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Magblo

Chapter 4 - Rebirth

By: Andrew J. Kolesar

 

Jack look around, and realized he wasn’t in Kansas anymore. But this sure as hell wasn’t Oz either. Bones lay everywhere, there was no sky he could see, just a black void above. Jack began walking around; the people here were very strange looking. But he couldn’t put a finger on what it was. Then something dawned on him. Shouldn’t he be on a battlefield, with elves and goblins, and a bratty princess? Wait a fucking minute! What the hell was going on?!

Jack spun around in circles looking at the place, at the people, at the structures. All the buildings were made from bone, and not constructed in nice, neat slats. Bone piles made up the structures. There was a huge bone wall surrounding the place. An eerie feeling came over Jack; he had a sinking gut feeling he knew what happened. He looked at the leather jerkin he still wore. The plate mail was gone. He opened up his shirt and saw a small wound, where his heart would be. Then he remembered that he was the target for an assassin. But who it was he’d never know.

Jack realized that he was dead. That this must be the land of the dead. If it was hell it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. If it was heaven, damn were Christians wrong. The people, creatures, souls or whatever they were, weren’t all elves either. There were some souls that Jack could tell what they had been in life. He could see humans, elves, and even goblins, but there were many different souls he had no clue what they were. So wherever he was at had nothing to do with the location of his death.

Jack began to wander aimlessly around. He didn’t know if he should be doing anything or not. The other souls just seemed to be doing the same. Then a great horn sounded, all the souls started to head off in one direction. Curiously Jack followed, and was led to an enormous gate, made from bone as well. The gate opened and the souls started to pour out onto the field beyond. Jack grabbed an elf and turned him around. The elf gave Jack a very hostile look, and Jack let go. Then the elf’s expression lit up.

“You’re Captain Karde! But what are you doing here?” the elf asked.

“I was assassinated, but right now that doesn’t matter. What’s going on? Where are we? Is this heaven, is it hell, or is it a cosmic joke?” Jack asked back.

“Captain Karde, this is the Kingdom of the Dead. It’s where we go when we die in battle. Our souls weren’t pure. We’ve killed, known hatred, and other things. So we couldn’t ascend to the heavens. But our souls aren’t tainted evil either. We’ve done nothing wrong to deserve the hells. This is the place warriors refer to as paradise. All we ever do is battle each other. That’s what the horn means. When it sounds all warriors are to assemble to the front gate. When the gate opens we go to the field for another days battle. That’s about all we do.” The elf said.

“Great, just great. Is there a way out of here? I don’t plan on warring for all eternity. I think I could find something better to do.” Jack said.

“The only way out is to win your freedom. And once you do that your soul gets reincarnated. So depending on how you look at it, it’s either good or bad.”

“How do you win your freedom?” Jack asked.

“By being the last man standing at the end of the battle. The man who does that gets sent back to the material world. Of course they start all over again, but it’s better than being here forever.” The elf answered.

With that they walked out unto the battlefield. Jack was about to say he didn’t have a weapon when he noticed his sword hanging from his hip. ‘Was it there the whole time?’ he wondered. He drew the blade and took a stance. The way he felt right now, he wanted a fight. In fact he wanted this so badly that he figured he’d be the shortest resident here ever. But then again he didn’t want to start over as a babe either.

He looked to his left and noticed a group of men pointing at him. Good, he’d take them all on. This might not be as bad as he thought. They started to advance on him, but Jack noticed that not one of them had a weapon drawn. What was going on? They kept walking closer and soon where just a few feet in front of him. The elf he’d met was with them, and Jack recognized a few faces.

“So I hear that you helped save the Elven Nation.” Said another elf.

“I guess, I just helped out, that’s all. Who are you? You seem to know me, I think it’s only descent if I know who you are.” Jack replied.

“I’m sorry, the name’s Gabriel Moonfrost. I was a Captain in the 5th Griffin Riders Company in the Elven Nation. I also hear you have a thing for my fiancée.” Gabe said.

“Well holy shit! So you’re the famous Gabe huh? Well I’ll be damned! Wait a minute, I already am. I’ve heard a lot about you. But isn’t it a bit difficult to call her you’re fiancée when you’re dead and she’s not?” Jack stated.

“Somewhat I suppose. But as you can tell we still feel here. So even though I’m dead, I still love her.” Gabe said.

“I guess its true, true love never dies. But enough of that, you have a plan for getting out of here? I don’t know about you chummers, but I don’t plan on staying here forever.” Jack asked.

“Captain Karde you don’t get it. You’re dead; your body is either buried or been incinerated. This isn’t a prison. The only way out is to win the battle and get reincarnated.” Gabe explained.

Jack looked around; this wasn’t a battle as it was so much a free for all brawls. There wasn’t any order. Groups that were teamed together would turn on themselves as soon as they finished with the opponents they faced. This was insane. He didn’t know how, but he knew that he had to get out of here. His body might be dead, but he felt alive, well, and imprisoned.

He looked back to the city of bone and noticed above it all a large building. It resembled a castle, but once again it was made of bone. ‘This place is thoroughly depressing. No wonder no one fights with any vigor or zeal, this place sucks it right out of them.’ Jack thought.

“Look Captain Karde…”

“It’s just Jack, Gabe. Since I’m dead titles don’t really mean anything here. Tell you what’s funny, Sam almost begged me not to go. I wonder if she knew I was gonna die? Tell you what though, I’d love to know the man that killed me. I’ll go rattled my chains around him.” Jack cut in.

“This isn’t the best place in the worlds to be, but at least you’ve got friends. You’re not alone. It takes some time getting used to this place. As for your assassin, well that’s another story all together.” Gabe said.

“I don’t plan on staying here long enough to get used to it. We may be dead, but you’re as solid as I am. I’ll find a way out of here, and when I do whoever wants to tag along can. If this place stole your memories that might be different. But considering I still have an invasion to stop I can’t sit here on my ass playing solider.” Jack shouted.

Then at the same time both Jack and Gabe asked each other a question.

“What about my assassin?” Jack asked.

“What invasion?” Gabe asked.

They both paused and looked at one another. Gabe spoke first.

“Your assassin was Samandra. She ran out onto the field of battle and impaled you in the back through your heart.” Gabe informed.

“That bitch! Wait a minute; I know we weren’t the greatest of friends. We fought constantly. But I know she wouldn’t kill me, at least not like that. What’s going on?” Jack asked.

Just then a man Jack knew all too well stepped forward, General Alosha. He looked at Jack and spoke, “It’s true Captain Karde, while you were fighting the goblins, she came running into the command tent. She was somewhat hysterical, screaming how you were going to be assassinated by someone. She wanted General Ryamyian and myself to order at least two men to guard your back. When we told her that right now it was impossible, she ran out of the tent. I sent a few men to catch her, but they met resistance and were killed. By the time I got there she was holding you in her lap crying.”

“So you didn’t see her do it? Then how can you say it was her?” Jack asked once again confused.

“No, I didn’t actually see her do it. But at least a score or more men saw it. Captain Tymerian was one of them. They saw her run up to you with her blade drawn, and stab you. They claimed that she looked confused and horror stricken at what she had done.” General Alosha explained.

“Well? What else happened?” Jack asked again.

“I don’t know Captain. Amongst all the confusion on the battlefield a small goblin force slipped in and attacked. I was killed shortly after you were. A goblin was behind me, and before I could react he cut me down.” The general replied.

“Great, I knew PMS was deadly. So for no reason at all she skewers me like a damn pig? That doesn’t sound right. Especially in front of a field full of witnesses. My pointy eared friends, I detect something foul is a foot. Hell Gabe, you were killed by an assassin as well. And all over the damn invasion. This is really getting out of hand. They’re knocking off the good guy’s major players. Sort of like a deadly game of chess.” Jack said.

“What ‘invasion’ are you talking about?” Gabe, along with several other elves asked.

Jack started to explain what Lord Byron had told Arden, Sam, and him. He told Gabe why he was killed, and that they never found the elf behind his death. He told them about the Death Child agent in the palace, and how Samandra suspected it was Soren. And then Jack stopped, reflecting on something. Everyone looked at him, wondering what he was thinking. Then Jack looked at them and practically shouted. He went on to explain that Soren had visited him right before he left for the command tent.

“He probably cast a spell before you noticed him.” Gabe said.

“Only a Death Child disappears in black smoke. Followers of the Dark Path are the only ones who can teleport like that.” Said General Alosha.

“It sounds like Sam was right about Soren. That son of a bitch, when I get out of here he’s as good as dead. I bet he was behind your death also Gabe. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d put some cash on that. I only hope he gets discovered before anything really bad happens.” Jack stated.

“You don’t consider being killed a really bad thing?” Gabe asked.

“Well ah, yeah sure. But I meant something like the Death Children running your nation.” Jack said.

“I know what you meant. I was just pulling your leg.” Gabe said.

“Oh, yeah, very funny. We can’t use magic here can we?” Jack asked.

“No since we’re dead, the Fabric of Life is cut off from us.” Gabe answered.

“What about the Death Shroud then?” Jack asked again.

“I assume you could still tap into it. But considering that’s a whole different path, I wouldn’t even know how too. Or want to for that matter. Out of curiosity, why do you ask?” Gabe replied.

“Arden taught me about the Dark Path. The know your enemy tactic. Now I know I couldn’t use it while I was alive or I would have turned. But seeing how we’re dead. What harm could it cause?” Jack said.

“None I suppose. But do you actually know spells? Or just know about the Dark Path?” Gabe asked.

“I unfortunately don’t know exact spells. But I know how it works. What I’m gonna have to do is experiment with it. I’d say that’d be deadly, but under the circumstances. I don’t think it’ll matter too much. This is going to take some time though.” Jack said to no one in particular.

