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|Really twisted plot, the fire sorta sizzled out. criticism appreciated||
We are stronger then you, we are faster than you
We know where you will be, and what you are doing
We are gods, you are mortal
We live forever, you die
We are the faithful, the pure of blood
We are..... The Forsaken
Lightning flared and thunder boomed over the horizon. From atop his tower, Cailean, the Forsaken Overlord of the Fire Mountains stared across the land as a thunderstorm brewed. Nine feet tall, with pure red eyes and clad in golden armour with a horned helm on his head, he was quite a fearsome sight to behold. More fearful to behold was him furious, as he was now. Fire seamed to burn in his eyes. "Ashlin you bitch." he yelled as he clenched his fists, "All of your false promises can burn along with yourself when my armies obliterate yours. You removed my heart and then stuck its dead shell back inside of me. But that is now in the past. Never again will I allow myself to be tormented by you. Never again you hear me? Never again!"
A noise from behind forced him to spin around. "Sire, the Lord of the Black Marshes has arrived," said the man servant fearfully. "He is waiting to meet you in your chambers."
"Be gone from my sight you miserable wretch!" His low octave voice rang out loud, his red eyes flared, his nine foot tall frame seemed to increase in size, and the intent was clear as to what would happen if he was disobeyed. The man servant turned and fled. "Stupid humans." he said as he muttered a quick spell under his breath. Suddenly a blue-black portal appeared in front of him. He stepped through and appeared in his chambers behind a tall Overlord dressed in armour so black that it ate sunlight. Under his arm rested a helm that was shaped like a skull with a plume of black horsehair. Cailean absently wondered if the skull came from one of Garron's servants.
"Garron!" he called out while removing his helm. At the sound of his voice, Garron turned and faced him. "Ah, Cailean, brother. I have come." his deep voice seemed to be strained… almost fearful. Sensing this, Cailean smiled. "There is no need for fear little brother, the reason why I called you here was to discuss an alliance between our dragon armies."
Garron's disbelief showed plainly in his voice. Of all the twelve Forsaken, Cailean was one of the most viscous.
"Why should I trust you?" Garron asked Cailean, "None of the Forsaken trust each other, so why now? What do I stand to gain from all of this? For that matter, what do you stand to gain from this?"
"What do I stand to gain? Ha! Even if I do decide to tell you, you wouldn't understand." At this, Cailean started laughing uproariously.
"I'm not as inept as you may think" said Garron, "For example, I know that you were betrayed by one of the female Forsaken, and suffered greatly by her hand as she removed your heart and watched it stop beating in front of your eyes."
At the mention of that, Cailean’s eyes burnt so deeply with hatred that the decorative tapestries caught on fire. "But all of us know that. There was also the small matter of a certain sea elf that you had in your dungeon that held the key to discovering where their last city is located. Considering that they have been a thorn in your side for the past three years, I would have thought you would have been able to imprison him, but no. I also know that you are no closer to discovering the hideout for the Children of the Night."
"You are playing with fire Garron. Watch what you say, or else things could heat up." Cailean said as the walls started to bleed fire.
Garron continued on as if he had noticed nothing. "Yes, yes, very pretty fire display, but the main thing is that were you aware that Lord of the Emerald Jungles has prophesised that in this year another one of us will be born?"
With this comment Cailean's anger died instantly. The flames that danced along the walls also died. Fear started to creep into his eyes. "A thirteenth Forsaken? But, but… but that just can't be. It is not yet time."
Now it was Garron's time to smirk. "Caught you with that one didn't I? Now, brother, tell me what is going on. What is the real purpose that you have called me here for?" With a resigned sigh, Cailean sank into a chair and motioned for his brother to do the same.
"What I am going to tell you has long been lost in the memory of men. Only the elven elders know the whole story." Cailean looked at his brother and fixed him with a stare. "It is a long story, I hope that your lovely wife…. or serving mistress, will not miss you for a while."
"That is fine," said Garron. "I'm in no hurry." So saying he grabbed an apple from the table and motioned for Cailean to continue.
