like them." Atol said. " It doesn't matter to us."
Looking around the two men noticed they were alone and in trouble. The man they were going to rob was standing there with one of their clubs smiling. They knew these to weren't ordinary men. They were wizards or warlocks. So they ran for it past Atol and down the street. Atol laughter as he joined his bother and hugged him.
" It's good to see you red one." He smiled hugging him tightly. "What brings you here?"
[Vitale and trouble.] He sent. Atol frowned.
" Why are you sending?" He asked.
[Punishment. Come, Alee and Vitale are waiting.]

Down in the underworld, Muerte looked over her new domain. It was as bleak and desolate as she was. But it was now hers. None of the spirits of this world could be seen. They were all in hiding in fear of her. But she could fix that. Nestor's palace stood just on the hill before her. Muerte walked up the hill and on to the dais in front of the palace. She turned and looked out over her new kingdom.
" Your old master is no longer in control here." She said in a voice that carried all over the land.
" I am, and I would have you all come out to pay homage to me, now!! Or find out how I will punish you!!"
From everywhere she looked, spirits began to emerge. There were millions of them. All the dead from ages were here. And they all were now under her command. Now that was power. she thought. The front of her new palace was crowded with spirits waiting to see what she had to say.
" No longer will there be a heaven and hell." She said looking over the crowd. "From this day on, there will only be my realm. I don't care if your evil or not. I don't care if you've been righteous or if you've been eating children's hearts. All that matters is if you serve me. And for those of you that don't, I'll show you horrors that you wont believe possible."
From up high, Baron Valker watched as the crowd moved back in fear. He didn't want to stay to much longer. Muerte couldn't perceive him, but there were a lot of other mages down here that might.
" That's right." Muerte said as she smiled at her audience." Fear me, all of you. for I plan to rid myself of all life on this mud ball and start again as the sole god to all. As I give the world my gift of death, I will grow more and more powerful. Soon I will be able to finish off every living thing on this world. Gods and all and remake it as I wish. Some of you will be helping me clean out the living. We will be starting soon. I will be releasing you to help ravage the world. Don't disappoint me. You wont like your reward."
She turned and walked into the palace laughing. Baron Valkar knew this was his chance to get back to the living before he was caught. Below him he could see many spirits, demons and monsters muddling about. Not sure what she wanted them to do and afraid to do anything on their own. Baron Valkar looked over and saw the entrance beyond the gate unguarded. Everything here was in chaos. This was his chance to get out. Moving across the ceiling of the underworld took off for the entrance. Between him and his away out he saw just the newly dead standing around confused. As he tried to move pass them hands reached up and tried to bring him down. He batted at them knocking them away as he flew. Suddenly he felt a hand wrap itself around his ankle and drag him back.
"I will never let you of all people escape here!!"
Baron Valkar turned back to see Azeal Tyr pulling him back.
" Not you!!" The Baron groaned."
"Yes, me!"Azeal frowned as her pulled the Baron in and pushed him to the ground. Climbing to his feet the Baron watched Azeal start to walk around him and set himself for battle. This was the last person he needed to find now. Azeals hatred for him still burned in his eyes.
" I've lost my peace, but theres one thing good coming out of it." Azeal said. " I get another chance at you."
With a sudden burst of speed, Azeal launched himself at Valkar. He landed oh his chest and began beating on his face. Blow after blow hit Valkar as the werewolf beat him. Trying to fend him off, Valkar sent a force bolt out that knocked Azeal back and on his back. Baron Valkar got up, now he was ready to battle. But he didnt want to. Not with Azeal.
" Stop!!" He said. " Azeal. I knew how much you hate me, but I'm not trying to escape. I'm trying to stop her. You heard her. You know what she plans is mad. She's going to kill all of our descendant out there. Mine and yours. We all have to stop her."
" Why should you care about my descendant?" Azeal yelled at him. " When you killed so many yourself?"
" I'm sorry." Valkar said looking into Azeal in his eyes. " My crimes were unforgivable, and of most souls down here. I deserve punishment I know that. But our people don't deserve to die and I can help stop it,"
" How and why should I believe you?" Azeal asked a little calmer. There was something in Valkar's eyes Azeal had never seen before. And he'd been with the Baron for more then a hundred years. Compassion.
" I have no way to prove what I'm saying to you Azeal." Valkar held his open hands out to Azeal. It was a futile sign, but it was all he could do to show he was being truthful. Then from behind them they heard a small voice.
"I believe him father."
Azeal turned around and saw his son Danik standing there with his mother hugging him and kissing him. All though he had been dead for centuries like his parents. He had been lost in a place between life and death so his parents couldn't find him. Azeal rushed wide eyed to his son and took him in his arms.
" How is this possible?" He asked. " We searched all of the underworld for you."
" He gave me rest." Danik pointed to the Baron. " I was lost a long time and he sent me home to rest."
Azeal looked up to Valkar tears in his eyes.
" You did this?" He asked.
"I am sorry for all I did." Valkar said. " But I need your help to save them Azeal. I've seen them. Mine and yours and I won't fail them."
"How can I help?" He asked as he stood and shook his old enemy's hand.
" Not all of these souls will want to help her." Valkar told Azeal. " There has to be some way to fight her. Gather them and wait for our call. I'll find a way."
" I'll do as you ask Baron." He said. " I'll gather my own army in hell. Go. Get out of here. Hurry."
" I will be back!" He said as he rose up and flew out the main entrance to hell and back to the living.

Kneeling at Muertes altar in Yadessa, Balthazar was waiting for word from his goddess. He had done as she asked and sent his vampires out to turn the lands all over their continent to nightwalkers. Valkar and the Dragons were fighting them, but he was slowly gaining over them. All over the lands the night was now feared. Only his nightwalers and the hunters moved at night. Soon he would start his day movements. He had been gathering day creatures for the assault, now he was about ready to move. All he needed was the word from his mistress to begin and he could start sending out missions. Balthazar looked up and noticed the room darken. All the candles in the room began to go out as her visage appeared over him.
"I have done as you ordered Mistress." He bowed his head never to look her in her eyes.
[YOU HAVE DONE WELL, BALTHAZAR.] She said. [SOON I WILL ARRIVE AND WE CAN BEGIN BRINGING DEATH TO THE WORLD.]
"Death?" Balthazar looked up to her. That wasn't the plan she had told him. How was he to rule for her if everyone was dead. Surely she didn't mean him?
[THERE WILL BE NO PLACE TO HIDE. SOON THE WORLD WILL BE COVERED IN DEATH.]
" As you command Mistress."he answered.
[BE READY FOR MY ARRIVAL BALTHAZAR. SOON.]
With that her presence faded away. Balthazar stood and headed out the temple. He knew she meant what she said. She planned to kill everyone including him. This had all gone wrong. Entering into the castle, Balthazar thought about what to do. Clearly he couldn't defeat her on his own. He would need help. And the only help out there strong enough to win was the Dragons. Fine, he would join them. Then at the right moment after he's rid of Muerte. The dragons will be weak. Then he could make his move and crush them all. Balthazar walked up to his study and opened the door. Inside he found one of his aides waiting.
" Find Valkar for me." He said sitting on his throne. " We need to talk."

The morning dawned bright and beautiful in Natassi. All the people were rising for there morning chores. Eggs needed to collected, cows needed milking and the fields needed tended. all the farmer and cattlemen were up and at work. In the town nearby,shops were opening and the towns people were getting on with the day. At the gates to the town, a pale beautiful red haired woman nodded to the guards at the gated as he dropped dead where they stood. Muerte walked on. One by one as she passed them everyone in Natassi dead. Death rolled out from her and into every home shop and farmer in Nastassi. Minutes after she had arrived there was no one left alive in Natassi. She laughed as she left for her next target. The sky palace of the gods.

