Monday, May 26, 2014

Death of a Hero. 5

As Quynn, Ranjer and Bly sat in the kitchen of the Manor, Toric helped Ariel in and led her to a comfortable seat. Pregnant, she sat down and placed her hands on her stomach then looked at the three young ones.
"Now what's this all about?" She asked.
"It's about someone from the past." Bly explained from her seat on Quynn's shoulder. "Have you heard of Bram Thorn?"
"Vaguely." Toric handed Ariel a cold drink. "I remember Jandar telling me something about a crazy warlock Valkar sent them to see about. Something about an Elemental I think. But if I remember it right, he's suppose to be dead."
"He is." Bly said."Or he was. Somehow he's returned from the underworld and he wants revenge on all of us who sent him there."
"And by us." Ariel put down her cup. "I'm guessing you mean Jandar and Rage?"
"Yes." Bly nodded her head. "Jandar, Rage, all the Dragons and everybody responsible for his death and their families."
"That's a lot of people." Toric whistled. "Is he that powerful?"
"I believe he is." She said tearfully. "Three days ago he came to Fay Shrea. To Ammath where my father was the king. We are a warrior race of fairy. One of the most powerful of all the fairy kingdoms. He killed my father and everyone else in Ammath and destroyed our home. I am now the last Ammath fairy on Keanna."
"By the gods!" Quynn said in shock. "We're so sorry. What can we do to help?"
"I need your fathers to help me send him back to the underworld." Bly explained. "If we don't stop him, he'll be after all of us."
"You better warn them." Toric told Quynn. "Have then return as fast as possible."
"I've been trying." Quynn said."I'm not getting any kind of response."
"Nothing?" Ariel asked. "Can you feel then at all?"
"I can feel them." Quynn stood and went to the window to look out. "I can always feel them. I feel my dads, Ono, Shayn and all the others. I just can't reach them."
"What about Jax?" Toric asked. "Can you reach him?"
"Nothing." Quynn shook his head. "He's not answering either. Maybe it's me."
"No." Ariel shook her head. "I'm not getting anything either. Looks like for now, your on your own."
"Me?" Quynn turned surprised at what he had just heard." What's that mean?"
"As much as we would like to help." Toric said. "We can't go. The babies due any days now. She can't even fly right now. It's up to you and Ranjer to help, if he agrees to help you."
"Of course I'll help." Ranjer stepped up. "We're family. We can stop and tell Tof where I'm going. I'm sure he won't mind."
"Valkar too." Ariel cut in. "Go there first. He might have more information on this Bram. You do know who else was involved in Bram's death right? You know who he'll be hunting?"
"Yes, I know who he'll be after." Bly told them. "Your right. We should go to Yadessa next. He'll be after Tomz Acros of Prafa."
"Then you should get going." Toric helped Ariel up. "This Bram my be crazy, but I don't think he'll be wasting anytime."
"Keep trying your fathers." Toric shook Ranjer's hand as Quynn hugged his aunt Ariel. "We'll keep trying too and get New Keanna ready just in case Bram try's to pay us a visit."
"What if he does?" Quynn stopped worried. "Maybe we should stay."
"Don't worry about us." Ariel smiled. "New Keanna has it's own defenses and we're not weaklings with magic. There are others here who can help should he show his face here. You go warn the others and stop him from killing anyone else."
After collecting a few things from the pantry, Quynn, Ranjer and Bly stepped outside the gates of New Keanna. Quynn handed the bag to Ranjer and stepped out to shift to his Dragonwolf form. Climbing on his back, Ranjer give him word he was ready to go.
"Next stop." Bly said as she took off into the sky. "Vasagi, city of Vampires.