 

The news of Jack’s death hit the palace like a tidal wave. Lord Tymerian sat in a conference room along with his advisors, Latharous, Soren, Tarian, Lord Arden, Maeve, and General Ryamyian. Princess Samandra had been led to the brig, where she sat waiting to be heard.

Lord Tymerian wasn’t sure what to do. His daughter had murdered a man in cold blood. Over thirty warriors plus his youngest son witnessed it. She had tried to tell him that she had a dream about it. But he wouldn’t listen. Why would she tell him or anyone else that Captain Karde was going to be assassinated when she knew she was going to do it? The whole thing just didn’t make sense.

Arden sat looking at Maeve, who was sitting quietly with her eyes shut. If you didn’t know what she was doing, it would have appeared she was napping. Although she hadn’t come out and said it, Arden knew what at least one of her gifts were. Maeve was a telepath. If his guess was right, she was probably reading Princess Samandra’s thoughts as she sat in the brig. Or talking to her, letting her know what was going on.

 

Samandra sat in a cell like any other criminal. Although she got whatever she had asked for, which wasn’t much. She paced the floor, sat on the bunk, lied on the bunk, ran in place, anything to occupy her. She needed something to take her mind off of this. Wasn’t it bad enough she had to live with the fact she killed Jack? It was insane to think it, but now, after his death she realized she was growing to love him. Her, an elven princess loving this rogue human, just crazy.

But he was dead now, and by her hands. She’d never forget the look on his face, the smile, he actual accepted it! There was so much to do in the worlds; so many battles were yet to be fought. With what Lord Byron had said, they would need him too much. She would need him too much. The only two men she ever really cared for were both dead now.

As she thought this over she heard a voice in the back of her head. It was calling her name, telling her everything was gonna be all right. Samandra thought she was loosing it, now she was hearing voices. Of course they would execute her, she was crazy, even she started to believe it.

‘You’re not crazy! I’m a telepath. I can read minds.’

“I know what a telepath is. Who are you?” Samandra said aloud.

‘Just think your response. I’ll hear you just fine. My name is Maeve; I’m here with Arden. Everyone who saw you do it has been questioned, and they all agree that you seem to have snapped out of a trance of some sorts after Jack was killed. They’re keeping you down there for safety measures more than anything. Your father’s worried about you.’ Said the voice.

‘What are they planning on doing? I’m going nuts down here. Plus I’d like to tell them what happened, from my point of view. I think it’s only fair for the accused to be able to plead their case.’ Samandra thought.

‘You will, but I just wanted to let you know it’ll be ok. So relax if you can, it might still be awhile. Take a nap.’ Maeve thought.

Samandra felt the connection break and she knew she was alone again.

 

Arden looked over at Maeve and saw her open her eyes and sit up. Lord Tymerian was looking very haggard; his advisors were busy doing their job of advising. In fact the only person here who didn’t look upset in some form or another was Soren, he just looked bored. Arden needed to talk to Maeve about Soren, but not here. It’d have to wait for another time.

Lord Tymerian stood and the group quieted down. As he stood he was trembling slightly; a few tears ran down his cheeks. He dabbed his face with a kerchief and took his seat again. He wasn’t able to go on. He’s illness was getting the better of him, not to mention the grief in his heart. Lord Tymerian took a few calming breaths and before he stood Latharous went to him. They spoke in hushed tones, but the look on Latharous face had given all away. Latharous nodded at his father, and stood in his place.

In a choked voice he said, “Princess Samandra will be executed at dawn for the crime of murder.”

Before anyone could say or do anything Maeve jumped up and shouted, “That’s fuckin bullshit man! You haven’t even given her a chance! You know she was under a spell, kill the bastard who’s responsible for it! If you kill her you’d be killing a victim as well. You know as well as I that she was a pawn.”

“Ms. Black! You will be quiet and be seated! The Lord and his advisors have reached their decision. You nor anyone else has the right to challenge it!” Cried Latharous.

Maeve Black of the Bloodstone tribe wasn’t about to leave it at that. And before everyone’s eyes quiet, little, Maeve blew into lupus form. She went from a five foot four, hundred and ten pound woman to a massive seven and a half-foot, six hundred and fifty pound werewolf. Her fur was as black as obsidian and her violet eyes burned with rage.

The room went deathly quiet, with the only sound coming from a dubious voice. Arden hung his head and placed his hand over his eyes, quietly he said, “Oh, dear.”

Because the palate of a werewolf’s mouth isn’t shaped for speech and the deep voice they have in lupus form Maeve could only growl out her remark. Anything she said sounded like a threat, even if she was saying, ‘I love you’. So it wasn’t to surprising that all in the room, except Arden, cowered when she spoke. Just the sight of her alone was intimidating enough.

“You will bring her up here to talk. She will not die, not without a proper trial. I will get her then, she can tell her side.” the werewolf growled out. She opened the door with enough force that it ripped off its hinges. All eyes turned towards Arden who only stared at his shoes. Tarian jumped up and ran after Maeve.

 

“Hey you, wolf girl! Hold on a sec!” Tarian shouted, above the sounds of the soldier’s shouts and noise of them running out of the beast’s way.

Maeve turned towards him and crouched. They stood nose to snout, her breath blowing Tarian’s hair slightly. For a second Tarian thought about offering her a milk bone for that clean fresh breath feeling, but thought better of it. He was trying to defuse the black fur bomb, not set it off.

“I’m on your side. There’s no way I’d let them kill Samandra, even if it led to a life of exile. But becoming a black ball of destruction isn’t gonna solve anything. You scared the hell out of everyone. Most of us in there have never seen a werewolf, much less see it happen before our eyes.” Tarian said.

“It got there attention didn’t it?” Maeve growled.

“That it did, that it most surely did. However fear will only keep them in check for so long. You know that as well as I do. Let’s get Samandra, and take her up to the meeting room. Together we’ll make sure her trial is fair.” Tarian suggested.

“I’m somewhat surprised that your father is so readily going to execute her. I know that even your family must abide by the laws, but they needn’t make an example out of her and the situation.” Maeve said in a softer tone.

“Agreed, let’s get her and inform her of what’s to come. Everyone knows that she was spellbound, her actions weren’t her own. I still won’t let them kill her, no matter what. Can I count on you if this does get ugly?” Tarian asked.

“Aye, that you can. Let’s go get her.”

 

The werewolf and the youngest elven prince walked down to the dungeons. The dungeon master wouldn’t allow access but that didn’t stop Maeve. She grabbed the bars and pulled them apart. No longer feeling safe behind the bars, the dungeon master was more than happy to comply and let them in. He watched as the fiend ripped off the solid iron door that belonged on Princess Samandra’s cell. She tossed it aside as one would toss an empty goblet to the wenches. Even Tarian was wide-eyed in amazement, that was until he heard an ear splitting scream.

Deftly he moved in front of Maeve to stand in Samandra’s view. Seeing her brother she calmed down slightly and stared in wonder. Tarian quickly explained what was going on, and that she was going to get her fair trial, one way or the other.  And if things got ugly they’d help her, he wasn’t going to let her die for this. He knew that Jack wouldn’t want it.

By the time they reached the meeting room, Maeve had reverted back to her human form. Thanks to a werewolf rite the clothes she wore would come back to her. They would magically disappear when she went into lupus form and magically reappear when she changed back to human form. Maeve often wondered where it was they went exactly. They never came back with travel stickers on them. She didn’t have to worry about destroying clothes or being naked after a transformation. Every time she reverted back to her human form she thanked the shaman for performing the rite. No more embarrassing nakey times.

 

Jack wasn’t sure exactly how long he was in the Kingdom of the Dead. There were no days and nights, and he couldn’t go by how often the battles were. Sometimes they lasted for what seemed like days, and others last a few short minutes, or so he guessed. It was driving him up a bone wall so to speak. He was making some head way on the Dark Path spells. But nothing good enough to transport them out of here. Jack got the eerie feeling he was being watched though. Someone or something in that bone castle knew at least he was here, maybe even knew what he was trying to attempt. Probably laughing at the futileness of his actions.

Jack was sitting around a table with Gabriel and the other elves when an idea struck him. If he could get inside the castle and look around, he could almost bet there was something that he could use. Maybe he wouldn’t even have to use dark magic after all. Maybe there was a portal all ready set up, just waiting for a sucker to jump through, and take them to the hells or something.

With a shudder Jack realized that jumping through strange portals might not be such a good idea. But he still wanted, no needed to get a look inside. He just had to find a way in and not be detected. ‘Where’s an assassin when you need one.’ He thought. He knew that this was going to be harder than he thought. An easier said than done type move. But before he even would bring it up to his elven companions he knew he had to keep practicing. No one more than he liked the idea of playing with dark magic. But a Magblo’s got to do what a Magblo’s got to do. Even if he was dead.

 

Deep in the mountains of Colorado a gathering of werewolves met. For the first time in decades all the tribes came together. Although they all had the same purpose on this Earth, they all went about it differently. Therefore they seldom agreed on anything and often fought amongst themselves when gathered together. This time was no different. The tribes were always ready for an event such as this. When Liam brought the news, no one was aghast. They knew they just had to fine-tune their plans.

 There were six different tribes, and each tribe’s elder would speak for their tribe. There was Elder Kai of the Bloodstone tribe, Elder Kaden of the Steelaxe tribe, Elder Silver of the Starhorn tribe, Elder Krum of the Firestorm tribe, Elder Fiona of the Featherdawn tribe, and Elder Bulvai of the Demonhunter tribe.

