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Author's note: First off, this was thought of, written, and edited by my best friend (only to be known as A.W.), I was just there for when he got writer's block and needed help thinking up some twists or turns. He and I have spent countless hours thinking this book over and trying to make it as glorious as we can. A.W. was inspired to write this by his love of epic fantasy stories telling of daring heroes completing impossible quests.
On a cold cloudy day on the western continent, Yeva, a young girl was sleeping after a hunt in the woods with her wolf. She had found rabbits and squirrels in plentiful amounts throughout the woods on her island, the southernmost island of Yeva. She was resting before trekking back home to her village. The girl was in a deep sleep as it began to rain. The wolf came to her and covered her best she could from the rain, and waited for her friend, Kiera, to awaken.
Elsewhere on Yeva an Oracle and a Morpher were taken into custody by the Dragoners, mercenaries who ride dragons for, presently, the president of the eastern continent, Brandies, for crimes against the country. The Oracle was arrested first. Dressed in a white robe, the Oracle was taken from her home on the mainland of Yeva, she lived in a rundown hut with moss and shrubs growing wherever they could find a place to latch onto. Then they took the Morpher into custody. The Morpher defended herself from the Dragoners. She changed from leopards to tigers to birds. After three rounds of tranquilizers the Morpher finally lay unconscious on the edge of Kieras’ village. The third fugitive they were hunting for was Kiera. The Dragoners entered her village and after failing to find her began to burn buildings and kill the townspeople. Soon after, the black charred skeletons of the once beautiful village fell to the ground. None were left alive in the village. And so the Dragoners waited for their target.
Kiera woke up wet and miserable. Her body ached from the weight of Ain, her wolf companion. She had traces of her off white colored hair all over her. She wiped off the fur and picked up her now drenched backpack and knives and started for home. Ain followed behind her hoping that Kiera would give her some of the now wet game in her pack, but Kiera did not oblige. She could see smoke over the horizon. Fires were a common place in her village so the fact that there was smoke did not worry her. What worried her was that it wasn’t the normal gray smoke of the cooking fires but the black smoke of burning huts. She did not concern herself with the idea much though. She wondered what her mother was cooking for her when she got home and what she would tell her when she got there.
“Kiera!” she mocked her mother, “what do you think your doing coming home so late? A seventeen year old girl should not be out wandering the island at this time of night!” Kiera laughed to herself. She loved her mother but sometimes she was a pain. Always worrying about her and the children of the village. She was getting close to the village now, and now she was getting worried. The children were not out playing magic versus swords and there was no sound coming from the village but a strange crackling sound. She passed the guard gate. The gate was a great bamboo structure with wood supports and served as protection from animals. “Yerik’s not on duty.” She said to herself. From the looks of it no one was on duty. “That’s odd. Ain go see if you can find Yerik okay girl?” Kiera said with a shaky voice. Now she knew something was wrong. There was always someone on guard. Even on holidays there was someone there. She walked through the gate. Kiera stood in shock and horror as she watched the last of her village burn. The entire village was engulfed in a shade of red. Kiera fell to her knees. Her friends were bloodied on the ground in attempts to escape the massacre. Some looked like they were fighting as they died, she could tell from the broken spears and bloody knives they had in their hands. Ain was next to her licking her face trying to comfort her. Nothing registered in Kieras’ mind though. She was numb to her surroundings. Her home was destroyed and her family and friends dead. Her pack slid off her shoulder and landed in a puddle of blood. Following it down she saw that she had landed in someone’s blood. She felt something drip onto her head. She looked up to see Yerik’s’ body hanging from the guard tower. He had arrows sticking from his chest and shoulder. Blood flowed down off of him and dripped onto Kiera. She wiped his blood off of her face and walked into town.
The buildings were but shadows of the lush green beauty that they once were. She walked to where her house would be, but there was nothing there. No trace that a house was there, not even her family. The thought of her family brought her back to the harsh reality she was living. Kiera fell on her hands and knees and began to cry. The tears stung her eyes. “No…this can’t…happen. It…no…” she whispered to herself. She heard foot steps behind her. She didn’t care anymore. She let them drag her away and throw her in a cage tied to the mercenary’s dragon. She saw the face of the man responsible for this. It was harsh and scarred. Then he climbed onto his dragon and flew away with her attached. She watched as her home disappeared, then she heard Ain howl. Though weather it was caused by separation from her or physical pain she did not know, tears stained her eyes again, then Kiera slept.
The Dragoner was watching as the girl just sat there staring at her village. He took his sword out of the fresh corpse at his feet. He glanced down at the woman’s calm expression and her curly red hair and cut off her head. Death was not peaceful; people should suffer when they die. They shouldn’t feel calm, they should feel pain. As the Dragoner thought this he started toward the girl. He noticed that the annoying guard was bleeding on her. He allowed himself a chuckle as he remembered how pathetically the boy fought. He turned to his soldiers. “Capture her. Try not to kill her though.” The soldiers moved forward with the Dragoner as the girl stood and walked into the smoking village. They approached her from behind. She had just fallen on her knees and muttered something. “Get her.” He said. The soldiers walked up and dragged her away and put her in the empty cage left on the captains’ dragon. That made the three fugitives he needed. The Dragoner was walking back to his dragon when a wolf came to attack him from behind one of the still burning buildings. The beast leapt for his throat with intent to kill. The Dragoner quickly crouched and drew his sword pushing the hilt of his sword into the chest of the animal. The wolf lay motionless on the ground. “Let’s get out of here.” The Dragoner said to his men pointing to their dragons with his head. As the Dragoners’ mounted and took off the wolf howled from behind them. “Should have killed it.” The Dragoner said to no one in particular.
The Dragoner left his prisoners at the holding facility on the northern end of the mainland and collected his bounty. He and his men returned to their mountain home on the eastern continent, Brandies. It was not a long flight dragons were the fastest way to travel, besides magic. Their castle was in view after a few hours of flight and the dragons landed to rest and soldiers went to their quarters to sleep. The castle was made of a deep grey rock that felt constantly cold. It was fairly clean, for a mercenary’s hideout. The Dragoner headed towards his bed chamber. As he approached his door he checked behind him to make sure no one was there. Once he was satisfied he walked past his door and down the hall to the church. The cold stone of the castle cut away into a polished marble room. As he entered the church he thought for the hundredth time how beautiful it was. There was a single stained glass window with the goddess opening her hands towards those who would pray to her. The floors were black marble and the walls white. There was a single pew make of oak that had carvings of the goddess and her gifts to humanity on it. As the Dragoner passed he removed his dark blue shoulder amour and his black chest plate and placed them on one of the oak armor racks. The Dragoner knelt down in front of the image of the goddess and prayed for forgiveness.
“Goddess, forgive me, I have taken more lives this day. Take their souls into your ever guiding hands. Show mercy to those who deserve it and protect the soul of my brother.” The Dragoner heard foot steps behind him and quickly rose and put on his armor. He left the church from the way he came and came in contact with none of his men. The Dragoner entered his room and striped off his armor. He put his armor on a steel rack and examined it. The dark blue and black looked well together and provided protection. His rank was shown by the gold trim found on his shoulder plates. The family crest, two swords intersecting at the base of a tribal design pointing upward, on his chest plate was beginning to fade. He placed his katanas’ by his bed and prepared himself for the night and for the dreams that would undoubtedly follow. He looked at his katanas’. “On second thought.” He said as he put them out of arms reach.
On the northern tip of the mainland of Yeva there is a cold cement prison that found itself short on cells for prisoners. The warren decided to put multiple inmates in one cell to hold more prisoners, this resulted in the three newest inmates sharing a cell with a regular. The prison was a musty old place. The walls exuded a sense of misery. There was little light throughout the prison and what little there was barely lit up the room. Luckily Kiera found herself in a cell with a window and, what she saw as unfortunately, three new roommates. She recognized two of them from cages, like her own, hanging from the dragon. A woman with long white hair that extended down to her shoulders wearing a white robe with black trim and symbols all over her. From the looks of her Kiera assumed she was some sort of magic user. Kiera had seen only a few of them in her life. The second roommate that was brought courtesy of the Dragoner was a girl with brown hair that looped behind her ears and came back in front of them and tied into her bangs. Kiera decided to call them hair-loopies. She was in a strange outfit that Kiera had never seen before. It looked like a uniform of sorts. The sleeves were flared out at the end though and the shirt split towards the bottom revealing part of her stomach. She wore short pants with a small dress over them that cut at an angle downward. All of it was colored like it was from nature. The third cellmate that she didn’t recognize in the least was a teen boy with a robe on that pointed outwards at the sleeves and was colored in a royal purple, though he was obviously not royalty. His robe was torn in places and discolored towards the bottom. He had obviously been here for some time.
While Kiera was taking note of everyone in her cell one of the guards walked by and saw her just sitting there by the entrance to the cell. He kicked her in the back through the bars and knocked her onto the floor. “Island whore.” He scoffed at her as he walked by. Kiera, unprepared, fell and scratched her hands and knees. Her left knee was bleeding but other than that Kiera suffered no physical injuries.
“HEY”, screamed the girl in the strange outfit. Kiera noticed she had a collar around her neck now. “Dumbass! Try that again and I’ll rip your throat out!”
“Heh, like you could do anything with that collar around your neck you bitchy morp.” The guard responded arrogantly.
“MORP!?” the girl screamed as she lunged at the bars teeth flaring. Kiera assumed that the girl must be a Morpher a being that can change from one form to another at a whim, because morp was the most derogatory word you can call them. Kiera wondered why she wasn’t morphing, but remembered the collar around her neck. “I’ll kill you! Bastard!” the Morpher was screaming trying her hardest to get to the guard though to no avail.
“Come and get me morp.” said the guard as he laughed and walked away.
“Get back here bastard!” yelled the Morpher after him causing more laughter from the guard.
“Calm down we’re supposed to be here.” Said the woman in white to the Morpher. “Well all of us but the boy.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” said the boy.
“It means that the three of us need to be here. You do not.” Said the woman.
“How would you know? You look like a loon.” The boy scoffed at her.
“How would…? Because I’m an Oracle that’s why!” she said raising her voice. In this time the angry girl moved closer to Kiera and sat on the ground angry.
“Bastard deserved to die. Calling you a whore.” She grumbled to Kiera.
“He’s not the one I would kill.” Kiera said to the Morpher. “I want the Dragoners head.”
“HOW DARE YOU DOUBT MY ABILITYS!” the oracle was screaming at the top of her lungs now. “WHAT CAN YOU DO? THROW A SWORD AROUND LIKE A BRUTE?” the boy must have said something during their brief exchange about her powers.
“WHAT CAN I DO? I’LL… I would show you but… I can’t.” said the boy.
“Oh. Poor little boy can’t show me what he’ll do?” the Oracle was mocking him now sure of her victory in this verbal fight.
“Not now I can’t.” said the boy disheartened from the confrontation.
“Oh, stop pouting. If you can’t even deal with losing an argument with me how did you survive this long in life?” said the Oracle.
“Can you keep a secret? All of you?” the boy asked starting to get excited.
The Oracle snorted “Of course I can.”
“Don’t give me a reason to tell and I won’t.” Said the Morpher.
“I can.” Kiera said.
“Good. I am a Warlock.” Said the boy proudly. The rest of the cell was quiet. Then the Oracle burst into laughter.
“You? A Warlock? That’s laughable!” The Oracle said between fits of laughter. The Morpher walked over to a corner and sat scratching at the collar around her neck.
“Are you really?” Kiera asked. “I’ve only ever seen witches and that’s when we had executions in my… village.” Kiera sat down.
“Your village? Where i-” the Warlock got out before the Oracle covered his mouth and the Morpher growled at him.
“Don’t ask.” The Morpher growled. Kiera refused to let herself cry. She was going to avenge her family and friends. Kiera would kill the Dragoner if it were the last thing she ever did. At this point the Warlock realized his mistake.
“So what are all of you in for?” he asked changing the subject.
“Oh! That’s right I forgot.” The Oracle said remembering why everyone was here. “Village girl?”
“My name is Kiera.” Kiera said apathetically
“Ok. Kiera”, the Oracle pulled something out of her sleeve. “This is why we’re here. I stole it from the head chieftain on the main land.”
“What are you? Crazy! You stole something from the chieftain so you could end up here?” The Morpher said exasperatedly.
“Sort of. I stole it so I could give it to Kiera here.” The Oracle said.
“Do you know why I’m here then?” Kiera asked.
“I told the chieftain you were a threat to national security.” The Oracle said.
“You put me in here?!” Kiera yelled.
“I had a vision that you, me, and miss. Angry over there need to be together so I thought jail would be easiest.” The Oracle said. “Miss. Angry had a warrant out for arrest anyway so I just told him where she was.”
“You! You told them where I was?!” the Morpher said bearing teeth and getting ready for attack.
“I did but before we start killing me we should at least look at it!” the Oracle said quickly hoping she might get some sense through to the Morpher. She held out the paper to Kiera. Kiera took it and looked it over.
“It’s a treasure map. Of sorts anyway.” Kiera said looking at it.
“Yes I know. I just can’t read maps, so my vision told me to get you.” The Oracle said slightly embarrassed.
“A map! That’s what you got me arrested for!” the Morpher yelled as she lunged at the Oracle. The two fought on the ground Morpher scratching at the Oracle and the Oracle kicking and punching the Morpher.
“Its only a part.” Kiera said to herself out loud. The Morpher heard.
“A PIECE OF A MAP!” the Morpher was screaming now ready to rip out her throat.
“A piece?!” the Oracle yelled still fighting the Morpher.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t know Oracle!” the Morpher yelled.”
“I didn’t!” the Oracle yelled back. The two of them got off of each other and were poised to start again though neither of them had an advantage. The Oracle never fought hand to hand and the Morpher was not used to using her human body.
“Stop it!” the Warlock yelled at both of them. They all realized that he had been in the corner going over something. “If you guys keep this up their going to either kill us all or stuff you two in a ring for their entertainment. So I suggest that you stop fighting like a water dragon and lightning fox and come here.” The two of them grudgingly walked over trying not to look at the other though in this small cell it was difficult. “I’m assuming you all want out of here?”
“That would be a nice change of events.” Growled the Morpher.
“If it gets me closer to that bastard dragoner.” Kiera said.
“Yes. Obviously.” The Oracle said.
“Good. Well if your’ willing to listen to me I think I might have a plan to get us out of here. And I know someone that can get that collar off of you.” He said to the Morpher. “My name is Jason but everyone calls me Tiki.”
“Tiki? Why?” Kiera asked.
“Because, my preferred weapon is a tiki torch.” Tiki said proudly.
“A tiki torch? I’m pretty sure that does a whole lot of nothing.” The Morpher said.
“Wait till you see me in action then. Anyway, what are your names? Well I know you Kiera.” Tiki said gesturing towards her.
“I am Rachel the Oracle of Yeva.” Rachel said.
“Some Oracle.” Said the Morpher. “I’m Nicole. I’m obviously a Morpher if you didn’t catch that earlier.”
“Good now that we all know each others name we don’t have to call each other by silly titles.” Tiki said.
“Because you really don’t have one?” said Nicole.
“One reason of many. But that’s not the point. Now since were getting out of here we need to know what everyone can do and thanks to the anti magic shield around the prison we can’t just blow our way out.” Tiki said.
“Well that makes me useless for lack of a better word.” Said Rachel.
“If I can get my hands on knives I can do pretty well.” Kiera said flexing her hands.
“I can’t morph so I’m useless. Give me a knife and I should be able to at least hurt them pretty bad.” Nicole said with, what was becoming, her usual growl and scowl.
“Well you two should try and get to the shield generator and knock it down if you can do that then I can get the other mages in here to start causing chaos.” Tiki said happily now that someone was listening to him. “After that it should be fairly simple to escape. We just need somewhere to go.”
“Well I think we should go to the central continent. At least there we won’t look like fugitives and we might be able to get her collar off. Not to mention maybe find someone who knows about that map.” Rachel said.
“I know a girl there her name is Audrii. She should be able to help you get that collar off. She’s an exotic person though.” Tiki said.
“Well we’re all a little off.” Kiera said.
“In a different way.” Tiki said. “Well, when should we go about our escaping?”
“As soon as I get knives and Nicole has something to kill people with.” Kiera said.
“Well by the looks of how less light there is now I would say that we should sleep. When we’re all ready I’ll tell my fellow mages and we can start. Kiera, I’ll leave it up to you on how to get the knives.” Said tiki
“Well, I might have a plan, but it’s a long shot. Then again the entire plan is, so let’s wait awhile so I can get used to the time schedule. Then we’ll get ourselves out of this hell hole.” Kiera said.
Years ago, on Disa, Levi was walking through a small town in which he lived. He was a young and happy child back then living a wonderful life with his parents and younger brother, Cody. On a glorious day during the summer, Cody and Levi wandered the village. His brother had gone off with a friend and Levi was left to roam the grassy fields around the village, enjoying the bright sunshine. Levi walked along a familiar path to a lone, large tree in the field. This tree had many branches that stretched out over a wide area, offering shade to all who sought it. As Levi sat beneath the shade, his thoughts had turned to what his mother and father might be doing as of now. His parents were off visiting a few friends some time away to the north; they had a child a few years younger than he. Levi sat underneath that tree for what seemed like an eternity. However, it was a peaceful rest, calm and serene with the beauty of the fields around him.
After a while, there was a sound coming toward the village, a sound of something massive. Soon, a large shadow came over him and swooped down on the village. Levi strained his eyes to see what it might have been, but the being had flown into the direct path of the sun. When it flew a bit further, Levi realized what it was. A dragon. Levi stood up and ran to the town square as fast as his legs would allow. The Dragoners were great warriors and when one showed up, it was an honor to meet them. Levi ran into the town square just as the dragon was landing gracefully. A tall, heavily armored man slipped off of the dragon’s back. He was an older man with gray hair, and yet he maintained a stocky build. Levi ran up to the back of the crowd, but couldn’t see over the people. He jumped up and down, but to no avail.
“People of this city! I have great news for you; two of you here shall be chosen to join the ranks of the Dragoners!” The crowd cheered and the woman walked off for they did not wish to be part of the organization. The men and boys crowded in closer, smashing each other into a tightly packed circle around the dragon. “Back up and make some room!” The Dragoner yelled to the crowd. He set up a table in the center of the square and placed two large dragon eggs on it.
“All those who think they are worthy, come test yourself against the dragon eggs!” The older men were in line first. Each of them walked up and placed their hand on each egg, but when no sign showed, the Dragoner dismissed them one by one until the teenagers were the only ones left. As the teenagers proceeded to touch the egg, Levi had a bad feeling that he would not get the chance to touch the eggs. Levi jumped into the line right behind the teenagers. His brother had not shown up yet and Levi was beginning to worry while he waited in line. When Levi was next in line his brother and his friend came running into the square.
“Cody!” Levi yelled as he waved at him. Cody ran over to him.
“Can I get in with you?” Cody asked in a hushed voice. Levi turned to the boy behind him. The boy was turned to the person behind him and was not paying attention to Levi.
“Quick, before anyone sees.” Levi said. Cody slipped in line behind him just as Levi was next. The Dragoner looked at the boys as if inspecting them.
“Are there any others who wish to test themselves before the boys try?” the Dragoner asked the crowd. All the men had already tried, bowing their heads in shame. “Very well.” The Dragoner brought the eggs to the ground so the small boys could reach. Levi touched each one. One of the eggs began to glow a bright blue, the color of ice and snow. It grew very warm and shown more brightly than it had just moments ago. Levi’s eyes grew large as the dragon egg’s light began to burn a small symbol into his hand. The Dragoner grabbed Levi and the egg and placed them on his dragon.
“One of you has been chosen! Will there be another?” Cody stepped up to the second egg. This egg had a bit of a purple tint to it and when Cody placed his hand on it, the egg grew warm and a burst of bright, purple light shot forth. The beam was as bright as Levi’s had been. As Levi’s had done, Cody’s egg had burned a small insignia onto his hand. The Dragoner picked up Cody as well and placed him and his dragon beside Levi.
“Two! From one village! It’s unheard of!” The Dragoner said to the town in an astonished voice.
“They’re brothers, too!” yelled one of the men from the crowd.
“Brothers!?” he turned and looked at the two. “This is truly a blessing of the Goddess to have brothers chosen. Praise be to Her!” the Dragoner climbed on top of his dragon. “Please, inform all that these two shall become the two new Dragoners.” He began to fly away as Levi and Cody sat in the back talking about how exciting it would be to be Dragoners. They talked about fighting and war and other things young boys talk about, not knowing the horrors of what they actually brought. After an hour of flying, the boys quieted down. They each picked up their dragon eggs and began examining them. They felt for the dragons inside and traced their fingers along the rough surface of the eggs. Levi spent the rest of the flight thinking up a name for his dragon.
“I think I’ll call her Stell.” Levi said.
“Her? How do you know it will be a girl?” Cody asked.
“I don’t know, I just have a feeling it will be.”
When the two arrived at the Dragoner’s castle on Brandies, the two were taken to the training room after their initiation. Every wall of the room was covered from top to bottom with weapons. After examining the wide selection before him, Levi picked up two long, sharp katanas as his weapons. Cody was next and soon found a mace with many threatening spikes jutting from the head. The two trained with the weapons and the other Dragoners for hours every day. Levi had begun to show more promise with the weapons each day. His progress stunned the Dragoners, but Cody was also amazing, if not with weapons. Training with the Dragoners was not just about the weapons, it was about learning to fly on dragons. Cody surpassed every Dargoner that he flew against. His speed and maneuvers were unmatched, and he was even flying on other people’s dragons.
A few years later, Levi and Cody were standing on a ledge overlooking the lands below the Dragoner’s castle. Both had become competent Dragoners over the few years they had been there.
“Cody, let’s have a competition.” Levi suddenly said.
“What do you mean?”
“We will have a competition to see who will become the better Dragoner.”
“Hmmm…Sounds like a good idea! Ok, let’s do it! We’ll do our best in everything we do!” Cody said as he clapped Levi’s armor clad shoulder.
“Awesome! I’m looking forward to it. From this day on, we will be rivals.” Levi said with a joyful tone and a large smile on his face. Years passed and the two fought for the title of Best Dragoner. Battles were fought, challenges were passed, and knowledge was tested. Levi and Cody were watching their eggs on the night before the competition for Leader of the Dragoners.
“They look like they’ll hatch soon!” Levi said with anticipation. “I can’t wait to ride on Stell!”
“Ya, well I suppose I should get some sleep. My name was drawn for the competition for Leader of the Dragoners. I will have to fight in the ring tomorrow.”
“I wish you luck, brother. You had better win so you can see our dragons hatch.”
“I’m planning on it!” Cody said, eyes closed and a grin spreading across his face.
Cody walked off into the night while Levi remained with the eggs.
“He’ll be just fine tomorrow. We both made a vow to see who would be better. He’ll win it for sure…” Levi said as he slowly drifted off to sleep next to the eggs.
Deep in the northern forest of Disa, the northern continent, a woman in a black outfit was running away from the capital building. The large spiked figure was beginning to fade into the background. She had heard about a plan to start a quest for domination using the map piece she now held. She had to get away to hide the piece. She tried to burn it but flames did no damage. She decided that she would take it away from Disa and put it in a place where no one could find it. She knew it wouldn’t be long till they found out that the piece of the map there was an illusion she had conjured. The Black Mages would be after her soon. She checked her belts, both of them were equipped with twenty knives. She hoped that she could get away with that many. If she couldn’t she would be killed and the Oligarchy would get its way, even though she owed her life to them she couldn’t let them get away with this.
It was no secret to the world that Disa was the most powerful continent. With almost all the mages in the world living there and their alliance with the southern continent, Dita, where all the agriculturists resided a take over would be too simple. It sounded as though this piece of paper was vital to the plan though so in a desperate attempt to keep things stable she took it. The Illusionist saw now that she should have thought this out more than she did. The citadel was beginning to light up be hind her revealing all the many spikes that floated around it housing the counsel of elders. She knew that she was out of time. She stuffed the piece in her pants and pulled out some of her knives. The Black Mages would be here soon, but at least she was nearing a clearing where it would be easier to fight. As she neared the clearing she began casting spells in preparation for the battle. She knew she had only minutes to be rid of them before she needed to flee again.
“Shadows!” The woman yelled. Her magic over illusion allowed her to control the shadows and form them into doubles of herself. Harmless doubles but doubles none the less. She placed them in a circle around her so they could take any damage for her. It was a temporary plan but it was the best she came up with. As she finished putting them into place a large fireball came from the sky and blew three of her twelve doubles away. “Damn.” She wasn’t expecting such powerful spells to start the battle. She summoned more shadows into the form of two knives and threw them into the direction the fireball came from and ran hoping that it would at least make the Black Mages slow down. Her doubles could try and hold them off. She was back in the woods now. The woman heard an explosion in the distance and tried to calculate how many shadow doubles were lost from it. She assumed another three. Leaving her with half the number she started with. If the Black Mages kept at the pace they were now she wouldn’t get away. She dared a glance back and saw a light coming from the sky. Holy. These were not Black Mages. They had sent the Elite Mages after her. She had no idea the trouble she was causing when she took the piece. She looked ahead again and pushed her legs forward as fast as she could. She hoped she could reach the river city, Myr, quick enough. The tree roots began to move into her way. “Damn! Geomancers too.” She cursed at them and she ran as fast as she could. The woods began to blur. The last thing the woman saw before she passed out was a small magic training shop and a boy running to her.
At noon a boy adventured away from his family to attend a small academy for magic. The boy had a natural talent for magic but loved the sword. As a result he became known throughout his town as the Mystic Boy Knight shortened down to Mystic Knight after he turned fifteen so he always introduced himself as Aaron, the Mystic Knight. He wore a silver chest plate and shoulder armor that collared and connected behind him. He had a long black cape with a moon on it that buckled with his shoulder armor on his chest held by a ruby. He wore black pants that flared at the bottom and black shoes. To match his outfit he had black hair and eyes that were charcoal black. At seventeen he was a prodigy wielding both magic and the sword, a combination that had been heard of only in myth. He had been traveling for two days when he finally arrived at Fishers School for Sorcery and Fine Arts. Fishers was a nice starter school for Aaron. He even met a new friend there named Jessica. She wore a red trench coat that was singed on the bottom. She had a small sword on her waist and a staff on her back. She had long black hair and eyes the color of melted chocolate. She was a Red Mage. She could use black and white magic. She was taking classes both in sorcery and fine arts, though she dropped fine arts choosing magic as a major. Aaron was planning on moving up the ladder soon after he finished his first year there. This goal was not to be fulfilled though. During one of his and Jessica’s free hours they were practicing basic elemental spells outside of the school house when a strange woman ran from the forest and collapsed on the ground. Aaron ran for her and Jessica was following close behind.
The woman was in black pants and a black shirt with two black belts each equipped with knives. The two of them carried the woman into the school.
“WHITE MAGE!” Aaron yelled. “QUICK!” he and Jessica carried the woman to a table in the common. Three students majoring in white magic ran to the table. As they saw the woman they had the youngest student run for the headmistress, Fisher. While waiting for her the two other mages began casting basic healing spells on the woman. Jessica was trying to help the two heal the woman but the other two had more experience then Jessica so she gave up and sat beside Aaron.
“Who do you think she is?” Jessica asked.
“I don’t know but whoever she is she looks to me in bad shape.” Aaron responded. “Hope she’ll be okay.”
“Ya. Where do you think she’s from?”
“I’m not sure she came from the north though and the only things there are the capital and the citadel. So I’m guessing the capital.”
“Probably. Here comes the head mistress.” Fisher entered the room and dismissed the students attempting to heal her. She called for her senior students both for their experience and for a teaching moment. As the students gathered fisher started lecturing on the types of spells to use and their complements and all sorts of other things Aaron never listened to. The seniors, who had obviously heard this lecture before, started to heal the woman before Fisher finished. Jessica was paying close attention but Aaron was playing with fire in his hand. After twenty minutes or so of healing the seniors disbanded declaring that the woman was healed and just needed rest. Fisher agreed and the seniors left.
“Aaron, Jessica can I help you with something? You’ve been waiting.” Fisher said.
“We’re the ones who brought her so I thought we should stay.” Aaron said.
“You lecture was really good, Fisher!” Jessica said excitedly
“Well I was worried anyway Jessica wanted an advanced lesson it seems.” Aaron said humorously.
“Well you two aren’t needed anymore you can go.” Fisher said.
“Yes Fisher.” The two said and headed for the door. As the two turned the corner fire burst from the doorway with an explosion that bent the wall beside them.
“Come on!” Aaron said to Jessica. As the two walked into the burning room Fisher was knocked out against the wall and the woman was beside them on the floor waking up. “Grab her. I’ll find out what’s going on be right back.” Aaron walked into the burning common. The heat of the flames made him sweat but no one besides Fisher and the woman were in here so luckily no one died. The smoke was clearing and Aaron could make out the Elite Mages that guarded the citadel. “Shield!” he yelled and ran back to Jessica.
“What is it?” Jessica asked him.
“Elite Mages attacking us. I cast a shield but they can probably walk through that for all its worth.” Aaron said. “Can you walk?” he asked to the Woman now conscious.
“Well enough. You two go hide their after me I can deal with them.” The Woman said.
“I don’t think so, your exhausted come on follow us we can find some place for you to rest.” Aaron said. “It’s not far but hard to get to.” Jessica pulled on the woman’s arm and led her to Aaron’s secret hideout at the base of a tree underground. The three of them ran into the underground room and Aaron slid the earth back over the entrance. “Basic earth spells and tada! A secret room.”
“Not a permanent solution but it will work.” Said the woman. “After the Mages pass I’ll leave and you two can try and salvage the school.”
“Where are you going?” Aaron asked.
“None of your business.”
“Well I guess I’ll just have to follow you to find out.”
“Whatever, you couldn’t follow me anyway.”
“Well I guess we’re going to find out now won’t we.”
“Aaron I am not going questing with you.” Jessica said.
“Oh its questing you’re after? Well go find some pathetic person on Letha to give you one.” The woman said coldly.
“The central continent? Let’s not.” Aaron said.
“How about this. Well take you to Myr and then leave you is that satisfying for both of you?” Jessica suggested. They both nodded. “Good now, umm what’s your name please?”
