Storytime sounds like fun.

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Storytime sounds like fun.

Postby Aenodili » Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:02 pm

HI all. Testing something I been dabbling in. It is by no means perfect, but I want to see if I have a chance at making something from nothing. So I wrote a mini story. Post honestly and politely...
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WARNING CONTAINS WORDS HAZZARDOUS TO THOSE THAT CAN'T READ. DON'T READ IF YOU CAN NOT WORK A SCROLL BAR!
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The Wakening of a Hero From Within
Author, Nindyinya


The wizard sat in his chair stroking his eye patch remembering. There was something more he needed for this spell. Everything must be perfect. He was mentally rambling...but what was needed to make the spell complete?

He stood and the rustle of his robes gave tell to the smears of dust he had littered upon it while researching the ancient tomes. They had for so long sat unattended that the brittle pages were almost faded and crumpled if not for the most exquisite care. He muttered to him self paging through them.

The amber glow of candle light and mage spheres were fighting a losing battle to keep the dark away as the stars crept out high overhead in the inky sky. A good breeze from the south stirred though the open window archway. The night was silent. The view down below, had the wizard looked, would have revealed a panoramic glass chessboard scene from high overhead. However, the wizard was lost in the archaic thoughts of his craft.

He closed the latest tome with a thud. He pounded the table with force.

"It has to be here. I can feel it. I just KNOW it is. I know there has to be a way..." He said to no one but himself as he once more resumed his thoughts.

Some people thought him quite mad for in his 42 years of life, he had never once left the tower of the wizards' keep...never since the day of his birth. His patched eye shown electric blue with hidden power, his other a soft clear warm gold-flickered brown. His destiny was clear since that blue orb was first opened.

Sweat smeared hand streaks of dust crossed his weary face. The visions were getting worse. He felt as if he could sense the smell of horse and riders. At times in his visions he could see each place in such clarity that he wondered if perhaps he was stolen from his tower and transported to the battle site.

He was researching a way to extend a portal to those without magic to grant them safe passage to a haven from the dangers that faced those heroic few dying for the cause. He did not mind to not fight. His powers would be of great use to the armies, this he knew...but this work was more important then his trivial pursuit of mental glory. This spell must be done to insure the lives of many and yet protect against those that would use it for greater harm.

A conch shell horn sound carried high in the breeze to rattle him from his thoughts. Finally, he thought, at least I will see her, if he made haste...

His slippered feet disturbed the light coat of sand that was used to clean the floors. He gathered his parcel he had made for her. A simple mirror etched with runes of power and viewing to see her face. Only she, a spritely ranger with her fiery tresses and temper could impose his thoughts out of work and onto her. She who smelt like fresh grass, horse, meadow flowers. She who was nimble at carving a knot of wood to skinning a rabbit. Lithe, fair, smiling...if only...

He shook his head to clear her face from his view, she was just dismounting and would be in the keep soon enough. It was for her safety he first envisioned this spell. The one, good person, that he would do almost anything for...anything. He grasped the cloth of blue that held the mirror that would never break and be a way to communicate through the many miles. She loved the simplest things and besides that, blue was her favorite color.

She ran up the steps barely winded and climbed the steep stairs to his lower chambers. She always met him in the library. He would enjoy this, she thought. She had brought in her sack carefully stored many herbs and items to help him work powerful spells. She heard her chain mail tinkle against her rapid movements.

Today she brought newer items, scales from dragon, tuffs of fur from werewolves, fatty meat in salt to preserve it, fruits from far away that were magically preserved in her pouch...and this odd shaped rock with glyphs. This was her treasure; she hoped was worth finding. For it was in the ruins of an ancient city. The only writing in the entire place. The rest of the city lay forgotten...lost in the growths of grasses and dust...a mere tumbled shadow of it's former self.

He met her composed if not for the smudges of dust on his nose and cheek she would have thought him imposing. She quickly hid a smile of his calm controlled expression, but the dust lying on his face just made her grin more.

"Here, I brought you some things. It has taken me months to find some of what you asked me to get. I am sorry for the delay. War is far to the west but it is coming here in no time."

She explained as she showed him what she brought. Then she stopped just as she was about to reveal the stone and glanced at him noting he had in his hands a package in blue.

With a raised eyebrow, her bright green-blue eyes twinkled. "Is that for me? May I see it?!" She loved surprises.

He blushed and handed her his gift. She opened to see a gold and silver mirror that crackled with power, and showed her his face as she looked in. He just explained rather fast that it was a mirror to show her what her heart desired and to contact him if she ever need of it.

She took it in her hands and reverently placed it in her pack. She leaned forward and quickly kissed his cheek. "I have a surprise for you too." He thought the kiss was surprising enough and felt still her warm lips on his face, even if she was already handing him the worn stone.

He accepted the stone with a yelp as power his patched eye showed him that this was more then what he had bargained for. "Where did you get this??!!" His hands trembled as his eye was reading and deciphering the message encoded upon it.

His lady ranger told of the fallen city to the north by the edge of the mountains she had passed and how she felt drawn to the stone. She told of how she felt like she had to bring it to him and hurried for weeks with little sleep, just to bring this to his side.

He looked into her face. She had brought him much more then he had ever dreamed. She brought him...an exodus stone. The one key to the spell he needed to make others from far away transport in a thought to a safe haven. She blushed with his stare of gratefulness. His fast hug and mutter to follow him was all she needed to climb with him to the top of the keep.

In his study, she saw almost no sign of life, her heart was troubled by this. He never stops working, she thought. He lives like only his studies keep him alive. Her mind stopped when she spied a rack she had carved for him long ago stood over his meager bed...each creature she had carved, each rare item she had brought was placed with tender care displayed, the only items in all the room that did not have one spot of dust on it...unlike his books scattered all over. Her breath caught, surely, he did not...care for her?!

She wanted to ask, but heard a horn blow down below. She stood to make her way but he stopped her with a stare. His hand grasped hers and he made his spell in a heartbeat with a single utterance...he transported them both to the floor of the tower. Her face transfixed in awe as his was in elation. He did it! Now she too could be safe with a copy of this stone...he had formed a 2nd one with his power and handed it to her. Now she would be safe from the drums of war. The herald, that had rode at near breakneck speed still upon the labored horse covered in lather, spoke fast to them and the keep's residence...war was here.***

**********
Chapter 2

The shackles held his wrists his wrists high over head. His toes barely scraped the darkened ground. His lip bled sluggishly, his face a throbbing scene of colored bruises. Filth and sweat matted his hair and beard to his haggard face. The whip cracked again...and he gasped unable to scream. A spray of crimson across the ground gave tale to the fresh meat it bit into as his back looked raw and oozing. The blood trickling down to his feet.

