26 February 2012

Tulaq Ch. 2*

Yufi during her time training with the Sprinters in Mak
Art by Alvin Hew alvinhew.blogspot.com

Chapter 2

Tulaq sat at his desk which was furnished with the skull of a Baron Fel, a crystal candle holder shaped by magic to appear as if three dragons breathed one flame when lit, a large book titled Away with the Mage, and an empty glass birdcage that once homed a winged fire breathing pogona. He rolled his fingers around the golden ferrule of his mahogany cane as he pondered its markings. A warm breeze crept in through the slit in his already hot tent.

Garbed in a white robe bearing a golden ‘V’ on the right side of the chest, that only his order, the Victors, was privileged to wear, he stepped out into the mercy of the blistering hot morning son of the Baron Lands. He walked amongst the camp in which most of the soldiers still slept dreaming of wives and girls patiently waiting, hoping for a safe return home in Vropa or Cape Galsco.

“What’re you doing awake?” The only female human voice in this entire desert asked as its speaker snuck up behind him.

“I’ve been awake for hours. I’ve been thinking Yufi,” Tulaq stopped speaking when he noticed the all but interested look Yufi had plastered to her face.

“You do that too much Tulaq. Just relax and do as King Erinom orders.” She turned and began running through the camp. “Follow me,” she yelled back.

Tulaq during a battle against Dest near the Makian border
Art by Daniel Ljunggren danielljunggren.blogspot.com/
He slid his cane into the sheath under his sword on his belt and ran after her. After all the cane was only an accessory. The cane was gifted to Tulaq on his sixteenth birthday by High Thaumaturgist Goralmirh. Other than studying the ornate design the three foot long cane bore it had no use, even so Tulaq felt an unexplainable connection with the item.

They stopped when they reached the eastern most region of the camp which was on the southern shore of the Tuchi River. The breeze was slightly cooler along the shore. The two walked next to each other westward on the sandy beach against the wind until they came to the opening of a large cave.

“Evanescent!” Yufi shouted into the cave.

Heavy footsteps and grunting started heading their way. A black seemingly polished dragon emerged from the dark. Every time Yufi saw Tulaq’s beast she wondered what made him unlike the other dragons. He was smaller than the others, lighter and more aero dynamic, and the fire he expelled from his lungs was a sphere that exploded when it made contact with its target.

“Fury, where’s your sister?” Tulaq asked the dragon.

The beast grunted and looked skyward. There she was, a huge green monstrosity for all to see, flying high in the sky. Tulaq looked to Yufi angrily. Frustrated he mounted Fury and without warning to Yufi the two shot into the sky as if they were catapulted upward.

Yufi sat on a rock formation at the caves entrance speaking to herself, “That damned dragon keeps getting you in trouble Yufi. Next thing I know I’ll be doing crap duty for the scouts. Damn you Evanescent!” She shouted towards the cloud littered patch of sky that Fury was currently chasing his sister through.

“Get over here Evanescent,” Tulaq ordered the mammoth sized dragon that was testing his patience in none but a playful manner. Fury finally cut her off and changed directions in the blink of an eye facing his younger much larger sibling and flew directly at her. Nearly twenty feet from making contact fury headed straight upwards and Tulaq jumped from his saddle and began free falling blindly through the clouds.

As if practiced a million times over Tulaq landed in the saddle mounting Evanescent. He guided her downwards to the riverbank and carefully landed on the shore where Yufi sat waiting. Fury quickly tackled his sister after Tulaq dismounted and the two began wrestling in the water.

“You need to control that dragon of yours Yufi, before she gets us spotted. There’s a camp of Baron Fel not three miles from us and the last thing we need is for-” Tulaq stopped his yelling when Yufi gently pushed his shoulder from her view.

“Shit,” she exclaimed, “the general must’ve seen her flying without permission again; here come his lackeys now.”

“Gods, I’m losing my patience with that beast,” Tulaq muttered under his breath as Captain Harris and two lieutenants approached on horseback. He turned and waved at the three men.

Tulaq rubbed the snout of the captain’s horse as the three stopped, “To what do we owe the pleasure Harris?”

“Get that dirty paw away from my horse Tulaq,” commanded Captain Harris.

“Yes sir,” Tulaq complied surprised at the sudden discontent from the officer; it usually didn’t appear until several minutes into a conversation.

“The general wants to speak with you and that girl.  Apparently our scouts spotted a patrol of Baron Fel that saw that demon flying near camp.”

“Hey!” exclaimed Yufi, “Evanescent is not a demon. How dare you?”

“Tulaq do you dare let your woman talk to me with that tone without first being propelled to do so.”

“She’s not my woman Harris. And as far as I’m concerned she’s as much right to speak her mind as any man,” Tulaq was quick to defend his partner. Fury snarled at the captain as he emerged glistening from the river.

“If you say so,” the captain muttered before trotting back to camp.

Evanescent concept
Art by Maxim Verehin
“How dare he speak of me like that and to do so in my presence,” complained Yufi. “Thanks for standing up for me. I can’t stand those three. Especially the two lieutenants, I don’t know if I’ve ever even heard them speak, they’re like that moron’s pet toy dogs or something.”

“That’s enough from you let’s go see this general again; I think we might actually have work today.”

Yufi and Tulaq sat outside of the general’s tent awaiting permission to enter. By now the camp was alive with soldiers walking to and from mess tents and the river to bathe. A young messenger stepped out from the tent and allowed the two to enter before returning to his post in a shaded area under a large umbrella.

