The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
The Wonder of it all
After Eheren returned with Wes and Jess, Aramis asked Tomar where he could find him. He told him he had given him a room up in the private rooms of the Manor. He laughed when he said that. He explained that it was the area where all the dragons stayed on the top floor. That way they had roof access, easy in and out. As Shine he explained he didn't need a room, but now that he had a human body, he would. Aramis made his way upstairs. He had a lot of questions he wanted to ask about the woman he had seen. He found Eheren in his room talking to Ono and Shayn. He knocked on the door.
"Yes, come in." He heard. Aramis opened the door and entered.
"Excuse me." He said. "I didn't mean to intrude."
"No come on in." Eheren wave him in. "Shayn and Ono wanted to hear about what happened and meet me. I think Rage put them up to this. He's worried about his old man."
"No he didn't." Shayn said.
"Yes he did." Ono laughed. "Actually, Rage was trying to keep us from worrying about Tir Na."
"The vampires right?" Aramis asked.
"Yeah." Shayn said. "But Tof already told us everything that happened, and we really wanted to meet Eheren. We never expected a dragon younger than either of us."
"Hold on" Eheren said smiling. "We're over two hundred years old."
They all laughed as Aramis sat down and got comfortable.
"I want to ask you about the woman you saw." Aramis said. "I think she's the one in my dreams."
"I hope not. " Eheren said as he showed them all to his small parlor. "She's very powerful and evil, she has no consciences. She scares me more than Polan ever did."
"What did she look like?" He asked.
"She was beautiful, almost hypnotic." Eheren told them. "She had the most amazing copper colored hair that ran down her back. She was about as tall as you and she had the perfect body. There was a golden glow about her to."
"It was Muerte." Aramis frowned.
"That's what Baron Valkar called her." Eheren looked at him in surprise. "How did you know her name?"
"I can let you see what Eheren saw." Shayn told him. "Will that help?"
"You can?" Aramis asked.
"He has the ability to mimic all the dragons' abilities." Ono said. Shayn moved over and sat between them. He took Eheren's hand and reached up and touched Aramis between the eyes.
"Eheren, think about her and I'll pass it on to Aramis."
Eheren concentrated on when he saw her. He went back to when she walked out of the temple and she looked at them and laughed. Shayn saw her in his mind and made the image come in closer. There she stood with her hair blowing in the cold wind. Aramis recognized her from his dreams. Suddenly visions of her and Aramis making love rushed into his mind. They saw her flying through clouds and dancing in their mountain palace with him. They looked so happy together. There were visions of others in a beautifully heaven like place. They saw her rage at a room full of people and bring down the walls. Then they saw visions of hell and Shayn pulled his hand back from Aramis's head.
"What the hell was all that?" Eheren asked.
"Dreams. nightmares, both." Aramis said.
"No." Shayn told them. "Memories. Those were memories."
"They can't be. I don't know her." He looked from one to the other. "Do I?"
"I saw them too." Ono said. "You were dressed in white robes and you were flying with that woman. The places where you were, are they real?"
"I don't know." Aramis walked around the room looking lost. He didn't know what to think or what was real from his memories. But he had to find out.
"We can help you find them if you want." Ono told him. "Maybe it's your home, where you're from."
"I can't remember."
"Let us help you," Shayn said. "Ono sees what I do. He's good at tracking and finding things. Sometimes he's uncanny."
Ono smiled at his mate and hugged him. They both knew they had a connection that went far beyond normal psychic communication.
"I've seen that mountain before." Eheren told them. "Long ago. It's to the east very far away. I can show you where it is."
"Thank you all for your help." Aramis sat back down. "But that woman is important. How she tore apart that city."
"What does it mean?" Shayn asked.
"It means I have to find her before she kills again." Aramis told them. He got up and walked to the door.
"Where are you going?" Ono asked.
"To find her."
"We're coming with you." Shayn said.
"No. I can't let you." Aramis stopped and told them. "If anything were to happen to you. I'd never forgive myself."