“You don’t need to know.” Answered the woman though she didn’t know herself. The men at the citadel called her Anya but she knew that was not her name. The woman didn’t remember anything from before the men in the Citadel found her three months ago. She didn’t even remember how they found her.
“Okay then miss, please rest some you’ll need it. Aaron go lie in a ditch okay? Night everyone. Silence.” Jessica said and put the Woman and Aaron to an unwilling quiet. “How nice.” Jessica said to herself as she laid down and slept. Aaron went to Jessica’s designated “boys” side of the hideout, a musty corner with a tree root sticking from the ground. He would move the root but he only knew mediocre earth magic and it was not enough to move the old stick. The Woman went to an unoccupied corner and attempted to cast a hiding spell. The silence that Jessica had cast stopped her from casting though. One of the basic rules of magic was that you had to say it out loud and whoever decided that the Illusionist hated. She sat down and allowed herself to enter a light sleep.
The Woman dreamed of a faraway land. A floating continent with dragons and men and women who lived peacefully with them. She was standing at the center of a city with many tall and great structures. She looked around for even the smallest glimmer of nature but none was to be seen besides the dragons that flew overhead. The Woman walked through the city seeing people in business transactions and personal dilemma. She walked past them to where the dragons were flying to. As she reached the edge of the city the ground became a cliff. From the edge she could see many other floating lands. Almost all of them had cities on them, the ones who did not were where dragons were landing. The woman looked down and saw an endless ocean beneath her. She saw that the water parted as a woman in a white dress that flared out at the bottom rose from the sea. As she rose from the water she spoke to the woman.
“Teshia.” Said the woman from the water. Teshia remembered her name now, it was Teshia she was sure of it. “Your memories are lost. This I foresaw, the boy I did not. Now I must intervene. Jump Teshia and more will be made clear to you. Trust me after all I am the goddess.” The goddess Teshia remembered the oligarchy talking about her. Caller her a fanciful dream, but here she was talking to Teshia. The Goddess turned and walked to the dragons and climbed aboard one and flew off. Teshia without thinking took a step off of the cliff and fell into the water. There was a pulling sensation all around her and vision flashed before her. A city with many tall buildings and many people. A house with a chimney. A family eating dinner. A younger her eating with them. A broken window. Her mother, father, and brother dead on the floor. A scream.
Thanks to the silence spell that was cast on Teshia she didn’t make a sound as she woke up from the nightmare silently screaming. She saw that the boy, Aaron, was awake and cutting the roots with his sword. The girl, Jessica, was clearing a small table on the side of the room. Teshia felt the dirt under her and remembered what brought her here, the Elite Mages. They must have somehow, a miracle perhaps, not found their hiding place.
“Look who’s up. Dispel.” Jessica said waving her hand dismissing the spell she cast last night, “Sleep well? I was hoping to have breakfast ready before you woke up. You okay?” Teshia realized that she must still look like she’s in shock she quickly regained her composure.
“I’m fine, thanks for asking Jessica.” Teshia replied.
“Oh, you remembered my name. Good memory, but you can call me Jess its easier and faster.” Jessica responded.
“Jess, got it. Sorry I was in such a bad mood yesterday. It was an eventful day.” Teshia said
“Bad mood? Ha. You were ticked.” Aaron said
“Did you have to remove his?” asked Teshia
“Unfortunately. Aaron, go get breakfast and be quiet about it.” Jessica said.
“I’m always quiet, I’ll try and be quick too be back soon. Earth,” Aaron said as he left with swords drawn and covered the entrance again.
“If you can get past the arrogance he’s a good guy.” Jessica said to Teshia. Teshia stood up and noticed that there was a hole in the center of the table Jessica had cleared off. Jessica was taking the roots Aaron had cut and put them beside the hole.
“I’m sure he is. What is he anyway? A mage or a warrior? He has swords and magic.” Teshia said.
“He’s both actually. A ‘mystic knight’ he calls himself. Its funny he has an entire speech for introducing himself.” Jessica said, “It is I, Aaron, the mystic knight of Disa!” she mocked.
“Both? Never heard of that before. I’ve only picked up magic as a side. He seems to be just as able with magic as he is a sword.” Teshia said.
“Ya, I can use a sword but not well. He’s stubborn is what I say that’s why. You said you could use magic?” Jessica asked
“I can”, said Teshia, “illusion magic. It helps with my knives.”
“Illusion? I don’t know much about that kind. I can use white and black though. Heal.” Jessica said. Jessica was healing the roots Aaron had cut earlier.
“Why are you healing them?” Teshia asked
“Why not? Their hurt and trees are living things right? So healing magic should help them right?” Jessica said moving from root to root healing them. “Heal. So what’s your name?”
“Right I didn’t tell you. I’m Teshia.” Teshia said.
“Teshia? That’s a strange name. Anyway, its nice to meet you.” Said Jessica “You should ask Aaron to introduce himself when he comes back. You can hear his speech then.”
“His introduction speech? Doesn’t sound too exciting.” Teshia said
“Whatever. Heal. I’m in my first year of training, or I was.” Jessica said
“Sorry for bringing the trouble. The Elite Mages are a real pain. The geomancers too. The geomancers! Was this place hidden from geomancers?” Teshia said with growing concern.
“Geomancers? I don’t think so. Why?” Jessica asked.
“Come on.” Teshia said as she headed for the entrance. “Do you know how to open this?”
“Ya. Earth.” Jessica said as her and Teshia stepped into an obviously one-sided battle.
“GET DOWN!” Aaron yelled at them. As they came from the underground safehouse. The two girls hit the ground as they were told. “Jess! Help!” Aaron yelled. He had apparently cast a magical shield around himself that was barley holding against the mages.
“Magic shield!” Jessica said covering the three of them for the moment. Aaron let down his shield and walked over to the two of them.
“What did you do to get them this angry? I can’t even pull off an offensive spell.” Aaron said weary.
“Ill tell you later. Jess can you hold the shield?” Teshia asked.
“Not for long their really draining me.” Jessica responded becoming tired.
“They have holy. We’re no match for them.” Teshia said. “I’ve got an idea. Jess can you put down part of the shield?”
“Maybe I might let it all down though.” Jessica said sweat beginning to form.
“We’ll have to try it. Aaron if it all goes down put yours up again.” Teshia said. She pulled three knives from her belt. “Ready?”
“Ya let’s try it.” Jessica said.
“Now.” Teshia said as she threw the knives at the three Elite mages blocking the way to Myr. Jessica’s shield disappeared where the three mages were standing. The knives landed in the foreheads of two of them and the third hit the last one in the neck. Jessica had managed to keep her shield up after opening the small section for Teshia's knives. “Aaron cast yours now!”
“Shield.” Aaron said as Jessica let hers down.
“Now run!” Teshia said as she began to run south towards Myr. Jessica followed her exhausted and Aaron after her still trying to keep his failing shield up.
“Shield!” yelled the young boy as Cassie, dressed in an outfit exactly the same as the Goddess but in black, watched from the sky. This was not going to end well she could tell. Teshia, who had now regained some of her memories apparently, was running south with the girl named Jessica. Cassie had predicted that almost all of this was going to happen. The boys shield was failing now, soon the three of them would be dead and she had not planned on them being so weak. The Goddess appeared beside her in her white dress.
“You can interfere whenever you want.” The Goddess said.
“Shouldn’t they do it on their own?” Cassie asked, her frustration obvious. “You told me not to get too involved. So I’ve arranged for these three to be tested in a noninvolved manor. If they can’t do this then how are they supposed to defeat the others?”
“They will learn. You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve talked like this.” The Goddess said with a sigh.
“Not long enough. Their basically dead at this point.” Cassie said.
“Well save them. We need them all and besides their in the woods, they won’t notice.” The Goddess said.
“Fine.” Cassie said raising her hand. “Implode.” She lowered her hand and watched as the Elite Mages fell to the ground. Their spells couldn’t harm the trio anymore. “Mages gone to waste. I hope you’re happy.”
“Did you see him coming?” The Goddess said.
“No, and neither did you apparently.” Said Cassie
“This changes some things.” The Goddess said thinking about what to do next.
“Great. Well I have to get to Dita soon to get the other two in a testing situation.” Cassie said walking off.
“Just make sure they meet up with Kiera, Rachel, and Nicole.” The Goddess said.
“Don’t worry they’ll get there.” Cassie said.
“Rachel needs another vision anyway. We’ll see each other soon.” The Goddess said to Cassie as she disappeared.
“Nice talking to you too Charissa.” Cassie said, and vanished from the sky.
“Amelia!” the girl yelled as she ran across her best friend’s house to get to her room. “Amelia wake up!” she burst into Amelia's room and, as she suspected, found her friend sleeping. “Geeze, you’re always sleeping.” The girl walked over to the edge of her friend’s bed. “WAKE UP!” Amelia jumped and fell out of bed landing hard on the floor.
“Taylor!” Amelia yelled at her friend. “You almost killed me.”
“No I didn’t. Anyway, it doesn’t matter! Get ready!” Taylor yelled jumping up and down obviously excited.
“For what?” Amelia said still waking up.
“You’ll see when we get there.” Taylor said with a sly grin. Amelia groaned
“You could have woken me a little later.” Amelia said as she stood up and started looking through her closet for something to wear.
“We’re already late as it is. C’mon hurry up! Everyone’s waiting!” Taylor said and pulled the ugliest summer dress Amelia owned from her closet and threw it to her.
“Not this one.” Amelia said trying to return the hideous thing to the closet corner.
“Just put it on!” Taylor said blocking her way.
“You know I hate, let me repeat, hate dresses right?” Amelia said.
“Put it on! We’re going to be late!” Taylor screamed and pulled out her make-up bag. “Dress or make-up your choice.”
“Fine I’ll wear the stupid dress.” Amelia said as she changed into the ugly canary yellow and bright orange polka dot dress. As she put it on Taylor noticed, without surprise, Amelia was wearing her fighting outfit. It was a black leather suit that fit close to her body and allowed her free movement. There were the dagger sheaths on her ankles and two on her hips and a large sword sheath on her back that was, luckily, unoccupied.
“Do you ever take that off? Or wash it for the matter?” Taylor asked.
“Of course I do I just didn’t take it off last night.” Amelia said. After she had put the horrid thing on she noticed that Taylor was in a baby blue dress with purple polka dots.
“I hate the Fashion on Dita.” Amelia said. “My green hair clashes with all of it. At least your blue hair can manage.”
“Oh, stop complaining and let’s go!” Taylor said pulling Amelia out of the bedroom and through the house to the outside. The bright light blinded Amelia at first but her eyes adjusted soon. Taylor was dragging her through the crop fields.
“Where are we going?” Amelia asked.
“Wait and see. We’re almost there.” Taylor said as the large church came into view.
“The church?” Amelia asked.
“Just wait we’ve got a surprise for you!” Taylor said pushing open the old mahogany doors with the symbols for the dragons, steel, and magic, the gifts of the goddess, on it. The pews were full of people in their best dress and the glass window of the goddess had been cleaned.
“What is this?” Amelia asked looking around. As she spoke a woman on the piano started playing and Taylor started leading her down the aisle. Amelia noticed everything was white and flowery. Amelia looked up and saw James waiting at the altar in a wedding suit. Her heart stopped. She realized that she was at a wedding and had more than an inkling that it was her own. Stunned, Taylor had no problem leading her to the altar. James took a knee.
“Amelia. Would you do me the honor of being my wife?” he asked. Amelia stunned looked at Taylor for some sort of help. Taylor raised her thumbs and nodded vigorously. Amelia looked down at James and his strange brown hair and thought of what to do. He was a pasty pale and was lanky and tall. Yet somehow every girl on Dita wanted to marry him. The reason why escaped Amelia. Sensing the impending answer Taylor walked up beside her.
“Of course she will! She’s just in shock that’s all.” Taylor said happily and James slid his expensive ring on Amelia’s finger bringing her back to reality.
“I will do no such thing!” Amelia yelled as she headed towards the doors that were locked and closed. “Open the doors!” Though no one stood to help she still ran towards the doors. Amelia was about to ram the doors when they flew open revealing a retreating figure in a black dress flaring at the bottom. Amelia didn’t so much care who she was because she helped her escape. As Amelia ran through the doors she ripped off her ugly dress and ran for home leaving James at the altar and Taylor chasing her.
“Amelia wait! Think about what you’re doing! You can get married and settle down! At least consider his proposal!” Taylor yelled after her.
“Taylor I don’t want to get married! I want to be free!” She yelled back. And under her breath added “and I will.” As she entered her house and ran to her room.
“Please at least think about it.” Taylor said as she got to her doorway.
“No Taylor I can’t. I’m leaving. I’m going to find something to do with my life.” Amelia said picking up her sword and sheathing it on her back.
“Your not even going to tell him no?” Taylor asked.
“No if I go back they might catch me. I have to go now.” Amelia said gathering all the supplies she would be needing.
“Your minds made up?” Taylor asked faintly.
“It is.” Amelia said as she hugged Taylor. “I’ll miss you.”
“Miss me? Why?” Taylor asked as Amelia headed towards the door.
“Because I won’t see you for a long time. Maybe even never again.” Amelia said as she turned to look at Taylor.
“That’s funny.” Taylor said. “I’m coming with you. You can’t honestly think your leaving your best friend behind do you?”
“Taylor?” Amelia said.
“Yea?” Taylor said hoping for a friendship moment with Amelia.
“You need to change then.” Amelia said flatly.
“Oh. Right. Lets go to my house my family’s at your wedding right now anyway.” Taylor said starting for the door.
“Taylor?” Amelia said sheepishly.
“What?” Taylor said turning around.
“Thanks.” Amelia said as she hugged her best friend for a moment. “Now lets go before your parents get home.”
“Right.” Taylor said as the two of them ran to Taylor’s house. The door was unlocked so the two went straight to Taylor’s room and grabbed her running outfit. A pair of pink shorts and a blue shirt. She put them on as Amelia looked for anything that could symbolize a weapon in her room.
“Do you have any weapons?” Amelia asked after failing her search.
“No. I never thought I would need them.” Taylor responded.
“Well I’ll just have to protect you if we get attacked.” Amelia said grabbing potentially useful things she could find.
“I’m ready.” Taylor said as she got out an inker and wrote her parents a goodbye letter.
“They should be home soon.” Amelia said.
“I know.” Taylor said as she put the note on her parent’s bed. The two of them left the house, as they did Taylor turned around and said goodbye to her home and left with Amelia heading north to the port-city of Teir and plan what to do next.
“I know the answer but I still have to ask,” Amelia said, “do you know any fighting at all?”
“Fighting? No, never though I would need it.” Taylor responded.
“Well I’m going to have to teach you some then.” Amelia said.
“You really don’t have to.” Taylor said sheepishly.
“We’re going to be going through the wilderness. You need to be able to protect yourself when I’m busy.” Amelia said pulling out the map she had brought with her. “Now then, we need to find out where we’re going after Teir.” Amelia stopped and spread her map out on the ground. The map showed Dita and all of the cities and geographical features on it. Amelia looked around for a landmark to find where her and Taylor were at the moment. “This is another reason I hate Dita.”
“Why?” Taylor asked.
“Because there are no land marks! Only crops and irrigation, and I can’t figure out where we are from that.” Amelia said picking up the map. “We’ll just have to keep going the way we were.”
“That’s fine with me.” Taylor said noticing that Amelia was still wearing James ring. “Oh, you’re still wearing his ring! Maybe there’s hope you’ll go back?” Amelia looked down at her finger and saw the ring for the first time. It was a simple ring, gold with a single diamond embedded across it in the shape of her sword.
“No I won’t be going back Taylor.” Amelia said as she took off the ring and put it in her pack wondering how he knew what her sword looked like, or if it was a coincidence.
“Why not? I mean someday anyway. We’re not going to be gone forever are we?” Taylor asked.
“Not forever, just for awhile. Anyway, we need to head east to find Teir and a safe place to camp when it gets dark.” Amelia said pulling one of her knives from her ankles. “Here take this just in case.” She handed the knife to Taylor.
“You know I have no idea how to use this.” Taylor said flatly.
“Stick the pointy end in what’s trying to kill you.” Amelia responded and started walking east.
“Great.” Taylor said looking at the knife then up to Amelia. “Hey! Wait for me!” She said as she ran after Amelia. “At least show me how to use it!”
“At least show me how to use it!” Taylor yelled at Amelia. Cassie had been watching them for sometime now from the sky and wondered what use they could be to the plan.
“She not showing again?” Cassie said to herself, and wondered what the others were doing. “Vision.” She cast and a portal opened in from of her. Through the portal she saw that Kiera was sleeping and that they had managed to find some decent weapons to fight with. “Switch.” The portal changed views to show Teshia and Jessica conversing on their way to Myr. “Where’s the boy?” She asked the portal and again the view changed. Aaron was a distance behind the two girls and was manipulating the fire in his hands into different forms. “Close.” Cassie dismissed the portal and saw a pack of wild dogs stalking the two girls. “Implode.” She cast and the dogs died.
“And I didn’t have to ask you to do it either.” The Goddess said behind Cassie. She floated up beside her.
“This is the most we’ve seen of each other for some time. Are they that promising?” Cassie asked as she sat up.
“They’re the only ones who can fix everything.” The Goddess responded. “If they can’t no one can.” The Goddess summoned herself a cup of lemonade.
“You drink too much of that you know?” Cassie said noticing the large drink in her friend’s hands. “And how are these two helpful in the least?”
“I do not. And we need Amelia. Taylor is a bonus. I did some casting, she can be very useful.” The Goddess said.
“Great.” Cassie said. “I’m bored.”
Kiera lay sleeping in her cell as the third week of her and her new friends imprisonment began. Over the last three weeks Kiera, Nicole, Rachel, and Tiki had managed to find enough weapons to supply themselves for their breakout. Tiki had managed to gain some support from the mages being held and when the magic barrier was destroyed would assist in the break out. Nicole had fought every prisoner in the prison and had guaranteed the help of the muscle. Kiera had successfully pick pocketed four knives from passing guards. While those three worked on their breakout Rachel sat in the cell waiting for another vision. A loud bell rang signaling that all inmates were to return to their cells.
“Are you ever going to do anything!?” Nicole yelled as she entered the cell for lights out. “All you do is sit there!” Kiera rolled over to her usual afternoon alarm, fighting.
“What have you done? All you do is beat the crap out of people.” Rachel countered. Rachel broke her trance to send a fierce glare at Nicole. Nicole readied herself to pounce on Rachel. “See? Only good for fighting.” Rachel scoffed.
“Why you!” Nicole screamed and ran at Rachel.
“STOP!” Tiki yelled from the cell door. Nicole paused long enough to look at Tiki and to give Rachel a chance to move farther away from the attack. “Tomorrow.” Tiki said in a quieter voice.
“About time.” Nicole said and turned to where Rachel was. Nicole kicked the dirt where Rachel used to be and walked over to her bunk above Kiera. Rachel moved back to where she was sitting a few minutes ago.
“Everyone know where they need to be?” Tiki asked everyone in the room.
“Ya, we’ve been over this twenty times now.” Kiera said getting up from her bunk to let Nicole climb up to hers. She checked the stash of knives lodged above the gate door, the one place no guards seem to look, according to Tiki.
“I just want to make sure we get it right. If they find out we-” Tiki started
“They will kill us all! We get it!” Nicole growled from her bunk.
“Fine then. If you don’t want to go over it we won’t.” Tiki said and walked over to his bunk. Rachel stood up.
“Its about time.” Rachel said as her eyes began to glow a blinding white. The three others in the room passed out, as did everyone else within a five mile radius.
Rachel was in a large grey room with no windows and two doors, one black and one white. The floors were made of white and black marble and there were two women standing by the doors in the same outfits save for the colors matching the doors. Rachel saw herself walking towards them. Each held a hand out to the doors and Rachel looked in each. “What is this?” Rachel said.
“The future is not always what it may seem.” said a voice from behind her. Rachel looked over her shoulder and saw the woman in white standing there. Rachel’s eyes widened.
“Goddess! Forgive my impolite words in your presence.” Rachel said as she tried to bow.
“Your words were spoken honestly. There is nothing to be apologizing for. Now about this vision,” The goddess waved her hand out and the scene faded to the cell Rachel’s body was in. “I’m going to tell you for once.” Rachel looked at the room waiting for the vision. “You’re not going move. No matter how hard you stare.”
“Then you’re truly going to tell me?” Rachel asked half in shock.
“Yes. What I need you to do is wake your friends up and get out of here. You will have five minutes before the rest start to wake. Then head south to Capris. Take a ship to Letha and search for the pink haired girl. She will help you on your way,” The Goddess said as she turned away. “That is all I can do for you now Rachel. Goodbye.” The Goddess disappeared and Rachel felt her mind being pulled towards her body.
“Capris. Pink haired girl. Got it.” Rachel said as she returned to her body.
Rachel’s body was weak and tired from having her consciousness ripped from her and put back in in such a short time. Her body started to fall, but she caught herself. She walked over to Kiera and shook her.
“Wake up.” Rachel said. Kiera turned and opened her eyes.
“What just happened?” Kiera asked.
“No time to explain, get the other up.” Rachel responded. Kiera moved around and woke everyone up. “Let’s go. Three minutes.” Rachel guessed.
“Three minutes until what?” Tiki asked.
“Guards.” Rachel said and started off towards the exit.
“Oh.” Tiki said stunned. Kiera ran out the door followed by Nicole.
“Step on it little boy.” Nicole said as she grabbed his arm and dragged him with them. The four of them ran through the hallways and reached the exit without difficulty. As they headed out Tiki stopped.
“What about the other prisoners?” Tiki asked.
“Their in for a reason, we don’t need to let them out.” Kiera said as the other three slowed down.
“But I promised.” Tiki whined. Nicole turned to look at him with a glare.
“Promised? We need to get out of here! If we stay here we’re dead! Either we save them and die or we leave them and live. I know my choice!” Nicole said as she headed for the forest.
“At least let me get the magic barrier down! After that we can leave.” Tiki said to Kiera.
“Don’t count me in!” Nicole said waving her hand as she walked off.
“Go, I’ll back you.” Kiera said. Tiki ran off towards the prison and disappeared into it.
“With what?!” Nicole yelled as she turned around and walked back. “We left the daggers back at the cell. No time to go get them.”
“Rachel, got anything?” Kiera asked.
“Drained.” Rachel said now down to one word answers.
“Nicole?” Kiera asked.
“Can’t morph with this collar on.” Nicole said pointing to her neck.
“Gotta improvise then.” Kiera said picking up two sticks.
“Cause this is gonna work.” Nicole said. “I’ll use my hands.”
“Fight.” Rachel said picking up a large stick.
“Bout time the ‘seer’ did something.” Nicole retorted. There was a large explosion inside the prison and they heard screaming. “Boy better hurry.”
Tiki ran through the corridors of the prison heading towards the magical barrier. He had picked up a staff he found in one of the hallways and was approaching the door to the barrier. He heard an explosion behind him and saw some of the corridor collapse.
“Great,” Tiki said to himself as he headed through the door. The guards had woken up but were still dazed which gave him the upper hand. Tiki planted the staff on the ground and used it to launch himself into the chest of one of the guards, knocking the wind out of him. Tiki picked up the guard’s sword and threw it into the large crystal floating in the center of the room. The swords pierced the crystal and the crystal began to glow red hot. “Not what I planned, but oh well,” Tiki said as he headed out the door with two guards now tailing him.
With the crystal breaking, Tiki felt his magic return to him. “You're in for it now.” Tiki said as he ripped off his robe revealing light leather armor underneath. Tiki heard the other mages fighting the guards and headed for the exit for the second time. The walls were burning in places and iced in others. Some of the rock was electrically charged and some rock was busy attacking helpless guards. Tiki slid the staff onto a holster on his back as he reached the exit of the prison. As he ran outside, he saw his three friends fighting three guards with four other corpses on the ground.
Tiki placed his right hand in from of his face. “Stone,” he said and the three guards turned to stone. He watched as Nicole shattered her statue. “Lets go!” he yelled as he started running. Tiki looked at Rachel and stretched out his left arm. “Fast,” he said and Rachel’s pace sped up dramatically. Tiki stopped and turned towards the prison. “You guys keep going. I’m going to finish this, ok?” He said as he lifted his hands.
“What?” Kiera said. The girls stopped running and looked at him.
“Going to sink the place.” Tiki said. “One last present to all of my favorite people,” Tiki turned his head and winked at the girls. “And it seems chivalrous to save the girls.”
“Whatever,” Nicole said as she turned to head into the cover of the forest.
“We need to go,” Rachel said to Kiera.
“We will wait for you in the forest ok?” Kiera told him.
“Got it. See you ladies later,” Tiki said as Kiera and Rachel went into the forest after Nicole. Rachel looked back at him and mouthed goodbye. Tiki turned his attention back to the prison to see why she had done so. A row of archers had lined the top of the prison. “See you guys on the other side.” Tiki said to the girls who couldn’t hear him. “And I’ll see you boys in Hell!” Tiki yelled as the ground started to erupt into flames. The last thing that Tiki ever felt was the wind behind him and three arrows piercing his chest.
The Northern tip of the largest island of Yeva burned and began to sink into the ocean at the edge of the Forest of Tears with a wooden pole sticking from the edge.
On the desert continent of Brandis, in a large castle nestled in the largest mountains, sat a man in the dark. The man was in the middle of his evening meal as a messenger entered with a scroll of the days events across the world.
“Your nightly news, sir,” The messenger said. The scroll was exchanged and the messenger left the room quickly. The man put the scroll down beside him and finished his meal quietly. The man stood, took the scroll, and went to the den where he sat in front of the fireplace and read the scroll.
Reports of a large scale battle on the northern sector of
Yeva have been investigated and the prison along with sector Y - 9 have been sunk..
All prisoners have escaped from custody. The three high alert prisoners have
yet to be located.
The woman on Disa has been located with two children, both of
magical ability. The male can also wield swords, though
proficiency is unknown. The woman and her companions
are fleeing to Letha.
Dita had a good crop this year and sales are expected to
double from last year. This price increase will allow
easier spending on the part of Brnadis.
The man rolled up the scroll and tossed it into the fireplace. “Someone call the Dragoners. And get them here quick.” The man said as a white wine was poured into a glass that was placed into his hand. The man took a sip from his glass as a messenger was sent to another castle on the northern part of Brandis.
Call of the Dragons
The Dragoner awoke in his cold chamber and began to put on his armor immediately. He picked up his swords from across the room and strapped them to his waist. The Dragoner left his room and headed for the kitchen of the castle to prepare himself breakfast. On his way to breakfast he was intercepted by a new recruit and was directed to the front gate.
“Message for Levi, Dawnrider,” said a scrawny man who worked for Levi’s most recent employer. “Highest priority I’m told.” The man said as he handed the scroll to Levi. Levi took the scroll and read it over.
“Very well, then. Tell your master that I will find the woman and the children.” Levi said.
“My lord, you were asked to be seen.” The messenger said.
“The sooner I leave for them the better. I’ll bring them in alive, like I always do, and get paid.” Levi said as he turned and walked off.
“Very well, sir.” The messenger said and headed back for his masters castle.
Levi walked into the castle and headed for the stables. As Levi entered the stables the few Dragoners who were there saluted. “Stop it.” He said as he jumped onto his dragon. The Dragoners put their hands down and went back to what they were doing. “Tell the others I’m heading out on a solo mission and ill be back later.” Levi said as his dragon stretched it’s wings. The Dragoners nodded and Levi lead his dragon to the flight pad and took off, heading northwest after the woman and children first.
The flight was going to take time and Levi would be left alone with his thoughts. The worst thing that could possibly happen to him. Levi was haunted by thoughts of his past, though he tried not to think of them. Levi’s ice blue dragon whined at him.
“Its okay, girl. I’ll be fine,” Levi said to his dragon as he stroked her neck. “Cody would love to see you now. You were just an egg back then.” The dragon hummed and flew faster. “Good girl. Let’s go find our new targets, ok girl?” The dragon sharply banked right. “Right. I forgot you don’t like it when I call you girl, do you Stell?” The dragon flew back on track and took a few spins as she sped up.
“My shield is gone!” Aaron yelled as he ran into the treeline. “They’re going to be here any second!”
“Keep running! Senses!” Teshia yelled as she fell to the back of the trio. Her spell distorted the sight of their pursuers and bought them precious seconds of running. “Either of you have anything to help?” Teshia asked desperately.
“I’ve got a spell I’ve been working on.” Aaron said.
“Well, use it!” Teshia spat as she ran past him.
“Burn!” Aaron yelled as he turned around and planted his feet.
“What did you stop for?!” Jessica yelled as she slowed down.
“Don’t stop!” Teshia yelled at Jessica.
“Not used to the spell. Can’t move when I’m using it. Go on!” Aaron yelled as a wall of fire erupted from the ground and withdrew leaving a burning forest between them and their chasers. Aaron turned and started running again headed towards Myr.
“How long till we get there?” Teshia asked.
“If we can keep up this run, less than a day,” Aaron said.
“Good. The sooner I get away from you two, the better,” Teshia said and took the lead. Jessica fell back some to talk to Aaron.
“Don’t even think about following her afterwards, Aaron. Its too dangerous,” Jessica said.
“Come now, I’m a mystic knight!” Aaron said. “A thing spoken of only in legend. A per-”
“Shut up,” Jessica said as she sped up towards Teshia.
“How long do you think you can keep this pace up?” Teshia asked Jessica.
“I’m not sure. An hour maybe? Sorry.” Jessica responded quietly.
“Its fine. I don’t expect either of you to have my stamina, you’re in a school for magic.” Teshia responded slowing some.
“You’re a mage too though.” Jessica responded.
“I’ve had more experience and time to build up my stamina. It helps casting too,” Teshia responded looking back at Aaron who had a small fire in his hands. “Put that out! What if someone saw us?” Teshia said.
“Sorry. Jheesh.” Aaron said as he waved the fire away and caught up with the girls. “So, what did I miss?”
“We are going to find an opening and set up camp for an hour or so to rest and then head towards Myr again.” Teshia said.
“But that’s not the quickest way.” Aaron protested.
“Just do what an adult says for once would you Aaron?” Jessica said looking for a spot to rest.
“Fine. It will give me time to practice, so I guess I’m fine with it.” Aaron said.
“Good, we all agree then.” Teshia said. “I’ll set up a perception field around us so we don’t get caught.”
“A what?” Aaron said.
