The Dragons of Keanna
Copyright © By Jandar Tyr
The Exiles that laugh Together
On a dreary day in Greselia, a young boy and his sister finished plowing the fields. They were bone tired. This wasn't their usual job. Their father and older brother usually did the plowing, but not now. Now they were gone. Polan had taken all men and teenage boys into his army so they had no choice. Plow or starve. The kids and their mother could hardly keep up the work. Sometimes the other women in the villages helped each other out. But not today. There was no help today. Today the two kids had worked hard plowing the whole field. It had taken them all day, but at last they were done. Together they unhooked the plow and stored it away until tomorrow and they could start the next field. Their mother and little brother would do the planting in the field they just finished. It was so hard to work now because of the sickness. It kept them weak all the time, but still they had to work. The sickness everyone knew was controlled by their new king. That necromancer was now their lord and master, and if they didn't obey, it would be so much worse. If he wanted it to, the sickness could kill. Polan had showed them how he could control it. By making examples of some of the people and killing whole crowds of people.
Polan wanted to conquer, but he didn't want to govern. He wasn't going to take care of people, he didn't care. Life in Maveta was hard. Polan's poison had contaminated the land and water. Crops had failed, livestock had died of starvation. But they couldn't give up, that would mean death. They needed help. He expected them to care for him and that was the only reason Polan had healed some of the fields and wells. He needed food for himself and his army. The people could have whatever was left over after he took his share.
Resting up for the moment, the young girl Tara gave her exhausted brother, Ciro, a drink of sterilized water. Like the soil, the water was also contaminated, it had to be treated with a special mixture before drinking, which Polan had passed out to the people sparingly. Each family received enough for a few days work, then they had to come back for more. Tara dropped the powder in the jar and mixed it. It tasted horrible, but they had to drink. She passed it to her brother and he drank.
"Thank you." Ciro said with a weak smile.
"We have to get home." Tara said. "Mother will worry."
Tara guided the horse while Ciro rode. Their home wasn't far away, but they had to make it through a dead village. More of Polan's sacrifices. Keeping their eyes open for the dead that roamed these places, they moved as fast as they could. Seeing the dead walking was something new in Maveta. The old king would never allow this. There would be bands of men out hunting them to burn. But not now. The dead were his to command. Sometimes Polan sent them instead of the living to collect tributes. Some thought them responsible for the sickness. Tara and Ciro moved as fast as they could to get home. The streets weren't as safe as they use to be. Hungry villagers, muggers all could be found in Maveta these days.
Out of the corner of her eye, Tara thought she saw a woman coming out of an abandoned cottage. She was blond and beautiful, and she had something red all over her mouth. She smiled and disappeared. Scared as she was, Tara wanted to know what was in the cottage.
"Stay here, Ciro." She said. "I'll be right back."
Tara crept to the door of the Cottage and looked inside. It was dark, but she could make out something in the corner. She walked in moving closer to whatever it was. On the floor of the cottage she found the body of a young man. He was dead. His throat had been ripped out but there was no blood anywhere. Tara ran out and grabbed the reins and ran home.
Up on a hill over the village, a young boy walked home. His mother had sent him to the well for water. With him, he carried the powder used to purify the water. After drawing the water he added the powder and watched it turn from a cloudy gray to almost clear. Picking up his buckets he started down the hill. Half way down the hill, he saw something on the side of the hill. A beautiful woman bending over someone. As he came closer she turned and hissed at him. Fear gripped him so hard he dropped the buckets. Then she was gone, leaving a dead man with a huge rip in his neck, but no blood. Looking around, the boy ran down the hill to his home.
All over the village bloodless bodies were being found. So far, fifteen in all. This had to be brought to Polan's attention. The villagers were all scared to go out day or night while bodies were being found everywhere.
Graym was the only man left in the main city of Sandor in Greselia. It was his job to care for anyone left in the city. He was exhausted from all the work. He plowed fields, shoeing horses, Graym did as much for the woman as he could until he was about to pass out. Now there were all these bodies. They wanted him to report it to Polan. He couldn't stop the killing, so he guessed he would have be the one to go to Polan and bring him the news. Getting in to see Polan might not be so easy. He hoped Polan would help them, but he doubted it. Then again, something was killing his people, his cattle as he called them and Polan is very possessive of anything he called his. He may not care about the people, but what was his, was his and no one took anything from him.