"As I was saying… A long time ago, some five thousand years, there were twelve Forsaken Overlords. As there is now. Six males, and six females. The Overlords controlled the entire world. There were the Twins, and....oh hell, I'll just name them all. The Overlords were, Arahen the lord of the Living Forests. Dargor, the lord of the Shadow Mountains. Kalith, the lord of the icy wastes. Us two, and Valsoraj the lord of the Burning Sands. Then there were the females. There was Ashlin, the Overlord of the Mystic Isles. Watch out for that bitch, Garron, she will have you hung, drawn, quartered, and hanging for the ravens to feast upon before you can do anything. I know, for it was her that betrayed me. There is also Kiera the lord of the Emerald Jungles. Chrisnan, the lord of the Snowy Reaches. And then there were the three sisters. Alicondar, Morrhidan, and Cordien. The lords of the Acid Fields and the Endless Plains. The sisters were the only Forsaken to not be constantly fighting. They actually created a semi-peace and conquered together. Their powers were unmatchable. Mighty warriors and mages were destroyed beneath their wrath. But then, one day, a new force rose up to challenge the Overlords. A young boy. Did you hear me? A young boy destroyed the three sisters. And from there he rose to defeat the rest of the Overlords. All of the twelve he stripped of their powers and cast into the Void. But something happened that the young Forsaken didn't expect. The dark god Bael-dronka intervened at the last minute and cast his spirit to the farthest reaches of the universe. Bael-dronka then set the spirits of the Overlords out to look for suitable hosts to incubate themselves as their powers slowly returned. Only myself and Kiera remember the existence of the thirteenth Forsaken. The rest of you were so far gone that you remember nothing of him."
"And the reason for the summons to meet you?" asked Garron as Cailean pause to pick up a flagon of wine.
"I was planning on conquering the Shadow Mountains to add to my kingdom, or at least attempt to. That is where I was betrayed by Ashlin. She and Dargor decided that the Fire Mountains were a more desirable grab and I was hoping to try again with your help." said Cailean, as he took a long pull, "Those stupid fools. They don't understand the importance of the Shadow Mountains. For there is an artifact of great power that resides there. Perhaps you have heard of it. It's the legendary Dragonhammer." Garron's eyes flew open in astonishment.
"The Dragonhammer? But… but I thought that it was destroyed by the last Lord of the Dragons. If it does exist, then you could open a portal into the Netherworld to bring back the ancient dragons. The almighty Crystal, the powerful Diamond and the others. You could use its powers to conquer the other Overlords." Garron stared with appreciation at his brother.
"Now you know why I must have it, and stupid Dargor has no idea of what he sits upon." Cailean said placing his flagon down, "But the news you bring me has delayed that desire for the moment. All rivalries must be dropped, because this is much more important and must be taken care of immediately. If it is possible at all."
Garron was lost deep in thought. "So what you are saying is that we stand no chance of survival against the thirteenth Forsaken. The Overlords will be crushed again." His voice dropped even lower then the normal two octaves below human speech. "We might as well just roll over and die. If we can't defeat him, what hope is there for us?"
Cailean's red eyes glinted evilly in the failing light. "None if we can't find and kill him first."
"Blasted rain!" the old farmer cried, "I can't go work in weather like this, not at my age anyway."
"Look Father," said a young man, "I'd like it more if you stayed here to keep watch of the house. Jessie is expecting tonight and with me out in the fields herding the cows to the barn, that leaves you to watch over her. And I need you to help Maria with the child birthing should it happen."
The old man gave in at this request. It gave him something to feel useful again. "Don't stay out too late Serin, you know what happens if you are caught out after curfew by the Overlord's daemons. Remember what happened to the Lyle's son last month."
"Don't worry Father, I won't be gone for more than an hour." With that Serin went out into the pastures to find the cattle.
After half an hour had passed, the old man went to check in on Jessie and Maria. "How are you doing my dear?" he asked Jessie with concern showing in his eyes.
"I've felt better Father," Jessie said with tears streaming down her face. "He is a strong fighter, and doesn't want to come out yet."
"Don't worry my daughter, the w—" he was cut off mid sentence by a loud banging on the door downstairs."— I'll be right back." he said, already leaving the room.
Hurrying as fast as his legs would carry him, fearing that something had happened to his son, he practically flew down the stairs to the door grabbing his sword along the way. "Who is it?" he cried as he reached the door.
"Sir, sir, I beg of you, open the door and let me in. The Overlord's men are after me. They will kill me if they catch me." someone desperately responded a strange accent.