“It’s like your shield but it messes with peoples’ eyes,” Jessica said “you would know that if you ever paid attention to Fisher.”
“I know now though, don’t I?” Aaron responded with a smile.
“This way,” Teshia said heading west. Aaron and Jessica followed Teshia into a small field. “Anyone know what time it is?” Teshia asked looking around.
“Well, I guess it’s around noon” Jessica said looking at the sun.
“So we won’t get to Myr till tomorrow.” Teshia said mostly to herself. “You two rest. I’ll take first watch. Senses.” Teshia cast a spell around the field.
“Thanks.” Jessica said and laid down.
“If you need a break, I’ll be here.” Aaron said as he walked to the other end of the field and drew his sword. Aaron slashed at the air for some time.
“You need help?” Teshia asked Aaron.
“What? No. I don’t want to hurt you.” Aaron responded sticking his sword in the ground.
“That’s not what we need to worry about.” Teshia said. “Senses.” Teshia cast as she pulled knives from thin air and threw them at Aaron. Aaron barely dodged the blades and ran to pick up his sword.
“What are you doing? Trying to kill me?” Aaron said raising his sword to a defensive position.
“No, making you ready.” Teshia said as more knives flew at Aaron from nowhere again. This time he managed to block most of them with his sword and dodge roll away from the rest. “Again.” Teshia said with more knives.
“Are you crazy?!” Aaron screamed, blocking and dodging more knives. “Darkness!” he yelled and his half of the field was covered in dark.
“Oh? Good tactic, but you didn’t think it through, did you? Shadows!” Teshia yelled as the darkness pulled away and formed dark creatures around the now visible Aaron.
“How did you do that?” Aaron asked pointing his sword from one creature to another.
“You used a spell the covered you in shadows when fighting an illusionist! Shadows are our best friends.” Teshia said waving her hand dismissing the figures. “Again?”
“Not right now.” Aaron said sheathing his sword and sitting down. “I need to rethink that.”
“Yes, yes you do. And in the meantime, keep lookout. That last spell tired me out.” Teshia said.
“Yes ma’am.” Aaron said and sat on a rock. Teshia walked to the middle of the field and laid down leaving Aaron alone. “You could have cut me with those, you know?”
“They couldn’t. They were illusions,” Teshia said. “You really need to pay more attention. I’ll teach you more after I rest, ok?”
“Ok then.” Aaron said.
Levi arrived at Disa close to noon and flew straight for the Citadel to try and follow his target’s tracks. As he arrived at the Citadel he found tracks heading into the woods and began to follow them.
“Can you follow them, Stell?” Levi asked his dragon. Stell growled and flew low to the ground following her prey. “Good girl.” Levi rubbed her ears as Stell sped up, picking up a heavier track. After flying for a few minutes, Levi and Stell arrived at a charred building with people running around attempting to rebuild the structure. Levi found the woman giving instructions and landed near her. He got off of his dragon and approached the woman as the children gathered around her.
“Can you tell me if you’ve seen a woman and two children on the run?” Levi asked.
“Why would I tell you?” The woman responded. “Everyone go back to work.”
“What’s your name?” Levi asked.
“To you? Fisher.” Fisher responded bitterly.
“Well then, Fisher, you will tell me or I will start burning things.” Levi responded with a slight smile.
“Oh go ahead. We already had everything burnt. A little more fire would finish up what we can’t salvage. We thank you for your help.” Fisher said smiling.
“Do you know why its different when I burn things?” Levi asked the woman unsheathing his swords.
“You’re a cruel heartless bastard and don’t care that you’ll kill innocent children. I know.” Fisher said.
“Then you will condemn all these children to their deaths?” Levi asked. “All for a girl and two children?”
“I’m a teacher.” Fisher said. “So I know a little of everything and I know that you won’t find those three so soon. So do what you must, dragon man, but I’ll just let you know one more thing, Aaron, Jessica and that woman will beat you.”
“Brave words.” Levi said as he sheathed his swords and climbed onto his dragon. “They earned you and these children their lives. But don’t think that I’ll spare you a second time should we cross paths.”
“We won’t, not until you’re a new you.” Fisher said.
“I’ll remember that.” Levi said as his dragon lifted off. “Aaron and Jessica. We have two names now. She was useful after all.” Stell flew in a circle finding more tracks and followed them. “Headed to Myr I would say.” Levi said. Stell sped up heading for the city.
Cassie was waiting in a bar on Letha for her contact to show up.
“The things I do for her.” Cassie said to herself ordering barbecued potato slices. A woman with bright pink hair walked up to her. Cassie looked up to see that the bar had cleared out. “Can I help you?”
“No, but I can help you.” The woman said. “My name is Audrey and I am the leader of a glorious rebellion.”
“And what do you want from me?” Cassie asked.
“Some help.” Audrey responded.
“So what do I get?” Cassie asked.
“A membership to the rebellion and some fun times. My seer said you lived a life of boredom.” Audrey said.
“Tempting, but I’m waiting for someone” Cassie responded as her potato slices arrived.
“Oh right.” Audrey said rummaging through her bag. She pulled out a paper. “That’s me. This is the letter we intercepted, but it was delivered first.”
“Well then, I guess we can help each other.” Cassie said. “I’m a very powerful mage.”
“Good to hear. Now let’s get out of this dirty place and I’ll show you around headquarters.” Audrey said leading Cassie behind the bar.
“Ever thought about calling those chips instead of slices?” Cassie asked.
“What?” Audrey stopped for a moment then laughed with a snort. “That’s brilliant! I knew you smelled good."
Amelia and Taylor walked into Teir just before dusk after two days of travel. Teir was the capital of Dita and as so, it was a large city full of life and commotion. There were shops lining the sides of the streets and a large open field where goods were being brought in regularly. The buildings were made of an enchanted wood that acted as steel and the streets were cobblestone. Amelia and Taylor made their way to the nearest stand.
“Where is the closest inn?” Amelia asked the man running the stand.
“The inn? Six blocks down this street, in-between the two schools we have here. Since you’re headed there, can I interest you in-“
“No, we’ll be going now. Thanks though.” Amelia said cutting him off and heading down the street.
“Do we have enough to stay for tonight?” Taylor asked Amelia. Amelia stopped.
“What?” Amelia asked.
“We need money to stay at an inn.” Taylor said. “You did remember money right?” Amelia began to dig through her pockets. “You didn’t, did you?” she asked.
“I thought we had everything.” Amelia mumbled.
“Well, don’t worry I’ve got 10 silver pieces!” Taylor said holding them out to Amelia. Amelia began to reach for the silver when a man ran past taking the money. “Wha-?!”
“Get back here thief!” Amelia screamed running after the man. Taylor stood there in shock. As she watched as her friend ran off after a stranger.
“W-WAIT!” Taylor screamed as she ran after Amelia. “Don’t leave me here alone!”
“Meet me at the inn!” Amelia screamed as she began to pull a knife from her side and taking aim at the man who was getting close to a crowd.
“But I don’t want to be alone…” Taylor said to herself still in pursuit of Amelia. “JUST WAIT!” Taylor screamed as she stopped in the middle of the street. All around Taylor everyone stopped where they were. Taylor looked around herself seeing that everything was a pale blue and that everyone was moving extremely slow. “What?” she squeaked out as she started walking forward towards Amelia. “Amelia, what’s going on?” she asked as she neared her friend still in a very slow chase. “Amelia?” Taylor asked sheepishly. Taylor started walking up to the man who stole her money. As she got in front of him she opened his hand and took her money and walked back to Amelia. Taylor held her hand out. “Look what I got!” she said happily as the world returned to its regular speed. Amelia ran into Taylor.
“What are you doing? He’s getting away!” Amelia said standing back up looking for her target.
“But I got it back.” Taylor said showing her the money again. Amelia looked down at the money and then back to Taylor.
“If you had more money why didn’t you tell me?” Amelia said sternly.
“I didn’t. I went and took it from him when you all slowed down.” Taylor responded innocently.
“What? That doesn’t make any sense.” Amelia said looking for the inn.
“But that’s what happened.” Taylor responded.
“It doesn’t matter right now. Let’s just get to the inn.” Amelia said walking towards the direction of the inn. “I could’ve gotten in trouble for that knife.” Amelia said sheathing the knife.
“I’m sorry.” Taylor said following Amelia. Amelia passed through the merchants with ease in front of Taylor who bumped into everyone near her. “Excuse me.” Taylor said after every bump, much to Amelia's annoyance. The two reached the inn after a few minutes of walking and went straight inside.
“Excuse me, do you have a room open?” Amelia asked the man behind the counter.
“Well hello little ladies.” The man said cheerfully. “How long will you be staying?”
“Just one night.” Amelia said as Taylor began to play with the decorations on the walls, swords, staffs, and a few old books.
“Well then, I can help ya. It’s a small room though, hope you don’t mind.” The man said keeping an eye on Taylor.
“Not at all. How much will it be?” Amelia said following the man's gaze. “Taylor don’t touch anything.” Taylor walked back to Amelia.
“3 silver pieces for you two. 5 if you want a nice warm dinner.” The old man said.
“Thank you. We’ll take that dinner. Taylor the money please?” Amelia said reaching her hand out. Taylor dropped 5 silver pieces in her hand. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Taylor responded happily. The man put the silver in a cloth and handed Amelia a key.
“Here’s your room key. It is the room down the hall called Island.” The man said pointing down a hallway.
“Thank you very much.” Amelia and Taylor said to the man and walked off down the hall to their room for the night. The two girls entered the room and set their things down. “Can I have the rest of the money?” Amelia asked Taylor.
“Why?” Taylor asked.
“I need to go into town and buy some supplies. You should stay here and watch our things. I don’t trust that man.” Amelia responded. Taylor fished the remaining 5 coins out of her pocket and handed them to Amelia.
“He seemed nice enough.” Taylor responded.
“Most people do. Stay here and watch our things.” Amelia said closing the door behind her.
“Ok.” Taylor said to herself and laid down on the one bed in the room. Taylor stared at the light blue ceiling of the room and the sand colored walls for some time. Taylor got up, looked through her pack, pulled out a notebook and a pencil, and sat down to write an entry.
Today something weird happened. Amelia left me today in a market place and I got all scared and angry and I didn’t want her to leave me. But that’s not the important part. So after she left me, everyone got slow and everything got cold so I could catch up with Amelia and the thief (that’s why she left me a guy tried to take our money), but Amelia didn’t answer when I was talking to her. So, I went up to the guy and took the money back and went to show it to Amelia, but she ran into me and everyone went back to their normal speed. Weird things are starting to happen to me ever since I met Amelia. I hope we have fun. Thanks for listening Journal. I’ll try to talk to you again some time.
Taylor looked out the small window in the room. It was sunset outside and she wondered when dinner was. Taylor’s stomach growled at her for food. She got up and headed out the door toward the clerk at the desk.
“Excuse me?” Taylor said quietly.
“Yes?” the man said.
“Where is the kitchen?” she asked
“Back there.” The man said pointing down a hallway behind him.
“Thanks” Taylor said as she set off down the hallway. Taylor found the wooden door with “Kitchen” etched into it and opened it. Inside there were 3 women running about preparing food for the dinner that the inn was supposed to serve. Taylor walked up to one of them who had stopped to take a quick break.
“Excuse me? Will dinner be ready soon?” Taylor asked politely. The woman turned to face her.
“Can't be a little patient, can we girlie? Just gotta waltz in here demanding food from us? Don’t understand a hard day’s work!” the woman said as she picked up a butcher’s knife and pointed it at Taylor. “Now why don’t you skedatle back on to your luxury suite and eat when its ready! GO!” By now the other 2 women were glaring at Taylor.
“S-sorry.” Taylor said running out of the kitchen back toward her room.
“Tried to warn you.” The inn keeper said. Taylor ignored him as she ran into her room and jumped on the bed. Taylor reached for her bag but nothing was there. Taylor looked over at where her and Amelia’s things used to be and remembered Amelia’s warning.
“DAMN IT!” Taylor screamed. “I mean, darn it.” She corrected herself and headed out to talk to the innkeeper. On her way out she ran into Amelia.
“We have to go now.” Amelia said walking into the room. “Taylor, where are our bags.” Amelia said knowing the answer.
“I only left for a second.” Taylor’s voice cracked as she looked down.
“Its fine. Can’t worry about it now. We gotta go.” Amelia said grabbing her sword from underneath the bed. “Hid it just in case.” Amelia sheathed her sword. Taylor noticed that Amelia had the ring on a string around her neck.
“Its not a necklace you know.” Taylor said following Amelia out of the inn into the busy street.
“A reminder, that’s all.” Amelia said heading toward a nearby alleyway. “Can't be seen.”
“A reminder of what?” Taylor said following Amelia into the shadows.
“That I have to take you home one day.” Amelia responded unsheathing her sword. “Stand back.” Taylor backed up as Amelia prepared to cut her way through a patched up hole in the wall. Amelia raised her sword above her head and her new necklace glowed a bright blue. Amelia’s sword shot out a gust of wind as she brought it down on the wall knocking the patching out with ease.
“What was that?!” Taylor asked dumbfounded.
“I- I have no idea.” Amelia said staring at the hole. Her ring stopped glowing. “We have to go.” Amelia stepped through the hole keeping her sword out.
“That was so cool!” Taylor said following Amelia. “Can you do it again?”
“Shhhh! We need to find somewhere to camp. We’ll head toward Wrait in the morning.” Amelia walked through the forest around the city until she found a small clearing. Taylor entered the clearing.
“How are we supposed to camp with no supplies?” Taylor whined.
“See those trees? I’ll help you up.” Amelia said pointing up at trees that had two big branches split from the trunk giving enough room for a human to fit.
“Oh, heck no.” Taylor said looking up. “Not gonna happen Amelia.”
“Fine then, stay down here and be eaten by wolves.” Amelia said starting up a tree.
“Don’t leave me!” Taylor said jumping up to grab Amelia. Amelia grabbed Taylors arm and pulled her up to the trees.
“See? Not so hard. Just don’t move much tonight.” Amelia jumped to the tree beside Taylor and settled in.
“Thanks Amelia. I’m sorry for losing our stuff.” Taylor said quietly.
“No problem. I’d miss you if you weren’t here. Night Taylor.” Amelia said closing her eyes.
“Night Amelia.” Taylor said drifting off into sleep.
The Goddess watched the two girls crawl into the trees from above. She had sensed a powerful spell from Amelia earlier, but as far as she knew Amelia held no magical powers herself. However, the real reason to watch them was to figure out how Taylor had gained one of the forbidden magics. The Goddess started down toward Taylor after the two girls had fallen asleep. A blue flash of light made the Goddess stop. The girls were no longer in the trees they had been in moments ago. The Goddess looked around for them, laughed and summoned some lemonade. “It’s game time.” She said to herself and teleported away.
Kiera, Rachel, and Nicole walked away from the prison ruins after waiting for Tiki for an hour in the woods. Nicole led the group finding the quickest way to the port city of Capris. Nicole scratched at her collar as she walked and Rachel had rolled up her robes, tying them with vines from the trees so as not to get them too dirty. Kiera was throwing a rock into the air and catching it to pass the time.
“Why are we so quiet?” Kiera asked her companions.
“I don’t want to talk to her after this last little while.” Rachel said motioning toward Nicole.
“I don’t want to get blood on me before I get this off.” Nicole responded sharply as she pushed a branch out of the way. “And besides, if we’re being followed they will hear us talking.”
“I don’t think we’re being followed after Tiki’s decimation of the prison.” Rachel said. “So we’ll be fine.”
“How far are we from Capris?” Kiera asked Nicole.
“Not far, if it weren’t for these trees, we would have been there by now.” Nicole responded stomping on a bush to make a path. “At this rate, another half hour I would say. We’re coming up on a clearing.” The trio walked out into a small clearing with a cliff on the opposite side. “End of this road.”
Kiera walked to the edge of the cliff. “Not yet.” Kiera said. “Look I think that’s Capris.” Kiera pointed toward a dock city below the cliff.
“That’s not right. That should have taken longer.” Nicole said looking down.
“Some guide.” Rachel said snidely. “Let's just walk around.” Rachel began to walk off. Kiera ran back to the edge of the woods and took a loose piece of bark from a tree and placed it on the edge of the cliff.
“This is so much faster.” Kiera said placing one foot on the bottom of the bark and the second on the top. “Just follow my lead.” Kiera said as she paused down with her top foot and began sliding down the cliff. Rachel and Nicole followed in suite. As Kiera reached the bottom, her bark hit a rock and shattered as she flew into the air. Nicole and Rachel slid down to her.
“Are you ok? Rachel asked kneeling beside the now dazed Kiera.
“That was awesome!” Kiera said. “Gotta try that again sometime” Kiera began to get up.
“Slowly.” Rachel said. Kiera began to fall as Nicole caught her from behind.
“Gotcha.” Nicole said picking Kiera up and getting her balanced.
“See? Wasn’t that a lot quicker?” Kiera said walking into the city. Rachel shook her head and looked at Nicole who scowled back. The two followed Kiera into town and toward the docks. “I’m assuming that we don’t have any money?” Kiera asked Nicole and Rachel. They both shook their heads. “Then how do we expect to get on the boat?” Kiera asked. Nicole and Rachel looked at her.
“No idea,” Nicole said. “Stowaway?” she suggested pointing to a fairly large boat being loaded up.
“We don’t even know where that boat is going.” Rachel responded.
“The barrels say to Letha.” Nicole responded pointing.
“We can’t stowaway very well though.” Kiera interrupted. “We have to eat and its about a two to three day trip.”
“I've gone that long without food before. You start not to notice after awhile.” Nicole said.
“You have a better plan?” Kiera asked Rachel.
“We could see if its free.” Rachel responded sarcastically.
“Stowaway it is.” Kiera said. “Now where do we get in at?”
“Follow me.” Nicole said looking around. Nicole walked up to a large crate and flipped open the top. “Empty good.” Nicole jumped in. “Quickly before someone sees.” Rachel and Kiera jumped into the box that was now very, very full.
“I just want you to know, I hate you.” Rachel said as Nicole closed the top of the box.
“Well, I suggest we go to sleep. We’ll be less noticeable like that.” Nicole said. The trio attempted to get comfortable. When they were as comfortable as they were going to get, they slowly drifted off to sleep. As Kiera drifted off to sleep she heard a howl nearby.
The Goddess had a cup of lemonade in her hand as she watched from above as Aaron, Teshia, and Jessica walked through a small forest toward Myr. The goddess could feel the Dragoner approaching fast and knew that the trio would barely make it in time. The Goddess watched as Teshia and Jessica talked about what they would do in Myr while Aaron was playing with fire behind them. “What is he doing?” the goddess asked herself aloud. The Goddess assumed he was training somehow and turned to go check on another group. As the Goddess teleported away a dark shadow fled from beneath Teshia and into the woods.
Aaron, Teshia, and Jessica arrived in Myr the next day at noon after their travels. The trio walked into town and headed directly to the tavern. Teshia took a seat near the back door to the tavern and sat the other two across from her.
“So, we made it to Myr. I’ll find someone to take you back to your school and we will part ways here.” Teshia said waving over a waitress.
“What can I get you today?” the waitress asked. She pulled out a piece of parchment and a piece of lead and stared at Teshia.
“I’ll have a glass of water and a well-cooked bookworm.” Teshia responded. “These two will have the same.” Teshia dismissed the waitress.
“Can we come with you?” Aaron asked directly. “There is a lot I could learn from you and I think that it would help me much more than school ever could.” Jessica stared at Aaron in shock.
“I can’t. It will be dangerous. And neither of you have the training needed to survive where I’m going.” Teshia looked off into space. “I know you want to go, but I can’t let you.”
“How about we fight?” Aaron suggested. “If I win, you take us. If I lose, then we will leave you alone.” The waitress arrived with their food.
“If you want to play, then I’ll accept. But first we will eat.” Teshia said biting into her worm.
“Fine with me.” Aaron said. Jessica stared at both of them.
After the trio finished eating they headed out to the outskirts of town to start their fight. Jessica sat in silence staring at them as they separated to separate sides of a field.
“I’m not going to go easy on you.” Teshia said pulling a knife out of her belt.
“Neither am I.” Aaron said unsheathing his sword. As he lowered his blade Teshia threw a knife at him. Aaron blocked with his sword to find another coming at him fast. Aaron rolled out of the way while bringing his sword to his side facing Teshia. Nothing hit his sword. Aaron looks and saw Teshia running at him. Aaron stood and planted his sword in the ground. “Earth!” the ground in front of Aaron rose to stop Teshia. Teshia jumped on the earth as it rose and used it to jump above Aaron and throw a knife at him. Aaron raised his hand. “Shield” the knife bounced off of his shield. “Force!” Aaron yelled and pushed his shield toward Teshia. Teshia caught her foot on the shield and fell to the ground. “Senses!” Teshia yelled and Aaron fell to the ground. Aaron screamed. Teshia stood up.
“Give up yet?” Teshia asked.
“Never!” Aaron got to his feet. “Darkness!”
“Again?” Teshia raised her hand. “Shadows!” the darkness around Aaron split into monsters around him.
“Gotcha.” Aaron said. “Light!” Aaron’s sword began to glow and then gave off a blinding light, banishing the shadows. Teshia covered her eyes. “Dual!” Aaron yelled. His sword split into two. “Flames!” Fire shot from the tips of Aaron’s swords and surrounded Teshia. “Earth!” Aaron yelled and the burning ground rose around Teshia trapping her in a dirt cage on fire. “Give up yet?”
“So you’re not as bad as I thought.” Teshia laughed. “Meld.” Teshia walked out of the shadow behind Aaron. “I told you shadows are our best friends. If I had actually been in there you would have won. But you caught one of my doubles.”
“Does that mean we get to go?” Aaron asked excitedly. He pushed his hand down and returned the earth to its original position. “Sparks” the fire went out.
“You can,” Teshia said turning to Jessica. “But she needs to be tested as well.”
“What?” Jessica gasped. “No, it’s ok. I can stay!” she said waving her hands in front of her.
“Well, that’s settled.” Teshia said.
“Wait!” Aaron said running over to Jessica. “Come with us!” Aaron pleaded. “I need you. Who else is going to tell me useless information?”
“I can’t!” Jessica said. “I’m not an adventurer. I don’t do things like this.” Jessica took a step back.
“Jess… not even to try?” Aaron said.
“Doesn’t matter now.” Teshia said. “There’s a dragon incoming. We need to get out of here.” Teshia turned around and looked at the two. “If he’s hunting me down, then he’s hunting all three of us. We’re stuck together for now.” Teshia started to walk toward the two. “Do you know any teleportation spells?” she asked the two.
“I don’t.” Jessica said.
“I do. I’m not very good at casting though.” Aaron said.
“Well, as long as we’re still in one piece at the end, I don’t care. Take us to Letha.” Teshia demanded grabbing both of them. “Now.”
“Teleport!” Aaron yelled picturing the central continent. The three of them disappeared from where they were
The Dragoner heard the snap of a teleportation spell as he lost sight of his targets standing by the ocean. “Great,” Levi sighed to his dragon, “now I have to find out where they went.” Levi took Stell to the ground. “Can you trace this one?” Levi asked hoping it was a poorly cast spell. Stell sniffed the area and nodded her head. “Good girl. I’ll find you something nice to eat after this.” Levi said remounting his dragon. “Take me there.” He said as Stell took off from the ground and began flying south.
Amelia woke up in her tree to find Taylor on the ground making a small fire with eggs and a sheet of metal beside her. Amelia jumped down from her tree.
“Breakfast?” Amelia inquired.
“Yep. Eggs! I found them sitting out in town this morning and this plate was beside the hole in the wall.” Taylor said cheerfully.
“You went into town?” Amelia asked surprised.
“Yeah I figure I better start to take care of myself.” Taylor said in a sad voice while prodding the fire. Taylor stood up and started to drag rocks around the fire. “That’s why I got a stick to fight with.” Taylor motioned to a large stick laid against the tree she slept in.
“Wow. Sounds like you did some thinking.” Amelia said still in shock. “Want me to help you train with that?” Amelia began to hunt for a stick.
“After breakfast.” Taylor said. “We have to keep our strength up!” Taylor had returned to her happy self. She had finished making a ring of rocks and put the metal plate on it to cook the eggs. As Taylor broke open the first egg a loud snap above her made her drop the egg. Amelia ran to Taylor from the other end of the opening.
“What happened?” Amelia asked. Before Taylor could respond, another loud snap echoed through the woods and three people fell from tree height right in front of the two. Taylor screamed and Amelia drew her sword and pointed it at the three people now invading breakfast.
“Ouch…” said the boy who fell from the sky. “Told you I can’t cast it.”
“Get off of me!” said a woman in red from the bottom of the pile. The three began to get up.
“Oh… hi there.” The boy said seeing Taylor and Amelia. “Who are you?”
“Who are we? Who are you guys? Dropping out of the sky!” Amelia said still pointing her sword at them. By this time the two other women were in the conversation.
“How bout we not point swords at each other?” Jessica said politely. “And I’m Jessica. This is Aaron.” Jessica gestured to the boy. “And this is Teshia.” Jessica gestured to the other woman wearing black with her hand on a knife.
“Good idea. Let’s put our weapons down.” Teshia said letting go of her knife.
“Why are you here?” Amelia asked still holding her sword.
“We’re here to find some help.” Teshia said.
“There’s no one to help you here.” Amelia said lowering her sword. “You want help, go to Letha.”
“You mean we’re not?” Teshia asked.
“No. Southern continent.” Amelia said.
“We’re headed to Letha too!” Taylor said from behind Amelia and stepped out. “I’m Taylor.”
“Taylor, be quiet.” Amelia said.
“Oh, it’s fine. They don’t mean harm.” Taylor said walking forward. “This is Amelia.”
“Nice to meet both of you.” Jessica said with a bow. Teshia leaned over to Aaron.
“This is the wrong place.” Teshia said harshly.
“Yeah… sorry told you I’m not good at casting it.” Aaron responded with a smile. “At least I get to have my intro.”
“We’re heading to Letha.” Teshia said sternly.
“Well, we can go together. After breakfast.” Taylor said remembering her food and returning to her fire. Amelia sheathed her sword.
“If you want to come with us, you can. If you don’t leave.” Amelia said heading over to Taylor.
“Let’s stay with them. Its safer in a group.” Jessica volunteered.
“And they have food.” Aaron added.
“Are those the only reasons?” Teshia asked.
“Basically.” Aaron said.
“Well, it looks like they could use our help too.” Jessica said.
“And besides, it would be fun.” Aaron said.
“Please?” Jessica pleaded.
“Fine. But they’re not staying with us through Letha.” Teshia said.
“Deal.” Aaron said and ran over to the food.
“Thank you!” Jessica said following Aaron. Teshia shook her head.
“Kids…” Teshia turned to look at the clearing. “Senses.” She said casting a vision shield over the area stopping others from seeing them. She walked over to eat.
Audrey and Cassie were sitting in a large room with other members of the resistance. At the head of the table sat Audrey. Beside her were two women Audrey introduced as Melissa and Amanda. Others around the table were introduced: Amy, Jessica, Madison, Dan, Stephan, Stephanie, Stephanie the guy, Skye, and Sarah. The group at the table was brought to discuss an attack on the armor and weapon facility of the emperor of Brandis.
After three days of travel Kiera, Nicole and Rachel had their box opened by the sailors while they were asleep. The sailors had them arrested and sent to the Lethan prison in the capital city. Letha is the most advanced of the continents having people and idea from all of the other four. This allowed for the Lethans to invent self-propelling vehicles and sky ships. Kiera, sitting inside of one of the automobiles, was in shock. Nicole was sitting in the back of the large vehicle scowling at Rachel who rambled on about the science of, what she called, the transport van. Kiera was shifting around in her uncomfortable metal seat. The trio had been in transit for three hours and had almost arrived at the capital city of Letha, when the van stopped.
“Get out of the way!” the man driving the van yelled out. The trio heard him pull his sword and jump out of the van. “I told you to-,” the man stopped short of his sentence. There was a thud on the ground.
“Great… thugs. And while we’re chained like this,” Nicole said raising her chained arms, “we can’t do much to stop them.” Kiera sighed and Rachel stared at the ceiling.
“She should be here soon.” Rachel said.
“Who?” Nicole asked. As she finished asking a large green blade cut through the ceiling of the van. From the wound in the van a girl with pink hair in a ponytail dropped down with a scythe.
“Hello! I’m Audrey. Come with me or die!” Audrey said as she raised her arm into the air and cut through the metal door. The door fell down and Audrey put her scythe on her back as she jumped out of the van. Audrey looked back. “Well, are you coming?” the trio sat in shock for a few minutes. Kiera raised her chained hands. “Oh right!” Audrey pulled a boomerang from her pants and threw it at Kiera’s chains and cut through them. The boomerang then flew through Rachel and Nicole’s chains as well before returning to Audrey.
“How did you…?” Kiera said still in shock.
“It’s enchanted.” Audrey said. “We don’t have time,” Melissa said, “there are more troops on their way.” Kiera and the others got out of the van and followed Audrey. Audrey led them into the nearby woods into a clearing where a girl was waiting in the robes of a sorceress.
“Who is that?” Nicole said with a growl.
“I trust her.” Rachel said walking forward. “Please take us to your headquarters.”
“What?” Kiera said confused.
“How do you know about my headquarters?” Audrey asked suspiciously.
“I’m a seer.” Rachel said. “My name is Rachel, this is Kiera our thief, and this is Nicole, our morpher.” Rachel motioned to each of them. “And you are Audrey, leader of…”
“Something Epic.” Audrey said. “The rebellion.” Audrey reached for her scythe.
“Wait.” said the woman in black robes, “What they’re saying is true. We can trust them.”
“You sure Cassie?” Audrey asked releasing her grip on her scythe.
“Yep and the soldiers are almost here, so if you don’t mind?” Cassie said as she snapped her fingers. The group of them were teleported away to the underground hideout of ‘Something Epic’.
Aaron and the others had been walking for an hour after breakfast when Taylor insisted on taking a rest.
“I’m tired!” Taylor said. “And besides with more of us, resting will be more fun!”
“Right.” Teshia said as she sat down by a tree. Jessica went over and started to chat with Taylor. Amelia sat against a tree near Teshia and twisted the wedding band in between her fingers. Aaron walked off to the north awhile. After walking out of hearing distance of the girls, Aaron sat down and unsheathed his sword. He drew an X onto the ground.
