Friday, August 20, 2010

The Liberation of Yadessa. 51

Night fell on Yadessa and the streets of Vasagi it's capital were quiet. Like the rest of the cities Muerte had attacked, many bodies litter the streets. Bodies of young and old vampires that died in the dragon attack. The smell of burned and bloated bodies was overwhelming. Dressed in dark cloaks with hoods over there heads Valkar, Azeal and Eheren quietly made their way through the city. Many buildings were burning or blown apart by the attack of fire wind and water. Valkar was determined not to show the others the pain he felt seeing his city like this. Every now and then they saw someone darting in and out of the ruins. Sometime there were large groups of vampires hiding in damaged buildings. They would show them the way out of Yadessa to safety.
" Tir Na was the safest place for you." He would tell them. " Go to the werewolves. Drake promises us sanctuary."
" Can they be trusted?" an elder vampire asked. "They're our enemies."
" Not for a long time old sir." Valkar put his hand on the mans shoulder. " Trust them and act with honor while in there hands and you will be fine."
As the crowd started to move out of the ruined building a palace guard stepped up to Valkar. He went down on his knees and placed his sword at Valkars feet.
" Sire, My mind is in a blur." He said. " This last month is like a haze to me. What has happened to me? to Yadessa?"
" Balthazar is what happened." He bid the man to rise. " With magic he confused the minds of the people to rebel and took the country. This is the result of his treachery."
" Then I stand at your side." The guard told his king.
" No, I need you to take these people to Tir Na. Gather everyone you can and get them there safely. I will free our home."
Shame for betraying his king and the loyalty renewed in his heart gripped the man.
" I will return with all the help I can once every one's safe." He bowed again and picked up his weapon.
" Thank you Knight." Valkar smiled." Now get them moving."
" You heard the King." He turned to the crowd," Lets move."
As he started to head out the Guard turned back.
" My King." He said. " Balthazar prepares himself for war. He has created a small army of some kind of creatures from palace guards to fight for him. He will turn them on you. Be careful. He has eyes everywhere."
" Thank you for your warning."
From across the way eyes watched Valkar and the others. Not friendly eyes at all. Leathery wings flapped and something took to the air. It was on a mission its self. To report back to Balthazar what it had just seen.

Deep in the jungles of Azia a raven flow high in the trees. It went from tree to tree watching the mass of people making there way towards Cressca's pyramid. In her mind, Angela prayed to her moon goddess for guidance for she didn't have a clue how to turn these people from there deaths. She couldn't think of any spells strong enough to break Cressca's hold on these poor people. She had been told early in life of Cressca's tales of death. Most vampires had seeing that they had been created by a death god and worshiped her for century's. But that ended a long time ago. They had been free of Muerte until she was freed from the underworld and set on her mad quest to bring death to the world.
From a tree top she looked down on the long line of walking sacrifices heading to there death. Maybe Athene had some idea what to do.
" Any ideas how to wake them?" She asked.
" None, Cressca's hold is strong. " Athene said. " I guess we wait until Jax attacks and weakens his hold."
" Then we have to get close to the front of them and be ready." Angela took off from her tree. " Once the battle starts, we'll have to move fast."
" I'm on my way." Her daughter sent.

All around the pyramid stood Cressca's guards. Gray faced drained of all but the smallest part of there life force they stood guard. One would think they would be weak existing on such low amounts of life force, but any one of them could drop a tree with a few strikes. But there wasn't much free will left in any of them. All they could do now was follow Cressca's orders to the letter. And that's what they did. There orders were to watch for any threat to Cressca and to keep the people moving in so Cressca could keep feeding his bottomless hunger.

Watching from the edge of the jungle, Jax and Sting waited. In front of them stood two guards, huge and powerful pushing the people through to the pyramid silently.
" This is going to be a real battle for us." He told Sting. " Your going to need to be much stronger and have a clearer mind for this. "
[ ME STRONG.] Sting sent to him lifting and snapping a tree limb with his claw.
" I know my friend." Jax said. " Now I'm going to make some changes in you. I'll explain when you can understand."
Jax stood and walked behind Sting and placed his Hands on his back.