"How can I trust what you say is true, that you are indeed a friend and not a shape-shifter?" The old man would not be swayed so easily, especially not this night when the last thing his daughter-in-law was expecting a child.
"I swear by the blood of my father that what I say is no trick wrought by the dark art of an Overlord. Now please, please, let me in."
Still a bit wary but convinced that no harm was intended for his family, the old man opened the door to reveal a very sodden and wounded elf leaning on a staff that appeared to be made out of coral. "Dear god man! What in the name of mercy happened to you?"
"As I said, the Overlord's men were after me." the elf said.
"Well, obviously. But which Overlord?" said the old man as he motioned to the elf to come in.
"The Lord of the Fire Mountains." said the elf as he entered. "I was a prisoner and had the fortune of escaping, but I was caught by an ogre before I got too far. I killed the beast but not until after he had seriously wounded me and had contacted his minions. They have been chasing me since. That was three days ago."
"What reason did you have for being held prisoner?" asked the old man. "Were you hunting on his lands? Did you poison his dragons?" suddenly he leaned forward, "Do you hold knowledge that he desires?"
The elf gestured at the mention of knowledge. "I am a sea elf. My people have been constantly destroying the Overlords creatures if they come within a certain distance. It annoys him for some reason." he cast his host a sly grin. "If any creature of the Overlord comes within five hundred leagues of our city, he will be consumed by mystic flame. I was trying to return to the sea because I now know the strength of Cailean's army. It is a necessity that I must return. My people are very few in number, only one city is left after an underwater earthquake destroyed the Coastal city-states. We amass a few thousand people in all. But what shall I call you? I can hardly call you Old Man."
With the last comment, the man smiled. "My name is Matthew. I am a warrior turned farmer after the last failed rebellion against the Overlords. But what is your name, if I may ask?"
"My true name is unpronounceable in your tongue, but it translates into Andrew if that makes it any easier." responded the elf.
"It does. Well Andrew, it seems that you are safe for the time being, but forgive me," he said as Jessie’s cries of pain floated down the stairs, "my son’s wife is heavy with child and is expecting tonight."
Andrew stood up. "May I be of some assistance? In my city, I am one of the more skilled clerics."
Matthew smiled at this bit of news. "Any help this evening would be greatly appreciated. I am getting too old these days and my youngest daughter Maria is unskilled at these matters." He indicated for Andrew to follow him upstairs. "And afterwards we shall tend to your wounds."
When Serin returned a quarter of an hour later, he was startled to hear his father speaking to someone with a foreign accent. As he entered the kitchen, he was surprised to see his father bandaging a wounded elf. "Father, how is Jessie, and who is this?" he asked.
"Peace son," said Matthew, "This is Andrew. He is one of the remaining sea elves that are left in this world. He is running from the Overlord—"
"Running from the Overlord? Father have you lost your mind! You know what the penalty for harbouring criminals is. We get to be the rope for a tug of war game between some of his dragons. And also—"
"That's enough! Ungrateful little bastard. If it wasn't for him, your wife would still be in excruciating pain. He helped Jessie with the birthing. And as for Jessie, she is fine, the birthing went well thanks to Andrew. She is upstairs with Maria. You can see her if you wish."
Serin needed no second pushing. With the heat from his father's lashing still in his cheeks, he ran upstairs to Jessie’s room to check on his child and stopped dead in his tracks. "Twins...."
In her fortress deep within the Emerald Jungles, Kiera stopped scrying. "Twins?" she said, "But the girl was only supposed to bear one child. How can this be?" She got up and looked out the window. "A thirteenth Forsaken would be bad enough, but if it was somehow possible that both children were destined to be Forsaken, then the number would be fourteen. They would be the Daemon Lords. That would mean total annihilation." She started pacing the room now, quite worked up. "I know that Cailean and Garron plan to kill the child if they find it, but they still don’t know about the twins. They know their future hangs in the balance, but they are still unaware of the danger. But what if I was wrong in my vision, and the girl was the wrong mother. What if those children aren’t the Forsaken after all, what if they are just weak, powerless babies? Argh!! I don’t know anymore."
"Mistress?" said a voice from the door. "Is there anything the matter?" a strange creature approached her. It appeared to be half puma and half human. His dark fur was ruffled and his voice came out as a half mewing half crying sound.