Death Becomes Her. 40

Back in New Keanna, Aramis sat in the garden thinking about all that happened in the last few days. To him this was the most perfect place to be. Surrounded by all the plants and flowers he was at peace. He loved it in the garden among all the beauty. The scent of life in the air. The fragrant aroma of all the flower calmed him. The garden was alive when he came here. All the different types of flowers seemed to bloom whenever he came here.
[I knew you would be here.]
 Aramis turned as Jack walked into the garden. He looked around admiring the trellis covered with crawling flowering vines. The bluebells and snow glories with there blue and white petals with yellow centers. Snowflake, white bell shaped flower. The many colored Iris's, or dahlia's. The beautiful deep red orange amaryllis. And his favorite, the roses. Jandar or Rage, whichever was the gardener had put banks upon banks of roses. Red, pink,white, yellow, Roses must mean something to them. Aramis loved them.
" Where else would I be?" Aramis walked to the bench near the pond and sat down. Jack crossed his arms and frowned, annoyed with him. Its not everyday your told you're a god.
"You always did do great work with flowers and animals." Jack said standing in front of the roses.
" Me?" Aramis said. " This isn't my work. This is the loving care of a master gardener. Jandar I'll bet. Or Dreik the green dragon. He's good with plants."
"Oh really brother?" Jack laughed. "Then who made these?"
Jack pointed out rows of green and blue roses. Then he turned to the sunflowers. They were red with huge blooms.
"Jandar didn't do that." He said. " You did. Jandar and Dreik can grow roses and sunflowers, but they can"t create new species. Only you.Vitale the god of life can do that. This garden has your touch most definitely."
" DON'T CALL ME THAT!!" Aramis yelled. " I'M NO GOD!!"
Jack shook his head and looked up towards the sun.
[Still he doubts.] He sent out. [ He won"t listen to me brother.]
" Who are talking to?" Aramis asked. Suddenly the sun flared and sent warm shafts of light all over the garden. Flowers burst into bloom. The fragrant aromas filled the air. Aramis turned and saw a handsome blond man in golden armor standing with Jack.
" He's talking to me." Alee smile.
" WHO ARE YOU?"
"I'm Alee, god of light and the sun." He told him. "Your brother. I'm here to help convince you of who you are, or were. There are so many memories locked away in you mind. If only I can get some loose."
"I don't see how you could." Aramis looked away. Sadness filled his heart. He wanted to remember his past. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't remember anything. Not Jack or this Alee or any of his past life. He did see flashes of the one called Muerte. There were no feelings attached. Just a face, her face. Alee stepped up to Aramis and put his hand on his shoulder.
" There is one that may help." He said looking into Aramis's eyes.
" Who?" He asked. Aramis was tired of feeling so alone. He wanted to be complete and not feel so empty.
" The god of love and memory." Alee smiled. " Our brother Atol. He should be able to stir your memories and bring them out for you."
" Can you bring him here?" Aramis asked.
" No." Alee said. " We have to go to him."
" Then lead me to him." Aramis said. " I'm ready."

Deep in the caves of eternal rest and damnation, Muerte stepped out of the gloom and haze of the underworld. All around her see saw spirits wandering through the edges of the entrance of the place called Hell to so many. Muerte had no fear of this place. In fact, she thought she should be queen here and she intended to take this realm first in her quest for dominance of the world. As she walked through this dark and gloomy land ,she saw a gate. Just inside the gate there was a desk piled with scrolls and parchment. Behind the desk, there was and elderly looking man hard at work sorting the spirits. From the entrance to this dark place there was a line of spirits heading to the desk. Many had guards with them, keeping them in line. These were the ones headed for punishment and damnation. Muerte moved forward to the desk with a look of determination on her face. At last she would confront her uncle Nestor and make him hand over this realm to her. Making herself as beautiful as ever, she pushed out with her mind and cleared away all spirits in front of her and sailed to the desk.
" Name?" The spirit at the desk asked without looking up.
" I am Muerte." She said. " I seek your masters attention."
" Muerte?" the spirit said. " I have no Muerte on my...." Then he looked up and saw her. Her godhood blinded him. He knew then that she was the goddess that had escaped earlier, the one Master Nestor was looking for. He thought if he was the one that get her recaptured, the master might release him. Thats when he started screaming for the guards.
" Guards, guards!!" He yelled as he leaped out of his seat. " This is the one that the master seeks!! Take her!!!"
The entry hall went mad. Spirit flew in all directions. Many escaped back to the world of the living. From every direction the guards of Hell came running. There were demons and creatures the world hadn't seen in thousands of years coming out to attack Muerte. She stood there and batted them all aside. Winged creatures she blasted out of the air. Many tried to gang up on her but couldn't get near her. Phantom arrows were shot at her that ricocheted off her shields. Muerte closed her eyes and for a second and shifted to a better form for fighting. Her body grew taller and more powerful. Her hair fell away as fangs and talons grew long and sharp. Wings grew, large monstrous wings that could crush a living man with a swipe. She become the biggest most horrible vampire harpy that her mind could conceive. Into the air she flew to battled hells minion's. She blasted them and ripped it them. There was no stopping her. She would fight until she found Nestor and settled her fight over the underworld
"STOP!!!!!"
Suddenly was heard loudly echoing through the caves of the dark world. Lord Nestor stood on a high plateau looking out over his kingdom. He word his black armor and held his staff with its black skull head on top.
" You are looking for me Muerte?" He said.
" Yes uncle." She flew over to hover before him " It's time I took the throne that was meant for me."
" This realm was never meant to be yours, my dark niece." He laughed. " You have no idea what it means to be master here. What I endure here."
" None of that matters Uncle". She said. " Your time here is up. Go find Alea and leave the underworld to me."
Nestor looked deeply at Muerte. He knew she spun the spell that took his wife from him. How he hated her for condemning Alea to her hell of loneliness.
" She'll be free soon witch." Nestor said. " And you, if your lucky you'll be here. If your lucky that is."
"Never will you confine me here again." Muerte's hands began to glow as she readied her spells. Nestor raised his staff then shouted.
" Let us begain!"
Muerte sent a bolt of magic streaking at Nestor. Bolt after bolt Nestor ducked. With his staff, he batted the bolts away. They he took to the air, his black cloak opened as he sailed through the air. Raising his staff, he rained his dark magic on her. She threw up a shield over her to deflect the rain like pellets. Slowly but surely the pellets began to destroy her shield. Cracks began to form. With a quick motion, she sent out a force bolt that hit Nestor in the shoulder. He fell back disoriented for a few seconds against a wall. This was her chance she thought. Muerte charged at Nestor with her claws raised. His heart and throat her target. But before she struck, Nestor disappeared. All that was left behind was his black cloak which she hung on to.
" Damn you Nestor!!" She screamed. " You can"t get away from me! Your throne will be mine!!"
Appearing behind her, Nestor readied his next spell. A crushing spell took hold of her. She fought it, forcing the magic away from her. As she fought, Nestor raised his staff to strike her. Fighting against the spell she saw the lord of the underworld advancing on her. There was so much hatred on his face. Nestor knew she was responsible for Alea being missing. All his years of searching for her came to this moment.
" You have lost, Muerte." He said as he approached.
" Free my wife and let her come home and I will be merciful."
" We'll see who has lost!" Muerte's eyes began to glow as she cast a special spell from Gannon's book. Magic glyphs and signs began to appear one by one on Nestor's armor. His walking began to slow as the spell took hold. In seconds his whole body was covered and his movement was halted. Only his facial expressions were active. Sweat ran from his brow as he tried to move. But try as he did, he couldn't. Muerte stood and brushed back her hair as she shifted back to her beautiful form. Smiling she walked to Nestor.
" This realm is mine!!!" She screamed in his face as her hand hit him across the face. Shaking out her long tresses Muerte walked around him." I'm going to do you a favor." She raised her hands and began a spell.

HERE YOU ARE, NOW YOUR GONE.
OFF YOU GO TO MEET THE DAWN
TO ALEA I SEND YOU ALWAYS STILL
NOW BOTH I'VE CURSED WITH MY STRONG WILL
A BOON I GIVE YOU, I'LL LET YOU FLY
CAUSE SOON YOU KNOW
YOU ALL MUST DIE!!!

" Now you and your wife can be together until the end in silence and loneliness. Off with you now!!"
Magic winds began to swirl around Nestor. Bright sparks dazzled his eyes as he went silent and they picked him up and took him away. Wherever Alea was in her daytime prison, Nestor was on his way there too.
" Now it begins." Muerte said to herself." My finally victory. I know what I must do. Death to everyone. No more vampires, no more slaves. Everyone, everything must die!"
High above the cavern floated a lone spirit. He watched as the Lord of the Underworld was defeated. He had been sent here to watch and see what Muerte was up to. Now he knew. She was planning the end of the world. Fear filled his soul for he knew she of all the beings high or low could do it. Baron Valkar had to get back and warn the others. But he still didn't know what she planned to do, so he decided to wait around and see what happened next. He needed more information and this was where he would find it.

