With sad eyes, Aramis and his brothers returned to earth to figure out their next move. Jandar had told them of the dead lands Muerte had left. This seemed like it would be a place they should investgate. As they landed they could feel her presence all around them. Aramis found many dead animals lying around. This was her death magic, he could tell.
" So what do we do now?" Atol asked as he walked around the camp. "She's devastated the lands here, home is but a memory now, What do we do?"
" We do what father would want us to do." Aramis said. " We have to end this."
Jax nodded, he still wasn't use to talking so he was silent for now. But the memories of what he saw in Fortis still overwhelmed him. He wasn't use to the thought of any gods dying, but he had seen it with his owe eyes. How could she be so powerful? Jax didn't know how they could destroy her, but there had to be a way. Then Jax remember the last words he heard as they were leaving.
" Did either of you hear mothers voice before we left Fortis?
Aramis and Atol looked over to Jax in astonishment, then at one another. Neither of them had heard her or anything else.
" What are you talking about?" Aramis asked as he wondered around the clearing.
" As we made to leave Fortis. I heard a voice." Jax told them as he sat on a log.
" It was mothers voice."
" What did she say?" Aramis asked. He moved over from the forest edge where he was listening for any sounds of life. He didn't hear anything. Jandar was right, Muerte had killed the entire forest and all the surrounding lands
" She said to find Alea and free her." Alee's eyes brightened up at his sisters name. He had searched for years for her, he and Nestor. But this time they had to succeed.
" So we find her this time." Atol said. " But where?"
" That's easy." Aramis said.
" Yeah?" Alee held his arms. " Where is she?"
" Up there, every night." He pointed up into the sky. the rest of them looked up and frowned. Alee smacked his head.
" Of course." He said, " She still has to make her ride. she just disappears when her rides over."
" But the problem is, we have to free her." Jax told them. " And theres only one way to break that spell. we have to know it. And unless you have a plan that will make Muerte tell us the spell, we have a problem."
" There had to be a way to get that spell." Atol said as he paced around the camp. All the rest of his brothers sat and thought. They racked their brains for an answer.
" Where was she when it happened?" Alee asked.
" She was in Yadessa." Aramis told them. Atol stopped and looked at him.
" You mean the home of the vampires?"
" Yes." Jax said. " She started it there with the Baron."
" Baron Valkar?" Atol asked. " Valkar's resurrected ancestor?"
" He was the first its been said." Jax jumped to his feet. " You think its possible?"
" If he was there." Aramis said. " He may know something."
" Well he's in Prafa with the rest of them." Alee said as he stood.
" Then that's where we go next." Aramis reached out to help Jax up. " Let's get on to Prafa."
As Prafa slept Tanis hurried down the street heading for Luther's house. His father Balthazar had told him that dragons were attacking Yadessa. Rage and Valkar had to be told. He rushed up to the front of Luther's house and pounded on the door. He could hear someone shuffling to the door.
" Hold on, I'm coming." He heard just before the door opened. " Master Tanis, what in the world do you want at this hour?"
" I need to see Valkar now." He said.
" He's sleeping, can't it wait?" Grumbled Luther.
" No it can't." Tanis pushed past him and strode towards the stairway up to the upper floor. Once there he walked to the last door in the hall and knocked. To his right a door opened and Azeal stepped out.
" Tanis. what are you doing?" He asked.
" Trouble in Yadessa." he said. Azeal looked at him in surprise. " Can you get Rage? We need him."
" I'll call him now." As they talked Valkar opened his door Dressed in a golden colored robe. He yawned then look to his guest.
" Is something wrong?" He asked.
" Yadessa is under attack." Tanis told him.
" What!!" In shock Valkar threw open his door to let them in as he threw off his rode
and started getting dressed
" How do you know this?" He asked. " And who's attacking? Azeal, get my boots from the closet."
As Azeal retrieved his fathers boots, Tanis told him about Balthazar's message.
" Dragons." He stopped and turned to them. " Rage?"
" No." Azeal said. " Rage knows nothing about this. He said he's on his way to Yadessa to help. He wants to know what you want to do?"
Valkar got in his pants and fastened them while he thought about it. He know he had to respond to Balthazar's request and he would need Rage and the other dragons. This could be his way back into Yadessa. But he knew he couldnt do this covertly, he had to get Yadessa back honorable. Valkar grabbed his jacket and made for the door.
" Eheren is in Prafa right?"
" Yes." Azeal told him as he followed his father and Tanis down the hall.
" Tell Rage to meet us in the air outside of Yadessa." He said. " And have Eheren meet me us at the gates. We fly tonight."