“I can’t believe it. This time I swear to the fire god, Palo I will have that dragon killed and you whipped,” The general began his yelling as soon as the two entered the tent, his finger never leaving Yufi’s face.

Tulaq gently lowered the general’s arm. “Just say what needs to be done and we won’t need to kill any dragons; besides it’s not an easy task they tend to breathe fire,” He warned.

“And she’s my dragon so humph,” Yufi declared as she attempted her meanest face at the general.

“And that’s why I’ll have you whipped, you little brat,” The general exclaimed as his fist flew towards Yufi.

Tulaq caught the general’s fist and stated, “Do you want to explain to Supreme Leinen why you struck one of the king’s riders, a nineteen year old girl?” He released the general’s hand. “I didn’t think so. Now General Kape, I recommend you do what you do best and strategize, before this camp becomes the third lost in this area in only a month.”

Kape spit on the floor at Yufi’s feet. “I hate women in war especially the ones who’ve just weaned off their mommy’s teats.”

“Get to the topic General,” Yufi snapped.

“Whatever. By now the Fel commanders probably already know where we are. Damn barbarians won’t even give up land that’s not properly claimed. Burn them Tulaq. I’ll have the Berserkers in after the two of you have each flown over the Fel camp twice. Following them will be the cavalry led by Captain Harris. And be sure to hit key structures, you know the larger tents and what not. Understand?”

“Yes it’s clear,” Tulaq said and turned to leave.

“Oh Tulaq,” The general called after Yufi left the tent, “Don’t let a set of pretty eyes and nice legs get you killed out there.”

Captain Harris walked up to Tulaq and Yufi as they left the camp. “Sorry about this morning Tulaq, the general has been riding my ass about those damn dragons.”

Tulaq grabbed Harris’ throat. “Tell him they don’t concern him, and the next time you speak to Yufi the way you did this morning the general won’t be able to find you to ride your ass.”

Fear-struck and surprised at Tulaq’s sudden hostility Harris stepped back once his neck was freed. “You might want to hurry. I dispatched the Berserkers as soon as the scouts told me about the near encounter and my cavalry is almost prepared.”

“Good they’ll need a head start.”

“And Yufi,” Harris waited for her to look at him before continuing, “I am sorry.”
Harris one year ago: Battle for Onella’s Land Bridge
art found at thealchemycritics.blogspot.com/

“Prove it asshole,” she said as she turned to run towards the cave.

As if the dragons felt the urgency in which their riders approached them they ran towards the humans and quickly picked them up. The two flew east along the river passing the Berserkers less than a mile from the Fel outpost.

The two started seeing tents below and began their descent. Fury released three consecutive fire balls from his lungs each erupting into huge fires once striking the ground as Evanescent released a steady breath of fire onto the tents.

Fel began frantically shooting arrows and throwing spears at the low flying dragons. A fel planted his feet sturdy on the roof of a small wooden shack and aimed his spear in on Fury. The fel threw the spear. The dragon barely had time to elevate and was nearly struck in the face. Fury grabbed the fel using his mouth and Tulaq guided the dragon straight up.

The Fel refused to stop fighting and without reward repeatedly struck Fury in his snout. At the dragon’s maximum height he released the Fel and began slowly descending. Tulaq looked around at the ground to the east of the Fel outpost and for the first time since he’d been flying reconnaissance missions in this desert he saw a grand city. It surprised him. As far as he knew the Baron Fel lived in small villages and their clans constantly saw to war with each other.

He continued his mission and met Ram Runner Kuge, leader of the Berserkers on the rocky floor. Kuge greeted Tulaq bumping chests as the Berserkers always did amongst friends. “Agh it’s a beautiful morning to smash some skulls don’t ya think Tulaq?” Kuge asked laughing.

“Never knew a morning that wasn’t in this land.” Tulaq looked towards the Fel camp to see at least fifty fel running their way. “It’s suicide to go in their Kuge. There is an entire city not a mile and a half east of that camp.

“Captain gave his orders and I’m just a Ram Runner. Gotta do what Harris orders, besides my fists are too blood thirsty not obey them anyway. Right boys?” He directed the question towards his two right hand men.

“Aye sir,” one of the fists replied.

“What about the stronglings, they’re young, inexperienced. They won’t survive the encounter,” Tulaq pleaded.

“They have to earn fist somehow don’t they. Unsheathe that blade of yours and come with us Tulaq, you don’t want to miss out on the action.”

Yufi landed seconds later and dismounted with both of her blades drawn. “You boys coming or am I gonna have to do this all by myself. I get lonely you know,” She yelled as the fel drew closer with every second.

“Let’s go Kuge.” Tulaq turned and ran towards Yufi who was running faster than he’d ever seen her run before and she was awarded honorary quick back when she was training for a short year with the Sprinters and occasionally aiding them in the war in Dest. The ten Berserkers led by their Ram Runner quickly followed suit.

Yufi quickly met the first fel slicing his throat barely even stuttering her steps to slow down as she killed him. She raised her short curved blade to strike down another but the fel raised his shield blocking it. She attempted to swing her other blade low under the shield but the fel pushed his shield away and up throwing the girl towards Tulaq.

As Yufi passed over him he grabbed her wrist swinging her back around. He released her and she darted feet first towards her enemy. One foot met the shield kicking it back into the fel’s face, her other foot followed she bent her knees and jumped forward twisting as she flipped. Her blade cut into the back of the fel’s neck.