At the gathering sat the three most powerful and respected Sun Path followers. Councilor, Lady Windwater, along with her son Fireshield. A fraudulent looking man sat next to them, dressed completely in black from head to toe.  To look at him you would have thought that this could be enmity in a living, breathing shell. The man was a Sun Path follower, however he walked on the darker aspects of nature. He was a slayer of the perverts to nature, vampires, wraiths, dark spirits, demons, and such. He up held the laws of the Great Mother, and the werewolf tribes embraced him as a brother. His name was Dru Wolfsword or amongst the tribes he was known as Shadowolf. Although his appearance showed that he was in his early to mid 30’s, all knew that he was almost as old as the mountains surrounding them.

As the gathering discussed the situations, almost all the werewolves on the planet attended. All listened with rapt attention. Battling for the preservation of the Great Mother was what werewolves did best. Since it was their first love, they were damn good at it. Minor fights with evil forces were nothing compared to the battle that would soon rage across the Earth. The children of the Great Mother had every intention of being the ones standing on top of their enemies’ corpses, howling at the moon.

As the meeting concluded it was time for what the cubs enjoyed best, the jubilee. Werewolf tradition held that after all serious gatherings and meetings there was a party afterwards. The jubilee was a celebration to the Great Mother. There was a feast, contests, games, stories, music, praise was given to the Great Mother, but most importantly of all was the fellowship. Usually the jubilee was held under the night sky in a desolate area where the werewolves could raise hell and not worry about being discovered or disturbed. But because they had to meet in a secret, secure location it was to be held in the caves.

Jubilees often lasted for days, either ending when the last wolf fell or until something else came up. This time it was no different. The longest a jubilee ever lasted that anyone could remember was three months. It was shortly before the United States declared its independence from England. The only reason it came to a halt then was because they realized that there was a war going on. And far be it that a werewolf miss an opportunity to fight in a war.

 

 

Deep in the caves of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains the werewolves were in their third night of partying. With the six tribes gathered together, there was no sign of it coming to an end. They found a small valley and moved part of the jubilee outdoors. After all, there was nothing like getting lit up and howling at the moon. It was also on this night that Shadowolf went to see Liam.

Liam was in his human form drinking something that was strong enough to make the most seasoned human drinker pass out after one tankard. Liam was on his fifth as another challenger stepped up. Liam held the record for the consumption of the most alcohol in one sitting in human form. A werewolf that was drunk in human form could change into lupus form, and within a few minutes be sober again. His challenger sat in front of him, a young cub barely old enough to drink in the human world. The cub was as big as a house, and looked as if he might actually be able to take Liam’s title away. To show that he could beat this cub Liam stayed in human form, if he lost his title because of it, so be it. But he was going to show that just because your big, doesn’t necessarily mean you can drink. The tankards got slammed in front of the contestants, they grabbed their drinks, and just before he could take his first, long pull, he felt a tap on his shoulder.

The look on the cub’s face was of awe; Liam slightly bombed took a bit to respond. Slowly he turned his head and saw Shadowolf. Instantly his face lit up into a broad grin and he held out his tankard for Shadowolf. He took it and placed it on the table behind him. He looked at the cub and apologized, but he needed to speak to Liam. Then he told Liam to sober up. Liam changed into lupus form and after a couple of minutes reverted back to his human form. Only his pants had survived the transformation. Shadowolf led Liam to a quiet corner where they could talk undisturbed.

“Arden has asked me to come see him in the Elven Nation. He said that there’s trouble brewing there and it looks like at least one Death Child is behind it. Arden asked for you as well, he said that there’s been a slight problem with a cub named Maeve. Nothing serious, but she needed someone to speak to her. Why you and not someone from her tribe is beyond me. However we are to leave as soon as you are ready. I’ll have a portal set up in five minutes. Meet me here in ten.” Shadowolf said.

Liam nodded in agreement and headed off. Shadowolf cast his spell and in a few minutes he could see Arden in a room. He looked alone. Liam returned and together they walked in the portal.

 

“Princess Samandra Tymerian, you are being tried for the crime of murder. How do you plead?” informed Latharous, once again standing in his father’s place.

“Guilty, but with a chance to explain.” Samandra stated.

Samandra stood at a pedestal in the center of the room. In front of her, at a large bench sat Latharous in the center and three advisors on either side. Everyone else sat behind her, waiting with abated breath. The advisors started conversing with themselves and Latharous. Then Latharous looked at Samandra and told her to proceed.

Samandra started with the dream she had, explaining that she saw the events but couldn’t see who actually killed Captain Karde. When she awoke from her dream she went straight to Lord Tymerian. When she was told that there was nothing that could be done, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

At that the advisors quickly started to talk amongst themselves again.

Samandra, in an above normal voice stated that she used a portal to get into Captain Karde’s tent, but when she saw he wasn’t there she ran towards the command tent. Where Generals Ryamyian and Alosha told her that there was nothing that could be done as well.

So in a fit of desperation she ran towards the battlefield. When she got there she saw Captain Karde, and saw a man standing about twenty to thirty feet behind him. The man smiled a wicked grin and pointed at Captain Karde. Then he turned his back. She then ran as fast as she could and stabbed the man before he could kill Jack. Then she saw Jack running towards her, but as he got closer it turned out to be Tarian. When she looked down, Jack lay dead at her feet.

Latharous asked if she was done. Samandra said that she was. The ruling board then stood and adjourned for thirty minutes to make a verdict. In that time people started to talk to one another. Arden made the point that in no way did her statement mention or sound as if she was bewitched. They were going to have to come up with a better defense. Tarian looked at Maeve, and she nodded. If things went badly, they were fully prepared to seize Samandra and make a run for it. This may be his nation and his laws and he was sworn as a Captain and Prince to defend it. But that was his sister, there was no way he was going to let her die. Not over something he knew she was innocent in.

When the ruling board came back and took their seats, all noticed that no one bore an expression. When everyone was settled in, Latharous stood and spoke, “Princess Samandra Tymerian, this ruling board of advisors has heard your testimony and has reached a verdict. Is there anything else you wish to add before we deliver our verdict?”

Samandra whispered no. Arden and everyone else thought it best to hear their verdict first. Then they could ask for an appeal. Tarian liked that idea; it would give him and Maeve a chance to come up with a better plan.

“Then if you have nothing further to add, the ruling board shall now give its verdict. For the crime of murder, Princess Samandra this board finds you… Innocent!” Latharous said with a huge smile.

The room exploded with applause, everyone started talking at once. Everyone ran up to her and hugged her, and let her know that they knew it was going to be all right. The only thing left to do was heal from this horrid experience. Tarian and Maeve looked at one another and sighed in relief together. Then they to got up and joined in on the excitement. Everyone was happy, all except for Soren who sat quietly in the background.

 

A few hours later Arden was sitting in his guestrooms reading a new novel that was about heaven and hell, and a Second Coming of an Armageddon. With a well-written book as this for a first published book, this young lady would go far as an author. It was so much better than the rubbish that had been out lately. The characters were very in depth, the descriptions were well thought out, and it had a story line that kept rolling. It was a book that was impossible to put down. But sadly for now he had to, for at that moment a portal opened and out stepped Shadowolf and Liam.

“I’m glad you could make it so soon, on such short notice. The situation directly involving Princess Samandra has been defused. For a ruling board that was so quickly to execute her at first, they quickly changed their minds. Although I’m not sure if it had anything to do with our little telepath or not.” Arden said.

“Who’s the telepath?” Shadowolf asked.

Arden looked at Liam and said, “Our little cub, Maeve. Not only is she a telepath, which has nothing to do with the board. But she let the entire room know she’s a werewolf. When she decided she didn’t like the board’s decision to execute the princess she changed into lupus form and was very insubordinate with them. I think the only reason they didn’t lock her up was because they were to frightened. Plus the dungeon master claims she ripped an iron door off the cell Princess Samandra was in. This is why I need you to talk to her Liam. She has to learn to control her temper. She can’t go around intimidating the elves. They won’t put up with it for long.” Arden said.

“As for me Councilor Arden, what do you wish my services for? I know about the Death Child, but there must be more than that.” Shadowolf stated.

“Yes Dru there is. Like I stated in the transcription, we’re not sure who he is. We’re almost positive but we don’t have any proof. The man we believe it to be is Prince Soren. So you can see where I’ll need your expertise. Your knowledge in the Dark Path supercedes mine by quite a substantial amount. We can’t very well accuse a prince without any proof. I need you to aggregate as much information as you can on him. Then we can make our move.” Arden explained.

 Both Liam and Shadowolf agreed, but before they left, Arden had a few more words to say.

“As I have just informed you both about Maeve, I will also let you know that in a few minutes she will be coming through those doors. I have asked her if she would try to read Soren’s mind. I know that it isn’t admissible evidence in a case. But at least we’ll know whether or not we have the right man. You are both invited to stay if you like.”

 

Thirty minutes later Arden, Shadowolf, Liam, Tarian, and Maeve sat in Arden’s rooms. Maeve was sitting alone in a chair, getting very comfortable, and preparing for what she was about to do. It was always easier to read someone’s mind if you knew where they were at. Otherwise you had to jump from mind to mind to locate the person you were looking for. Not only was that time consuming but quite exhaustive as well.

The room was quiet; the only sound was Maeve’s breathing. Which now came in huge labored breaths, she was practically panting. Everyone was staring at her, wondering what was happening, was she close. Then all of a sudden she sat bolt up right; her eyes were as large as saucers. She stopped breathing and a look of sheer terror came across her features. She collapsed on the floor, starting to convulse. Everyone was about to run to her aid when she changed into lupus form.

 

Samandra sat at her desk and for the first time in months made a journal entry. She gave a quick run through of the past four months. Going into detail about certain important things that had happened to her. She thought about what had happened since this morning, and then paused. It had only happened this morning? It seemed like eons ago. But yet, it was only this morning.

With that in mind Samandra quickly got dressed. She ran through the hallways, heading down to the cellars. She had never been down here before she realized. This area of the palace was foreign to her. But she knew it had to be down here, somewhere. Then she spotted it.

