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A Land I Once Knew
Author's note: I have read many Fantasy books and Science Fiction has always intrigued me. If I could take ideas and develop on them, making them my own I wondered what I could create. I wrote the trilogy of the Land. The first was a book started purely out of finding something to do. But I loved writing my own tale. The story of A Land I Once Knew was born.
There is a distant land many light years away. A land where there is no hate, but there is never peace. It is a land of five sectors; it is a circular area, flat as the stone tablets they write on. Around the outside are 4 sectors, all well known to each other but never kept in close contact. In the very centre is the land of the Unknown. The great adventurer Nemos discovered this land. He ventured outwards seeking to know of other life forms. He was never seen coming back out. All we have left is his notebook of his findings. In it he describes tall characters, pitch black in colour, eyes as red as human blood. Legends were drawn up by the sectors. They speak of a great beast with the face of a demonic mutt, the body of a crazed dragon with spikes lining its back like nothing you have ever seen.
Everyone has heard of his findings, wholly due to the first beings inhabiting sector 1. They are called the Boltash. Their leader is the great Aoidh, most intelligent creature in the land. He created the first literate kind known. They published the notebook. The Boltash themselves have little training in war craft. However their vast mountainous landscapes and their cleverly designed traps make them an uncommon target. They are relatively short in size, the males range from 4-5 feet tall with the females a half a foot smaller. They have the build of a human, they behave like humans as well, they eat like them, drink like them. The only difference is the food they eat. They hunt the large deer like animal they named the Nadalf. They are almost six feet in height and require intricately designed traps to catch. There are no predators in the land of the Boltash, only them and the few species that share the woodland at edges of their mountain range.
We now come to our second sector. It is of the great tall beings called the Taks, the first creature to step foot on the land. The Taks never mean harm, however they are the best trained. The weapon of choice is the bow. They are the people of light; they harness power from the sky to create magic. This essence of the sky is weaved into the clothes they wear and the tools they carry. They wear long white gowns. The collars are lined with a colour determining rank. Their leader Detyu wears a glowing gold line that sits on the top of his glowing white gown. They are elegant creatures that never hurry, they never shout but you would be a fool to argue. They are of a great intelligence, though not to rival the Boltash. They are one of the most observant creatures, however they are relatively unknown.
This brings us to our third sector. The largest sector called Abathia. They are the most violent of the four known sectors. They are the least intelligent, however they are the biggest. They have a shoulder width of approximately 4 foot and range from 7-9 feet in height. They are a completely male species; they invade other sectors to reproduce. The sector of Abathia was split into 3 regions one, home to the Abathian Tak breed. The tallest sub species, very reptilian skin but very human like faces. The have two legs and two arms, two hands and two overly large feet. They are the ones that manufacture the largest yet poor quality weapons. The second region is home to the Abathian Boltash; they are much shorter yet look exactly like the Abathian Taks. They are the most intelligent Abathians. They are the ones that create the designs for the weapons and train the final region the Pure Abathians. They are the warriors of Abathia. They are the original citizens of Abathia; they survived since the dawn of the land. They are the ones that separated the land into the sectors and the only ones that know the secrets of the unknown.
The fourth sector was destroyed by the unknown, but this is where our story begins. The fearsome unknown wrecked the village before the Abathians could find a creature to inhabit it. They raided it in the hope of the discovery of dark energy. The Boltash and the Tak fought them off. But whatever lived in that sector was destroyed and Abathian theory suggests that the Unknown are working on a core. A source of power capable of creating and destroying life, the Unknown left the sector. It has served as a research ground for the Tak. It is where the only evidence of the unknown’s existence we have. It is where the 3 remaining districts have built a unit. It is a building where each leader, Detyu, Aoidh and an elected Abathian meet.
“We have been at peace with the unknown for 150 years!!!” shouted Aoidh. “I shall not risk the wellbeing of my people in the hope of shutting down this core”
“It can control life, we have no evidence of the Unknown but if the story of the beast is true. They can recreate it, we will be wiped out” replied Detyu.
“Unless…” answered Kaishan, the elected leader for this planet cycle. “We can kill the beast. If we kill the beast they will have nothing to recreate. We can only act under the assumption that the core has already been created.”
“How do you suggest we find him? We know little about the unknown and the beast is just a myth.” replied Detyu.
“We have the unknown surrounded already, we rally our armies on the very edges of our sectors, and we squeeze the Unknown out into sector 4. We can then attack. We don’t even have to enter the 5th sector” Explained Kaishan.
“It won’t work, we will have to face the Unknown’s army” said Aoidh. “The 5th sector is by far the biggest and from what my people have found, we can near conclusively say that this dark energy is unstoppable” Continued Aoidh. An almighty roar echoed through the great hall.
“Aoidh, activate the traps. Detyu, call upon your archers. Get your strongest troops and send them here!” shouted Kaishan in his deep strong voice. Kaishan ran down the spiral staircase with his bloodaxe, Lined with a red metal with a stone blade, his dragon skin armour tightened on his skin on command. His titanium fibre gloves were quickly slipped on. He reached the great hall.
“It has been a long time Kaishan” A tall dark figure emerged from behind a pillar. “Come now, lay down your weapon” It asked in an almost robotic voice. It pulled back the long sleeve attached to his hood to reveal his mechanical arm. He offered out his hand.
“Xenogal” He muttered.
Xenogal was among the Abathian expedition that set out to discover of the land. He was just like Kaishan; he had the same human like face. But they differed in opinions, Kaishan wanted to populate the whole of Abathia with them and the creatures that lived on this newly discovered land. Xenogal wanted to harness the resources of Abathia then return, killing all life in it. The 10 members, going by the name of Abathians, named the land Abathia and set out to explore and settle. However the 10 members were part of an all-male expedition. They needed to take the life already there to populate Abathia. They set out to find suitable living space. It was here that they encountered the Taks. They learnt of the light energy harnessed from the sky. The Taks negotiated with the Abathians and came to an agreement. The expedition told them about the wish to name the land “Abathia”. The Taks wanted to remain with the name as “The Land”. It was agreed in exchange for help to populate The Land. They tried day and night to create new beings out of the light energy but they needed something stronger. They called upon the help of the Boltash. There was still no luck. They split the land into 4 sectors to accommodate for the new residents, A sector for the Taks, the Abathians, the Boltash and one to be used for meetings and joint projects. Xenogal was not happy with this, for he had set out for the purpose of capturing new land. He wanted power. He set out into the 4th sector; it is here that he found the dark energy. It found the evil inside him and consumed him. Kaishan tried to fight it out of him but it was too late. Xenogal made a lunge for Kaishan, but he took his blade and made for his arm. Xenogal’s arm was lost but Kaishan’s blade was lost to the dark energy. Xenogal was never seen again. Until along came another member of the expedition. Nemos, he was one of Xenogal’s closest friends. Nemos set out to find Xenogal. Notebook in hand he left. We don’t know what happened to him but he has been assumed as dead for since the dawn of the sectors.
“You seem surprised old friend, don’t you remember me.” He laughed. He showed his hand.
“You are a fool for returning, Xenogal!” Kaishan Shouted. With a whir of a dark mist Xenogal was gone.
“My dear friend, Kaishan, you are the fool for not capturing Abathia while it was ours” He replied. With a whoosh of the wind Xenogal silently slipped back into the room. He slid his mechanical hand over Kaishan’s mouth.
“I believe you remember how I got this” Xenogal spoke softly. There was a noise of metal sliding when a blade suddenly appeared out of the hand.
“Kaishan!” screamed Aoidh as he ran down the staircase. He drew a knife, shining in the moonlight and glowing with the essence of the sky, and threw it. It hurled through the air towards the back of Xenogal. Xenogal flung his metal hand around from Kaishan’s neck and into the path of the blade. The shining metal blade crashed onto the cold stone floor. Aoidh sprinted towards Xenogal but it was too late. The metal blade imbedded into Xenogal’s wrist had pierced the Abathians reptilian skin. Xenogal disappeared. Light shone through the stained glass windows onto the slowly dying body of Kaishan.