The dirt and dank did nothing for the dungeon, but were commonplace enough. Grime encrusted the walls as did floor. The smell of copper blood, iron chains and heavy sweat did not distract enough from the overwhelming stench of un emptied slop pails. Pain and misery were the guards here...not the brute with the whip.


"SPEAK! Where is your master, slave?! Tell me and this will stop. Tell me and you wounds will be healed by our priests. What is the plan of your generals against our armies?! TELL ME NOW!!! "

The little man was rasping in the corner. The brute cracked the whip again and raw flesh peeled with it. The little man grimaced. There had to be a way to make this guard talk. He motioned for the brute to stop. He told the brute to lift him to say the one thing that the prisoner did respond too even when he was half dead. Punished and tortured, the prisoner would say a single name that fell like a chant from the prisoner's lips when he struggled to endure more. The name was spoken in his sleep, himself powerless to stop it.

The evil little man was lifted into the air by the brute and looked at the exhausted prisoner...he grabbed a chunk of hair and forced the beaten man to face him.

"She is dead you know. She told us all she knew and died as we removed her innards. We bled her magic from her. We watched as her life ended too quickly. You know what I speak of and it too will be your fate if you do not talk!" The little man breathed a woman's name into the prisioner's ear.

The shackles and chains snapped tight to restrain him. He growled and spit blood over the face of the evil little man. He, somehow, gained a hidden power with her name. He endured this torture and would continue to endure it.

His ears heard the lie; but his heart was true and dedicated. The bloody spit was a small victory to declare his thoughts. He was proud that he could muster it. They could beat him daily, and did. They would never know the battle plans, they could never find his only true love. Smiling the prisoner's pain lifted for a moment as he remembered her...and in his restraints his memories became dreams of his youth...

The little man and the brute left. The brute mindless to follow. The little one was scheming, for his plan backfired, as he wiped the spittle from his face. The slave fainted. The punishment was beyond what they could give. Not water or slop would revive him for hours. Furious, the little man removed a growing fingernail from the prisoner, but not once did the man move or moan or hiss in pain.

The little man stroked his head thinking as he climbed the stairs. There had to be a way to break him. He was the only one they could capture in during the war so far that knew things that not even the enchanter could break from his mind. If not for charming those the armies found they would not know who to assault.

This man below, however, resisted the charms and mesmerisms, surely pain would break him. But time was growing short...they had to attack and soon.

***

Miles away, in the shadow of a ridge, a young woman stared out at the expanse. Her armor blood-stained and dented. She sat by a birch tree snaking for life on the side of the ridge.

She barely ate these days and salted meat and dry bread and stale water did not exactly raise one's spirits to want to eat. She ungloved her hand. Fireside glow revealed the bright skin of the high elf, but the blood on her hands from all she could cure was stained deep into her soul.

How many lives had she saved? She lost count long ago. Her power to bring back the nearly dead was amazing as was those in her craft...but even she had to admit the tides were changing and more long dead was being found then those half alive or only just.

The last battle was horrific. She was chilled but did nothing to ease her comfort. She meditated by the tree to help her power regenerate. Warm tears slid down her face and her lip trembled. Over 2 years had passed since that summer day she so often remembered. This memory was one that gave her strength when she felt she had none.

Her mind gave glimpse to the day in Qeynos, where at the edge of the fishing pond and where most maidens long to go, to hide from the heat . She had removed all but her shift and splashed merrily into the cold, crisp and refreshing water. Her long blonde tresses darker in the water, she remembered closing her eyes to feel alive in the sun...when he startled her with a splash.

She remembered him. Captain Matheus he intoned, as he bashfully asked for her help to get his lunch box that had slid off the side of the edge and into the water. She had swam and retrieved it and stepped from the water to hand it to him...she blushed feeling his apprasing look.

His eyes took in her wet shift clinging to her form revealing just enough, but not everything...his mouth went dry. They both bashfully tried to think of someway to get out of silence.

A grin passed her face, as she remembered him, he stood offering his cloak as one shoulder of her shift slid down to almost mid chest and how he quickly covered her with his cloak and turned his back so she could dry off and dress into her hot armor.

She dressed very quickly and offered to sit and share a meal she had brought upon a blanket not far away. Since it was his lunch hour, and she shone so beautiful that his breath caught, he couldn't resist and joined her. It seemed like hours in mere moments and moments that seemed to be life long as they shared stories and told of themselves to each other.

He was a battle master, a commander, in charge of peace and was stationed at this moment in Qeynos. She was a battle cleric, gifted with saving lives through magic and able to destroy the undead. The sun high over head, and his only day off, he found his heart falling for the lush woman before him.

The minx that she was, she remembered fondly, saw how nervous he was and offered him a berry and how she placed it on his lips tracing them. She was just as shocked when his lips tasted the berry, and he leaned forward to plunder her lips and taste tart cider from her own mouth. His single kiss and caressing hand in her hair instantly won her heart.

The spell was not broken when the poolside was tinkling with giggles as more maids came to cool down, but he escorted her to the inn that she had rented and said he would be back in one hour.

She got into her lightest dresses, since it was so warm still, and gathered a ever blooming flower with healing proprieties to gift to him. Then, she went into the pub below her room.

She heard the merry chime of a little silver bell to announce that dinner would be served soon. She gathered her wits and gazed about her surroundings.

The golden sun streaming in through the gilt windows. Her paces contemplative as he slid one arm around her and lifted her chin as he kissed her soft and sweetly.

The crowd in the bar was getting boisterous. She took him by his warm tanned hand to the sitting room and gave him her magic flower. She knew as long as he had this one bloom, nothing could kill him. She remembered, still, how he had got to one knee and offered her a small broach that she wore on a ribbon still around her neck.

He had told how it was his mother's before she died and that he would know when he met his true love instantly. Captain Matheus gently kissed her once more and knew with his heart, this woman was his soul's mate and proposed. For in his heart he knew that this woman was forever part of him instantly. He waited with grave caring eyes as she flung her arms around his neck and kissed him quite passionately. "YES!"

She remembered how they started to make plans in the sitting room, but, as they started to talk more people came into the sitting room to rest.

"My love, come with me." With a loving glance that was soul felt, they instead went instead to the general to marry. Just as they had intoned the words that made them husband and wife as the flags snapped crisply in the encampment, Matheas leaned down was about to kiss his wife to seal the wedding...a herald bard came rushing in with ominous news. War was upon them.

A candle that they had light prayers of hope and peace was extinguished as they watched. With no words other then, "I love you my lady. Stay safe." the Captain and the general gathered their swords and grimly marched out the door.