He turned swinging the shield. Yufi ducked but his war axe followed at a lower angle, she jumped, the axe caught the bottom of her boot and she fell to the rocky sand covered floor hitting the back of her head hard as she landed. The mighty fel raised his war axe readying for the kill. Yufi looked to her would be killer confused, stunned.

A long blade shot through the fel’s abdomen, turned ninety degrees and sliced outwards disemboweling the creature. Tulaq stepped out from behind the Fel, as it stumbled to the ground where it would die. Tulaq took a knee to help Yufi.

“Come back to me Yufi!” He screamed at her. Blood from a previous left hook to the jaw dropped onto her as he tried to get her to come back to consciousness.

“Huh?” She asked rubbing her head not knowing she was needed in the fight where they were outnumbered five to one and the odds were separating even further with every new wave of Baron Fel that quickly ran to the growing battle.

Tulaq stabbed forward and up into the chin of a fel who thought he had caught his enemy off guard. The blade sliced through his skull and out of the back of his head as if he were cutting warm butter. Another fel swiftly kicked Tulaq in his side sending him ten feet across the ground. The fel then grabbed Yufi and threw her over his shoulder before running east towards the burning campsite.

Galloping soon came as a comforting sound for Tulaq and the Berserkers three of which had been slain, including one of the fists. Tulaq looked up to see a mace shatter a shield and kill the wielder as a horse jumped over him. Canon shot began booming adding to the sound of the song of death. The canons were being ruthlessly fired towards the camp, the same place the fel had carried Yufi off to.

Tulaq slowly stood; his head was throbbing with pain and bleeding. The battle quickly grew in numbers from both armies. Humans and fel screamed horrifying yells as they crawled hoping for an escape from their impending deaths. A fel ran on all fours straight towards Tulaq. Tulaq quickly grabbed the shield of a fallen fel and was knocked back to the ground when the fel jumped onto him.

The fel bared his teeth and growled at Tulaq, smiling as he did. Tulaq spanned the sky for Fury or Evanescent, but the dragons were still laying waste to the camp. The fel repeatedly struck Tulaq in his side with a closed fist occasionally clawing at his chest. Nearly accepting his fate Tulaq rested his head on his side and saw his sword just out of arms reach.
Fel concept
Art by Kai O. kaio89.deviantart.com/

Tulaq reached for his weapon. The fel was beginning to play with Tulaq, as any cat would, and picked him up and threw him into a pile of loose rocks. The rocks tore his back as he slid across them. The fel lunged towards Tulaq with his sharp nails exposed. The fel latched onto Tulaq’s chest with his right paw and began beating his face with the left.

Bloody and seeing surroundings as if they were tinted in red Tulaq grabbed a sharp rock that fit perfectly into the palm of his hand and as hard as he could hit his would be killer in the head. Now the fel was just as disconcerted as Tulaq was. Tulaq liked that. He stumbled to his sword nearly falling when he leaned to pick it up. The fel found a nearby broadsword and gripped it.

The fel swung at Tulaq missing his intended target. When the blade bounced off the ground the fel stumbled forward; Tulaq hit him in the back with the flat side of his dragon-scale sword. The fel caught himself just before he face planted in the sand. Tulaq raised his sword back behind him and swung it cracking the fel’s skull open when the flat side of the sword smashed into his head.

This time the fel laid motionless with his back exposed. Tulaq drove his sword into the creature’s back severing his spine and piercing his heart. Tulaq looked around at the battle field. The last time he saw something this horrible was when Vropa won the War for Cape Galsco at the Battle for Onella’s Land Bridge.

It amazed him only minutes earlier there were only twelve Vropians on this field and now there were countless dozens dead around him. The Berserkers were down to five now. Ram Runner Kuge mercilessly slaughtered dozens of fel as his surviving fist strategized with the three stronglings. Usually Captain Harris was like a warrior from another realm when he was on horseback, but today he was struggling just as badly as Tulaq.

The Hero of Vropa thought he would die on this battle field, but his instincts kept him alive after the bloodlust and ensuing rage gave him a second burst of adrenaline. His movements grew swifter like that of a dancer performing to her favorite song. He literally cut his way to the beaten captain.

Captain Harris’ horse had pinned him to the ground. The horse’s mouth had been ripped apart by a fel while another bit into its neck. Harris managed to fight fel off until one kicked him in the head and they ran off leaving the unconscious man to die beneath the unforgiving Baron’s sun. Tulaq grabbed the captain’s wrist to drag him out from underneath the animal.     

Harris’ pants were drenched in blood around the left ankle. Tulaq lifted the pant leg to see the wound. His fibula had broken through his skin and was still protruding from his body. “Good thing,” Tulaq paused panting, “you’re unconscious for this, although I can’t wait for your cocky ass to feel real pain.” He carefully put Harris over his shoulders and ran towards the artillery battery at the edge of the battle and found the apprentices and mages.

Fury and Evanescent flew to Tulaq once Evanescent could no longer feel Yufi’s presence. Tulaq left the unconscious Harris with the apprentices for healing and went to the dragons.

“She’s gone Evanescent, I promise we will get her back though,” for the first time since he saw her being carried away Tulaq began to worry immensely for his partner.

The huge green dragon looked around frantically for her rider. Her worst nightmare was quickly becoming reality. She had lost her rider and from right underneath her.

“Fury, I need you to fly to Castle Kakku and bring back Hamlin and Scintilla. And don’t forget once you pass the great river Tuchi the fel are friendly, you are not to attack them. Do you understand?”