As the sun went down behind the Ryk Mountains behind Prafa, Tomz Acros woke up and pushed the lid from the cold box he had slept in. He hated sleeping like this, but this was the price he had to pay for his time as a Nightwalker. That and he lost the ability to be up during the day, and he now had to tend with the thirst. Jandar and Valkar had done all they could for him, but he had drank human blood. There was no way around that. He now had to live with the failings of the Nightwalkers until they found some way to lift the curse.
Though Tomz had been excused and pardoned for his treachery and he had show his bravery in the fight with Lord Larin and many difficulties afterwards, he was still watched by many in Prafa. He was still a Nightwalker after all and Baron Gaelich did keep a close eye on him.
His diet was now purely cattle blood and he had to swear a magical oath to never drink human, vampire, or any other intelligent beings blood again. And that made him cranky a lot. He also suffered from headaches but with powders and potions from apothecary's, he got along day by day.
From his window while sipping his daily supply of blood, Tomz watched the last wisps of the sun go down. Today was to be a busy day. All the repairs were finally finished in Prafa and Adam and Athene had invited him to go with them to inspect the new city wall. Gorak's cave had been turned into a tomb for all the Nightwalkers that had been killed in the final raid on Prafa. It was his job to check on it to make sure that the seal was still intact. This job he would do alone for no one else in the city wanted to go near the place. Not with all the protection spells Jandar and Gannon on placed on the site.
Dressing and combing his hair, Tomz took a final look in the Necro mirror that sat on the wall over his dressing table. He looked at his image. The redness in his eyes was all gone. All traces of Lord Larin's spell were gone from his body. But he was still a little transparent in the mirror. Another effect on his Nightwalker curse. Grabbing a cloak from the hook by thew window, Tomz donned it and through open the window and breathed in the cool night air.
"Well, on with it." He said as he made the shift to his condor form and leaped into the night sky. As the cool air ripple through his feathers, Tomz once again thanked the gods for his reprieve. He couldn't help but think if it wasn't for Athene, he to would have been staked out outside the wall and burned with the rest on the Nightwalkers. If he hadn't saved Adam and Athene's life, he would be dead. There would've been no mercy shown him in the Underworld and he still might have a price to pay when he finally died.
From Prafa manor Tomz flew on over the city. Over the newly renovated market place to the new houses built in the western part of the city. From there he flew over the new wall. It was twice as high as the old one with a walkway around the top and a ramp that spiraled around from the ground with entrances to the three levels in the wall. The wall had covered look out post placed in six alternating spots on each level which gave them a view of the area all around the city with no blind spots. Adam had designed most of the improvements to the city and done a very good job. But the tomb had been all Tomz and Valkar. Valkar wanted the place demolished. He wanted the cave destroyed and the remnants scattered to the winds. But Jandar and Tomz knew that wouldn't do it. The remains could still be resurrected if you knew the right spells, and there are many out there who knew what to do. Tomz convinced Valkar that it would be better to salt the ground and keep watch. That way anything that rose from the mass grave would be to weak and deformed to be much of a threat to them.
So from the wall, Tomz flew on into the hill to where the tomb was. From the air he could see all the bands of magic that surround the tomb. Red and green bands of energy with purple bands that covered the entrance. Tomz came down to land just outside of the magic ring in front of the cave. After shifting he cast out with the spell that allowed him to get close enough to inspect the seals on the cave door.
Once close he checked the spells and found nothing there had been disturbed. Relieved he stepped back and out of the magical ring.
"Aiya." Came a voice out of no where. Tomz turned to see a short dark haired man walking towards him out of the forest. He was dressed in dark pants and a gray tunic. He looked familiar. As Tomz looked at him, he realized this was not a citizen of Prafa. He was not a vampire. What was he doing here?
"Aiya stranger." Tomz looked at him suspiciously. "Are you lost? This is a forbidden place. You should not be here."
"Forgive me." The strangers said as he bowed. "I have been away for quite a long time. Things are so different from when last I was up and around."
"Have you been sick?" Tomz asked as he came closer. He looked in his eyes. There was something there. He couldn't put a finger on it but there was something about this man that made Tomz uncomfortable.