Deep in the underworld tensions were high. Azeal Tyr, had gathered together many different souls to fight Muerte when she came back. Unfortunately they all knew this was to be a suicide mission. Many were scared. They had no idea what would happen if they were struck down by her. Azeal told them there wasn't really much of a choice, Muerte had planned to empty the underworld, and no one would be coming back. This didn't frighten Azeal, doing the same thing to the living world did. Fort centuries he had been talking to the newly arrived, and he knew the werewolves flourished. He even knew if his ancestor. Especially the tales of a certain werewolf mage from Tir Na and his family. Baron Valkar had told him of Jandar and Rage and their fights to save both races, and others. He was proud of them. This was what he had fought for all those centuries go. Now it was time to do it again and he was ready.
" Love." Rage shook Jandar awake, " Wake up. We have to go."
" Whats wrong." Jandar asked as he sat up. " Is everyone alright? Ono and Shayn?"
" Their fine." Rage said as he pushed away the covers and got up to dress.
" Then what is it?" Jandar asked.
" Theres been a dragon attack." He said. He grabbed clothing for the both of them and tossed some to Jandar.
" That's impossible!!" Jandar shouted as he dressed. " What dragons? None of our clan would attack. Whos being attacked?"
" Yadessa." Rage told him. He grabbed his crimson jacket and was ready to go but he waited while Jandar got dressed in a hurry. Together they left their suite and headed out of the manor. As they walked Jandar called Dreik and Denner. They told them Valkar had trouble and to meet them at the gate.
" So where do you think these dragons came from?" Jandar asked.
" I don't know." He said. " But theres someone we could ask that might know."
" Who?" Jandar asked as they left the manor.
" Valen." Rage explained. " As the first dragon he should know the whereabouts of all the dragon clans. If there are renegade dragons loose, he'll know about them."
Outside the manor the streets of New Keanna were busy with people going about their business. Dreik and Denner caught up with them as they headed towards the gates.
" Whats going on?" Dreik asked.
" Yadessa is being attacked." Rage told them.
" By who?" Denner asked.
" Dragons." Jandar said.
" Dragon?" Dreik said. He turned to Rage " Can you sense anything?"
" I feel confusion and pain." Rage said. " And its not from any of us. Its from Valen's clan."
Rage stopped and looked at Cutter.
" Yes." He said. " Theres more then just him and Jade. Theres three more dragons in his clan."
" But why would they be attacking?" Denner asked.
" And why hasn't Valen done something about it?" Jandar asked. " Where is he anyway?"
" I don't know." Rage told them. " We do need to find him. Theres a job for Shayn and Ono."
" I'll Call them as we fly." Jandar said.
At the gate Rage waved to the gatekeeper. They waved back and hit the switch to activate the gate system. As Rage and the others stood at the gate it slowly rose over there heads. Once open they stepped out and started down the road.
" We don't know whats going on in Yadessa." Rage said. " But we can't trust Balthazar, he may be behind this. Be careful. we don't want any of you hurt."
With That,Rage shifted to dragon form and Jandar climbed on his back and they took off. Denner took the form of a pegasus and Dreik climbed on. Denner spread his wings and they took off to Yadessa to battle their own kind.
In the town of Relos the day had gone peacefully as usual. Farmers worked their fields, shopkeepers tended their stores and children played. In the hills above town, something lurked in the woods watched. Its eyes red with rage and death on its mind. Below the hill was a road into town. Slowly it crept out of the woods and down to the road. Just off the road inside the wall city stood a few farms. No one knew what was on its in to their little town but soon no one would be safe.
In the furthest farm out from town, something knocked down the fence and found the farms cattle. They were fenced into a pen that kept them from wandering into the farms fields and crops. From the field hands cabin frantic panicked sounds were heard. The Jeb and Luis, the two hands grabbed swords and ran for the pens. They thought someone must be trying to rustle the farms herd. When they arrived they saw something that chilled their souls. Every cow and bill in the pens was dead. Cut and slashed apart. They walked through the carnage wondering what could have done it. Next to the pens stood a small barn where they kept the feed fort the chickens and other farming equipment. Suddenly they heard noises coming from there. Pulling their swords from the sheaths they advance on the barn. They could hear growling coming out of the barn. Something must have dragged one of the cattle in there to feed on it. What kind of beast could do this? They didn't know, but they would soon find out. Carefully the reached for the barn door and pulled it open. Jeb looked in. He saw nothing and waved his companion in. With swords out and ready they went in. Checking from side to side the two men search the stacks on feed and hay stored there. There was a strange smell in the air. It was rank and made them gag for a second. Suddenly something moved over there heads. They both looked up to see a shadow move on the wall. Neither of them could tell what it was. It looked like a large man in rags. Then they heard a strange growl that made their skin crawl.
