In the high hills of Valturm in the nation of Hernborim sat the home of the most honored Battle mistress Leda Strongarm Redhelm. Leda was the daughter of Olin Hardfist Strongarm and the holder of Erdus the Silver mace. She held the highest rank of all warriors in Herborims warrior guild. Her attacks on the Dark elves in Tarsap and the taking of the fjord castle of Vandor were legendary. Songs were still to this day sung at festivals of her bravery at Heimdel castle against the element warlock Bram Thorn. How she single handed defeated him against his strongest spells and legions of warrior. After her return from Heimdel, Leda was put in place as the General of all Herborims armies. She was given lands and a home almost as splendid as the royal palace of the king. She would for the rest of her days sit second at his table at all honored event. Leda won all this and riches for her family name. She did all this with a lie.
It was late and Leda was tired from all the drilling and marching she had put her warriors through on the fields outside of Valturns walls. It had been her way to always march and practice with her warriors and today was no different. She put them through drills in hand to hand combat, storming towers which meant climbing and heavy weapons drills. Leda would have her warrior at their best. Being the holder of the silver mace, she had her pride and her name to protect.
"Fight to win." She told her warriors. "And win to fight on."
That was her motto and any dwarf who failed would face her and maybe never fight again.
Today with sore muscles, Leda rode in from the practice fields deep in thought. Gromor the Grim had come into Valturn two weeks ago and insisted on challenging her to a marriage battle. He did this at least twice a year hoping that she might accept or that he might be lucky in battle and win her hand. The thought of marriage really angered her. She needed no man for anything other then a few hours of lusty pleasure and to watch her back in battle. And none would ever be as good as her dead mate and father of her children Egon had been. He had been her one true shield mate partner in life. The one dwarf who would always be at her side until his death at the hands of a raiding band of Trolls. How she missed his dark eyes and feverish touch. He always knew what to say and how to keep her level headed and from jumping into battle before all the facts were known. But he was gone now and she was alone. She had no one but herself and a few she trusted to stand at her back. Unfortunately tonight, that wouldn't be enough.
As Leda rode on, her mind was on how she could again keep Gromor at bay. Was she going to have to battle him again? She was tired of all this and just wanted it to stop. Year after year, battle after battle. Was she to cripple him or cause him permanent damage to stop his advances. What would it take for him to realize she would never under any circumstances commit to being his shield mate. No matter how prominent he was or hard hard he fought.
The road through Redhelm to the manor was dark at this time in the evening. All miners were home enjoying they're nights dinner and all of her family would by now be assembled in the hall huddled around the fire waiting for her and to go in for the evening meal. Her sons would be boasting about today's challenger and her oldest daughter Strella would probably be teasing young Warwick about how undwarf like using a bow was.
Urging her horse on, Leda rode through the cobbled torch lit lane heading home, when she saw something in front of her that shouldn't be there. It was a wagon, and not the wagon of a dwarf, it was to big. It was the wagon of a human. Strange Leda thought. She hadn't given permission for any humans to pass through her land. As she strained her eyes she noticed strange writing on the sides. Mystic letters and symbols. Reaching to her saddle, Leda unclasped the strap holding her mace to the horses side just in case there would be trouble here, then rode on up to the wagon.
As she got closer, she could smell burning incense in the air. It was sage if she wasn't mistaken. Closer. Leda had a better look at the wagon. It was more of a small hut on wheels with windows and a door on the side. Other then the mystical writing, there was a large eye on the side. The markings of a fortune teller. Leda had seen them before in her travels through human cities and ports. Mostly gypsy beggars trading fake fortunes for coins. Well there was no need for anything like that here. She didn't want any human or dwarven magic practiced on her land. Whoever it was, they had to go.
Climbing down from her horse, Leda grabbed her mace and walked out to the wagon. Just as she approached, the camp fire suddenly burst into flames in the campfire. Surprised, Leda jumped to the side.
"Aiya warrior maiden." As Leda turned, she saw a elderly man with long grey hair and beard stepped down from the wagon. He was dressed in black pants, sandals and a grey tunic. There was a red sash around his waist and he wore gold in his ears. "What brings a fine warrior like you into my camp?"