“Use the light” said a melodic voice. “Do not fear. Use the essence of the sky”. It continued.
“Prieli” Aoidh muttered. Prieli was the healer of the Tak sector; she was the master of light and had learnt the power of controlling it. Her mother was Gwedith, she was the guardian of the Tak’s the first member of the clan. She was as old as time itself.
“Daughter of the Guardian!” Aoidh cried out. “Help us!” The blade started to glow whiter than ever before, it drifted through the air and gently fell into the hands of Aoidh. He took the blade in his hand and rubbed it. His hand now glowed; he took his hand and placed it onto the deep wound. Kaishan was healed, the voice was gone, and darkness fell upon them. They woke up in the towers of Gwedith.
“Kaishan, you are healing fast, you must return home to your people” Said Prieli. “You must deliver important news”. Kaishan let out an almighty whistle. Suddenly a small creature, smaller than a dwarf but with legs like a rabbit and the face of a rodent and small antlers, it wore a light brown hood. No shoes and no other clothes. He carried a notebook in one hand and a quill in the other.
“Prieli, this is Dweli. Brother of Unacia, the messenger to the sky. He is my messenger and one of my oldest friends since the dawn of the sectors”. Prieli stepped forward; her long white dressed blew in the strong wind. She looked out of the gap in the tall stone tower at the land of the Unknown then down to Dweli.
“You are a brave servant, Dweli. Take this” Upon these words she flicked her hand up to the sky summoning a blade of light. “This will guard you against the Unknown. The towers of the guardians will be alerted when the sword is used”.
“Gwedith?” questioned Kaishan.
“I am under word of honour, never to speak of my blood relation” replied Prieli.
“You are aren’t you? I am delighted that you remember are little arrangement.” Xenogal morphed through the small gap in the rock. He grabbed Prieli and unsheathed his blade. “Because you know if you do speak of your kin, you will die and as will your kingdom”. Dweli crept out of the shadows and brought up his weapon.
“Leave Xenogal” He whispered. Dweli drew up his light sword and put it to Xenogal’s back. Prieli dropped to the floor, coughing up black substance. Xenogal disappeared again.
“Run back to sector 3, tell them to rally the armies, send the cross bred back to their home districts” shouted Kaishan as he turned to Dweli. He jumped from the gap and ran on. The sky turned grey and the lights went out.
“The sky essence is gone, the core has caused infection. Every device, weapon or power source that runs on it will crash” cried Prieli with her last breath. “We will die out in days”. She lay there, with long blond hair cascading down her back. She tucked her arms and legs into her chest and snuck her hands under her head to cushion it. “Xenogal is too powerful, take down the core and restore the sky essence. It is only then that you may take down the beast and destroy the Unknown”. Her eyes like water shut. The gentle sparkle of her pale skin faded as it slowly turned grey. Everyone touched was infected.
“Detyu! Detyu!” A rope and grapple shot up through the crack in the wall. Detyu shot up and emerged into the room.
“My brother, you look unwell.” He said as he laid his hand upon the neck of the dark scaly Kaishan.
“I am strong, Detyu. I will live on for a good while longer.” Kaishan responded as he drew his axe. “Everyone in this town will die. This is the city of the Sky and its essence is infected”. He continued.
“Get Aoidh and the Boltash, they can find the cause and shut it down”. Detyu replied.
“It won’t work. Prieli identified the cause as the core. But the core is at the centre of sector 5. For all we know the core is guarded by the beast” answered Kaishan.
“What do you propose?” questioned Detyu.
“We send in our messengers and find out as much as we can about this beast, then we rally our armies and kill it”.
Aoidh walked in slowly.
“I heard Dweli was here, I need him to send a message back to the Boltash” he said.
“Dweli” thought Kaishan. “Dweli had the sword of light, the sky essence is infected. For all we can assume, Dweli is now dying slowly.” He told Aoidh.
“If he is not yet dead then surely there is chance of a rescue” Aoidh questioned. Detyu drew up a stone tablet out of the rock. He pulled down his sleeve and took his finger to the board. He began to draw and Kaishan began to narrate:
“This is our circular land. Here are the five districts, the first half is the centre and it is filled with the unknown and here is the second half. It is the outer rim. A third of it is the third sector, it is in the north. This is Dweli’s destination. Here the other two thirds are divided into three. To the west is sector 2, it is occupied by the Taks. It is where we are now and it is the location from where Dweli set off. Sector 1, home of the Boltash and in the south, considering our circumstances it is irrelevant. Sector 4 is last, it is where we were and it is the furthest away” Kaishan explained.
“Dweli is the fastest of us it is why he has been selected as messenger, this rules out our chances of us sending out a Tak search party” said Detyu.
“We are at one with the animals, the Nadalf are immune to the darkness. This is not even to mention their immense speed” suggested Aoidh “we charge them in from the first sector in the south. We charge through the East of sector 5. When they meet sector 2, the Tak will mount them. They charge down the quickest route, it is there in the forest we have the greatest chance of finding Dweli”. He continued. Aoidh set out on the back of the black Nadalf. He charged through the land of the Unknown and called upon the Nadalf. All through the night they charged, from one corner of the planet to the next. He ran past the Unknown. Night became day. Day became night. The moon came and went. The dry desert landscape of section 4 came into sight. He had arrived at the edge of sector 1; the Nadalf forest was before him. He raised his small marked hands to his mouth and made a noise like no other. Like a hoot of the great owl or the roar of the lion. They came running. Their great horns ripped through the trees. Leaves fell to the floor; trunks were scarred with the marks of the Nadalf. The black Nadalf rose up on his hind legs and turned. Aoidh grabbed the reigns and they charged, like they knew the danger, like they knew one of their own was hurt. The deserts of district 4 were lost in the horizon, the mountains became memories, the high towers became visible and the paths in the sky that once were bright looked dull. The bright paintings and decorations looked grey. But they ran on, Gwedith called out from the towers of the guardians in the language of the Ancient Tak. Finely woven ropes out of metal fibre hung down from the bridges. The Tak archers mounted the Nadalf and they continued without stopping. They grabbed arrows out of their quivers and set them alight. The grassy ground, many thousands of metres below the stone bridges, towers and buildings, were illuminated. Aoidh looked up at the brave face of Kaishan, seeing through him and knowing that he was scared. He was nervous that the little rodent may have come to harm.
“Where is Unacia, brother of Dweli?” asked Detyu.
“He is not of the Tak, nor the Boltash, nor the Abathia. He is not of the Unknown. No one on this land knows, but Dweli. Many speak of his death many years ago, thus enabling the Unknowns access to the sky. Many say the inhabitants of this Land became reliant on Unacia. They believed that he was the one stopping the Unknowns inevitable attack. Many say he is just a figure of legend” Kaishan replied.
“Get to the observatory, tell the Boltash to operate it. We need to find the forests. Tell them to scan the area” Demanded Detyu.
“There are hardly any vehicles, nor animals that fly. None at all that would be suitable for a scan of the area, or even any that would support an army” replied Kaishan.
“Send the Boltash to the observatory, send your army to the sector 5 border” Detyu answered. “And since the times of my forefathers, we have been modifying local animals in an attempt to populate this land”.
“This is irrelevant, I must fetch my men” Kaishan continued.
“One creature was not released, it was modified for battle so that situation like the present.” Detyu responded. They walked down the spiral staircase, across many bridges and finally into an arena. Completely white walls made of a material unfamiliar to all but the Tak. Blue lights surrounded a well. Wire cage walls, electrified and protected, sat above the blue lights. They walked down a thin staircase down to the centre of the arena up to the wire walls. The pit itself was circular, around 5 feet in diameter; however it was very deep around 20 feet. It was enough to kill any mortal. At the bottom lay protected glass, below was a lab containing about 3 Boltash. They sat at machines connected to various tubes and sensors on what were attached to some sort of animal. It was like an eagle, legs of a horse, wings but it had the head of a deer. But instead of antlers it had two very long thin horns.