Kiera smiled at her minion's approach. Suddenly an idea blossomed in her head. "Come here Tran-dar. There is something the matter, but it is nothing important." The were-puma approached her and bowed before her. "Tran-dar?"
"Yes mistress?" came the normal throaty reply.
"I want you to go to the base of the Fire Mountains. In the village Ironforge, off of the green there is a dairy. I want you to go there and return with the two twins that you will find in the upper story. It is very important and may quite possibly give us the edge to defeat Cailean and his fiery horde."
"At once mistress." Tran-dar turned and bounded out the door and was away.
Turning back to the matter at hand Kiera starting laughing. A very musical laugh that would be quite pretty, if only she wasn’t grinning so evilly. She turned to her scrying mirror and summoned a picture of Cailean and the twins. "At last Cailean, no more shall I bow to you." Her pure green eyes burnt madly. Your days are numbered now that those two shall soon grow up with my influence and power to guide them to hate you....and the rest of those bastards. It’s kind of sad knowing that the power you fear most is soon to be in the hands of your second biggest enemy." With that her laughter redoubled and then she stopped. "Soon Cailean, soon." and walked out the door.
As the cover of darkness settled, Tran-dar approached the village of Ironforge through the forest. 'What could mistress possibly want with two twins?' he thought. 'They have no power, no strength, they aren't even big enough to eat. And how could they possibly give us the edge to defeat Cailean. Even I know that that would be pure folly. But I must do as mistress says.' Suddenly a noise made him slow his pace from a run to an almost crawl. Sniffing the air Tran-dar caught the scent of decaying meat and unwashed bodies. "Ogres."
"Keep your eyes open you stupid buggers." said a harsh voice. "That god-forsaken elf has to be around here somewhere." There was a crash in the undergrowth and a sharp cry of pain, followed by a string of curses that would turn any fresh milk sour.
'Stupid creature' thought Tran-dar. 'Can't even keep on his feet in the dark. Hmm. This could be very entertaining, for me that is.' He willed his form to change. Thick black fur started sprouting from his body and his facial features became more feline and less human. Six inch razor sharp ebony claws sprang from his fingers. "Time for some amusement." he said to himself as he jumped into the trees.
"Keep looking you fools! He just can't have vanished into thin air." Garshalk was almost ready to explode. "You realise that Cailean will have us slaughtered if we can't find him and bring him back alive." A strange roar nearby followed by a scream cut short cut off his ranting. "Attacker in our midst!" he yelled as another scream rang out from the woods. Blood splattered his tunic as yet another ogre had its throat ripped out. A black shape leapt across his vision and he was knocked to the ground. He then realised that he was the last ogre alive.
A feral scream rang out to his left, and was slowly drawing closer. Then he felt sharp pricks against his skin. He felt something warm running down his chest. With horror he realised it was blood. His blood.
"I think that I shall let you live," said a thick voice next to his ear. "but you shall not just walk away freely without any reminder that you almost died this night." Garshalk felt razor sharp claws slice through his tunic as if it was no more then air and he felt his skin part under the power of the blow. Pain erupted from his right shoulder to left flank. "Tell your master that time is short for him." the voice said. "Soon he shall be no more."
Just before he lost consciousness, Garshalk struggled to make sense of this all. "I would have rather died then tell Cailean that we losss….." Darkness overtook him before he could finish his thought.
As he bounded through the trees with a wicked grin on his face, Tran-dar remembered the sweet screams that the ogres made before they were killed. "Ah, now that was enjoyable now wasn't it? To hear those scream of pain. So sweet. But mustn't forget mission from mistress, I must find the twins." He continued to bound thorough the trees totally unaware that he was being watched.
The watcher saw all that he needed to know. His reptilian heritage blended him perfectly amongst the trees. Turning he jumped from the trees to the forest floor. "Now what would a kitten from the Emerald Jungles be doing here in these forests." He hissed, "Hmm… Interesting. I must alert the others to this thing's presence." The watcher ran to a waiting griffin. Springing onto its back he urged the beast upwards. "Quickly now, back to the others." The griffin shot skywards without second urging.
Flying over the forest at an incredible speeds, the griffin finally settled to earth in front of a small keep that had seen some better days. The watcher leapt from its back and ran to the gate.