Graym had to wait a few days until Polan was back in Greselia from his war. All the lands he had taken weren't enough for him; he had to have more. Polan wouldn't be happy until he took the whole world and subjected it to his horrors. With all this on his mind, Graym walked home from the fields. He was dog tired and in need of rest. Walking through an abandoned part of the city lost in his thoughts, Graym heard someone scream. He jumped back and looked around. He saw nothing, but the hair on his neck stood out. He could feel something was there. A flash of white caught his attention to his left. He moved closer to take a look. In front of Graym stood the broken remnants a building. It looked like it had once been a shop. The smell of old rotten vegetables filled the air. Graym stepped into the shop to look around being careful where he walked because of all the trash. Suddenly a thick fog began to sweep into the shop. It was cold and damp; Graym felt a chill go through his body. Out of the fog, a shape started to form. It was a woman, a beautiful woman with the most amazing eyes. They glowed like gems sparkling in the fog. She smiled at him and moved closer. Graym backed away.
"Have no fear of me." The woman said through red luscious lips."I'm here to make everything better for you."
She reached out to him. Graym wanted so much to run into her arms and let her fulfill his every need. But he knew what this was in front of him. A succubus, vampire, just as evil as Polan. Only she wants his life force now to consume. Graym backed to the wall cold sweat running off him. She threw her head back and laughed reaching for him.
Overhead, Jayce flew mapping the battle line when a feeling of horror began to fill him. He looked down and knew exactly where it was coming from. He swooped down and landed outside the shop. Something horrible was about to happen here. An innocent soul called out to him. Jayce had never felt this before, but he was sure of what it was. He pulled his sword and ran into the building. What he saw chilled him. A horrible hag advancing on a man against the wall.
"STOP!!!!" Jayce yelled out.
His sword flashed a bright light which forced the witch back.
"Aaaieeeee!!!!!!" She screamed spinning around and covering her eyes. The look of hate on her old shriveled face was murderous. Her arms flew up and she dissolved into the fog and was gone out the window while they watched.
"Are you alright?" Jayce asked Graym as he approached him.
"Yes." He said. Graym looked up and for the first time saw Jayce, the sun shining through a parting of the clouds making him look more angelic. His wings and blond hair shining and moving with the wind. Graym stared at him open mouthed. How do you talk to an angel? What do you say? There was so much evil around Greselia. They needed help so bad, he had to ask. Graym fell to his knees in respect of this being in front of him.
"Stand up, please." Jayce helped him up.
"Have you been sent to help us? " He asked.
"Yes." Jayce told him. "My friends and I are going to do everything we can to save your people. Do you know what that was?"
"Yes. A vampire. The worst kind." Graym told him. "Many evil things have come here because of our new king."
"Really?" Jayce asked. "I want you to go tell your king about this vampire. He's not going to like it invading his lands. Maybe we can pit one evil against another. And tell no one about me understand?"
"I'll do as you say and tell no one." Graym said. "But please hurry."
"Have patience." Jayce said as he tapped the clasp and disappeared. "We'll be back to free you and your people. That I promise."
With a quick burst of wind in his face, Graym knew the angel was gone. This was the first time since Polan Dressek had come to Greselia that he had felt any hope. He knew the day would come soon and they would be free of the hell the necromancer had brought them. Graym smiled as he left the shop. Help was on its way. Finally he could see a future.
Later that evening, Shadoe flew into the country of Greselia. This was a country he conquered after Maveta. He noticed the streets were empty, that pleased him. He loved the fear he instilled into his lands. Polan thought that was the best way to rule. He walked down the halls of his palace and everyone went down on their knees to him. Polan had ordered all of his things moved to Maveta. His throne now sat in the throne room. It was made of some black wood in the shape of a skull with large crystal eyes, and he sat in the mouth. But in Greselia, he lived in the royal palace.
"What business must I tend with today." He said looking bored.
"Sire." one of his aides bowed before him." The village man wants to see you."
He backed away. "He says it's important."
"How important can the cattle's lives be? Polan asked. "Very well. Show him in."
The aide walked to the back and let Graym Avenda in. Graym walked in, keeping his eyes to the floor so he wouldn't offend Polan. Fear gripped his soul as he stopped in front of Polan.
"Well?" Polan said. "I don't have time to be bothered with your petty problems. Out with it."
"There is a problem in our lands, Sire." Graym told him.