Fury concept
Art by Tina Leyk
The dragon nodded and flew away.

22 February 2012

Assassin Part 3*

Sergio pocketed the letter against Sloan’s wishes. “They just got a three hour head start is all,” He stated looking at his sister.

Scott scratched his head in confusion.  “Gave who a three hour head start?” He waited for an answer, but his older cousin just got up and went to his room. He turned his question to Aiya, “You read the letter. What is it?”

“Captain Gray,” She replied, “headed out at lunch time today guarded by twenty of the Elite Guard. He’s meeting the emissary in a hidden camp in the Ra Forest near Dryads’ Retreat.” She looked at her hidden blade and feathered the length of it once. “I’ve never been that deep into that forest before. I’m nervous.”

“You don’t believe those stories do you?”

“Just, because I don’t worship the Ra doesn’t mean I don’t believe they exist. Most people don’t believe in conspiracies, but here we are.”
property of http://fictionalescapes.blogspot.com

“You’re almost seventeen Aiya. You should stop letting dryads and nymphs scare you,” Scott said mockingly. “You probably believe in merpeople too, don’t you?” 

“All I’m saying is that our government hasn’t outlawed Ra worship. Mak is where the gods created us. We named our country for Mak. Just five blocks from here is where our god,” she paused placing a clenched hand over her heart, “created humanity. Right here in Hiarlym City cousin. Our entire country is founded on the belief that Mak is the creator. If the Ra didn’t exist the King would’ve outlawed their worship years ago.”

“Enough you two!” Teagan quieted her only living inlaws before they could get into another one of their pointless arguments.

“She’s right,” Aiya said. “We should go get ready; our target is three hours ahead of us and I’d like to get him before he risks more of our countrymen’s lives. We have friends in that army. Don’t forget the matches and the kerosene. You never know when we’ll need some fiery arrows.”

Aiya went to her room; she was one of the few with her own room, a privilege for the best assassins. Not having time to bathe, she took off her wet and bloodied clothes, wiped away dirt and blood from her face with a damp towel. She dried off and put on her undergarments on before going to her trunk. Opening it she pulled out a white robe bearing a golden ‘V’ above the the right breast, Aiya did not know what the ‘V’ stood for, but one day she would. At least according to her brother she would. She laid the robe on her bed.

She grabbed her extra pair of leather boots from the trunk and set those aside. She grabbed her left forearm bracer, she rarely wore it. The bracer was leather and started at the bottom of her elbow. It didn’t end around her wrist, but continued to her index finger where it wrapped around it coming to a point. She tossed it on her bed.

“Where are you? Damn it,” Aiya spoke quietly to herself. “Ah there you are.” She grabbed a thin leather strap with a clip on either on end. She sat on her bed and put it around her ankle. “I miss you mom.”

She donned her left bracer with the finger armor and iron reaver claw then the right with the hidden blade and then she robed. She sat back down and strapped her leather boots onto her feet. Finally, after she stood, she went to her glass locker where she kept her knives and black dagger. The dagger was a gift from Prince Hamlin of Tannia, he told her that the blade was formed from the scale of a dragon injured in combat.

She opened the robe and slid throwing knives into hidden sheathes inside of the robe and clipped three onto both of her bracers. She sheathed the black dagger on her belt. She looked into the mirror on the wall above the glass locker and gave herself a smirk as she lifted her hood over her head. “Let’s go kill us a Makian Captain,” She spoke to herself.

She met her brother and cousin in the den before departing. Sergio sheathed his two backswords as they left the den. “Hope you kids are up for a run.”

It was dark by the time they entered the forest. Luckily one of the moons was full and the other was partially eclipsed behind it. The unfamiliar sounds made Aiya uneasy. Fortunately, Sergio had ventured through the forests for many years with their father before their parents were killed. Unfortunately, their dad forbade him from going anywhere near Dryad’s Retreat. They had no idea what was waiting for them.

Even on the dimly moonlit road the wagon tire tracks and horse hoof imprints were easy to track.

Ahead on the road Scott noticed a flickering light. “What is that, Sergio?” Scott asked his cousin.

“It’s probably just a torch,” Sergio answered almost condescendingly.

“It’s too close to be a torch,” Aiya added. “It’s only about ten yards away.”

“There’s no way that a fire is burning that close to us and we're just seeing it now. We’ve been on this trail for the last fifteen minutes,” Sergio sought reason even though he could clearly see that his sister was right.

Then as the flame so suddenly appeared it disappeared. Thwip thump! Thwip thump! Thwip thump!  Aiya looked between her feet where she heard what sounded like an arrow hit the trail. That is exactly what it was. An arrow for each of them.

“There were three shots. If there was more than one archer we would’ve heard one single shot. You know, so they wouldn't give away their numbers,” Aiya said. “Where are you,” She yelled.

“If that was only one archer he sure is quick. I’ve never seen anybody nock arrows that fast,” Scott said.

Sergio lifted his crossbow. He attempted to look for who shot the arrows. “Get off of the trail now!” Just as he yelled the command an array of arrows littered the trail. One arrow ripped Scott's pant leg as he dove off of the trail. There was easily over three dozen arrows protruding from the very ground the trio had just been standing atop.

“Still think there’s only one little sister?” Sergio yelled across the trail.

“Only one way to find- Agh! Let me! Sergio help!”