"Open the gates, the Emerald Forest is aware of the birthing!" he shouted. "Quickly now, there isn't much time. Already Kiera's minion is closing on the house with the mother." From inside the keep a low rumbled forth as the heavy oak gates opened to admit him. His eyes burnt behind his mask. Like all males of his species, emotions were not to be displayed, so he wore a mask to prevent that from happening. "Too slow you fools, too slow." he muttered as he ran through the widening gap in the gate.
Once in the courtyard, he was greeted by three males of his own kind. "Xela-lor, is it true? Is the thirteenth born?" the lead one asked.
"It is true, he is born yes, but he has a twin…A girl."
"Twins? And a girl at that?" the one on the left said, "but that would mean—"
"—That they are not just Forsaken, but the Daemon Lords as well." Xela-lor interrupted. "Our creators have finally returned after ten millennia. With them, we will be welcomed back to the Fire Isles, and that will be made especially sweet when obliterate Kera-ret and his stupid counsel, but we must prevent the children from falling into the hands of any of the Overlords. You know that they would turn them on each other, or on us." The three looked at each other when he said that, their fear hidden behind their masks. "The Children of the Night must fly and stop the beast from reaching our masters." He looked at the three before him, "Go and get the others," he said flexing his claws, "We still may have some time left."
Serin sat in the chair next to the fire. 'Twins,' he thought, 'This is a surprise that I didn't expect. A girl and a boy. I wouldn't have thought it possible.' A bemused smile spread across his face as he remembered the look on Jessie's face as he held his offspring. 'So happy, we will be so happy. All of us. My son Raistlin will help me in the fields, and little Alicia will help Jessie with the milking and looking after the dairy.' Suddenly a noise outside the door snapped him back into reality. He listened, then he heard it again. "Father, Andrew come qui—" he never finished his sentence. The door exploded inwards under the force of the were-puma's lunge. Serin died before he hit the ground, his head severed from his body. His shocked expression was eternally fastened onto his features as his head rolled under the table.
"Serin!" yelled Matthew, "No!" Tears started streaming down his face. Turning to the were-puma with hate burnt into his face he picked up his sword. "Bastard! You killed my only son. It's time to pay. Don't tell me you are afraid to attack an old man!"
Tran-dar stared at the old man with contempt. "Fool! Don't you know what fate awaits you if you challenge me? You will end up dead like your son, but if it's a fight you want it's a fight you will get."
He lunged at Matthew and suddenly started screaming in pain.
Andrew heard the noise of the door shattering and grabbed his staff. 'I must do something to help these people!' he thought. He ran out of the kitchen just to see a were-puma cut off Serin's head and start to lunge at his host.
"URAH DVOR KLANTE!" he yelled. From the tips of his outstretched hand purple flames gathered. "KANNOR KALAH!" The flames flew towards the attacker.
Tran-dar's fur began to smoulder and burn as the purple flame engulfed his body. He yelled in pain, "Damned elven sorcerer! I will kill you as I killed that platoon of ogres in the forest."
"I think not" said a voice from the stairs. Matthew's jaw dropped. "Jessie!" he yelled, as he watched his daughter-in-law knock an arrow to the bow she held in her hand. "Jessie get back, he will kill you." As if to emphasise his point, Tran-dar turned and started to fight his way against the flames to the stairs.
Jessie said "Not this time Father." She lifted her arm and sighted down the length of the shaft. "Vengeance is mine!" She pulled her arm back and let the arrow fly.
Tran-dar saw the arrow coming too late to do anything. The shaft caught him in the chest and threw him back against the wall. A smear of blood blossomed and grew as he slid down. "No." he said mewing in pain, "It can't end like this."
"Believe it bastard! It's time for you to die. This is for my son." said Matthew as he raised his sword above his head. The last thing that Tran-dar saw was a blade raising above his head, then blessed darkness.
Matthew bent down to clean the blood off his blade on the creature's tunic. "Thank you, the both of you," he said, "if it wasn't for your magic and Jessie's arrow, I would be lying on the ground beside me son."
"Think nothing of it. You took me in, a complete stranger, fed and bandaged me. I was the least I could do. I'm just sorry that I wasn't able to save your son, and your husband fair lady."
"It's not your fault." said Matthew, his voice thick with emotion. "We did what we could."