Finding Atol would not be easy. In fact, finding any of the gods since they went into hiding was an almost impossible task. Dressed in hooded cloaks, the three gods roamed the world. From continent to small islands they searched. It seemed Atol didn't want to be found. But in every place they went, they heard of different stories of impossible love. In Baderia, the daughter of a powerful king met and charmed the prince of her fathers most hated enemy. War almost broke out until a strange man in white brought the two kings together to see how happy and in love their children were. A new nation was born that day. On the island city of Teki, two men met. Both merchants. One grew sick from a strange ailment that weakened him almost to death. The story was told of a handsome tall man with the most amazing smile that came to meet the two men as one halted all his business dealing to take care of the rival that he had come to love. The tall man took the well man aside and showed him how to cure his love and save their lives. For one couldn't live without the other.
There were many stories, one leading to the next until on a mountain far west of New Keanna, Remod was under siege. In Remod there was the most horrible race war that none could remember how it had started. Someone had kidnapped someones children some said. Others said one race had lived as slaves to the other. They were both dark elves but different, like day and night. On a road into the city a stranger walked. Alee was told the stranger walk right through the battle to the gates and ended the war. No one knew how, but they said he was still there. That was their destination. With the speed of light, Alee took his brothers to the city. All around they could see the ravages of the war were being cleaned up. Damaged wagons and siege towers were being dismantled and taken away. There were no wounded to be seen. They had already been taken care of. But still the outside of the city looked dire and bleak.
Dressed in their gray robes and hoods, the trio made for the cities gates. They passed many solder's in bandages. But the look on all their faces was one of relief. They were all glad the fighting was over. From the city the sounds of celebration could be heard. As they approached the gates a smiling guard came out to meet them. He was dressed in a clean uniform of the city and still wore a sword.
"Greetings strangers." He wave to them. " It's a glorious day isn't it?"
" Yes." Aramis said as he shook his hand. " What's all the celebration for?"
" Haven't you heard? The hundred year war is finally over." He spun arounf happy. " Our city is free again!!"
" When peace is achieved, there's aways cause for celebration." Alee smiled. " But tell me friend. Your war has lasted one hundred years. What miracle brought it to an end?"
" We elves are a war like race." He shrugged. " Especially the dark elves. We go to war over small things because it's in our nature to fight. But someone proposed something different. Games to settle differences. It's a marvelous idea. We get to fight, but no one has to die anymore. Soon we begin construction on an arena where all can come and see our games. They will be famous all over the lands. It will be great!"
The trio looked at the guard. He had some much joy at the games idea. But they knew the idea could be dangerous to. It could lead to slave gladiators. Houses fighting houses. They leaders would need to be careful.
" It's a good thing your leaders came up with this solution." Alee said,
" Oh it wasn't our leaders." He said. " It was a stranger. He came in fearlessly and gather our leaders in for the compromise. And it worked. He's a good man. We owe him so much."
" You are a lucky people." Aramis clapped him on the shoulder. " We are in need of rest from our journey. Is there an inn here?"
" There are many." The guard told them." But the Golden Griffin is the best. Head up the lane and go left at the end. Three streets more and you will be there. Enjoy your stay with us."
So on they walked heading for the inn. All along the street people celebrated. There was all kinds of wine being drank and passed around. Wizards shot magical pyrotechnics off for the amazement of the crowds. Elven men and woman danced everywhere while their children played. Jax's eyes were so bright. He wanted to go ran and dance and play with the children. Aramis was having a hard time keeping him with them.
" Let him go." Alee told Aramis. " He'll find us later."
" What's wrong with him?" He asked. Aramis let Jax go and off he went dancing in the street.
" Jax is the god of celebration." Alee said. " Games and party's and fun. Right now here, he's bursting with power."
" The god of celebration?" Aramis asked. " What good is that?"
" Look around you and you'll see the good of celebrations." Alee pointed out how happy everyone looked. " Celebration and joy is necessary to life. Or the people would have nothing to look forward to. You use to know that brother. On his practical side, he is also the god of justice. You know we need that. He's important to us, and he's always been at your side. No matter what happened."
Together Alee and Aramis made their way to the inn passing through the crowded streets by all the revelers. The inn was a three story building with at least fifteen room. On its side there was a livery station and a blacksmith. During the war, the blacksmith was always busy making and fixing armament while the inn was used as a hospital for the wounded.
The Golden Griffin was a pretty nice place again at last. It was the largest inn in Remod that housed any important business man or royal that came to the city. As soon as they walked through the door Alee turned to Aramis.
" Atol is here. I can feel his presence." Alee whispered to Aramis.The lobby of the Golden Griffin was still being transformed back to an inn from being a hospital. It was a very homie place with a broad fireplace and many tables for customers to dine at. Drapes hung on the walls to hide the age of the building and the smell of meat roasting on a spit filled the air. From behind a counter an elven man came out smiling to welcome them. He was a thin man with white hair and a long straight face with pointed ears.
" Welcome my friends." He said. " It's been a while since we've had guest. Can I offer you refreshments?"
" No." Alee said. " Just three rooms and a little knowledge."
" Very well." He ushered them over to the counter. From a peg board he took down three keys and pushed them over.
"The rooms are on the top floor. Dinner is served here at the stroke of eight." He said leaning on his counter. " What knowledge do you seek?"
" There is a stranger in your city." Aramis told him. " He is said to perform miracles. How can we find him? We have need of his help."
" I'm not sure. He keeps to himself." The inn keeper said. "I can give him a message when I see him."
" No." Aramis took the keys. " We'll find him."
Alee and Aramis followed the innkeeper up stairs to their rooms. He told them there are towels in the rooms and there's hot water availible if they needed it. They both went into Aramis room and closed the door. The rooms were sparsely furnished but of average size. They had a bed and a bureau for luggage, a bedside table with a lamp and a sitting table with two chairs. Alee went to the widow and opened it. He wanted to see the moon as it rofe across the night. He closed his eyes and let its light energize him. His hair began to blow in the night wind. He looked so peaceful Aramis thought.
" What do we do now?" Aramis asked.
" I know Atol is here." Alee said without opening his eyes "I could call him, see if he answers."
" Try." Aramis watched him at the window. Alee's body was alive with the energy. Aramis could feel it pouring off him. There was no heat, just power.
" I'm going out into the sky." He said." I need the freedom of the sky to strenghen me, I'll try calling Atol while I'm out."
Alee began to grow brighter until his body became an orb of light. Then he flew out the window and up into the sky.He flew high over the town and for a few minutes soaked in the essence of the moonlight. it wasn't as strong as sunlight but Alea's light would always power her brother. Energized he called out to his brother the god of love.
[Atol! Brother we need your help.]
He waited, probing the city below him for an answer. Minutes went by. He found Jax dancing in the city center with the rest of the elves. Alee could tell he was enjoying himself and keeping the people's level of revelry high. Suddenly he felt a familiar contact. Atol, reached out to him.
[Brother, what are you doing here?]
[Looking for you.] He answered. [We need your help.]
[ Who needs my help? Surely not you.]
[No, Vitale needs you.]
Alee could feel the curiosity Atol felt in their connection.
[Vitale is imprisoned in the underworld, in exile with Muerte. Why would he need me?]
[Come to the inn the Golden Griffin and we will explain everything to you.]
[ I will meet you there.]
And the contact was broken. Finished with his task. Alee returned to their room and found Aramis asleep. Alee smiled. Aramis was taking on human traits. Gods didn't sleep, they didn't have to. He pulled the covers over him, then sat down and waited for Atol and Jax to come to the inn.