Immediately Scott and Sergio ran through the trees pursuing whoever was swift enough to both sneak up on Aiya and then carry her away at such a fast pace. It was hard to see what was ahead of them as they ran by the trees, over the tangled roots, and under the low hanging branches that littered the forest, but Aiya kept screaming giving the boys something to follow. This was probably the narrowest deer trail Sergio had ever ran through, and he had ran through many.

 As Sergio jumped over a fallen log he was tackled by what felt like a mossy tree with the force of a bull. Scott looked back momentarily, but knew Sergio would kill him if he gave up on Aiya so he continued forward. Something swung out from behind a tree, it felt like a thick cane when it connected with the side of Scott’s face. He spun twice while airborn before finally hitting the ground.       

Aiya was forced down against a tree. A bony figure scratched her as it roughly used twine to tie her wrists together. Aiya finally stopped screaming, but only because the terror that grasped her commanded silence. She was always told that dryads resembled beautiful women and protected the trees of this forest. The being that handled Aiya was more tree than anything else. It was made of branches and was definitely more male than female; it had a beard of moss that reached its knees. The thing turned and ran back the way they had came from.

After a few short moments a light appeared floating towards Aiya. The closer it got to her the more she could make out what appeared to be a tiny winged man wearing leaves. It landed on her shoulder. Aiya shot her hidden blade, it ripped through the twine. With one quick move she grabbed the tiny man and pinned him against the tree.

“Who are you and what was that thing?”

courtesy of http://barbericfrontier.blogspot.com
A tiny whisper could be heard coming from the little man-light. Aiya was confused it looked like he was trying to yell. He kept pointing at his shoulder and then up to hers while screaming. Aiya reluctantly put him on her shoulder.

The tiny being stood on his toes and grabbed her ear getting as close to her ear as he could. “My name is Ghillie Dhu. You can call me Ghillie. That thing was an elmborn.”

“And what on Sebat are you?”

“I told you I’m Ghillie. I’m the one that tried to scare you away on the trail. The dryads don’t like nonbelievers in their territory. You shouldn't have came here.”

Annoyed at the response Aiya continued the question and answer session. “Where are we?”

“We’re near Dryad’s Retreat by Elm Father,” Ghillie Dhu answered.

“The Elm Father?”

“Yeah the one the Dryads protect. He is my life source. The elmborn are his spawn, well the Dryads create them from his bark anyway.”

“Where are my brother and my cousin?”

“They’ll be taken to the retreat.”

“And what then?”

“Probably gonna be sacrificed to Elm Father unless they swear fealty to the Dryads and the other Ra.”

“Which way to the retreat, Ghillie?”

“Follow me but stay quiet the Dyrads aren’t kind to ladies especially the pretty ones.”

Aiya stayed close behind Ghillie. The pixie flew right through many spots that Aiya struggled with in the dark, but eventually they made it. Aiya hid behind the trunk of a tree and looked towards her brother and cousin who were forced to their knees in the center of the retreat.

“Milly,” said a beautiful feminine voice, “the elmborn have brought us two travelers.”

“I see that Mila. Look at them; How handsome are they?” Milly’s voice was just as beautiful, but sounded completely different it was as if her voice was draped in song.

Milly stepped into the moonlight. Her body was what men dream about and she wore nothing but a few leaves connected by twine. “Tell us humans, what are you doing in our forest?”

“Couldn’t you have asked us that without beating us half to death first?” Scott asked sarcastically. The right half of his face was covered in blood and Aiya was pretty sure there was vomit on his shirt.

Aiya readied an arrow. A female’s body pressed against the back of Aiya and slowly covered her mouth. “I wouldn’t do that human,” Mila whispered into Aiya’s ear. Startled Ghillie flew away from the forest floor and high into the trees.

Aiya slowly released the arrow and put the bow on the ground. “Smart move,” Mila said as she pushed Aiya into the retreat. She grabbed Aiya’s wrist took her into the retreat to stand in front of Sergio and Scott.

“Maybe now you can answer my question,” Milly said as she ran her hand across Aiya’s throat.

“Don’t harm her you demon!” Sergio yelled.

“Hehe! They all call you that right before you kill them sister,” Mila said.

“Okay, okay. We’re here to stop a meeting,” Sergio admitted.

“The only meeting that's taking place in this forest is by our worshippers, now why would I want you to stop that.”

“Because, if this impending war isn’t stopped the Makian Defense Ministry will cut down at least half of this forest to fight off Dest’s humongous army. Centuries of growth will be cut down in months, dryad.”

Mila spoke, almost singing, “Sister I believe him.”

“We are gods. Do you not think us capable of hindering a few saws and axes?”

“You’re not gods. Mak is god on high,” Scott said. “His daughter and son are the only other gods. The rest of us are merely his creations. What have you created besides those damned elmborn?” Scott stood. “I only now believe you exist, that doesn’t mean I’m willing to worship something that is not a god. You’re not even fit to walk amongst the heavens with the angels as I will one day do. Diabolus doesn’t even want you in hell. You’re stuck in this damn forest forever aren’t you?”

“And one day you’ll be stuck in this damn forest when all of your precious trees are gone,” Aiya added.

“We Makians love this forest. We’ll only cut it down if our hands are forced. You’ll be forcing them if you don’t let me do this.”

Creator not found retrieved from http://abstract.desktopnexus.com
“Aren’t gods supposed to protect their subjects? So tell me now why my subjects are safe from you murderers and Mak’s subjects, you, are bound by twine in my retreat,” Milly argued.

