Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Elementals. 14

It was dark as Quynn, Ranjer, Yarden and Myor made their way through the mountains of Roann. The only light came from Myor as he streaked brightly between the peaks. With Myor in the lead lighting the way, they searched the peaks until they found the cave that Myor had seen with his mind probe.
[There.] He pointed to a ledge to the opening as he circled around the peak. [That's our entrance.]
Quynn flew down and was the first to land. Yarden and Ranjer jumped from his back as Myor set down.
"How far down do we have to go?" Ranjer asked as he looked into the dark hole.
"You're not afraid of the dark?" Yarden asked with a smile. "Are you?"
"No." Ranjer said. "I can see just fine. I was wondering what’s down there."
"I guess we'll find out." Quynn said as he stepped into the cave. "Can you still find the ring?"
"I got us this far." Myor said. "We're going to have to go down and find it. I know it's here."
"I'll lead." Yarden said. "My nose can help us make our way through these tunnels."
With Yarden in the lead, they made their way through the twist and turns of the dark tunnels. They passed amazing rock formations and walls lined with all kinds of gems and precious metals. They saw veins of gold, silver and platinum. They saw iron and bronze. Quynn made a remark about how the Dwarves of Lands’ End would love a chance to mine in this cave.
They found an underground river that raged into a set of falls then pooled into a great lake. Yarden called a stop and went fishing for huge trout that they cooked in the campfire for lunch. While they ate, they heard strange growling noises coming from somewhere in the darkness.
"What is that?" Quynn asked. He stood up and walked out away from the fire and gazed into darkness. Dragons usually live deep down in caves, so the darkness was nothing to Quynn. He saw huge rodents skittering all about through the cave. But that can't be what growled. Quynn looked deeper, then looked up. There were strange white bats all over the ceiling of the cave. They were no threat to them. As Quynn turned to go back to the campfire, something shot out of a side cave and attached to his leg and pulled him off his feet. Falling on his back, Quynn looked up and saw a ten-foot half mantis, half spider come lurching out of the darkness toward him. It was a Flashclaw. He had heard tales about them from his father, but he'd never seen one before. The Flashclaw stood like a Praying Mantis, it was black as the night with red stripes that ran across its thick exoskeleton with two front main appendages for stabbing and slicing its prey. Its lower body was more spider like but covered in black armor and it moved on six crab like legs. It also had a spider’s spinneret and a deadly bite that injected acid into its victims.
As the Flashclaw advanced on Quynn, he struggled with the web trying to rip it loose from his leg. With a chattering squeal, it raised its spiked leg to stab down into Quynn. Without thinking, Quynn shifted and bellowed out a blast of flame that sent it scuttering back away from him. As Quynn ripped the webs off and climbed to his feet, the Flashclaw started to scream an ear piercing yell. Ranjer, Myor and Yarden came running from the fire as four more came charging out of the cave. Yarden shifted and dived in and grabbed the closest Flashclaw by its forelegs and slammed it into the cave wall then threw it out into the lake. He reached out and tore a stalagmite free from the ground and waded in swinging it like a club. Myor and Quynn started blasted the giant bugs with their flames while Ranjer fired energy bolts. Soon, one by one the Flashclaws died or ran off back into the caves where they had come from.
"We should hurry and find the ring." Ranjer said. "Those thing will be back and there will be a lot more of them."
"Then let's get moving." Quynn said. "And fast."
With Yarden back in the lead, they ran on through the tunnel. They ran through another tunnel filled with giant rats. Myor took the lead there and blasted the tunnel with fire to clear the way so they could pass. Finally, they came to a huge chamber with a high ceiling covered with diamonds and a green phosphorescent alga. Yarden stopped them just before they entered. He sniffed the air and frowned.
"There's something alive in there." He said. "And it smells worse than a whole colony of Kensi."
"Someone needs to go in and see what's in there." Myor suggested. He stepped to the entrance and gazed in. "Someone who can slip in unnoticed."
"That's not me." Yarden moved over to a boulder and sat down. "I can merge with ice and snow but not rock. That would take someone with powers over rock, or maybe someone who can become invisible."
