Tuesday, April 29, 2014
[There.] He sent to his mate. Rage nodded and angled his wings to glide in that direction. In less then three minute, the pair were walking in pass sentrys who watch the hills for anything suspicious.
The cave corridor was long with torches placed every twenty feet or so to light the way. At the end there was a large cavern where the meeting would be held and the nine waited for them. As they entered the great cavern, the nine talked quietly in small groups. When King Philibar of Pelordra saw them, he called for attention in the room.
"Can everyone take a seat." He said. "It's time we begin."
Taking Jandar's hand, Rage led him to the chairs beside the king, their honored place. At the tables head sat King Philibar Windstar of Pelordra the cloud city of the Sky elves. Next to him on his left sat General Vibius Gauis Herkalus and Captain Manius Regulus Pius military leaders of Sorrowdown. Then Asam Arynn from the golden Phoenician city of Casthor. In his red and gold robes the Phoenix nodded a greeting to Jandar and Rage.
Sitting quietly staring at everyone, Kranko Fearfist was next. He sat there looking annoyed in his dented armored decorated with small skulls and bones. On his head he wore a long lock held tight with rabbit skull. Being the only Goblin there, his hand never left the hilt of his knife. Beside him sat the representative of the Vampires. Tomz Acros. Jandar and Rage knew him very well from Yadessa's last battle with Lord Larin and Queen Talsara. It had been him who carried Tayor Larin's cursed object into Prafa to bring the city under their spell. Ever since the defeat of Lord Larin, Tomz had swore to his king to be Yadessa's protector. And he had been doing a good job. When the Sorceress Raven attacked, it had been Tomz who went in and forced her out into the sunlight where she burned. He had also found and saved the young Vampires that had been taken by the hunters and brought them home. So now with Bram Thorn attacking all over the countryside. Tomz had taken it on as his job to stop him. So here he was at the table to discuss strategies on defeating the elemental warlock, Bramble Thorn.
Next to Tomz looking snobbish and regal sat Eldar Mystwinter. Second to the throne of Mystwinter in the Halador forest. Eldar was a tall proud elf who usually did not like to associate with anyone but those of his forest people. But since his city had been captured by Talsara Darkshade, he had ask for help to free his people and was now indebted to those who fought and died to free Mystwinter. So here he was ready to lend a hand against the menace Thorn.
The last two places at the table were held by Bly Sharpwing and Leda Redhelm. Bly Sharpwing of Ammath was one of the most dangerous types of fairies Jandar had ever seen. She was short in her human form, no more then five foot four inches with dark shadow features. Her skin had the dark hue of a plum with blazing red hair. Her eyes yellow slanted up in the corners and her fangs looked sharp giving her a evil visage. She had the slender figure of a fairy maiden with what looked to Jandar like razor sharp fairy wings on her back. She wore a dark gray cloak and underneath a short dress covered with magical symbols. Jandar wasn't sure what type of fairy she was, but he could tell she was a warrior, and a deadly one. Next to her sitting high in her chair with a dagger in her hands cleaning her nails sat Leda Redhelm. A very muscular dwarven female. Dark hair and high browed with the looks of a woman who had fought her way through many many battles. She wore leather pants and a bodice breastplate with intricate small gems set in it. In front of her on the table sat her favorite weapon, a mace which Jandar could tell was worn from constant use.
Here at this table sat the twelve convened for the express mission of decided what was to be done about a threat that had been raging in all their lands, Bram Thorn. As King Philibar stood and cleared his throat, the room grew quiet.
"I have called you all here to discuss a monster that has been plaguing all our lands." Philibar gazed across the table at each of his guess. "Something most be done about Bram Thorn."
Voices were raised all around the tables as their anger erupted around the room and people jumped to their feet.
"That bastard came into Sorrowdown and burned half our city!" Vibius shouted. "Four schools and a whole section of the market place was lost! Do you know how many people died? Over two hundred burned. Fifty of them children!"
"He flooded parts of our forest." Eldar slammed his fist into the table. "Nymphs, elves and fauns drowned along with many elves. The trees will take years to heal. My people may starve while our magic is so badly weakened."
"Be calm all of you!" Philibar held up his hand to quiet the shouting. "I am aware of all the things Bram's done in all our homes. I've heard about the mines he tore down and the dwarfs that were buried. And you, Kranko. His men hunted your people, killed your females. I know the horrors Bram cast on all of us. That's why we're here. To decide what to do about it."
"This Bram sounds almost like Polan." Jandar whispered to Rage. "Should we get involved here?"