‘The Hall of Heroes’ was inscribed in beautiful gold lettering above the archway. As she stepped into the room she was suddenly very chilled. The temperature dropped way below freezing, preserving the bodies of elven heroes. The lighting was a light sort of bluish glow, and the hall extended as far as even her superior elven eyes could see. The room wasn’t made from the same marble as the palace above, but was designed with the look of rough-cut gray stone. The only human was in here and there she spotted him, lying in a glass case was Captain Jack Karde. Hero to the Elven Nation. She looked away for a moment, looking at all the other heroes here. Of course all the Lords were buried down here. In fact she was slightly horrified to see that her father’s was set up, it was only missing his body.  A sudden chill ran up her spine at the thought of her father lying there as Jack was. Then she wondered if Gabriel was down here, sure he was heroic, but was he considered a hero? She walked down the rows of the dead, many she didn’t recognize by name or face. Then she stopped at one and read the plaque,

                                                     

                               Captain Gabriel Moonfrost

                                      ζ

 

Gabriel Solarin Moonfrost, Captain. 5th Griffin Riders Company. Captain Moonfrost joined the Elven Nation Military at the age of two hundred and twenty-six years. He was known for always being beside his men, fighting with them against impossible odds and always turning the odds to win the day. An excellent strategic commander, loved by all his men. One man was quoted saying, ‘We’d follow ol Gabe anywhere he wanted. Even if he led us straight into the hells.’ Captain Moonfrost was murdered in his bedchambers. He was to wed Princess Samandra Tymerian in a few months prior to his death.

 

                                                                                                      Summer Equinox

                                                                                          Year of Daganion

                                                                                                   11,998

 

Samandra wanted to so badly look inside the case. To gaze at Gabe’s face, to see him once again. She missed him so much it hurt. The few years that he’d been gone didn’t heal any of her pain; it only made her miss him all the more. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths, and then she slowly opened them and looked into the case. There lies Gabe, just as if he were sleeping. He looked immaculate, in his full dress armor, his sword lying on his chest with the blade pointed at his feet, both hands wrapped around the hilt.

She then noticed that in his hands was still the kerchief she had placed there. On the kerchief was an embroidery stitching of two elves, male and female, standing under the light of the moon. The kerchief was old, it belonged to her mother’s mother, and maybe before that. It had been passed down through the ages to the eldest daughter. She placed it with Gabe when he died because she knew that without him, she’d never have children of her own.

Samandra stared at Gabe, the kerchief, and the lily ring she now wore, and broke into tears. She fell on the case and wept. After awhile her legs no longer supported her lithe frame, and she fell to her knees. All the sorrow, anger, depression, hatred, rage, and loneliness she had felt over the last five years came out in one torrential flood. Eventually the tears subsided, and Samandra fell in a deep slumber at the foot of Captain Gabriel Moonfrost, hero of the Elven Nation’s glass coffin.

 

“You want to do what?!” exclaimed Gabe.

“I know you’re dead, but are you deaf to? You heard what I said. I want to get inside that castle. We need to look around it. There might be something useful inside.” Jack said.    

“The Dark Path is driving you mad Jack. You want to, how’d you say it? ‘Go in there and bust up this King Dead guy’s hood?’ That about right?” Gabe asked.

“Something like that. Look, I’m of sound mind; I can’t say much for my body. But I know what I’m talking about Gabe. Give General Alosha sometime and I bet he’ll be able to figure out a way to get us in. He’s got a keen mind for planning and strategy.” Jack retorted.

“So do I, but it would take an eternity to come up with a plan. If you knew about me, you would have already known that I was great at strategy. But let me guess everything you’ve heard about me, you’ve heard from Samandra. So of course you wouldn’t know I was good at strategy.” Gabe said sarcastically.

“Now isn’t the time to get jealous. You’ve been dead for the last five years, what’d you expect? Anyway, you can tell her all about it once we get outta here.” Jack remarked.

“That’s just a dream. Besides, even if by some miracle of Daganion you do manage to pull it off. We’re going to be ghosts, walking the world. We don’t have bodies to return to.” Gabe said, then he paused for a moment in thought. He screamed, “Hold on! Five years! I’ve been dead for five years! I thought it couldn’t have been more than a few months, a year tops! Then that means, that you’ve been dead…”

“At least a year or more. That’s why getting into that castle and getting out of here is so damn important right now. You remember what I told you about the Death Children. It’s imperative that we get outta here. Bodies or not, it’s better than being stuck here. I’d rather be a ghost on a real world than a ‘thing’ here. Are you in? I need to know now that I can count on you.” Jack asked.

“Yeah Jack, I’m in. Let’s go talk to General Alosha. Together I’m sure he and I can come up with something. You just practice that hideous magic.” Gabe said with confidence.

The two smiled as they walked towards the hovel where they had bunked up. Though they didn’t need to eat or sleep here, it was comforting to have some place, any place to call home. However no one did call it home.

 

It had been almost a year since Jack’s death. Samandra rarely even stayed at home anymore. She frequently went off on adventures and explorations. There was a whole galaxy out there and she wanted to see as much of it as she could. When she was home, like now, she would always visit Jack. The guilt was still incredible, even though she knew it wasn’t her fault, it was still her hand that he died from.

The first time she got back from an adventure she went to visit Gabe, but the pain was unbearable. It was impossible to see him lying there knowing she couldn’t do anything but look. It was for the best if she didn’t go and see him. But the urge to was so strong; it was like he was beckoning her to his side. But why would he? Especially if he knew it was only torturing her.

Samandra often wondered if Jack and Gabe had met each other in the afterlife. Then she thought that was such an absurd thought. Different religions, different worlds, but what if it was all one and the same? Just because the elves called him Daganion, didn’t mean he wasn’t the same god the humans on Earth simply referred to as God. She guessed she’d just have to wait and find out. And with the Dark Path’s up and coming attack, that might be sooner than she would have liked.

What was going to happen with poor, sweet Maeve? She’d been in a coma for almost a year herself now. They had set up rooms for her to stay in. Considering the mystical attack to her, they thought it best if she weren’t moved. They weren’t sure what traveling through a portal might do to her. Arden called in Malindria to help watch over her. Last time Malindria saw Arden was five years before when she had erased Sarah’s memories of Jack. Malindria was an excellent Magblo when it came to the powers of the mind. If anyone could restore Maeve, Malindria was the elf to do it.

Using her mental powers Malindria had helped to transform Maeve into her human form. But whatever had happened in her mind during that telepathic link she was doing no one knew. More than likely, no one would ever know unless she snapped out of it. Samandra had noticed that Tarian was by Maeve’s side a lot. She was somewhat surprised to see her brother care for someone he had just met like that. Tarian wasn’t the greatest at showing affection. Maybe it was Malindria he was going to see.

 Samandra closed the portal behind her and threw her bag on the bed. Looking around her rooms, she never noticed how quiet and dreary they were. She also never realized just how damn cold it was either. This last adventure she was on wasn’t so much an adventure, it was a nice vacation. Although it was on a planet she’d never heard of, it was fun. Sun, beaches, drinks with little umbrellas, massages by people with six arms, every thing a woman could want. For the first time in a long time she felt relax.

Samandra sat on her bed then laid across it. Even though she felt relaxed, now that she was home again old problems kept coming to mind. She was worried about her father; his health was increasingly worsening. Elves, humans, and others had looked at him, and no one could figure out the cause of his illness. Samandra suspected a Death Child to be the cause of his illness. However, like everyone else she had no proof it was Soren though. Some nights she thought about going into his chambers and killing him. She knew he was the cause of all the troubles here. She would have done it too if it wasn’t for the two thoughts that rung clearly in her head. Killing an innocent man, and her immediate death for killing a member of the royal house.

As Samandra was drifting off to sleep she heard a knock at her door. Irritated by the intrusion of her privacy she got up and looked at the small shard of glass on her desk. She saw a very anxious Tarian waiting for her. She ran to the door and flung it open, wondering what would have a normally calm man so zealous.

“She’s awake! Malindria broke through, and Maeve’s awake. Arden has been alerted, he should be here shortly.” A very excited Tarian said.

Samandra and Tarian ran down the halls at full speed, knocking into a few startled guards along the way. They burst into Maeve’s quarters and sure enough, a thinner, weaker, but awake Maeve was sitting up. Malindria looked at the prince and princess and smiled. After a year of battling through Maeve’s mind, Malindria and Maeve broke through the barrier that had her in a coma.

It wasn’t until now that Tarian realized just how much Malindria and Maeve looked alike. They had the same short raven black hair, same skin tone; even their facial expressions were alike. Maeve may be human, but Tarian always thought it looked like she had some elven qualities to her. Her high cheekbones and small nose gave her an elven look. ‘Maybe she has some elven blood in her family line?’ thought Tarian.

  

 

Word of Maeve’s recovery spread through the palace at a rapid rate, within an hour people started to pour in, expressing their relief that she was all right. Most of the people hadn’t even bothered to inquire about her before. Now they were acting like old friends. Maeve figured they just wanted a chance to see the werewolf/telepath.

Maeve hadn’t spoke a word yet, when she tried all that came out was a strange sound. Malindria told her it was going to take some time for her to speak. Her vocal cords had been unused for so long, that they needed time to strengthen up. But for now she could be thrilled she was a telepath. At least she could still “talk” in a way. Though she was in a coma, not being able to connect with her body, her mind was as sharp as ever. Thanks to Malindria the two had established a telepathic link. Malindria informed her of everything, and made her do exercises to help strengthen her mind. The way Maeve saw it, it was a year of training and honing her natural ability.

Maeve was very grateful for Malindria. She was never alone, and always had a companion. Malindria now knew all of her darkest, deepest secrets. It was unavoidable if she was going to let her in. Malindria never judged, she even exchanged her most sacred secrets, which made Maeve feel better. Because of their connection, they were as close as two people could ever be towards one another. Because of their telepathic link, the two of them were forever changed.