"And what would that be?" Polan reached for a drink off his table.
"Someone or something is killing people." Graym said.
"Why should I care about this? Polan asked.
"I think it's a vampire my Lord." Graym looked up to him. Polan's eyes suddenly became dark. You could see the anger on his face. He stood up and walked down to Graym. Graym's fear rose again to a higher level. He turned to his aides.
"What is he saying?" Polan shouted. "What is going on here?"
Polan grabbed one of his aides and pulled him close to his face. His noxious breath blow at the man as Polan screamed at him. The man choked and began to wither and die in his hands. Polan tossed him aside looking for someone else to torture.
"Someone better have something to tell me!!!" He yelled. Everyone in the room scrambled to get away. No one wanted to stay there with Polan so mad, except Graym. He didn't move. He really didn't have that much to lose anymore. At that moment he realized his fear was gone. He was totally calm now. Polan waved his hand and all the doors slammed shut. Everyone in the room was now trapped there.
"I want some answers, now!!!" Polan yelled.
"Sire." He said. "Many people have been found with their life force drained from them. Dried and desiccated bodies found with a look of pleasure on their face. Men, woman and children. and I've seen her."
"You have?" Polan returned to his throne. He stared it Graym. He thought this one could give him answers, more then he'll get from the rest. Polan settled in his throne.
"Tell me what you saw." He leaned forward and listened. Graym told him everything that happened, except he left out Jayce in his story. Instead he said a dark shadow flew over them that scared her away. Polan pondered his story, then stood and walked around Graym. This one doesn't seem scared anymore he thought. Maybe he can use him.
"Your pretty brave to come here." Polan said with that dark smile showing.
"I thought this was something you needed to know. Graym said. "Someone's invading your lands. My people are dying."
Polan raised his eyebrow at him. "You are right."
"Excuse me, Sire." Graym bowed. "Your people. I meant no disrespect."
Polan sat back down in his throne. He motioned Graym closer to him.
"I have a new job for you." He told him. "And if you agree to take this position, your people will be well cared for. I will remove all the poisons and when you're done, leave this land for you to have complete control of. But you will always answer to me. What do you say?"
Graym didn't want the job if it meant he would have to cause the people any harm. he would be Polan's puppet. Then again that was the only real way he would have any chance of helping get rid of the evil bastard, or getting the people any real food.
"I can help my people? He asked.
"Do as you like." Polan said. "But remember who rules here. And I will be leaving many eyes on you. Dead eyes which I see through. Make one move that displeases me and I think you know what will happen to you and your people."
"What of the vampire? "Graym asked.
"Leave her to me." Polan smiled again climbing down again."
"Dowse the torches and close the windows, I need darkness."
From the corners of the room they were hiding in, his aides ran to do his bidding. One by one all the doors and windows were closed or blocked. The room became cold and dark. Polan stood in the center of the room and raised his hands. A heavy feeling filled the room, and that sick smell rolled off of Polan. He was about to cast some powerful dark magic. Graym stood there not sure what to do but unafraid. The angel had promised help, he just needed to hang on and keep the people as safe as he could until they came to destroy this monster. Weird sounds started coming out of the shadows, movement here and there caught his eye. Then Polan started his spell.
TO ME I CALL THE SHADOW BEAST THAT ROAM THE NIGHT.
DARKNESS AND HATE I CALL BY RIGHT
ALL MY COMMANDS YOU MUST OBEY
DO MY BIDDING AND ALL I SAY
THE TIME IS OURS SO COME TO ME
TO FIGHT MY FOES LET NO ONE FLEE
Out of every crack and crevasse, out of every dark corner came the shadow beast. Shaped like large wolves and made of shadows they came. The room filled with them snarling and growling at all that lived accept Polan. Screams could be heard around the room as they began to feed on all the frightened men that ran around. One began to advance on Graym, still he had no fear. If this was to be it, so be it.
"Not that one." Polan pointed at Graym." He lives on. Go find this vampire. I want it alive. GO NOW!!"
Like shadows they all streaked out. Passing through walls and doors, leaving behind the remains of everyone they had just devoured. Graym looked around. He could see the bodies of six people ripped apart all over the room. That sickened Graym.
"Now you see what happens if you upset me?" Polan began to laugh. "Go feed your people. I'll heal your lands, but remember. You are mine, and soon I will call for you to begin the errand I have in mind".