“We call it the Alavanus; its DNA has been cloned. A series of underground tunnel links 5 identical buildings, this is the first. There are 5 that we are working on and monitoring, one in each building. Underground we have thousands. They are silent, their flight is graceful. Their horns are deadly yet their attack is not perfected. However we have made them the perfect flight vehicle. They are tame, adaptable and easy to mount” Detyu explained.
“How do we get to the rest of them?” Kaishan asked.
“We are already there” continued Detyu. Detyu led Kaishan out of the small white tower. The ground above them had sealed, natural light was replaced by a dim white glow. An artificial grass floor was revealed; they looked up and saw the huge cave. There they were, the Alavanus were all there. Lying there like any normal horse, flying around like you would expect a raven to. Food was emptied out from compartments on the ceiling at regular intervals. They lived like caged animals, however they knew no different.
“Don’t worry; the Alavanus in here are let out on a regular basis. They fly through the skies, only to be found on the ground in the deep forest”. Detyu clarified “They are trained to react to gesture command”. Detyu removed his bow from a strap on his back and hit it on the floor. The dark beady eyes of the Alavanus gazed up at his hand. He raised it and their eyes traced it as it ascended. Detyu shouted something in the language of the Ancient Tak then followed it with a circular hand motion. Suddenly their eyes shot up, every one of them shot up onto their legs and took flight. They circled the ceilings.
“We are working on telepathic command, so the Alavanus will have a private link with their rider. It will eliminate the issue of having a whole group controlled by one person and allow individuals to have control over their own animal. Try it” Detyu asked. Kaishan reluctantly accepted. “Put on this glove, touch the animals head then yours. If the animals has their chip installed this will activate a connection. You will have full command of your Alavanus” Detyu explicated. Kaishan put it on, Detyu called again and one of them flew directly in front of them.
“Kaishan, meet Desmela, she was one of the first Alavanus to have their chip installed” Detyu continued. Kaishan put on the glove and touched the occipital crest of the Alavanus. He stared into the eyes of the Alavanus and it stared back. He lifted his hand then put it on his own forehead.
“The link has been made” Detyu whispered. Some Boltash assistants attached some sensors and wires to Desmela and Kaishan. The Boltash ran a quick scan, a light flickered green on a machine. They brought up a saddle with a handle. Kaishan jumped up onto the saddle and closed his eyes. He rested his head upon Desmela’s neck. The Boltash and Detyu looked up at them, Desmela lowered her legs. In a flash, she sprung her back legs and opened her wings. The wind whistled over Desmela’s streamlined body. Her head pushed forward and her wings folded back. The Boltash cheered as they cave roof opened. They were above ground in an instant. They glided, Kaishan and Desmela seemed one. His eyes once again reopened. They glided together over the forest. They soared through the clouds, above the Mountains of the Boltash, and within a minute they had gone from the cave below ground to the skies and finally swooped across tree tops in the Tak forest. He looked down and saw the Taks aboard the Nadalf, they still charged. Then he saw it, Dweli in the arms of the Unknown. He saw the pitch black head of Xenogal, his dark brown worn out hood with his metal blade arm. They had him, brother of Unacia, they had captured him. He was in their arms, already infected; his health would forever decline with no chance of recovery. Desmela let out a cry and the Unknown shot them a glance. They flew down towards them. The hooves of the Alavanus came down to touch the tree tops. She turned within an instant of seeing the Unknown. She could sense the danger. Kaishan knew she was right. They flew quickly back to the forest.
“Nadalf, halt!” He shouted. “They have Dweli, return to the research facility, and mount the Alavanus. We ride tomorrow at sun rise!” He continued. They flew past the towers, past the bridges, past the death spot of Prieli, past the dull bridges. They flew through the day. The flat dry landscape of sector 3 came into view.
“Abathians, gather your weapons! In minutes we shall charge to sector 2, where we will board the Alavanus. For the first time in almost 150 years we are at war” He circled the skies and repeated this line around 15 times over. It was done, the large stone swords, axes, knives and daggers were carried. With no formation, only hundreds of groups of huddled Abathians. Not with speed and not with grace, but with ferocity, and fearlessness. Random arrangements of reptilian men, their stomp somehow synchronized as they plodded along. Through the forest and as was promised, they arrived as the moon began to disappear. Just enough time to let the sun rise while they linked with the Alavanus. By morning the Tak were in a neat formation on the Nadalf, all with many arrows in their quivers and finely crafted bows on their backs, and all with spears in their hands. Behind were he Abathians, on the backs of the Alavanus, they all carried the same stone weapons. Efficiently crafted, the miners got the stone and the Abathian Boltash designed the weapons, they were crafted into rough shapes and given hilts made from the bone of their victims. Long dual wield swords carried by the finest warriors. Kaishan carried his single axe of the greatest heaviness and the greatest swiftness. The lower warriors carried random weapons varied from single swords to throwing knives.
Kaishan flew to the front alongside Detyu. He was not aboard a Nadalf but eagerly awaited the return of Aoidh. Out of the distance he rode back with his army. He skilfully dismounted and led the black Nadalf by his reigns.
“His name is Maulace; he has been by my side since the dawn of the sectors. He is yours for the charge. I and my team will stand guard of the high towers by the side serving to Gwedith, queen of the skies.” Aoidh expressed.
“Your contributions to this battle and to our people shall not go unnoticed. When or if we return, you shall be rewarded handsomely” Detyu replied as he accepted the reigns and mounted Maulace.
“I am the leader of a sector with loyal followers and a team of the finest intelligence. We are working in a circle named the Brain of the Land. We serve as the right hand to Unacia and Gwedith. Your permission to serve is all we will ever ask for” Aoidh answered. Desmela and Kaishan flew up to the skies.
“Soldiers of Abathia, Warriors and Protectors of the Land, we ride into the Unknown and find Dweli. We gather knowledge, bring him home then we destroy the core restoring balance to the essence of light!” He shouted. He put a hand into a package attached to the back of Desmela and pulled out a book.
“I have in my hand the findings of Nemos! They speak of the demonic kind, they speak of eyes as red as blood. Touch with the heat of the dragon’s fire. But they are not immortal!” He screamed. He threw the book from the skies into the forest.
“Forward!!!” He screamed as he thrust his axe forward, Desmela descended from the skies, plummeting at great speeds gently decreasing the angle until finally they flew flat above the Nadalf. His men followed behind him, the Nadalf charged led by Maulace and Detyu. They struck their arrows on a rough patch of their saddles and in a moment the skies were filled with flaming arrows heading for the Unknown.
“They are here” Xenogal muttered “Here we go”.
“You will never survive, there are too many!” said Shazabeth. Shazabeth was one of the first Unknown; he was one of the youngest, still older than most members of the 4 sectors. He was very dim witted, he wasn’t the strongest, however he was loyal and a follower of Xenogal.
“You’re right, let’s give them Dweli back, we would be the only creatures left by now, and we could attack them. But I need to see them suffer. Now we take him back and we release the beast before the army reaches us!” said Xenogal as he grabbed Shazabeth by the throat. “Now I would kill you however I don’t want to carry this rodent back to the mountains in the dark. So I will make a compromise” He continued. He turned around with his blade unsheathed. “I’m sorry I don’t believe I have learnt your name” he said as he turned to another Unknown. He locked in the blade pushed him against a tree and stabbed him through the throat. He struggled but pulled his blade out of the tree. “So I won’t have to sever any emotional bonds when your life ends at my fault”.