"Not sick." He smiled. "No. I was a prisoner in a horrible place."
"I understand." Tomz said. "Prafa and Yadessa has had some experience with being trapped lately. But freedom can always be found if you look hard enough."
The old man laughed hysterically. Tomz stepped back further not sure what this crazy man had on his mind.
"You don't understand." He said. "I was in hell and you helped put me there!"
"Who are you?" Tomz asked. Now he knew this was no random meeting. He was in trouble.
"Don't you remember me Tomz Acros." The man raised his hands and flames erupted in bursts. "You and your friends came to my home and destroyed me! You killed me and sent me to hell. Now it's Bram Thorn's turn to destroy you!!"
Hearing that name, Tomz reached and grabbed for his sword. He dived into the air with vampire speed and attacked Bram. But the speed of a vampire was no match for Bram's fire. Like a flamethrower, intense flames enveloped Tomz's body and set him a blaze. He screamed from the searing pain that ripped through his body. As he opened his mouth and scream, flames went in and seared his lungs from the inside. Tomz fell to the ground and rolled trying to extinguished the flames, but it was to late. Fire was the mortal enemy of all vampires and he burned to his death. His last thought in life was a screaming warning to his king. All he could send was one word.

In his royal bedroom in Shadowvyn,Valkar slept and dreamed of days long ago. Velusia was still his queen and the boys were all still young. Rejek was practicing sword play with one of the guards while Azeal played with his little brother Ranjer. Valkar and Velsia watched and talked with members of the court while musicians played soft music in the background. From the side, Valkar saw Velsia's father watching and whispering something into someones ear. It gave him shivers. There was something cruel about that man that Valkar didn't trust. He waved him forward for questions he needed answered about how things were going with the Werewolves. As he approached Valkar he stopped and bent forward to speak. That's when he heard it.
Valkar jumped up in his bed with the voice echoing through his mind. He knew that voice. It was Tomz and he sounded like he was in pain. Valkar threw off his blankets and got up out of bed. He tried calling out to Tomz, but there was no answer. He would have to check with Arturus or Athene to have them go find him.
Just then there was a knock at the door. Valkar slipped on a robe and went to answer the knock. It was Amar the butler.
"Pardon Sire." He said bowing. "But there are guess here from New Keanna who say they need a word with you. They say it's urgent."
"Dragons?" Valkar stretched. "Show them to the breakfast table. I'll be right there."
"Yes sir."
Quickly Valkar dressed. He hadn't seen Jandar or Rage in a few months since Azeal and Tanis had left to visit their friends from Pentanthin on the island to the east. He wondered what had brought the Dragon kings to Yadessa today.
Dressed and ready, Valkar went down to greet his guest. As he stepped through the door and saw Quynn and his son Ranjer, his heart filled with joy.
"Ranjer!!" He grabbed him in a huge hug wrapping his arms around him. "It's good to see you. What are you doing here?"
"Hi Dad!" He felt so comfortable in his fathers arms. He hadn't been back to Yadessa to see him since before Azeal left. "We came to see if we could get your help with something."
"Have a seat." Valkar waved to chairs for them all. "I thought it was you fathers Quynn. How are they?"
"I don't know." He said as they sat down. "I can't find them."
Valkar stopped and looked up at him. "What do you mean?"
"Right now they aren't answering my calls." Quynn explained. "I'm not worried. I don't think it's anything serious. But that's not why we're here."
"Then what is it?" Valkar was curious now. He picked up his fork and lifted some eggs to his mouth and started chewing.
"Do you remember someone named Bram Thorn?"
At the sound of that name, Valkar choked on his eggs spitting them out. He dropped his fork and looked at the three sitting across from him.
"How do you know that name? What's going on?"
"You do know Bram Thorn?" Bly said. "I have something to tell you.