Release. 39

In the dark of night, a lone spirit moved through the skies. He was heading to find the last two of the three descendant he had left in a city that was fighting for all their people. His mind was set on a course that might free him from the horrors of his memories if all went well. Prafa was the city and King Valkar was the man he would defend. In his mind, he fought against the horror that tried every minute of the day to overcome him and take him over. That was Muerte, Goddess of death. Baron Valkar swore he would never let her control him again. This time, he would be the man his grandsons would be proud of. Maybe right some of the many wrongs he had done in his past. Above Prafa, Baron Valkar saw the fighting outside of the walls of Prafa. Men battling back and forth, bolts of magic energy blasting out at each other as they fought. He streaked down into the city to find his to grandsons. In his mind he went over spells he could still use in his spirit form. Over the gates he passed. He saw a young boy being confronted by two armored men. They raised there swords to strike the boy armed only with a club. Baron Valkar flew between them and made himself visible. He called out a quick spell as the swords fell. His magic deflected their steel, causing the swords to shatter in many pieces. He pushed out with his ghostly energy and sent the men flying back to crash into a wall broken. The boy jumped up and thanked him.
[Run!!] He sent to the boys mind. Visible but not tangible, the Baron moved on. Only a few had made it over the gates. Most of the cities inhabitants were on the walls defending the city. As he passed over the wall, the Baron noticed that the men outside fighting to get in were a band of mercenaries. Humans invading Yadessa. Balthazar must have hired them to give King Valkar as much trouble as they could. The battle wasn't going good for the humans. There siege towers had been destroyed and many of them lay wounded on the field outside.
" I want twenty men to go out and end this." The Baron heard. He turned and saw Valkar and Azeal at the gates ready to go out to fight. He made his way over to his grandsons.
[ I'm glad your both safe.] He said to them.
"This is nothing Grandfather." Valkar smiled. " Just Balthazar trying to weaken us."
" It didn't work." Azeal told him. " We're even stronger now. Many of the outer villagers have joined us because of all the raiding and nightwalkers."
[Good.] The Baron said.
" Grandfather." Valkar said." My allies the dragons need your help. There coming here to see you."
[ Is Athene coming?]
" I think she is." Azeal told him as the men began to gather to go out and fight.
[ Does Lady Angela know?]He asked.
" She's with her friend." Valkar told him as he walked to the gate. Behind him was the twenty five men he called for. Loud noises could be heard coming from the other side of the gate. All the men were tense and eager to fight. Up on the wall Valkar had his wizards ready to move the enemy back from the gate so they could get out. At a signal from their king, they would cast and the gates would be open so they could storm out.
" Ready?" Valkar asked his son. Azeal pulled Justice from its scabbard and ordered it to longsword length. In his other hand he held a short sword. Azeal was dressed and prepared for battle.
" Need any help?" Valkar smiled at his grandfather, then he raised his hand to the gatekeeper and the wizards. Spells were cast that covered the front of the gates with harmless flames. None of the humans were hurt, but it scared them enough. The enemy pulled back and the gatekeepers hurriedly pulled the levers to open the gates. Valkar and Azeal ran out covered by the flames screaming their battle cry to engage the humans. From the top of the walls the wizards sent different magical spells down on the enemy. One by one Valkar and his men began to battle their foes. They were out numbered, but the enemies were human, not endowed with the abilities of the vampires they were fighting. Valkar and his men fought with fang, claw and swords. The battle pitched on, advantage switching from time to time giving the humans the upper hand. From the walls, Baron Valkar watched worried about his grandsons.
Suddenly a loud screech pierced the air. From the forest behind the humans a large group of gargoyles came winging out to attack Valkar and his men. Balthazar had sent the humans help, winged help. Diving out of the sky they began to attack Valkar and his men. Plucking them from the ground taking them up high then dashing them to the ground. A large gray one grabbed at Azeal. He ducked down and went into a roll. When he got back to his feet, he thrust Justice up without looking and pierced the beast through its chest. The magic of his Justice blade lit the gargoyle into blue flames. It launched itself into the sky hoping to douse the flames. But nothing could put out these flames. Valkar stood back to back with Ushar, both their swords flashed with the speed of masters. Valkar had no idea Ushar was so talented with a sword.
"Your very good." Valkar said without missing a strike.
"I was a sword smith and master before Balthazar took my shop." Ushar said as his short sword decapitated the enemy in front of him.
" You'll get that shop back when were done." Valkar said. " Promise."
Suddenly from the left a gargoyle came from high. Valkar didn't see him coming but Ushar did.
" WATCH OUT!!!" From his belt he draw a dagger. Before Valkar could even turn, Ushar draw back and sent the dagger flying. As the gargoyle grabbed for Valkar the dagger sank into its forehead between its red eyes. It crashed to the ground dead at there feet. At the same time a human dashed at Ushar. With the speed of a high lord vampire, Valkar spring in front of Ushar and cut him down, slicing the man in two. From behind him, Baron Valkar heard Lady Angela calling him, Sting beside her.
"Whats going on?" She asked running onto the wall.
[ Valkar needs help.] The Baron called to her flying off the wall into the fray.
" Sting!!" She called. "Go help the king!!"
Over the wall the large mutant jumped. With the sound of thunder he hit the ground running reaching out to rip apart anyone that was not vampire. Slashing and snapping he fought his way out to Valkar and Ushar, men stabbing at his armor. Sting was unstoppable. He had two sets of arms. One set ending in a pincer, the other in a clawed hand. Both deadly as the men around him could tell, had they lived beyond that day. In the sky, Baron Valkar intercepted gargoyles. As they grabbed for vampires, he would send shocks into their bodies knocking them from the sky. The battle raged on. From the wall Angela sent bolts of magic into the air incinerating gargoyles and any humans that were unlucky enough to be in her sights. Soon the Humans were running for the forest and the sky was clear of gargoyles. It was over.

The ground was littered with the dead and dying. Out of the twenty five vampires Valkar had taking out with him, half had been cut down, be still cheers went up. This was a small victory, but is was a victory for them. Prafa was safe again. The gates opened and help came out for the wounded. Towns people came out to carry the wounded in for healing. The humans that were hurt were healed and held for questioning. None were made into vampires. There was no blood lust here. No attacks on weak men. Angela helped with the healing while Valkar and the rest of the people cleaned the surrounding lands outside of the city. Azeal walked along the wall checking to make sure there were no weak spots when he heard a voice in his head.
[ Looks like you and your father have been busy.]
[Athene!!] He turned and saw Athene riding Eheren over the field. With them were Jandar, Rage, Tanis and Cutter dropping down for a landing. Azeal ran out to meet them. He hugged them all asking how things were back in New Keanna.
" Its getting really weird with this war and everything." Jandar told him.
"Ono and Shayn miss you." Rage told him.
" Where are they?" He asked.
" There at home with the first clan." Rage said ruffling Azeals head. " Where's your father, we have to talk."
"He's back in town." They heard from behind them.
" Uncle Arturus!!"Athene and Tanis hugged their uncle in surprise." What are you doing here?"
" Come with me." He said. " Both of you."
Athene looked at her brother with a curious look. They wondered what was wrong that he needed to see them in private. Silently Arturus walked back into the gates while they followed. He made his way over to a tent were the wounded were being treated. In the tent Athene saw the white haired woman tending to a man with a slash wound. Arturtus headed over to her and spoke in her ear. She turned and looked at them. Then she ran over to them and grabbed them both and started to cry as she kissed them again and again. Athene pushed her back. She was glad to see she was safe, but this was a bit much she thought.
" Uncle." Tanis asked. " Who is this?"
" This." Arturus smiled. " Is your mother. Lady Angela Gaelich."
There's no way to descibe the shock and surprise Athene and Tanis felt at that moment. They both thought their mother was dead. Athene thought she had died in childbirth and Tanis thought Balthazar had killed her as a traitor. They both always had questions about her that no one would answer. Balthazar had her hidden always so Tanis wouldn't find her and Arturus didn't like to talk about her, it was to painful for him. Arturus had told Athene how beautiful she was and she always knew he was in love with her. Now here she stood in front of them.
" Is it true?" Athene asked her. " Are you my mother?"
" Yes I am." Angela smiled, a tear running down her face. She reached out to touch Athene's face. She could see Balthazar in her eyes, but she knew he had nothing to do with raising her. But Tanis, he looked just like Arturus. She was so sorry he had been ripped from her arms after his birth. Athene and Tanis sprang into her arms crying. What a happy day this was for the four of them.
Over there heads, Baron Valkar watched. He was pleased. This was a reunion he planned to make happen since he met Angela, now here it was. Now he was glad Muerte had bought him back. Somehow he would have to thank her for all this.
[ Baron.] He heard Valkar call. [Can we see you please.]
With one last look at Angela and her happiness, Baron Valkar turned to find his grandson. Valkar was back in Luther's house surrounded by their new guest, the dragons. As he floated into the room Eheren stood up to greet him.
" Baron, Not to long ago a few of us left New Keanna on a mission to find Gannon's Spell book." Eheren told him. "We found it. Not all of it, but enough."
[ Then she will be coming for it.] He told them. [ You just made it easy for her to acquire what she needs to fulfill her plans.]
They all looked at each other in surprise. They hadn't thought of that. Now all she had to do was to get her hands on Texa and she would have all the power she would need to enslave the world.
" Then we go on the offense." Rage said he eyes flashing a red glare.
[How?] Baron Valkar asked. [ Shes a god. Do you have one on your side to fight her?]
" We have two." Jandar said. " But we need your help to."
[What could I possibly do against her] He asked. She was so powerful. All he wanted to do was protect Valkar and Azeal. He was afraid if he left, something would happen he could have prevented.
" Grandfather." Valkar said. " This is more important then Azeal and I. This is to save everyone, everyone in our world. Go, we'll be fine."
Baron Valkar thought about it for a second. His grandson was right and he was being selfish and protective. Valkar and Azeal had proven themselves many times. They could take care of themselves and hopefully, the rest of Yadessa. He had to help destroy Muerte. That was more important.
[ If you need me.] He said. [ Just call my name and I'll be back in an instant.]
" Don't worry." Rage told him." He's our ally, we'll be here to help him. I'm leaving dragons with him to help."
[ Then what can I do?]
" Can you still locate her?" Eheren asked.
[Yes, I can find her.] He nodded.
" Without her knowing?" Jandar asked.
[ No, I'm still bonded to her.] He said. [ Once I get close, she will feel my presence.]
" I can fix that." Texa stood up. " There's a spell I have that will break her hold over you. It will make you invisible to her."
[ But she's a god.] Baron Valkar said.
" Have no worries." Texa said with a sly smile. " My spells will work on her. Why do you think they were hidden by the gods?"
"We need to know exactly what she's planning in order to fight her." Rage said from his seat next to Jandar.
" We know she's making vampires with Balthazar's help." Cutter said. " But is that all? And why?"
[ Isn't it obvious.] The Baron said. [ She plans to make the world over into her image.]
" I don't think so." Kalin said.
" Neither do I." Valkar told them. " That makes no sense. What's she going to start farming humans to fed all these vampires?"
" And how would she control them?" Azeal asked. They all nodded their agreement.
" She's planning something else." Jandar said. " And we need to know what it is before its to late to stop her."
All their talk made sense to the Baron. Muerte was not one to have followers. But what did she want? He went over to Texa and hovered before her.
[ Then free me of her influences and I will go spy on her.] All fear of the goddess was gone from his eyes. [ With luck, she will reveal something that will help us.]
" You have to cast the spells." She told Kalin. " They were meant for you. Take my hand and the spell will be yours to use."
Kalin stood and took her hand. Suddenly he saw in his mind many different spells in a language he didn't understand. As he concentrated on them he found he could read them. He found the spell he wanted and started the incantation. As Baron Valkar floated before them his image blinked out for a second. Then he was back.
[ It worked!] He said smiling. [I don't feel her pull anymore. I'm free!!!]
" Please find her Baron." Jandar stood and faced him. "We may not have much time."
[ I will be back as soon as I can.]
With that he drifted up and out through the ceiling.
" Good luck Grandfather." Azeal whispered.