A wisp of hair flew over her face as she watched her husband stride away on the call to duty and out the door. One tear drop fell down her cheek as she prayed to Tunare for his safety.

***
The wind picked up now on the ridge. The lone cleric gathered her thoughts and her belongings. She was now the head of this mission. Her commander, a rascal of a dwarf, both gruff but kind, was in high fever and cursed. He left her in charge. since of them all, only she was the one that could battle and heal and strategize with barely a thought.

Night was edging closer. She stationed various mages, wizards, and rangers as guards, the warriors and druids and shamans needed to rest for the fight ahead. She whispered in the air..."Matheus, be safe my love."

In the dungeon, lost in dreams, the captured captain dreamt of her...as blood ebbed silent to the floor his mouth uttering her name. His body slack in the memory of his wife, far, far away.


*******************
Chapter 3

"HIC! But then, I tell ya dare it wuz. As plain as the face de Gods gave ya. The ruddy dragon wuz dare! Ize saw it I did. HIC! "

"Go back to your room man and sleep it off. There are no such things as dragons. You need a bit of rest and a bite to eat man. "

"Doncha know I knows what I be takin' bout? I says I seen 'im and I did. HIC. Doncha be trying to fool me none cause I know I be right! Now fill me tankard again and hush."

Briare Rootkeeper, druid and gardener known throughout the lands, shook his head and poured another tankard. How did he get himself here in this dingy pub instead of the outdoors of his home?

The memory of a game of dice with a rogue half ling...that is how it started. Then all his fortunes dwindled. Eeking an existence here with guttersnipes was not how Briare pictured himself. He knew he certainly didn't bet on having to serve drinks to pay back the loan he took to pay off his gambling debit.

"Ya be listenin'? I SAID MORE!"

The tankard clinked loudly enough and Briare reached for the tap to pour Dethcon one more. Briare did not need the drunk barbarian to get angry.

Blowing off the foam, with practiced ease, Briare sent the tankards to their owners with a wrist flick.

The loud crowd was rowdy. Hours passed since Dethcon announced that he saw dragons in the frozen wastes. He said that they were speaking to him and that their voices so terrifying that he came to town to get help to kill them.

Briare rolled his eyes. Perhaps he could transport them. He didn't want to fight the dragons or see them for that matter.

But, the spare coin gained could win him out of his debit and free once more into the woods... As the hours passed and Briare served drinks he pondered more on this as Dethcon got louder and more drunk with ramblings of dragons...Maybe Briare thought...just maybe.

***

The half elf bard hearld panted heavy and took a swig of water. Clutching a stitch in her side, she explained to the residents at the wizards' keep that the evil armies were massing and at the boarder. She gasped as she spoke of the legions of undead and terrible creatures marching forth.

Silence surrounded those villagers as they listened transfixed to the details. A ranger stood there near by. Her hand still in the wizard's beside her, but her mind on what she was hearing. The wizard, himself, was making plans to help his own people.

The bard handed over a scroll with purple ink and blue seal to the wizard. His mouth went dry as the wizard scanned the lines.

"What is it? "The ranger asked him. She cocked her head and gave him a questioning stare. The wind ruffling her red-brown hair. Concern marred in her blue-green eyes.

"It seems we are partners in this quest." Aenodi quickly read the parchment that he handed her. It was a royal decree. She must accompany the wizard to the battlefield and serve as his protector and guide. The serious look he gave her was one of duty and honor. However, she felt his heartbeat quicken and watched his lips go dry with the thought of leaving his keep.

"But, how did they know I was even here? How will we get to them so fast?" Aenodi reread the lines memorizing them. They commanded her to bring the wizard within 3 days! Riding hard it took her almost 1 month to get here! She looked him over. His fair hair and pale skin, his eye dancing with excitement. She knew he never traveled before. PROTECTOR??!! Her??!! She had never been a bodyguard before. This location was not near the boarders but high in the mountains. She was getting frazzled trying to think of a way there.

"Aeno? If you let me get some things and you get some supplies incase of emergencies, we can leave immediately." The wizard said simply and went into the keep.

The bard now finished with details, got a quick bite to eat and a fresh horse and rode off to the druid city to enlist their aid too. The crowd was getting louder with plans and discussions of war and how to protect themselves. One blind troll woman stepped forth.

"We get de mens to guard the outsides. We women, we guard and bash from insides. Ring de bell and get de outlanders to come to shelter with animals for de bailey. We smash them all, real good."

Pluckwither nodded. She was accepted ever since she was found as a child, her eyes removed and all alone. A shepherd fostered her since he and his wife had no children. They found that she was very special. She could tame beasts with cool words and calm hands. She didn't need to see to know she was different from the humans. She was accepted for who she was, not what she looked like.

Aenodi nodded. Pluckwither was not the smartest around, but once motivated she worked harder then anyone else, minus the wizard, Aenodi thought.

The villagers rang a bell that dong loud and heavy warning all those near that shelter was needed and to come. Only once in all Aeno's life had that bell been heard before...that was with the death of the king.

Meanwhile, the wizard was packing as Aenodi got supplies. The Keeper, that is what the villagers often called him. The wizard grunted at that thought. The villagers sometimes called him cold too. He snorted again.

He gathered his possessions and his favorite 3 carvings Aenodi had made him. Finally, he was leaving this drafty tower. Finally, he could exit the keep and see the wide world.

His eye twinkled with exuberance. He would show them. He could protect his people and destroy the armies. He could send his people to safety and perhaps send the invaders far away, give his people more time to prepare.

Aenodi was his guide and his guard. He snorted. She was a beauty and was intriguing to his senses...but he had no need of a bodyguard, at least not a female one.

With one last look in his room at the dusty tomes and meager items, the wizard shut the door and breathed ...Adventure at last and teleported to the ground far below where Aenodi was rechecking supplies for a long trip.

Little did she know, he had plans to use the exodus stone to augment his power and send them to the mountains where he was commanded to go. If only she could lead him from his portal spot to the battle, he thought.

With a sharp whistle and tapping foot, Aenodi stared at him. She hoped to get his attention. This was going to be a LONG trip she thought...a very long one...but at least she was not alone. Aenodi gave a pat to the horse near by, she was ready for this, if he was.

***

Far far away in the high mountains on a ridge, a female cleric looked down and saw the advancing armies gather. She was to guard this pass. Foxx told her too. Her commander and long time friend paladin dwarf was still in great pain from his injuries, but at least he was healing slowly.

A gust of icy wind bit through the armor to chill her. She hoped that the wizard she sent for 3 months ago would hurry.

In this frozen waste, only someone with command of the ice and sleet could guarantee this pass safe and protect the cities and towns far below and behind her.