The hooves of the Nadalf stomped across the forest floor. The air from under the Alavanus made a whooshing sound like no other. They rode day and night with no signs of slowing down. Aoidh was still there, the Brain of the Land had turned the towers into their home. Gwedith had not spoken for days, ever since Prieli’s death, she had not shown emotion, only silence. The Brain took to leading the women and children of the Tak by day, by night they worked shifts with the Boltash underground, working on the modification of animals. Technology was perfected by this time, for all needs were accommodated for. The people were kept active without suffering; they could farm for themselves only aided by machines. The underground labs originally hosting the Alavanus were empty. The five towers now each hosted a different animal, the centre that used to be home to the thousands of Alavanus were being converted into more towers. The very inner centre had been converted into a high tech enclosure to test out how the animals would cope in the wild or in battle. In the new testing facility was a new animal, it was exactly the same as a tiger except 10 feet long with extended claws, claws of the same white metal as the old towers. They had serrated edges; it had the same blood red eyes as the Unknown. Its teeth were tipped with the metal. The joints in the legs were supported by mechanics. Its speed was perfected; its killer instinct was not to be questioned. They called it Obcisor, the Latin for killer. The one in the simulator was named Falneth; he was the subject of a series of test set to increase his sense of smell. Falneth could recognise the scent of the Unknown; he would kneel down to the scent of members of the 4 sectors. The scent of the Unknown was placed into the arena. A dummy made of a steel shell and a hard plastic body was lowered into the arena. Falneth raised himself onto hind legs. Before the dummy was fully laid onto the arena floor, the scent had reached his nostrils and he lunged through the air jumping towards the model. Within mere second his jagged claws had plunged through the steel shell and deep into the plastic. His weight dragged him down but he did not give up his grip. His claws simply ripped down through the plastic until they fell out the bottom. A replica body with three six inch deep claw marks running down from chest till foot was slowly lowered to the floor. The test program runs so that the smell of dead flesh would be released when the wounds measured so much. With this the tiger rocketed towards the dummy. His jaws clenched in a vice like grip around the area between the neck and shoulder.
“0:28 seconds” said one of the Boltash.
“0:02 seconds approx. for reaction time from the release of scent 1” said another.
“0:04 seconds approx. for Falneth to make a move”
“0:03 seconds from time of movement to time of death”
“Computer: send message to Aoidh, his weapon is complete.”
“Xenogal, Kaishan and Detyu wait at the border. They are planning a straight attack, A third to the north, a third to the south and a third attacking from the east. The army is planning to shed first blood in two sunrises. They destroy the core and we will have no weapon. No army is ready to fight.” said Shazabeth.
“Bring the rat to me” said Xenogal as he stood at the top of the mountain admiring the core. He turned to Dweli and said “My little rodent, your life is coming to the end are you not aware? Your army will fall if the beast is released or even if one of your little soldiers is consumed by the darkness”
“You fool, my brother taught me of your tricks. You are not the master of darkness, the Unknown do not even possess its power. Unacia controls the darkness, but he has been long dead. The darkness is stored in the core. And when we destroy it, it will be gone.”
“Well I guess there is only one option, bring out the Beast!”
An almighty roar swept through the land, consuming the ears of all who were near and sending chills down of all creatures afar. The clinking of metal chains, the sound of cogs being turned, metal bolts sliding, the clicking of a door being raised, and the snapping of chains. The unfortunate few Unknown tasked with freeing the legs of the beast. It took ten to carry the key. All four of its legs lay chained together with one great neck collar welded to the cold wet dark ground. The door was open the metal spikes had been retracted. They walked past the beast’s head and crawled to the lock. The path was clear, the key slid into lace with a thunderous clink. Ropes swung from the roof as several more Unknown jumped down, harnessed on, to help twist. It was done, many tried to pull the Unknown back up before the beast rose. But the few whose only escape was passed the beast had their fate sealed. Some tried to run, some tried to creep, and the only difference was the speed at which they would meet their doom. The beast got up on all fours; it swung its gigantic tail across the floor crushing all who lay in its path up against the damp rough walls. The darkness became bright as the few would tried to run were engulfed by flames. Nothing but a pile of ash remained. For the one that tried to hide, the moment he stepped out to make his run, he was shredded by the beast’s razor teeth.
The dim light of the moon provided just enough light to see. Detyu was awoken by the roar; he stood looking up at the mountains. Kaishan cautiously walked through the trees behind him.
“My friend, Kaishan, what do you think lies past these borders?” Detyu asked.
“I think there is not an army, not trained soldiers, but a world of darkness. We should not be afraid of the Unknown, we should be afraid of what they have created with the core” Kaishan answered. “I have sent Desmela on messenger runs from here to the high towers. We have scheduled a meeting with Aoidh, he wants us to delay the attack, and apparently they have a new weapon for us” He continued.
“So what you are saying is that we should wait for a new weapon, which may or may not help, until they release whatever they have unto our army” Detyu answered.
“We will defend ourselves until the weapon comes” replied Kaishan. He walked away back into the forest. He met with Desmela, lightly stroking her brow and she lay curled up by the trunk of a fallen decaying tree. The wind started blowing again. A roar again echoed through the trees. Suddenly a large Alavanus descended to the army’s camp.
“Kaishan! Call upon your best men tell them to send their Alavanus back to the high towers” Aoidh shouted, he was riding the Alavanus and circling the trees. He landed gracefully and stepped down to greet Kaishan. “Your weapon is ready” Aoidh continued. “We will send them down immediately, they shall arrive at morning”
The underground research lab was still built for flying animals; the Boltash had spent most of the night constructing elevated platforms to lift the Obcisor out of the caves. Falneth went first; he cautiously wandered on, his claws clanked on the floor of the platform. He lied on the platform and supported his head with his large furry hands. A mechanical whir was heard followed by the activation of the elevator. The Boltash casually stood at the machines as usual. They were again surrounded by their monitors. This was the first time Falneth had smelt fresh air, he jumped around the grassy ground as the dew rubbed of soaking the fur of his paws. He nervously darted his eyes around, he looked at the bright colours, the flowers of red, and the exciting blue skies. He saw another Obcisor arrive, first came Dylthea, she was one of the only females. Her fur was slightly darker, she had far fewer stripes. She did not have the same reaction to the outdoors as Falneth. She slowly crept through the long grass towards Falneth. There were no cages, they were being monitored of course, and however they could just walk away. But they stayed. The next Obcisor stepped up out of the platform, it was Anopatra, A clone of Falneth, only slightly smaller. He wandered up to the others and they all stood there in silence, in a perfect line. He was followed by Adarice, then by Henlin. There were 5 of them now, Falneth, Dylthea, Anopatra, Adarice and Henlin. They slowly walked forward in unison.
“Forward” A voice came from the Boltash over a megaphone from a post above the towers. They went faster, then faster, then faster. Suddenly they broke out into a sprint. Falneth led, he was followed by Dylthea and Adarice. The smaller Anopatra burst out full speed, he seemed to fly over the grass, darting through the trees. He was now around 10 metres ahead of Falneth. Henlin was not the longest but he was broadest, not in an unhealthy way but in a stocky way. He was by far the strongest. At one point in the run he simply butted down a tree. It fell with an almighty crash. Adarice suddenly paused and looked up. She saw Aoidh flying back on the Alavanus. They continued to run. The darkness came into view; their large pause caused a thunderous stomp. They arrived at the camp.
“Ready your weapons!” screamed one of the Abathians. The Obcisor stopped and sat, they gazed into the eyes of the soldiers. They turned round and offered their backs. Kaishan and his four greatest men walked to the front of the crowd and placed the saddles that Aoidh had given him onto the back of the Obcisor. The animals rose up onto all fours again and prepared to run.
“Halt!” shouted Kaishan. The other Abathians jumped and took a step back. The animals stopped and looked calm. They got onto the backs of the Obcisor. Like horses they attached the reigns, they kicked the animal’s sides and they began to prowl. They plodded through the crowd to the borders.