"Invisible?" Quynn said turning to his cousin Ranjer. "How about a mist? Would that work?"
"Me?" Ranjer looked at them surprised, his gray eyed flashed red.
"You can slide in as mist and see exactly what's living in there." Quynn explained. "Then we can figure how to get in and what to do."
"I guess that will work." Ranjer took off his bag and handed it over to Quynn and walked to the entrance to the chamber. He closed his eyes and summoned the air and water particles from all around to cover him as he dissolved into the mist and flowed into the chamber.
The chamber was huge, big enough to fit a small city in. A small river flowed through the center and the walls on each side were lined in tiers with rooms and apartments dug into the walls. Ranjer slid in low to the ground and spread himself out so he could explore every part of the chamber. He found areas where there were small cooking fire pits had been build in many of the rooms with crude knives and other cooking utensils. In many rooms, he found sleeping furs piled in what he thought might be some kind of nest or den. Yarden was right. There was something living in here, and from what Ranjer found, it looked like it might be a whole tribe. But a tribe of what? Ranjer had no clue.
[What do you see in there?] Quynn asked from the outer chamber.
[It's a really big cave.] He sent. [There are cook fires and furs for sleeping. I found what looks like plates and bowls and a lot of old gnawed bones.]
[What about the ring?] Myor asked. [Do you see it anywhere?]
[No.] He sent. [I don't see anything like a ring, but I haven't been able to search very much. This chamber is really big. It could be anywhere in here.]
Ranjer searched the apartments one at a time. He went from level to level going through sleeping furs and everything else he saw but still no ring. Then from deep in the back of the chamber, something moved. Ranjer drifted up towards the roof of the chamber, then to the back where he thought he heard the noise. There was something there. It was huge and covered with long hair all over its body. At first, Ranjer thought it was some kind of bear, then it lumbered out grunting into the chamber and he recognized it. It was a Troll, but not  like the Trolls back at home. At home the forest Trolls were big hairless brutes that scavenged and attacked travelers on the road or from under bridges. This one was different. Though it was hairy, it wore clothing and its eyes had a strange glow. Ranjer got the feeling this thing was much more intelligent just forest Trolls. And there was something else. Something on its hand sparkled. Ranjer slowly drifted down for a closer look. Then he saw it. It was wearing a ring!
Just as he was about to message the others that he had found the ring, the Troll turned and looked up in his direction.
"Fe Fi Fo Fum." The troll swept his hand up at Ranjer. The water in the caves river sprouted up and rushed at him. Ranjer's mist form absorbed the water molecules making him to dense to hold his form. Struggling to keep himself together, Ranjer fell to land at the Trolls feet. "I smell the blood of a foreign one. Who dares invades the chamber of Gnark?"
Gnark reached down and grabbed Ranjer and threw him across the floor the chamber. Ranjer crashed to the ground and rolled into the wall where he lay there unconscious. Feeling Ranjer's panic, Quynn shifted and rushed in to Ranjer to stand over him and Gnark charged. Quynn took a deep breath and blew out a torrent of flames that stopped Gnark and forced him back. As Myor and Yarden joined Quynn, Gnark lifted both arms over his head forcing the river to shoot out at them in a blast of hard water. The water struck Yarden, he was knocked back to the entrance in a muddy heap. Myor raised a shield to protect himself and Ranjer from the water. Quynn launched himself over the top of the shield at Gnark, his claws out stretched as he reached for the Troll. In response, Gnark swept the water around and formed a barrier between him and Quynn's razor sharp claws. Quynn roared out his frustration and beat against the solid wall of water. There had to be a way to get through to fight the Troll. He had to get that ring back. It was the only way if they were to have a chance at beating Bram Thorn.
"Bram Thorn?" Gnark lowered his hands. "I see a name in your mind little dragon. It is a name I know. Bramble Thorn is alive?"
[Yes.] Quynn settled down and shifted to his Human form. "He escaped from his prison in the Underworld and he's returned and swore revenge on the people of Taggitia. So far he destroyed Ammath and all of its people but one. He raided a cavern in Mada looking for one of his rings and killed everyone that lived there. A whole Yetisian clan dead. He poisoned the corn crops of Diva and murdered all its people and there are many more in his way."