With that she explained what had happened back at her home to all her people. When she was done, Valkar called out for Tovar Orsa. In less then two minutes Tovar was there to answer his king.
"Tovar, call Baron Gaelich and Athene." He ordered. "I want them to go find Tomz Acros right now. I think he may be in trouble."
"Yes Sire." Tovar went to the window and stared out into the morning clouds. "No one's seen Tomz since last night. Adam is going to check the tomb. That's where he said he was going. He was suppose to meet them last night to inspect the wall only he never showed up."
"That's not like him." Valkar pushed his plate away and got up. "Tomz is very punctual. Yes, I know Bram Thorn. He's a crazy elemental warlock that's suppose to be dead. Many years ago that crazy bastard started a rampage all around Taggitia. He attacked fairies, elves, humans and anyone else that got in his way. We sent a group to bring him down."
"I was a part of that group." Bly said. "It didn't go as planned."
"Yeah I know." Valkar said. "He wasn't suppose to die. We had plans to take care of him without killing him but a few in the party took in in their own hands and stabbed him to death. Now somehow he's back and we have to deal with him."
"We found him." Tovar called out.
"Good." Valkar relaxed.
"No." He finished. "It's not good. Tomz is dead. He's been burned to death. It looks like the sun killed him but it was the middle of the night."
"Damn!!" Valkar stood up and kicked his chair. "The warlock did it."
"What do we do?" Ranjer asked looking at the vampire king. This was all becoming a little to serious for him. All he wanted to do was to take his cousin home and forget all this craziness.
"You find him and put an end to his madness."
"US?" Quynn jumped up. "You mean me and Ranjer?"
"And Bly and the others." Valkar sat down.
"What others?"
"Bly?" Valkar turned to the fairy. "Do you understand?"
"Yes your majesty." She nodded and turned to Quynn and Ranjer. "There were eleven of us in the original party. We have to find them and they will help us to defeat Bram and send him back to the Underworld."
"There's something you don't know." Valkar leaned forward to explain things to them. "When Bram was killed, he had been searching for the eight Elemental rings of Tamalon. Tamalon was a lost city of incredibly powerful magi that legend says lived thousands of years ago. Not very much information can be found about them, but what we do know is that they had total control of the eight elements of magic. They could control the land and sea, and fire and water with ease. But to them, that wasn't enough. They had to learn to control it all, so in time they learned how to work with sound, shadow light and energy. Chief among the Tamalon warrior magi was a man named Abras Grazar. Abras Grazar was one of the most powerful of Tamalon. He had a set of eight rings that could control the elements of Tamalon magic. Like I said, not much is known about Tamalon, but through the memories of a few of the elder dragons we know that Tamalon was destroyed by a thousand year war and Abras Grazar fell when his castle was over run by their enemy. I'm not sure how Bram Thorn figured it out, but he found five of Grazars rings and learned how to control them. Before he died he had been searching for the other three rings. I don't know if he knew where they are, I hope not. Anyway when he was defeated and killed, his rings disappeared. He wants them back. Find who took the rings and get them back and find the three lost rings. Then you can destroy both him and the rings and end all this madness. Are you up for the challenge?"
Quynn looked at Ranjer who looked completely overwhelmed. He shrugged passing decision back to Quynn. He didn't have to ask Bly, she had come to them to start the whole thing. Well if this was to be their quest, then bring it on.
"Where do we go next?" Quynn asked.
"Pelordra." Valkar smiled his approval. "Go see King Philibar Windstar of the sky elves. He'll know who took the rings and how to kill Bram. Be careful boys, Jandar, Rage and Tof will kill me if anything happens to you."

