Deep in the caves of Keanna a proud god sat and watched the dragons as they waited for Jandar to return. Dirod had fought hard against Muerte in there personnel fight and while in her prison. He had vowed that she would not win, even if it meant his death. The compulsion she put on him barely affected him. He had no plan on running and he knew he would never do as she told him. Capturing the first dragons was easy. Some of Gannon's spell had been buried for a long time and he had known where they were. He had even read some of them so he decided to use them.
After Muerte released him he went directly to the Keanna mountains. There he found a little peace and gathered his powers. He knew he had to do something. She had defeated him once and given him her gift. Being still in her power just a bit, she could do it again. As he sat on the mountain, he saw the dragons fly over head.
[ Maybe they could be my answer.]
It didn't take him long to find the cave they were resting in. As he walked around the two dragons, he noticed one was an earth dragon. Maybe if he heighten her powers she would be strong enough to go against Muerte. He probed her mind and body to find out that her name was Jade, and that she was very old. To old to hold his energy. The other one was even older and more powerful. Neither of these dragons would do. But in there minds he saw other dragon. Maybe one of them could better control his earth powers. He remembered one of Gannons spells he had read. It was on controlling powerful beings. If he held these dragons, others would come looking for them, then he might discover the one he needed.
FROM NORTH AND SOUTH TO EAST AND WEST.
LET TIME AND SPACE GRANT MY REQUEST.
I CAST THIS SPELL TO HOLD THEM HERE.
TILL OTHERS COME WITHOUT ANY FEAR.
TO BRING THE ONE FOR WHOM I SEEK.
THESE DRAGONS SLEEP WITHIN THIS PEAK.
Dirod knew this spell would keep them asleep for as long as it took to get the other dragons there, He just hoped they would come before it was to late.
In a flash of light Jandar, Kalin and Texa appeared in the cave startling the rest of the dragons. Kalin stumbling down dazed from Jandar's transport. He had traveled like that before many time. the different was that all mages magic had different effects. Jandar being so powerful, his magic caused strong disorientation the first time someone experienced it. Texa reached out to steady Kalin and help him walk. It didn't take long for him to get his wits back. Jandar walked down to Rage and smiled it him.
" Hows everything at home? "
" Ono and Shayn have things well in hand." He said. " But we should have a talk with them."
" Whats that mean?" Rage asked.
" Well you know Cressca's back."
Rage turned to him. Memories of there fight with Cressca at the pyramid came back to him. Jandar was almost killed when the thing collapsed. Jandar could see Rage was getting upset. The fire in his eyes was beginning to rage,
" What else?" He asked him.
" Pelis is free." Jandar told him. " And he's joined with Muerte. It seems shes made him much more powerful."
" We have to get home." Rage walked out to the two dragons being examined by Kalin.
" You have to hurry." He said.
" Do you trust Shayn and Ono?" Jandar asked pulling him back. Rage opened his mouth yo answer. Jandar stopped him. " We have to trust them to do things there way when there in charge at home. We cant second guess them or look over there shoulder. Or they'll never feel we trust them."
" Your right." All the anger drained out of Rages eyes. " Lets do our job and get home. I want to hear whats going on."
" You'll be proud of them." Jandar said. " Trust me."
" I do."
Together they walked over to the still forms of Valen and Jade. Texa stood between them with her hands held out concentrating.
" This is one of my masters spell." She said.
" Can you break it?" Denner asked.
" I don't think I'll have to." She said. As she finished her sentence the ground began to rumble and shake. Rocks and dust began to fall from the ceiling all around them as they all tried to keep on there feet.
" DREIK!!" Rage shouted. " Whats going on?"
" Its not me!!" He said.
" Is there anything you can do about it?" Jandar asked clutching on to Rage." I'll try." Dreik called over a boulder to him and climbed on. He raised it about five foot of the ground then closed his eyes and reached out with his earth powers to see if he could stabilize the cave. Sending out probes, Dreik looked through the earth for vibrations that could cause the tremors. He found nothing. He searched deeper and sent his probes further and further into the earth. Suddenly he felt a presence. a very powerful presence. It was coming closer to them.
" Somethings coming." He said opening his eyes.
Behind the forms of the petrified dragons the ground cracked open and smoke and steam began to shoot up into the air. From the hole, a short muscular bald man dressed in a grey tunic and pants rose slowly to the surface.
Dreiks boulder moved over to Jandar and Rage as they all stood wide eyed watching. As he reached the surface the tremors stopped and those on the ground stood up.
" Greetings." The bald man said looking at Dreik.
" Are you the one responsible for this?" Jandar asked pointing to the dragons.
" Yes I am." He said.
"Why?" Rage asked. Smoke beginning to litely rise from his head. " What have they done to you?"