Prafa. 38

In Prafa the streets were crowded. All the day walking people were out taking care of any business they had before nightfall when it might be to dangerous to be out. Keeping there faces covered,like most of the people out and about, Valkar and Azeal made there way through the town. Prafa was pretty big as Yadessian towns go. It had its common section and the places were the nobles lived. As the king, Valkar tried his best to treat his people all the same. The noble didn't fair any better then the commoners. Valkar wasn't the kind to treat non wealthy like trash as Balthazar did. He was more the kind to be out in the fields with them, trying to better their crops and livestock. He always made sure everybody in his kingdom had food to eat. And everyone seemed happy, atleast that's what he thought. Now it seems some sided with Balthazar. Well, first things first. Get back on the throne. As they walked they saw the way Balthazar's guards treated the people. They saw some kicked from there homes for not having there money to pay all the taxes Balthazar had imposed. Shops and business taken over by the crown. There were beggars in his kingdom. That was the biggest shock. No one in Yadessa had to beg before. What is that crazy fool doing to his own people? The further they walked, the angrier they became. On one corner they stopped when they saw two guards drag a boy and his father down an alley.
" What could this be?" Valkar asked his son.
" I don't know." Azeal said. " But I think were about to find out. Be careful father."
Valkar smiled as he followed the guards. As they walked into the alley, they could hear the sounds of someone being beaten.
" We told you not to walk in our section didn't we?" They heard. " Now you pay with your lives since you have no money."
" Stop!!" Azeal called. On the ground in front of them the guards had beaten both of them down. The boy was hugging his father begging them to stop. With a final kick the guards turned to them.
" What business is it of yours." One sneered. " Get on your way."
Valkar reached into his pouch and pulled out a gold coin. He tossed it to them.
"You had your fun. Take this and leave them alone."
The coin fell in front on them One man stopped down and retrieved it. He looked it over.
" Its real." He said. He looked at the two stranger and give them a devious smile.
" Maybe you have more?" The other said as he pounded his fist into his hand. " I think its our lucky day. Hand over the money."
" I don't think so." Valkar said as he took down his hood. It was then that the two guards recognized him.
" Its King Valkar!!." One pointed. " He's worth more then a handful of gold. Let's take him!"
The guards rushed forward, One at Valkar and the other at Azeal. Azeal spun around and kicked the man as he lunged at him in the stomach. He fell back and pulled his knife from his side and moved back to stab at Azeal. He caught the mans arm in one hand and struck out with the other connecting with his jaw. The guard went down and Azeal hit him again knocking him out. The other guard that had attacked Valkar pulled his sword and tried to run him through. Valkar side stepped and hit the man in the wrist knocking the blade from his hand. The guard backed up. He knew he couldn't beat the ex king. His only chance was to get away and get help. As he turned to run, the boy came up from behind with a plank and hit him. The guard fell to the ground knocked out. Azeal and Valkar looked at the boy. He was dressed in rags like the other beggars they had seen, He looked hunger and weak.
" Thank you son." Valkar smiled. Azeal rushed over to the boys father to check his wounds. The guards had beat him pretty bad, but Azeal thought his weakness from not eatting was most severe problem.
"We have to get them some food and rest father." Azeal picked the man up.
" Where are you taking him?" The boy asked rushing to his fathers side.
"To a safe place." Valkar told him. " Your coming to."
" There is no safe place here." The boy said. " Not since they took our house and my fathers shop."
" We have to get off the streets." Valkar said. " Azeal, if you carry him, people will want to know what's wrong. Can he walk with help?"
" Yes, I can." The man said. " You can put me down. Just give me your arm and help me along."
Azeal put the man down on his feet. He almost fell but Valkar caught him.
"What's your name?" Valkar asked walking the man down the alley to the street.
" I'm Ushar. your majesty." He said quietly. " And this is my son Brand."
" Hello to both of you." Valkar said. " We have to get to the blacksmith. Do you know where it is?"
" Right over there." Brand pointed to the shop. Valkar turned and looked. There was a guard between them and the smiths shop. They needed to distract the guard to get pass him.
" We need to get past him." Valkar said.
" I know what to do!" Brand ran across the street and tapped the guard on his side. The guard turned to look at Brand then stooped to hear what he said. Then he ran off up the street as fast as he could. Brand waved them over.
" Quickly!" He said.
With Azeal on one side and Valkar on the other they made there way to the blacksmith. Looking as casual as they could, Azeal knocked on the smiths door. a bald man answered. He looked at the two hooded men and the boy.
" Well?" He said. Valkar pulled back his hood to show his face. Wide eyed Luther slide open the door and helped them in. Valkar and Azeal carried Ushar to an arm chair and sat him down.
" Majesty." Luther said. " We've been expecting you. What happened to him?"
" He and his son." Azeal pointed to the boy. " Were beaten by some guards. We stepped in to stop them."
Luther rushed to the window and looked out in all directions.
" Don't worry, they didn't see us come in here." Valkar threw off his cloak and put it on a peg by the door. Azeal found a pitcher of fresh water and got Ushar a drink.
" Sir. They need something to eat." Valkar said. "Do you have a feeding animal they can draw from?"
" Yes, but Sire. They know your here." Luther. " Can we trust them?"
"We are loyal to you." Ushar said." If you were on the throne, we wouldn't be begging for our lives. Balthazar is the cause of all this. Your fight is our fight. Besides, who else can get around this town as easily as we can?"
" This is going to be dangerous." Valkar told him. " I can't ask this of you."
" You fight for us, right?"He sat up in his chair. Brand came and stood by his side.They looked up at Valkar." We want our lives back. If that means we have to fight for it, that's what we'll do. Right son?"
" Yes, father." Brand said. Valkar clapped Brand on his shoulder and smiled.
" Your going to need your strength. Luther will take you to feed."
" Sire, you have guest waiting for you in my shop." Luther told him. " Follow me. You to young Brand. I'll show you to the feed and you can take your father something to hold him until he can feed himself."
Luther led them, through the house to the back. They went outside and he showed Brand where he kept his livestock. Off to the left there was another building. There he did all his smith work. Valkar and Azeal followed Luther as he opened the door and ushered them in. Inside they found Angela and Arturus sitting at the table talking. When they saw him they both got up and bowed. Valkar rushed over and hugged Angela.
" I'm so glad you alright." He said hugging her close.
" Thank you your majesty." Angela smiles. " Its good to be free."
" Call me Valkar." He waved Azeal forward. " This is my son, Azeal. This is Lady Angela Gaelich and Arturus Gaelich her husbands brother."
" You mean as in Balthazar Gaelich?" Azeal stood looking at them in shock.
" Yes, he's is my husband." She said. "But I'm hoping to end that part of my life forever."
From behind them something stirred. Azeal walked over behind Angela and saw the huge blanket covering something. He poked at and it moved. In surprise he stepped back and pulled his sword.
" What is that!!"
" That's Sting." Angela said. A large clawed arm reached up and pushed off its cover. Sting with his great insect like body stood and turned toward Azeal. Azeal stared open mouthed as its statue became taller and taller until he towered over Azeal. Clicking sounds came from him.
" He's with me." Angela told them moving to it's side to help it. " Balthazar did this to him. He was one of my guards, now he's my friend .
[ King Valkar] Sting spoke in his head. [Help us.]
Valkar stared at Sting. His anger at Balthazar rose ten fold. How could he do this to one of his own?
[Punishment.] Sting told him. [ I hear you in head.] Sting tapped the shell covering his head.
"That's it." Valkar said saddened by what he saw. " I cant let him torture anyone else. Tonight we begin our move."