A young man ran to her. The warrior, a young elf (though looks are deceiving with elves ages), told her of the vision that the enchanters had. She heard that the wizard and her half sister was on the way. Aenodi, sister in spirit if not blood, would bring him, the ice wizard, to her.

The wizard was feared and renown for his studies, after all he never left his keep. Surely he could stop these evil armies from gaining this ground, or so she hoped.

***

Chapter 4

The blast of the spell shook him to the core. A paladin stood up to try to mitigate the damage once more, anchoring his feet onto the ground, he yelled as he swung his sword upwards. A bite of bone and muscle and jar from hitting armor, the foe crumpled in a heap.

Panting, the paladin stood and surveyed the scape. Hundreds or thousands of dead and dying were everywhere. Many more engaged in combat too soon to be determined who would live or die.

The armies had snuck like thieves in the night and setting up hide-away holes for their vile sorcerers to attack from. A concussion of snow and light once more sent many reeling from the raw power. His team was sent to hold this post as commanded by the beauty on the upper ridge.

The undead falling and reanimating before his eyes made his resolve against the evil they stood for that much more. The necromancer had to be close to cast at this range.

A flash of purple and gold betrayed him. With a raising chant, the foe he vanquished and several of his dead compatriots rose and gathered their swords as their eyes gleamed green with unholy light. He ran as fast as he could across the icy slope. He screamed a spell at the necromancer, who was just finishing his spell, and with a flash of crimson and gore, severed the necromancer's head. The spell, however, was uttered. They, the undead, just kept coming.

***

"Bring him! Be quick. If he won't tell us anything at least she can use him for something." The little man smiled. Unpleased with how the torture went so far against the prisoner and unwilling to meet his master's wrath, the gnome had puzzled into the night how to get information. Then, the idea came to him. A vile witch woman was near. The enchanters and the witch toiled brewing something that took these past 2 days to make. Now ready, they sent for the captain prisioner,

The brute ogre carried Matheus as if he weighted nothing. Still in iron chains, weak from beatings and no food or water, Matheus was suspended in a world where he was half alive.

His bloody battered body could not protest against the treatment. For over six long months they kept him. Food once every third week was stale weevil bread with mold on it and stale colored water was once every other day. His muscles shrunken and his bulk wasted away, Matheus looked as if he was a skeleton with bruised and bloody skin.

"Place him there." The witch, Phyronie, intoned a spell that shackled him more firmly then the irons did. The ogre held his face as the enchanters murmured a spell, the magics snaked over his skin. The gnome man watched gleefully when the hiss of hot iron branded on Matheus chest brought the prisoner to full alertness.

"Tell me or you will be dead and her slave. Then, we will have no use for you but as fodder to your own armies. TALK!!! I promise if you do not, you will die." The gnome peered into his face as he screamed this.

Matheus looking over saw his uniform and his sword. He could not be a slave to them. He could not betray those that he had sworn allegiance too. He spied the flower his wife had given on their wedding day. At least, I will be free and watch over my love he thought. Matheus turned to the little man and whispered for water so he could tell all he promised in a wavering breath.

The gnome was shocked. Finally, months of punishment later, the thought of slavery broke his prisoner. The gnome motioned for water, and he even had Matheus lifted to speak and drink. A cool drink of water slid down Matheus throat.

Tears burned in his eyes as he remembered his wife in name only...how he would never again see or touch her. He whispered her name like a prayer. The gnome glared waiting for him to give details slapped his face. Matheus, closed his eyes, focusing on that summer day, and waited till those near him got as close as they could to hear his whispers...and with a shout he yelled a berserk spell.

Thinking that he was attacking, the ogre snapped Matheus like a twig...thus ending his life.

The gnome unable to now use the body twisted beside him raged at the ogre. Now, he had to go to his masters and tell everything. Stupid fool. The ogre let the prisoner die.

Those casting spells were sent to the ground stunned with nothing to cement their evil on, they rebounded on each caster. The witch was dead with a stream of blood from her nose.

Half hidden a young dark elf saw the uniform of the dead captain. He gathered it up and dressed in it.

Vladi would not stay here, if he could help it. He had his own plans. He cast a spell and summoned his own shadow version of a skeleton pet. "COME!" He intoned and quickly went towards the armies he knew were far away in the mountains. Indeed, he had plans of his own.

***

As if the shout had awoke her, the cleric jumped to her feet. Something was very wrong.

She summoned for someone to do a vision for her. Not once had she betrayed her husband to look for him fearing that perhaps it could cause those evil filled ones to harm him.

The very best enchanter, Unjilo, motioned the cleric forward to peer in the bowl of water. Dyinya fell with a cry. For within the etched silver and green coppered bowl was a mirrored reflection of miles away.

Her husband's body lie broken and twisted in the center of stone table. She spied many dark spell casters half dead or dying near him. She saw a gnome kicking and punching an ogre that was scratching it's rear. She wept as she saw the bruises and how his body suffered.

Dyinya cried with a hidden pain. She leapt from the vision and sought out Foxx in his tents. Though recovering , she knelt at his side. The dwarf, gruff as he was kind, just held her head to his shoulder and let her weep. As she softly whispered...his life is no more. The dwarf nodded slow. "Come here lassy, I find my shoulder could use the warmth of a friend."

Foxx opened his arms wide as Dyinya slid to the ground beside him and laid her golden head on his shoulder to weep. The lass had endured so much, as she told what she had saw. Foxx, didn't have to say one word, true friend that he was, just let her grieve. He only hoped that she would remain more focused on the war now.

She wiped her face and apologized for her actions. Foxx only nodded and told her in his gravel voice to get something to eat and drink. She had a job to do. He reworded her statement of how although her husband had died, many went with him and how he did his duties...and how she must honor his memory and do hers.

Dyinya got up and nodded. She left the tent and spoke quietly to those near she needed to lie down to rest...and cried herself to sleep, her dreams and hopes shattered. The brave lassy, thought Foxx, she was not the only one whose life was being destroyed in the war.

He clutched a lock of hair tight in his hand that was of sandy blonde, not gray brown-black like his. Foxx grimaced, they, the armies would have hell to pay for the evil they did. Foxx meditated to focus his healing. He would take this rag tag bunch of troops and they will hold the mountain passes and perhaps even cast an assault. He stroked his beard as he thought this over in his mind. That blasted wizard better show soon...or else.

*****
Chapter 5

"We agree then?"

The nod of 3 heads at once confirmed it. The cave of ice was huge considering, yet seemed to be miniscule with the 3 dragons that were inside.

"I do not like using the 2 legged ones. It would be simpler to eat them and be done with this." Kalpilz was miffed. He hated the taste of humanoid flesh. They gave him such indigestion.