Gnark dropped the water wall and stepped in to confront Quynn and Myor. He waved his hand at Yarden and sent a gentle rain of clean water to shower the Yetisian and wake him up.
"Your friend will be alright." He turned in toward the cavern. "Follow me."
Leaving Yarden and Ranger sleeping peacefully, they followed Gnark to a crystal set in a wall by the furthest dwelling in the cavern. Gnark stood in front of the crystal and waved his hand in front of it. As the crystal flashed to life, scenes of life in the undersea city of Mabin streaked by. They saw a Mer wizard with a young apprentice at his side as he worked for the betterment of the citizens. He cured the sick and eradicated many diseases. He used his magic to protect and to fight many enemies of the city. He did his best to teach compassion, honor and bravery to his young eager apprentice until one day that apprentice learn that the wizard had met a new young initiate.
"On that day." Gnark explained. "The apprentice learned jealousy. He thought his master had turned against him and planned to leave all his magic knowledge to the one he thought to be his rival. Of course, he was wrong. The new initiate was actually meant for a city far away were the master hoped they would be friends and allies. But friendship was not one of Bram Thorn's strong suits. Neither was patients or faithfulness. No matter how hard Aenon tried, certain lessons just escaped Bram's comprehension. Lessons that would be important if he was to be made a master."
Quynn and Myor listened well. Some of what Gnark was saying explained Bram's rage and so much more. His cold heart and his stubbornness, his hate for those he thought had more power. It all started here.
"Then the final day of judgement was on the two students." Gnark gestured at the crystal and it showed them standing on a island undergoing their final test. "Young Christian worked hard and passed every test Aenon put to him, but Bram's anger was so high, he couldn't concentrate and failed miserably. Aenon passed on the ring of knowledge to the boy and congratulated him. That was when Bram's anger became out of control and he struck. He cast out his spell, an evil spell that ripped all the life and magic from both Christian and Aenon infused it into the ring. It gave the ring great power over the water and drove the two minds in it to insanity."
"This is the first of Bram's nine Rings of Madness." Gnark held up the ring. "They are the rings that drove him mad. I have been able to free Christian from his hellish prison and he is now here resting in peace. But Aenon is still insane and in the ring and very dangerous to he who wears the ring. He has his moments of clarity but they are few and unpredictable. I will give you the ring, but you must promise me two things. One, you will never put the ring on and two, you won't allow Bram to get it. I want your word, both of you."
"We promise." They said together. Then as he handed Quynn the ring, Quynn asked a question. 
"But what of you and the other Trolls here? Won't you lose your magical protection."
"Do not fear for my people." Gnark smiled. "Christian will protect our cavern."
Together they walked back to where Yarden was waking up with Ranjer. 
"He is at peace but he is still here. He will always be here with us. This is his home, don't worry about us, you have enough with Bram on the loose in the world. His madness is a threat to all the people of Tagittia."
"Thank you Gnark." Myor bowed to the Troll. "Tagittia is in your debt."
"Fare you well young heroes." Gnark nodded. "May the gods always be at your side."
With Yarden and Ranjer awake and back on their feet, Myor led them back up and out of the cave.
"Where to now?" Yarden asked as he enjoyed the night air of the mountains.
"I think we should go find the others." Quynn said. "And see how they're doing."
"How about we rest tonight and start out fresh in the morning." Myor dropped tired and pulled his robe closed around him.
"You're not worried what Bram might be doing?" Ranjer asked. "I can tell you he's not resting. He might be attacking someone else right now."
Myor moaned his frustration but he knew Ranjer was right. They should hurry back. Myor got back up on his feet to get ready to fly.
"I'll tell you what." Ranjer said. "You ride on Quynn and I'll fly. You can rest on the ride back."
"Fine." Myor said. "Let's get moving. We have a long way to go."