“Our god,” Scott paused clearing his throat, “rewards us as well as protects us.”

“I’ve killed many believers of Mak. Many of them are among the elmborn that captured you.”

“We won’t be as easy,” Aiya said, smirking. She spun around deeply scratching Mila’s face with her claw. Mila screamed and fell back. The wound healed immediately, but it still pained the dryad.

Art by Anastasiya Igolkina
Scott and Sergio both broke the twine around their wrists the same way Aiya had done in the forest. The dryads retreated into a hollow in the Elm Father ordering the elmborn to attack the assassins.

Scott ran to Sergio grabbing a flask from his pack. Sergio unsheathed his blades and allowed Scott to pour the contents of the flask onto them. “Hurry with the matches little cousin.”

Scott took a match from his pack and stroked it along a patch on his pants. He tossed the lit match onto a blade causing it to become engulfed in flames. Sergio connected the blades causing the other to catch fire. He turned swinging and striking an elmborn. As if the creature was made of dry sticks it immediately caught fire and began flailing wildly.

Risking injury Aiya dipped her metal claw and dagger into the kerosene flask and ignited them against her brother’s sword. She struck an elmborn in the eye and pulled it forward. As she advanced she stabbed it in the back as it fell screaming to the ground. Soon the fire in the retreat allowed increased visibility for the assassins.

Aiya stabbed the ground with her claw once the fire engulfing her finger became too hot for comfort. While she was down Scott grabbed her shoulder and threw her back. One of Gray’s Elite Guard barely missed Aiya’s neck when Scott rescued her. Scott jumped forward punching the guard in the face. He stripped the guard of his weapon and continued to pummel his face and stomach. The guard fell to his knees. Sergio kicked him in the jaw. Three audible pops where heard. The first was the sound of the guard’s jaw cracking, the second and most quiet was the dislocation of the jaw, the third was the sound of the guard’s neck breaking.

“Stop!” A commanding female voice yelled.

The three assassins were surrounded by the Elite Guard and many Destian soldiers. The commanding voice was the emissary from Dest. Next to him stood Aiya’s next victim.        
Captain Gray
Picture found on http://good-wallpapers.com 

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11 February 2012

In Jamion's Torpor*

To understand this next post you must understand that this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story. It is a part of something greater as most things are. You probably remember my post titled A Sneak Peak Courtesy of the Author, now titled Councils and Storms. This is another part of that story. This occurs after that post. The beginning of this post starts in the middle of the chapter I took it from. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Pictures to be added.

A loud shrill caw sounded from above. All of the demons immediately stopped attacking, took a knee, and bowed their heads. Leah scooted back onto her feet and into the center of the circle where the rest of the group was standing ready to fight, they were prepared to die but not without a fight. The shriek sounded again sending them to their knees covering their ears. Not even that helped. Paul’s nose began to bleed from the sound.

Three cloaked demons flew in and landed standing around the humans and elf. They stood fifteen feet tall. Their black cloaks were hooded and went straight to the ground and appeared to disappear into the forest floor. Their cloaks were opened, but seemed empty, except for the head. It was human in shape with beady red eyes, but that was all one could tell.

The cloaked demons started speaking to the beastly looking demons. The language wasn’t native to Sebat. It was full of clicks and shrieks. And other sort of noises some even impossible to be made by a human. At the same time the cloaks lifted up revealing nothing, but air. Another loud shrill and the horned demons turned back and ran into the forest. The cloaks floated back to a standing position and turned inwards towards the team.

Paul, stood. “Who in bloody hell are ya?” He yelled raising his axe. One of the cloaked demons screamed sending Paul flying fifteen feet through the air before he landed on his head. He laid there unmoving, blood trickled from his brow.

Jamion stood next. “We mean you no harm.”

Was that laughing?

“Look just let us know what you want with us. If-”

A bony arm formed out of thin air. A finger the length of two of Jamion’s fingers, but half the width was put over his lips quieting him.

The three cloaks surrounded Jamion and closed him in it. It was dark, true dark. There was only black, just black and nothing else. Jamion looked up six beautiful green eyes looked down into his. The darkness turned to light, bright powerful white blinding light. The eyes lowered themselves. Three naked winged women stood around Jamion. Were they goddesses? They didn‘t have any reproductive organs he noticed, no nipples even. One had pink wings, another red, and the third had white.

The first one spoke, “Jamion. My name is Dalia. Your wife was named for me.”

The second. “I am Naomi. The statue in the City of the Sun was erected in my name. I remember watching as you stared in awe. I was flattered.” Her red wings flapped softly forward covering her breasts. Then back revealing herself again.

“I’m Miriam. A city in Marini was named for me and,” she crossed her arms in a whining manner, “the unfortunate wife of King Nord as well,” said the one with white wings.

“So you’re not demons. Or are you?”

“No,” said Dalia.

“Then why hurt Paul?”

“That was Naomi, she has a bit of a temper. He will be fine. I promise,” Dalia assured. 

“Well what are you.”

“Angels. Warrior angels. We’ve brought you here, because this war is affecting more than just Calaprinia, Nord, and Marini. Soon Dest will be involved. The country Rin and its people will form armies and march into Southern Marini. The entire elven realm will bear arms. The entire world will be at war Jamion. That is unless you can stop it.
found on 1zoom.net

“It goes deeper as well. Those gods you called false in the dungeon are real. As real as your gods, our gods. I’ll have you know just denying them in our great lords names had them sending an army of demons our way.”