“Abathians take flight, Taks mount your Nadalf! We ride now!!!” shouted Kaishan. Maulace let out a cry as Detyu mounted him. He stroked the black silky fur of Maulace’s neck. They began. The thick hooves churned the grass as the charge started. The Alavanus twirled in the sky as the battle cries of the Abathians filled the darkened air. Kaishan rode Falneth into battle. With the scent of the Unknown’s ground, Falneth’s pupils narrowed and his nostrils flared. He ran like never before, all the Obcisor weaved through the Nadalf. Their large claws punctured the dark rocky ground. It was almost as if it was made of coal yet the armies reduced it to mere dust. The Obcisor by this point were far in front. Only a few minutes into the charge the army was already far into the Unknown’s territory. The Abathians have taken the step of gathering old weapons and smashing them into hand sized chunks they carried them in sacks made of a Tak material unfamiliar to Abathians. Kaishan was still riding Falneth at the front. What seemed to be a mountain suddenly moved. What seemed to be a cave suddenly opened into a large deep blue eye. Legs suddenly shot up out of the sides and the head started to take shape. A tail flicked out of the sides. Spikes shot up out of the back, like sharpened iron rods they stood as high as the height of the Tak. The beast rose up.
“Surround it men!” shouted Kaishan as he readied his axe. The Tak dismounted the Nadalf and set them into a charge. The large deer charged the legs of the beast down. The Obcisor stopped as they let the Nadalf over take them. They ran between the legs of the beast slicing at them with their horns. The beast’s legs looked weak but he stood back up straight. The Nadalf suddenly fled and turned round back to the Tak.
“Archers! Ready your flaming arrows! Aim! Fire!” ordered Detyu. The flaming arrows illuminated the dark sky. Most of the arrows hit, and the ones that didn’t created little flaming spike traps around the giant dragon like legs. The beast let out another almighty roar as the flaming arrow hit his demonic mutt head. But this time it wasn’t like a roar to strike fear, it was a roar of pain. The Abathians prepared as they took their rocks in hand. They got ready to throw, when the mutt bounded forward. It reptilian scales protected his body, his wolves head grabbed the Alavanus out of the sky. He ripped through them with its teeth, the toxic acids in his stomach burned and poisoned them the instant they were swallowed. His injuries seemed to disappear, they were still there but the beast’s pain had disappeared. He charged through the ranks of the army, he swooped down with his massive picking up animals and soldiers alike as they ran through. Few men met the jaws of death, however many were swept away by the tail of the giant, many more were trampled. They began to see the beast, not the easy target he seemed, but the beast that could trample through armies like they were blankets of snow. The Abathians threw the stones but it had little effect. It could only delay inevitable defeat. Kaishan had not yet attacked, frozen with fear, not of the beast but fear for what may happen. The poison that is the darkness that stole his friend was going to kill many more, and Dweli. He was still up there.
“Abathians! Charge to the Mountains!” He demanded. “Obcisor stay with me!” The animals held back while Abathians flew to the mountains. There it was the black glassy sphere. A tall figure stood by it, many more crowded around him. Rocks were dropped but they seemed to fall through them.
“My men, we have now the control of the darkness!” Xenogal screamed. They turned round, arms held to the sky. They disappeared, and then reappeared on the backs of the Alavanus. They had been disguised. All of them now had the dark brown worn out hoods, exactly the same markings and exactly the same mechanical arms. Cries of pain filled the skies as they plunged their blades deep into the flesh of the Alavanus as the Unknown clung to the winged creatures back. Then in an instant they were gone, innocent animals falling from the skies. Like flies they dropped, one by one, they fell. They tackled a group, then another, then another. It was quick, half a minute and the entire group was down. The Nadalf, by this point, had reached the Tak. Kaishan put the reigns into one hand and turned round, the Unknown were coming for them. They took a different approach this time. Most waited at the core for the command, however Xenogal reappeared in front of Maulace. He didn’t activate his blade, he just casually walked.
“I suggest you should be on your way Xenogal” said Detyu; he raised his bow so it pointed directly in the centre of Xenogal’s head.
“Excuse me my dear, however I think there may be something wrong with that Nadalf” Detyu did not dignify the statement with a response, he simply stared at the blank face and pulled back his bow further. “These scars and wounds, they are no mortal injuries” He continued. “They are not bleeding the normal blood, neither oozing the black fog that comes from my people’s wounds” Detyu lowered his bow.
“What are you suggesting?” Detyu questioned.
“Did you know that Dweli came from Boltash origin? And I am sure you know that the Nadalf are also creatures of the Boltash” Xenogal explained. “Dweli was brother of Unacia, this Nadalf is significantly larger, not to mention of different colour”.
“Carry on” Detyu said as he again raised his bow.
“You must know of the death of Unacia” Xenogal continued.
“I am one of the few” Detyu answered.
“I witnessed his death; these wounds were the same as the ones he bore on his death bed”
“Are you suggesting Maulace is a creature of the sky?”
“Maybe, but this dark skin and fur are not of the origin of light. I am suggesting from the dawn of the Land, when the Guardians created the light energy, they needed a counterpart.”
“The dark energy?”
“Yes, the Guardians created Unacia to watch over and control the light. Whatever they chose to control the darkness, this is its reincarnation”
“Are you saying the Guardians relied upon animals to control what essentially makes up our very being?”
“I am saying that if the Guardians have chosen a new leader of darkness, there must be one of light”
“Let’s arrange a deal. We shall give you Dweli, in exchange for Maulace”
“You’re bluffing!” Detyu shouted.
“Your people shall be non-existent by sun rise; you are better off taking Dweli and retreating”
“We will destroy the Unknown”
Detyu led Maulace to the hind ranks of the Tak army. He gazed into its eyes, pure darkness. He pushed his head to the sides, it sprung back. It had its eyes focussed on Xenogal.
“Kaishan!” Detyu called out. Kaishan jumped off the back of Falneth. The Obcisor charged into the underbelly of the beast as Kaishan hurried back.
“My brother, what is so urgent that it must disrupt the charge of the weapon”
“Maulace is the controller of the darkness. We kill it and the darkness is useless, the core will be stopped” Detyu explained.
“Dweli is the controller of light” He continued.
“But if we kill Maulace and they notice a disruption in the core, they will kill Dweli and we will have lost a great friend and the essence of the sky will be lost forever” Kaishan replied.
“Destroy the core, they won’t be able to tell and when they are weak we will strike”.
“This is decisive, a meeting will be held with the guardians and the Brain. We shall then make a decision, for now we shall kill the beast”
Almost as if it was an exact replica of the simulator, Falneth sprinted forwards and leapt into the air. He sliced at the stomach of the beast. Anopatra raced around the legs of the beast slicing away at the feet. The beast’s demonic head swooped from side to side searching for the Obcisor. In a daze, Henlin crashed into his fore legs taking the beast to the ground. Head first into the ground, dust flew up into the air. The Abathians by this point had dismounted and were hacking at the beast’s joints as if they were trees. It continued to fall; the animals scooped up the Abathians and carried them out from underneath. The large blue eyes slammed shut like a heavy door. The beast seemed dead, but in a flash he was prepared to get back up. Kaishan was running. Over mounds of dark rock he jumped. He took his axe and kicked his foot down onto the muzzle of the hound and struck his axe down through the head of the beast. It was like a geyser of black gas. Coating Kaishan, he fell to the floor in a coughing mess. Black liquid poured out of his mouth. His eyes flickered and his body went into spasms. His skin turned darker, much like Prieli he had been infected and was displaying similar symptoms. His eyes closed and his skin went black, the final rush of liquid came out, his body laid still. Kaishan had killed the beast. But he lay there, sharing the same fate. Detyu stormed through the battle field, not on Maulace but aboard another Nadalf, towards Kaishan.