All around Stings great form a glow began to appear and the power of Jax began to fill him. He lifted his claw to look at it and noticed the razor sharpness all along its edge. Then like a dream his mind cleared like a cloud passing over the sun.
[ I can think again!] He sent to Jax. Sting turned to him and his small eye stalks focused on him.
" How do you feel?" Jax asked.
[ Almost like my old self again.] He said. [ Thank you my lord.]
" No." Jax told him. " I may be a god, but I'm your friend. I should have done this when first we met. It is I who owe you an apology. No longer are you sentenced to this monstrous form. You can change to human form whenever you want. Just think of your old self and you will change back to human. Try it."
Sting concentrated on what he looked like before Balthazar did his experiments on him. His body shimmered out of focus then in a flash a handsome vampire stood where a monster was before. He looked down at his hands then reached up to touch his face. Tears appeared at his eyes as he looked at his naked form. Two legs and two arms again, not four and two claws and a stinger.
" I've made you stronger, faster and giving you your mind back. All I ask is that you always fight with the dragons for justice and to help people. Agreed?"
Sting reached out his hand to Jax in gratitude. Jax took his hand and shook it.
" I can't thank you enough." He said. " You've giving me back my life."
" Your welcome Sting." Jax smiled.
" My name is Adam. Adam Kreger." He told him. " I'll only be Sting when in the scorpion form."
" Adam it is. You ready?"
He closed his eyes and shifted back to the Sting form and snapped his claws together.
[ I'm ready.] He sent.

As Jayce and the others sat and listened to Wills story about the destruction of Relos, Toric could feel a familiar feeling. He didn't understand exactly what it was but he knew he'd felt it before. But where? It was before he met the dragons, he knew that. Was it something from the pens in the old compound? Something of his uncles? Or his fathers? Then it hit him. He did know that presence. How could he forget it. He had dread feeling it for so long he'd forgotten it. It was his father out there. Pelis the Collector had come back in some more powerful form. This had to be Muerte's doing. She had found him and given him the power to have is revenge.
[ Toric, I can feel somethings bothering you.] He heard in his head.
[ Where are you Ariel?] He sent back.
[ I'm about to land and join the rest of you. Whats wrong?]
[ I know who attacked Relos.] He told her.
[ Yes, Muerte did this.] She sent. " And I'm here."
Toric turned and watch her walk towards them. His heart began to pound in his chest as he gazed on her beauty. Her long white blond hair, pointed ears and slender body in her sky blue leathers. Toric knew he had to ask Rage and Cutter for her hand. Ariel walked over to them as they all watched. She smiled and stood next to Toric.
" Glad your here Ariel." Jayce smiled. " This is Will and Beth, the sole survivors of Relos. They were just telling us what happened here."
" I think Toric has something to tell us." She turned to him and took Toric's hand. That made him feel more confident. He was going to have to tell them anyway so why not now.
" What is it, Toric." Graym asked.
" Ever since we entered Relos I've had this familiar feeling. Like there was something here that I've known before." He said. " I couldn't put my finger on it until I heard there story. Now I know what it is."
" Go on." Jayce told him.
" The monster that destroyed Relos is my father." He said. " The Collector."
Jayce looked at him in shock. He knew the Collector. He had almost killed Ono once and Jandar had made him a freak for it.
" Are you sure?" Jayce asked. " And how is that possible?"
" With Muerte, anythings possible." Pelic said.
" Yes, I can feel him even now." Toric said. " And he's much more powerful then before. He doesn't need our power any more. Muerte has given him his own."
" Everybody up and on your guard." Jayce said. " We have to find him. Toric, can you find his trail?"
" I think so." He said. " What about the kids? We can't leave them."
" Ariel can fly them to New Keanna." Jayce said. " There they'll be safe."
Will stood up and stepped to Jayce. " I want to help kill it."
" NO!!" Beth screamed. " You can't leave me! I'll be all alone, you'll get killed just like Pa and Ma. You can't go!!"
" Shhh now." Ariel took Beth into her arms to calm her. " He's coming with us away from here. Right?" She looked over to Will. Tears flowed down his sisters face. He knew he had to go with her. There was no way he could leave her alone no matter what he wanted to do. He went to his sister and took her from Ariel and held her.
" Yes I'm coming." He told her. " I won't leave you ever again."
" That's settled." Jayce said. " Ariel, you fly them home and tell Shayn and Ono what's going on then come back. We may need you."
" Of course I'm coming back." She kissed Toric and took the kids hands and led them off to a place where she could shift and take off.
" OK Toric, which way?
" We're going up into the hills above the town." Toric told them. He started walking towards the embankment where the hills started. Jayce looked to Graym and Pelic and nodded. Spreading there wings they took to the air. Swooping down Graym and Jayce each grabbed one of Toric's arms and lifted  him high above the town. They flew him on and out into the forest.
" Its a long way up to these woods." Graym said as they came down on the edge of the hills.
" Now which way?" Pelic asked. Now that he knew what he was looking for Toric knew he would have no problem finding his father. He closed his eyes and searched for his presence. In his mind he latched on to his memories of his fathers, then reached out into the hills. Like a shining beacon Pelis's aura shined out at him.
" I found him." Toric opened his eyes.
" Where is he?" Jayce asked.
" Not far. Less then a few hours from here."
" Did he detect you?" Pelic asked.
Toric shrugged his shoulders. " If I can feel him, I'm sure he feels me."
" Damn!" Jayce said. " Then this won't be a surprise. He'll know we're coming. We'll just have to deal with it. Here's what we'll do."