After eating and getting some rest, Ushar and Brand crept from the house. From alley to alley they moved in silence talking to every beggar, all those displaced by Balthazar. The poor sitting in there huts wondering how they came to this, they remembered that things were not always like this. Valkar's call was heard passed all over the town. Quietly they gathered. In the market, in the square, whispers could be heard of rebellion. There King has come to lead them back to the peaceful way it should be in Yadessa. Balthazars guards on the streets heard rumors of something going on, but it was to late. One by one they began to disappear, until soon the streets were filled with people screaming for there blood. Valkar, Azeal, Angela and Sting soon joined the fighting. Valkar single handed and Azeal armed with Justice battled side by side with Luther, Ushar and Brand. Angela blasting Balthazar's troops and Sting swatting and tearing them apart. Soon the town was back in their hands and the people were cheering. Any and all that favored Balthazar took flight from the city to warn their lord of Valkars return, for his day would soon come. The battle had begun. Yadessa would be free.
After Prafa was free, men loyal to Valkar began to flock to Prafa. They all came to pledge there swords to their real king. It seemed there were many in Yadessa not satisfied with Balthazar's rule, and not even his magic could change that. Soon the city was fortified. Walls were built high, pits were dug with sharp spikes. Angela set magical traps around the outside incase spies lurked and tried to get in. She also put a spell on the gates and walls. This spell would warn them if anyone that had not sworn the oath to Valkar and Azeal entered. All was ready for the coming war. All Valkar had left to do was get the dragons involved, and Cutter was on his way to talk to the Baron when he returned.

A Son goes home to Rest. 37

Sitting on the edge on the bed, Azeal watched his brother Ranjer sleep. He and his father had gotten word from Pelic of Athene's safe return and the fight. Knowing she was safe gave them a chance to check on Ranjer. Valkar hadn't seen his youngest son since he left for Tir Na with Drake. He stood at the door admiring his two sons. Tresandra walked up and stood beside Valkar at the door.
" He's an angel isn't he?" She said.
" Yes. He looks like his mother." He turned to her and took her hand.
" Thank you for taking him." Valkar said a tear in his eye." I dread to think what could have happened had he been in Yadessa when Balthazar took over."
" Then don't." She said. " He's safe that's all we need to think about."
" But so many are not." Valkar walked into the common room and sat down and put his hands in his hands."How am I going to get that monster out of my home? How many more have to suffer because of him?"
Tresanda walked over and sat beside him smoothing out her dress as she sat.
"I know people in Yadessa are suffering." She told him. "But there are a lot still in there that support you and your way of rule. You know that. All the killing Balthazar is doing proves it. If you take a stand, they will follow."
[ Yes they will. My son.]
Valkar jumped up out of his seat and looked around for whoever had just spoke to him. Next to him, Tresandra also wondered where the voice had come from. Then a blurry outline began to form of a man dressed in fine noble wear. They both could tell this was a spirit. Valkar recognize him as Baron Valkar, his namesake. Tresandra also know who he was. In Tir Na, he was infamous. The look of horror on Tresandra face saddened the Baron, so he spoke to her privately next.[
Lady Tyr. If I could become alive again to suffer all the horrors I made your people suffer, I would. I know you won't believe me, but death and the punishments I have endured since my death have taught me so much. I'm here to help in any way I can. I owe your people so much lady. But there is something I can do for the were folk. There is a spirit I know of that is lost and he needs to be put to rest. He was one of my victim. The one I most regret. He is an ancestor of your family. I don't do this for forgiveness. I know you never can. I do it because it needs to be done.]
" What is going on?" Valkar asks. Tresandra stood there with a strange look.
" Is he accosting you?" Valkar jumped to his feet.
" No." She said. " He wants to help me with something."
[ I will show you where Danik Tyr is.]
Tresandra's eyes opened wide with surprise. Danik's body had been lost in the war. His father killed vampires until his last day looking for his sons remains to put him to rest.
[Gran son.] Baron Valkar said. [The Lady Angela is free. She awaits you in Prafa in the blacksmiths house. I have to pay back a debt here I never can. I will meet you there after I am done.]
" Valkar." Tresandra called.
" Can I trust him?"
" Yes." He said. " Trust him."
Valkar stood and rushed to the bedroom and got Azeal. They bid Tresandra good bye and left on their way to Prafa.
Standing in her common room with the spirit of Baron Valkar, the werewolves most hated enemy. Tresandra asked him an important question.
" What will I need to free his soul?"
[Just a blood relative.] He told her. [I will take you to his remains.]
" I'll get my daughter to watch the little one and then I'll go with you Baron Valkar, but I will have my say to you." She said in a scolding tone." There's not many in the lands that have fallen to your depravity in life. You killed whole clans of my people in some of the worse ways. I remember hearing stories of you using our children in hunts for your enjoyment. How could you hate us that bad? What did we do to deserve it?"
[ Nothing.] He sad sadly. [It wasn't your people, it was me. I deserve your hate and distrust. There is no punishment severe enough for my deeds and there will be no rest for me ever. When my soul is released, I will go back to my torture. To my hell where I belong. Just let me do these small things that I can, and believe how sorry I am for my whole life.]
"I'm going to call Sharone now." She told him. " While I do that, I want you to go see the young one rest in the room here."
[ I don't need to.] The baron said. [ I have more then enough pain in my heart then to have to look at a small werewolf like Danik.]
" But I insist you see him Baron." She stood with her hands on her hips. " Go see the child."
[ As you wish Lady.] His form floated across the room and entered Ranjer's room. In his bed Ranjer slept looking the part of innocence itself. His youth and his need for protection gripped the Baron. I am a monster he thought to have hurt something as precious is this.
[ You have a handsome son there.] He said.
" No." She told him. " You do. That's your grandchild in there, Valkar's son. We are raising him but he is a vampire and we love him with all our hearts. He is also your legacy. No one here blames him for your deeds, no one in this whole city. I see you in him, so I must forgive you. But he will learn better then you did. He will learn love and peace, thou I'm sure there will be battles for him in his day."
The Baron leaned closer in to Ranjer. He could see Valkar and himself in the handsome child. After all he and his people had done to them, these people cared for one of his kind like there own. How wrong he had been about them, about so many things he thought.
[ I wish there was a way I could face Azeal Tyr to ask his forgiveness.] The Baron said. [ But I can't. Your people are so much more then I ever thought. A noble race. I will not keep Danik waiting any longed.]
" Agreed." She put her wrap around her shoulders and headed for the door to leave. As Baron Valkar waited, Sharone and her husband came running up. Tresandra told them of the errand she was going on and told them to care for Ranjer. Sharone agreed and her and Aggar when into the Manor. Tressandra took her wrap from the door then shifted to her wolf form and took off through town.
The Baron led her on her way through town and off towards a border of Yadessa. The place they were looking for was an old vampire fort on the border. It had been abandoned for centuries. Most of it was in ruins, but there were places in the back area where vampires that had died in battle were buried. There the Baron stopped.
[This is where he is.] The Baron pointed to an unmarked grave. [ He lies here.]
Tresandra stopped and made the shift to back to her normal form. She looked down and found an old tombstone with faded writing on it. Tresandra took the hem of her dress and wiped away years of dust and dirt and looked closer at the writing.  It read in Yadessian.