The night was dark and hot as Bram Thorn entered what was left of Sorrowdown. All its citizens had fled after the slave revolt and the preceding riot. The slaves had set the city on fire in revenge for the years they had spent under the yoke of Sorrowdown and their cruel masters, before they ran off to the freedom of the forest and beyond hoping to never see the city again. All that was left were small bands of roving scavengers looting what was left of the market place and the burnt out abandoned homes of the city's nobles.
As Bram entered the city, a small gang of men watched as he pushed his way through the debris that littered the main road into town. From the way he carried himself, they thought him to be an easy mark. Just another noble who had come back to see what was left of his house and property. As far as they could see, he had no warriors with him for protection, it didn't even look like he was armed at all. Just a mad man raving to himself about his losses as he searched for his belongings. The men snickered under their breath thinking how easy this was going to be.
Splitting into two groups, one went to the left hidden by small burnt out buildings while the other went right thinking they would trap the stranger between them and rob him of whatever gold and jewelry he had. As they waited to attack, they could hear him screaming obscenities at no one as he walked.
In seconds he would emerge from between the two ruined buildings. There were four men waiting with swords ready on each sides. They raised their swords ready as they listened to his angry ranting. The stranger walked straight up the road, his arms flailing about in crazy gestures. From each side the men charged out at him to attack. He ignored them until the last second then thrust out with both arms grabbing the men up in his spell. They rose up into the air trapped in the coils of magic like the tentacles of some mystic octopus as they fought for their freedom. Below, Bram Thorn's mad laughter echoed out through the ruins of the dead ex-empire city.
"You like the others thought me weak and helpless." Bram reached out and squeezed them in his spell. "You were wrong. I am as powerful today as I was the day I was killed."
The men screamed and cried out for mercy. Bram laughed harder enjoying their moment of fear and pain. He walked out to stand under them as they struggled against the spell trying to free themselves.
"You want mercy; I’ll will show mercy." He said as he casually strolled beneath them drooling in madness. "But I require something in return for my generosity. I will spare all your miserable lives but you must serve me."
The men in the grips of his spell all cried out their objections. They screamed out their denials and renewed their fight to free themselves from his magic. Back and forth they swung in the air as Bram laughed below them and applied more power to the spell. It squeezed harder, soon they could hardly breathe and had no choice but to accept his conditions. Bram through back his head and cackled as he turned and threw his hands up into the air. The eight men caught up in his spell screamed as they descended to the ground and the change began.
"Though I don't have the right rings." Bram said. "I still have enough control over the elements for this. You will be my elemental warriors. Two of you will be fire, two will be wind, two will be water and to will be soil."
As he chanted, two men screamed and burst into flames. Their clothing and the air all around them burned as the fire fused into their bodies turning them into fire Elemental's. One by one, the men changed. The first two to fire, then two to air, then water and soil until eight Elemental's stood in front of Bram ready to follow his every order.
"You will do." He said as he walked around inspecting his work. "Who is your Master?"
"You are." One of the fire elemental's stepped forward dripping sparks and dropped of lava. "Bram Thorn is our master."
"Follow me." Bram turned and headed into Sorrowdown. He passed through the lower city were the people of the lower casts, the marketplace and the ruins of the Emperor's arena stood to the part of the city were those who owned land lived. Not quite the rich or the nobles, but the working class. From there he moved on to the garden part of the city were the nobles live. The villas and manses made of marble, brick and cement with lavish gardens and unique architecture and decoration. The roads here were paved and usually kept clean by slave labor but now the whole area was in chaos from the riot. This area was the home of the pampered and the privileged with the palace of the Emperor on the highest level and Bram's destination.
He led them in through the tore down fence and into the courtyard of the palace. From there with a wave, Bram swept open the doors and went into his new home. He looked around and smiled satisfied with his choice.
[You don't deserve this.] A voice said. [You should be down in the ghetto with the rest of the trash living in the mud. You’re a pig!]
"Shut up." Bram mumbled to himself. "I don't want to hear it."
[And I don't care what you want, you crazy bastard,] The voice laughed. [You did this to yourself, not suffer for your misdeeds.]
[Yeah yeah yeah. Fuck you.]
Bram lost control and sent a bolt of energy at a wall blasting it out. The voice just laughed at him provoking him even further.