"IF we had acted when I first suggested you know, we would not have need of this action now." He shook his scarlet orange maw to prove a point. He scratched at a loose scale. "I really don't like this. Not one bit." He flung the scale and the dull clink of it hitting the ice echoed in the cave.

"You have agreed as have we, the few protectors that are to guard the young, we need one of the 2 legged to be our vessel to speak to those that can not be but in fear of us Kalpilz. You know this. That 2 legged that was here was terrified. The war they bring is causing unrest in the young. We must stop it now. I will endow a part of our powers into the 2 legged if I must. We must protect the young!"

Zilquix was calmest of them all. She was not brash like Kalpilz 340 yrs her junior. She knew patience was needed. In her mind, however, she was tormented with the thought that maybe he was right. She hated to admit that to herself.

She was silver-blue with gold near her belly, lithe and sinewy, she moved so fast to most she was a blur. She was kind and the most natural choice for brood guard.

She and Kalpilz guarded the nest for over 900 years now. Never once, in that time, ever had the 2 legged war been so close...or harm an egg. Hatching was rare for dragons.

Parents seldom lived long, patches of memory and magic was woven into each egg. The mating alone claimed lives. There was only so many dragons left. These young needed to mature to fill the skies once more.

"It is decided then. I will weave a dream. I will place Kalpilz's fire for demanding justice in the chosen. I will place Zilquix's duty and sense of honor in the chosen. I will give history, might and a mix of our magics. A core of dragon in his heart and blood through magic and need. The chosen will be of the 2 legged nature healers. Only they seem most apt and long lived for 2 legged kind to assist or be of some use. Those mortals live so short. A binding we will and must make upon the chosen. COME, let us vision quest." With that speech the other two dragons followed Giamilla out of the cave.

Giamilla was the oldest, and central knowledge keeper. The younger were full of fire and or calm, but reason and need guided her. Over 12 thousand years old she was, and the last of the teachers to dragon kind...something was killing the eggs from inside.

This war could not come at a worse time. The eggs were to hatch in mere weeks. Time is short, the dragons must make ready and give the young the best chances to survive. Giamilla hoped so. She strode her huge jet black and ruby body with ripples of gold into the night.

She sang with her dragon voice...weaving a dream as the vision began... This chosen will be more powerful then any 2 legged, she only hoped the ancient spells of no harm would still bind the natured bound 2 legged....The spell was forming now of it's own speed.

Miles away, Briare woke up and felt new purpose. He knew he would be called to save the dragons.

Also miles away a dark elf looked up. He sniffed the air. Ancient magic was being casted. Not knowing the nature of the spell, Vladi vowed to find out what has happened. This could cause trouble with his plans.

***
Chapter 6

The icy wind came full blast on their faces. They shivered from the artic blast. The panorama was vast and foreboding. The horses were calm considering that Aenodi had the sense of mind to blindfold them before the wizard made his spell.

Together, they were far away from the wizard's keep and high into the mountains.

"I told you we could do this! See Aeno, look adventure is everywhere. I knew my powers would help. AMAZING!" Snow and ice were everywhere. His teeth started to chatter. His wizard robes did nothing to combat the newest wind come to chill his skin.

"Aye. I see this. Come now, I listened to you, now you listen to me. Take those things off and here...put THESE on." Aenodi threw him a pack filled with leathers and warm furs. There were thick britches and tunics, gloves and leggings. There was even a face mask, cowl and scarf.

"NO! A wizard does not betray his order and wear clothes that make me look like some barbarian!" He was livid. How dare she! Did she honestly believe that he would wear these...animal parts?

"Fine. Freeze. You can command the cold right? Go then walk up to that yonder pine. Fetch the dry wood under it's boughs. I'll set up camp here then. If you think you can walk."

Panting with effort of setting up a tent for them to share and grumbling at how childish he was behaving, Aenodi had no more time to fight with him. The snow could fall for hours. She hoped that as night fell she could see the direction of the battle encampment's fires. That would show her the direction to lead them in.

He gave her a frigid stare. She thought him to do work? Well, he could show her! He gathered his robes and very dignified went no more then 3 feet ... and fell, face first in a snow drift.

Chuckling, Aenodi watched him as he stood up brushing the snow from his robes. His lips turning blue, his face rapidly turning crimson. He got up looked around for any more surprises...and fell again. This time from ice.

Aeno got up and offered him a hand.

"No silly. These skins will warm you. This will aid your movement. These boots will help in the snow, not slippers. You are a man of intelligence, even you should be able to see reason."

She stood up and offered him the pack again. "I will turn my head if it bothers you so much. But, in this height, we will need to sleep near each other for warmth. Deal with that or freeze to death. I can't protect a corpse."

With that, she got up and marched to the pine tree. She gathered many boughs of dry wood and brought them close for a fire. She got a pot and started to melt snow for water.

"Why are you doing this? And Why didn't you say so?" Pondered the wizard outloud unable to fathom why Aenodi was doing the work she asked of him and being kind instead of smug on his...misfortunes.

"You should instinctively know. You are a great wizard, not a child. You are a man. I know you don't want a woman to do this. That command is from the royals yes, but the camp is my sister's. She is a healer, one of the best. If she sent for you, then things are very bad. She has never asked me to do anything remotely like this. I love her in a way you can't imagine. She needs you, the armies need you. I need you to see this. I care about you very much. You are very good and kind to me. I will protect you with my life, not just because my sister asks me too, but because I am starting to love you. Damn fool."

She started to get up and grabbed her bow. There was time still to catch a rabbit perhaps to stretch their food and melting snow for water was a practical thing. She shook with an inner anger and then stopped. She just realized what she had told him.

The wizard had started to glare in anger but started to calm when listening to her reasoning. He was midway thru putting on the gloves, having already changed into the britches, tunic, coat, leggings, boots and wrapped the scarf tight. He heard every word. He stopped now. He looked at her with his good eye and strode to her.

She was wrapped in fur and chains. She was lovely regardless he thought. He took his cold hand and caressed her cheek, muttering a spell, the cold no longer was so harsh. He smiled, angry but proud she gave her thoughts into words. Now he knew she cared about him as much as he did her. Pulling her bow from her hands, he kissed her softly.

"Kryo. Call me Kryo, for that is my name." He watched her lips test his name and swiftly kissed her once more. Then he stepped away and put on his gloves.

He never told anyone his name. Names gave power. Aenodi was the first ever to know it. Not since he learned to read that any ever knew his name that the wizards gave him...he never knew what his mother said, she died in his birthing.

Aenodi cocked her head and touched her lips. They would talk about this later. She grabbed her bow from the ground and leapt to go hunt a rabbit or something to calm her heartbeat.