After the commotion had died down and everyone that was going to see Maeve came. Only Malindria, Tarian, Samandra and of course Maeve remained in the room. They sat around “talking” to Maeve, asking how she felt. Maeve informed them that she felt with her fingers like everyone else. But health wise she was ok. She just felt weak and tired. They were about to leave so she could rest when a portal opened, and Arden stepped out. And he looked worried.

He walked over to Maeve and sat on the side of the bed. He had a spell up to block his thoughts from her. What he had to tell her he didn’t want her to hear from his mind. He looked at her and gave her a sad smile. Even though his mind was blocked he could still hear her thoughts, and she said to him, ‘What’s wrong? You look like you’re about to cry.’

“Well I have some very bad news to tell you. It happened several months ago, but I thought it would be best to wait and tell you. Maeve dear, your boyfriend Brody Wynn was killed.” Arden said aloud. He paused to let her soak it in.

Tears started to form and she began to blink rapidly. Malindria, who was seated on the other side of the bed, took her hand. Maeve looked everywhere around the room. She couldn’t look at anything for more than a few seconds before her gaze drifted elsewhere. Her lips turned down into a frown and they began to tremble. No longer able to blink back the tears, they coursed freely down her cheeks.

Tarian looked at Samandra, and they both decided it was time to leave. Maeve watched them leave and when the door shut she erupted in tears. Arden to was holding her hand, doing his best to comfort her. In a crackled voice she asked how it happened. Arden looked at Malindria silently asking for approval. He wasn’t sure whether Maeve was strong enough to hear it yet or not. Malindria nodded her approval.

“He was working on the dig sight when the building they were in started to collapse. He helped get the crew out, but he was trapped inside. The sight leader said they could hear loud growls coming from inside. I assume he probably turned to lupus to better his chances for survival. The rescue team found him, but it was to late. The only thing they couldn’t understand was why he was naked. But of course we understand. I’m sorry dear, if it helps any he saved several lives. He died a true hero.” Arden explained.

  

 “There aren’t enough of us to cover that many places. We can’t defend like that. We need to attack, not sit around waiting to be attacked!” yelled Kaden of the Steelaxe tribe.

Once again all six tribes sat together. The plan was to separate the tribes and to have a certain number of werewolves in key locations. When the attack came, they’d be ready to defend. The problem was, was there wasn’t enough werewolves to cover that much ground globally and still have a good defense. There just weren’t that many werewolves around the world. In fact in the last several decades their numbers were dwindling. They feared that someday they might end up extinct.

Most in the tribes agreed with Kaden’s words. The idea of attacking the Dark Forces first was thrown on the table. But that idea was turned down as well. The Dark Forces not only were hidden, but they were so vastly spread out that it would be impossible to land any deathblow to their cause.

If they knew where and when the Dark Forces were going to strike it might make a difference. But for now most of the Elders agreed that the best course of action was to set up a defense net. Warriors of the Steelaxe and Demonhunter tribes objected to it. They felt as Kaden did. But when the meeting adjourned for the day it was decided to wait and set up defenses.

The meeting the next day was the most grueling and taxing. Now that they had their plan set, it was time to start assigning the werewolves to their stations. They brought out a world map glued to a corkboard, and decided on the fifty most likely places that the Dark Forces would attack. Then they took a roll call to see who was and who wasn’t capable of fighting. When the numbers came in on those who could fight it was a sickening number. There was only roughly eight hundred who would be able to protect the Great Mother globally. That meant that only about sixteen wolves per area. Even for the tough warriors of nature those we’re bad odds. If they dropped it to the forty most likely places that would still only be twenty per area. This was going to be bad.

But with the odds set against them, and the grim reality of the situation they were still determined to win. When it was over their numbers would be diminished greatly, but they would raise a tankard in salute to their fallen while burning the corpses of the enemy. With the Great Mother behind them, and the entire planet at stake, they wouldn’t loose.

 

Jack and Gabriel along with General Alosha stood looking up at the bone castle. The biggest problem they faced was actually getting inside it. The castle floated a good fifty feet above the ground and there wasn’t anything they could think of to even reach it. Every idea they had was either to noticeable or just plain silly. This was becoming very frustrating. Jack didn’t know it, but on the material worlds like Earth and the Elven Nation, he’d been dead almost two years now. But time ran differently in the Kingdom of the Dead. To Jack it actually only felt like a few months, if that.

Jack was getting better with the dark magic, he hated it, but he was rather proud of himself. With no one to teach or guide him he had learned to do several things. All small of course, but things like making objects move or disappear successfully was better than nothing. He knew he’d still need more time to practice. He felt dirty, and he had a feeling that his soul was changing because of the dark magic. His biggest worry was that he’d end up becoming evil and sent to the hells.

“It’s no use captains, we can’t get in there.” General Alosha stated. He refused to call them by their first names. They were always addressed by rank and last name by him. He was an elven general, a military man for over five hundred years. Just because he was dead wasn’t an excuse to ignore that.

Jack and Gabe looked at one another; disappointment was evident on their faces. Jack closed his eyes and hung his head in defeat. He began to think, thinking as hard as he could on how to breech that castle. He became furious, hatred boiled in his blood. He heard shouts but ignored them; all he did was concentrate on the rage he felt.

Then the top of his head bumped into something. Curiously he looked up, and there, directly above him was the bottom of the castle. His concentration broke; Jack plummeted fifty feet to the ground. Unhurt he stood up and looked above him again. He could feel the eyes of his companions burning into him. Jack slowly turned to look at them, an expression of disbelief on everyone’s face.

They quickly headed for their small hovel. General Alosha ordered everyone out, and even though he actually didn’t hold rank above them anymore, they still obeyed and followed his orders to guard the small structure. Even in death, he was their leader and general. They signaled him when all was clear.

“How in the hells did you do that Jack?” Gabe asked.

“I’m not sure exactly. I know I felt depressed, and then I was pissed. I mean I was filled with such anger and loathing it would have made the evilest of Gods blush. I was also thinking of how to get up there and then my head hit something, I looked up. But when I realized what was going on I fell. It was too easy for my concentration to break. But that gentlemen is how we’re going to get up there.” Jack explained.

“Yes, but how do you plan on getting all three of us up there?” General Alosha asked.

“I’ll have to practice, maybe after awhile I’ll be able to control it better. But at least we know it’s possible to get up there. Worse comes to worse, I’ll go up alone and find something to lower down. You guys can climb up.” Jack offered.

As they were discussing their plans, a small knock was made on the door. Jack stood up and answered it. One of the guards stood there with an older looking elf. The elf’s clothing was more than ancient in design, it was very barbaric compared to what they wore now. The old elf asked to sit, and before Jack knew why, he let him in. General Alosha and Tarian looked at the old man and then to Jack who could only shrug. It was the old man’s voice that gave his age away. He was ancient.

“I ask you gentleman, what year it was last on the Elven Nation.”

Gabe was about to speak up, and then he looked at Jack who only shrugged again. General Alosha said it was the Year of Daganion, 12003. At that the old man’s eyes bugged out a bit. He cleared his throat and asked who was the lord of the nation. General Alosha informed him it was Lord Tymerian.

“That’s good to hear, but Tymerian the what?” asked the elder.

“Lord Tymerian the VIII.” General Alosha said.

“The human wouldn’t know, and probably neither of you would know either. But do you know who I am?” asked the elder again.

The three men looked at one another, all of them shaking their heads “no”.

“I’ll tell you, but it’s possible you might not believe me. I am Lord Latharous Tymerian the I. It was I that took the elven people out of the forests and built a small village. It was in our first year that we started our timeline, the Year of Daganion, 1. I ruled for over two thousand years when I was killed in a battle with the goblins. I lived to see my dreams come true. I watched a small village of elves turn into a small city as more and more elves followed us. To know that ten thousand years after my death that the city still survives makes me more than happy.” He said.

General Alosha and Gabriel stared at each other then looked at the old man. It was quite easy to see the Tymerian bloodline in him. He was a Tymerian; there was no doubt, but the Tymerian? The man who was almost revered as a god to the elven people? If it was him, why was he still here after ten thousand years? Even to an elf that was a long time. It was that last question that Gabriel asked.

“I have stayed here because of a vow I made. I vowed that I would not leave until I was the last elf in this place. I would see all of my children, and my children’s children and so forth, leave here. Many a times I could have won the battle and left, but when it came down to it, I would lose. I must have helped thousands upon thousands of elves to leave here.” Lord Tymerian the I. said.

Jack stepped forth and thanked him for the history lesson. Gabe and General Alosha gave him dark looks, but Jack ignored them. He told Tymerian the I. about what was happening in the material worlds, and what they were attempting to do. Lord Tymerian the I. thought it over, even though he’d been here for so long, he wasn’t sure on how to help.

Jack explained that he was practicing dark magic to aid them, the first ruler of the Elven Nation gave a concerned look. But he agreed that if it helped to get them out, then he had to do it. He only warned Jack about how powerful the Dark Path can be, and how it tempted many a man into it’s evil clutches.

Then Jack committed a most blasphemous crime. He looked Lord Latharous Tymerian the I. straight in the eyes, and asked him if he could just call him Ty instead. All these long titles were getting to be quite annoying. Gabe and General Alosha stood, shocked at what Jack had just said. Ty laughed and told them to sit. He told Jack that the only person to ever call him Ty was his father. It was all right by him if that’s what Jack wanted to call him.

With that out of the way, the now four strong group began to discuss a way out. They agreed that they’d take as many elves with them as possible. They didn’t know what to expect if they escaped from here, but even being a ghost on the material world was better than being solid here.