"Your camp?" Leda looked at him with raised eye brows. "I don't think you know where you are. You are in Hernborim, Dwarf lands. This is the city of Valturn and this is my home. You are trespassing here."
"I like to think wherever I can lay my head is home." He shrugged. "It's more peaceful that way."
"That's a good way to find yourself in someones dungeon thinking like that." Leda walked around the wagon looking at the strange markings. There was a Pentagram, swastika, ankh and the mystical eye of power. Leda didn't know exactly what most of the symbols were, but she knew magic when she saw it and she didn't like it. She had fought many sorcerers, wizards and warlocks in her day and it was never good. She didn't want one anywhere near her home and family.
"You have to go." She fastened her mace to her belt. "Tonight, now."
"Oh an I came so far to be here." The fortune teller looked at her slyly. "Can't I just stay the night and rest?"
"No! Wait! You mean you knew you were in Hernborim? Who are you?"
"I like your ring." He smiled pointing out the ring on Leda's hand. "Where did you get it?"
"Spoils of war." She answered suspiciously.
"Then you won it fairly in battle and took it as a trophy?"
"Something like that." She said. "Who are you stranger?"
"Just a stranger here looking for something I lost." He shrugged. "Something you seem to have taken from me."
"Something I what?" Leda grabbed her mace and started stepping back away as the gypsy started laughing hysterically. Suddenly lightning started to flash and the wind picked up and began to howl. Hurricane winds came whipping out and through the trees bending and snapping some of them in half.
"Surely you remember me my dear Leda Redhelm." The wind picked him up and held him in the air as Leda grabbed on to a stump to keep from being blown away. "I am Bram Tiberius Thorn and you and your friends came in and attacked me! You killed my wife and baby, then when I was at my weakest point, you all fell on me, you killed me and sent me to hell! Now I'm back to repay all of you for my years of torture in hell starting with you!!"
As Leda screamed the winds picked her up and held her in mid air. Like knives, wind beat at her and cut into her stripping her flesh from her bones. When Bram was done, the ring was back on his finger and her bones lay scattered all over the ground below. As Bram's laughter drifted on the winds, the wagon disappeared and the wind settled down leaving her armor and weapons there among her bones on the road.
The sun was just setting behind the mountains as Quynn Tyr, the true born son of Rage king of the Keanna dragons and his mate Jandar flew on towards home with his cousin Prince Ranjer Zlenka Tyr on his back. As his wings pumped the air to rise higher, his mind was in deep turmoil. He had failed his final test on summoning again. This was the third time he had failed to bring the dove he had summoned to him. Try as he might, all he could get was a single feather. Cutter had shook his head and just moved on to the next candidate for evaluation. Quynn just moved out of line ignoring the snickering of his classmates. He was embarrassed. He was the son of one of the greatest master mages on Keanna and he had fail not once but three times. His fathers would be so shamed he thought. He was to be the next master mage of the Dark wolf clan, but he couldn't even summon a common dove out of the nether realm. Something he should be able to do with ease.
He had passed all his other classes. Spell casting, enchantment, gesture magic, even curses and hexes. But summoning for some reason was beyond him. Jandar drilled and practiced with him for hours to make sure he knew the procedure, and he did know it. Every move, every word and gesture had been planted in his mind, but the second it was time for him to do the summoning, his mind went completely blank. His mouth would dry up and he would stumble over the spell then either nothing happened or it would go completely wrong. The first time he called for the dove and got a one winged bat. The second time, nothing happened and this time, all he got was the one feather. A total failure.
After class, Cutter had taken him back to his office in the Academy for a talk. Quynn had shuffled along behind him with his head down, his brown hair with grey streaks covering his handsome face.
"Is there something on your mind young Dragonwolf?" Cutter sat down behind his desk waving Quynn to a chair up front. He looked into Quynn's golden eyes, the eyes that so reminded him of Rage. "I know you know this. You should be able to do it in your sleep. What's stopping you?"
"I don't know Master." He sat back looking away from the teacher. "Everything gets jumbled in my head every time I try. I can almost feel it there just out of my reach, but I can't get it."