Kryo sat on the ground removing a portion of the cold and formed spells. He was storing in the ice and snow magic and getting to know them as he did his books in his keep. He would be master to them, and maybe, if she agreed, he could be more then a master to Aenodi's heart too.

***
"STAND READY! FIRE!!! Show these monsters no mercy and plunge them to the depths!" Foxx was shouting orders.

Regish stood near by as his third in command. Both were shouting and directing the battle into key locations to fortify.

In a tent, Dyinya was placing her healing touch once more into two patients at once, praying her power never go out. In her mind she called for her sister Aenodi to hurry. In her heart, she wept for Matheus still. As she imbued more healing and life into the 2 beside her and looked at those incoming, she shook sadly.

Tomorrow would be the true test. This was the last of the scouting parties that had taken them by surprise. Tomorrow, the real war for the mountain pass began. She prayed once more for strength to carry on.

The battle was swift for once. The armies bled onto the field of snow. Bodies were heaped on the ground. The sky was clearing and dusk was falling. The snow looked innocent upon the bodies that were on the ground. Dusted lightly the dead looked as if carefully carved designs and not the horror of what was truely beneath the surface.

To the observer the camp and battlefield were as if untouched by reality in the freezing tundra. The lives lost, monsters vanquished.

Yet, down below in the gorge, the spells were being casted, the evil ones were pulling in the power of the night to add to their might.

***

Briare packed swiftly. He felt more energized then he had in all his life. He found gold in his cloak to pay his debts. In his mind, he heard the dragon song. He knew his purpose. He must calm his armies away from the nesting grounds or stop the war. The dragons needed him. In hunter green to blend in the woods, he grabbed his stick and left the pub...free to once more roam in the woods and vales.

***

Vladi snuck close to the ground. The girl left not long ago. The man with one eye looked fierce in his skins. No, he thought. Not these wayfarers. They did not leave traces of powerful magic. There was magic here true, but not that power infused from last night.

He skirted down wind of the horses to not spook them. He would get closer to the armies. In the dark of night, he could see the forces as 2 separate camps. They must have done it. They must have called the ripple of power he felt in his bones. He pondered more as he stepped into the dark and away from the camp.

***

Aenodi watched the dark elf, her bow notched. One step and he was a dead dark elf. Instead, she watched him sneak towards the camps just higher up. One was her sister's and one the enemy. She saw him go for the left lower camp taking a roundabout way to not be tracked. Fine.

She would take Kryo and take the upper right camp. Tomorrow, they would be there. If he and she worked together through living tonight.

***

A lone wolf howled in the night. Dark and rest settled in the camps. The dragons felt the tension in their skins...Tomorrow...The war will truly begin.

***
Chapter 7

The night grew cold and more frigid. Snow fell in silent testimony to the ground. Bodies from the near by squabbles was being now consumed by the mages sent to ignite pyres to the noble dead.

The flickering light was about all that showed the tents and smaller fires. The quiet breathing of the animals and slight camp noises were heard, but only just.

The dragons peered to watch the resting humans near the nest. They dreamscaped to search and found the chosen making his way to them.

"Kalpilz? What are you doing?" Zilquix watched him curiously.

"Watching the 2 legged. I am curious. Look at these 3 here." Kalpilz indicated with his corded muscles bunching as he blew a small stream of magic sight before her.

"Which 3?" She got closer to inspect his image. Zilquix only saw armies and monsters and the dead.

"Bah, THESE 3!" Kalpilz waved his claws in the air. His breath was fiery but a bubble of swirling color and mist formed showing what he was watching. "Look at these ones. There is something different here."

Cocking her head to the side, the lithe dragon peered on. "Those are not 3 people, they are 6!" Zilquix although calm was flustered at such an obvious mistake. Not the type a dragon normally makes. She flurled her silver-blue wings a bit to stretch them and glanced worriedly at Kalpilz.

"Watch them first. You claim to have patience! Tell me what seems odd here?" The moonlight made Kalpilz scales glow golden-red fire much like his temperment she thought to herself.

Considering his studious look and change in his tone, a closer inspection was warranted. The swirling magic gave life to the people inside. Then she noticed his puzzlement. It looked like the hand of the Gods were on some of the 2 legged.

The one named Vladi was cloaked in power, but not from his own god. The ranger female, the wizard in the camp sharing a tent with more then normal tension in the air...they had shining badges of power surrounding them. The young and old paladins were also marked with a blade of power from the gods...and the cleric that was quietly praying for strength and lives to be spared had the most curious mark...she had 2 gods watching over her...unusual indeed.

In a hushed reverred tone, was whispered..."Three groups of people, god touched?!"

"Now what will we do? Dragon magic can not supercede the gods! Will our chosen be able to sway them? Well? What?!" Flustered and puzzled, the dragon known for calm, was at a loss. Zilquix paced in the cave, glancing at the images and paced more. This was definitely going to be a challenge to protect the young and stop this quarrel.

"They are mostly of the same camp in this war. We will support their cause." Kalpilz said with a growl in the night air.

Showing himself to be calm and reasoned, Zilquix stared at Kalpilz. This was not the brash dragon she was used to. He seemed...changed. He seemed...responsible on a higher level. It seemed to her that he finally took the mantle of protector to heart and soul.

"Kalpilz, I do hope you know what you are doing. I will assist you to protect the eggs, but this complicates things."

"I agree. Zilquix, we really have no choice. The young come first." He turned from talking to her to observing the 2 legged once more.

The dragon protectors continued to watch the people rest.

The gods watched them and their charges, not willing to interfere in the ways of man or dragon for that part...but wondering if perhaps the age of reason and magic was taking over the age of legend and might.

***

"SLEEP!" Aenodi curled beside the resting wizard. "What is the matter with me?" She tortured herself with thoughts.

She swore she felt his kiss still burning her, keeping her awake. He rolled over and slung his arm protectively over her. Under her lashes, she blushed but snuggled closer. Exhaustion took over and she finally began to sleep.

Kryo peeked over at her. He didn't think she would ever rest. Her slow soft breathing, her warm body wrapped in skins. Her hair was a banner and smelt of wildflowers. Kryo vowed then and there he loved this woman and would give his life to protect her and win her heart.

***

"Mother Tunare, hear my prayers. Mother please, grant me power and strength to carry on. Give my magic might to heal and comfort. Mother show me what I need to do to help my people. I know you are able to."

Tears burned and her throat constricted with reverence and pain. Dyinya, her head bowed pleaded with her god.

"Great lady mother Tunare, watch over us. Great god Rallos, watch over my departed love. Let his former power shine for us to light our way in battle. I beg you each for these things. Blessings abide." Not quite knowing the protocol for asking the gods help, she simply bowed to each. Then getting to her feet, Dyinya slipped into her bed, a lone tear slid down her cheek.