[Weak fool!]
Angry, Bram closed his mind and headed further into the palace to the Emperor's throne room where he made himself at home. He called in the air elemental to attend him. The curtains blew as the being of air blew in through the hole in the wall. As it landed down in front of Bram, it bowed to its Master. The change had turned him blue and transparent. He wore rags that blew in the winds that swirled around him.
"You called Master?"
"Yes." Bram said. "I think I will call you Solaris. I have a job for you my Elemental warriors. There are people I want you to kill."
"As you wish my Master." Solaris bowed his head. "Just tell me who and where."
"There is a man in a small town called Bellshore." Bram leaned forward. "He has something I want. A ring.  I want him punished for stealing my ring. Take Embar, one of the flames with you and get it back for me and kill the thief."
"Your wish is our command." Solaris said. "Is there anything else?"
"Yes, find me one more from the city. There is one more element I need as a guard."
"Yes my master."
He lifted his arms and started to spin into a small vortex and disappeared through the broken wall. Bram started laughing again.

As the sun set to the west, Hoddie and Niro used their strength to help the Elves dig out and rescue anyone still buried by the damage of Bram's storm. Sima's delicate nose led them from house to house where he showed them where to dig to locate any buried survivors. Rowyn spent the night lending her magic in the healer tents tending to the wounded while Bly kept watch with a group of Mystwinter's guards for looters thinking to raid the damaged city.
By morning, everything had settled down and Mystwinter was quiet. Niro woke up and did his morning business then went looking for his friends. He found Rowyn sleeping in the healer tent. Passed out from exhaustion while Hoddie guard at the door. The Goblin nodded a greeting and made a motion spooning to his mouth. He was hungry and didn't want to leave his watch on the princess while she slept. Niro waved then went to the dining tent and picked up some bread and cheese and a bowl of beef stew and brought it back to Hoddie. He took the pack and thanked Niro for the breakfast and started eating. Niro took a seat next to him as Hoddie handed him some bread and cheese.
"What are you thinking?" He asked as he spooned stew into his mouth.
"I was thinking about where we should be heading next." Niro said. "Any ideas?"
"Bly wants to go find Bram." Hoddie said. "But I'm not sure that's a good idea. We have four out of nine rings. I don't think that's enough. Don't forget, he broke out of the Underworld with no rings at all. Now he has at least two that we know of. He could have more."
"So that means so far know four rings have been found." Niro folded the towel the cheese and bread had been wrapped in and stuck it in his sleeve. "There are still three out there somewhere for us to find. I wonder where the next one is?"
"It's in Hernborim." Bly said as she flew in to land on Niro's knee. "A Dwarf has it. We have to head into Dwarf country and find Leda Redhelm. I just hope Bram doesn't find her first."
"Hernborim is the south." Niro said. He lifted Bly then got to his feet. "We'll have to book passage across Lake Goras. It might be a good idea to find Tarron and Marissa and get them back here first. They can arrange passage for us. Is there anyway to trace Eldar's spell to find them?"
"We'll have to ask Rowyn when she wakes up." Hoddie said. He turned to Bly. "You should get some rest. You've been on guard all night. When Rowyn wakes up, we'll come get you, then we can get moving."
"No." She shifted to her larger size and guided them out of the healer tent and to a turned over bench. Niro flipped it over and they sat down. "I get my energy from the sun, I don't need much sleep. What I need is some kind of action and I have an idea about how to find the king and queen."
"What were you thinking?" Hoddie asked.
"All magic is done with different colored lines of energy and power." She explained. "Any spell can be traced, undone, unraveled or reversed if you can see and follow the lines."
"I understand that." Niro said. "My tutor back home told me all about it, but I never had the ability to touch or manipulate the lines. I can see them but them, but I can't get them to work for me."
"But in a way, I can." Bly said. "Let me explain. I can't see them, but if you can, you can show me which lines to use and I can reverse Eldar's spell. It's going to hurt like hell, but I can do it."
"Why don't we just wait and let Rowyn do it?" Hoddie asked He looked from Niro to Bly. "She's more adept for magic?"