" Up there." Luis pointed. together the made there way over to the ladder that would take them ip to the loft upstairs. From behind their backs the both pulled knives to go along with the swords. Now they were ready for anything. just then bales of hay came flying at them from where they had heard the noises. They both dived to the side just in time to keep from getting hit. As the stood they saw it. It wasn't a man and they weren't sure if it was a beast. It had to be close to eight feet tall covered with long brown shaggy fur or hair. Its eyes were beast like and red. Its teeth were long and looked like it could chew through anything. The creature had long arms ending with clawed hands that were covered with blood. It roared and jumped at them. Fear fulled both men as they were attacked. Jeb tried to slash at the creatures chest. The blade just slid off causing no damage at all. The other hand
ran at it and tried to stab at its back. Again, no damage. With a roar it grabbed Jeb and ripped him in two and threw him through the barn wall. After seeing this, Luis tried to turn and run. But it was to late. A long arm reached out and grabbed his arm and pulled him back to it. It raised him up to face it and opened its mouth. This was the face of the most horrid death. The last thing the man saw as his throat was bitten into. Bloody, Antilles dropped the man and walked out of the barn and turned towards the town. Savage death was on its way to Relos.
In the forest of Azia, a winged monster flew back and landed on the crumbling ruins of a pyramid. Once this was his pyramid, now it was but nothing. Cressca was displeased. He had lost all his disciples and sacrifices, but he knew where to find more sacrifices. All the children and adults of Azia would would be his soon. Cressca took a deep breath and let out a silent scream. A hypnotic scream that he knew would drew the people of Azia to him. He folded his wings and took the form of the black robed priest he favored and waited for his food to arrive.
In the sleepy villages of Azia everybody was sound asleep in their beds. Children were dreaming of playing in the fields or going on fantastic adventures. Parents dreamed of casual days without working their fields and just lazing around when a strange noise slipped into their heads. It was a call to them in their sleep that none of could ignore. Throwing off their covers they all climbed out of their beds and left their housed. None of them awake, but all of the suddenly afraid. The noise told them which way to go. Doors opened in all the houses in all the villages and everyone headed into the forest. None of them knew the horror which called them and none could guess that death was the end of their journey, but on they walked.
" AHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Shayn screamed as he woke from the nightmare. Next to him Ono jumped up. He looked around ready to shift and fight whatever was threatening his love. He found nothing there. He reached over and took Shayn in his arms to sooth his fears
" Shhh love." He said. " Theres nothing here."
" But there is." Shayn cried into his shoulder. " But not here. its out there. She's set free things that are killing people. I saw it, I saw it!!
" Its just a dream Shayn." Ono kissed his face.
" No." He said, tears running down his face. " Its real Ono. You of all have to believe me. I saw a monster killing people in a town called Relos. It was a big thing ripping into people as they tried to fight it. I saw people running and hiding. But it found them and killed them. I can show you if you don't believe me."
" No, I believe you." Ono told him. " I saw your dream, I just didn't want to believe it."
" We have to do something." Shayn got up out of bed and grabbed a pair of pants from the chest and put them on.
" Jandar will know what to do." he said as he finished dressing
" Rage and Jandar left." Ono told him. " They're on there way to Yadessa."
" Get dressed." Shayn told him " Cutter is still here. And Jayce and the Shadows. We'll fill Jandar and Rage in as we go. Come on hurry!!"
In Prafa, Athene tossed and turned in her sleep. She was dreaming of a dark figure in a forest calling out to draw people to there deaths. She bolted up in her bed soaked with sweat a scream on her lips. Her door opened and her mother Angela rushed in to her bed.
" What is it Athene?" She sat on the bed and hugged her.
" I saw something in my dreams." She said. " It was horrible"
" Sweetheart, there just nightmares."
Athene pushed back from her mother and looked her deeply in her eyes.
" Not my dreams, Mother." She said. " My dreams are not like others. I see things in my dreams, real things. Things that are happening, future and past."
" What did you see?" Angela asked.
" Cressca, hes alive and back." Athene told her mother.
Angela drew a breath. She knew the name and what Cressca was. He was another death god. Just what they needed.
" What do you want to do?" Her mother asked.
Athene threw off the blankets and got out of bed.
" The time for fear is over." She said. " Muerte is behind this. Its time to destroy her and all her evil once and for all."
The moon had just began its ride through the skies when four men appeared inside the gates of Prafa and met up with the city guards.They had met the guards before, so they let them past into the city. Off into the sleeping city they moved on their mission to find the one they needed, Baron Valkar.
" How do we find him?" Alee asked his brother.
" Valkar will know where he is." Aramis put his hand to his temple and concentrated. He was searching the town for Valkar or anyone he knew. He found two powerful minds in town. Women.