Sitting in his damaged throne room, Balthazar sat with folded hands in a sour mood. The dragons had attacked and tore Yadessa apart. Many were dead, not that he cared, but he knew Muerte would be here soon to finished what the dragons had started. Where was Valkar and his allies? They were suppose to be here to battle her and end her threat on Yadessa. Then he would finish them off while they were weak from the fight. Things we're not going as he planned. Somehow he would have to adjust his plans, get them here before she arrived. Suddenly a noise overhead caught his attention. It was one of his familiars. Maybe there was some kind of news to report. From the ceiling the bat flew down and perched on his shoulder. It whispered in his ear. He's here. Balthazar smiled his dark smile.

There was no way to sneak into Cressca's pyramid, so Jax and Sting decided the direct approach would work best. Out of the jungle they walked right toward the guards. The first one looked up and saw them. He charged bellowing his warning to his master with his spear raised to strike Jax down. As he reached Jax, Sting stepped in front of him and raised his claw to intercept the strike. A loud clang rang out through the jungle as they met. Snapping closed on the spear, Sting wrenched it from the guards and whipped his stinger around and batted the guard aside. He didn't stay down long. They may be dimwitted, but their reflexes were fast. From the ground he jumped back up and attacked Sting. Blow after blow rained on Stings carapace pushing him back with the force of the strikes. With incredible speed, Sting struck out with his claws and stabbed into the chest of the guard. Impaled on Stings claw he died just as the next guard came into sight. Jax stepped up and put out his hand.
" HOLD." He bellowed. " Tell your master, Jax the god of Justice challenges him to combat. Come out and meet me in battle."
" I hear you Fortis god." Rang out from the pyramid. The sound of great wings flapping came from the ruined structure. From the shadows a large dark muscular man in robes with great bat like wings emerged. He walked out to stand beside two of his guards and pushed back his hood. Cressca's face was more bat like then human with a flat nose, a wide fanged mouth and long pointed ears. In his hand he held a long spear decorated with locks of human hair bound by bone.
" Welcome Jax, brother of Muerte." He said. "To what do I owe this visit?"
" I'm here to stop all your horrors, Monster."Jax stepped forward. " Did you think Justice would not come for you? Did you think all the souls you swallowed go unanswered?"
" I thought all of Fortis was destroyed by Muerte." Cressca answered.
" You were wrong." Jax told him. " And so is Muerte if she thinks we'll let her destroy the people here."
" The death goddess is more powerful then your justice." Cressca said. " You can't stop us."
" I can stop you Rodent." Jax smiled.
As Jax stared into Cressca's eyes he knew he needed a weapon to fight this monster. Not just any weapon would do, he needed something special. Something ancient and powerful that would bring Cressca down for good. He thought of all the weapons his brothers and sisters had created in all there past battles and only one he thought would be strong enough to do the job. It was a weapon his sister Serina the war goddess had forged to fight her predessor Helion. It was a great scimitar forged in the center of Keanna's largest volcano to give it great power. She called it Hazard. It had a golden blade that gave off the heat of the volcano in its strike. Its hilt was made of silver forged by Dirod for the gods use. All along the blade were spells etched in it to make it indestructible. This was the sword he needed now. Jax called out in his mind to Serina and asked her to send it to him in his time of need. In a flashed, it came to him and settled in his hand, Jax rushed forward at Cressca raising the weapon for a strike. Cressca jumped into the air spreading his great wings to avoid the hit. But he would need to do more then that. Jax may not have wings, but that doesn't mine he couldn't get airborne. Jumping into the air he slashed at Cressca and made  a thrust for his chest. Bringing his spear up, Cressca blocked Jax strike as smoke and sparks flew up, and swung the end up toward Jax head. Ducking he kicked out and hit Cressca in his chest. The kick sent him flying back at the pyramid. Responding quickly, Cressca opened his wings and slowed his fall. Angered by the strike, Cressca raised his hand and sent a blast of energy at Jax. Lighting up the night, the blast flew at Jax. Raising his sword Jax blocked it from hitting him and deflected the blast into the jungle.
" You fight well Jax." Cressca said as they circled each other.
" My sister the goddess of war taught me." Jax smiled.
" We'll see about that."

Launching himself at Jax, Cressca stabbed at him. Missing he slashed out spinning his spear low and around at Jax legs. Ducking the stab, Jax miss the slash and the spear hit his legs knocking him to the ground. Seeing his enemy down Cressca tried to thrust down into Jax chest. Jax rolled away. Cressca followed stabbing down again and again into the ground where Jax had just been. Using all of his speed, Jax was able to get far enough away from Cressca to get up and send his own blast at the bat god. With seconds to spare, Cressca spring up into the air and sent blast after blast at Jax. Back on his feet Jax raised his sword to block Cressca's blasts. One after the other Cressca's energy blast were deflected away from Jax as he strongly stood his ground.