“Kaishan, my friend, speak to me” He whispered into his ear, he slipped his hand under Kaishan’s heavy scaly neck. Kaishan turned his head upwards, he did not speak for the darkness had descended into him, but he offered an emotionless glance. The darkness began to consume him, his face turned from grey to a pitch black. His eyes gradually closed as he rolled off the gentle hand of Detyu. Detyu pushed his long hair back out of his face and stared at the seemingly dead body of Kaishan. His metal mask disintegrated into the black dust that lay beneath their feet. It simply blew away with the wind, bit by bit his body began to do the same. The ash like substance started to form a cloud, suddenly the body let out a final scream. His axe had frozen in his hand, it was next to go up in smoke. The first layers of his body peeled off into thin air, he was down to bone, and the thin black skeleton was all that was left. He was finally gone, not the majestic death that warriors of his kind deserved. Not the grand funeral he must have expected when he went into battle. An undignified death, his friends watching him scream in terror as the enemy consumed his corpse, with no remains. Nothing to remember him by but the memories and legacy of the battles won in his name.
The beast had shared the same death, he had gone with the strong wind aswell, except much quicker. For the darkness did not need to infect it. It could gently drift off into the skies. The army and beast were defeated; the only obstacle left in the way was the core. Many foes blocking the path to their goal were defeated, at great cost. Vast quantities of their army were destroyed; Kaishan was dead along with hundreds of the Nadalf. But in this once great land of peace, no cause was more worth dying for. Detyu looked back at the armies. He knew he was now the leader, responsible for the thousands left, for their lives, for their safety. Falneth ran around next to Detyu, he searched for Kaishan, he looked panicked. He jumped and darted his eyes around. He looked confused, the other Obcisor stood, in their usual formation. He continued to run around, for a few minutes in fact. Then he just stopped, it had taken him a while but it looked like he had finally come to terms with the fact that his master was dead. He plodded back into formation. Detyu began walking up to Falneth; he touched him on his nose and gently stroked it. Falneth closed his eyes and bowed his head, he recognized the scent. It was the move that the Boltash had taught the Falneth to perform in event their rider had deceased. Falneth slid his body back and offered his paw, Detyu offered his hand. The leathery paw came in contact with the Tak hand. Falneth shot back and looked up at Detyu. They were now a pair.
They set off at a slow pace back to the rear ranks of the army; Detyu put the reigns in one hand and raised his small blade.
“Warriors! Brave and honourable soldiers of this great land! We are approaching the final step to ridding the surface of this poison!” Detyu shouted, not once did he mention the death of his companion. However, the Abathians and Tak knew that the mere fact that he rode back aboard Falneth signified the death of Kaishan.
“Do not fear! Do not be afraid! These are the emotions of darkness, the substance which they consume, the substance that powers the core!” He continued. His voice, unlike Kaishan’s, was not loud but the whole army heard him. It was not intimidating but it was inspiring. It was not the voice of the almighty warrior they needed; it was the voice of the leader that they craved for so long. It had an immediate effect, the Abathians showed their signal. They raised their heavy stone weapons to the sky. They closed their eyes and bowed their head. The Alavanus tucked their wings in and did the same. The Taks followed the Abathians, and then the Nadalf seemed to bow much like Falneth had done a moment earlier. It was like a wave flowing through the army. Detyu took the reins in two hands and stared at a Tak soldier next to him. He was young, a boy that had just reached manhood. He looked frightened, but he put on a brave face. The soldier glanced up at him then he looked back forward. Detyu rested a hand upon his shoulder; he looked down at the boy and spoke softly.
“My brother, do not be afraid” he repeated. “Mount your Nadalf, young one”. The boy jumped up and his Nadalf slowly trotted.
“Come” Detyu said. They rode together until they reached the border, only few metres from the hind ranks. He pointed to the high towers visible in the distance. They were a blurry sight but you could still make out the shape and which towers they were.
“Look into the distance, look at your home” They both gazed into the distance. “What do you see?” He calmly asked.
“I see the towers, I see light. Yes, I see light” The soldier answered.
“That is very right, my brother. You see light. The very light that was absent just few days ago. That light you are seeing. That light is a sign, a symbol. It tells us that we are winning. We are close to ridding the land of darkness, we are close to restoring the light” Detyu replied. Detyu removed a golden band from his neck, he rode backwards to Maulace. He slotted the golden band and clicked it in place onto Maulace’s front right leg. He rode forwards to the soldier again. He offered Maulace to the small warrior.
“Thank you, my lord” he said.
“I am not your lord, my brother. I am servant to the land. It is destiny that has chosen me to lead you to victory.” Detyu replied. With that he clicked and the soldiers Nadalf ran back to the woods. The soldier climbed up onto Maulace. He looked out of place among the many regular Nadalf and Alavanus. But a smile had spread across his face. A look of concentration and determination had shot into his eyes. He wrapped his hand around the hilt of his blade. Detyu rode back to the front at a much faster pace. Although this time he did not stop, he ran forwards across the lands of the unknown, black smoke trailing behind the bounding Falneth. He did not even have to speak a word and the army followed. Alavanus took flight and tore through the skies quickly closing the gap between them and Falneth. The Tak lit their arrows and shot them into the sky, the arrows flew under the Alavanus towards the Mountains. Xenogal removed his hood for the first time in years. He was afraid, an emotion unfamiliar to him or to any of his kind. The circle of unknown gathered around the core broke up. They readied their weapons and prepared to pull off the same manoeuvre as last time. But this time something was different, the Alavanus travelled in groups of 7. They had made formations so every man was looking out for another; it was not until they were upon the unknown that they would attack. The Nadalf did the same, a man covering the rear, one on each side and a final man charging at the front. All Xenogal and his men could do was watch, they readied their weapons but they stood frozen. The Alavanus had almost lost their grace as they soared. But they did not look down, so focussed. Xenogal drew out his blade, the rest of the unknown got out their various weapons.
There was now only about a hundred or so metre between them. It was then, that was the moment when Xenogal saw it. He had his eyes fixed on Maulace. He put his arms in front of his face; he put his hood back up. He disappeared, the other unknown knew what he was doing, and they just adjusted their stance. Xenogal was now in the middle of the battlefield, he looked around in a confused state. He had found him again, the giant antlers, the long dark fur, the large muscular legs. Many Tak flew past him; they tried to strike with their spears and swords. He simply waved the bombardment of weapons off with his mechanical arm. His eyes were locked on Maulace and the young rider. Xenogal skilfully slid creating a shield of dust; he flicked out his mechanical blade at an oncoming Tak. It hit in the bicep creating a large gash, screams of pain were heard by the surrounding warriors. Xenogal grabbed at the hilt of the large sword in the hand of the wounded Tak. He ripped at it; the Tak was in no fit condition and gave way relatively easily. Xenogal’s patterned boots stomped on the black floor; the moonlight was on his side. He ran the large sword in one hand and his hidden blade in the other. His put his hood back up and put his head down. He broke out into a sprint, continuing to dodge the incoming assaults. Ducking under and swatting metal away like it was an insect. The group containing Maulace approached, Xenogal stopped and readied his blade. He crouched down anticipating the incoming spear. In a moment they were upon him, like a dance he grabbed the sharp point of the spear between his two hands clamping it like a vice. The Nadalf continued riding forwards into Xenogal. He swayed to the side forcing the first rider of the animal. He stuck the spear in the ground using it as a pole; he climbed up and jumped into the centre where Maulace rode. He flung the Tak blade he had picked up earlier backwards into the chest of the second rider. Xenogal was now standing next to the young rider on the back of Maulace. He grabbed the spear again and thrust it into the neck of the third rider; he was lost in the dust from the hooves of the Nadalf. The fourth rider knew his fate was sealed yet he picked up his blade and jumped off his Nadalf towards Xenogal. Xenogal drew out his hidden blade and forced it into the soldier’s ribs. There was a terrible crunch followed by screams of agony. Life drained out of the soldier and he too was lost to the dust. Xenogal jumped over the young rider and sat in front of him. Xenogal removed his hood and stared at the soldier. The warrior got out a small dagger and lunged forward with it towards the neck of Xenogal. Xenogal was alert and ready. He grabbed the young man’s hand and twisted it. The man screamed in pain, he eventually dropped the blade. It clinked against the hard black rock. Now there was only him, the soldier and Maulace in the group. The other Nadalf had ridden off in fear and the other soldiers dare not attack Xenogal. Xenogal watched as the soldier grabbed his hand and continued crying out for help. A tear rolled down his pale cheek as he drew an arrow out of his quiver and tried again to stab Xenogal. He put his mechanical hand up and the arrow simply snapped. Xenogal did not even offer an emotion; he continued to stare at the soldier. Maulace still rode on and they were getting closer and closer to the mountains. The soldier watched as the ground beneath him flew past his feet that now dangled down. The Tak were not heavily armed creatures. They specialised in weapons. Xenogal took his dark hand and wiped the blood of his small blade.