"What about when your alone or practicing with your father?" Cutter leaned forward. "Does it work then?"
"Yes, sometimes." Quynn said. "But sometimes I think it's really my father guiding what I'm summoning to me. I know he just wants me to succeed."
"He means well." The teacher nodded. "But this is something you have to learn to do for yourself. Listen Quynn, I won't fail you yet. The summer break is just beginning. I'll give you until autumn class begins before I give you your final grade. Take your time and rest and relax and practise on your own. Come see me on the first day of the autumn solstice and you can take your final again."
"What if I fail again?" He asked. Quynn looked scared. Summoning was a great part of his mystical family heritage. Every mage of the Dark wolf clan had to master it before he could reach the rank of Master and this was all that was holding him back.
Cutter stood and led Quynn to the door to his study. "You are young Dragonwolf. Much younger then your father was or any of the other Tyr ancestors were when they reached the rank of Master. You have time to live before you have to take the responsibilities of a Master. Go out and enjoy the summer. Time will always be your friend."
Quynn had no idea what he meant by that that, by it did ease his mind a little. Bowing to Cutter, Quynn left his study and hurried through the halls to the transport stone to head to the lobby of the Academy.
There, his tall blond cousin Ranjer waited for him while talking to Mera Serban. When he saw Quynn coming they waved to him.
"Well?" Ranjer asked impatiently. "How'd it go?"
Looking somber, Quynn stopped and looked up at him. Ranjer frown and sighed.
"You couldn't do it?" Mera said.
"No." He shook his head. "I failed. He's going to kill me."
"No he won't!" Ranjer threw his arm around his cousins shoulder and they started out of the Academy doors. "Uncle Jandar's never raised his voice at you in your life and you know that. Now Uncle Rage is gonna kill ya."
Quynn groaned. He hadn't even thought about his other father. He was much more one for discipline.
"Oh relax." Ranjer laughed. "They'll understand. Your fathers are two of the most fair people on Keanna. It's not like you can never test again. You can, right?"
"Yeah, I just have to practice and wait until the autumn solstice."
"Good." Mera said. "I know you'll get it eventually. I have to go, I'll see you guys late."
They both waved to her as she climbing into a coach on her way home for the summer. "Do you want me to come back to New Keanna with you? I have plenty on time. I want to go see Uncle Ono anyway."
"Sure." Quynn smiled. "They like you, they won't yell if your there. I'll give you a ride."
Rain poured and lightning flashed as Bly sped her way over the border out of Fay Shrea and into the free lands outside of New Keanna. There was trouble and she had to get to New Keanna to warn the Dragons before it was to late. Zig zagging her way across the land, she remembered back two days ago when it all had started.
It was late in the night when Bly stepped out of her small house in the underground city of Ammath. She look across to the time tower that stood in the middle of the square. It read almost midnight. Her father should be done with all his city business by now and be ready for her. Spreading her wings, Bly lifted off and sailed on through the dimly lite corridors of Ammath. She passed the homes of the common faeries who went about their business like any other day. They opened shops where they worked on all the jewelry they made and sold in Human, dwarf and elf cities. Then on to the higher ranked members of their society. Owners of mines and the generals of the Ammath warriors, the council of elders that served as her fathers advisers. All their homes were close to the king great house. Then in the middle on the hill sat the palace of Valerian Sharpwing, king of the Ammath faeries.
As Bly made her way though the gates she noticed something strange. The guards that were always here on watch, were gone. That she thought was odd. The king had his own personal guards trained just to protect him. She couldn't think of any reason why they wouldn't be at their post except.
Suddenly a cold feeling crept up through her stomach. Bly quicken her speed and hurried on. From there she entered the front hall of the palace. She stopped abruptly when she saw the devastation all around her. It looked like an earthquake had torn through the palace. The floor had completely buckled and was now nothing but a great open pit. Walls were down and the beautiful furniture of the palace was trashed. Fearing for her fathers life, Bly flew in ready to fight. From room to room she saw nothing but carnage. Bodies of palace staff and the kings guards lay everywhere dead, ripped apart.