 

Shadowolf knew why the Elven Nation was so important to the Dark Forces. Over eight millennia ago he hid the artifact away. It looked like a simple bronze scepter, but the power it housed was immense. The Scepter of Kings was a power that no man could posses and not feel the need to destroy and create in his own image. The planet called Earth was one of those creations. Although the people of Earth call it an act of god, or their men of science come up with theories. If they knew the truth they’d fall on their asses in shock. A giant king named Jeraas created their little blue planet. He created it as a playground for his children. The humans were considered a delicacy and were allowed to roam the Earth. The children enjoyed the hunt, and raw human was as good a treat as any. 

The most noble and good men that had wielded the artifact knew that the power it held was not meant for mortals. Of course they all knew on the eve of the own demise. The Scepter of Kings had a mind of its own, not evil, but not good either. It didn’t know right and wrong, and only knew the heart’s desire of its master. Not having a conscience the scepter would end up tearing down a good man’s mind, forcing him to do unspeakable things. For an evil man to use the scepter, no provoking was required.

With powers that only an ancient god could control, the scepter was stolen and hidden away. No man could ever control it, and no mortal should. It was not right to let a mortal reach to a god status. That’s why they were mortals. So after the death of a peasant turned king turned god, Shadowolf took the scepter and carefully hid it in a forest. All the woodland creatures swore to protect and guard it

Now, eight millennia later it remained safely tucked away, deep in the darkest forest, protected by the purest souls. Shadowolf had cast a spell on the area in which the scepter rested. If any being crossed the threshold of the circle he would know, then it would instantly transport him to the scepter to attack the thief trying to steal it.

Only once in the eight thousand years had he needed to defend it. Even then the young elf had accidentally stumbled upon it. The young boy had taken up a dare, and went off exploring the dark forest. Before he knew it, he was lost and in the heart of the forest. He found the old tree and noticed that it looked like a door was carved into its side. He pushed and pulled on knots and branches but it was as he leaned against a neighboring tree the door opened. The boy saw he had somehow opened it and ran inside. Stairs went down into the earth; it was dark and cold in here, not like the warm summer day outside the tree.

Having excellent vision in the dark the young elf could see, and carefully proceeded down. As he went down he saw that the stairs were actually the tree roots tearing down deep into the earth. When he reached the ground level he looked up at the door. It was at least a hundred feet above his head. Then he turned around to look ahead, at a long hallway that stood before him.

 

 

The hallway gave the young elf an uneasy feeling. It to looked at least a hundred or more feet long. But there was just something dangerous about it, he could feel it. Beyond the hall he could see that it opened into a room. But he couldn’t see anything in it. Not at least from here. The elven boy was a skilled hunter and trapper. He carefully looked for traps and noticed several tripwires, a few pressure plates, and it looked ahead like a false floor even, which probably led to a pitfall with who knows what in it.

Knowing he needed better lighting to disarm the traps, he grabbed a torch out of his bag and lit it. He then saw that the ceiling and walls were made from a black stone. The stone was beautiful, it had depth to it, and the stone looked like you could walk right into it. Very cautiously the young boy started to disarm the traps. His curiosity was growing; whatever was down here must be special. If someone was going to go to this much trouble to hide and protect it, it must be really valuable. And judging from the amount of cobwebs it was obviously forgotten.

He reached the end of the hall and stood at the gateway of the room. It was a small circular room, no more than twenty feet in caliber. On the far-left wall sat a man on a throne. The throne was simply carved out of wood, with lettering carved into it. The boy knew it was ancient elven script, but he could only make out a few words. Not enough to understand what it said. The man on the throne was dressed in clothing that was as ancient as the script on the chair. But whoever he was, he was just a skeleton, not even a man actually. In his hands was a beautiful sword, jewel encrusted with a very keen edge still. The boy noticed that even though everything else was covered in dust and cobwebs, the sword was free of debris.

He was about to remove the sword when he decided to look at the only other occupant in the room. On a pedestal in the center of the room was a bronze scepter. There was a circle drawn on the floor around it, it looked like it was old, dried blood. The boy moved forward, towards the scepter, he was just about to reach out for it, when he felt a hand grab his shoulder.

He was spun around quickly and shoved to his knees. He looked up, and before his eyes was another elf holding that beautiful sword. But this elf was no ordinary elf. He was as black as the stone; he looked more like a shadow than anything. Even the man’s eyes were black. The boy looked beyond the man and saw that the throne was empty! He was about to let out a scream when the sword was placed at his throat. He looked up at the man; every inch of courage he had was summoned to stare into the man’s eyes.

Then the black elf stepped back and sheathed his weapon. He raised a hand slightly, and the boy floated up just enough to get his feet under him. They both stood looking at one another for a few seconds, and then the black elf spoke. When he did, the boy saw that even the man’s teeth, tongue, gums, and throat was black. The black elf told the boy that since he was not evil, he was free to go. But he was never to tell anyone of this place. The black elf stepped forward, dropped to one knee and presented the boy with the sword. It was his reward for his silence.

The boy took the sword and looked at the elf that kneeled before him, and swore that he would never tell a soul about this day. He bowed deeply to the black elf, and ran back down the hall up the stairs and out of the tree. He stayed in the heart of the forest for many days, and the creatures of the woods came to know him. In the years following he would come to walk the Sun Path, spending many a days in the forest’s heart. He never went down into the tree again, but always made sure it was safe.

Shadowolf looked at the scepter and at the skeleton on the throne. It had been over two hundred years since that boy had stumbled down here. He needed to put a weapon back in the skeleton’s hand, so if he ever needed to defend the scepter again, this body would be armed. Next time it probably wouldn’t be an innocent child.

 

Tarian sat in his rooms polishing his beautiful jewel encrusted sword, though he never needed to. Nothing ever stuck to the blade, even blood would drip off it so that nothing remained. Polishing it was more a force of habit than anything. Even though he’d had the sword for a long time, he still cared for it in the proper way. You couldn’t just use a magical blade; you needed to spend time with it.

He stood up and sheathed the sword and looked inside a pouch at his hip. Inside was the magical gun Jack had used. There was no way it was going to be destroyed, and Jack, he was sure, would have wanted someone to have it. He felt slightly guilty about taking it. After all, it was grave robbing.

But even though he knew Jack for only a very short time, he felt he knew the man well. It was that bond that formed between men who faced death together. As far as Tarian knew, there was no closer bond that could be formed. With that thought in mind, he was confident that Jack would want him to have the gun. He felt less guilty about having it.

Tarian left the palace and headed for the forest. It had been years since he was there. All the sylvan creatures would probably be glad to see him, all except Suzya. Suzya was a faery, and she had the biggest crush on him. She had only been a child herself when they first met, but like Tarian, she was an adult now as well. He knew that she was probably mad at him for being away for so long.

 

As Tarian entered the heart of the forest he noticed that the animals were quiet. He drew his sword and kept on walking until he saw the door to the tree slightly open. He looked around but there wasn’t any sign of the sylvan folk. Realizing he wasn’t prepared for combat he went ahead anyway. The root stairs were still in place, and he ventured down them. He got to the hallway and remembered the traps. Kneeling down he checked, and sure enough they were in place. His memory was as keen as his sword’s edge, and he walked around and over, avoiding the traps.

As stealthy as a panther hunting its prey, Tarian crept up on the man standing next to the scepter’s pedestal. He was about to slap the man hard against the back of his knees when the man turned around. Shadowolf looked at him, and then to the sword. When they had met before, Tarian wasn’t carrying the blade, and therefore Shadowolf hadn’t known Tarian was that young elf.

“I see you still carry the sword I gave you.” Shadowolf said with a smile and continued, “The sylvan tell me that you often come here to guard and protect this place. They like you immensely, but most importantly, they trust you. One faery in particular I hear.”

“Hold on. How could you have given me this sword? It was a black elf, more like a shadow really, that gave it to me. Also, how do you know I come here?” Tarian asked.

Shadowolf told Tarian to step inside the circle, but to keep watch of himself and the throne. Slowly Tarian stepped back into the circle, his eyes never leaving Shadowolf or the throne. As he crossed over the circle’s threshold he saw Shadowolf’s body go limp, but it still stood. Then he saw pitch-black flesh instantly appear on the skeleton. It stood as the black elf once more.

The black elf once again moved towards Tarian, this time empty-handed. Tarian stared in wonder, that was about the most incredible thing he’d seen in years. The black elf told Tarian that it was the guardian of the scepter. Any who dared to steal it would have to face him. He was the last being to posses it, and on his deathbed a man in black came and stole the scepter. After this lair had been built, the man in black stole his body and placed his bones on the throne. He then cast a spell so that whenever anyone crossed the circle of protection, he would come alive again to defend the scepter. When the scepter was safe again, the man in black would break the connection and he would once again be a skeleton.

 He told Tarian that the sword was new when the worlds were new. It was forged in hell fire, cooled in the heavens, and enchanted by the Fabric of life. As long as he held it, he could not be slain in battle. He would never tire, hunger, thirst, know heat or cold, he could not be poisoned, or would ever fall ill. As long as he held the sword, for all intents and purposes, he was immortal.

Tarian’s eyes grew wide as he looked at the sword. He had already found out some of this on his own, but he didn’t realize the list was that extensive, but the guardian of the scepter wasn’t done.

“As you may not know that sword has a name. When you call her name, no matter where you left the sword last, she will instantly appear in your hands. She has two very special powers on her as well, when you call her name, one time per week she can raise the newly dead, and also one time per day she can heal any injury instantly. Her name is, Aymeribol.” At the mention of her name, the sword began to glow a light paleish green.

Tarian stared at the sword in his hand, he felt a warmth flow over his body, and then he felt a little strange. Something was happening, but he didn’t know what. The guardian of the scepter told him that the sword was bonding with him. The only way it could be commanded by another was if he were dead. When the feeling had faded he heard a feminine voice calling to him. The voice was soft and sweet, but had an air of authority about it. Aymeribol told him that she would protect him as long as he lived provided that his soul remained good.