“You do not know who this creature is do you, my boy?” asked Xenogal as he slightly angled his head to the side. The boy blankly looked back at him. He used his sleeve to wipe the tear off his cheek and now his expression had turned to anger.
“You are of Tak, you look pure. Is your father and mother of Tak origin aswell?” Xenogal continued. The soldier looked back at him. Xenogal grabbed him and Maulace and suddenly they disappeared. Blackness was all they could see as they swirled through the air. They reappeared at what must have been a gap in the mountain. The young soldier looked around and he could see two mountain peaks and the sky, nothing else, they stood on a flat bit of ground. It was like a small valley. The sky started clearing and he could see the high towers and the mountains.
“Sorry, my boy, thought we could do with a more private space for such a delicate matter” Xenogal explained. The soldier removed a white piece of cloth concealing his mouth. He quickly ran to the edge collapsing as he did so. He was sick over the edge of the mountains.
“Notice how I and Maulace are fine” Xenogal said. “We are creatures of dark, my boy” he continued. Xenogal walked over to Maulace and took his reigns off. “A creature like this does not deserve to be enslaved, especially to your kind” Xenogal said.
“Maulace is a creature of the Boltash, he belongs to us” the soldier said as he got up and wiped his mouth with his now sodden sleeve.
“Your parents are of Tak origin surely you have heard the stories of the great Unacia?” asked Xenogal. The soldier nodded as he put his hand back on his blade.
“Come now, young one, I am not here for your petty violence” Xenogal said. “Unacia was a graceful servant to Gwedith; he was selected as the first guardian of light. As there was no known man of darkness at the time, a simple creature was elected as the first guardian of darkness. They selected the strongest Nadalf so he could survive the transformation, they selected Maulace. He survived the transformation but he ran into the woods. First time I have seen a creature of his sort in years”. Xenogal explained as he clicked off the golden band from Maulace’s leg. “Who put this silly thing on you?” Xenogal asked. He threw the band off the ledge; it tumbled down to the bottom still completely intact but for a creature as high up as Detyu, gold was not hard to come across. “I suggest if you want to keep your life you will return to the battlefield” Xenogal finished.
“How do you propose I get back?” asked the soldier.
“Tell me your name” Xenogal replied.
“Megarthin” the soldier replied.
“Well Megarthin, I hope you do not fear heights” Xenogal answered. With that Xenogal climbed onto Maulace’s back and disappeared. Megarthin looked over the edge and called down for help. It was possible to climb down but it wasn’t Megarthin’s first choice.
Several of the Unknown had followed Xenogal and teleported into the middle of the battlefield, the other followed after a few minutes. Some still stood debating which group to take down. However, it was not a good plan. Many of these Unknown were killed, they did not possess the skill or agility of their leader. Cheering echoed through the mountains as more were constantly being taken out. Xenogal reappeared on top of the mountain next to the core. He was riding Maulace, they both stood up tall. Maulace had no reigns, Xenogal rode him free, and they both looked as deadly as ever. The few Unknown left were the intelligent ones, they awaited the return of Xenogal. He turned to either side then nodded. The remaining Unknown charged down the mountain. Like an avalanche, dust was thrown up and rocks were kicked down the hill. Many Nadalf were tripped. Cries were heard from each corner of sector 5. The Alavanus seemed quiet, they hovered mid-air, and it seemed they had a plan for attack. They waited for the front lines to be clear. The first lines of soldiers were taken down; the targets were now an easy shot. They hurled the large chunks of rock in their hands down from the skies. They continued to accelerate towards the Unknown. Maulace let out an almighty roar, the rocks were deflected. They flew through the air from the Unknown across the battlefield. The darkness had exposed powers alien to the light. Some rocks caught the Alavanus; again many fell from the skies. Only few were killed but many were left with injuries. It caused disruption in their flawless formation. Many of the Unknown jumped onto the backs of the Nadalf stealing bows and many arrows. They went back to the mountains and picked off Alavanus. Abathians jumped off before the dead bodies hit the floor. It was enough to keep them alive and angry. They barged through the Nadalf and began the ascent up the mountain. There were few left in the sky, but many more had joined the terrestrial efforts. The large scaly creatures were stabbing at the mountain pulling themselves up the steep faces of the mountains, shards of black rock fells to the feet of the Tak and Nadalf. They had climbed off the Nadalf with the exception of the few sent round to patrol the edges of the mountains looking for another way up.
Megarthin still stood on the rocky platform examining his surroundings. He didn’t have his dagger anymore. He had lost most of his arrows while he was riding. He only had his bow and a sword left. He used his sword as a bat and stood hitting stones off the cliff. The patrol groups of Tak were wondering by the sides of the mountain. The footsteps of the Nadalf were heard in the silence. Megarthin ran over to the edge and screamed down. The troop looked up at him and shouted back. There was no possible route down on this side.
“Wait for the other patrol troop, they will help you down, it is a straight drop this side my friend.” They shouted back up.
Megarthin screamed in frustration and continued to hit stones off the edge. He gazed up at the peak and a light shining off a dark crystal. He saw it, the core, the antlers of Maulace and the head of Xenogal.
“Give me some arrows” He called down, trying to shout at a minimum volume. As that was said Megarthin backed up against the mountain face as the troop leader shot an arrow up into the sky. It fell back down at the feet of the young soldier. He plucked the arrow from the stone ground and placed it in his bow. He drew it back and aimed at the head of Xenogal. A drop of sweat rolled down the forehead of the nervous Tak. He let go and fired, the arrow cut through the air soaring towards the target. Xenogal disappeared again, the arrow continued towards Maulace and simply bounced off the large antlers. Xenogal pulled out the Tak weapon he took earlier. It slid out with a noise from under his belt. It was enough for Megarthin to hear. He turned around, a look of shock spread across his face. His eyes squeezed shut as his hands flung up to protect his face. Xenogal pushed his arms out of the way and flung him against the mountain wall. Blood stained his white blonde hair. He looked dazed, but the look of fear still stood solid on his face. Xenogal grabbed him underneath his jaw. He raised him up and pinned him against the rock again. His eyes remained closed, not a word was spoken, and not a scream was let out. After a few seconds of a sword being held in front of his face, Megarthin let out a whimper. Xenogal dropped him again to the floor; he let out a roar of anger. A heavy kick was landed into Megarthin’s stomach. Megarthin tried to crawl back up, but a hard punch was landed on the back of Megarthin’s neck. Xenogal raised him up again, he seemed dead but he continued in his cruelty.