***

The realm of the dead was a fearful place. Matheus stepped forward in gleaming armor. "My Lord Rallos, will you answer my wife's plea?"

"Perhaps. Perhaps not. I have set the battle pieces in motion. The camp can win and sway the course of the war. I will think on it."

The warlord god boomed this. Nodding Matheus went back to stand guard, but mentally watched over his wife.

Muttering to Dylinya's godess in quiet prayer, Matheus prayed for wisdom, courage, power and then lastly love to touch his beloved virgin wife. Her life is long and has much more to do, he thought. She needs someone to love her. He hoped that the gods wouldn't mind this prayer.

Tunare in her glade listened. She nodded and smiled. The druid Briare was called by the dragons. She would aid him.

She smiled listening to the passionate pleas of Dyinya and Matheus. She blessed a white deer set and set them in the mountain range. The deer would seek out Dyinya and bless her and the first male that showed her comfort. This much she could do. Tunare waited for this war...she disliked the evil but also peeked at the dark elf Vladi. She loved him for she knew what he really was...one of her standard bearers...but he knew this not.

***

Vladi stopped to sniff the air. The foul evil encampment called to a part of him. He stayed his ground. He had a reason for being here. At dawn, he would act. He gathered his blanket tight near a cave and slept. He had great plans. This war was not ever going to stop it. He smiled in his sleep. In his mind were his dreams of power and glory. He would show them all.

***
Chapter 8

The spray of blood and the crunch of bone, the clang of swords and the twangs from the bows soon was covered by the screams and bellows, the rants and swears as both armies ran to confront each other in battle.

The blasting concussion of waves of magic, the swarms of angry spells and the fire and icy rains of power poured forth.

"HURRY! They are at battle. Come on! We are needed Kryo, please?!"

Aenodi peered at the shivering wizard. But it was not from the cold he shook from. His eyes glazed in horror and awe at the might and majesty that full battle truly was. THIS was his calling.

He scanned the scene before him. Countless lay dead and dying. The ground was muddied despite being frozen. Endless tracks of blood and footsteps were scattered about. Weapons still trickled blood as they lay on the ground forgotten in hands of their owners still slightly warm hands and unseeing dead eyes. Countless more soldiers and monsters raged in gruesome fury and in powers that were flickering in a multitude of color. He could feel the energy each camp sent towards the other.

He clenched his fists tight. His eye blazed with almost unholy fervor. "Aeno? Which way to your sister and her camp? I must do something."

Aenodi shielded her eyes and ducked as a pine tree exploded from boiling sap sent from a giant flame hand that crushed it and sent the timbers to explode in a resounding BOOM.

She glanced quickly about as she got up. Shaking the pine needles from her body and the snow from the shockwave, she stared as bits of bark glided down as if they were snowflakes caught on a soft breeze.

"THERE! That side. See the emblem of the Kings? The flags with the dragon and 7 crowns around it on the gold background? That is her camp. PLEASE! Hurry!"

There was a terrifing scream. DIE!!! A horde battle hardened warrior swept up in ambush riding strait for them!

"No need to hurry I will see to this." He muttered an incantation and in a heartbeat the horde camp ignited. In one swift second, there were tents, horses, armies, and camp mistresses, supplies and fighting...in the next a huge fireball with ice inside it was freezing the enemy in place while consuming in burning justice.

Aenodi fell to the ground. She stared up at Kryo, who was moving his lips and his hands invoking symbols as wave after wave of volleys of spells froze and ravaged the evil army.

With one last wave, he glared and sent it forth...a blast of fired ice and light that almost blinded her showed that the camp...the entire camp...vanished into ashes. Kryo smiled grimly...then slumped unconscious to the ground.

Aenodi cried in agony and ran forth to lift him up. "Kryo?! Kyro?! Please dearest wake! Gods help me with him!"

The soldiers that had been fighting the hordes were spell shocked. She yelled again for help. Then, two burly fighters ran to her and carried the wizard to the tents. Aenodi wept as she prayed for Kryo's safety.

***

"Maybe we won't need that mortal anyway." Said Kalpilz not looking particularly pleased. He picked his claws watching the battle intently from afar. Inward he seethed slightly. This wizard had mastered fire and ice...one of the few in thousands of years. Despite his appearance of being not caring, Kalpilz was frantic with thoughts on what was going to happen next.

"Oh hush. Didn't you see? He fell down. The wise one with one eye fell! He cast 10 spells and fell. That was not even the full army. Now, do you really think we can be safe? Do you really? He is on the side you favor. He has a dragon heart and power even I could feel it. Do you think he can help the young?" Pacing as if she was Kalpilz, Zilquix was pondering aloud in amazement and fear for this developement.

"Who is to say? Perhaps however, we don't really need them. I say we can defend the younglings...war or no war." Kalpilz said in a show of temper shaking his orange maw and branding his teeth in a hiss.

"YOU JUST DID!"

"No, I said MAYBE we won't need him or them or any." Kalpilz said.

"Details! I am telling you, we have to use him to protect the young. There is more to this then meets the eye. He has a blade of power from the gods. You yourself see this and called attention to this. What if we were crossed by one that was fully god touched." Zilquix panicked. Then taking a deep breath of calming ...she dreamscaped...where was their 2 legged one at?

The two younger dragons stewed, each thinking themselves correct. The oldest said nothing, she felt the gods talking.

Dragons were NOT immortal they just lived very long times. She knew that these children would have to grow up someday. She placed her claw over the small egg before her. Her baby. Her future. The future of dragon kind...for this egg was a queen. The new queen was anxious, to tell the truth, so was she. Gimillia worried, but infused her mighty magics and knowledge into the uncracked egg.

Let the die of fate be cast...we will see what war will bring. As long as no harm comes to the eggs, then they would be safe. She hoped.

***

The bay of the wolf woke him. Vladi could smell magic in the air. The sound of a hedge being ruffled startled him. BAH! Who was he to jump at the sound or the sight of a rat?! He crept closer...then he turned when the noise startled him again...he turned to face a giant white stag and his mate a pure white doe.

He stretched his hand out to see if he was dreaming when...they bounded off into the woods. Why did fate tempt him with good things? He was aligned to become evil...not the lap dog of good.

He rotated his neck, something called him here, he just wish he knew what or who it was. Puzzled, he lay back down to sleep.

***

The gods looked on. Time to up the stakes. The die was cast. Not one god said a word.
"It is decided."

They nodded...now, to see what would happen next the players moved about the board...but what would happen? No one knew.

***

Chapter 9

"Out lass! You do him no good wasting over him like some doll. He be a grown man and just exhausted. Out and rest I say." Foxx bellowed at Aenodi.