HERE LIES OLEG MAJKA OF PRAFA.
LIEUTENANT TO KARL BELENOFF WARCHIEF
OF VASAGI.
DIED OF HIS WOUNDS IN THE BATTLE OF
DRESSLINA.
R.I.P

"Oleg Majka of Prafa?" Tresandra looked up at Valkar. "I don't understand.
[Oleg Majka didn't die at Dresslina." He told her. "He lived many many years after that battle in hiding. His brother claimed the body and put up the stone. Oleg was a coward. His brother Alec was trying to hide his disgrace by hiding Danik's body. This is where Danik lies, trust me.]
Tresandra had her doubts but there was a way to prove id he was right. All she had to do was call Drake and have him call Danik up. If he was there, his sould would rise.
[Drake!] She sent out. [Hear me my husband.]
[Tresandra?] He answered. [Is something wrong with Ranjer?]
[No.] She told him. [ But I need you to come to me, Its very important.]
[ I'm on my way.]
There was much she could have said to the Baron. But what would be the point. She could see by the look in his eyes he was sincere. His pain was his to endure, so why add to it? The place they were in was a small cemetery. Filled with his dead allies. These were people that killed her ancestors, A shiver went through her as she stood there.
[Yes,] He said. [They were my warriors. I hope all of them found peace on the other side.]
" That depends on what's in their heart." Tresandra walked over and stood over Danik's grave. " If they were as black hearted as you were, you know the answer."
[Yes, I do.] He settled near her. [ I am the cause of all you see here. That damned war was all my doing. My anger, my pride. All of it, me.]
" Then you know what you must do." She took her wrap from around her shoulder and put it on Danik's unmarked grave. " For Ranjer and for Danik, you have to help put things right. Help get Valkar back on his throne. Make Yadessa safe again."
" Who are you talking to?"
Tresandra turned and saw her husband and her son standing on a ridge over the cemetery. Drake and Tof hopped down and walked over to her. Tresandra kissed and hugged them both with tears in her eyes.
" Mother, what is this place?" Tof asked.
" It's an ancient cemetery from the war." She told them. " Most of these people were our most feared enemies."
" I see." Drake said as he stooped to read the grave markers. " Most of them are high ranking vampires from Baron Valkar's court. Why are we here, Tres?"
"For this one." She put her hand on the stone covered with her wrap. Drake took off the wrap to read the stone. But he didn't recognise the name. He knew it was the resting place of a vampire, but he still had no idea why they were here. He looked at his wife in confusion.
" I don't understand." He said. " Who's grave is this?"
" It's the grave of Danik Tyr." She said.
Drake fell to his knees. He couldn't believe what she was saying. They had searched for years after his death for his body. But never found it. It was thought that the vampires had destroyed it out of contempt for there enemy.
" Could it be true?" He asked. "Could this be our lost one?"
[ Have your husband call him up.] The Baron told her. [Then you have to remove the remains and place him in a grave of your choice. Next to his father if you can. That's what they deserve to be. Then he will have final rest.]
" It's him Drake." She put her hand on his shoulder. " We have to take him home."
" How is this possible?" He asked. Both Drake and Tof looked at her in disbelief.
" How did you find him?"
" I had help. I'll tell you all about it later." She said. " For now, call him to you."
Drake removed the wrap then put his hand on the gravestone.
" Danik Tyr, lost son of Azeal Tyr. I am Drake Tyr. You are our lost son. Come to us so we can take you home to the rest of your family. Your father awaits."
A soft glow started to grow from all around the grave. It grew brighter and brighter until it was blinding. Then in a flash it was gone and the transparent form of a little boy floated over the grave. Danik Tyr had risen. With a sharp intake of her breathe, Tresandra fell to her knees in tears. Wide eyed in surprise, both Tof and his father stared at the spirit.
"He looks like Ono when he was younger!!" Tof said.
[ Father?] Danik called.
"We are your kin." Drake told him. " We will take you home to rest."
 Danik moved from the grave and floated over to Drake.
[ You look like my father, but I know you are not him. Please take me home.]
" Come with us Little one." Tresandra held out her hand to him. He came over and took her hand.
It didn't take them long to dig up Danik's remains and collet them. Drake took Tresandra's wrap, laid it out and wrapped his bones. Carefully Drake passed him to Tof the smiled.
"Let's go home."
Danik looked back over his shoulder as the made there way back up the ridge.
[ Thank you Baron.] They all heard him say.
" Yes." Tresandra called. "Thank you Baron. You have done a good thing today."

A Dragon's Pain. 36


Morning dawned as Fiero flew high over Jorania. Muerte would be looking for him when she woke. But for now, he had been traveling for hours and and was weary from the fight with Eheren and his struggle within himself. He knew deep down, something was wrong here. But every time they came near her, Their free will was completely ripped away and they were under her control. Even from a distance, he was under her control. What was it the beautiful bronze had over him and his brothers? Below him was her castle. He looked down but kept on and passed over it. A few minutes more and he would be at the cave. Angling his wings Fiero started to spiral down for a landing. Outside of the cave, Maxius waited for him. He looked confused, like he had no idea where he was, He was looking around at the landscape. Like he had lost something. Fiero landed and shifted to his human form. Maxius saw him and walked over.
" Whats wrong brother?" He asked.
" I don't know." He said. " But something is missing, and this is not out home."
" Its her home." Fiero told him.
"Who Jade?" Maxius still had that far away look on his stern face.
" Who?" Fiero asked.
He was becoming confused to. The name sounded familiar, but he couldn't quite connect it with a face.
" I don't know." The water dragon said. He reached up and banged hid forehead. " What is wrong with me?" He asked. " Why does my head hurt so much? Why cant I clear things in my head. I cant even dream right anymore. Can you?"
" No, I cant." He put his arm around Maxius's shoulder and walked him into the cave. Arik sat in the corner quiet. Fiero was worried. That was the same place he had been before they were called to her. This was not right, Arik should be in the air, not here lost in his head in a cave. This is not how we dragons exist. He took Maxius over to Arik and sat him down. Arik looked at him with tears in his eyes.
" Who am I?" He asked. " I don't know anymore. Help me."
Fiero hugged his brothers close to him. The sorrow in him raged. Suddenly he didn't care what the bronze wanted. His brothers were far more important. He had to help them find themselves and be free of her.
" Come brothers." He told them. " Our dreams await us. There we can find peace."
[ How?] Maxius asked as he shifted and took his place in there new lair. Fiero and Arik shifted and found their places.
[ I will direct our dreams.] He sent to them. [ Just sleep and clear your minds. I will do the rest.]He didn't know it, but that was when the first crack showed itself in Muerte's spell. A crack even she wouldn't notice until it was to late. Fiero had taken the first step to there freedom and the pain in his head was a little less.

As the sun left the sky, Muerte stirred from her sleep. She was hungry. She hadn't fed in two days and her appearance showed it. The beautiful red hair was greying and she could feel her face was drawing back. Tightening up. That would not do. She got up from her silken bed and made her way down into the castle. There she had certain men from town kept just for her. As she walked, all the nightwalkers in the castle bowed to her. She could feel there fear of her in their minds. Their thoughts were so clear to her. Suddenly a stray thought came to her. But it couldn't be true. She sniffed at the air. She couldn't find any blood scent on the air. They had fed on the men she separated and forbid them to touch.
"YOU HAVE DEFIED ME?" She screamed. " I HAVE GIVING YOU IMMORTAL LIFE AND YOU HAVE TAKEN WHAT IS MINE!!" She grabbed the closest vampire and ripped off his head and threw him against the wall.
" HOW DARE YOU!!" As she grew angrier, her feature became more horrendous. Her arms grew thin but powerful, Her hair became totally grey. Talons and long teeth and fangs became needle sharp. She became the devil she always was at heart. With a single thought all the doors in the castle leading out slammed shut. One by one she tore mostly everyone there to pieces. The few that lived she gathered together and in the courtyard.
"YOU ARE ALL MY CATTLE. EVERYTHING YOU DO FROM THIS POINT ON IS FOR ME. IF ANY OF YOU EVERY DISOBEY ME AGAIN, THERE WILL BE NO PLACE IN HELL YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HIDE FROM ME." She seethed at them. " NOW BECAUSE OF YOUR GREED, I MUST FIND FOOD."
"Mistress." one man stepped up to talk. "We can find you someone if it pleases you."She walked over to him and caressed his face. He smiled then gagged as she ripped out his throat and pushed him aside.
" YOUR HELP IS NOT NEEDED." she opened her arms and sprang into the air and shifted to a vampire bat and flew off into the night.The village was quiet as Muerte came to roost in a tree in the center of the few houses that the villagers had built. There was no one awake here. Everyone had bedded down to be up for and early morning. There were crops to be harvested. Cows to be milked if they were to survive the coming winter. Everyone there would have to work together. And they all would if they were going to live. But the dark shadow moving from house to house promise them all an undead life from that night on. Muerte didn't leave a soul there to wake in the next morning, at least not as a human. they would wake though, as undead nightwalkers. Full and back to her glorious beautiful self, Muerte took back to the air. She was anxious to see what Fiero and Herin had bought her back. She had sent them after the bindings on Gannon's book. A very important part of the book. The bindings could tell her where to find the most important spells the book held. Spells she needed very much.