The white light surrounding Jamion started to form objects. A huge golden gate standing sixty feet high and eighty feet wide drew closer. An ivory wall went out in both directions as far as the eyes could see. The ground was made from smoothed diamond. A guard dressed in pure golden armor and crimson cloth opened the gate allowing the four in.

“Where are we? Is this- is this heaven?”

Miriam grabbed his hand and said, “Just wait until you can see it.”

“My eyes are open.”

Dalia grabbed his other hand and said, “Aye, but only the dead can see heaven. The ground a wall and a gate are not all our heavenly kingdom is made of.”

They took flight, at first it frightened Jamion. He was used to flying, but usually his trustworthy Frollin was under him or on the way to catch him. Naomi flew behind him; she reached forward grabbing an ankle. She could’ve easily flown to him but she acted as if she were climbing up his back stopping at his shoulders. “Over there is a garden, there are statues of the gods and even some lucky Calaprinian royalty, Valcian royalty, and Marinian royalty. And most Mackian Royalty.”

found on 1zoom.net

“Mak is a country on the other side of Dest. It was once a grand empire, It stretched over the desert that is now Dest, the Jungle area you now call Rin, of course it covered the entire coastal region you call home, even the arctic tundra. Everyone called themselves Mackian,” Naomi explained.

They stopped and simultaneously took their hands from him. He floated.

Dalia grabbed him and pressed her lips to his, she disappeared. Miriam turned him around and kissed him as well, she also disappeared. Naomi grabbed him and kissed him, she vanished. He floated in thin air. The three angels came back and wrapped their wings around him.

When they brought their wings back they were standing on a blood soaked battlefield. As if time was in reverse here people started to stand. They were in the center of a battle that was going backwards. Jamion began to recognize the area. They were in Miriam City’s central park. The city was burning, streets were flooded with blood. Time stopped.

“Why are you showing this to me?”

Dalia pressed her body against Jamion’s. “This is what’s to come if you don’t stop Nord.”

“And what if I can’t stop him?”
Depiction of a battle
found on 1zoom.net

“Then you must fight him when things escalate. This is just one of the battles we’ve foreseen.”

Miriam’s wings softly flapped as she walked. “It’s hard to tell though if they’ll all even happen. If only one will happen, but the one thing we know for sure is that this is avoidable, maybe.”

Those words confused Jamion.

Property of http://fictio6nalescapes.blogspot.om
Jamion looked around the battle field. Demons of all different types were waving weapons around shouting war cries, winged demons were fighting with dragons. Armored angels in armor decended from the heavens wielding swords. He looked south towards the university. A small team dressed in Calaprinian uniform looked battle torn. A girl no older then thirteen was leading them.

Miriam continued. “Or heck,” she sighed, “maybe it’s not avoidable, but we, you have to try.”

“Daddy.” Jamion swore he heard his daughter’s voice. “So as soon as you wake up come see me.” Suddenly he missed his family.

Naomi walked up behind Jamion, she whispered into his ear, “Time to wake up.”

07 February 2012

Assassin Part 2*

Author's notes: It's been a while since I've posted anyhting. I reread my first post title Assassin and decided to keep it going. So if you havent read that one yet you should read it before reading this. I also recommend rereading Assassin for those out there who have already read it. This will not be the final post in the Assassin series. I hope to have another posted by this time next week. Sorry I've been away so long. Hope you enjoy.

Assassin Part 2
Aiya, Sergio, and Scott stood around a terrain model of mud, dirt, and pebbles depicting the barracks compound. Using a stick Aiya drew a heart where she believed the Guard Captain’s quarters to be. She took a knee and began talking about the compound; she used her stick to point at areas of interest and to make an occasional ‘x’ where she suspected a heavy guard population to be located. Sergio interrupted his sister kicking the dirt map.
Image found on google.com creator unknown

“After what you just did this morning do you really think that attacking Captain Gray is a good idea?”

“I took out the Ra Priest for that very reason, brother.”

“I’m not following.”

Scott explained, “Remember last year when the contracts for the Ra Priests started surfacing?”

“Aye, I remember,” Sergio said running a hand through his shoulder length hair, “get to your point.”

“Nobody expected any mercenary that lives inside Hiarlym’s walls or even all of Mak to carry out those contracts. They’ve been considered swept under the rugs. And now that Aiya has taken one of the priests out the rest will be heavily guarded. On top of that we’re in the clear I’m sure the guards suspect a merc did this.”

“So you think this will leave the captain ill protected.”

“That was the plan.”

“Wait you knew about-”

“Shh.” Aiya cautioned as she stood grabbing a bow and an arrow. She pointed towards a large tree which partially concealed an entrance into a flooded grotto. The three at an arms distance away from each other. Scott cracked his knuckles then clenched his fists. Sergio dual wielded daggers. Aiya stood in the center, her left leg forward, her left hand carried the bow still at her side while her right held the nocked arrow in the bowstring which had still yet to be tautened.

“Show yourself!” Sergio commanded.

The guard that Aiya had pushed over the wall emerged from behind the tree. In each hand he wielded a crossbow. He pointed one at Sergio, the other at Scott. Immediately Aiya readied the bow pulling the bowstring back and aiming in on the guard.

“No, no, no,” the guard said. “Put that-”

“You don’t tell me what to do. You put those down now!” Aiya shouted scaring a bird from its nest.

“Kill him Aiya!” Scott shouted.