“Fire.” Aaron said and lit the X aflame. “Earth” The ground around the X floated into the air leaving a flaming floating X in front of Aaron. “Extinguish.” The flames went out and the earth fell down. Aaron looked up and stared at the sky for some time. The treetops around him began to sway. “That’s weird.” Aaron licked his finger and raised it. “No wind.” Aaron stood up and began to walk backwards toward the others.
“You noticed me huh?” The Dragoner walked our from behind a tree a good distance away from Aaron.
“How did you get here?” Aaron asked gripping his sword, still walking backwards.
“I’m a Dragoner. I have a dragon.” He said as he pulled two katanas from their sheaths. “Now, I’ve been hired to return something that you people seem to have stolen.”
“We didn’t steal anything.” Aaron said.
“Don’t lie to me, Aaron.” The Dragoner said. Aaron missed a step and fell backwards.
“Ho- How do you know my name?!” Aaron asked raising his voice slightly.
“Your teacher, Fisher was it, she told me. Jessica and Aaron.” He started walking toward Aaron. Aaron stood up and sheathed his sword.
“Well… uh… what’s your name then? It’s only fair to tell me right? You know mine.” Aaron said forcing out a smooth smile.
“Levi. Now, I think you should go get me what I want. It’s a piece of a map.” Levi said getting closer to Aaron.
“How about we play a different game?” Aaron was sure that he was in hearing distance of the others by now. “Everyone! Hold hands!” Aaron said as he turned and ran toward the others. As Aaron found them they were all standing looking at him. “The Dragoner is here!” Aaron yelled as he jumped on all the girls making sure everyone was in contact. Levi walked into the field as Aaron jumped onto them.
“I’ll just trace you again.” Levi said standing there.
“What?” Teshia said eyes opening wide.
“Your running will only end in failure.” Levi said with a chuckle
“Teleport!” Aaron yelled as the five of them disappeared.
“Stell!” Levi yelled. “I need another trace!” The dragon appeared from across the trees and settled down as best she could. “This time, they won’t get away.” Levi said pulling a teleport block scroll from his pack and strapping it to Stell. “Once more girl?” Levi said as he mounted Stell and flew off.
The Goddess stood in front of a large magical barrier. The barrier’s physical appearance raised only a few stories high, but the magic went much higher. The Goddess placed her hands on the barrier and opened a small hole in it. Dark creatures shot from the hole and began to take hideous forms around her. The Goddess sighed and closed the opening of the barrier and the creatures dissipated shortly thereafter.
“Still can’t find a way?” Cassie asked as she walked up behind the Goddess.
“No, we can’t let these creatures into this world for that long.”
“We could send someone else through, we both could stay and fight them off.” Cassie offered.
“No one could be strong enough to survive, even one of us alone couldn’t do it.” the Goddess responded. She summoned a particularly bitter drink of lemonade.
“We could take a group of people then, train them, enough numbers and then they should fall.” Cassie said watching the lemonade disappear.
“There are nine of them. How are we going to find nine volunteers? My devout are not powerful enough and yours do not care.” she sighed again. “Needs more sugar.”
“How about we choose nine random people, lead them through some trials, and if we think they can, we send them in.” Cassie picked up a stick and began drawing in the dirt.
“And how long until we find a suitable group?” the Goddess looked skeptical.
“It doesn’t really matter, this barrier can hold them for as long as we need.” Cassie summoned some sugar and put it in the glass. The Goddess took a sip.
“I guess so.” The Goddess took another drink. “It shouldn’t take that long.”
“That’s the spirit! I heard of this great succubus that is entranced by the guy who is in charge of Brandies. We could start there.”
“What’s her name?”
“Brandi, he named the continent after her. That Chris is a character.” Cassie said with a chuckle.
“Well, he is one of the few people who remember the old world.” The Goddess responded. She made a slight laugh.
“See, sugar in your lemonade always helps your mood.”
Aaron, Jessica, Teshia, Amelia and Taylor felt the pull of teleportation around them as they disappeared from the clearing. Aaron had not had a specific location in mind when he began the teleport and didn’t know where they would end up. Aaron had aimed for the location ‘someplace else’ but the word ‘epic’ had slipped into his thoughts from Levi’s last sentence. That is how the five of them ended up running into the first teleport heading toward ‘Something Epic’.
The teleportation room of ‘Something Epic’ was quiet as Brittany waited for the incoming mission. Brittany paced back and forth waiting for Audrey to return. She had intercepted a message about the head Dragoner heading off on a special mission alone. Brittany had a suspicion that he would somehow end up at ‘Something Epic’ before long. There were two loud cracks behind her as she turned around to face the landing zone she saw people she did not recognize and pulled out her curved knives. The group of people landed with a thump on top of each other.
“Who are you?!” Brittany yelled at the group of 5 who had landed beside Audrey and the mission.
“Ow… where are we?” Taylor moaned from the bottom of the pile.
“Get off!” Amelia growled as she tried to push everyone off of her and Taylor.
“We have an issue.” Teshia said her eyes moving back and forth from Brittany and Audrey. Aaron stood up and grabbed the hilt of his sword and Jessica grabbed her staff from her back.
“Put your weapons down.” Audrey said. She was looking at the group that had not come with her. Nicole growled in the background. Cassie walked over to the group of newcomers.
“My name is Cassie. You five are right on time.” Cassie looked back at Audrey. “These five are here to help. Just like the three back there.” Cassie pointed to Kiera, Nicole, and Rachel.
“Britt, stand down.” Audrey commanded. “How do you know?”
“I’m a powerful spellcaster. I do some divination. Ask the oracle back there.” Cassie began to walk out of the room. “Oh, and Brittany has a message for you Audrey.”
“Right!” Brittany said as she lowered her knives still keeping an eye on the five newcomers. “We’ve intercepted a message from the Emperor of Brandies. He sent for the Head Dragoner to go searching for something on the northern continent.”
“Well, that’s not us. Anyway, since Cassie seems to think you five belong here, welcome! I think introductions are in order. I am Audrey leader of the rebel group known as ‘Something Epic’. These five,” Audrey said gesturing to the five people in armor behind her, “are Sarah, Kathryn, Sabrina, Ali, and Buck. These three are…” Audrey looked back at the trio she brought back from the jail car.
“I’m Kiera.” Kiera said stepping forward. “They are Nicole and Rachel.” Kiera motioned behind her.
“Rachel, the Oracle of the West.” Rachel corrected her. “And I do believe that these five are meant to meet with us.” Rachel had no idea these five people had even existed until a few moments ago.
“That’s good to hear. Now who are you five?” Audrey asked.
“Hi! I’m Taylor and this is Amelia!” Taylor said walking up and pushing Amelia with her. “We’re from the southern continent.” Audrey nodded.
“I’m Jessica. This is Aaron and Te-“ Jessica was cut short by Teshia.
“Onya.” Teshia looked at Audrey intensely.
“The girl the council found in the north? I heard you didn’t know your name.” Audrey said playfully. “At any rate, when you trust us with your name we can trust you with missions. For now though, if you guys head out of here, go right in the hallway until you get to the sign that says recruits, this goes for you three as well,” Audrey said turning to look at Kiera and her friends. “Once you’re in there, Amanda will take down your names and we can see about getting you new clothes and weapons. Any questions?” Audrey paused for a moment.
“What’s the head Dragoner’s name?” Aaron asked.
“What? Why would you want to know that?” Audrey asked confused from where the question came from.
“We were being chased by a Dragoner in the northern continent, he followed us to the southern continent, and I think he might be coming here. His name is Levi.” Aaron quickly summed up.
“Oh poo.” Audrey hit her face with the palm of her hand. “Go get registered and outfitted. Looks like we get to play with the Dragoners… again!” Audrey threw her hands in the air at the last word and walked out of the room. “Dragoners incoming!” the eight newcomers heard Audrey yell through the hall, followed by roars of laughter and applause.
“So, this place is weird.” Jessica noted off handedly.
“Agreed.” Aaron said. Teshia started walking toward the exit followed by Nicole and Rachel.
“Coming? We get to kill a dragon.” Teshia said as she walked out the door. The rest of the group followed. Jessica started talking to Taylor, Amelia ran up to follow Teshia, Nicole and Kiera walked beside each other, Rachel followed suit and Aaron lit up a small fire in his palm and followed behind the rest of the new group.
Cassie walked out of the tavern that housed the entrance to ‘Something Epic’ and teleported to the sky above her. The Goddess was waiting there.
“So you think these guys are the ones?” Cassie asked.
“They’re the second most promising we’ve seen.” The Goddess responded sipping sweet lemonade. “And I’m almost done with the rooms for them.”
“You’ve been trying this room thing for the last thousand years and all it does is disqualify more and more people.” Cassie said. She looked to the south. “Levi will be here soon, should I help?”
“No, they need to do it, I cast a ward around him and his dragon protecting them from any attacks that don’t come from the eight of them.” The Goddess responded finishing her glass of lemonade.
“Well, this will be fun to watch.” Cassie said amused.
“You have fun, I’m going to go finish that room. I’m going for black and white marble this time.” The Goddess disappeared. Cassie waved her hand and gave a favorable wind to Levi to get him to her faster. Cassie was bored and looking for entertainment.
The eight newcomers of ‘Something Epic’ found their way into the recruitment office. The girl sitting behind a desk was reading a book with a painting of a naked man on the back. Teshia walked up to the desk.
“We’re supposed to sign in here?” Teshia asked. The girl put her book down and stuck an extra quill in where she was.
“Yep. You the people from the prison transport?” the girl asked. “I’m Amanda by the way.” The girl pulled out a large book from under the desk.
“Yes.” Teshia said.
“Good. I’ll just need your names before we begin.” Amanda pulled out a potion from under the desk and threw it against the ceiling where the group was standing. The potion dripped down onto each of them.
“Hey!” Taylor cried covering her hair. “This better not stain!” everyone tensed as the bottle hit the ceiling.
“Don’t worry. It’s a potion to cause you pain if you lie. So just tell the truth and we can get this over with. The effects will wear off in about ten minutes.” Amanda looked up at them. “Names?” Teshia glared at her.
“Kiera, Nicole, Rachel.” Kiera said walking forward. She pointed to each of them as she said it.
“K-e-i-r-a?” Amanda asked.
“I-e.” Kiera replied. Amanda wrote down the names. “You three can move on through the door behind me to the next room and get some new equipment. Sounds like a battle is coming.” Amanda motioned to the door behind her and the three walked through. “You five?”
“I’m Taylor! And this is Amelia! Nice to meet you!” Taylor said walking forward after grabbing Amelia.
“Nice to meet you, too. You two can move on.” Amanda took down their names.
“Aaron, Jessica.” Aaron said pointing to himself, then Jessica. Aaron looked at Teshia then walked toward the door.
“Last one?” Amanda looked up at Teshia.
“Teshia.” Teshia said then promptly walked toward the door.
“Eight new recruits. Not too bad.” Amanda said putting the book back under the desk. Audrey walked in.
“They all told the truth… that’s weird.” Audrey looked at Amanda as she picked up her book. “Dirty books again?”
“Always, you know it’s all I’m ever going to get!” Amanda pouted. Audrey laughed at her.
“Send them to the measuring room when they’re done. Levi is on his way.” Audrey said walking out of the room.
When Teshia walked into the room, the girl who had been introduced as Ali in the teleport room was standing on a large wooden stage.
“She the last one?” Ali asked. The group nodded. “Good! Now! I’m Ali and I’m in charge of your new sets of clothes and armor. I’m our resident clothes expert so don’t mouth off to me or do any complaining.” Ali walked over to a rope hanging off the wall. “Now go find something you guys like.” Ali pulled and the cloth around the group rose up to show racks and racks of armor for everyone. “If it doesn’t fit, bring it to me!” Ali yelled as Taylor ran off. The rest of the group looked around and slowly walked off toward the clothes. Ali sat down on a chair on the stage and pulled out the sickles from her ankles, she twirled them around waiting for the recruits to come back with armor she would need to fix.
Aaron had walked off toward the red section of the armory. The armory was organized according to color and material. The colors started with red to the right of the stage and went around in a circle to the other end of the stage hitting every color one could imagine. The closest materials were non armor like materials, robes and hats for magic users and the armor got heavier as you went back. Aaron stopped a little ways after the robes stopped. He flipped through the armor on the racks. Aaron’s leather armor had become worn with time and it was not holding itself together well. As Aaron searched, he looked for a sturdier material. He came across a light steel armor set that had a small note stuck to it informing observers that it had an enchantment on it making it lighter than normal. Aaron picked up the armor and found it to be lighter than his own leather set. He picked up the breastplate and headed back to the center for Ali to fit it and work with it. After all, Aaron had to look at his best when he was in combat.
Teshia walked three steps into the black section before looking around and turning back around. She walked up to Ali with nothing and Ali pointed over to a black bracelet.
“That is your accessory to prove you’re with us. Put it on. After that, I’ll revise and have someone enchant your present outfit, ok?” Ali stuck her sickles back into her boots and grabbed a black robe from a rack beside her. “Put this on and hand me what you’re wearing. There’s a dressing room in the back.” Teshia looked at the robe in Ali’s hands.
“I’ll just stick with these.” Teshia went over and sat on a couch on the stage to wait for the others. She saw Aaron walking up.
“Still have to wear this.” Ali said tossing the bracelet at Teshia. “It’s required, sorry.” Teshia put the bracelet on her wrist and it adjusted to her wrist size. Ali walked down to talk to Aaron as he walked toward her with his armor choice.
Kiera headed down the brown section of the armory. She got to the leather section of the clothes and started digging into it. She passed breastplates and leggings and full body leather pieces. Finally Kiera found a simple hardened leather breastplate that went down to her stomach and covered her neck and shoulders. Kiera picked it up and grabbed the leather boots beneath it and began walking toward Ali. She was hoping that it could be enchanted.
Amelia walked by Teshia as she was looking for some new black armor. She was planning on keeping the leather under piece with her sword and getting a breastplate and leggings for protection. She chose not to use gloves in order to maintain control of her sword and to stay away from any metal boots so she could keep quiet. Amelia walked by a breastplate with an engraving of a sword on each of the shoulder pieces. She stopped and examined the piece. There was a sharp cut in the back that would reveal the left shoulder blade. Amelia decided that she could fit her sword in there and still keep her leathers. Amelia began to lift the armor, it was heavy. Amelia looked around. She stripped down to her leathers and put on the armor, it fit her perfectly. She replaced her cloth armor to where the armor had been and put back on her boots. She headed back to Ali to see what she could do to improve it.
Nicole stared at all the colors and clothes around her. She had never seen such a collection of wasted material in her life. She looked down at her own clothes, ripped and worn. She slowly followed Kiera into the brown section. Nicole watched what Kiera was doing. She started to look through all the leathers on the racks. Nicole found nothing that suited her. Kiera started to walk back to the center while Nicole started walking through the racks, knocking some over. As she pushed through she found a hardened leather brazier and arm guards both with small bits of fur coming from the edges. Nicole picked them up and began to put them on. She also grabbed leather boots beneath it and headed back toward the stage as she put them on.
Jessica followed Aaron over toward the red section. She stopped before Aaron did and began browsing the leather coats that were on display. Jessica preferred to wear a coat over her armor that swayed in the wind. Jessica looked around and found a red one that had wings pressed into the back of it. Jessica put this over what she was wearing now and began to walk over to the white section. She passed the stage where Teshia was putting a bracelet on her arm. In the white section Jessica found a soft leather breastplate with a feather pressed into the breast of it. She picked it up and carried it with her to the stage. Behind her she heard a loud crash. Someone had knocked something over.
Taylor ran through the yellow, orange, and blue sections of the armory grabbing every dress she could find. She sat down in the middle of the blue section with all the dresses looking them over. She decided to take the body of a red dress and the skirt of a blue dress and sew them together, with a sewing kit she always kept on her person. She took the yellow arms of a dress and sewed them onto the blue piece and finally ripped pieces of the extra red dresses up and sewed shreds onto the arms of the dress and ripped up extra blue pieces and put them on the red part of the dress. Taylor squealed in delight when it was finished. Taylor stood up and slipped the dress on over what she was wearing. Taylor decided it needed another touch so she ran to the brown section and stole a leather belt and used it to tie her hair back. Taylor moved to the stage then proud of her newest masterpiece.
Rachel walked quickly to the white section. As a patron of the Goddess, white was her color of choice. Rachel came to a rack and closed her eyes. She stuck her hand out and began feeling around for something that would feel connected to the Goddess. As she felt her way through the robes she stopped and ripped out a white robe with a large lemon and a cup on it. Rachel looked at the robe then back to where she pulled it from. She placed the robe back where it came from and grabbed the one next to it. It was white with a white leather belt and black trim around the edges. “This is what the Goddess meant.” Rachel assured herself and forgot all about the lemonade robe.
The eight of them had all returned to the stage. Teshia was the only one sitting down on a couch. Amelia and Teshia had started a conversation while Taylor and Jessica admired Taylors dress. Rachel, Kiera, and Nicole were standing at the end of the stage. Aaron was seeing how fire resistant his armor was.
Ali stood up from her chair and cleared her throat. “Ok, so everyone’s got their outfits?” Everyone nodded. “Good! Now, for the shy ones, there are dressing rooms in the back. The rest of you can go ahead and put on your armor. It’s all been enchanted to fit you as you put it on, so no worries, ok?” The group started stripping and putting on armor. Ali continued talking. “You’re all also going to have to wear the symbol of the resistance, or your own personal symbol of the resistance. As you can see, Onya, or Teshia, or whatever she calls herself, is wearing a bracelet, it’s the least noticeable thing on her, but it has the symbol for fate on it.” Teshia looked down at the bracelet and couldn’t understand the symbol. “Each of these items has been blessed in the Temple of the Goddess. The symbol will change depending on what your destiny is. It might take some time though, so don’t go hoping for it to show right away like hers did, hers is fateful.” A couple of the people laughed. “For the rest of you, there are belts, headbands, bracelets, anklets, and other accessories.” Ali motioned behind her to large racks of jewelry, belts and other miscellaneous items. “Pick out what you’re going to wear and put it on. We’ll coordinate your colors afterword. EMILY!!!” Ali yelled for someone else as she walked to the edge of the stage.
Everyone, excluding Teshia, walked up to the accessory rack and chose their pieces. Aaron picked up a slim belt and put it around his waist with his red armor. Nicole picked up an earring and placed it in her ear. Rachel picked up an anklet, Jessica a leather shoulder piece, Kiera choose a tight necklace, Amelia picked up a ring, and Taylor choose a tiara.
“EMILY!!!” Ali yelled again.
“I’M COMING!” was the response as a girl fell from the ceiling. “What now?”
“New comers, gotta color coordinate.” Ali responded pointing at the eight.
“We splitting them into two groups or they together?” Emily asked cracking her knuckles. Emily was in a golden robe that did not match the rough voice coming out of her. She had black hair put up in a ponytail held together by two sticks in the back of her head, both holding a symbol on the flat end.
“Together for now.” Ali said.
“Good, easier to do it that way.” Emily turned to look at the group mulling around. “HEY! Get together! I need to see what I’m working with!” Everyone moved over to the couch where Teshia was still sitting. “None of you know how to coordinate colors, do you?” Emily sighed. Emily put her hands together and began to rub them. “Everyone ready? Color Balance!” Rays of color shot out from the ends of her hands and she opened them at the eight. A blinding light covered the group. Everyone’s clothes and armor began to match. Aaron’s bright red armor dulled to fit in with the black. Rachel’s white became less bright, but still white. Everyone became duller and less toned in their colors, except Taylor. Taylor’s outfit fused together into one cloth, the colors blended together in the form of flames. Blue to red to yellow, and the specks of other colors became stray flames. As the light faded, everyone’s accessories began to turn the same color as their outfits. “There, now you don’t look as much like a circus” Emily said as she turned around. “Need anything else sis?”
“Nope. That’s all, thanks.” Ali said.
“No probs.” Emily walked behind the stage and walked through a doorway. Ali turned to the new color coordinated group.
“Well, looks like you guys are almost ready, weapons?” Ali asked. Everyone pulled out their weapons while Nicole pointed to the collar around her neck and Taylor stood there awkwardly. “Morpher?” Ali asked looking at Nicole. Nicole nodded. “I’ll have someone wait outside to get that off of you. ZACK!!!” Ali yelled. “As for you,” Ali looked at Taylor. “What’s your weapon?” Amelia stepped up.
“She has no combat experience or training of any kind.” Amelia said flatly.
“Oh… well Zack can train her, too. You play any sports?” Ali asked.
“Badminton and I play with boomerangs…” Taylor said quietly.
“Well… with boomerangs we can do something.” Ali said thinking. Taylor took the new flame tiara off of her head and started to mess with it. Ali looked over. “That’s it!” Ali rushed over and took the tiara out of Taylor’s hands. “Emil-“
“I’m still here!” Emily yelled as she walked through the door back into the room. “You always call me back anyway…”
“Oh whatever. Right now I need you to turn this tiara into a boomerang like weapon, one that’s magical and catches fire when thrown!” Ali got really excited. Taylor’s eyes grew wide as the rest of the group slowly began taking steps backward.
“Ok, ok put it down.” Emily said. Ali put the Tiara down on the floor. “Dullblade!” Emily yelled as she snapped her fingers. The tiara floated off the ground and began to glow. Emily’s right hand began to glow. “Flametouch!” Emily yelled again as she hit her open glowing hand with her now fire red fist. The tiara began to glow red. She ripped her hands apart and the glow faded. The tiara set back down on the ground. “Go pick it up.” Emily said to Taylor. “Only you can touch it. It cuts anyone else who does and sets them on fire.” Taylor slowly approached the tiara and poked it with a squeal. When she realized nothing had happened she picked it up and put it on her head.
“Good. Let’s test it.” Ali kicked the wall and a dummy fell from the ceiling and hit the stage standing upright. “Go ahead and throw it at it. Yell some battle phrase, too, it will make it more fun.” Taylor took the tiara off her head.
“Magical Tiara Burning Flame Strike Attack of Doom!” Taylor said as she threw the tiara with a flick of her wrist. The tiara turned into a flaming boomerang that sliced through the dummy and set him aflame. The tiara began to fly back toward Taylor. “AH!” Taylor screamed as the tiara hit her head and fell back into place. Taylor was in a little ball on the floor in fear.
“It works! Good job, Sis. Can you send Zack down? We need to get this anti-morph collar off Nicole here.” Ali pointed at Nicole with her thumb. “And now they’re all ready.” Ali smiled as Emily left to find Zack. “Levi should be here in about 10 minutes. Hang tight guys. It’s gonna be an exciting night. You might even get to hear me scream.” Ali winked as she pulled out her sickles and snapped the two half circle blades together to form a chakram. “I’m gonna get in on it tonight!” Zack walked in.
“Need a collar taken off?” Zack asked as he walked on stage. Zack was wearing a simple steel breastplate and leggings with a white coat over it. “Come with me.” Zack said as he noticed Nicole. Zack walked off the stage and pulled out a toolset from under the table.
“When did that get there?!” Ali asked confused.
“I decided to store one here since this is where I do the most of this.” Zack responded as he opened the toolset. “Come sit on the edge of the stage.” Nicole went and sat down. After a few minutes of tinkering the collar fell off of Nicole. Nicole rubbed her neck as the ceiling of the room began to shake.
“Time to go! Everyone follow me!” Ali yelled. Zack pulled out small crossbows from the toolkit and placed them on metal bracers he had on his wrists and put extra bolts around his waist. Everyone followed Ali out of the room, through the labyrinth of the underground base, and came up standing outside of a tavern with half the buildings around it burning. A shadow covered the group.
“Found you.” said a quiet voice from above them. Everyone looked up to see Levi riding his dragon looking down at them.
“How are we going to get them to the opening?” The Goddess asked Cassie as they watched a group of workers finish building a castle to house the Dragon Riders of Cassie.
“Well, I had my people build this here so there would be easy access. We just have to get them here.” Cassie smiled as the stain glass window of her and the Goddess was lifted into place. “You know after 500 years, it’s about time I got a place for me.”
“Sorry that my people are the wealthy ones.” The Goddess said sipping pink lemonade. “Anyway, how are we going to go about getting them here? A map? A compass, maybe golden or something?” the Goddess kept throwing out ideas while Cassie thought about it.
“How about all of them?” Cassie suggested. “A map in different places so they have to go collect it for one generation, a compass to lead them through trials and finally here for another, a game of scrabble for their lives with every seven generation or so.”
“Sounds good to me.” the Goddess said. They watched the people labor for some time more. “How about some rain?”
“They do look tired.” Cassie and the Goddess raised their hands and called down a light drizzle. “That should do it.” The two smiled to themselves and each other as they headed off to find the next generation of warriors.
The world was on fire. Levi was flying around on Stell, she had tracked his charges to this city and he would find them. Stell flew around the city shooting fire out of her mouth. Levi sat atop her looking for their objective. There had been a large number of people who had poured out of the tavern battle-ready when Levi started burning things and they had been shooting at him for a few minutes and none of them had hit him yet. Spells flew by him and arrows bounced off of Stell’s armor. Levi looked down to the tavern and saw the three he was tracking come out with another group. Levi laughed to himself.
“Everyone don’t die.” Nicole said as she began running forward looking for a clearing without debris or fire to transform. The group all ran different directions. Kiera ran toward one of the large guard towers hoping to have Levi get close enough to jump on. She picked up an archer’s bow and arrows as she ran by the burning corpse. Jessica and Aaron ran to the town square.
“I’ll cover you as you shoot.” Aaron said as he knelt down. “Shield!” Jessica put her staff back on her back and began casting her spells at the dragon.
“Thunder!” Jessica yelled pointing one of her fingers at the dragon. Lightning shot out of her finger and struck the dragon’s wing. The dragon roared in pain as it began to turn around to attack them. “Thunder!” Jessica shot again. The second lightning bolt missed its target completely. “Incoming dragon!” Jessica yelled at Aaron. He closed the hole he had opened up for Jessica’s spells to get through as the dragon shot fie out of its mouth at them.
“Help!” Aaron yelled. The power of the fire was beyond what he was expecting. It burned him through his shield and was quickly wearing him out. Jessica ran over to him.
“Shield!” Jessica pushed her shield up to Aaron’s and tried to help block the stream of fire. “I’m not gonna hold this!” Jessica yelled as she fell to one knee.
“Keep it up!” Aaron yelled.
Rachel stood just outside of the tavern with her quarterstaff spinning and chanting. A white circle appeared around her and symbols took form from the fire around her. The symbol of pride took form first and shot itself to the town square. The symbol engraved itself on the belt Aaron choose for his accessory. Aaron stood up.
“Back off Jessica.” Aaron said. “Drop your shield when I tell you to.” Aaron dropped his shield and Jessica screamed. “NOW!” Jessica dropped her shield and the fire came straight for the two. Aaron unsheathed his sword. “Flames!” Aaron pointed his sword at the blast of fire and shot his own ball of flames into the oncoming attack. “Explosion!” the small orb of fire Aaron shot into the stream exploded. The fire coming at them shot off in every direction. There was still fire heading for them, though a smaller amount. “Wind!” Aaron lifted himself off the ground and caught the rest of the fire in his spell that he cast to spin around himself. “Hey Jess, look. It’s a fire tornado!” Aaron said proudly. Jessica pulled out her staff.
“Ready to take this guy down?” Jessica asked.
“Ready.” Aaron looked at the retreating dragon. “This is gonna be a fun game. Wind!” Aaron moved after the dragon.
Teshia grabbed onto a fallen wooden beam and lifted herself up on it. Fire was following close behind her coming from the dragon’s mouth. Teshia jumped up to the roof beside her. Teshia began to run from roof top to roof top, avoiding the stream of fire. Teshia turned to throw a knife at Levi. The blade hit the armor of the dragon and bounced off.
“Damn.” Teshia turned and kept running. The rooftops were going to end soon and she couldn’t turn around. Teshia saw a stable coming up. “Darkness!” shadows engulfed the area behind Teshia as she jumped to land in a hay bale in the stable. Teshia landed short of the bale and rolled into it. The dragon flew through the shroud of darkness and stopped shooting fire. Levi and the dragon began to look around. “Dismiss” Teshia whispered. The dark cloud vanished. “Shadows.” Teshia created a double of herself from the shadows and had it run back behind the dragon. Levi saw it and turned around to chase it. Teshia crawled out of the hay bale and pulled more knives from her belt. She was down to five. She had thrown a knife at him to distract him from attacking whoever had run to the town square and he began to follow her. Teshia ran in the direction he flew off toward.
Kiera made it to the top of the tower to see a black cloud dissipate. It was too far away from her to even think of trying to run or jump over there. Kiera picked up the bow she had taken from the body on her way to the tower. Kiera had used bows before, but never at this range. She nocked the arrow and took aim at the dragon. The arrow flew toward the dragon and missed by a mile. Kiera nocked and shot another arrow. This arrow hit its mark and the dragon roared. Levi turned to see where the arrow had come from and noticed the tower. Kiera nocked another arrow, the dragon was approaching fast. Rachel had another symbol appear in front of her. The symbol shot toward the tower Kiera was shooting from. Kiera’s necklace began to glow and the fire symbol hit the center of it and burned the symbol for thought on it. Kiera let the arrow fly and it hit the dragon in the jaw. The dragon snapped the arrow and opened its mouth to shoot fire into the tower. Kiera jumped out onto the ledge of the tower, grabbed the roof, and swung herself up onto it. Fire shot through the tower as the dragon neared. Kiera jumped out toward the dragon and unsheathed her daggers. The dragon swerved to the side and Kiera hit the wing. She dug her knives into the wing of the dragon to get a hold and began to climb up to Levi.
“Not bad.” Levi said as he unsheathed one of his katanas. Kiera growled as she climbed closer and closer. Levi pointed his sword at Kiera. “Stell, turn right.” The dragon turned to the right and Kiera began to fall off.
“Damn you! You killed my family!” Kiera yelled as she dragged her knives through the wing of the dragon.
“So cliché.” Levi said as Kiera fell off. He sheathed his sword and began looking for his targets again.
Amelia saw the dragon take a sharp right turn. She had followed Kiera to the tower and was waiting in one of the windows for the dragon to get close. Amelia knew that he dragon would have to circle the tower to get back to town and she was waiting for it to balance out so she could jump on it and do some damage. The dragon came past her window and Amelia jumped out. The dragon had not yet finished leveling out and Amelia was disoriented when she landed. This gave Levi enough time to turn and see her and unsheathe his sword again.