Horrified, Bly flew on to the kings throne room. In the hall to the kings throne room, Bly stopped, landed and ran to the doors. From inside she could hear a maniacal laugh echoing through the room.
"You thought me dead, didn't you!" She heard. "You thought you were safe but you were wrong! You, your damned daughters and the others thought me dead and in hell, but not even hell can hold me! Nothing can stop Bram Thorn from getting what is due to him!"
"You won't win you monster!" Bly know that voice. It was Bram Thorn! But that wasn't possible. He's dead and in hell. She had to get her father out of there.
"Kill me if you want, just like you killed your wife and child. But your evil will be destroyed. Someone will send you back to hell."
"NEVER!!" Bram laughed. "After I kill and take back my rings I will live forever. Even Death fears me!"
[Father!] Bly sent. [I'm coming to save you!]
[No! Go Bly. Your the only hope. Get to the Dragons. find his rings and send him back to hell. I'm already dead.]
[No father! Let me help you.]
[It's to late.] She could feel his life slipping away. [Go, save yourself. I love you my daughter. Your the only hope to stop him. Aiya Bly.]
Suddenly there was a great crash and a blinding flash of light from inside the room. At that moment, Bly knew her father was dead. Now it was up to her to stop Bram. She had to find help and get the rings to put an end to Bram's threat and she knew where she had to go. She had to go find the Dragons. They were her only hope.
As Quynn and Ranjer walked into Jandar and Rage's suite in the Manor, Rage rushed by bumping into them. He looked at his son, hugged him and put their foreheads together in their usual greeting.
"There's food in the kitchen." He said rushing out. "Rose will make sure you have whatever you need while we're gone. Have a good summer Dragonwolf. Hurry Jandar, every one's outside waiting."
"Wait!" Quynn called as Rage ran out. "Where are you going?"
"There's trouble overseas." Jandar said as he finished putting things in a small bag and put it over his shoulder. "We're taking everyone except Ariel and Toric since her baby is due any day now."
"We want to come." Quynn said eagerly. "We can help."
"I'm sure you can." Jandar kissed his sons forehead. "But I'd rather you stay here in case Ariel needs help. Toric is going to be a basket case so she'll need someone to help keep him calm. I don't know how long this will take but we'll try and keep you informed if we can. If you need us, you call understand?"
As Jandar started to leave, he stopped and turned back to Quynn and Ranjer.
"I'm forgetting something." He looked back at the two handsome young men. "There's something I was suppose to ask you."
"I have no idea what you mean." Quynn give Ranjer that look that said don't open your mouth. Ranjer looked away innocently.
"Whatever it is I'll remember and send to you." Jandar waved as he left. "Have a good summer boys and don't destroy the Manor while were gone. I love you both."
"Aiya Father." Quynn waved as he left.
"Now what?" Ranjer asked.
"Now we have the whole Manor to ourselves." Quynn smiled. "You know what that means?"
"A party." Ranjer clapped his hands in anticipation. "Who should we call first?"
[Quynn!] Rage sent. [Don't do it.]
[I know what your thinking.] He sent. [And it's out of the question. You can have a few friends over but absolutely NO PARTY. Do I make myself clear?]
[Yes father.] He turned to Ranjer. "So much for that idea. Want to go for a swim in the bay? There should be Mermaids down there. We'll have company."
"Sure." Ranjer smiled. "That sounds like fun."
The water was cool and the sun was hot. It was a perfect day for a party in the bay. Mermaids swam along while in Dragon and wolf form, Quynn and Ranjer dived in and out on the waves. With a basket lunch on the shore waiting, the two had a fantastic day together in the surf and sand.
By the time the sun had slipped to the west, Quynn sat up and saw something strange in the distance. It was a dark spot on the ocean boiling and rumbling towards them. Quynn sat up and pointed.
"Look. What's that?"
Ranjer sat up and put his hand to his brow to shield it from the sun.
"I don't know." He said. "A storm maybe?"
"That size?" Quynn stood up. "A storm would be much bigger, it would cover the whole horizon, not just one spot."