The three continued yelling demands at each other. Sergio stood silently. He waited for the opportune moment to strike. The guard stayed vigilant, not once did he look away from the three assassins.

“Shut up all of you!” Sergio’s call demanded silence, and so it was received. “We can work out some sort of a deal. I’ve seen you at the market with your wife. You have a daughter. She’s about three, right?”

“You leave my family out of this sell-sword.”

“He thinks us mercenaries, cousins,” Scott laughed.

“I can’t let you kill my captain. The only deal you’re getting out of me is to be taken in alive. Just walk right back to the gate and turn yourselves in.”

“To be tortured and hanged. I think not,” Sergio attempted to debate. “Look you might kill two of us, but you’d end up dead as well. Now picture this,” Sergio paused, “what’s your name?”

“Lieutenant Grolif,” He stated.

“You pull those triggers and end my life and my little cousin’s life my sister will end your life-”

“I can’t allow you to kill Captain Gray.”

“Don’t interrupt me again Grolif. After she’s killed you she’ll see to it that your wife is buried with you if they can even find you. Your daughter will be an orphan. The captain will end up dead regardless.”

“So what are proposing here?”

“Put the crossbows down Grolif.”

To Aiya’s surprise he complied by throwing the crossbows behind him.

“He’s seen our faces. He has to die.” Scott stated

“Please no, oh gods what did I just agree to?”

Aiya stepped closer to her target. “We’ll put you some where they can find you. We’ll make it look like you died a hero, so your daughter can be proud of you.”

Sergio lowered Aiya’s arms. “We’re bringing him with us.”

“We’re doing what?” Scott asked argumentatively.

“If anyone knows the inside of those barracks it’s him. And according to our source the captain leaves for his meeting with the Emissary from Dest tomorrow morning so we have to get this done tonight, lives are counting on it.”

“What’re you talking about? Have you not been receiving the news, we’re currently at war with Dest. Why would Gray be meeting with anybody from that country?” Grolif asked.

“Damn,” Aiya said, “Gray is one sneaky bastard. His lieutenants don’t even see what he’s up to. He’s getting paid off by a Dest Emissary to leak information from troop numbers to legion movements and even the dragon patrol routes. Next month he’ll be promoted to Legate and have even more information to give.”

“You guys are out of your damn minds. Gray is loyal to the king beyond any man I know. And dragons, those creatures haven’t been around in nearly a century.”

Scott wiped away the terrain map. “You are stupid, aren’t you? I’m nineteen and I know the stories of the riders are true. I’ve met Tulaq and Yufi. The dragons are back my blind friend.”

“Whatever, let’s get going.”

“I give the orders around here Grolif,” Sergio said. “We’ll show you the proof of treason when we get to our den.”

“How is there proof?”

“Believe it or not we know how to intercept letters, and eavesdrop,” Aiya said, “It’s what we’re trained to do.”

Back inside the walls the four entered the bakery and walked up the stairs. Scott opened the door to the Assassins’ den letting the other three in first. The room was a wide open space equipped with training equipment and couches for relaxing. A kitchen was on the far side of the room; a man and a pregnant woman prepared a large meal even though they were the only people in the den.

The woman walked towards Sergio, kissing him when she reached him. “I was worried sick about you.” She looked towards Aiya, “You too. You’re still just a baby to me. I remember changing your diapers when I was your age.”

“I know Teagan. You seem to remind me more and more the closer you get to shoving that baby out. But we’re still busy Teagan. Do you know where Sloan is?”

“She’s in her room sweetheart.”

“Show Grolif around will you and send for his family,” Sergio asked of Aiya. She replied with a nod.

“How young are you?” Grolif asked Aiya.

“I’ll be seventeen in five days.” Aiya grabbed Grolif by his hand.  “C’mon you have letters to see.”

They entered one of the many doors on the left side of the den. Five bunk beds and one single bed filled the room. A girl no older than ten years old sat on the single bed reading a book titled Victoria’s Realm, a book Grolif only read as required reading when he was in the military’s university. Her legs dangled inches away from the floor. The girl bookmarked the page before looking up.

“Who’s the guy Aiya?”

“Someone I almost killed Sloan. Do you have those letters nearby?”

“I wouldn’t keep them anywhere else. Which one do you want?”

“Any letter that proves Gray’s treason will do just fine.”

“Oh I intercepted this one just this morning. It should suffice. Will you give it to Sergio when you’re done with it? Make sure I get it back.”

“No problem Sloan.” Aiya skimmed the letter then handed it to Grolif.

“Sloan go and grab your brother for me. I have an errand for me.”

“Aww man, why can’t I do it? I’m just as good as he is at errands.”

“It won’t be any fun, trust me.”

“So it really is true. What I don’t understand though is why do a group of mercenaries care about this.”

“One: we’re not mercs, we’re assassins. Two: you already know way to much about us and if it were up to me you’d be dead so enough with the questions.”

“When do I get to see my family?”

“When Michael gets here I want you to tell him your address. He’ll run and get your wife and kid. You’ll be staying with us until Sergio comes up with a plan and we don’t want your wife going to your chain of command when you don’t come home tonight.”

“This room is where you’ll be staying. Sloan is the room officer so you’ll have to do as she says when in here, but keep in mind that you can feel free to spend time in the den. Welcome to your new home Grolif.” Aiya took the letter back and walked to where her brother and cousin were sitting.

“I’ve got some urgent news guys,” Aiya said as she handed the letter to Sergio.

“What is it?” Scott asked.