“You guys just don’t give up, do you?” Levi flipped around in his seat ready to fight the woman.
“No, we don’t.” Amelia smirked as she raised her sword high. Amelia was not aiming for Levi, however. She was going to cut of the tail of the dragon. Rachel had another symbol appear in fire around her. This symbol was the symbol for freedom. The symbol flew and attached itself to the ring that Amelia had put on the string tied tight around her neck. Amelia stabbed straight down into the back end of the dragon cutting straight through. “And I always win.” Amelia cut to one side.
“Stop!” Levi yelled. Without the tail, Stell could not navigate her flight. “You’ll kill us both!” Levi got on one knee to stand up.
“Worth it.” Amelia said as she sliced the opposite way. The tail and Amelia fell off the back of the dragon. Amelia fell directly into a tornado of fire and knocked it off balance. She and Aaron began a rapid decent back to the earth. The dragon began making erratic movements and losing balance.
Jessica had been following Aaron as he, unknowingly, burnt down what was left of the town in his fire tornado. “Water!” Jessica had been trying to put out as many fires as she could while keeping an eye on the fight going on in front of her. She heard the dragon roar louder than ever and looked up to see the girl, Amelia, standing on top of it. Then she fell off, and took the tail with her. She was going to die if she hit the ground from that height. “Voice!” Jessica amplified her voice. “Aaron! Catch her!” Aaron was on a direct course to run into her as it was, but she was hoping neither of them would get hurt. Aaron looked back at Jessica and Amelia hit him directly in the face, breaking his concentration, losing the fire tornado and sending them both plummeting to the ground. Jessica ran fast to get close enough to save them. Jessica felt something warm hit her shoulder and looked to see that some fire had touched it, leaving a symbol in it, this one read security. She had dabbled in reading ancient symbols at Fisher’s. Jessica looked back to the two falling figures and stopped to brace herself. “Wind!” Jessica made an updraft and caught the two a hundred feet from the ground. Jessica slowly lowered them to the ground and checked to see if they were ok. Aaron had passed out and Amelia was dizzy, but besides the dragon blood all over the both of them, they were fine.
Taylor had gone and hid behind the tavern when the battle began. She had heard thunder and fire and roaring and was curled up in a little ball. Taylor had finally gotten to her happy place as the dragon’s tail came crashing down in front of her, splattering blood all over her dress. Taylor looked at her dress, then at the tail and walked back to the front of the tavern. Rachel was still chanting when Taylor got there. One of the symbols floated toward Taylor and emblazoned itself on the tiara. Taylor kept walking. Rachel yelled out to her that it meant trust, but Taylor did not care. Taylor saw the dragon attempting to steady itself in the sky just above her and a little in front of her. Taylor removed the Tiara from her head and looked at the dragon and prepared to throw it.
“In the name of fashion and decent clothing, I WILL KILL YOU!!!” Taylor threw her tiara at the dragon. The tiara began to glow red, then blue and caught on fire. Then it expanded and grew in size until it was half the length of the dragon. Taylor screamed as it flew toward the dragon. The world took on a blue hue and everything moved in slow motion. First the tiara cut off the left wing of the dragon and as it passed through the dragon let out a loud roar. The tiara then turned around and cut through the right wing of the dragon. Taylor let a small smile grow on her face. The tiara slowly cooled down and returned to normal size and landed on Taylors head. The world returned to its correct colors. The dragon kept moving forward and falling. “That’s right, don’t mess with my clothes.”
Nicole had been watching the battle as she ran into the nearby woods. She was not a fan of working with people and the only person she cared for was Kiera. Nicole had been watching since Kiera jumped on the dragon. Kiera had fallen onto one of the soft roofed houses so Nicole did not fret over her possible injuries. Nicole had turned to run off when she saw a large boomerang shaped object slice through the dragon’s wings. She nodded in approval. Nicole transformed herself into a phoenix and began to fly over the battlefield. The dragon was in a rapid descent and Levi was just sitting atop calmly accepting his fate. She saw Rachel with fire around her and one of the balls flew up to Nicole it took the form of the symbol for spirit and burned itself into the earring that was still in her ear. Nicole flew over to the dragon that was losing speed, and grabbed onto the armor of Levi. She raised him high above the dragon, now on a collision course for the cliff over the ocean nearby, and, as he struggled, she took him over the forest and dropped him. Nicole went to the house where Kiera had fallen and transformed back to her human form. Kiera was coming out of consciousness.
“He’s near the edge of the forest,” Nicole said looking at Kiera. Kiera looked at her for a moment then ran and jumped off the edge of the building, heading for the forest.
Rachel had two symbols left in front of her. One of them floated out toward the forest by the edge of town. The final symbol shrunk down in size and burned itself into her anklet. The symbol for belief. Rachel stopped chanting and picked up her quarterstaff and began looking for the battle. She saw the dragon falling toward the cliff behind her and she started off in that direction. She passed members of the resistance burned and dead on the ground, few were still standing and almost all were injured. She stopped to heal the severely wounded and mark the dead with the symbol of the goddess. Rachel arrived at the cliff to find the dragon still alive and looking around. The dragon’s large green eyes looked at Rachel and she breathed a heavy sigh. Rachel had heard that dragons could not die until their riders had sent them off, as a final gift to them to see them one last time. Rachel walked around the dragon to each of its wounds and healed it to ease the pain of the dragon until Levi arrived or died.
Levi was batting at the phoenix as it picked him up and flew him over the city. Levi knew if the bird dropped him where he was, he might survive it, he didn’t want to know where it was taking him. The bird hit him with its long red tail.
“Stop it!” Levi covered the back of his head. The bird took him over the forest near the city. “Don’t you dare,” the bird dropped him into the trees below. Levi knew he would survive this fall, but he knew it would hurt. As he fell time began to slow down. He felt his body grow lighter and lighter. Levi closed his eyes.
Levi saw himself in a large marble room. Half the room was white and the other half black. He followed the line between up to two doors. Beside each door stood a woman, one in a black dress on the white side and one in white on the black side. The one in black stepped forward.
“Welcome Levi,” The woman in black said, “My name is Cassie.”
“And I am Charissa, the Goddess,” Charissa said walking forward.
“We need you to make a choice. An important one,” Cassie said. Levi realized he was standing in front of the Goddess.
“G-Goddess!” Levi tried to kneel. Cassie turned to Charissa.
“Told you, we need to be less formal.”
“Oh fine,” Charissa turned back to Levi, “No need to be formal. You won’t remember this anyway.”
“I won’t?” Levi asked confused trying to understand what was going on.
“Nope, I’m gonna wipe your memory when we’re done,” Cassie said, “But right now that’s not important. We need your help,” Levi looked from the Goddess to Cassie and back again.
“What do you require?” Levi asked bowing his head slightly.
“So formal,” Charissa shook her head, “You were right, Cassie.”
“Thank you,” Cassie responded.
“We need you to choose between these two doors. Two fates. And once you choose you can’t change it,” Charissa motioned to the doors behind her and Cassie. The two stepped back to their respective doors. Cassie opened her door.
“This is your first choice,” Cassie said. Levi looked through the door and saw flames, death, and destruction. There was pain everywhere. He saw the Dragoners castle. Walls had been knocked down from an obvious siege. Scars of battle marked the lands around it. He saw whole continents burning and whole peoples murdered in cold blood. Bodies hung from hooks on the walls of buildings and mages were hung by the neck from their robes. He saw a great magical wall and dragons were chained and forced to attack and maul it until it fell. He watched darkness come from the holes in the wall and slowly consume the world. Fires were extinguished and the world became cold and dead.
“What kind of choice is that?!” Levi jumped back when the door had let go of his mind, “Why would I choose that?!”
“Calm down and look again,” Cassie said pointing to the door. Levi slowly walked back to the door.
“Fine, but I’m not going to-” Levi looked in again and the door took hold of his mind once more. This time Levi saw his brother in the combat ring. It was the day of contest in the Dragoners castle. Levi’s brother, Cody, put his name in the drawing for the battle for leadership. His name was called. One hundred Dragoners entered the ring with their choice of weapons and armor, one walked out the new leader of the mercenaries. Cody brought a mace and traditional armor into the ring. Levi was waiting by his and his brother’s dragon eggs. They had been chosen for it. Cody’s egg began to twitch and the dragon snout peaked through. Levi ran to the arena to tell him. They were both young, twelve and eleven years of age, Levi the older. He ran in and looked over the edge to see his brother land the mace in the skull of an opponent.
“Your dragon is hatching!” Levi yelled into the ring. Cody turned to look at his brother. He smiled. Another mace came crashing down on his skull, killing him.
Levi remembered the day well, he had killed his brother. And the baby dragon died with him. Then a flash of light appeared and Levi saw him yell again, this time Cody blocked the mace, then turned to look at him and smiled. His brother survived the battle. His brother became ruler of the Dragoners. Levi had his brother back, his family. Levi felt himself grow happier, he had been removed of guilt, and then the door let him go. Levi fell back and was short of breath.
“You would save your brother,” Cassie said coolly. Levi felt all the guilt and pain return to him. It was heavy and wore him out.
“Save my brother, destroy the world?” Levi said quietly.
“Save your brother, feel what you felt,” Cassie responded coldly.
“Or you can choose this,” Charissa said opening her door. Levi edged over to the other door and looked through it. It once again grabbed his mind. Levi saw a different world this time, the world was populated and not on the verge of destruction. The world had scars of battle that were healing and he saw himself laying on a hill in different armor. The armor was cut and burnt in areas but he looked at peace. He saw a shadowy figure walk up from behind him and sit down. He looked at it and he saw him talking to it. Other figures came up around them and they began to have fun. Levi watched for a time. The door let him go.
“What was that?” Levi said spitefully.
“Another choice,” Charissa said offhandedly.
“No brother though,” Cassie said pointer her thumb to her door.
“So, what will you choose? Live without your brother in a peaceful happy world?” Charissa said with a smile.
“Or bring him back and destroy everything.” Cassie said with a smirk.
“Your choice, make it. No one will ever know, besides us.” Charissa and Cassie disappeared with Charissa’s last sentence.
Levi stood in the large room looking around at the marble walls. He looked at the two doors.
“Well, naturally I would choose my brother!” Levi began to walk toward the black door. He was about to grab the door handle when he stopped. “What choice is this?” Levi kicked the black door. He walked back to the middle of the room and sat down. Levi reached for his swords to have something to mess with, nothing was there. “Took my swords, too?” Levi scoffed and stared at the doors. “My brother or the world.” Levi stood. “Damn you.” Levi muttered under his breath.
Charissa and Cassie watched as Levi kicked the door. They had made themselves invisible to Levi to watch his decision. Levi muttered profanities under his breath as he paced from door to door.
“I’m putting my money on the white door.” Cassie said.
“That’s not much of a bet,” Charissa responded. Levi paced some more.
“Kiera will be getting there soon,” Cassie said.
“We’ve got time.” Charissa summoned herself lemonade and took a drink. Levi stopped and looked at the doors. He took a deep sigh. Levi walked slowly to the white door and opened it. He walked through.
Kiera ran through the edge of the forest looking for the man who had killed everyone she had loved and everything she had ever known.
“Cliché” Levi’s voice echoed through her head as she thought about it. She took to her knife and stabbed it into the nearest tree screaming. She ripped the knife out and turned around to see a body lying on the ground in front of her. She walked slowly up to the body and kicked it over revealing the face. It was Levi. Kiera kicked his body again. “Bastard!” Kiera kicked him in the side. Her boot hit the armor and hurt her foot. “YOU SON OF A B****!” Kiera screamed grabbing her foot. “DAMN YOU!” Kiera’s eyes began to tear up. She pulled her knife from its sheath. “Go to hell,” Kiera got on her knees by his head, “GO TO HELL!” Kiera raised the knife and thrust it down at Levi’s head closing her eyes.
Kieras fists hit a hard floor. She opened her eyes and saw a large black and white room. Kiera looked around and saw two doors with two figures beside them. She stood up and walked over.
“Where's that man?” Kiera asked angrily. The two figures looked at each other then back to Kiera.
“That doesn’t matter right now,” The woman in white said. “Right now we need to ask you to make a decision; I am Charissa, otherwise known as the Goddess.”
“I am Cassie.” The woman in black said.
“Of course it matters! He killed my whole village!” Kiera reached for her knives that were not there.
“Just like you murdered hundreds of animals who were running home,” Cassie said taking a step forward. Kiera stopped and thought about it for a second. “Right, so now your choice.” Charissa took a step forward.
“My door will be first,” The door beside Charissa opened. Kiera felt her mind pulled into the doorway. Kiera saw a flash of light then watched as she plunged a knife into the head of the man who caused her pain. She took out the knife and stabbed him again, over and over, until Kiera was covered in the man’s blood. Kiera smiled. She watched herself stand up and walk back into town. She heard a loud painful roar from in front of her. She watched as she was given honors for killing the man and was sent on a secret mission for the rebellion. She watched herself slit the throats of every person she met. She watched as the floor filled with blood. She approached a cowering man who offered her a piece of paper and she took it then stabbed him in the head. She began to wear blood red armor and she became a blade for hire. She walked into a village on one mission and killed them all, and then she burnt the village down. A little boy walked in from the edge of town and began crying, asking her why. She walked up to him looked into his eyes and plunged a knife into his stomach. She kicked him into a burning building and walked out of the village. Kieras mind came loose from the door.
“He dies.” Kiera said looking up at Charissa. Charissa looked back with sad eyes.
“Yes he does.”
“There’s another choice,” Cassie said opening her door. Kiera glanced over and felt the pull of the door. Her mind was shown a scene where the knife missed the man. Kiera watched herself cry over the body. People came through the trees to her. Nicole picked her up and put her on her back. The others picked up his body and they all moved to the cliff side. Jessica healed the man and he awoke. Kiera tried to scream, but she couldn’t. He looked at the dragon. A flash of light went across her eyes and she saw her traveling with him, fighting beside him, helping each other. She was smiling when he was so close to her.
The door let go of her mind and she returned to her body.
“Why?!” Kiera was on the verge of tears. “Why would I save him?! He’s never saved anyone!”
“It’s your choice, to kill him and become him, or to save him and forgive him.” Charissa caught her.
“Take a moment to think it over.” Charissa said. “Think of what you saw.”
“I just won’t do that. Now that I know I can stop it!” Kiera thrashed against Charissa trying to get to the door.
“You’ll forget everything you saw. You’ll do it anyway.” Cassie said walking over and picking Kiera up. “So think, you want to be just like him?” Cassie threw Kiera back and disappeared.
“The doors won’t open until your mind is calm,” Charrisa said as she too disappeared. Kiera ran up and tried to open the white door. It was locked.
“Damn you!” Kiera beat the door with her fists. “Damn you…” Kiera slumped down from the door and cried. Kiera remembered her village and her mother. Kiera lay down and thought about her life. She had been raised to forgive people who wrong you, to hold a grudge was to corrupt the soul. She remembered herself killing all those innocent villagers, just because she had been told to.
“He better have a damn good reason,” Kiera was still angry. She stood up and walked over to the black door, “Happy you two?! I won’t give him what he deserves!” Kiera pulled open the door. She heard behind her a single sentence.
“And that’s nine.”
Kieras knife plunged into the dirt beside Levis face. Tears ran down her face.
“Damn you… damn you to hell.” Kiera heard a shuffle behind her. She turned to look. Nicole came through the bushes and stood beside her.
“Once you start, you never stop.” Nicole said grabbing Kieras shoulder. She let go and backed up. Nicole transformed into a Snow Wolf. She nudged Kiera and Kiera climbed onto her and lay down. Audrey and Cassie walked through the thicket.
“Got him!” Audrey threw her fist into the air, “We lost a few people, but I think it’s worth it for him.”
“Let’s take him back to base.” Cassie said. She looked at Kiera and nodded. Nicole began to head back to the base. Jessica ran through the woods and came into the clearing out of breath.
“Rachel…says to…bring…him to…the…cliff,” Jessica tried to catch her breath.
“Why?” Audrey said pulling a small wooden and cloth contraption from her back. She began unfolding it. Jessica began to open her mouth.
“The final right of dragons.” Cassie said calmly, “If we don’t, the dragon cannot die. It’s best to.” Audrey finished unwrapping a bed and shoved Levi onto it. Cassie waver her hand and the bed floated off the ground.
“I guess so,” Audrey said pouting. They took Levi to the cliff face and Kiera was still on Nicole’s back. Cassie dropped Levi off a few feet away from the dragon. The dragons’ eyes looked at Levi. By this time everyone had gathered around the dragon to look at it. As Audrey walked up everyone backed away. Rachel walked over to Levi and put her hands over him.
“Heal,” White light came from Rachel’s hands and flowed into Levi. He opened his eyes and sat up in shock. He grabbed his head and fell back down on the bed and moaned. The dragon lifted her head up. “Heal!” Rachel let another blast of light hit Levi. This time Levi opened his eyes and looked around. He slowly reached for his swords.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Cassie said. She pointed to the large group of people around him. Levi’s hand moved back away from the swords. He sat himself up and looked at Audrey.
“I submit, take me prisoner,” Levi said with a dejected voice.
“Not now,” Cassie said, “You have to send your dragon off.” Levi looked over toward his dragon and remembered the battle. He sighed.
“Can we be alone?” Levi asked.
“So you ca-“Audrey started.
“Leave him, ok? I’ll watch him,” Cassie said to Audrey.
“Ok then,” Audrey waved her hand back and everyone left Levi alone with his dragon and Cassie. Cassie walked over to the woods near town and leaned against a tree. Levi walked up to Stell. He put his hand on her snout and rubbed her.
“Hey girl…” Levi smiled at Stell. Stell took a deep breath in and blew at Levi. “Sorry Stell. How ya doing?” Levi asked walking up and sitting beside her so she could still see him. “T-these wounds are too deep…” Levi said with a pained voice. “There’s nothing I can do…” Levi said as he traced the gashes along Stell. “I think… I think it’s time. I’m gonna miss you, Stell.” Stell rolled her head over and nuzzled her nose against Levi. A low hum came from her throat. “I love you too. I will always remember you, girl…” Levi stood up and walked in front of Stell. He put his arm out and opened his hand toward his dragon, to his only family he had left. “So long, my friend…” Levi whispered as a tear ran down his cheek. Stell closed her large, blue eyes as a wind came from behind Levi and began to blow in steady steams. Stell began to slowly fade away, beginning from the tip of her nose. Red, brightly lit flames began to sprout from her body only to blow the ashes away in the breeze. More tears rolled down Levi’s face as he watched the horrific yet beautiful sight unfold before him. Each of the smoldering ashes flew out toward the glittering sea and into the gleaming red sunset in the distance. When the last flake of ash that had been Stell floated away, into the ocean, Levi lowered his hand and fell to his knees, quietly weeping as he had not done in many years. A quiet roar came from where the rose petals were moving to and Levi’s tears doubled. Many minutes passed and Levi eventually wiped the tears from his cheeks. Cassie was still leaning against the tree when Levi slowly rose and headed back toward her, offering her his hands.
“No need. I know you’ll come,” Cassie said turning around walking toward the destroyed town. Levi followed her in silence. Cassie led Levi to the entrance of ‘Something Epic’ and down into the underground caverns. ‘Something Epic’ was made of many floors the ground floor was a tavern to hide the organization from the emperor of Brandis. The first basement is made for meetings and paperwork, second basement is for training, third is for prisoners, fourth is for the library, and the fifth and largest floor is for the clothes and armor and weapons. Cassie led Levi to the first basement conference room and sat him down in a small wooden chair. Cassie sat in a chair on the other end of the table next to Audrey, directly in front of him.
“Bring me the new guys.” Audrey said to Brittany in the corner of the room.
“Yes ma’am,” Brittany said as she headed out of the room. “New guys!” They heard from the hallway as Brittany walked off, “Get up here!”
“Tell me, why did you come here?” Audrey asked Levi.
“The emperor contracted me to bring him a woman and her two companions,” Levi said quietly.
“And I’m assuming those three are some of our people?” Audrey asked.
“I tracked them here, yes.”
“No other motives?” Audrey rose up in her seat some.
“None,” Levi kept his head down. Audrey fell back into her chair.
“Well, that’s no fun, a plain old mercenary,” Audrey felt cheated.
“That’s what I was,” Levi said.
“You’re not anymore?” Audrey looked confused.
“I…I don’t have a dragon anymore. No dragon, no Dragoner.” Levi raised his head. “This is the part where you kill me.” Levi said disheartened.
“Kill you? Well, if you want I guess we can arra-“Audrey was cut short.
“You’re much more an asset than a liability,” Cassie said. She turned to Audrey, “How about he joins us?”
“What?!” Audrey exclaimed.
“What?” Levi, being snapped out of his depressed state, said surprised.
“It looks as though he has lost meaning in his life, so let’s give him a new one,” Cassie stood up, “How about we leave it to our newest members, they will be here shortly.”
“Then I will die.” Levi lowered his head again, delving back into sorrow.
“We will see,” Cassie turned as the door opened and Tyler brought the new members in.
“You asked for the new guys?” Tyler asked as everyone filed into the conference room.
“Thank you, Tyler,” Audrey said, “You can go.” Tyler left the room. The new comers stood in an awkward silence with Audrey, Cassie and Levi.
“Well, this is awkward,” Aaron said moving to sit down beside Levi, “What did you want Audrey?” The others followed Aaron’s step and choose seats.
“Well, we want you guys to vote on his fate,” Audrey nodded at Levi, “He wants to die, I want him imprisoned, and Cassie wants to make him our ally,” Audrey stood up. “Well, let me know what you guys think and we can do that, you guys earned it from that last battle.” Cassie stood up and walked out of the room. Audrey sat back down and pulled out a book from the desk. The newcomers sat in awkward silence again.
“I vote he dies.” Nicole said promptly. She looked around.
“I say he joins us,” Aaron said looking over at Levi. Levi looked up stunned. Aaron smiled at him and turned back to the others.
“Interrogation for me,” Rachel said.
“That’s one for each!” Audrey said loudly over her book.
“Death.” Teshia said.
“Interrogation.” Kiera said quietly. Nicole looked at her surprised. Kiera kept her head down.
“Join.” Jessica said.
“Two for each!” Audrey said again. “Two more votes.” The group looked around at each other. Taylor and Amelia were the only ones who had not yet voted. Amelia looked at Levi and back to the group.
“Death.” Taylor said. She had brought in a wet cloth and was still wiping off blood from her dress.
“Join.” Amelia said. Taylor looked up.
“Join? That’s not like you,” Taylor said.
“He could be of great use to us. He’s trained and he has knowledge of Brandies.” Amelia looked over to Audrey. “That’s what this is for right, this rebellion? To fight the Emperor of Brandies?” Audrey put her book down.
“Yes. That’s what we do. And with that it gives us a tie between death and joining. You guys who lost the vote, vote again.” Audrey sat back in her chair.
“Death.” Rachel said. She was looking at her nails. Every one turned to look at Kiera.
“Your vote.” Jessica said quietly. Kiera looked at Levi. His head was down and his shoulders were slumped forward. Kiera took a deep sigh.
“Join us.” Kiera said. Everyone looked toward her. Levi slowly raised his head and looked at her. Kiera made eye contact. She saw regret and deep pain in his eyes.
“Well, that’s a tie, so he gets to die. That’s what he wanted any-,” Audrey got cut off.
“I’m changing my vote.” Nicole said. She looked at Kiera. “I want him to join.”
“What?” Rachel said. “What is this?!” Rachel stood up. “He tried to kill us!”
“Votes are votes,” Audrey said. She stood up and walked over to Levi. She put her hand on his shoulder. “Welcome to the club.” Audrey walked out of the room and left the nine of them there. Aaron stood up.
“Well, let’s go get him something for a symbol.” Aaron looked around. Rachel was still standing angry, everyone else was quiet. “Well, I’ll take him then, I guess. Come on Levi.” Aaron started for the exit. Levi rose from the table and slowly followed him out. The other seven members stayed in the room, awkwardly quiet.
Aaron and Levi walked through the maze of halls that made up the underground fortress. Many of the members were above ground attempting to rebuild the ruined city. Aaron led Levi down into the dressing room after giving his name to Amanda.
“We just got here. How do you know your way around?” Levi asked Aaron.
“I don’t I just kinda guess.” Aaron said with a smile. “Ali!” Ali came down from her stage and walked over to Aaron.
“Can I help ya?” Ali asked. She was chewing something.
“Levi here needs new stuff.” Aaron said pointing to Levi.
“Isn’t he the guy we just tried to kill?” Ali asked walking back to the stage waving them to follow.
“Yeah, he’s with us now.” Aaron responded following Ali.
“Good to hear,” she turned to look at Levi, “Looks like you just need a symbol, your armor and weapons are up to snuff and you just need cleaned. Emily!” Ali yelled. Her sister came down from the ceiling and looked at Levi.
“Aint he the gu-“Emily was cut short.
“Yeah we need cleaned and colored here.” Ali said. She led them all onto the stage and brought Levi up to the leather accessories. “Choose one.” Ali walked away. Levi stood and looked at all the different leathers.
“Aaron?” Levi asked.
“Yeah that’s my name.” Aaron said walking forward.
“Can you help me real quick?” Levi picked up a shoulder piece and some arm cuffs. He cut the cuffs long ways.
“Yeah whatcha need?” Aaron watched as Levi placed the three down on the ground.
“Can you heat all of these flat together and fuse them?” Levi asked stepping back.
“Yeah, fire is my thing.” Aaron raised his hands.
“I noticed,” Levi said sarcastically.
“Heat!” Aaron hands glowed red and the leathers flattened down on top of each other. “I don’t think I can fuse them without hurting them though…” Aaron said. Emily walked up.
“I’ve got it from here,” Emily said. “Mend!” the leathers fused together at the edges and formed a single rectangle of leather.
“Thanks.” Levi said as he leaned down and picked up the leather. He pulled out a small knife from his boot and cut five holes across the long end of the leather. Levi picked up string from the table beside him and cut pieces from it and tied the leather to the right side of his armor hanging down over his leg. “How’s this?” he asked.
“Workable.” Emily said. She pointed her hands at him. “Color!” Levi glowed white for a moment and the leather strip turned into a segmented leather leg guard the reached down to his knee. Levi put the dagger back into his boot. His armor had been cleaned as well.
“Thanks.” Levi said. His chest began to glow and a red symbol flew from underneath his armor. The symbol landed on his leg guard and burned itself into it. The symbol for love.
“Hey! My belt did that too!” Aaron said pointing to the symbol on his belt. “Their supposed to I guess.”
“Yeah don’t worry about it.” Ali said. “Now if you’re done here…” Ali tapped her foot on the stage. Emily walked off toward the back door and Aaron led Levi back up toward the conference room.
“Welcome to the group by the way.” Aaron said and stopped moving, “You’re not going to try and kill us, right?” Aaron turned to look at Levi.
“What?” Levi was confused. “Why would I try to-“
“You’ve been hunting us for days now, and it sounds like you’ve done something to one of the girls who ended up here with us.” Aaron looked at Levi, “You’re not exactly the trustworthy type.”
“Then why have you been so nice?” Levi was becoming defensive.
“Because, I figure allies are better than enemies. And since you’ve been voted in, I would rather make it look like at least one of us trusts you. Audrey doesn’t, that much I know.” Aaron leaned against the wall beside him. “No one else much likes you. Honestly I’m surprised you got in, thank the Goddess for that.”
“I do. And without my dragon, the contract I signed no longer applies. It was sent for Levi, Dawnrider. Now I’m just some lowly swordsman.” Levi kicked the ground. “So I no longer have an interest in hunting any of you.”
“Well, that’s somewhat satisfying. I’ll take that as your answer for now, come up with a better reason for when the other ask, if they do. I’ll vouch for you for now.” Aaron stood back up and began walking back toward the conference room.
“Why?” Levi asked.
“Why what?” Aaron stopped moving again.
“Why would you vouch for me? Or even help me?” Levi asked.
“Because, you weren’t always like this.” Aaron responded turning around.
“Like what?” Levi asked.
“Mean, uncaring, cold, businesslike.” Aaron responded.
“How would you know?” Levi seemed skeptical.
“My parents knew your parents. I was told stories, about you and your brother.” Aaron responded. A shout came from the hallway.
“Get back here Aaron!” Audrey had yelled herself from the conference room.
“I think that there’s still some of that in you. C’mon we better go.” Aaron turned around and began jogging toward the conference room.
“I don’t understand you.” Levi said quietly as he began to catch up to Aaron. Aaron said nothing as the two returned to the conference room.
Cassie left a letter on Audrey’s desk telling her that her time with ‘Something Epic’ was over. She teleported out of the room and met the Goddess in the sky.
“Everything is in place.” Cassie said.
“Good, Levi is with them and Kiera won’t be killing him anytime soon.” The Goddess said. She summoned a glass of lemonade and began to drink it.
“All we have left to do is to give them a choice.” Cassie said. The Goddess nodded. “I think I’m going to take a nap until the next one then. Five thousand years of doing this over and over is quite tiring.” Cassie teleported away to a large library on Letha and took a cot to sleep for a long time.
The Goddess floated above the hideout of ‘Something Epic’ and watched the people rebuilding the village.
“Enjoy it while you can, you nine.” The Goddess teleported away and waited while the nine of them trained and performed missions for the next three months.
Levi and Aaron walked into the conference room. Audrey was there and had brought some other members with her. There was a large map of the world opened on the table in front of her.
“About time you two got here. Levi is the newest member of our organization and I’m sticking him with the eight of you.” Audrey said addressing each of them. “I’m sending you guys, you need a group name now by the way, with Firetongue,” Audrey motioned to the eleven people behind her, “Your job is to infiltrate and destroy the weapons facility on Brandies.” Audrey pointed to a large volcano sitting on the southeastern coast of the continent. “After you’re done, you will report back damages and anything else you find.” Audrey looked up at the new group. “So first things first, what’s your name going to be?”
The group quarreled over names. Suggestions were thrown out and shot down. Shadow lurkers, flamers, phoenix people, fashonistas, well dressed, and lemon heads were all dismissed quickly. The group sat in silence as the Firetoungues pulled out cards and began to play. Aaron looked over at Levi.