[Bram Thorn is just as dangerous as Polan Dressek.] Tomz sent from his seat. [I'm surprised you aren't already involved. Valkar didn't tell you anything about the warlock?]
[Valkar told us about this meet.] Rage told Tomz. [He said it was something we should attend. He never said why.]
[Valkar sends his apology and asked me to explain everything to you.] Tomz looked deeply into Jandar and Rage's eyes. [There's a small village north of Prafa called Shadowbreak. It only houses about fifty vampires but they are loyal to the crown and someone in the village is close to a member of the Zlenka house.]
[Is there a problem there?] Jandar asked.
[Yes.] Tomz nodded. [The village is missing.]
[Missing?] Rage sat forward looking curious. [What do you mean? The people are missing?]
[No. the whole village is gone.] He explained. [There's nothing there but a large whole in the ground. No cottages, no barns, nothing. Everything's gone.]
Jandar looked at Rage. He knew it would take some great magic to do something like that. Not beyond him, but way beyond most warlocks and mages that he knew in the area. Could it be like when the Academy vanished?
[Have you consulted Insa at the Academy?] Rage asked.
[He told us of the troubles with Bram and advised we come to you.]
[We'll do what we can.] Jandar agreed to help. [ Yadessa has had enough trouble in the last few years, we'll see what is to be done.]
[Thank you.] Tomz sent to them.
As Jandar and Rage turned their attention back to the meeting, Bly Sharpwing had just finished telling everyone about the troubles Bram had forced on her lands.
"Like the Elves, my peoples lives depend on magic." She explained. "Without magic, we weaken and will fade out of existence. We are elemental and Bram siphons the magic of all the elements when he works his magic."
"I can work elemental magic too Bly." Jandar said. "All my brothers in our clan can. It's never hurt the nature of the fairy or the elves before. I don't understand."
"As Dragons, you are part of nature." She said. "And your elemental powers don't take from nature like Bram. He's a destroyer, his magic isn't in harmony with nature, it goes against the principles of life as we know it. He must be stopped or many more will die."
"We have another brother." Rage stood to address the group. "He's not a dragon or a werewolf or really even human. He's something different and if you agree to put this Bram in his hands once we catch him, the dragons will help. But we won't be party to any posses or witch hunts. If you want our help, then you do this our way. "
Rage pushed back his chair and he and Jandar walked to the entrance of the cavern.
"We'll be out watching the storm. Call us when you have a decision."
As Jandar and Rage left the room, it erupted into chaotic conversation. Leda, Vibius, Manius and Kanko wanted to refuse the dragons help. They thought they had enough troops to move in and beat Bram on their own. But Asam,Tomz, Bly and Philibar knew magic was not to be under estimated. They might have enough force to storm the castle, but what happens when Bram fights back? Do they have the magic to defeat him without the Dragons? So far elven magic, fairy magic, not even phoenician magic had worked. Maybe the Dragons were what they needed.
Outside on the balcony, Jandar and Rage watched as lightning flashed through the stormy skies. Fierce winds whipped Jandar's cloak making it wave like some majestic flag. Rage walking up behind Jandar and enclosed him in his arms and kissing his neck.
"What's on your mind?"
"Just a feeling." Jandar leaned back into him. "I don't think this will be as easy as we think."
"At least we don't have a war to fight this time."
"Not yet we don't." He said. "And right now is not the time for us to be involved in a war. Shayn and Ono are away visiting their friends from Pentanthin and Quynn is just beginning to shift. Ranjer makes a great sitter but he's going to need our attention now more then ever."
"I know love." Jandar squeezed his hand. "Maybe this Bram thing won't be as bad as they're all saying."
"I hope not."
Just then a guard came out to tell them the decision had been made. Pulling his cloak tight around him, Jandar led Rage, hand in hand back in to find out what the councils decision would be.
As Vibius Herkalus, Manius Regulus, Leda Redhelm and Kranko Fearfist sat at the foot of the mountain and watched the others fly off, Vibius turned to the others with a frown.
"This isn't right." He said. "Bram destroyed half our city and I'm suppose to just hand him over to them for judgement? I can't do that."
"The Emperor won't like it." Manius agreed. "He'll want to have a chance to sentence him for his crimes."
"I don't care about your stupid king thing." Kranko spit to the side. "I want to crush him. I want his ears hanging on a string around my neck! I wanna chew his bone!!"
"Then it's settled?" Leda stopped her horse in front of the others. "We take Bram once he's defeated. We show him our brand of justice."
"Agreed." Vibius nodded looking to the others. "The Dragons can have what's left after we're done."
"I will see you all in two days when we storm his castle." Leda kicked her horse into moving. "May the gods be with us."