" Muerte sent me to kill as many of you as I can." He said.Floating forward from the opening in the ground.
"Here we go again." Denner frowned.
" Don't worry." He told them. " I'll never follow her. She's my enemy to. I'm Dirod, the mountain god."
Dreik's eyes flared. Dirod was one of the major dwarven gods. His people had built altars and prayed to him all through there history. He himself had prayed many times for success in his mine, but he never got an answer. Now here he was right in front of him.
" I gather you can restore them?" Jandar said.
" No, but I can release them so he can," He pointed at Kalin. " Greetings kin of Gannon."
Kalin bowed to Dirod as did Texa. Dirod walked over to Valen and Jade and spoke in there ear. There was no obvious change that they could see, but Texa saw it.
" I can bring them up of it now." She said
" Why are you here?" Rage asked.
" Because I'm dying." Dirod said. " Muerte has drain my life forces to the point that there's nothing I can do to stop it. Usually these mountains and the earth keeps me alive. But that witch has done something to me. Her gift she calls it."
" We've heard about her gift." Jandar said. " Its death. maybe there's something we can do. We have sources that could help. Maybe Gannon had a spell that could help."
They turned to Kalin and Texa. They had moved over to Valen and Jade and had heard them. Texa 's eyes for a second went blank as she searched for anything that might help. It wasn't long before she came back to them.
" I have many spells." She said." I might have something we can use."
" It doesn't really matter." Dirod told them. " It would only hold things off and give me more time. What I want is to pass on my power and have my revenge on her."
" How can we help." Rage asked.
" You can't. But he can." He pointed to Dreik.
Dreik looked at them puzzled. How could he possibly help a god.?
" I know you thought I wasn't listening to your prayers Dreik." He said. " But the mines weren't the place for you. If I had granted you wish, you would still be there. Gaia would never have been yours. I saw something in you that was much better the riches from a mine. I saw the dragon you would become and I wouldn't hold that from you. Now I'm asking you to take even more on."
" I'll be a god?" He asked.
" No. Even I can't grant that." Dirod smiled at him. " But you'll be the most powerful earth dragon ever. It would help destroy Muerte. A battle I'm to weak to win. But maybe you can."
" Not maybe. " Rage told him. " We have to. We have no choice. There's far to much to lose."
" If I except." Dreik asked. " What of you? What happens to you?"
Dirod looked at Dreik and the rest of the dragons and there friends with proud eyes. He knew they knew the answer to that question. But didn't really want to answer.
" I go peacefully knowing you will avenge my death." he said.
" But you heard Texa. We may be able to help you." The earth dragon pleaded with him. " You don't have to die."
" Dreik." He said resting his hand on his shoulder. " Muerte will be coming after me once she figures out I disobeyed her."
" Then come with us." He said. " We can protect you from her."
" NO!!" Dirod said. " Your time to fight her will come. But your not ready yet for that fight. I implore you all to do as I ask and leave me to deal with her my way. Trust me Dreik."
" Dreik." Rage bent to talk to him. " We have to honor his wishes and let him go."
" But we can save him!" Dreik was upset.
" You have saved me." Dirod told him. " Take my hand."
Dreik reached out and placed his hand in Dirods. His hand felt much warmer then any other hand he had shook before. He could feel the power flowing into him. It felt good. He looked up at Dirods closed eyes wishing he could change his mind. But he knew Rage was right, He had to honor his wishes. as the power flowed into him, Dirod began to fade from there view.
" Thank you all." They heard. " Now take your friends and go. Leave me to deal with her my way. "
[ Thank you Dreik. Use my powers wisely.]
" Whats going on here?" They heard.
Dreik, Jandar, and Rage turned to see Valen and Jade looking at them in there human forms. Texa had freed them from there hibernation.
" Just saying good bye to a friend." Rage said
Deep in the dungeons of his island castle, Balthazar worked on his new army of warriors. Table after table of men transformed into monsters with claws and stinger and other weapons added to there bodies.With dulled minds to make them more compliant to there masters orders. Once finished he looked on his work proudly. He was ready to battle anyone including Muerte for domination of Yadessa and the world. He had two more important jobs to do. One was to finish Valkar and his son for the rule of Yadessa. The other was to capture his family. His wife, daughter, son, and lastly his brother and punish them for there betrayal. Balthazar knew Valkar and Azeal were now in Vasagi evacuating as many people as he could. That city was in ruins. He knew they were being sent to Tir Na for there protection.
" Good." He said out loud. He could deal with the werewolves as well. Turning and walking out from the dungeon with his personnel warrior following him, Balthazar headed for his study. It was time to set his plans to work. After entering his study he called for one of his aids. A young daywalker came in and bowed to him.