“How about Dawn Walkers?” Aaron asked. Everyone looked at Aaron curiously.
“Where did you get that?” Rachel asked.
“Just came to me. It fits though doesn’t it?” Aaron looked at everyone. “Anyone have any specific objections?” No one said anything. “So does it work for everyone?”
“Works for me.” Levi said, the first time he spoke since he entered the room.
“I like it.” Jessica said, Taylor nodded in agreement.
“Well that’s four people who all are willing to use it. More than the rest. You’re getting it.” Audrey said as she wrote it down on a piece of paper. She stood up.
“Now then everyone knows you guys, but you guys don’t know anyone. So this is Firetoungue group.” Audrey motioned behind her again. “You two know what your mission is; they will lead you there and instruct you. After that, follow the main objective and come back alive, ok? Good,” Audrey picked up her things. “If you need me I’ll be near the shoes.” Audrey walked out of the room. The Dawn Walkers looked at the Firetoungues. One of the men stepped forward.
“My name is Tyler.” He took a quick bow, he was wearing some simple steel armor and had a long sword attached to his hip. All of the group members had red tints to their outfits. “I’m the leader of Firetoungues, this is Cheyenne, our second in command.” A small girl walked up with a battle axe on her back and wearing thick steel armor. “Just listen to me and you won’t die.” The rest of the Firetoungues introduced themselves. The group was made of eleven members; Tyler, Cheyenne, Maddison, Brittany, Kyle, Cory, Xylill, Kathryn, Querston, Zach, and Nathan. Most of them were fighters or archers while Nathan, Querston, and Xylill were mages.
“Nice to meet all of you.” Taylor said.
“Same here.” Madison said. Tyler headed for the door.
“The sooner we leave, the better people!” Cheyenne said following Tyler to the door. The rest of Firetoungue followed out the door and Xylill motioned for the Dawn Walkers to follow them. Aaron followed out the door with the rest of the room following suite. Tyler led the whole group out and to the surface. As everyone stepped out they stood around Tyler and the three mages stood further out around them. The Dawn Walkers came out and stood at the entrance to ‘Something Epic’.
“Come stand near us.” Tyler said.
“What’s going to happen?” Nicole growled.
“Mass teleport to Brandies.” Nathan said matter-of-factly. Taylor and Jessica started walking toward the Firetoungues.
“Is it safe?” Aaron asked as Kiera and Nicole stepped forward.
“Safe? We’ve been doing this longer than you’ve known about magic!” Nathan said. “Just get in there.” Aaron and the rest of the group headed into the circle. As everyone got close together the three mages raised their arms high.
“Teleport!” the three said together. A symbol appeared beneath all of them and a beam of light hit them. The twenty people landed outside a large volcano in a desert.
“We’re here.” Cheyenne said. She popped her knuckles and put on thin metal gloves. “Let’s get this over with.” The Firetoungues began walking toward the base of the volcano. Kiera fell down and began to dry heave. Jessica ran over to her.
“Are you ok?” Jessica asked worried. “Cure.” Kiera stopped convulsing.
“Yeah, sorry,” Kiera had a slightly hoarse voice.
“First time teleporting?” Teshia asked.
“First time is always the worst.” Teshia followed the Firetoungues to the volcano base. Nicole helped pick up Kiera and moved her toward the volcano.
“Weapons ready!” Tyler yelled. The Firetoungues all pulled out their weapons. Tyler looked back to the Dawn Walkers. “You guys take the top, well take the bottom. Destroy everything!” with that he raised his long sword into the air and Xylill blew a hole in the side of the volcano.
The Firetoungues yelled and charged into the volcano and sounds of battle could be heard instantly. Aaron pulled out his sword.
“Let’s play.” Aaron said as he charged toward the opening. Nicole steadied Kiera and transformed herself into a wolf and headed into the fray. Teshia and Amelia charged into the fray after her.
“Watch my back.” Amelia said to Teshia.
“Only if you watch mine.” Teshia responded pulling a knife out.
Rachel pulled out her quarterstaff and began to charge. Jessica and Taylor came up beside her.
“Together?” Jessica asked.
“Works for me.” Rachel responded.
“What are we doing?” Taylor asked.
“Just hurt people.’ Rachel responded.
“Oh, I’m no good at that!” Taylor pouted.
“Just do what we do.” Jessica said.
Levi unsheathed his swords and walked into the base of the volcano. Kiera steadied herself and when she could move she took out her daggers and slowly walked toward the sounds of battle.
Aaron ran in as Cheyenne roundhouse kicked a guard into a wall. She looked back at him.
“Get upstairs!” Cheyenne yelled at Aaron. She punched another guard in the face. She jumped down a chute leading into the lower levels of the volcano. A wolf ran in behind Aaron as he ran up a ramp to his left. Aaron ran through a long corridor with doors on each wall before deciding on a door to smash through. Aaron ended up in a communal bathroom with showers and toilets on each wall. Some people were behind curtains in the back. One man popped his head through the curtain.
“What’s goin on?” he asked. Aaron looked at him for a moment.
“Water!” the shower heads exploded with water and the toilets shoot water up from them and they all flew at the curtains in the back. “Freeze!” as the water washed over the man and anyone else the water froze trapping them in it. Aaron walked back out into the hallway. Some of the other doors had been opened and it sounded like there was fighting going on. The door across from him opened and a woman charged him. She slammed against him and hit Aaron back against the wall. Aaron slid down the wall. He looked at her.
“Is that all you got?” the woman said unsheathing her sword. Aaron’s eyes grew bright red.
“BURN!” Aaron screamed. Fire erupted from the ground and consumed the woman. She screamed. Aaron picked up his sword and stabbed her through the heart. “Be gone!” The woman exploded in front of Aaron and the fire stopped. “Clean.” Aaron’s armor cleaned itself of the remains of the woman from a moment before and he walked into the room she came from.
Aaron walked in to the room with many people sitting writing on paper and transcribing from paper to books. No one noticed Aaron enter. Aaron put his sword on his back and put his hands together. “Fire!” Aaron yelled. This time everyone turned around to see him open his hands and flames shoot out to consume the room in fire. Aaron heard them scream as he walked out of the room. “Earth.” Aaron rolled a ball of stone, made from the walls around him, into the doorway to block the exit. Aaron looked up the hallway and saw Levi running up a staircase. Aaron followed him up the staircase.
Nicole ran up the ramp following Aaron to the hallway with doors. She saw Aaron break through a doorway. Nicole headed for the staircase at the end of the hallway when a door burst open in front of her. Four soldiers ran out and saw her. She immediately bit the first soldiers’ legs and dragged him down. She used his body to trip one of the others while transforming one of her back legs back into a human leg to trip the last two. With all her targets on the floor Nicole ripped out two of their throats with her teeth and crushed the other two’s faces with her hind legs. Kiera had come up behind her. Nicole turned around and growled at her. Kiera raised her hands. Nicole turned back around and saw Aaron heading up the stairs. She headed up the staircase in pursuit. Kiera followed her.
Teshia and Amelia followed Nicole up the ramp.
“I’ll take left, you take right.” Teshia said. Amelia nodded and kicked down the right hand door. Amelia ran into a broom closet. She turned to see that Teshia had run into an armory. Teshia was jumping and dodging attacks from many enemies. Amelia ran in and cut through one of the attackers. As the others turned to see the new combatant, Teshia threw two of her knives into the throats of the last two attackers.
“Not bad.” Amelia said.
“Not bad yourself.” Teshia turned around to leave the room as two large double doors opened behind them. Twenty fighters came pouring out into the armory and picked up weapons. Teshia turned around and threw knives into three of the soldiers. The other seventeen turned and began to charge them. Amelia raiser her sword and jumped. Amelia screamed as she landed down bringing her sword down cutting one of her assailants in half. A large blue beam shot from the sword and cut the five men behind him. The remaining eleven men stopped for a moment. Teshia threw three more knives and took down three more. Amelia ran at them and cut sideways hitting two of them. The remaining six men turned and ran to the door they had come from. Teshia threw more knives and took down three more of them. The final three escaped.
“I’ll chase them.” Teshia said running after them. Amelia grunted in response and headed out the door. She saw Kiera walking toward the end staircase and followed her.
Teshia followed the three men into a barracks that was freshly emptied. None of the beds were made and the smell of man was fresh. Teshia walked through the room looking for anyplace the runners might have hidden. A crossbow bolt shot from the ceiling into her shoulder. There was hideous laughter from above her. Teshia looked up and threw a knife in the direction the bolt came from. A body fell down and hit the floor in front of her.
“Shadows.” Teshia covered the room in a dark cloud. She swung herself up into the ceiling and found the last two men with crossbows looking down for her. She walked up behind them silently and slit their throats. The bodies hit the floor with a thump. Teshia swung herself down and dismissed her shadows. She walked to a door on the far end of the room and opened it. A staircase led upstairs and she ascended. Teshia walked into a large room with the opening to the volcano above it. Levi was standing talking to a man in heavy armor that seemed to be in charge of the place. Teshia readied her knives.
Jessica, Rachel and Taylor ran straight into the chute that leads down into the bowels of the volcano. The trio landed on each other outside of a ring of combat. Arrows were flying and swords clashed with magic flying through the air. The majority of the volcano staff was in the bottom levels smelting ore and refining it then crafting it into weapons and armor. Rachel got off the top of the pile and picked up her quarter staff. She ran at a soldier who was attacking Brittany. Before Rachel got to the man an arrow lodged itself into his skull and he fell. Jessica and Taylor stood up. At every person they each charged an arrow beat them there. Jessica shot bolts of lightning at the mages behind the soldiers. Jessica felled three mages before the Firetoungues got to them. When the last mage was dead, everyone stopped and checked for any survivors. Cheyenne kicked every man and woman in the face to ensure they were dead. Tyler was working on picking a lock on a door that lead further into the volcano.
“Move over.” Brittany said shoving Tyler out of the way. Brittany pulled out a lock pick from her boot and went to work on the lock. Within a few minutes the door came loose. The Firetoungues all lined up and ran through the door. The trio stayed in the back. There was an explosion through the door and Jessica ran through. A machine had been destroyed that cooled the steel to forge the weapons. Tyler was standing near the ledge that overlooked a lava pit. He noticed Rachel, Jessica and Taylor.
“You three are supposed to be upstairs.” He said. He pointed to a door on the wall. “That should take you up there.” Rachel headed for the door. Taylor followed her with Jessica. A loud noise came from a machine near the edge of the cliff. Jessica stopped and looked at the machine. A hatchway opened from the bottom and an old elderly lady crawled out. She had long fingernails and long gray hair; she wore a gray tattered robe. The old lady came out and looked at the Firetoungues.
“Oh my, can I help you?” she asked in a shaky voice. “Who can I talk to?”
“She’s fine!” Tyler yelled to his teammates. They all put down their weapons and led her over to him.
“Are you in charge here?” she asked kindly.
“None of us are in charge, I just know the layout of this job better,” he said smiling.
“Oh I see. Well then you might want to see that over there.” The old woman raised a shaky hand and pointed across the chasm. Tyler turned around and looked hard.
“What’s there ma’am?” Tyler asked looking. The woman got close to him and wrapper her arms around him and clutched him hard.
“The end.” She whispered into his ear and pushed herself and him off the edge of the cliff into the magma below.
“Tyler!” Cheyenne yelled and ran to the edge. She looked over and saw nothing. Brittany walked up behind her.
“He’s gone. You’re in charge now.” She said. Brittany lifted Cheyenne up.
“Set the explosives and detonate them in fifteen minutes.” She said quietly. The whole team went to work while Cheyenne stood on the ledge where Tyler died. Jessica followed the others up the staircase. They found a barracks with dead bodies on the floor and followed them to another doorway. The three walked up and found Teshia poised to strike.
Levi walked up the ramp and down the hallway to the staircase. He heard fighting behind him. Levi continued up the staircase and headed into the main atrium. Levi saw Kyle writing on a piece of paper taking inventory of the weapons and armor produced in the factory. Levi walked up to him and he looked up.
“Levi!” Kyle was glad to see his old friend. “It’s been awhile. Here for business or pleasure?” Kyle gave him a sly grin. Levi laughed it off.
“Business today. Looks like you’ve got an intruder problem,” Levi said.
“Yeah sounds like it’s over now though. Sent my best assassin down to check out the smithing room,” Kyle stood up and walked over to a large poster board. “We’ve been making incredible strides. The arms should be ready soon. Most arms are stored in your castle, of course, though you know that,”
“Yes,” Levi unsheathed one of his swords. “What was your dragon’s name again?”
“Rosy,” Kyle responded quietly. Kyle had once been a Dragoner; his dragon had died many years ago. “Clipped my wings.” His voice was solemn.
“I’ll remember her for you.” Levi said. Kyle turned to look at him. “I’m sorry.” Levi slashed his sword through the air and cut off Kyles' head. “Goddess, forgive me,” Levi caught his body as it fell and laid it down. “You all can come out now.” Levi said. Slowly everyone walked out of the shadows from the edges of the room and walked toward him. Teshia sheathed her knives.
“He was your friend?” Aaron asked.
“Yes, a long time ago,” Levi responded.
“A friend’s still a friend once you’ve known them long enough.” Aaron put his hand on Levi’s shoulder. “C’mon you’ve gotta move past him.”
“The place is going to explode in ten minutes or so.” Jessica chimed in. everyone turned to look at her. “Cheyenne said so.” She said quieter.
“Let’s go then.” Teshia said. She began to walk toward the door to the hallway. “We don’t have time to mourn him!” she yelled at Levi. He stood and followed the rest of the group out into the open. The Firetoungues were waiting for them.
“About time.” Cheyenne said. She looked over to Nathan. “Set off the explosives and get us out of here.” Her voice was cold. The Dawn Walkers stood next to the Firetoungues as Nathan set off the explosives causing the volcano to erupt.
“Teleport!” the three mages said as they raised their hands. The groups were teleported to the teleportation room of ‘Something Epic’.
Nor sat on a black throne with a red sky above him. His followers flew around searching for some way for him to cross to the other side. Nor stood up and teleported himself to the red wall separating him from absolute power. He reached his hand out and touched it. Vex teleported beside him and grabbed his hand. Vexs icy eyes looked at Nor telling him no. Twe teleported behind Vex and her shadowy eyes disapproved. Nor pulled his hand away and teleported away. Thel, Ama, Nici, Rea, Sej and Kei, teleported to the wall. They all stood staring at the wall waiting for the end. The shadowy figures slowly walked away from each other and returned to their individual domains. Nor stood upon a ledge not far away. He watched as his masterful creations left. He picked up a sharp wooden stick and shoved it through himself. The pain was great and if he had the capability to, he would have screamed. His shadowy body shoved the stick out and healed itself. Nors eyes burned with fire.
As Firetoungue and Dawn Walkers returned to the teleportation room Audrey was standing there. Kiera was leaning on the still transformed Nicole while everyone else was standing silent. Audrey took a head count silently.
“Where is Tyler?” She asked. Cheyenne walked forward.
“We lost him during the battle. One of them took him off guard.” Cheyenne said quietly. Audrey nodded.
“We shall mourn for the time he was with us,” Audrey turned to Xylill. “Mega Voice please,” Audrey commanded.
“Yes ma’am.” Xylill walked up and put a finger to Audrey throat. “Voice.” She said. Audrey turned to face the door.
“Attention members of ‘Something Epic’ we have lost a member today. As per our tradition, we will mourn him for the number of months he was with us in days. All missions are cancelled for the next five days.” Audrey turned around to look at the two groups. “Go get some rest and relaxation. You deserve it; you will be debriefed in six days’ time. You may do as you will until then.” Audrey turned and left. Cheyenne and the Firetoungues followed her out leaving the Dawn Walkers standing there. Nicole transformed back into her human form. Rachel pulled a scroll from her sleeve.
“Since we have five days, we should look at this.” Rachel opened the scroll to reveal a piece of a map. “This is how we got here.” She motioned to Kiera and Nicole. She looked up at Teshia. “You have one correct?” Teshia reached down into her boot and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
“Yeah, and?” Teshia was suspicious of Rachel.
“We need these. All five of them.” Rachel said with pride.
“How do we know there are five?” Teshia asked.
“Because the Godd-“ Rachel was cut short.
“What are these exactly?” Amelia asked shortly. She recognized the paper. Rachel turned to her.
“Oh, yes not all of us know.” She sat down on a bench in the room. “These are pieces of a map. The Goddess told me that there were five of them that eight companions and I needed to collect,” Rachel looked at everyone’s faces. Most were unreadable except for Taylor who seemed excited, “We would need to follow them to reach her in order to receive the mission she had for us. And that’s the jist of it.”
“So we need three more?” Aaron asked looking at it.
“Two.” Audrey was leaning against the doorway to the teleportation room watching them. She pulled a piece of parchment from her satchel and threw it at Taylor. “Cassie told me to give you this in her goodbye note. She was a good partner while she was here, so I will honor it. Now scram, another mission is incoming.” Audrey shooed the group out of the room. The group headed toward the mess hall to plan their next move.
“I figure since we have some time off we can go looking for the other two.” Rachel was trying to persuade them to go map hunting.
“I say we go.” Levi said. “The Goddess asked us.” Levi was sure that this was the reason he had been allowed to live.
“Why not, I’m bored.” Aaron said as they walked into the mess hall and took a seat.
“That’s the only reason?” Jessica looked at Aaron astounded.
“Yeah, basically.” Aaron responded. “So that makes three of us wanting to go hunting.” Aaron looked around the table.
“Fine, I’ll go.” Jessica said.
“I’m in.” Teshia said.
“Five! It’s a deal!” Aaron said.
“I think I know where one might be.” Amelia said. “The man who wanted to marry me back home has a piece mounted in his house.” She said.
“James!” Taylor seemed surprised.
“Yes, James.” Amelia said painfully.
“Oh yay! We can go back, just like you promised!” Taylor immediately stood up. “I can show off my new outfit! We must go at once!” Taylor zipped off toward the exit.
“I’ll get her.” Amelia stood up and followed her. Amelia walked out the door and found Taylor standing in the hallway.
“You’re not even going to consider his offer are you?” Taylor asked. “Tell me the truth.” Amelia sighed.
“No, I’m not. I was never going to marry him, or anyone else for that matter.” Amelia looked at Taylor.
“Ok then,” She sounded as if she were going to cry. “Well, we have to at least tell him no.” Taylor started walking off. She was sniffling and wiping her eyes.
“Taylor,” Amelia tried to comfort her friend, but she walked too far away. Amelia followed her to the teleportation room. Taylor entered the teleportation room as Audrey was telling them about their five day vacation.
“Excuse me, can someone teleport me and my friend to Dita?” Taylor asked. One of the wizards stepped forward.
“I can.” He said. Amelia walked in.
“That’s her, what’s your name?” Taylor asked.
“Alex, go stand in the circle.” Alex said.
“Thanks, Alex.” Taylor said and stood in the circle. “Come on, Amelia.” She said quickly. Amelia stood beside her.
“Teleport!” Alex said. The two flashed for a moment then disappeared.
The two girls landed on Dita near their home city. Amelia and Taylor stood up and looked around.
“We’re just north of home.” Amelia said.
“Yeah.” Taylor said. Amelia started walking south through the crops until she found a road and followed that until she found the town. Taylor remained silent the entire trip. Amelia was uneasy about this. As they neared the town limits, Taylor stopped.
“We should just head straight for James’s house.” She said and took the lead.
“Don’t you want to see your parents?” Amelia asked.
“Not until I come home for real.” Taylor responded.
“You can stay here you know. You don’t have to come back with me.” Amelia tried to tell Taylor.
“I’m going with you,” Taylor said. Amelia tried to say something. “That’s final.” Taylor walked forward and left Amelia behind. Amelia followed her into town and the two made their way to James’s house to retrieve the map piece. Taylor knocked on the large mansion’s door. After a moment of awkward silence between the two, James’s butler answered the door.
“Lady Taylor! And Amelia! What a wonderful day for your return!” The butler seemed excited for some reason. “Master James will want to know of your presence immediately,” he looked at the necklace around Amelia’s neck. “And you still have the ring. Oh, do come in you two.” The two girls stepped inside. “Let me get a good look at you two now.” The butler looked them over. Amelia did not have much blood left on her, but Taylor had fully cleaned up.
“How have you been? How are things here?” Taylor asked.
“Quite good, we were wondering if you two would ever return to us. It seems the Goddess has smiled upon us. Your new outfit looks fantastic Lady Taylor, as does yours Miss Amelia. I will go to fetch Master James at once.” The butler walked away. Taylor and Amelia stood in the entrance room waiting for the butler to return.
“Looks like they missed us.” Amelia said. Looking around at the architecture of the building.
“In a small town like ours, even you would miss someone who left.” Taylor said.
“Maybe,” Amelia said. The butler walked back in with James.
“Amelia!” James cried and ran up to her. His hands had grown tougher since she last touched them. James looked overall more fit as well. “Oh it’s so good to see you again!” James looked over to Taylor. “And her sidekick in trouble, your outfit looks amazing by the way.” James returned his gaze to Amelia. “Let’s talk in the living room, shall we?” James led them to a large room with single sofas in a ring in the middle around a fire pit.
“I shall fetch you all some refreshments. What would you like?” the butler asked.
“I will take water, Lemonade for Taylor and water for Amelia.” James said.
“How did you know our orders?” Taylor asked.
“I make it my business to know the people of the town. I am going to run one day.” James smiled at them. “Now you must tell me what you have done for the past month while you have been gone.”
“You would never believe it; we camped out in the forests! Then after th-“ Taylor was interrupted.
“Can we have that?” Amelia asked pointing to the map piece that was mounted on a wall.
“What?” James looked over to the wall. “Oh, I see, you two haven’t come to stay with us.”
“No, I’m sorry. We haven’t. We came for that.” Amelia said. It was quiet for a moment. The butler walked back into the room and placed the drink on the small table beside each of them then left again.
“First tell me about your adventures. You had to go somewhere exotic to get those kinds of clothes.” James finally said. Taylor continued her story of what had happened to them and Amelia filled in spots Taylor left out. When they were done they had three glasses on the tables beside each of them.
“And we need five map pieces to complete some outrageous quest for the Goddess.” Amelia finished. “That’s why we’re here.” James was quiet for a moment.
“You’ve joined a rebellion, killed a dragon, and had a message from the Goddess. I would love to go with you guys.” James shook his head. “Well, how about a contest?”
“A contest?” Taylor asked.
“Not for you, for Amelia.” James walked over to the wall and took the map piece out of its container. “We fight, if I win, you get this and you agree to marry me, you win, you get this and I will forget about our marriage entirely.” James looked directly into Amelia’s eyes. “Do you accept?”
“You’re going to regret this.” Amelia said as she rose form her chair. “Where are we going to do this?” She asked.
“Follow me; I’ve made a special ring for this.” James lead them through to the back of his house into a well sized fenced off ring. There was a sword stuck into the ground in the middle. James walked up to it and pulled it out. He undid the buttons on his shirt and let it fall off revealing leather armor underneath. “Do you still have the ring?” James asked her as he pulled off his pants showing his leather leggings.
“Yes I do.” Amelia said unsheathing her sword.
“Give it to Taylor; don’t want you to have an unfair advantage.” James said assuming a battle stance that Amelia had not seen before. She took off her necklace and threw it to Taylor.
“What do you mean unfair?” Amelia asked. She assumed her battle stance.
“I had it enchanted to cause your sword to shoot magic out of it when you strike.” James said. “You never noticed?”
“I did, I just thought a mage was nearby…” Amelia trailed off distracted by that thought. James had given her a magic ring to make her a better fighter.
“I even went to your fights in the underground club to see what your sword looked like and had it carved into the ring. It’s only compatible with you. And it protects you when you’re asleep, and anyone you’re traveling with.” James sounded sad.
“You did all of that for me?” Amelia was in shock.
“But now we have to fight for it.” James said. He ran at her. “Don’t go breaking my heart!” James swung at Amelia. Amelia jumped back while James continued to charge at her. Amelia did a flip to the right to avoid hi next attack.
“Stop Dodging!” James rushed at Amelia again. This time Amelia blocked his sword with her own. She kicked him back and charged him. James dropped and swiped Amelia’s feet from under her. Amelia hit the ground hard. She rolled out of the way. Her instincts started to kick in. James came at her from behind. Amelia ran at the fence and jumped onto it, flipped off, and landed behind James. She rushed his back and hit him in the spine with her elbow. James fell forward. He turned around.
“I knew you were the best in town.” He said. James took a step back and took a defensive stance. Amelia rushed him hoping to break through. James placed his feet on the fence behind him and launched himself forward at Amelia. Amelia rolled out of the way barely missing the attack. The two stopped for a moment and looked at each other.
“You’re not playing, are you?” Amelia asked.
“Not in the least.” James responded. “I’m going to win your heart.”
“Then I’m not going to go easy on you.” Amelia said.
“Don’t. I want to win fair and square.” James pushed a latch on his sword and the blade split into two swords.
“That’s new.” Amelia said.
“I’ve been training for a month straight in combat.” James looked at Amelia. Leaning against a tree outside the manor Aaron was watching the battle unfold. He took note of the dual swords. Aaron didn’t know what was going on with the two of them, but he knew that this was an important battle.
The Goddess watched the battle from above. Aaron had arrived shortly after the battle began. He had been voted the one to go and retrieve the girls from Dita. The Goddess was waiting for the battle to finish. When they stopped to talk, the Goddess took the opportunity to retrieve Cassie from her sleep in the world’s largest library. The Goddess teleported in and found Cassie asleep on a cot with history books piled around her. The Goddess walked up and shook Cassie awake.
“What?” Cassie moaned.
“It’s time for another one.” The Goddess replied. She moved some of the books off of Cassie and helped her file them away. “Their fighting right now so we have some time.”
“Then why did you wake me up?” Cassie asked desperately.
“So we had enough time to put all of these books away.” It was an obviously pointed comment.
“Whatever. Who’s next anyway?” Cassie asked.
“Amelia, then Taylor shortly thereafter.” The Goddess responded. They had put the books back on their shelves and were ready to leave the library. Cassie stroked all of her books before moving with the Goddess back to their secret corner to teleport away. As they were walking, a book fell out of Cassie’s robes.
“Really?” the Goddess looked at Cassie.
“I forgot that one! Honestly!” Cassie picked up the book and put it back on its shelf.
“What was it anyway?” the Goddess asked Cassie.
“It was, The Lost Half of Religion, it’s about how there was another deity with you a long time ago.” Cassie said returning to the corner.
“So a book about you. I bet that was an exciting find.” The Goddess said.
“You know it was.” Cassie said. “Ready to go?” Cassie asked.
“Let’s go.” The Goddess responded and the two disappeared from the library and returned to Dita.
Amelia charged at James. She sung her sword in an arc at him. He jumped back then launched himself off of the ground. He landed charging back at Amelia, ramming her in the stomach with his shoulder.
“Stop playing around!” James yelled angrily. Amelia stood back up. She glared at James. She charged at him. James began to sidestep and Amelia kicked off in his dodge direction and cut his arm. James grabbed the cut that was bleeding freely.
“That’s more like it.” James readied his sword and let his arm bleed. He jumped at Amelia and threw a punch at her. Amelia caught his fist.
“What’s this?” Amelia asked humorously. James raised his left leg and kicked out hitting Amelia in the chest. Amelia grunted. The two went back and forth exchanging blows Amelia made more cuts on James and James managed to land a cut on Amelia. The two fought for an hour outside of James’ house. Aaron sat in the trees above them. Still after an hour, he made his way toward the ring. Both combatants were tired, but it was obvious Amelia had more endurance than James did. The two were breathing heavily when Aaron walked up and stood beside Taylor.
“They’re not giving up, huh?” Aaron asked.
“Nope, he’s fighting for love and she’s fighting for freedom.” Taylor said. “It’s sad really.”
“I guess so. But Amelia has this battle won.” Aaron said following their tired movements.
“Maybe not.” Taylor said with a little hope, she was cheering for James. Amelia landed a kick square in James’ chest. James fell down and hit the ground hard. He didn’t move for some time. The butler came out with a cloth filled with ice and placed it on his head.
“He will be conscience soon enough.” The butler said. He turned and saw Aaron. “Might I ask your name, sir?”
“Oh right, I’m Aaron, of the northern continent Disa. Fifth child and second son of the Family of Strif. Wielder of both swords and magic. Master of arcane delights, and gifted user of blades. My powers are known throughout the land as the rarest and most powerful seen since the time of the Goddess!” Aaron stood proud and raised his voice. “A title given to none besides myself, the Mystic Knight! My skills with magic are as sharp as my blade!” Aaron unsheathed his sword. “A great pleasure it is for you to have even met me, for I am the name that strikes fear into the hearts of tyrants and evil doers. Aaron! The smiter of those who oppose justice! Friend to those who are in need, charitable to the poor.” He lowered his head solemnly. “Though I do not enjoy the killing of innocents, I do it for the protection of my people, no, of all the people who live in this world!” He raised his head with pride again. “Because the world needs a hero! And I am the destined one to do it! The world’s humble hero! The modesty of my power knows no bounds, though I am not one to be underestimated! I have fallen entire armies with a single spell. Killed men six times my size with a single slash of my blade! But do not take my word for it!” Aaron pulled out a small ‘steel’ ball from his pocket. “Watch as I cut this pure steel orb in half with ease!” Aaron threw the orb up and cut it in half. “Behold the power of humility! A great and terrible responsibility I have to bear, and only I can bear. For this power is not meant for the greedy or the power hungry, it belongs to those pure of heart and right of mind to use for the betterment of humanity! And I have solemnly sworn to protect with these power of mine, great and terrible. Beautiful, and destructive they may be.” It did not seem as if Aaron was going to stop anytime soon. Aaron plunged his sword vertically into the ground. “Let me show you some of the great and beautiful powers I hold!” Aaron raised his hands into the air. “For I control the elements! Lighting!” Lightning struck the area around Aaron. “Water!” the ground dried up and liquids came and formed a pair of wings above Aaron. “Ice!” the water froze into its position. “Earth!” the scorched earth rose up and held the ice in its place above Aaron. “Light!” Beams of light began to shine from the pair of wings above his head. “And Darkness!” black tendrils took over the light and grew from the wings. “And finally my favorite element! FIRE!” Aaron yelled as flames erupted from the ground beneath him consuming everything within a few inches near him in flames. When the flames came down the pillars of earth were gone, as were the wings. “A beautiful thing and destructive. But worry not! For I, you’re hero of humility, knows how to control such raw power!” Aaron picked up his sword and pointed it toward the sky. “For I am Mystic Knight! Aaron!” He yelled as fire shoot from his sword into the sky forming his symbol for pride in the air before fading away. Aaron sheathed his sword. “That is who I am.” The butler stared at Aaron, and James had woken up when the lightning struck near him.