Suddenly a griffin's cry rang out sharp from outside. They ran to the window. Dark shadowy shapes descended to earth. "Dear gods no." whispered Andrew as the riders jumped off and started to move towards the house with intent. "Matthew! Grab the twins and get you and your daughters out of here." Andrew pleaded with him, "Those creatures are the Knawsami. The one in the centre is a battle mage. One of the most powerful of his kind. They are here to take your grandchildren. Don't ask any questions, just run!"
Watching the creatures approach Matthew needed no second urging. "Jessie! Maria!" he yelled, "Grab the new-borns, we must flee." Turning to the elf he asked "And what of you Andrew?"
"I'm coming" said the elf, "But hurry."
Xela-lor had reached the remnants of the door and looked around. Flames still flickered in the fireplace and across the floor. There was blood all over the floor, plus the severed head of a young man. He was faintly amused when he saw the corpse of the were-puma. "Funny isn't it kitty cat? You can kill a whole platoon of ogres, but yet you end up dying by the hand of an old man and a young girl." He kicked the corpse. "Look around." he commanded to the others, "Our masters must be around here somewhere."
A small sound caught his attention. Walking to the kitchen, he saw movement out in the back towards the trees. "Everyone here now. They are escaping out the back." In a flurry of movement two other warriors were beside him. "Zan-reat, you take the old man, Caet-rore, you take the elf, and I shall take the human female. Everyone move now!"
Andrew saw the dark shapes approaching him. "Everyone run! There are right behind us." Everyone ran faster then they had before. "Our only hope is to reach water. The Knawsami are fire bred creatures and hate the touch of water. If we can find a stream and get to the opposite bank we should be safe. They would have to return for their griffin mounts and that might give us the time we need to get away."
"Andrew, there is a stream slightly to the south-west, but it is only sixteen feet wide." Matthew said.
"That will do perfectly. They are strong willed warriors, but if they can't jump across it, they won't."
Maria said panting as she ran "Why are they so interested in the children any way?"
"Because the children are much more then they appear. I shall tell you later when we have a chance to rest." that answer seamed to suffice. Suddenly, "There! Water! Quickly now, we still have some time."
Xela-lor saw the glint of moonlight on the surface of the stream. "Back to the mounts! We have to fly across. Those bastards know of our weakness to water." The three Knawsami turned and sprinted for the house. "We shall get our masters back." he hissed.
Andrew led his new found friends through the stream to the other side. The water was icy cold due to the fact that it was getting late in the season. "I'm sorry, but we have no time to rest." as they reached the far bank. "We must take the young ones to the sea. They will be safe there."
"Not so fast Andrew," said Matthew "it's time for you to do some explaining. Why are these serpent…things after my grandchildren?"
Andrew said, "All right. I'll explain, but we must keep moving. This will seam albeit a bit strange to you all. Your children are not ordinary humans. They are the two most powerful beings on this world. Put simply, your grandchildren are Daemon Lords."
Matthew stopped and looked as if he was just run through. "Daemon Lords…." he whispered, "but how is that possible?"
"It is best left for the Loremaster to explain. He knows more about it then I do."
The flapping of wings was the only warning they had. "Run!" the elf yelled. But the warning came too late. Matthew was knocked to the ground by a scaled arm, Andrew found himself desperately casting spells to save himself and the others, while Jessie and Maria were cornered against a tree.
"Hand the children to us." hissed a voice from the darkness at the girls. "No one will get hurt."
"Don't do it Maria!" shouted Matthew as he battled his opponent. The creature was stronger and faster then Matthew, but Matthew had years of combat training. The creature attacked with short sword and claw, and Matthew countered with his hand and a half sword. The duel was soon over with Matthew's opponent a head shorter then he was to begin with.
Andrew cast his fireball spell at several opponents. He hit only one. The unlucky warrior was consumed by flames that were to hot even for him to withstand. That left only the battle mage. Xela-lor looked at the elf. Andrew stared back while twirling his staff through his hands.
"Well done Elf. I wouldn't have expected less. But I'm afraid that even you are too late." Xela-lor held out his hands.
Andrew's blood ran cold. He held the girl. "No!" he yelled. "Not the child."
The battle mage just laughed. He sent out a burst of mental energy that knocked the elf into a tree. "You poor fool. I take pity on your soul." It was a desperate gamble, but Andrew took it. At that moment, he cast a portal spell. A blue rift appeared in front of them. Xela-lor laughed even harder. "A portal! I'm impressed, but as you can hardly stand, I see no need for you to try to run."