"Rowyn spent the night exhausting herself using her magic to heal." Bly explained. "When she wakes up, she'll still be very weak. It'll take her hours until she has enough power and in her weakened condition, it could kill her."
"If I know our princess, she'll still want to do it." Hoddie agreed. "I think she's done enough for now. You're right, we she do this now before she wakes up. What do you need?"
"Just Niro and the room they were in when the spell was cast." As she explained, Sima came over and laid down next to Niro. He put his hand down and rubbed her head. "If you can keep everyone clear of the throne room, it shouldn't take us too long."
"I will have Captain Nierde place a few of his guards on the the palace gates." Hoddie stood up. "They will keep everyone out to give you time to work on Eldar's spell. I'll stay here and watch over Rowyn until she wakes up, then we'll come and find you."
"Keep Sima here with you." Niro said as he and Bly got to their feet. "All the magic might frighten her if she follows us."
[Not scared of magic.] Sima sent. [But I stay by princess.]
[Good girl.] Niro hugged the cat and he and Bly headed to what was left of Mystwinter palace.
They stopped at the gate and waited for Captain Nierde and his warriors. When they arrived, Bly explained what they were planning to do. She told them that just as the storm had hit Mystwinter, Eldar had sent King Tarron and Queen Marissa away to somewhere he thought they would be safe from Bram Thorn.
"But you have no idea where he sent." Captain Nierde looked from Bly to Niro. "You don't even know if they made it or not. Lord Eldar could have sent them straight into the heart of Mount Mornmist for all you know."
"It's possible." Niro said confused. "But why would he want to do that? Eldar didn't seem like the type to be disloyal to Mystwinter or Tarron. I can't image he would do anything to hurt the king."
"Eldar is second in line to the throne." Nierde said aggitated. "Brothers kill each other for such advancements. That we all know is the history of royal siblings."
"But here in Mystwinter." Bly objected shaking her head. "Mystwinter has always had the noblest of royal families, loyal and true to each other. Eldar would never betray or hurt his king. Tarron is safe, that I can promise you. We just have to find him and bring him home."
"I beg your pardon Lady Bly." Captain Nierde bowed down to Bly. "The storm and all the troubles have put my mind on edge. I meant no disrespect."
"These are hard times Captain. All I ask is that you trust us a little more and we will try and bring your king and queen home to Mystwinter. Can you do that for Mystwinter?"
"I will trust you." Capt. Nierde promised. "Without you and your friends, Mystwinter would be in ruins. Bring our king home safe."
"We will do our best."
With Capt. Niedre and his men on guard, Bly and Niro headed into Mystwinter palace. From the entrance, they made their way through the ruined palace. They went over and around huge piles of rubble, broken fancy furniture and over large gaps in the floor until they made it up and into the throne room. Once inside, Niro switched to a visual spectrum that was sensitive to magic. All around the room he saw red, green and blue bands of magic. There were all kinds of spells active to the room."Whoa!" He said. "There are centuries of magic here. Spells on all the windows and doors, even some of the furniture has been enchanted."
"Do you see the spell Eldar used?"
"Not yet." Niro walked further in closer to the throne. "I see Bram's spells. His spells are black. Stay away from the throne, it's has a very dark and gloomy glow to it."
"Can we undo it?" She asked.
"I wouldn't touch it." Niro shook his head. "I don't have the training to try taking that spell apart. That's death magic, very tricky. It could backfire and kill us both."
"Then move on. Where should we look next?"
"Over here." Niro said from behind the throne. "These spells are purple. This has to be Eldar's magic."
Bly came over and put her hand on Niro's shoulder. Suddenly she could see the spells through his eyes. She looked around the room and saw all the other spells. Most of them were of colors but in more duller shades. The spell behind the throne was of a more deep, richer shade of purple."
"The richer the shade." Niro said. "The more recent the spell. This spell here was cast in less then twenty four hours. See how the spell traces that specific shape in the air. This part here is the point of origin. This last part here is the destination. All you have to do is touch the destination, then trace it back to the origin and we'll know where he sent Tarron. Then we can reverse the spell and bring them back."