With her hands covered in dried blood and cold from the air...Dyinya went to Aenodi. "Come Sister...you need your rest."

Aenodi nodded with her eyes misting over..."Watch him please?" she begged and walked out of the infimary tent and into the snow and sank gratefully next to the guard tent and sleeping area.

Dyinya watched her sister of her heart for a mere moment. She cast a healing sleep over her to help her rest. Foxx, himself, saw to the wizard's rest and health.

Regish stood to the side watching Dyinya. He admired her grace and her calm. She seemed merciful and gracious, yet it seemed as if she existed only to save those she could to heal the loss she felt inside her. He snapped to attention as she walked by with barely more then a nod and glance at him. He knew she was busy but...he had hoped that perhaps later they could talk or...

***

The wind seemed to still suddenly on the mountian ridge and in the gorge. The evil magics that had been brewing were unleashed.

Hordes of undead and viciously mangled brutes and terrifing creatures barely resembling the animals that they had once been stormed in a torrent from the gorge and made their way up the ridge. The ground was being corrupted by their very existance and passing.

Awesome bellows and war chants were heard echoing as if the army already massive in size had tripled.

Those within the encampment on the ridge broke from their beds at dawn and prepared themselves...the battle was coming to them.

***

In a rush of light and sound Briare felt his heart free. He was able to travel faster, last longer, and forge ahead on his task with incredible pace. In almost no time at all...everywhere he crossed bloomed with life and vitatity...the gift of magic embedded within him from the dragons.

He felt this urge to go toward the mountians...everytime he would come across the sick...they became cured. Everytime he came across the dying, they found new life. He felt unstoppable. He cured the poisoned and corrupted ground from the evil army's march.

The dragons needed him. He would not let his task fail!

***

The dragons...Vladi felt them now. Their ancient magics seeped from the ground and from the massive cave. He spied the great black and ruby colored one. She was impressive in size alone. Half the size of the cave, she appeared to be from his vantage spot.

If only he could harness that energy for himself...

Vladi tried to sneak away as silent as the whispering wind, but Gamillia heard him from a mile away. She felt his thoughts and was worried. But she sensed in him a hidden strength also...curious, very curious. He sought out power, but not the desire to rule or be cruel, very very curious for his race. The god's mark shown heavy on him. Gamillia sighed a dragon sigh, one that was full of contemplation from the ages. This one would be one that would gain his worth but only while his life was fleeting.

She studied him as he moved stealthily away. This one was full of inner power. If this was one of the new that was to make war upon her kind and slay the young...the would be the equal to mastering of the dragons...forevermore.

Gamillia entered the cave and broke a tooth off of each of the 6 dragon skulls located in the back. Then she broke one off of her own tooth and with her magic blended the essence of each dragon into a shimmering scale. This scale she placed near the infant queen with her egg...this power would absorb into the egg to give the power over all dragonkind and in hopes that the race would be better, stronger, and more magically inclined then anyother time that dragons were upon the earth. Exhausted with her efforts, Gamillia rested with her claws upon the egg, praying that she worked the spell correctly.

***

Crunch! "No more master...begged the evil gnome feeblely. It isn't my fault. It was that stupid lump's fault! He killed him master!" The rack was notched one more...the strain was popping the bone from the muscle of the gnome stretched.

"My patience is wearing extreemly thin." A slender finger poked at some cheese and picked up a grape. "I had expected better from you. You knew I needed the battle plans and you failed miserablely. I am at the point of no longer willing to listen to your pointless drivel."

A wave of an elegant hand and a flash of verimion and scarlet paint was seen as the set of nails drummed a sticcato beat on the wall. The woman was thin and gorgeous. Her lush black hair fell strait from her head. Her lips were full and red. Her eyes...were black and forboding and able to render any man under her spell if her trim yet voluptious body did not.

"This bores me. Kill him." She said impatiently.

The gnome screamed as a knife split his insides open. Bile and blood were strong in the air as the jagged blade ripped along his torso to his gut. The woman smiled in glee as the innards were ripped from the body and the shuttering breath slowly left the gnome as his screams were now ...forever muted.

She toss her hair over her skin tight green dress. Her fingertips grazed the blood on the dead gnome's body. "Pity. I had hopes for using the plans, but no matter. I have ways and today starts the grandest battle. Noone will survive my undead army...NOONE!"

With a little chuckle she glided out of the dungeon. The gnome was a fool. He thought to placate her with stories of it being anyone's fault but his own. He deserved death.

However, she was greatly upset over one small detail. Her sister was sent to extract the information and was clearly long dead. That the witch died, was of little consequence...but in failing her job and taking of so many promising of the craft with her...was disturbing.

No matter. She thought. I will win this war in a single day.

She went into her solar to relax and eat and refresh her appearance. She would be ruler of this world at all costs. Her bronzed skin glowed with power as she watched the sky brighten...today would be a bloody day.

***
Chapter 10

"Is he up yet?" Aenodi could not keep still. From the time she awoke, she dogged the steps of the healer, until she could gain access to Kryo.

The wizard was awake and aware. He smiled at Aenodi as she walked thru the tent flap to his cot.

Aenodi gave him a soft slow kiss and asked how he was feeling. He told her much better and had dressed for the battle upcoming.

A horn blared in the distance, and Foxx stood straiter. He bellowed for the army to assemble. Not being much for one that uses words he simply looked the army over and grabbed his trustly blades and shook them in fury.

"TO BATTLE!" He cried.
"To battle!" His army replied.

Kryo looked at his sweetheart. So much time lost. If only he could have known she cared and loved her just once. Now wasn't the time to ponder his thoughts. He brushed his hand over hers...and strode purposefilled thru the encampment and started to poor his arcane knowledge to use and harness the power of the ice and fire.

He casted a bind over the entire camp as he walked around it he carefully wrote runes in the snow and cut his finger to etch each symbol in blood. He then buried the precious exodus stone that Aenodi had handed him and placed it in the center of the encampment and surrounded it within a heart of ice over fire. He breathed the spell over it. Now upon his death or upon his command, the entire encampment would be transported to safety. Anyone not of the camp would perish in a blaze of glorious fire and freezing justice of ice.

While Aenodi watched Kryo entently, she also readied herself for battle. She knew how to fight. When Kryo exhausted his awesome powers, his body would be unable to fight, it was during this time that Aenodi knew she was his protector...to give her life for his...or die in the attempt.

She touched his shoulder softly. "It is time." Aenodi said and helping Kryo to mount and handing him 2 daggers incase. She quickly mounted her horse and together they joined Foxx and Regish's side and rode off to war.

***

Vladi watched as the druid approached the area leading towards the dragon ne
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