"No!" Bram screamed. "That's not what I wanted from you at all!! Your father's crown is what you were suppose to return with. Without it, I'll have no control over anything in Fay Shrea! Why can't my own wife do a simple task I set before her? Is that to much to ask?"
"I tried." Jamerld Thorn cried as Bram raged through the room throwing everything he could grab. "Getting in and out of the Hollow isn't so easy. My father doesn't trust us anymore."
"Then make him trust you!" He turned and faced his beautiful wife. "You have charms, use them on him!"
"It's not that simple my husband."Jamerld moved closer and put her hand on his over the five rings on his right hand. "Father thinks I'm dead. He ignores me when I visit the Hollow. He ordered everyone to ignore my presence, it's like I don't exist to him anymore. I can't get near the crown jewels."
"Your father is a Fool!" Bram pushed her hand away from him. "Very well. If he won't give me the crown, we'll just have to take it! I'll take everything he has and grind it into the ground right before I bury him alive! I was going to spare his kingdom of anymore pain, but I think not. I think I'm going to make him wish he never got in the way of Bram Thorn!!"
As his mad laughter rang out, his emotions forced the storm outside to a fever pitch. Thunder and lightning crashed into the trees and hills outside Heimdel castle setting off small fires in the forest. Just inside the line of trees, nine men and one dwarven female waited for their fairy spy to return from her reconnaissance mission.
Her task had been to check Heimdel castle to find out what kind of forces Bram had there to back him up. If there were troops, how many and where were they stationed. Were there guards at the gates? Was the castles barricks full of fighting men asleep or awake. Where there and innocents in the castle being held captive. If there were troops, Vibius and Manius was to lead the assault once Jandar and the others had Bram engage in a mystical battle. If not, there's would be the task of taking Bram into custody once they had him overwhelmed witth magic. There were many variables to be checked and Jandar and Rage insisted everything be done right to keep everyone as safe as possible.
"The night air is hard on this warriors bones." Vibius said pulling his cloak tighter around him. "I wonder what takes the fairy so long?"
"Heimdel castle is no small cottage." Rage said from his place next to Jandar. "There are many halls and rooms to be checked. We don't want to charge in to find and army at our backs do we?"
"I don't think the mad warlock could have an army there with him." Manius said. "He's way to paranoid. He doesn't trust anyone to work for him."
"There are other types of troops a warlock can command that trust wouldn't be an issue you know." Tomz pointed out. "Bram has magic which means he can do almost anything he wants. What's to stop him from building his army from stone? It is possible."
That thought shut Manius up and sent a chill through his bones. As a elemental, he could create an army of fire and send it against them. Manius prayed Bram wasn't that imaginative or this might turn out to be much harder then they thought.
As they talked quietly, a small magical light appeared from out of the forest and started towards them.
"She comes." Asam pointed. Like a star falling from the sky, Bly sailed on over the forest through the storm. The closer she got to the group, the brighter her light shined until she was right over them. Swirling down, she gently came down to light on Jandar's shoulder. Folding her wings to her back, she shook the few drops of rain off and started her report.
"I went from room to room searching for any soldiers he might have hidden and found nothing. Bram is in the main study raging furiosly. We won't need any troops to attack him."
"No troops?" Rage asked. "But doesn't that mean he's alone? Who's he raging at?"
"He screams about my father." Bly told them.
"Your father?" Jandar held up his hand for her to settle on. "I don't understand. What's he got against Valerian Sharpwing?"
Bly looked away not wanting to answer. Jandar looked at each of them one by one for an answer. No one spoke up.
"Ok Bly." Jandar lifted her up to look closely at her. "What is it? There's something you're not telling us. Out with it."
"Bram may not be alone in there."
"Fine." Rage walked over to stand with Jandar. "Who's in there with him?"
"His wife?" Rage stepped back surprised. "Bram's married? Are you sure she's in there?"
"She has to be there." Bly insisted. "He never goes anywhere without them."
"Wait, them? Who else is in there?"
"Their daughter Mya."
"Tomz!" Rage grabbed him by the shoulder. "Did you know about this? Why didn't you tell us?"
"We didn't know." Tomz had a look of surprise on his face. He obviously didn't know his enemy as well as he should.
I'm going in to get them out." Jandar started towards the castle.
"Wait!" Bly buzzed around and hovered in front of him. "Let me go. I can get them out."
"No." Jandar shoed her away. "Its to risky. You might get hurt."
"I don't care.!" Bly screamed as she flew up to confront Jandar. "This is my responsibility. It's my fault. I have to get them out!"