"I don't know what it is." Ranjer jumped to his feet. "But its coming this way."
As Quynn and Ranjer stared out into the bay, the spot came in closer. Little flashes of light bounced off and on through the disturbance. Then, it looked like some kind of storm cloud, but as they watched, they realized it was a water elemental. And it was fighting something.
"What is that?" Ranjer asked confused. "There's something flying around it."
"It's a Fairy!" Quynn ran down to the waters edge. "And it's in trouble!"
"What kind of fairy moves like that?" Ranjer stepped into the water getting ready to swim out to help.
"Ranjer." Quynn dived in and surfaced. "Stay here. I can swim much faster as a dragon then you can. Be ready in case it makes it to the shore."
"Ok." Ranjer agreed. "But you better hurry."
Diving in, Quynn concentrated and started to shift to his dragon form. His body stretched and more then tripled in length until he was over fifteen feet long with a tail that trailed behind him another five feet. His handsome form grew wings and scales and he took on the black and gray colors of a timberwolf. His snout grew out and his teeth and claws grew long. Now Dragonwolf glided through the water like and arrow through the air.
As his eyes fixed on the water elemental, Dragonwolf saw the fairy fighting for her life. She sent mystic blast again and again at the elemental with no effect other then to annoy it. As it reached out with a hand formed of water, the fairy blasted it apart, but that didn't stop the water monster. As fast as the fairy blasted hands away, another reformed to take its place. Eventually it grabbed her and pulled her down into the water,
Dragonwolf dived down going deep after the fairy. With a swipe of his claw, he broke the spirit apart and grabbed the fairy and pushed his wings to drive him to the surface. Flying out of the water, he looked back just in time to see the elemental dive up out of the water at him. With a mighty blast of his breath, flames flashed out and blasted into the elemental. With a loud screech the elemental fell back and dissolved back into the water. With the fairy in his arms, Dragonwolf turned and flew on back to the beach where Ranjer was waiting.
Back on the beach, they moved to a shady place under the cliffs where He laid her down and shifted back to his normal self. The fairy had dark blue skin and blazing red hair and wings. She was huge for a fairy, over five feet tall. There were some pretty formidable talons on her hands. They know this fairy was meant for fighting. But who was she and where did she come from?
"Is she breathing." Ranjer asked as they stood over her.
"I think so."
Suddenly she coughed and threw up water she had taken in. Then she lay back and they could see she was breathing normally.
"What kind of fairy is she?" Ranjer asked. "I've never seen one so big."
"I don't know." Quynn said. "I guess we'll have to wait until she wakes up to find out. I'll stay here, why don't you go back to the manor and get some food and blankets. We'll stay here for the night."
"Ok." Ranjer turned and moved away then shifted to his condor form and took off for the Manor. [I'll be right back.]
As Quynn waited he gathered wood from the forest and built a fire to keep them warm. With a simple snap of his fingers, he set the pile he had built a blaze. Unsure of exactly what the fairy could eat, he decided to get a little fishing done. Quickly he dived back in the water and scared up a few fish they could roast on the fire. As he climbed back on the beach and dropped his catch, the fairy moaned and opened her eyes.
"Aiya." He said as she sat up. "How do you feel?"
"Like I should be dead." She moaned as she looked up at him. "Where am I?"
"Your at the base of the Cliffs of Kolvar." He told her. "New Keanna is just over the top."
"New Keanna!" She tried to get up and fell back down. "You mean I made it!!"
"Easy!" Quynn helped her to sit back up. "Relax, get your strength back before you get hurt. I don't know if you made it. Depends on where you were going."
"I'm looking for the Dragons. This is they're home right?"
"Yeah." Quynn smiled. "We live here and you found one. I'm Quynn Tyr, son of Kings Rage and Jandar. Can I ask who you are?"
"My name is Bly Sharpwing. I knew your parents long ago. I've come to warn them of desperate trouble ahead. I must talk to them."
"I'm afraid my parents aren't here." Quynn told her. "And I have no idea when they will be back."
"Then we're all in deep trouble because Bram Thorn is alive and he wants all of us dead!!"