“Why didn’t you tell me this when you first gave it to me? I could have saved a very important man from death! He helped save the Elven Nation, helped us to defeat the goblin horde. Now an even greater evil will be descending upon us. We could have used him. The worlds could have used him!” Tarian shouted.

“Even now this man is planning on how to escape from the Kingdom of the Dead. He has taught himself how to use dark magic. He and a few others are planning on escaping. Do not fear young elf, this is an event that was supposed to happen to Thomas Jack Karde. If he is successful the face of the Elven Nation will change drastically.” The guardian retorted. He paused then continued; “As for not letting a young elf of but fifty years of age know Aymeribol’s full power. I knew you would come back one day, you would know that she wasn’t just another pretty weapon, but a powerfully magical weapon. I knew you would come back seeking information about her. You were to young at the time, and with youth comes immaturity. You would not have been able to handle awesome powers she maintains. Good-bye Prince Tarian Tymerian, Captain of the elven military. We shall meet again.”

With that the guardian sat on the throne and a few minutes later Shadowolf straightened up. Tarian could do nothing but stare at Aymeribol, Shadowolf, and the guardian. All Shadowolf could do was smile.  

 

 

 

Samandra and Maeve put their clothes back on smiling at one another. If that wasn’t the best Maeve had ever had, she couldn’t remember it. As she got off the table her legs trembled, she had to hold on to the table for support. She had never been so weak in the knees as she was now. Without a doubt, Samandra had showed her the best time of her life; she had never felt so relaxed and invigorated as now. She had a huge smile plastered on her face, and she knew it. How Samandra had found out about this massage parlor was beyond her.

A year had passed since she had come out of the coma, and learned of Brody’s death. Like Samandra, she didn’t want to stay in one place for too long. The thought of going back to Lakeland was an appalling thought. She couldn’t face her family and friends giving their sympathies over Brody, and the barrage of questions as to where she’s been.

Malindria sometimes accompanied them on their trips, but lately she was busy preparing for the impending battles to come. Malindria should have come along this time, with six armed aliens giving massages, were could you go wrong? The feeling of six hands roaming across your body was appealing to any woman, human or elf.

After they were dressed again, they headed down to a local café. In many ways these people were like humans. Physically the only difference were the four extra arms, besides that they resembled humans in every way. At least as far as they could tell. It was a warm sunny day and the two ladies sat outside chatting about various topics, sipping a cool, sweet drink call Bacta. Maeve was lazily swishing her straw around the inside of her cup, when her superior hearing detected a noise that sounded very similar to a scream. She stood up and looked around, but saw nothing.

As she sat back down she heard it again, it sounded closer. She looked at the other people around her, no one else had heard it, and then she realized someone was sending out a telepathic scream. Maeve stood up again, and frantically looked around. She had to find the source of that scream, and help in some way.

Samandra gave her a quizzical look, finally her curiosity got the better of her and she asked what was going on. Maeve answered that she wasn’t sure. She kept hearing a telepathic scream. But she couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The scream sounded desperate, and it sounded like the person, probably a woman, was in pain.

Another scream echoed in her mind, louder than before. Maeve closed her eyes and shouted in her mind for the person to give out their location. Help would soon follow. Maeve repeated it a few times, shouting above the scream, then silence. Then a scared, weak voice said that she was in a building on a street called Botany Bay. She described the building quickly, and soon after screamed again.

Maeve told Samandra, and quickly the two set off for a street called Botany Bay. When they got there however, they noticed that almost all the buildings looked like the description she gave. The two women looked at each other, unsure of what to do. Then they both actually heard a faint cry come from the building across the street from them. If it weren’t for Maeve’s acute hearing as a werewolf, and Samandra’s exceptional elven hearing, they would have missed it completely.

They burst through the door and saw one of the male aliens on this planet beating a tall woman. The “woman”, if you could call her that, looked like a cat. Fur, whiskers, tail, the face and everything, if she stood she would at least be six feet or better. Samandra reacted first by casting a spell the created a barrier around the cat woman. The man’s fists just bounced off it. He turned to look at the intruders, but before he could do anything a blast from Maeve’s mind threw him back into the wall. Maeve blasted him again with her telepathic power, and the man passed out.

Samandra and Maeve ran over to the cat woman and when the barrier dropped, they helped her up. She expressed her gratitude, and walked over to the man lying prone on the ground. Samandra and Maeve both expected her to give this bastard a good kick or three, but they didn’t expect for her to unsheathe her claws and cut the man’s throat. She looked at her two rescuers, smiled and ran.

The two friends could only stare at one another. Maeve looked at Samandra and in a startled voice said that they needed to leave, and now! They ran up a flight of stairs and ran to a mirror where Samandra cast her portal spell. When she could see her rooms, they both jumped through.

“Of all the dumb fucking luck! We go to help someone, and they wind up murdering the bastard. Right in front of us too! I can’t believe she had the gall to even smile at us.” Maeve yelled.

Samandra was about to comment on it when an unexpected voice made them jump. Tarian was sitting there; he had the most beautiful sword either of them had ever seen on his lap. He asked what happened, and when they told him where they were and the story of the scream and murder, Tarian laughed. They looked at him in shock. He explained that the Filinius race, or cat women, were breed to be whores. They were created in labs to be sex slaves. He started to tell why they were so good when Samandra threw a pillow at him. She apparently didn’t want the details.

 

 

When they were done with their story, and had calmed down, Samandra asked him what he was doing in her quarters anyway. Tarian beamed at them. He looked at them and stood.

“Wait until you hear the story I have to tell you.” Tarian said.

 

“Alright Jack, all you have to do is get up there, and drop a rope or something. We’ll get up there as fast as possible.” Gabe said.

The four men stood looking at the castle, for the past several battles Jack had been practicing on levitating. He was good enough that he could do it at will now, and strong enough to carry one with him. The plan was for Jack and Gabriel to get up there, and then they’d just have to wing it from there. Since no one knew the lay out of the castle, they weren’t really sure what it was they were doing. The plan was simply, get up to the castle and take it from there.

Jack looked around, even though he couldn’t see them, he knew that the elves were hidden somewhere close. If they could get inside, maybe there was a way to even lower the castle. Then they could rush the gates, it was a long shot, but who knows, maybe the elves would end up ruling this realm. Jack shook his head to clear his thoughts. Right now he needed to concentrate on getting up to the castle. He lifted Gabe and himself, but never that high. Though they didn’t have to worry about falling and dying, but they couldn’t risk failure. They only had one chance at this, they had to succeed.

Jack double checked his equipment, well his sword at least, and looked at Gabe. Gabe did the same; he shifted his sword on his hip, and indicated to Jack that he was ready. Jack closed his eyes as Gabe stepped close by, then he began to chant. They felt themselves rise up off the ground, slowly they were rising higher into the air, the castle coming closer. As they floated up Gabe noticed a small shaft jutting out at an angle from the castle bottom. Instead of trying for the front gates they could crawl through the shaft. Gabe jumped for it, and quickly scrambled inside. He reached out and grabbed Jack and hauled him inside the shaft as well. They had to brace themselves or else they’d slide right out.

They crawled up the shaft; Gabe having elven dark vision went ahead, the tunnel started to level out. They moved ahead at a slow pace, they both had the thought that this might have been a bad idea, then they saw the light at the end of the tunnel. They came to an elbow in the shaft, and about ten feet above was a grate. They could hear voices above, speaking in a strange language.

“Jack, I just thought of something. If we can’t be killed, how are we going to do any damage to them? We can’t very well attack the castle if they just keep getting back up.”

“I know, but if we can get enough elves up here we can over power them with numbers. I hate to make the others wait down there, but we don’t have a choice. We’re in the bowels of the castle, and if it’s designed like a regular castle, we’re right below the dungeons. So this isn’t the place to get caught.” Jack said.

Luckily they didn’t have to wait long, in a few minutes the voices moved on. Jack levitated up and removed the grate. Soon they were both standing in an area that looked like the dungeons. People or whatever they were, were in cages, there were torture devices, and even a chopping block. The two adventurers looked at each other and quickly ran for the door.

They crept out into the hallway, at the other end were a set of stairs. They ran to the stairs and started to head up. As they went up the stairs they noticed a door on their right, and they quickly and quietly slipped into the room. Just as they shut the door they heard voices again, they looked around the room, but the only thing in here was a large lever. The lever was sticking out of the floor and was as tall as any man. Jack and Gabe drew their swords and pressed their backs against the wall. Since they couldn’t hide, they’d fight.

The voices grew louder, and the door trembled as they passed. After awhile, all was quiet again. They let out two giant sighs of relief. They looked at the lever, but couldn’t read the writing on it.

“What do you think? Pull it and see what happens?” Jack asked.

“I don’t know, but I bet it’s pretty important. If it wasn’t, why would it have a room all to its self? Sure, let’s pull it and see what happens.” Gabe answered.

They grabbed the lever together and pulled, but the lever wouldn’t budge. Jack stared hard at the lever, and using the levitate spell he shifted it from one side to the other. At first nothing happened, but then the castle gave a great lurch and dipped down. They threw themselves on the floor as the castle fell.

 

General Alosha and Ty watched as the two men climbed through the shaft. They looked at each other as the plan suddenly changed. They stood around watching the castle, talking, and anything else to occupy themselves, when suddenly they noticed the castle lurch. Then it started to shake; they ran out of the way as the castle plummeted downwards.