Standing on the side opposite Cressca's slow minded guards, Sting began to slowly back his way out of the courtyard. In his mind he called out to Athene and Angela.
[ Lady Angela, Lady Athene!] Sting sent.[ Cressca is distracted. Try breaking his spell now. ]

[ Sting?] He heard Angela. [ Your mind feels different. Whats happening there? ]
[ Jax is battling Cressca. Now's your chance to free the villagers and get them away from here.] He sent to her. [You have to hurry.]
As he turned he began to shift to human form. He stopped at the dead guard and removed his kilt and wrapped it around his waist. Now dressed he took off down the trail to stop anyone else form wandering in on the battle.
[ I'll be back for you Jax.] He sent back. [ Stay alive.]
[ I plan to Adam. Don't worry about me. Get all those people away from here.]
[ We will.] Adam said as he ran through the jungle to find the ladies.
Running and jumping over fallen trees, Adam looked up to see a raven flying overhead. It was Lady Angela heading for Athene. Adam called out to her, but she couldn't hear him. She was flying due west. He turned in the direction and shifted to a wolf bound after her.
Athene had found the front of the line of people stumbling toward the pyramid. In her mist form she floated down to reform ahead of them. Like the walking dead they moved slowly, there minds fighting the compulsion to get to Cressca. Athene raised her hands and uttered a spell. A bright light flashed from her hands blinding the sleeper. They shielded there eyes for a second and stopped. But she couldn't keep it up for to long. Soon the spell faded and they started walking again. Overhead she heard a squawk. Her mother had arrived. flying down to land next to her, Angela shifted back to her beautiful human form.
" Mother." She said. " We need a spell. Something powerful enough to break Cressca's spell."
" We'll have to make one ourselves." Angela told her. " I don't know anything that would work."
From the edge of the jungle a reddish colored wolf came speeding towards them. Angela raised her hands a spell on her lips ready to cast at the wolf.
[ No lady!] Adam sent then shifted. " Its me! Sting!"
She lower her hands and stepped closer and hugged him. " What in Rimnar's name happened to you?"
" Jax happened." He said. " But we have to hurry. Jax may need our help. How do we turn them back?"
" I have an idea." Athene said. " If we can show them in there minds what they're heading for, it may stop them, break his hold. But I haven't seen the pyramid or Cressca up close, I don't know what's going on there"
" I have." Adam said. " Can you link my memories to your spell?"
" Yes I can." Angela told them.
" I'm going to need both of you. I don't have the power to affect all these people." Athene said. " Join hands."
Hand in hand, the three stood there as the people came closer and closer. A soft glow began to build around them as Athene gathered they're power together. Then she began her spell.

Sight to sight and clear to the eye.
A vision we send that you can't deny.
Of horrors to come, the Monster you seek.
His true self we show you. we give you a peek.
Of blood and bones and death to come.
We show you his lair and what will be done.

Suddenly all forward movement stopped and everyone stood transfixed staring into space. Scenes from Adam's memories flashed through their minds. Pictures of where they were heading, the ruined pyramid and all the carnage around it. They could see all the bodies piled in the pit rotting away. The guards pushing their friends towards their death and the monster in the shadows. Then Adam revealed exactly what called out to them. Cressca in all his horrible glory dripping with blood laughing as he fed. Cressca's visage shocked them out of the spell and awake.
" You did it!!" Adam called out in surprise.
" We did it." Athene smiled. " All of us. I couldn't do it without both of you."
Dazed and confused people wandered over to them. They all had a frightened look on their faces.
" What are we doing here?" a gray haired farmer asked. " And what was that monster ?"

" That was Cressca." Angela told him everything that had happened. The mans eyes opened wide. " I see you remember him."
" Yes, that monster killed my oldest son a few years ago." He said. " If he's back no one is safe here. Only the mage Jandar and his friends the dragons destroyed him before. What do we do, how do we contact him now for help?"
" We'll help." Adam said. " Take your people home and let us deal with him."

" You woke us and stopped us from certain death. We'll trust you for now and go back home. Once you finish him we'll tear the rest of that pyramid down and bury the dead. Thank you all for your help."
With that he led his people away toward their homes. Angela, Athene and Adam were glad they had done there part for these people. Then Adam remembered Jax.
" Jax!!" He shouted. " Come on, we have to hurry back to him."
Turning back to the jungle, Adam shifted back to wolf and sped away. Looking at her daughter, Angela kissed her cheek.
" You did good. Now lets go help Jax."