All hell had broken loose in Sorrowdown. In every large house, every palace, the slaves were in revolt. They grabbed knives and pitchforks and whatever they could to fight there way to freedom. Sorrowdowns troops went from street to street trying to quell the fighting but there were more slaves in Sorrowdown then there were troops. Fires burned all over the city and rioting ran through the streets. The market place had been ripped apart and the slave block burned to the ground. You couldn't tell free man from slave on the streets and soon Emperor Midoa would be found hanging from his palace balcony. The coliseum was in flames. There would never be another gladiatorial game there and Niro had made it to his horse and was riding out of the dying city.
Without food or water Niro rode as far as he could to put as much distance as he could between Sorrowdown and himself. After a while he stopped got off and guided his horse off to the side of the road. He looked back and saw a huge cloud of smoke over where Sorrowdown should be. He swore he would never again walk the streets of his home town again. He would find a new life of adventure out here somewhere. But first, he had to figure out what his father had been talking about. He had said something about a great future. Doing what? Fixing what mistake? And how did Regulus Manius betray him? Niro looked down at the ring his father had given him on his finger. It was a silver ring with a green stone set in its center. It had some kind of intricate writing on it in a lovely design. As Niro stared into it, a spark seemed to gleam in the stone and he felt a slight shake in the ground. His horse bucked feeling the trembling in the ground. Niro held the reins calming the horse until the ground stopped shivering. As the ground calmed, he looked again at his ring. He had a feeling it had something to do with that quake.
Looking around, Niro realized he had ridden out and away from the human settlement and had entered into Ashgrove the first of the Elven lands in the area. In front of him was the beginning of Fay Shrea, the enchanted elven forest that went on for hundreds of miles to the north and the west, home of elves, fairy, goblins, leprechauns and many other magical folk. Vibius had told him to go find King Philibar Windstar of the Sky elves in Pelordra. Niro had never heard of Pelordra or of sky elves, but there his experience outside of Sorrowdown and with the other races of Keanna was very limited. He had been taught about elves and dwarfs, he had even seen trolls and a dark elf in the games. He had been a pale vicious fighter defeated only by a gladiator with something special on his side. It took magic to bring down the dark elf. Magic stronger then his own.
Now as he looked into the forest he realizes he would come face to face with some of these creatures. He pulled the axe his father had given him and looked at it. It really didn't look like much. About two feet in length. It had a wooden shaft with a red and blue band just beneath the silver axe head. What made it special was that when he held it in his hands, Niro could feel it filling his body with strength. Back in Sorrowdown, he had stabbed a man through his chest then lifted him like a rag doll and threw him more then twenty feet. But that would've been just adrenaline. There was only one way to be sure.
Walking over to the side of the road, Niro found a set of huge boulders sitting off in the grass.  They looked heavy. He couldn't possibly move any of them. Planting his feet firmly, Niro pulled the axe from it's hook on his belt. He could feel the strength rippling through his arms. He raised it over his head then slammed it down on the boulder. With a mighty crack like thunder, the boulder split right down the center into two pieces. Niro stood back and smiled. No ordinary axe could have done that. It might have chipped off a piece, but no normal axe could split that rock it two. Now he had one more test. Clipping it back to his belt, Niro bent down and grabbed the second boulder.
"There's no way I should be able to lift this." He said. "But let's see what happens."
Lifting with his legs, Niro easily picked up the boulder and held it for a minute, then tossed it to the side. As it hit the ground, trees shook and there was loud noise.
"That was easy." He looked at his hands turning them over. They looked perfectly normal, not even dirty. Pulling the axe from his belt, he placing it to the side, Niro rubbed his hands together then reached down and nudged the next boulder. It had to weight hundreds of pounds and it wouldn't budge. Picking up and re attaching the axe to his belt, Niro again tried moving the stone. With ease he flipped it over and rolled it back further into the grass.
"Now that's some kind of magic." He smiled. "Now my only problem is how to find King Philibar. I think I'm going to need some help and I guess I'm in the right place to find it."
Moving on, Niro found a lake where he watered his horse, did some fishing and got himself the first peaceful sleep he had in over a year. He would need it. From here on things were going to start moving very fast.