"It's that simple?" Bly was surprised. "I can do that."
"But can you do it without touching any other lines?" Niro looked up at her."That's where it takes skill and precision. If you touch any of the other lines, you totally disrupt the spell and anything could happen. Do you still think you can do it?"
Bly studies the intricate design. There were many twists and turns and the lines at some points came really close, but she thought she could do it. All she had to do was be very careful, move slowly and don't let anything break her concentration.
"So how do we start?" Bly rubbed her hands together anxious to get started. Niro could see the excitement written across her face. She seemed in a rush and that was her first mistake.
"Slow down." He said. "You have to relax and be calm. Magic is all about precision, clarity and control. If you plan to trance the spell, you should listen up."
"OK." Bly raised her hands giving in to Niro's advice. "What should I do first?"
"First I want you to sit down and study the spells design. I want you familiar with every twist and turn. Every line, loop and curve until you can see it with your eyes closed, then you can start on Eldar's spell. Now take a seat."
Bly sat down in front of the spell and with her finger, traced out each line in he mind until they glowed in her memory. She went over and over each line learning its length and thickness until the spells exact measurements and dimensions were committed to her memory.
"Do you see it in you mind?" Niro asked. "Each line, each turn, can you follow it?"
"Then it's time to start." Niro's voice was strong and firm. "Reach out and touch the top corner. Don't move yet, just feel the power of the spell. Let it's power flow into you and through you. Take control of it, make it obey your command. Now we can begin, follow the first line, slow and careful."
With her finger, Bly slowly followed the line straight across, then made the first turn as sparks started to flare up. She worked slow and carefully through each line and turn as the power kept building. With every inch she felt the power intensifying. It felt like electricity building through her hand. It was beginning to burn. She was three quarters of the way through and not sure if she could make it all the way to the end. Then there was a sudden flash that caught Bly completely by surprise but it didn't stop her progress.
Standing behind her, Niro jumped as something blasted out of the spell into the air above Bly. As he watched, it streaked out like a storm and rolled all across the ceiling then formed itself into face made of energy and sent a blast down at Bly. Moving with incredible speed, Niro pulled his ax from his side and dived in front of Bly. The blast streaked in and came at Niro's like a bolt of lightning. Focusing all his strength, Niro swung out with Stormfury and batted the blast off to crash into the ceiling.
"I am Voltar." Buzzed the Elemental. "And I have been sent here to kill you."
"We'll see about that!" Niro yelled as he threw Stormfury. It hit the Electric Elemental then bounced back, hit another wall then returned to him. "Don't stop. Finish the spell or it could kill you!"
Niro leaped high and slashed through the elemental. It howled in pain and fired more strikes at him. Spinning his weapon, he caught each strike with the head of Stormfury then cast out with his earth ring causing pieces of broken masonry to fly up and attack the Elemental. Like arrows straight from the bow of a centaur, bricks and rocks flew at the elemental. They didn't cause and damage, but for a second they did distract it. That was all the time Niro needed. He run forward to the throne and leaped up at the Elemental with Stormfury raised to attack. Like the hammer of a god it crashed down onto the electrical beast sending sparks raining all over the room. Weakened by Stormfury's magic, the Elemental fell. It howled as it tried to get back up to attack. Thinking quickly, Niro grabbed a rope that was laying in a huge puddle of water and tossed one end at the fallen electric entity grounding it causing it flared up and exploded as he dived away to safety. As he sat up in the smoky room, his first thought was for Bly. He turned to the throne to find her just finishing the last turn of Eldar's spell.
"I know where they are." She said as she fell back exhausted.
Niro stood up and brushed away ash from the explosion then looked back to where the Elemental had fallen. There on the floor lay what was left of a man. He was badly burned and dying. Bly and Niro went and side at his side.
"Who is he?" Bly asked.
"This is what came out of the spell to attack us." Niro said. "He was an Elemental."
"Bram did this." She said. "Somehow he used Eldar's to trap us. He knew we would be coming here."
"Then he might go after Quynn and the others to get the rings they're searching for. We better go find them."

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