“Well, that is quite interesting…” the butler said. He turned to look at James. “Master James you’re awake!” the butler ran over and helped him up. “We have a new guest.”
“I noticed. Do we know you?” James asked Aaron.
“He’s with us.” Amelia said shaking her head after that introduction. “He’s part of the group we were talking about.”
“The Dawn Walkers.” Aaron interrupted.
“Don’t worry too much about him.” Amelia finished. James looked at Aaron.
“Welcome then.” He said politely. The butler took this as his que.
“Would you like a drink, sir?” he asked Aaron.
“Do you have any lemonade?” Aaron asked.
“That we do sir. Give me a moment.” The butler walked off into the house to fetch refreshments.
“Why are you here?” Amelia asked Aaron.
“I’m here to bring you guys back, teleportation and all.” Aaron said.
“Oh, I would rather do that then camp and take a boat back.” Taylor said.
“You did win; you may leave with the map piece.” James said. The butler walked out and gave drinks to everyone.
“The Lady Cupcakes is here.” The butler informed James.
“Bring her out here. And bring the map piece with you will you Hie?” James asked.
“Yes sir, at once.” The butler headed inside.
“So you’re saying you did all of those things in order to win me over?” Amelia asked.
“Yes, I admit it. I also learned how to fight to try and woo you, but you left before I could show you. I joined your underground club, I’m number one now. Well second because I still haven’t beaten you.” James said silently. “When Hie returns with the map, you may leave, I will ask for Lady Cupcakes hand in marriage instead.” James sounded defeated. Amelia was touched by his kindness. He had gone through much trouble to impress her and she hadn’t even noticed until now, when he told her everything. Amelia stood for a moment in contemplation. Should she marry him? If he had gone through this much to make her happy, surely he would let her leave. Amelia looked at James.
“James,” Amelia said.
“Yes Amelia?” James turned around to look at her. Amelia didn’t hate James after all. And he was wealthy. And out of all the boys in the town James was the nicest to her.
“I’ve decided-“ Amelia froze, along with everyone else.
“To marry you.” Amelia said with a gentle smile. Her smile faded as she noticed she was no longer on Dita. Amelia looked around at the black and white room and saw two women standing before her beside two swords. The woman in black stood beside a white sword and the woman in white beside the black. Amelia took a few steps forward toward them. Each sword was simple in its design. A straight blade each with a hilt that made a V shape upward defending the hands of the wielder. The blades looked light but deadly, more deadly than Amelia’s sword by far. The woman in black walked up to her.
“Welcome Amelia. My name is Cassie and this is Charissa.” Cassie motioned to the woman in white. “We need you to make a choice.” Amelia looked at her skeptically. “It’s simple really, Marry James or don’t.” Cassie said. Charissa walked up beside Cassie.
“There are consequences for your actions though. If you marry him and if you don’t. Let us show you, raise your arm and open your hand to a sword.” Charrisa said.
“Ok.” Amelia said with unbelief. She raised her hand and called for the white sword. As it touched her hand, a shot of electricity went through her and her mind was on fire with visions. She saw herself getting married. She fought with Aaron over returning home, Taylor stood with her and the two stayed in the town for her honeymoon. She saw a large shadowed figure standing over her in her sleep. She saw herself return with James to the house and she found herself pregnant. Aaron returned for her, Rachel had died in combat he said. Taylor went with him and Amelia stayed behind with child. Her sword gathered dust, she learned to bake.
The fire in her head subdued and she dropped the white sword on the ground. It floated and replaced itself on the wall behind Cassie. Amelia rubbed her head.
“What was that?!” she demanded.
“The future if you married him.” Charissa aid calmly. She had a glass of lemonade in her hand from out of nowhere. Amelia glared at the two. Cassie picked up Charissas sword and threw it at Amelia.
“Catch.” Cassie said. Amelia raised her hands instinctively and caught the sword. The fire returned to her mind. This time she saw herself teleport away with Aaron and Taylor. She saw herself fighting, growing stronger, learning, making friends. She saw herself pay for a small house on Letha. She watched Taylor walk away from her. Some of her friends would come visit her. She grew old. No men came for her. An invitation to James’ wedding arrived. She stayed home. Her hair grew long and gray. Amelia saw blackness. The fire left her mind again. The black sword returned itself to its place on the wall.
“What kind of choice is that?” Amelia asked. “Never fight again or die alone?!” Amelia regained her balance and composure. “Who are you to give me such a choice?”
“I’m the Goddess.” Charissa said.
“I’m not one for worship.” Amelia replied.
“I know.” Charissa looked away.
“We’re the ones who are keeping you and everyone else you know alive?” Cassie said harshly. “Now kindly choose.” Cassie faded away. Charissa’s lemonade had disappeared. She had her hand on her upper arm and looked at Amelia.
“I’m sorry.” Charissa said as she disappeared. Amelia stood in the room thinking. She could either be with James and never fight again or she could live without love and become a great fighter. Amelia paced around the room and looked at the swords. She reached for hers on her back and found it missing.
“You took my sword!?” Amelia yelled at the two figures she figured were still watching her. She walked up to each sword and inspected them, never touching them for fear of more visions. Amelia finally sat down and began to fiddle with the ring on her finger. She looked at the symbol on it. She knew very few ancient symbols, and this one eluded her knowledge. She looked back at the swords. A light appeared from below her. She looked down and saw that her ring began to glow a red color. The symbol on it came out and floated in front of her. The symbol reorganized itself to spell its meaning in English for her.
“Freedom,” Amelia said softly. She reached out to touch the letters but as she did they faded and returned the symbol to her ring. Amelia looked at the ring then at the swords. She walked up between the two weapons.
“This is my choice!” Amelia yelled at the women. She pushed her arms out and grabbed both weapons at the same time. Amelia disappeared from the room with a pop. Charissa and Cassie reappeared in the room.
“What do you make of that?” Cassie asked.
“I’m not exactly sure.” Charissa said.
“Oh goodie, another wild card.” Cassie sounded tired. “One more, then can I take another nap?” she asked hopefully.
“Yeah, we should watch what she does now though.” Charissa and Cassie disappeared from the marble room.
Amelia’s mind returned to her body on Dita.
“What have you decided?” James asked with hope. Amelia looked at him. He was decent looking after all she decided.
“When I get back from this mission, I will marry you.” Amelia said. James’ eyes grew wide with shock.
“Y- You will?” James couldn’t believe it.
“Yes, you’ve impressed me.” Amelia said with a small smile. The butler and Lady Cupcakes arrived at the doorway to the back. As the butler opened the door Lady Cupcakes ran at James and hugged him.
“I was told you had news for me!” she seemed excited. She was clinging around his neck smiling up at him.
“Why, yes I do!” James said “I hear you plan weddings?”
“I do! I love it so!” Cupcakes was jumping with joy, she had yet to see any of the other guests at the house.
“I need you to plan my wedding to-“
“Oh yes! I will marry you!” Cupcakes jumped up and kissed James on the cheek. Amelia coughed from behind her. Cupcakes turned around and saw the three other people who had been standing there watching her fawn over James.
“To Amelia.” James finished awkwardly after having someone else agree to marry him. Lady Cupcakes face drained itself of all color. She slowly turned to look back at James.
“Oh, yes. Silly me. She said yes, then? After all this time?” Cupcakes was running on autopilot.
“Yes she has! We are to be wed tomo- I mean…” James looked over at Amelia.
“In two months I would say.” Amelia said. Cupcakes turned around toward her. Her face was beginning to regain color.
“Oh ok. So two months, that’s plenty of time to plan. Don’t worry I will take care of everything. I’ll invite the whole town.” Cupcakes started walking off toward the manor.
“Reserve eight other seats!” James yelled at Cupcakes.
“Eight, yes got it. Eight more seats. One more wedding, one more bridesmaids dress…” Cupcakes voice trailed off as she left.
“Eight?” Amelia asked.
“Yes, I want your new friends, the Dawn Wakers, to come.” James said.
“Dawn WALKERS.” Aaron stressed.
“Walkers then. They’re all invited.” James turned to Aaron. “You will come won’t you? I’m sure the children would love to see your magic. We’ve never had any masterful spell casters visit us before.” James was laying on some thick complements.
“Well, I think I can make it in that case. I mean, we don’t want the children to never know the awesomeness of me.” Aaron smiled.
“Good then in two months’ time, you will all come and see us wed!” James had a huge smile on his face. And Amelia was happy for some time. Taylor, after recovering from her shock at Amelia’s agreement, began jumping up and down and hooting and hollering. The world turned pink for Taylor and everyone wondered how she could move that fast. After the initial joyride that they all felt James and Taylor went to town to tell everyone the good news. Amelia stayed behind; she was not a people person. She and Aaron sparred in the ring behind James’ house.
Taylor had the honor of telling her and Amelia’s parents of the wedding and headed to Amelia’s first. She knocked on the door and no one answered. Taylor walked around the house to the back door and opened it. No one was in the house. Taylor looked around and couldn’t find any clues as to where they were. She left the house and headed for her own. She would come back later to tell them. Taylor ran across the town and got to her house. She opened the front door.
“I’m Home!” Taylor yelled.
“Is that my baby!?” Taylor’s mother poked her head around the wall from the kitchen. “Taylor!” the sounds of a rag hitting the counter was followed by her mother’s blind charge at her. Taylor was consumed in her mother’s hug. “Oh, honey! You’re back. Where did you go for so long? Is Amelia with you? Her parents are in the back with your father. What happened while you were gone?” She put Taylor down. “Are you hurt? Where did you get those amazing clothes?” Taylor quickly relayed a simplified version of the story to her mother.
“You said Amelia’s parents were here?” Taylor asked.
“Yes, they’re in the back honey.” Her mom said.
“I’ll tell you the rest when we get out back; I have important news for everyone.” Taylor was smiling very large. Taylor walked to the back yard and waited for her mother to come. Her father came and embraced her while Amelia’s parents began asking about her. Taylor’s mom came out and sat down beside her father.
“Ok I have exciting news everyone!” Taylor began bouncing up and down.
“What is it?” he father asked.
“Amelia has agreed to marry James!” the four adults stood up and screamed at each other. The excitement lasted for ten minutes, all the parents took turns hugging and celebrating. When the excitement died down Amelia’s parents turned to Taylor.
“When is the wedding?” Amelia’s mother asked.
“Two months.” Taylor said.
“Two months? That’s a long time.” Amelia’s father said.
“Yeah, but we have some business to take care of.” Taylor said.
“Business?” Taylor’s father asked. Taylor proceeded to fill in the four of them on all of their adventures from when they left to the dragon battle to their return and Amelia’s choice to marry James. The four were silent for a while.
“She’s got such an imagination doesn’t she?” Taylor’s mom laughed. The other parents followed suite. “You can stay home now honey.” Taylor’s mom smiled at her.
“What?” Taylor seemed shocked.
“You’ve had your fun times out with Amelia, but now you need to get married and settle down.” Taylor’s mom seemed adamant. Her mother turned to Amelia’s parents. “You two can go wait at home for Amelia, I’m sure she will be along shortly.” Taylor’s mom dismissed Amelia’s parents and turned to her daughter. Taylor looked at her mother.
“It’s true mom. I’ve been out and fighting and I’ve made some great new friends.” Taylor pleaded.
“No honey, you need to stay home now. That’s final. Do you understand?” Taylor’s mom looked at her angrily.
“Yes mom.” Taylor’s shoulders slouched down.
“Now get out of that ridiculous outfit and go upstairs.” Taylor’s mom said pointing to the house. Her father remained silent the whole conversation. Taylor looked at him pleadingly. He turned away. Taylor walked up to the back door and stopped.
“What’s the matter dear?” Taylor’s mom yelled. Taylor turned her head looking at James’ manor. She considered running. Suddenly the world around her turned blue. A beam of light hit her and she was teleported to a strange black and white room.
Taylor looked around and saw two doors in front of her. One white, one black. Taylor walked up to the white door. She opened it. A black wall lied behind it. She walked over to the black door and opened it as well. A white wall sat behind it. Taylor walked around the room. She looked down and saw that a section of the floor was transparent. She walked over and looked down through it. She saw her house and her parents below her. She could see James manor and Amelia and Aaron in the middle of a spar. Lady Cupcakes had her head against a nearby tree.
“Where am I?” Taylor asked herself. She looked around again. The doors had been replaced with two women standing and talking. Taylor walked over to them.
“White will be right this time.” The woman in white said.
“Fine I’ve had it the past two.” Said a woman in black. Taylor took another step closer.
“Excuse me?” she asked. The two women turned to look at her. One she recognized from ‘Something Epic’ as Cassie. “Where am I? And what are you doing here Cassie?” Taylor asked.
“How are you moving?” Charissa asked her. She summoned a glass of pink lemonade.
“We did sense someone messing with time, remember?” Cassie said.
“Right, it must have been her.” Charissa walked over to Taylor. She put her hand on her shoulder. “Taylor, correct?”
“Yes.” Taylor nodded.
“We need you to make a choice. And we’re just going to outright tell you.” Charissa stood back up to full height. “You can either walk inside and stay at home and do as your mother says,” Cassie walked up.
“Or you can run to the manor and run with Amelia and Aaron.” Cassie said.
“Easy I’ll run to the manor.” Taylor said. “I’ll come back and my mother will be just the same. It will al-“
“If you run, YOU won’t be coming back.” Charissa said. She snapped her fingers. The transparent flooring opened up in the corner.
“When you’re ready to make your choice, jump down, you will be safe.” Cassie said. Cassie teleported out of the room.
“What do you mean I won’t come back?” Taylor asked.
“If you choose to go on the adventure with the others, you will not be coming back to Dita, ever.” Charissa looked at her sadly. “You will never see your family again.”
“So I will stay home.” Taylor said.
“If you stay home, Amelia won’t be coming back.” Charissa said. “It’s a hard choice, but it’s yours to make. Good luck.” Charissa teleported away. Taylor sat on the ground for a moment. She looked around the room then walked over to the hole and looked down.
“What is this?” Taylor began to tear up. “No. I won’t cry, I won’t cry.” Taylor rubbed her eyes and kept her tears in. Taylor thought about never seeing her parents again, and then she thought of never seeing Amelia again. She thought of all the things she had experienced in the past few months. Taylor was an adult now. She should move away from home, even if she lives with her friends for a while. Taylor stood up.
“Run.” She said. Taylor walked off the edge of the hole and fell down.
Taylor looked over to the manor.
“What’s wrong!?” Taylor’s mother was beginning to get angry. Taylor looked back at her mother.
“Sorry mom.” Taylor said. She began to run toward the manor.
“Where are you going?! Come back here!” Taylor’s mother was yelling at her now. She began to take chase. Taylor ran to the manor and jumped over the low fence into the back yard. Amelia and Aaron were standing around talking and examining their swords as Taylor ran up.
“We have to go now!” Taylor yelled.
“Why?” Aaron asked sheathing his sword.
“If we don’t leave my mother is going to keep me here!” Taylor yelled. Aaron looked at her dumbfounded.
“Seriously?” Aaron said.
“This is serious. Let’s go now.” Amelia said. She grabbed Taylor’s hand and grabbed Aaron’s hand.
“Are you people serious?” Aaron asked.
“Look, if you don’t get us out of here, Taylor’s mother is going to kill her. She’s insane! Just do it!” Amelia looked at Aaron.
“Fine.” Aaron said. “Teleport.” The three of them teleported away from the place. Taylor’s mom ran to the fence edge and saw nothing. Taylor’s mom began to cry. The butler walked out of James’ house. He looked at Taylor’s mother.
“She’s gone?” he asked.
“Yes.” The mother said. The butler walked over to Taylor’s mother and put his hand on her shoulder.
“Then I am very sorry.” The butler said. He pulled a knife from his belt and slit her throat. He pointed the knife into the air. “Sparks.” Colored sparks shot out of the knife and exploded into the air. Dragons flew in from around the area. They began burning the crops and town. Mages walked in form the forest and began destroying everything. Beams of holy and explosions of fireballs flattened what the Dragoners missed. Few townspeople managed to escape the slaughter.
The emperor of Brandies sat sipping a white wine. He had sent a diplomat to Disa to talk to the counsel about supplementing his Dragoner mercenaries with their high mages. He had just received notice that the high mages would be following his Dragoners to help destroy any target the Dragoners attacked. The emperor took a sip of his wine. There was a knock at the door to his chamber.
“Enter.” The emperor said. The door creaked open. Hie walked into the room.
“Sir, the women escaped. And the town has been destroyed.” The butler reported.
“Unfortunate. Have we heard from Levi?” the emperor took another sip.
“Levi has joined them.” The butler reported. The emperor swallowed the wine.
“Did you say he joined them?” the emperor put his glass down.
“Not only the ones he was hunting, but the rebellion as well.” The emperor stood up and walked over to the fireplace.
“Bring my Dragoners here. And the high mages. They’re coming for me.” The emperor pulled out a map piece from his pocket and tossed it into the fire. “Melissa!” a woman walked into the room.
“Sir?” Melissa said.
“Bring me the rest of the Dragoners. The rebellion is coming.” The emperor said.
“Sir.” Melissa saluted and headed out of the room. She got to the entrance to the castle and found the mage stationed for teleportation near the gate.
“To the Lethan stables.” She said. The mage teleported her there. The butler walked out of the castle.
“Where did you send her?” he asked the mage.
“The Dragoner castle.” He responded.
“Good.” The butler returned to the emperor.
Melissa arrived at the stables a few miles away from the headquarters of ‘Something Epic’. Melissa hopped on the back of a horse and began to ride for the headquarters. She had to tell Audrey to attack while the emperor’s forces were away. Melissa rode through the night. She had a bow on her back and brown hair put into a ponytail behind her. When Melissa arrived the fifth day of mourning was coming to an end. Two groups were preparing to leave on missions. Melissa walked into the bar.
“What can I get for ya today?” the bartender asked. Melissa walked right past him and kicked down the wooden door the lead to the rebellion. He pulled out his crossbow. “Whatdya think your doin lassy?”
“I don’t have time for this, I need Audrey now.” She said as she walked into the doorway. Melissa headed straight for the conference room; Audrey would be briefing a group doubtlessly. Melissa was right. She walked in and found Audrey with a group Melissa had not seen before.
“What are you doing here?” Audrey asked when she saw Melissa.
“We need to attack the emperor now. His Dragoners are away and his mages are nowhere to be seen.” Melissa said quickly. Audrey turned to the group in front of her.
“Dawn Walkers, you go first, I’ll round everyone else up. All you have to do is make it in there and hold the line until we get there.” Audrey stood up straight. She turned to Melissa. “Gather everyone.” Audrey turned to the Dawn Walkers. “Aaron, teleport them.” Aaron nodded. Audrey turned and walked from the room.
“Teleport!” Aaron yelled. The group was taken from the conference room to the edge of a large moat surrounding a castle.
“This it?” Teshia asked.
“Yes it is.” Levi responded. He unsheathed his swords. Crossbow bolts began to rain down in the group. One of the struck Levis armor and bounced off. Aaron looked up.
“Shield!” Aaron created a force field around the group to deflect the bolts. “Jess some help?” Jessica ran to the front of the group beside Aaron.
“Block!” Jessica created another field of protection. “Let’s move people!” Jessica yelled. The group armed themselves and charged at the moat. Aaron dropped his shield.
“Earth!” the ground in front of them rose from the moat and created a land bridge to the castle walls. Amelia ran at the wall.
“Catch!” Taylor yelled as she threw the wedding ring to Amelia. She caught it and placed it around her neck again. Amelia jumped into the air and yelled as she threw her sword down. A blast of energy shot out of the weapon and knocked out the wall. Amelia stood up. Levi and Teshia ran past her. The wall they had broken through led them into the barracks. Soldiers were waiting for them. Teshia threw her knives into some of the unarmored men. Levi ran and cut down everyone in his way to the door. He kicked the door open. Teshia took out the remaining people in the room. Levi jumped back from the doorway as a fire ball exploded from it. Jessica ran up.
“Convert!” the fire ball minimized and fell into a crystal at the top of Jessica’s staff.
“Move!” Taylor yelled as she removed her tiara. Jessica jumped to the right. “In the name of love and decency, I smite you ally of hatred!” Taylors tiara flew through the door way and exploded into fire. The screams from the other room were muffled out from the cracking of the walls. The tiara flew back and landed on Taylors head.
Nicole had transformed herself into a White Tiger and Kiera was riding atop her. They charged through the room where Taylor’s tiara had been moments ago. There were two hallways leading into the room. Soldiers were pouring out of each. Nicole ran up to the wall and began to run up it. Kiera jumped off of her and Nicole returned her front paws to hands. Kiera grabbed Nicole’s hands and spun them both. Kiera with a knife held out, Nicole with her claws. Two men were taken down. Nicole turned her hands back into paws and each of them took a hallway. Rachel ran up to them.
“Move back!” Kiera and Nicole ran back into the room while Rachel hit her quarter staff on the ground. The charred and dead bodies of the fallen soldiers came to life. “The Goddess brings life!” she yelled as her new puppets fought off the men in the hallways. She pounded her quarterstaff again, this time beams of light shooting down the hallway exploding upon impact with a living creature. The Dawn Walkers were all in the room now.
“The first time you do something useful.” Nicole said as she transformed back into a human.
“Oh shut up.” Rachel said. “Who’s going where?”
“I’ll stay outside.” Nicole said. “When the others get here, I will show them where. Then I will fly to the top and take out the archers.”
“Sounds good.” Levi said. He began walking to the right hallway.
“I’m going right!” Aaron said following Levi. “Anyone else coming?”
“Right,” Teshia said. She followed Aaron. Amelia followed behind her.
“Left!” Taylor said taking the lead. Jessica, Rachel and Kiera followed her.
Nicole waited outside the castle. It was not long before Audrey and fifty other people showed up.
“What’s going on?” Audrey asked,
“We’re inside the castle, took out the barracks. Crossbowmen on the roof. Go straight and you’ll find our entrance.” Nicole saluted Audrey quickly then transformed into a Phoenix and took to the sky, avoiding crossbow bolts as she went. Nicole landed on the roof of the castle and transformed herself into a thirteen tailed fox. Each tail had a different colored tip and caused different effects to whomever it touched. Nicole ran through the battlements of the castle hitting people with her tail. Men fell down paralyzed, some burned, some were poisoned, and others turned to their allies and shot them. Within a few minutes all the crossbow men had fallen. Nicole transformed herself back into a human. She looked around for any survivors. When she was satisfied that they were all either dead or incapacitated she headed down into the armory of the castle. As she entered a crossbow bolt hit her in the leg. Nicole screamed in pain and let loose her foul language. She ripped the bolt out of her leg and transformed herself into a Snow Leopard. She ran down the ramp once more dodging the crossbow bolts aimed at her and saw thirty men waiting for her. Five of them were holding crossbows. Nicole ran for them first. Four of the crossbow men were reloading and one took aim at her. As Nicole ran at the men the one still with a bolt in his crossbow shot at her. The crossbow landed in her shoulder. Nicole kept charging forward. Nicole rammed into the first man and knocked him to the ground. Nicole ripped the man’s throat out with her teeth as the other twenty five men drew their swords and charged her.
Taylor ran down the hallway. It was a straight shot down until it made a left turn downward. Taylor stopped.
“Down?” Taylor seemed confused.
“There are probably more people down there.” Rachel said. “And if I’m correct the Emperor has a map piece.
“You didn’t mention that earlier?” Jessica said.
“I forgot.” Rachel shrugged her shoulders.
“Great. So were heading down there?” Kiera asked.
“We need to find that map piece.” Rachel said. Kiera took the lead.
“Let’s go then.” Kiera lead them down the staircase to the lower levels of the basement. There was the sound of metal on metal echoing through the halls. The walls here were musty and covered in moss. Kiera unsheathed her knives and followed the sound of metal. The girls walked for a few minutes finding nothing.
“This is creepy.” Taylor said.
“Very.” Jessica said. The torches lined on the wall kept the hallways bright enough for the girls to see. Kiera looked around a corner and saw two guards standing around. She looked back at Jessica.
“There anything you can do?” Kiera asked her. Jessica walked up and looked around the corner. She pointed her staff down the hallway.
“Convert!” Jessica yelled. The fireball that her staff absorbed before shot out down the hallway. The fire engulfed the men and killed them quickly. When the fire died down Kiera led the way down the hallway. There was a large doorway at the end of the hallway where a wooden door once stood. The door had been blown away by the impact of the fireball. Kiera walked through into a dungeon. The cages that lined the walls were empty.
“What’s this?” Rachel asked. “There’s no one here.” Her voice echoed in the empty room. The girls walked around and checked for any signs of life. The cells had not been used for some time they could tell.
“Should we head back upstairs?” Kiera asked the others. Rachel nodded and they all headed back toward the entrance.
Aaron followed Levi up a staircase. They walked onto the second floor.
“The emperor’s chamber is on the next floor.” Levi said. “This is the cafeteria”
“No one is here at least.” Aaron said. The doors opened across from them and heavily armored guards came out wielding axes.
“Good going.” Levi said. The guards began walking slowly toward them. Amelia and Teshia walked into the room.
“You guys got this?” Aaron asked.
“Yeah we should. Why?” Levi asked.
“I’m heading upstairs. Good luck!” Aaron began to make a beeline for the stairs. One of the guards swung his axe at Aarons head. Aaron dropped to his knees for a moment and looked at the guard.
“Fire!” Aaron said pushing his hand toward the guard. A ball of flame shot out of Aaron’s fist and blew the guard back against a wall. Aaron stood back up and kept running. He pointed his finger back at the guard on the wall. “Lightning!” a bolt of lightning shot form Aaron’s finger and punched through the thick armor of the guard and killed him. The guard became still. Aaron run up the staircase as the other guards charged the three left behind.
“Shadows!” Teshia yelled. Darkness covered the area around them as the guards charged through the cloud. Teshia found one and sent a knife through the eye hole in his helmet. She turned and saw Amelia charging another guard with one behind her. She threw a knife at the one behind her and made him turn to look at her. Levi ran through the cloud and cut through the guard who was distracted. Amelia jumped and landed with her sword slicing through the top of the guard she was facing. The guard staggered back and fell. An axe swung through the air at Amelia and cut her arm.
“Double!” Teshia made an illusionary double of herself. The illusion charged at the guard and he cut through it. Teshia ran around him.
“One of you has fallen! Now what will you do?!” The guard became cocky. Levi and Amelia were in front of him; both of them had their guards up. He began to laugh as he took a step forward. Teshia came up from behind him and sent a dagger through his neck plate. The guard turned around.
“How?!” He was surprised to see the woman he killed attacking him. While his back was turned Amelia jumped and Levi charged at him. Levi cut through his armor and Amelia landed a blow on his head from above. Her sword lodged itself in his head and the guard fell.
“Dismiss” Teshia dismissed the darkness around them. No one was left in the room besides the three of them.
“Let’s head up.” Levi said. He turned and ran for the staircase. Teshia and Amelia followed him.
Aaron ran up the staircase and came into a large hallway, larger than any of the others he had been in. There were no guards in the hallway, just a large wooden door. Aaron walked up to the door and attempted to push it open. The door would not budge. Aaron kicked the door. Nothing happened. Aaron took a few steps back. He put his hands together and aimed.
“Flame Burst!” A large fire burst shot from Aaron’s hands and hit the door. The flames flew from the orb and scorched the wall around the door. Aaron kept feeding the fire but the door did not give. Aaron dropped his hands. He walked up to the door. The door had no scorch marks on it. Aaron touched the door only to find that it was cool to the touch.
“What’s this?” Aaron didn’t understand how his fireball couldn’t have done any damage to the door. Aaron made a fist with his hand and beat the door. The door creaked open and Aaron fell through. The emperor was standing by his fire.
“You knocked?” the emperor asked. He had a glass in his hand.
“Knocking? That’s how your door opens?” Aaron looked at the emperor. “Are you serious?”
“I’m very serious, you must be polite.” The emperor took a sip of his wine and turned around to face Aaron. He began to walk toward him and placed his glass down on a table.
“You are weird.” Aaron said standing up.
“No more than you, Aaron.” The emperor stopped walking now and looked at Aaron from some feet away.
“How do you know my name?” Aaron asked. He took a step back.
“Because Aaron, you are more than it seems. And I am more than I look.” The emperor pulled up his sleeves on his long purple robe.
“What does that even mean?” Aaron stepped back forward.
“You and I, Aaron. We are brothers.” The emperor looked composed.
“What? Seriously?” Aaron stared at the emperor.
“Not going to buy it?” the emperor asked. Aaron unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the emperor.
“Nope, but you can tell me your name.” Aaron said. The emperor laughed.
“So we may address each other informally?” The emperor asked.
“You know my name.” Aaron responded.
“My name is Deven.” The emperor said. “So you came for the map piece?”
“You have one?” Aaron asked.
“Maybe,” the emperor realized he had given too much information.
“Well I’m just going to have to find out now, won’t I?” Aaron charged at Deven.
Nicole had cuts all over her. She had managed to kill all the men who had been in the room, but she was bleeding profusely. She had managed to knock quite a few of them down and crush their throats before one could land a hit on her, but after the first hit, she began to slow down while more and more men poured in. She heard sounds of combat from the hallway on the other side of the room. She limped over to the hallway and moved down it to a staircase. Nicole fell down the staircase and landed near a large wooden door. Nicole blacked out and transformed back into her human form.
Kiera led Rachel, Jessica, and Taylor up through the cafeteria, through the corpses, and up into the grand hallway. Kiera saw Nicole lying on the floor bleeding across from her.
“Nicole!” Kiera ran over to her. “Jessica! Help!” Kiera panicked. Jessica ran over to her. She put her hands on top of Nicole.
“Heal!” a white light came from Jessica’s hands and some of Nicole’s wounds healed. Others continued to bleed. The sounds of combat from the large room echoed around her. Rachel walked over to them with Taylor.
“Can you handle this?” Rachel asked Jessica.