" Valkars not here." He told his brothers.
" Try calling out to Rage or Jandar." Jax told him.
[ Aramis. Where are you?] He answered.
[ In Prafa, looking for Valkar.]
[ He's here in Yadessa with us.] Jandar told him. [ We have a serious problem on our hands.]
[ So do we.] Aramis added.[ We have to find Baron Valkar. Its urgent. He may be the answer to ending all of this]
[ What do you mean?] Jandar asked.
[ My brothers and I have to take care of Muerte. She's to powerful.] He told his friend. [ We think Baron Valkar can help us.]
[ Valkar says to go to the big house in the rear of Prafa. Find the blacksmiths house. Once inside, call him. He will come.]
[ Thank you. Call us if you need our help.]
[ We just might.] Jandar said. [ Good luck.]
" We go this way." Aramis pointed.
Prafa was quiet in the night. No one walked the streets except the sentries set to protect the city. Jandar had said the blacksmiths house would be found in the back of the city. It didn't take them long to find it. Quietly they stepped up to the door and Jax knocked. It wasn't long before before a young lady dressed in black answered the door.
" Aramis?" She said.
" Lady Athene, I'm glad to see you." Aramis reached out and hugged her. Behind him Jax smiled as he saw his friend. She hugged him next.
" I'm glad to see you both." she said. Come in."
" Thank you. These are my brothers." He introduced them to her. " Atol and Alee."
Atol took her hand and kissed it
" Its a pleasure to me you fair lady." He smiled and bowed to her. Athene blushed at his gesture. It wasn't everyday she was faced with such gallantry.
" I guess you know whats going on?" She showed them to the parlor and they sat down.
" You mean whats happening in Yadessa." Jax said. " Yes, Jandar informed us."
" No." she said with a worried look. " So much more has happened."
" What do you mean" Alee asked.
" Muerte his set many things in motion."She explained. " In my dreams I've seen Cressca free. He's drawing all the people of Azia to him and their deaths. My mother and I were about to leave for Azia when you arrived."
" Cressca." Jax frowned. " That sick freak is loose again in the world."
" It figures." Atol said. " He's just like her. All he wants is death to make him more powerful."
" You'll need more the just the two of you to defeat him." Alee told her.
" I'll go with them." Jax said.
Suddenly a voice called out in their minds. It was Ono calling.
" its Ono calling."
[ Yes little brother.]
[ Shayn and I want to make sure you and Angela are safe.] He sent. [ Muerte is sending things out to ravage the lands.]
[ Ono. its Aramis. We know about Cressca.] He sent [ Were going to help put him down.]
[ Cressca?]Ono asked in shock. [That monsters back?]
[ Yes, what were you talking about?]
[ I'm taking the Shadows to Relos after a beast that has torn that city apart.] He told them. [ Shayn saw it in his dreams, I saw it to.]
[ Ono.] Aramis sent. [ You and Shayn stay in New Keanna. The Shadows can take care of whats out in Relos. There maybe more to come. Who's left with you there?]
[ Blaze, Ariel, Nautica, Cutter, Toric, and Cheshire are here.]He told him. [ Oh Blink and Icicle are here to.]
[ Good, that should be enough for missions and to protect New Keanna.] Aramis told him.[ With Jandar and Rage away, you and Shayn are in charge. I want you to keep Cutter at your side and use the others when necessary. Stay in contact with me.]
[ You could come back and take over here.]
[ No I cant.] Aramis told him. [ The magic of New Keanna depends on the dragon clan. Jax and I can visit, maybe even live there. But we cant rule. Now you have work to do. Keep me and Jandar aware of whats going on. Be safe little brother.]
" Now, where is your mother?"
All heads turned to see the beautiful woman descending the staircase in the back of the room. Alee stood and caught his breath. He couldn't believe what he saw. It wasn't possible. could this be?
" Alea?" he walked towards her and stopped at the bottom of the stairs
" We have to go Athene." She walked past Alee ignoring him.
" Mother, This is Lord Aramis and his brothers Jax, Atol, and Alee." She introduced them. " They are here to help us."
" Thank you for your help." Angela bowed. " We must hurry. Azia needs our help."
Jax stood up and looked at his brothers. Then he went to the door and opened it for the ladies.
" We'll wait for you here." Aramis told them. " Becareful, Cressca is very dangerous."
Outside Jax led the woman to the gate in silence. He kept looking at Angela. He hadn't noticed how much Angela looked like Alea, but now that Alee had said something, he saw it. She did resemble his sister.
" How are we traveling?" Angela asked. " I can shift to my raven form. As can Athene. How about you Lord Jax?"
" I can get us there." Clapping his hands twice the wind picked up and rushed around them and they disappeared.