"It's not for me." Andrew said. "It's for you." He sent forth all the energy he could muster to try push the battle mage into the rift. Xela-lor faltered, then regained his balance.
"I applaud your effort Elf, but stop delaying the inevitable." He suddenly lurched forward.
Matthew saw what was happening and threw himself into the battle mage knocking him off balance again. "Andrew, now!" he yelled at the elf.
Andrew opened his senses to all around. Drawing energy from the forest itself, he threw all his mind into pushing the battle mage into the rift. Xela-lor slipped and fell towards the rift.
"You may have won the battle, Elf, but I still hold the girl." He turned and laughed again. "Until we meet again Elf." so saying he leapt into the rift still holding the girl. His laughter echoed through the forest.
The portal winked out of existence. "No!" Andrew and Matthew yelled in unison. Then silence descended in the clearing, the only noise being the sound of rain bouncing off the leaves. Maria still held the boy, and Jessie was stunned.
"Alicia?" she said in disbelief. "Alicia! Alicia!" She slumped to the ground in horror. "My daughter, gone. No! No, she can't be gone!" She started tearing at her hair. "Alicia! Alicia!" An inhuman yell of pain and sorrow seemed to rip from her. Maria was struggling to hold her still. Andrew was overcome by grief from the mother's empathy and succumbed to crying. Matthew was staring in disbelief at the spot where his granddaughter was just a moment prior. "I vow by the blood in me that we shall get her back."
Then over the wind floated the sound of laughter…..
Raistlin pulled his arms through the water with strength still new to him. At age ten, the young boy was the strongest of all the elven children in their last underwater city, Orcathrion. He sped along the sea floor playing with the other children. He relished the feel of water flowing over his body. Like all sea-elves, while underwater, he went naked. The need for clothing was non existent underwater. A couple of other elven children started to close the gap behind him. "Catch me if you can!" he called to his friends. With giggles of laughter, the other children sped after him.
High above them on the shelf in the Cathedral, the clerics studied the child. "He grows in strength." said the head of their order. "We can only hope that his power will soon be strong enough to win back his sister."
"You can't honestly think that if we will just send him into the heart of the Knawsami and he will allowed to pick up the child and leave. If you do, then that is pure madness." voiced another.
"What would you suggest we do then Luinëorë? Let Xela-lor finish warping her mind to his ways? Already too much time has elapsed since her disappearance."
"I'm not saying that we should give up one the child, but wait till Raistlin has grown more in power. If we send him in now, the Knawsami will twist his mind like they are twisting hers."
The high priest said desperately "But what should we do then? I dread to think about what might have happened to her."
Luinëorë looked more troubled then he. "At least she won't have been harmed."
"Why do you say that?"
"She is one of their creators, do you honestly think that they would harm their master? I know that this is hard for all of us, but all we can really do is help Raistlin build up his fighting abilities and have him work on controlling his great power. And we can pray to the Mother-goddess Rethlaiel that Alicia will be returned safely to us."
The high priest looked at those gathered before him. "Raistlin still does not know of what he really is. He does not know that he is a Daemon Lord. It is imperative that he not find out until the time is ripe. If he knows too soon, then all may be lost."
A loud keening sound suddenly made them forget all of their problems. Luinëorë jumped up to his feet and ran to the window. "It sounds like one of our patrols is coming in!" he said, then his voice changed. "Dear gods!" he whispered. "It's Raistlin…. with a winged elf."
Raistlin had drawn away from his friends so far that he had to stop and wait for them. "Why do they always take so long to catch me?" he wondered aloud to himself. Absentmindedly he picked up a rock and threw it off the edge of a chasm. Using his senses, he listened for the rock to hit bottom. Instead of the hard sound of rock hitting stone, he heard the clang of something hard upon metal. Thinking that he had hit a discarded shield or the like, he swam downwards. He saw nothing. Nothing but the silty ocean floor.
"What did I hear then?" he wondered. He struggled to hear the noise again. It came again, more faintly this time, but more alarming it came from up above on land.
Swimming upwards cautiously, he wondered what was making the noise. The water was streaked with the light from both suns…and also with red.
|Bone Warrior Chapter 1|