Deep in there dreams Fiero watched Arik sail through the skies riding thermals and laughing. He knew how much his brother loved been in the air. He was happy at last. A warm spring rain began, it smelled of spring flowers now. Arik was watering the field of colorful flower he was over. To the left, Fiero looked to Maxius diving in and out of the ocean. both his brothers felt so much better he knew. He was glad for them. Fiero knew hard days were on the way. Soon she would call for them to do something for her. Fiero wasn't sure if he could resist her. He would try, but she was very strong. Fiero sat back and watched them enjoy nature. Suddenly a woman in a pale green gown came walking towards him. Who was she to enter there dreams? But she was beautiful. She was tall with blond hair with streaks of green in it. She was smiling it him as she came closer. Then she stopped. the look on her face changed. Now she looked like she was struggling. She held her hands out and started to bang against some barrier he couldn't see. Fiero stood and started to walk towards her. He wanted to know who she was. Suddenly she vanished and the bronze was there in her place. She had an evil smile on her face. Lightning flashed behind her as she spoke.
" COME TO ME."
From the sky he heard Arik's scream as he plunged to earth clutching his head. Fiero watch him shake as he fell.
" No!!" Fiero screamed out. He got up and ran to him, hoping to catch his brother. Closer and closer to the ground he fell. Then suddenly Fiero jumped up awake. He look over to his brothers and saw the pained expression on there sleeping faces. Rocking back and forth, Fiero called out for help in his mind. There had to be someone that could hear him. But no one heard his cry's.

On a dark mystical island hidden from all but the magically inclined, there was a cave. It's a forbidden place seen only by the dead. There you can find the entrance to the Underworld. This cave is not guarded by any demons or three headed dogs. There are no special spells you need to get in. Anyone can enter, but you have to be very special to get out. On any day you can find a long line of spirits waiting to get in. With a soul at the gate with a list of who you are and where your going once in. For most, its a beautiful, wonderful place to spend your eternal rest. But for some, its called Hell and Hades and many other names that cause fear to run along your spine. And rightly so, because this it the place where you will receive your final rewards. Good or bad. The lord of this place is a just god. Only interested in justice. He will judge the life in front of him fairly, and give you every chance to explain your deeds. But if evil ruled your life and that's all that was in your heart, his judgement will be harsh. And your punishment will be severe. His name is Nestor. And he has ruled here since his brother the high god Rimnar set him there. In all his days here, only one has ever escaped, and today she returns.

Back in Keanna, Aramis, Jack, Jade, Ono and Shayn arrived home. Jandar and Rage was happy to see them back. Valen hugged Jade and then he introduced her to everyone else at the Manor. It was a happy occasion, except for the fact that a few were still out on missions. Denner, Eheren, Kalin and Tanis were on ther way back with a new friend. They hadn't said much about her, except that she could help them with Gannon's book. Athene, Cheshire, Ariel,Toric and the Shadows were still in the field with Valkar and Azeal. They were working on freeing Yadessa from Balthazar's grip. Valkar had told Jandar about Angela, Balthazar's long imprisoned wife. And what an asset she might be in the coming future. Jandar marveled at how large his family had gotten.
" We are so many now." He told Rage as the sat in the garden and watched Tomar's children play with other children of town.
" Yes, and to think this town started as a place to hide." Rage said. "Now New Keanna is being placed on maps. We send representatives to council in Winterhaven and Tir Na and other far off places. I never thought our home would get so big."
" Do you mind?" Jandar asked.
" Not as long as we're all together." Rage told him. As they talked, Valen and Jade walked into the garden and came to their table.
" I hope this is good news." Rage said waving them in. " Have a seat."
" We've come to tell you, we know who the enemy is." Valen and Jade took a seat at the table. Jandar and Rage looked at them intently, ready for the news.
" First, call Aramis and Jax to join us." Valen said. " There going to be important in the coming days."
[Aramis, can you and Jax please join us in the garden.]
" We're right here." Aramis said as he and Jack turned the corner into the garden. Jax smiled and waved as they pulled over chairs to sit in.
"Now Valen." Rage asked. " Whats this all about?"
" Its about the two of you." He pointed to Jax and Aramis."
" Us?" Aramis looked shocked. " What do you mean? Jax has told me we're brothers. But that's all he could say. Since then he's been stricken dumb, without speech. Do you know something of whats happening here?"
"Yes." Valen told them. " I have known you and your brother since my younger days. You are brothers. And your father is someone that has had a great influence on me and my clan."
Jax sat up straight and gave him his full attention. He wasn't sure if this was what his father planned, but he figured he'd soon find out.
" Im sure Jax knows what I'm talking about." They all looked to Jax as he sat calmly there and nodded his agreement. Aramis looked at everyone at the table. He didn't know what Valen was talking about. His memory was not much better then the day he had arrived. In his mind, he still saw flashes of her. Her smile and her laugh. But mostly her angry face and how it haunted him. He had this feeling that not many dared to cross her, and those that did, didn't regret it long.
" Tell me who I am if you know." Aramis stood and banged the table.
" You are Vitale, god of life." Valen told him. "Your father is Rimnar, the high father of all the gods. He is Jax, god of celebration and justice, and the woman we fight. She is Muerte, your wife, goddess of death."
Valen sat back and waited for Aramis's reaction. He looked at them in disbelief. He didn't believe them at all.
" I see from your look, you don't believe me." Valen stood and looked around. He saw an apple tree growing in the garden. He reached down and picked the apple from the ground and split it open as he walked back to them.
" Hold out your hand palm up." Valen told him. Aramis did as he was told not understanding what he wanted to do or how he was going to prove his statement. Valen plucked seeds from the apple and dropped them onto his palm. Everyone watched his hand as the seed began to sprout and grow. Roots began to curl out, then small leaves grew.
" Drop it in the soil there." Jandar told him pointing to place far enough from the other trees to get all the light it needs. He did as Jandar told him then turned back to them.
" So what, " He said. " I have magic. Be sides, I don't want to be a god. Gods lived high above everyone, separate from real people. These are my people now. Jandar, Rage and the people of Keanna, This is where I belong. Both Jax and I."
" Then help them. Vitale." Valen said. "Or surly she will make this world into a hell none of us ever want to see."
" Call me Aramis." He said. " I may be this Vitale you say I am. But I still don't remember any of it. Until I do, I'll be Aramis. So what now?"
" We need to to know what she is up. " Valen said. " We have to be ready for her. So we can plan a way to stop her."
"Then we need someone close to her." Rage said. " I can only think of one person that can get that close to her."
" Who?" Jade asked. " You know someone that can get close to her?"
" The Baron!" Jandar told them. " He's the only one that can do this."
Jandar told them about Baron Valkar Zlenka. He told them as much of his history as he knew and that only a few people could find him. Luckily, Cutter was back. He should be able to locate him.
" But it will be dangerous for him." Jandar said. " Even as a spirit there's horrible things she can do to him. She's the goddess of death, just imagine."
" We don't have to," Jade said looking sad. " We've seen her work long ago. We know what she can do. That's why we're so intent on stopping her at all cost."
" I've sent a message to Cutter." Rage told them. " He's going to try and find the Baron. All we have to do now is wait."
" Yes." Jandar told them, getting up from the table." It's time we all get some rest. We have rooms for both of you ready."
" I cant sleep in doors." Valen and Jade got to there feet. " We will be in the forest resting. Call us when you have word of the Baron."
Shifting to dragon form Valen reached out his leg for Jade to climb on to. Once comfortable on his neck, he opened his wings and took to the skies. Rage and Jandar watched them fly into the sunset then went into the Manor to rest. The next few days they expected would not be easy. They would all need their rest.