"BECAUSE SHE'S MY SISTER!!"
Jandar stopped and turned back to find Bly there in here normal larger form with tears flowing from her eyes.
"It's my fault he has her." She cried. "I was suppose to protect her, but he caught me off guard and took her away. We searched but by the time we found them, he was to powerful for me. Jamerld was already with his child. Now I have to get her out and away from that monster!"
Reaching out, Jandar took her in his arms and hugged her tightly. He knew she was right. She had to be the one to free her sister. Jamerld would never trust anyone else.
"Are you sure you can find them?" Rage asked.
"I will get them out." She wiped her tears. "I have too."
"Go." Jandar smiled. "We'll give you half an hour before we attack. Get them out while we hold Bram in battle."
"Thank you." In a flash she shifted back to fairy size and shot off into the darkness.
"We wait thirty minutes then we move in." Jandar explained. "Asam and I will go in first to get his attention. Once we have him engaged, Rage will wait and attack only if we need him. Eldar and Philibar will wait just in case we need the extra magic."
"What about us?" Vibius asked. "What are we doing?"
"You're going to sneak in and take him once we have him in binds and powerless." Jandar looked at Rage. "Ready?"
"Call me when your ready for me Love." Rage kissed Jandar then ran off into the storm.
"Twenty minutes and we go."
Madness ruled Bram Thorn's mind as he paced back and forth across his study floor. His anger was out of control as a voice he knew to be one of his five masters screamed in his head.
[What do you think your doing? You can't possibly think you can beat Valerian Sharpwing? His magic is beyond your understanding.]
[Your a foolish boy who never could do anything right.] Another said.
[Just give up.] A third voice snickered. [Defeat is all you'll ever know.]
Bram grabbed his head pressing his hands to his ears to silence the voices. But they wouldn't stop. They rambled on and on and on.
[Listen to me boy. Kill yourself.] A fourth huskier voice laughed. [It's all you are good for!!]
"NO." He sent a bolt of lightning from his hand at the table blowing it to bits. "I am Bram Thorn! The greatest elemental ever born! I beat all of you! No one can defeat me!!"
[We'll see.] The fifth voice was female. [We'll see who defeats who. Right now outside they're lining up to come in here and put you in your place. What will you do now?]
Bram's eyes darted from corner to corner as his mad mind raced for an answer.
"Fight!" He ran to the window and threw it open. "Yes I'll fight all of you! And I'll win too! None of you can beat me!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!"
He raised his fist and sent bolt after bolt out into the darkness. "Come if you dare! I'm ready, I'll kill you all!!"
Moving with amazing speed, Bly went from room to room searching for her sister and the baby. She started on the first floor checking the dark kitchens and stables. From there she went to the servant quarters and first floor guest rooms. She checked dining halls and the armory, the larder and the throne room. No Jamerld. Finding a stairwell she went higher into the castle. On the second floor she found the royal bedrooms of the royal family and more guest quarters for higher ranked guest. The library and offices of the kings advisers and the head of the guards were in one section and still she hadn't found any sign of Jamerld anywhere.
As she turned a corner, Bly could hear the ravings of the mad warlock. Time was running out. She had found Bram but her sisters whereabouts were still a mystery.
There were still two possibility's left. She could be locked in one of the castles towers or she could be in a cell somewhere in the dungeons. Bly didn't have time to check them both. She had to pick one and hope she had the right area and Jamerld and the baby would be there waiting.
With lightning raining out from the castle window, Jandar called for his staff and signaled the others it was time to move. Closing his eyes, Jandar reached inside himself and called upon his magic to surround and protect him. As Jandar and Asam stepped out and rose into the night sky, a golden glow spread out from Jandar's body making him light and airborne. Beside him, opening his cloak, Asam threw himself into the air. Flames erupted all around him setting him in the center of a phoenix made of flame. With wings of fire, Asam followed the glowing mage high over the castle. Once there, Jandar raised his staff and roared out his challenge to Bram.
"HEAR ME BRAMBLE TIBERIUS THORN, ELEMENTAL WARLOCK BANISHED SON OF SORROWDOWN. FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF KEANNA. WE ARE HERE TO BIND YOUR POWERS AND TAKE YOU INTO CUSTODY. WHAT HAVE YOU TO SAY IN YOUR DEFENSE?"
A blue streak of lightning cracked from the castle window and sped up into the sky towards Jandar and Asam barely missing them. Behind it Bram, surrounded by a mystical blue glow, rose up to meet them.