" You called my lord?" he said with his head down.
" Valkar and his son Azeal is in Vasag." He said as he sat at his desk. " I want them brought to me. Take as many men as you need. But find them."
" As you command." He backed out never making eye contact with Balthazar and went to gather the men he needed to find there former king.
" Father every ones out of the city." Azeal said entering the ruined house Valkar used to direct his covert actions in Vasagi. Around him stood his few surviving friends and Cutter.
" I think we should attack the castle." Tovar told them. " Balthazar has been hiding in his castle preparing for what he calls the attack. I think we should turn the stakes on him."
" That's not what we promised him." Cutter said.
" The hell with that." A vampire dressed it ragged regal clothing said. His name was Cort. He had been a member of Valkar's council." Balthazar has treated our people like vermin. Made them do things that may that us back centuries. We need to stop him now before its to late."
" I read your fear Cort." Cutter told him staring into his eyes. " But a king has to keep his promises and vows."
" Even if they bring harm to his people?" Cort stormed at Cutter.
" Wait." Azeal stood and stepped between them. " We're here to help stop Yadessa from coming under anymore dragon attacks. We have to fight along with Balthazar right now."
" That's right." Cort shouted back pointing at Cutter. " Dragons did this. Your kind. Maybe your all responsible for this. How do we know your not?"
" Silence!!" Valkar stood and shouted. " These are my friends, and you will show them the respect you show me. Is that clear?"
" Yes your Highness." Cort bowed to him. " My apologies."
" Apologize to him, not me. You insulted him."
" My apologies Sir Cutter." Cort said holding out his hand."These are trying days."
" I accept your apology." Cutter shook his hand. " What are we going to do?"
Everyone looked to Valkar. He was there leader and it was his decision. Valkar stood and thought for a moment.
" The dragons will be back and I hope Jandar and Rage make it back first. Cutter, is there any way you can distract them?"
" If I can sense what they fear, I can maybe control them for a while. But it wont be long." Cutter told them. " These are very ancient and powerful dragons. I'll have to see whats in there heads. Then I'll know."
" How close will you have to be?" Azeal asked.
" Less then 100 yards to get a clear picture. and to tell which is which." He said. " If I use the wrong fear on the wrong dragon, all will me lost. It'll just get them mad."
" What happens when we have them?" Cort asked. " We destroy them?"
" NO!!" Valkar said. " These dragon aren't attacking on there own. Muerte is behind this. If Cutter can sever her attachment to them, they'll be free again. Then they can lead us to her."
Cutter and Azeal looked at Valkar with shock. Valkar hadn't mentioned this before. There way no way the three of them could even hope to battle her and live.
" Father." Azeal said. " I don't think we can attack her."
" Azeal, I know how powerful she is. We wont be attacking along." He put his hand on his sons shoulder. " By then hopefully the rest of the dragons will be here to help. But for now, I think we should keep our eyes on the castle and our foe."
Opening his eyes, Valen looked around to see where he was. He couldn't remember a thing that happened in the recent past. His dreams weren't even there for him to remember and that was so un dragon like. Around him he saw Jade just waking and Rages clan. What were they doing here? And where were the others of his clan?Valen stretched his dragon limbs then stood and shifted to his gypsy form and walked out to meet Rage and Jandar.
" Rage, Jandar. Where am I?" Valen asked. " What are we doing here?"
" What's the last thing you remember?" Rage asked.
" Jade and I were looking for somewhere to rest." He said. " Then every things blank."
" What about before that?" Jandar asked.
Valen opened his mouth to answer but nothing came out. He didn't remember. Jade walked over with Denner beside her. She was a slim green haired woman with almond shaped eyes. She wore a long green cheongsam with embroidered flowers and ivy along the side. She looked very delicate but Jandar knew she was a dragon. An ancient dragon and very powerful.
" Where are the others?" She asked Valen.
" I dont know." He looked at her a little dazed.
" Do you remember Muerte?" Dreik asked.
Suddenly memories flooded back into Valen and Jades minds. Scenes of the cave they left the others in. Being chased by the others under Muerte's control. How she had taken there minds to use as she wanted.The pain that Fiero, Arik, and Maxius had to endure. Even from how far away they were, Valen and Jade could feel there pain.They knew they didn't have much time if they wanted to save his brothers.
" We have to get to the others." Jade said. " She's killing them with her control. There dreams are so full of pain."
" That's why we're here." Rage said as the all turned to the exit. " There's a lot we must tell you."
As they all walked out of the cave and up the exit ramp, something called to Dreik. From deep in his mind Dreik heard Dirod for the last time.
[ Remember me and tell others about me. Good Bye Dreik.]