“I should be able to; I can stabilize her at least.” Jessica cast another healing spell on Nicole.
“Good, we’re heading in.” Rachel grabbed Taylor and took her inside the large room.
Levi led the way up the staircase and into the large hallway. The walls were freshly scorched.
“What happened?” Amelia asked looking at the walls.
“Aaron did.” Levi said as he shook his head. He had noticed Aaron’s affinity toward fire, but didn’t think it was this obsessive. “Let’s get in there.” Levi walked toward the large wooden door and looked inside. The emperor and Aaron were talking. Levi readied his sword. As Aaron jumped at the Emperor slashing with his sword, Levi kicked the door open the rest of the way. He charged after Aaron, hoping to catch the emperor off guard. The emperor deflected Aaron’s attack and threw a kick out catching Levi in the face knocking him back. The emperor looked at Teshia and Amelia.
“My little monster has come home.” He said. Teshia threw a dagger at him. The emperor caught the dagger and threw it at Amelia. The knife lodged itself in Amelia’s leg. Amelia screamed out in pain. Teshia took a look back at her. The emperor ran and punched Teshia in the stomach. Teshia coughed up blood. The emperor stood there looking at the few of them.
“Pitiful really.” He walked over to Amelia and kicked her in the head, knocking her out. Rachel and Taylor walked into the room. And saw their friends on the ground, most bleeding. Rachel looked at the emperor.
“You bastard.” Rachel clenched her fist.
“The Goddess wouldn’t like you using those words.” The emperor said with a laugh. Taylor was paralyzed with fear. Rachel charged at the emperor and hit the ground with her quarterstaff. She used it to swing herself at him and aimed a kick at his face. The emperor grabbed her ankle and threw her back toward the fireplace. Rachel hit the floor hard. Aaron managed to stand up.
“Wind!” a gust of wind hit the emperor in the back knocking him to one knee. The emperor turned to see Aaron still standing.
“I’m still here.” Aaron said pointing his sword at the emperor.
“Nothing you do can save you.” The emperor mused at Aaron. He kicked backwards and hit Taylor In the stomach with enough force to push her back against the wall in the hallway.
“I’ve learned some new tricks.” Aaron said.
“All your tricks are new, we’ve never met.” The emperor said flatly.
“Whatever.” Aaron held his sword in one hand. “Dual!” the fire sword in Aaron hand turned blue and a shadow of it formed in his right hand. Aaron clenched his fist and a sword with a design of ice appeared in his right hand. “I’m going to hurt you so bad.” Aaron charged at the emperor again. This time the Emperor stood there.
“Oh please.” The emperor blocked the swords with his arms.
“Why aren’t you bleeding!?” Aaron yelled.
“Steel arm guards.” The emperor said off-handedly. He made a fake yawn. “I’m bored of this now.” The emperor kicked out and hit Aaron in the chest. The ice sword disappeared from Aarons hand as he flew up and hit the ceiling then fell down against the floor, unconscious.
Rachel had managed to crawl near the fire. She saw the map piece within the flames. Since the map was magical it could not burn. Rachel stuck out her hand.
“Draw” the map piece slowly drifted toward her. The map piece was within arms-reach when Aaron hit the ground. The emperor began walking over to Rachel and saw her pick up the map piece. He slammed his foot down on her back. Rachel dropped the map piece and fell unconscious. The emperor laughed to himself.
Kiera walked up behind the emperor as his foot landed on Rachel’s back. Kiera was sneaking. She was hoping not to get caught. Jessica was still healing Nicole in the hallway. The emperor was laughing now. Kiera had her knife out. She was a foot away from the emperor. She stood up at full height and raised her arm. The emperor turned around.
“Nic-” The emperor was stopped in the middle of his sentence by a knife entering his skull. “How did you?” the emperor fell to his knees then fell forward on top of Kiera. Kiera pushed him off of her and he landed face down. The knife plunged further into his head and the tip came out the back of his skull. Audrey and her fighters walked into the room.
“What happened here?” Audrey asked seeing almost the entirety of Dawn Walkers lying on the ground. Kiera stepped out of the way showing the emperors dead body.
“We took care of it.” Kiera said. Audrey nodded.
“Mages get to healing!” Audrey commanded. Mages broke rank and began to heal everyone’s injuries. One ran into the hallway for Nicole. One of them came up to Kiera.
“Are you ok?” she asked her.
“Yeah I’m fine. Take care of everyone else.” Kiera said. The mage walked over to Rachel and began to heal her. Audrey walked up to Kiera.
“Are you telling me that you nine took out the entire castle? And the emperor?” Audrey was stunned in disbelief.
“Yeah we did.” Kiera walked past her back into the hallway. Nicole was still lying on the ground bleeding badly. Three mages had come to assist Jessica. Jessica turned and saw her. She left the group and walked to Kiera.
“She’s going to be fine.” Jessica said. “The cuts that are still bleeding are deep cuts, we need more advanced magic to deal with them, but she’s stable.” Kiera sighed.
“That’s good.” Kiera went and sat on a bench on the wall. Kiera closed her eyes and fell asleep. Rachel was conscience now. She picked up the map piece on the ground in front of her and put it in her pocket.
“Five.” Rachel closed her eyes.
Cassie and Charissa stood on the battlements of the emperor’s castle. Cassie looked at the destruction around her. Charissa sipped lemonade.
“Think they’re ready?” Charissa asked.
“Not yet, but they have to be.” Cassie responded. She looked over the edge at the white mages carrying them out to a teleportation spot.
“We need them at the castle now then.” Charissa said. She snapped her fingers and they all stopped moving.
“I’ll go down and wake them up.” Cassie volunteered. She teleported down to the group and touched each one of them. They were each returned to the flow of time. Cassie picked them up with her magic and brought them to Charissa.
“How are we going to handle this?” Charissa asked.
“Invisibility? Show them the map and meet them there?” Cassie asked.
“Sounds good to me.” Charissa said. She and Cassie turned invisible.
The Dawn Walkers woke up on the battlements of the emperor’s castle. There was a magical barrier forming a dome around and above them. Aaron woke up and saw that everyone else was awake and trying to break through the barrier, except for Rachel who was sitting in the middle of them meditating. Aaron stood up.
“About time you woke up.” Amelia said noticing him. Every turned to look at him.
“Sorry I was kinda kicked in the chest.” Aaron said poking it. It still stung. Rachel stood up.
“Now that you’re awake, the Goddess can reveal to us the secret of these map pieces!” Rachel threw her hands in the air the map pieces were laying on the floor. Everyone stared at them. The wind blew and the pieces moved slightly. Everyone took a deep breath. When the wind died down they stopped moving. Nothing happened.
“What is this?” Nicole growled. She was still hurt. Rachel looks at the pieces.
“This is obviously the work of our Goddess and she will reveal to us th-“
“You keep saying that, but nothing ever happens!” Nicole said. She sat down to rest for a moment.
“When the Goddess is ready she will reveal to us-“
“Oh shush.” Jessica said. “Look.” Jessica pointed to the map pieces that began to float up. The five pieces formed together and fused into one map.
“Told you.” Rachel said looking at Nicole. Nicole glared at her. Aaron walked up to the map.
“There’s an X on Brandies.” Aaron said. Levi walked up to the map as well.
“I know where that is. It’s the Dragoner’s castle.” Levi turned around. “It’s where I lived before, when I was hunting you guys.”
“So you know how to get there?” Kiera asked.
“I do.” Levi said.
“Then let’s go.” Teshia walked up. The map rolled itself up and floated to Rachel. She put it in her sleeve.
“One issue,” Levi pointed up to the barrier.
“Not a problem!” Aaron said. He unsheathed his sword and struck the barrier. His sword bounced off. The barrier began to dissipate form the top. Aaron hit the barrier a few more times with his sword, each time bouncing off. The barrier came down in front of him.
“See!” Aaron said panting. “Told you.” Audrey and her warriors had teleported away after receiving a note from Cassie telling them that the Dawn Walkers were in her care. The nine of them jumped off the castle to the ground below.
“Soft landing!” Jessica said. They all began to fall slower until they landed gently on the ground.
“Which way? Aaron asked Levi.
“Straight north.” Levi said. He began walking.
“Are you going to walk it?” Aaron asked.
“How else would you su-“ Levi stopped mid-sentence. “Teleport?”
“Yeah, I can get us there, no worries.” Aaron smiled. Everyone stood together and held hands. “Teleport!” the Dawn Walkers disappeared from the emperors now abandoned castle.
They arrived a few hundred feet outside of the Dragoners castle.
“We were supposed to be closer.” Aaron said confused.
‘You suck at teleporting.” Jessica said.
“Hey!” Aaron was insulted.
“True, but there’s a teleportation ward around the castle, this is the closest we can get.” Levi said.
“See, not my fault.” Aaron said. The nine of them walked across the bridge to the entrance to the castle. A Dragoner stood watch there.
“Sir!” He said when he saw Levi.
“At ease.” Levi said. “I need in with my friends.”
“Friends sir?” The Dragoner seemed confused. “Sir, where is Stell?” he asked. Levi was silent for a moment.
“I’m sorry soldier.” Levi said.
“Why sir?” The soldier asked. Levi ran and cut through him. The roar of a dragon was heard.
“That will alert them. We need to go now.” Levi looked slightly panicked. “If we stay out here, we will have to deal with the dragons.” Levi pushed open the castle gates.
“What was that roar?” Aaron asked. The Dawn Walkers ran through the door.
“When a Dragoner dies before their dragon, the dragon dies with them.” Levi said. He took a right turn down a hallway. There were a line of young Dragoners in the hallway.
“Sir? What’s going on?” they asked Levi as he rounded the corner.
“Run to your rooms and stay there.” Levi said as he ran past them. Teshia and the others were close behind him. Levi ran into the large atrium where some of the senior members were standing. Levi ran up to them.
“Sir, when did you return?” Asked one of the members.
“Just now.” Levi said. Everyone else rounded the corner into the sight of the older members.
“Who are they?” the Dragoners asked grabbing their weapons. Levi cursed under his breath and grabbed his sword. The three elder Dragoners threw the javelins they had on their backs at the people behind Levi. Teshia was in the front. She ducked and dodged the first two javelins but the third hit her foot. Teshia screamed out in pain and threw a knife at each of the men. The knives bounced off the thick Dragoner armor. Teshia pulled the javelin out of her foot.
“Stop!” Levi yelled at them both. The older Dragoners pulled out their swords.
“Traitor!” they charged Levi. Levi rolled out of the way of their attack.
“ICE!” Aaron yelled. The feet of the Dragoners froze to the ground. “Jess!” Aaron yelled.
“Silence!” The yells of the men were instantly quieted. “Hold!” the men stopped moving as well.
“Thanks.” Levi said. They had spared the lives of his fellow Dragoners. He turned to Rachel. “Where are we supposed to be headed?” he asked her.
“Somewhere the Goddess would lead us.” Rachel said shrugging her shoulders.
“The prayer room?” Levi asked.
“Most likely.” Rachel said.
“Good. It’s not far from here. Down this hallway.” Levi said turning and running off. The rest of them followed him. Teshia took up the back this time. The group ran down a hallway with no one in it. They arrived in the prayer room with no more problems. A dragon’s roar was heard again, it was followed by flapping wings.
“They’re hunting us.” Levi said. “Dragons can track people even inside of the castle. When the dragon stops outside the whole castle will be coming down on us. Block the door.” Outside of the window they saw the outline of a dragon. Aaron and Jessica pushed pews toward the door and closed it.
“Earth!” Aaron yelled. The stone of the room didn’t move. “Earth!” Aaron yelled again.
“There’s no magic in this room.” Levi said.
“What?” Aaron said.
“This room does not allow magic. It’s been that way since it was build thousands of years ago.” Levi undid his armor and placed it on one of the three armor racks against the wall.
“What are you doing?” Nicole asked Levi.
“I’m praying. We’re going to need it.” Levi sat in front of the stain glass window and began to pray. Everyone else took a seat and waited for the Dragoners to come and fight. Aaron stood up and began pacing the room.
“Would you sit down?” Jessica snapped at him. “It bothers me when people pace.”
“I’m not pacing… I’m... looking at the armor.” Aaron said walking over to Levis armor and looking at it. Aaron leaned over and looked at the armor. It was well crafted armor. Aaron bored of looking at the armor quickly and moved to the next armor rack. He looked at it and noticed the symbol for steel on it. He walked to the third stand and saw the symbol for magic on it. Aaron motioned to Jessica to come over to him.
“What?’ Jessica said standing up and walking over.
“Look at this, the symbol of the gifts of the Goddess.” Aaron said.
“We're in a prayer room for her, why is that surprising?” Jessica asked.
“I don’t know. Just thought it was interesting.” Aaron said. Jessica went back and sat down shaking her head. Rachel pulled out the map and spread it out against the floor.
“Guys, come look at this.” Rachel said. Everyone walked over to see. The map now had three X’s on it one of which was blue. And the map was zoomed in on the room they were standing in. there was a soft click behind them and they turned to see the armor rack that held Levis armor sink into the ground. Aaron ran over and looked at the symbol on the foot of the stand. The symbol for dragons.
“Jess let me see your hat.” Aaron said. Jessica pulled her hat out of her pouch and handed it to Aaron.
“You do anything to it and so help me…” She said.
“Don’t worry.” Aaron assured her. He placed the hat on the stand with the symbol for magic.
“How’s the map look?’ Aaron asked. Rachel looked down at it again.
“Two blue X’s” She said. A click and the stand fell an inch into the ground. Aaron looked at the steel symbol.
“What are we supposed to do for this one?” Aaron asked.
“What is going on?” Nicole asked frustrated.
“The gifts of the Goddess.” Rachel said. “The Goddess granted humans three gifts before she disappeared, the gift of magic, used to tame dragons, who taught us to forge steel.” Rachel looked at Nicole. “You’ve never heard of the gifts?”
“Never.” Nicole said. “But I have an idea for steel.” Nicole said. She walked up to the rack and looked at Aaron. “I need your sword.” She said.
“My sword?! Why?” Aaron was reluctant to give up his weapon.
“Just trust me.” Nicole said fiercely. Aaron grabbed the handle of his sword.
“Oh fine.” He unsheathed his weapon and handed it to Nicole. Nicole picked it up and felt its weight. She turned to the armor rack and plunged Aaron’s sword deep within it.
“Hey!” Aaron yelled. He reached for his sword. Nicole grabbed his arms.
“Wait a second.” There was silence followed by a quiet click and the rack fell an inch down. There was a rumble from the ground beneath them. They all looked around. The alter of the Goddess began to slide out of the way. It revealed a small stairway leading down into the bowels of the castle.
“What is that?” Levi stood up surprised. “By the Goddess.” There was a pounding at the door. The sound of metal was heard. They were trying to force their way through the door. Jessica went over and picked up her hat and put it on her head.
“Time to go it looks like.” Jessica smiled at everyone and headed down the staircase. Rachel quickly followed her. Levi walked over and put back on his armor. He, Teshia, Amelia, Kiera and Nicole headed down the stairs. Aaron was trying to dislodge his sword from the wood. He pulled and pulled. The sword would not budge. Taylor walked over to him.
“Would you like some help?” She asked.
“Nah I’m good. I’ve got it.” Aaron said. He stood back and tried puling one more time. He put his feet on the rack and used the extra force to pull. Taylor looked away shamefully and headed down the stairs. Aaron kept pulling. Finally it began to move.
“C’mon.” Aaron grunted as he pulled. The sword came loose and Aaron fell back. Aaron hurt his back but he had his sword. Aaron headed down the staircase slowly.
Charissa waited at the bottom of the staircase for the warriors to show up. Cassie was reading a book in the corner. The book slammed shut.
“It’s really going to happen this time, isn’t it?” Cassie said.
“I think so, they resemble each other so much.” Charissa said. She summoned herself a glass of lemonade. She took a long drink.
“We might get to sleep soon.” Cassie said lying back on a chair she had brought down three thousand years ago.
“Rest sounds nice.” Charissa finished her glass of lemonade. “I don’t think that I’m thirsty anymore.” Charissa sat down the glass and sat down next to Cassie.
“This was going to be the end for you either way, wasn’t it?” Cassie asked.
“My time doing this is over. It’s been over for a long time.” The sound of the alter moving sounded above them.
“What about the ones who haven’t had their choice yet?” Cassie asked.
“They will get it on the other side.” Charissa said. “We can expend the power to do it a few more times.” Charissa stood up. “Are you ready?” she asked Cassie.
“Always have been.” Cassie stood up beside Charissa. “Together, ok?” Charissa looked at her.
“Together we win, alone I fall.”
Levi walked into a small room and saw two women standing beside each other. The others followed him in and were silent. Rachel fell to her knees. The woman in white turned and looked at them.
“Welcome all of you.” She had a smile on her face; it was kind and held a deep sorrow behind it.
“I am Charissa, the Goddess.” Levi followed Rachel’s idea and fell to his knees. Jessica lowered her head in respect.
“There is no need to do such things. We must talk as equals.” Charissa said. Levi looked up at her.
“Yes stand Levi.” She said. Levi slowly stood up. Jessica raised her head.
“You as well, Rachel,” she said. Rachel slowly rose and looked at the Goddess. Aaron looked to the woman in black.
“Cassie!?” Aaron inadvertently yelled. This caused her to burst out in laughter. Every one turned to look at her.
“What are you doing here?” Kiera asked Cassie.
“I’m a Goddess.” Cassie said.
“There is only one Goddess!” Rachel said personally offended by Cassies comment. “Take it back immediately!”
“Some oracle you choose.” Cassie said to Charissa.
“Do not speak to her in such an informal manor!” Rachel yelled at Cassie.
“It’s true. She is also a Goddess.” Charissa said.
“What? Goddess, you must be joking with me.” Rachel said.
“I am not.” Charissa said. “And call me Charissa.”
“I couldn’t! It’s far too informal!” Rachel began to suffer from an identity crisis.
“It’s true.” Levi said. “Our castle was originally built for a Goddess in black but when she disappeared from history everyone assumed it was a mistranslation. It was true the whole time.” Levi took a step back.
“I understand that you’re all very shocked, but time is short. I must tell you of a mission I need you to do.” Everyone looked at Charissa. “Long ago, this world was twice as large as it is now. There was another half of this planet, a half that Cassie and I locked away five thousand years ago. Before we locked it away the people who lived there became obsessed with power. They learned to cast spells with a thought. And soon after, they unlocked the secret of immortality, a curse they cast on all of us. They enslaved the dragons. The land was made of floating rocks that made up the continents.” Teshia leaned against the wall for a moment. Her dream came flashing back into her mind. “Those people obsessed with magical powers soon considered themselves better than those who could not. Our government, our elected counsel, began passing laws enslaving those who could not use magic. They worked our lands, they cooked our food, and they did as any magic user bid them to do. They soon became so enthralled with magic that they fused it into their very being. Their mortal bodies vanished and in their place were these shadowy figures that vaguely resembled them. Cassie fought them as I led the non-magic users away from there and sent them to Dita. The magic users who had remained sane we sent to Disa. From there your people migrated to Letha and created many different civilizations. That was six thousand years ago. After Cassie and I fought with the counsel for another thousand years we finally decided to flee. We took with us one of our friends. Her name was Audrey. She sacrificed her immortality to create the great barrier that separates that world from ours. Her magical energies were so great though, her spirit inhabits the body of a human every generation, that human is born with pink hair. Every one of her lifetimes she helps us by training nine heroes we bring to her. You nine are the chosen ones. What we need you to do is cross over into the other half of the world, and destroy the remaining council members, their minions, and return to us. Once you have done this, your world will become peaceful.” Charissa finished her speech.
“We couldn’t even defeat the emperor of Brandies,” Aaron said, “We have no chance against anything as powerful and immortal as you two.”
“The emperor of Brandies was possessed by a shadow minion from the other side.” Charissa said. “He was your test. You passed when he died. You just have to fight hundreds of them on the other side.”
“Hundreds!?” Jessica yelled.
“We didn’t stand a chance against one.” Levi said.
“No chance of us surviving that.” Teshia said.
“You are all more powerful than you could ever know.” Charissa reassured them. “Once this is over, I will guarantee you will all get that which you wish for most.”
“I guess.” Aaron said kicking the ground. “It would be a challenge.” Everyone looked at Aaron.
“Are you crazy?” Jessica asked him.
“I’ve never been big on worship, but we have the Goddess in front of us right now asking us to do something. The least we can do is try for her, right?” Aaron said.
“I will go as well.” Rachel said. She walked up to Charissa. “Allow me to serve you.” Charissa nodded awkwardly. “Where shall we go?” Charissa pointed to the hallway behind her.
“Down there, when you make it to the wall wait for me.” Charissa said. Aaron ran down the hallway.
“Race ya!” He yelled to Rachel who walked calmly down the earthen hallway. Charissa turned back to the others.
“Who else wishes to go?” Charissa asked. Taylor took a step forward.
“I will go with them.” Amelia stared at Taylor.
“Taylor this isn’t a game. Are you sure?” Amelia asked her.
“I’m positive. I’ve learned that I need to be strong when people ask for my help. And even though he never would admit it, Aaron needs help.” Taylor walked down the cavern.
“I’m not letting her go alone.” Amelia ran after Taylor. Jessica followed Amelia.
“Aaron won’t survive a second without me!” she yelled back. Teshia, Kiera, Nicole, and Levi stood before Charissa.
“You three will not go?” Charissa asked. Kiera took a step forward.
“I have nothing left for me here.” Kiera walked down the hallway. “If I die there, then I died doing something good.” Nicole followed her. She remained silent.
“Do you really believe that we can accomplish such a great task?” Levi asked, still with a hint of formality in his voice.
“As I have said before, you all are more powerful than you currently realize. You will find this to be true if you proceed forward.” Charissa said.
“Well, if my Goddess deems it to be true, then I shall accompany the rest of them. Besides, they will need someone to keep them in line.” Levi proclaimed as he started forward. “See you on the other side, Teshia.”
Teshia was now the last one to stand in front of the two goddesses. “Can you restore my memories?” she asked Charissa.
“Yes, memory repression is something we learned to get rid of early on in our magical studies.” Charissa said.
“Then that is the only reason I go with them.” Teshia said following the others down the long pathway. Charissa and Cassie turned and followed them down to the magical barrier.
A Large blue wall pulsated in front of them. Powerful magic came from it and repelled them. Aaron tried to push through it. Charissa walked up to it.
“This is where Audrey sacrificed herself.” Charissa touched the walls. “This is the weakest point in the barrier.” She waved her hand around. Cassie walked up and snapped her fingers. The blue wall slowly faded to a transparent pale blue.
“This is where we leave you.” Cassie said.
“Leave us? As in totally on our own?” Jessica asked.
“Completely.” Cassie said.
“Can you give us any advice, or powers, or spells to help us?” Jessica asked pleadingly. Charissa thought for a moment then smiled to herself.
“Good luck.” Charissa said. Aaron led the group through the portal. As the last one walked through Cassie and Charissa sealed the barrier again. Cassie tuned to Charissa.
“There’s nothing left for us to do.” Cassie said.
“To the library?” Charissa asked.
“You never ask to go to the library.” Cassie said.
“I feel like reading.” Charissa said. She teleported away. Cassie stayed and touched the wall where Audrey’s body was.
“It’s been awhile.” Cassie said to her. Audrey had loved the library back home. Perhaps Charissa was going in memory of Audrey.
As Aaron walked through the barrier he was covered in blue light, but as he passed into the other side of the barrier, the only light was the faint glow from the wall. The others passed through and bumped Aaron into a black abyss.
“Fire.” Aaron said softly. A flame spawned above his palm. It illuminated the damp, earthen cave they had entered. The nine of them made it through the barrier and it began to force them away from it.
“Apparently we’re moving forward.” Jessica said.
“Earth.” Aaron said. The dirt in front of them moved out of the way as they made their way through. Aaron began to carve the tunnel upward. After thirty minutes of travel they came out onto the surface. Aaron poked his head out. The sky was a dark gray color. There was no grass around. Just clay, rock and dirt. There was what looked like trees around them. The trunks were charcoal black and the branches looked like fragile sculptures coming off the trunks. Aaron climbed out of the tunnel fully. The others slowly followed. Aaron put his flame out. What looked like a sun could be barley seen through the clouds. The whole place was covered in shadow. It was difficult to see anything. It was silent. Not a single bird or insect made a sound.
“This is creepy.” Taylor said. Everyone nodded in agreement. “Where are we?” Taylor asked.
“No idea.” Jessica said. “I don’t like this place though.” It was silent for some time. A large black figure flew over them. Dark energies radiated down from it and the trees crackled and moved.
“Anyone bring a tent?” Aaron asked. Everyone looked at each other. “Camping under the stars then.” Aaron sounded disappointed. Everyone else was silent as the woods.
“Where do we even start?” Taylor asked. Aaron looked back at the others. They all looked off in different directions. They were lost, in a world none of them knew, with monsters around them they could not defeat. They all lay down and drifted to sleep dreaming dreams of things forgotten and families lost.
Smoke filled her lungs. The house she was in was on fire. The council had come and convicted her of crimes against them. They had locked her in her house. Her parents had been over visiting for dinner. Her parents had been killed on sight. Her child was hiding under her bed. Her husband had been killed months earlier by the same people. She beat against the door. She heard laughter from outside. The men were enjoying her struggle. Smoke filled her lungs and she couldn’t breathe. She dropped to the floor and crawled to her child’s room. The little girl was cowering under the bed. She had dark grey eyes. She picked up her child. She ran with what little energy she had left and threw her out the window. The glass shattered around her. The little girl dropped to the ground outside the house. She ran to the wall and began to beat on it.
“MAMA! MAMA!” she screamed. The girl did not know that the last bit of her mother life energy was spent on saving her. The fire got closer and closer to the girl. Still she beat against the wall calling for her mother. The girl did not notice the fire cover her body. She screamed from the pain of her missing mother. The girl soon fell to the fire. Her body was destroyed. Her soul still pounded against the wall. Still calling for her mother. When the fire was gone and the wall had been reduced to ash the girl stopped. She walked in and found her mother’s corpse scorched and burned in front of her. The girl’s soul stared at it for some time. Finally, she turned and walked away. The girl walked and walked and walked. She saw the large trees with their fruit and the purple flowers that grew in the shade around the trees. She walked until she reached the edge of her island. She looked over the edge of the cliff. The water below looked serene and comforting. The girl lay by the cliff for some time. She watched dragons fly overhead. She watched the sun cross through the sky. She watched the number of dragon dwindle. She watched as metal machines took over the skies. Of how they flew and fought those who used magic. She watched the metal bird’s burn in the skies. The sky itself soon turned red. The water beneath her was dyed red with blood. The sky turned gray next. The ash from the fires changed it. The girl turned her head and looked at the next island over. The counsel building was there. The building causing her so much pain. The girl stood up. She felt taller now. She looked down at her arms and legs. She had grown in the time she was laying there. She walked off the cliff. Instead of falling into the blood water below her she walked straight for the counsel building. The girl walked into the building and found the twelve council members. Three of the women were yelling at the others, fighting for people like her. She walked into the room. The twelve looked at her.
“This is exactly why you have to stop!” a woman in white with blond hair said.
“I think not. We can use this.” Said one of the men. She couldn’t see him; he looked as if he were a ghost. “Watch.” He raised his hand out to her. The girl felt extreme pain as bursts of lightning shot through her. Tendrils of darkness grew from around her and began to construct her a human form. The black tendrils became muscle and skin. It formed vocal cords for her. She screamed.
“Stop this! Stop it now!” the woman in black screamed. She launched an explosive spell at the man causing her pain. The spell went straight through him. He laughed.
“Just calm down and enjoy the show.” He clenched his fist and the tendrils grew deep inside of her. It ripped through her newly formed muscles and created newer stronger ones. The pain was unbearable. She began to black out.
“Ah ah, don’t give up on me just yet.” The man snapped his fingers the girls mind went white with pain. She opened her eyes. “That’s a good girl.” More tendrils ripped through her. Her organs were destroyed and reformed. After thirty minutes of this he finally stopped. She had almost passed out sixteen times. And each time he forced her back into conciseness.
“There. That is acceptable.” he said.
“That is nowhere near acceptable.” The woman in black said.
“You make me sick.” said the woman in white. They both left the room with the other woman who had not said anything. The girls stood in the room with the others now. Tears streamed down her face.
“All you need now is a touch of magic.” He said. He snapped his fingers again and her body exploded with fire and ice and lightning all at once. She began to fall.
“No falling,” He said in a bored voice. He snapped again and a large fist grabbed her and moved her upright. Her body still had raw magic power running through it.
“Now for something darker.” He said. He snapped his finger again and the black tendrils returned. This time, they flowed through her blood stream, filled her mouth. She was drowning in the blackness. She couldn’t breathe. She almost passed out again and, once again, the man woke her up with extreme pain. Tears flowed freely from her eyes now. They too turned black. Everything she saw began to turn black.
“That’s right my little monster. Cry. Soon it will all be over and you can help me.” The girl tried to scream, but the tendrils stopped her. The man laughed. “You are going to be very entertaining, doll.” He kept laughing. It had been another half hour of this black torture.
There was a sudden explosion from behind the man. The woman in white had the two other women with her on a dragon. She saw the girl.
“How could you?” the woman in white said. The woman in black raised her hand and the girl found herself in her lap.
“Bring her back, will you? I was almost done.” He laughed again. That laugh burned itself into the girl’s mind. The woman in white flew off from there. They and others who had been outside rode dragons for a long time. The woman in black replaced the woman in white driving for some time. The woman in white came back to her.
“Poor child.” She said. She moved her hand over the girl. The black tendrils released her. She cried in full now. She buried her head in this woman’s lap. She continued to move her hand over her. She did not know what she was doing.
“My name is Charissa.” The woman finally said. “What’s yours?” she asked her.
“I don’t have a name.” she said to her. Charissa sat and looked at her. She thought of all the pain the girl had suffered. She knew that nothing she could do to her would make it better. She had already healed her skin. From the shady black it was to a fresh pink. She didn’t know what the girl would look like when she had healed, but she knew it would take a long time for it to heal. Charissa decided that she would put the girl in a time stasis. The girl would exist outside of flowing time and when she was ready she would emerge from it and join the rest of the world. “Then I shall name you for when we arrive in this new place. It is late summer there. Your name, child, shall be forever known as-”