When the dust cleared the castle was on the ground, it’s portcullis and gates were wide open. It didn’t take long for the elves to rush the gates. Strange looking creatures swarmed out to defend, but the army of elves had the numbers on their side. The creatures were seven to eight feet tall, thin and muscular. Their skin was bone white, with very demonic appearances. They carried wicked looking barbed swords, most were two-handed. Their armor was silver with spikes jutting out, and they were attacking with ferociousness of a creature defending their home. General Alosha and Ty joined the battle as well. To their surprise, these creatures could actually be killed.

 

When the castle had settled, Jack and Gabe jumped up, ran to the door, and up the stairs. They reached a platform and saw a set of large double doors ahead of them. Swords drawn they burst through and saw the demonic horde. There must have been a hundred or more of them, and sitting behind them all was an old looking demon creature, sitting on a throne of bone.

They had just enough time to soak in the scene when ten of these creatures broke off from the group and moved in to attack. Jack and Gabe moved farther into the room and stood back to back. As they fought, they to noticed that these demons could be killed. But Jack also found out, as a demon broke through his defenses, that their weapons hurt as well. Jack fell to his knees the small nick on his chest shot a burning pain through out his body. He could hardly even keep his defenses up, he was sure he was done for. But then at the other end of the great hall the doors flew open; in charged several scores of elves.

The demons attacking Jack broke off to meet this new threat. Then behind the throne, two doors opened and several demons ran in. the hall was in chaos; elves and demons were fighting everywhere. Jack slowly got to his feet, the burning pain subsiding, and joined in the attack once more. Dead demons lay scattered everywhere, and elves lay on the ground writhing in pain, some were unconscious, and it appeared that they might actually be dead. Then Jack noticed four of these demons escorting the old one out a door directly behind the throne.

Grabbing Gabriel’s arm, they ran after them. For an old geezer he sure had spunk. It looked like all the demons that were in the castle were fighting in the hall. As they ran, they met no resistance at all. They ran into a room, and there they met about eight more guards. Beyond them was the old one, and a very large shimmering portal.

Just as the demons attacked, a small force of elves burst through. Within seconds the demons were destroyed, the old one looked panic stricken, the portal was not yet complete. General Alosha walked in and told them that they were searching the castle for more of the demons, but it looked as if they had taken the castle. The old demon began to chant, but before he finished a dagger flew through the air, stabbing him through the throat. He was dead before he hit the ground. Ty stood in the clearing, still in a throwing position.

 

Tarian marched out onto the parade field. The Elven Nation was in a sad state; the human barbarian tribes had started a war with them for unknown reasons. There just weren’t enough male elves to fight. So for the first time in elven history, elven women had been recruited. It was all done voluntarily but Tarian felt weird commanding women into battle. He knew they were capable of fighting just as well as the men, but he didn’t want to be their commanding officer. General Tarian Tymerian was in charge of the entire female division. The other officers sniggered at him. He was sick of the harem jokes.

Ever since the goblin war there weren’t enough elves to fly on the griffins anymore. He looked to the griffin free skies, and for the first time in a long time he wished that Gabriel were around. They were the hottest things to sit in a griffin saddle since the discovery of fire. There was absolutely nothing they couldn’t handle on their griffins. Whether it was stunts or combat they were the best. Tarian sighed and stopped; he looked ahead to the female division and sighed. Most of these women were going to be killed; they had just enough training to make them audacious.

Tarian shook his head and kept walking. He heard a captain call them to attention as he walked up to the small platform to give his speech. He didn’t know what to tell them, what could you say? ‘Sorry ladies but I expect around 90% of you to be slaughtered, to bad there just wasn’t enough time to train you better?’ This was insane, to expect these young women to fight. But as he looked across the field he realized the one thing they were not lacking, courage.

“Fore those of you who don’t know me, I am General Tarian Tymerian, your commanding officer. I’m not good with speeches, so we’ll make this short. I’m not expecting you to be heroes, I expect you to fight, and watch out for one another. What you are about to face is going to be scary, ugly, and real. The stories you’ve heard warriors talk about, you’re about to see first hand. I have every bit of confidence in you, and when we’re on the battlefield together…” Tarian stopped short. At that moment it sounded like the entire nation was screaming in horror.

 

Samandra, Maeve, and Malindria were in Samandra’s quarters. They had just gotten back from the massage parlor with the six-armed aliens. All three of them looked so relaxed that it almost seemed as if their spines had disappeared. They all had smiles that wouldn’t go away and they looked very pleased. Malindria asked Samandra how she found that place. Samandra went into extensive detail about the research and trail and errors she did.

The girl talk went on for a few hours, but after awhile they began to hear shouts and screams outside the palace. They looked at each other in confusion. Then Malindria said that the human barbarians must have broken through the city walls! Maeve was about to go into lupus form when Samandra rushed to the window to see what was going on. They saw Samandra gasp, and then feint. Malindria and Maeve ran over to look out the window. They didn’t feint, but their jaws dropped at the heart stopping sight that lay before them.

 

The elves set the portal up in the main hall. It was going to take awhile, but Jack was going to set the portal to open up in the Elven Nation. Gabriel had a question he had to ask Jack. Considering the state that the worlds were in, and how devastated the Elven Nation was after the goblin war. Gabe mentioned bringing all the elves here, back with them. Jack stepped back; he was a slight bit stunned at the thought. That was a shit load of elves! There were probably over five hundred thousand elves here, maybe more. But if he could hold the portal open that long, sure why not.

Gabe smiled and nodded; he told Jack that he was going to get a party together and start going through the Kingdom of the Dead. Hopefully he'd be done by the time Jack was ready with the portal; it was going to take sometime on both their parts.  

With the castle crashing down, the daily battles ended up stopping, and the citizens started becoming curious as to what was going on. Thousands of elves already stood guard, making sure no one got into the castle without General Alosha’s permission. A human warrior walked up to the guards, with a tone demanding respect he demanded to speak to the man in command. The elven guards noticed he had a sizable force of humans with him.

General Alosha came out to speak with the human. The human informed him that his name was Ashe Vasichek, he and his men were prepared to battle whoever the elves were, in exchange for their freedom from here. General Alosha said that he needed to see Captain Karde first, he was the man that Mr. Vasichek needed to see. The two men met Jack in the hall; he sat on the floor looking at the portal, scratching his chin when he noticed the men enter.

Ashe told Jack that for a long time he and his men had planned on launching an attack. Their problem was reaching the castle. Ashe said he had heard about what was going on, how the Dark Forces were planning their attack. Ashe and his men would swear an allegiance with Jack and his men for a ticket out of here.  Jack explained that they were headed for the Elven Nation, but from there he didn’t know what would happen. Ashe said that that sounded good, and they would gladly offer their steel.

After they left, Jack sighed. Not only did he have almost a million elven warriors to get out of here, but now he had Ashe and his ten thousand men. This was getting a little silly here. Anyone else would just have to find their own way. Hell, he didn’t even know what was going to happen when they got to the material worlds. Like Gabe had said so often, their bodies were dead. Would they be ghosts, or would they be solid people? Would they be alive or be undead? There were so many questions, and only one way to answer them. But for almost a million souls to risk their, unlife? Well, whatever happened, all involved were willing, so if they all get blown to oblivion for this, no one can say they were forced.

All the elves and humans were ready and gathered around the hall, castle, and surrounding grounds. It was time to test the portal; everyone was a little leery considering it was opened with dark magic. Jack was nervous because it seemed too easy to open, and that meant he was getting good at dark magic. Ashe volunteered himself to go through first, if something happened only he would be effected. Jack was about to send him through when a blast of searing hot pain shot through his head.

Jack was on his hands and knees clutching his head. The pain was so intense he couldn’t see, hear, or even think. His whole world was the white-hot pain that coursed through his brain. Gabe and a few others were by Jack’s side, but they didn’t know what to do. Gabe tried shaking him, but Jack just kept yelling, holding his head. Then as suddenly as the pain started, it stopped. But now he had a new plan.

Jack stood up, and with a wicked grin of pleasure he looked at everyone around him. He turned to Gabe, Ty, General Alosha, and Ashe, then informed them to get everyone inside the castle. He didn’t care if they had to shove them in closets, under the beds, or whatever. He needed everyone in the castle now. Jack’s voice was hard and stern, not like his normal casual tone at all.

 It took hours to do, but finally everyone that was going was in the castle. There wasn’t a spot in the castle that wasn’t occupied. Jack looked at them and told all around him to hold on to something, this was going to be a bumpy ride. He started to chant, his voice growing louder and louder in volume. He was screaming the chant; people were holding their ears it was so loud. Then a flash of light so bright, a few thought that a nuclear explosion went off.

 

 

Jack finally stopped chanting, and his head slumped to his chest. It was then that Gabe realized that, Jack was breathing! The whole time they were in the Kingdom of the Dead, they were dead, and they didn’t breathe. Everyone looked around, all there were living, breathing, solid people! Jack had done it! Gabe ran to a window and looked out. There about two hundred yards away was the palace to the Elven Nation.

He could already see elves leaving the castle of bone, all heading towards the city. He rushed over to Jack and shook him awake.

“You did it Jack! Bloody hell you did it!” Gabe yelled as he grabbed Jack and embraced him.

“Cool, I don’t know what that pain was about, but in the midst of it all, I got the idea and knowledge on how to do this. I can’t believe that the Elven Nation now has a bone castle in her borders. Lord Tymerian might not be to happy about it.” Jack said weakly.

“That’s not going to matter as much as all the elves you brought back. Jack, do you realize that the Elven Nation now has a military larger than any in her history? Assuming that they stay in and fight.” Gabe said.

“Come on Gabe, let’s visit Sam. We can really freak her out, besides I’d like to hear from her why she killed me. That’s gonna be a strange question to ask. Even stranger for her to answer I suppose.” Jack said.

Together along with General Alosha and Ty, the four men set off for the palace. Jack knew that no matter what he’ll ever do during the rest of his life, he’d never top this. What Jack didn’t know was how wrong that thought was.

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