Megarthin was stood up with his head back in Xenogal’s hand. Xenogal gradually pushed him over the edge until he was held with no ground below his feet. The morning sun cast a large clear shadow upon the rock face. Light reflected off Xenogal’s armour. Megarthin could barely open his eyes; he could not see his opponent. Yet he struggled, it was futile but he tried. He kicked out at the shins of Xenogal, he let out a laugh. He unsheathed Megarthin’s weapon and threw it to the ground. Xenogal raised the sharp Tak blade again; he put it to the neck of Megarthin. He was in clear view of the patrol troop. They all gazed up with fear and anxiety. Megarthin’s eyes opened to see the blood red eyes of Xenogal. Xenogal’s arm flung forward and the blade pierced through the delicate neck of Megarthin. Blood trickled down his back as Xenogal held him there watching his eyes shut. He slowly drew out the blade and threw the body off the cliff. It was a while before the body again hit ground; it continued to roll to the feet of the troop. The face of the body was covered in dust, dirt and grit. Dried blood surrounded his back and neck. The body was beyond recognition, but the leader of the troop gave orders:
“You two, return home. Carry the body back to our sector, make sure the body is cleaned and prepared before you see the family” He ordered, he pointed to two middle aged soldiers. They picked him up and got back onto their Nadalf, they rode off into the distance.
The view from the place of the Tak was astonishing, the fiercest warriors scaling a mountain that had never been attempted. This very land was feared until recently. The morning sun gave birth to light which spread across revealing a terrifying foe at the top. A pitch black face with a body covered with the most beautiful yet deadly armour, blood red eyes that shined like fire. And in the middle stood again Xenogal, he held the blood soaked blade to the sky, he stared down at the incoming Abathians. He stuck the blade mounted into his mechanical arm into the ground. He leaned over the edge and threw the sword down with such strength, such anger, such ferocity. The blade stuck into the arm of an elderly Abathians, one of the pure that had ridden Adarice. The Obcisor were at the bottom of the mountain looking up at the riders. The amazing golden furred beast looked up at the falling Abathian, the scent was immediately recognizable. She jumped up, higher than ever before, clawing at the mountain and eventually getting her grip. She took the Abathian out of the sky and pinned him to her back. He grabbed on as Adarice began to climb. The three riders that were left called out and the other Obcisor followed up. They climbed at such a pace; it was not long before all the riders were clinging onto the backs of their own animal. Eventually the Abathian aboard Adarice had cleaned his wound and retrieved the new blade, he smiled and yelled out. The Obcisor picked up the pace and were now way ahead of the others up the mountain. The Tak had lit their arrows and were ready for the next wave. They fired almost straight up in the sky, within seconds the arrows fell back down and rained fire on the Unknown. The arrows just bounced off the armour of many, but two were hit. Many arrows had found their way into a gap in the armour. The Unknown did not scream but the two that were hit started oozing a black gas. They clutched their wounds and fell to the ground, they were not dead but they were crippled with pain. Detyu did not stand in front or behind like a usual leader. He stood among his men. He shouted out:
Many times in fact, at around 6 or 7 waves of arrows, Maulace’s fur was burning bright and around five more Unknown had collapsed. The two that were first hit were now dead. On the eighth wave of flaming arrows, Detyu called a halt. The Obcisor had arrived at the top, the numbers were even. 4 on 4, the four deadliest Unknown, Xenogal being one of them, not only the deadliest they were the last of their kind. A small army of around 100 Tak remained at the foot of the mountain ready with back up. All the Alavanus were dead, all the untrained Unknown soldiers were dead, Kaishan was dead, and Megarthin was dead.
“Where is your leader? Where is Detyu? Left you to die on your own?” Xenogal laughed.
Adarice ran forward, the others joined. They viciously attacked, clawing at the Unknown. With the exception of the gaps, their armour was almost flawless. Almost simultaneously the Unknown burst out from under their defences and lunged at the Obcisor. They were beaten in size and strength. Xenogal ordered Maulace to charge, he was burning but he still charged. His large antlers seemed to scoop the three Obcisor in the middle off their feet. They clawed at his head causing deep gashes but he charged on. Pain was an emotion never felt by the Unknown or their dark kind. The Abathians tried to stop Maulace but he continued to push. The Abathians caved in and jumped out the way. The Obcisor were pushed off the edge and fell. They tried the same act as Adarice. They tried to stick their claws into the mountains but the speed they were accelerating at such a speed. The claws almost bounced back out. The Tak ran back to avoid being crushed. The Abathians could not even look down at their new partner’s death. But sadness was unfamiliar to the Abathians as pain was unfamiliar to the Unknown. Dylthea, Anopatra, and Henlin were now all dead. Detyu stood at the bottom, sickened by the loss of such loyal companions. Detyu ran to Falneth turning his head away from the bodies. He climbed on his back before he could look and they ran to the sides of the mountain.
Adarice and the elder Abathian stood at the top. Adarice slammed his large paw and deadly claws into the side of Maulace’s head. Even if wounds would not kill Maulace, the knife like claws cutting through the Nadalf’s skull would not allow a peaceful existence. Xenogal looked over and felt the same anger that he had dished out a moment earlier. Maulace fell to the floor, his body disintegrating into the same dust that the beast had turned into. Far more graceful was the death than the final blow. The four best Unknown that refused to be killed against an army, would now have to be defeated by this one warrior. A tremendous roar swept the four remaining Unknown. Falneth and Detyu flew over their heads; the pair skidded towards the ledge of the summit. They quickly turned around to face the four enemies. He fired his prepared arrow perfectly towards the first Unknown; it flew with bullet like speed towards his neck. He collapsed like the Unknown that stood there before him. He tried to fire another arrow but the second Unknown through a dark metal knife towards Detyu. Falneth swatted it out of the air effortlessly. He finally let go of the arrow, it hit in the same spot. He tried to put up a fight; he pulled the arrow out and walked towards Detyu. He slowed down as more and more gas flowed out. Inevitably, he fell to the floor aswell. While Xenogal was distracted, the Abathian sliced the third Unknown exactly in half, a direct diagonal line. His armour fell off his body as he rolled down to the flat ledge. Two on one, Detyu prepared another arrow as the Abathian swung his sword skilfully in circles around his hand. He picked up his heavier Abathian sword and threw the Tak sword towards Xenogal; he caught it as he kneeled to the floor. He swung the sword round his head and flung it towards Falneth. The blade missed him, but the sturdy metal hilt caught his head. Falneth was not hurt but he skidded down the flatter side of the mountain. He was gone. Detyu fired an arrow, as anticipated; Xenogal swung his arm round and cut the arrow in half. The Abathian swung his sword at Xenogal. It hit, but on his armour. It did not damage but he flew down to the flat ledge. His head cracked against the mountain wall. It started pouring with the black gas again. The Abathian ran towards him to deliver a decisive blow. Xenogal lay half dead, gradually sliding down the mountain. The Abathian jumped down to the ledge and continued running. He raised his blade above his head, took in a deep breath and then collapsed. Xenogal laughed as he looked up at Detyu. Xenogal coughed as he continued sliding. The Abathian was screaming in terror on the floor. He had been infected; the black gas had taken him prisoner. Detyu could not bear any more suffering; he drew back his bow and finished off Xenogal.
“I am not the last” He muttered with his last breath as the arrow pierced his skull. He put his bow back into its place next to his quiver. He slid down the mountain and raised his blade to the sky. The Tak cheered, the Abathians climbed back down. It was a quick turn but they seemed content.
“The core!” cried Detyu. The army was now on the border but they looked up at the large back crystal now filled with darkness. The Tak lit their arrows and fired. Detyu climbed back up to the top of the mountain, the army looked up at him as he raised his blade. The Core was cracked by the arrows, as his blade descended it finally broke. A large light shone out across the land. There was no change; all that was heard was demonic cries. The rest of the army climbed up to observe. They looked out across the plains, towards the high towers, towards the Boltash Mountains. Without the Core they could see even the plain fields of Abathia. Tall black figures were running through the lands, through the forests. The towers were being raided, the ones that were not being torn down. The Abathians were trying to defend their land. The Boltash’s traps were keeping the black figures at bay, but not for long.
“The Unknown” muttered Detyu. He snapped his bow and threw it down the mountain. The war was not over. The war for the land he once knew.