"I say power gives me the right to do anything I want!" His gray jet black hair waved in the storms mighty winds as his mad eyes glared to Jandar and Asam. "You call me a weak incompetent fool unable to cast a spell correctly! I'll show you who's incompetent!!"
With clenched fist, Bram swung his arm out at the pair. Lightning blasted out of the clouds and struck Jandar like a hammer knocking him back. Rolling away, he quickly recovered and sent his own blast at Bram which he easily shrugged off. With a loud squawk, Asam sent a series of fireballs out at Bram which he batted away while laughing hysterically.
"Is that what you call magic?" Spittle sprayed from Bram's mouth. "How's this?"
He swept his arm up. From below, two huge boulders sprang from the ground and like missiles, flew at Jandar and Asam.
Closing his wings, Asam waited for the last possible second, then swept them open sending heat vibrating out to crash into the one coming at him shattering it into dust that rained back towards the ground.
With a wave of his hand, Jandar made the missile aimed at him completely intangible and let it pass right through him. As he reached out, he collected the dust and debris from Asam's boulder and formed it back into three smaller rocks and tossed them right back at Bram.
From below, Philibar, Eldar, Leda, Tomz, Vibius, Manius and Kranko watched the magical battle as it flashed through the sky. Every spell sent was countered and defected causing awe in the unmagical watchers. Philibar and Eldar chatted on the side about different types of attacks and what they could do if the battle came their way.
"And you thought a simple attack by force would have caught him." Eldar laughed. "Bram is way beyond force now. Sorrowdowns whole army couldn't stand a chance against him."
"But four warriors just might be able to surprised him at a weakened moment." Vibius nodded to Manius, Leda and Kranko. "You three, follow me."
"Where are you going?" Tomz asked.
"To do what we were told to do."
Climbing on their horses, the four rode off towards castle Heimdel. Behind them, Philibar, Eldar and Tomz watched as they rode off.
"Why do I get the feeling something stupid is about to happen? Tomz asked.
"I know why your here!" Bram screamed as blue energy surged from his hands at Jandar and Asam. "Your here for my rings! You want my power, you always did. Well you can't have it! It's mine!"
[What in Rimnar's name is he talking about?] Asam forced his shield into a better position to deflect the blasts.
[I have no idea.] Jandar sent. [He's been rambling nonsense ever since the battle started. We have to find a weak point then I can call Rage in.]
[Be ready. I'm going to try something.]
Folding his wings, Asam went into a dive. His flames burned brighter as more air was fed into the fire. With a quick shifting of his weight he turned and flew straight at Bram. Bram screamed and hammered him with his blue bolts. Taking the blows on his wings, Asam pulled up and at the last minute brought his tail flames up and smacked Bram right out of the sky.
As Bly reached the top of the tower stairs, she stood in front of a huge door. Shifting to her larger form, she reached out and grabbed the door knob and turned it. As the door creaked open, a foul smell came out of the room and choked the breath from Bly. It was a horrible smell that once you smell, you never forget. It was the smell of death. As Bly pushed open the door, she noticed she was in a sparely furnished room. There was only a bed in the room with something in it. It looked like someone was sleeping. Quietly Bly floated over to the bed praying she didn't just found who she had come looking for. Reaching out she grabbed the sheet and pulled it back. As she gazed down at the bodies in the bed, her heart screamed out in horror. Just then something huge came crashing through the roof and tore through the room. Without even thinking Bly shifted to fairy and took off dodging bricks, lumber and debris. She didn't stop to even think about what she had seen until she was clear of the castle.
As Bram crashed through the floor of the tower, He twisted and came down flat on his stomach stunned. It took him only seconds to recover, but by then, Jandar and Asam had dropped down lower over the hole in the ceiling and were ready with the binding spell. From high above they began to chant.
POWERS OF EARTH.
POWERS OF WIND.
POWERS OF FIRE AND SEA.
WE STRIP THESE POWERS FROM THEE.
NO LONGER WILL THE WIND BLOW.
OR THE EARTH MOVE, WATER FLOW
OR FIRE BURN FOR THEE.
WE BIND THE ELEMENTS
AWAY FROM THEE.
As Bram screamed his outrage, nine rings slipped off his fingers and rolled away from him. With great effort, he climbed to his feet and turned to grab for his rings. Just then, the door to his study was kicked open and Vibius, Manius, Leda and Kranko rushed in with sword in hand. As Bram stepped back, the four dived at him and started stabbing down into his body. Blood rained all over the room as the mad warlock screamed and fell to the floor.
"This is not over!" He screamed. "Even death can not hold me! I will be back, and I will make you all pay. I will make your children pay! So swears Bramble Tiberius Thorn!"