"You're one of us now and we're not going to let you go anywhere dangerous alone." Ono said.
"Besides. We'll just follow you, so you may as well let us come with you."
"Alright. I give up." He said laughing at them.
"How do we find her?"
"Jayce can find her." Ono said. "Him and the other Shadows. I'll call him and we can meet in the garden. Come on."
Down in the garden. They found Jayce, Graym and Pelic waiting for them.
"What's going on?" Jayce asked.
We're going after Aramis's vampire." Shayn said.
"Like hell you are! Not without Jandar and Rage you're not." Pelic said. "She's too dangerous for us to be doing this without some kind of real plan. I'm sorry Aramis. We're going to help you, but we're not going to go running into her lair without time to plan it out."
"Then what can we do now?" Aramis asked.
"I can send out the shadow beast to find her. Then when the others get back we can figure out what to do, agreed?"
"Fine." Aramis said. He didn't really sound very convincing.
"Besides, no one's going after her without me." Valkar said as he and Azeal walked into the garden. They all knew what she had done in Yadessa. Balthazar was using the people for whatever he deemed necessary. This had to be stopped. Ono looked at Valkar, he knew how he felt. His uncle had kidnapped his father and almost killed him. All because he wanted to rule Tir Na. Ono knew no one there would have followed him, he would have had to rule by force. Just as Balthazar is ruling. He has wiped all free will from the people and how long will that last? How long will he be content to be the Master of puppets? And how many can Cressca control? Ono knew he had to talk to Valkar.
\[You're right.] Shayn sent to him. \[Go to him.]
Ono smiled at Shayn and squeezed his hand before he let go and walked over to Valkar.
"Can we talk to you for a minute?"
They walked away from the crowd so no one would disturb them. Ono wasn't quite sure what it was he wanted to say, but he thought he should try.
"What can I help you with?" Valkar asked.
"That's just it. Shayn and I want to help you." Ono told him.
"How?" The proud king asked his friends.
"By convincing you of how much your people need you in Yadessa fighting for them." Shayn said. "Not out trying to bring down some unknown threat."
"What do you mean?" He asked. "I think I know what she is."
"Do you?" Azeal asked as he came into their circle. "We know who holds power against us in Yadessa now. That's Balthazar. He's the one putting our people in harm's way right now."
"Azeal is right." Ono said. "Muerte is our ultimate enemy, but everyday Balthazar is killing and spreading out more and more."
"And only you can stop him father. Not me and not the dragons."
"But what about the hold he has over our people?" Valkar asked.
"Does it really matter?" Shayn asked. "Won't you fight anyway?"
Valkar stopped arguing and thought about what they had just said. He'd give his life to free his people, he knew that. They were right. His place was in Yadessa battling Balthazar.
"You're right." He said. He was proud of his son and his friends for seeing his mistake and reminding him of his obligations to his people.
"Father, that doesn't mean we rush home and call Balthazar out for a duel." Azeal said. "We have friends that will be of great help."
"I know my Prince."
"Huh?" He looked at him with a puzzled look. Why did he call him that?
"You are Prince Azeal Draza Zlenka, Crown Prince of the Royal House of Zlenka." Valkar put his hand on his son's shoulder." Do you accept this title my son?"
"Do you mean this?" Azeal asked. "Really?"
"Do you accept the title of Crown Prince?"
"Yes." He said. "I accept."
Everyone gathered around, they had heard what was going on. Azeal kneeled down before his father.
"As the crown prince of Yadessa, do you accept responsibility to protect Yadessa from all harm that confronts it?"
"Do you pledge to honor your people and your king?"
"I will." He answered.
"And will you always be loyal to your country, it's people and your king?"
"From this day on you shall be addressed as Prince Azeal Draza Zlenka, Crown prince of Yadessa." Valkar smiled as he helped Azeal up. "And one of my two sons." Valkar hugged and kissed his son, then presented him to the crowd.
"Ladies and gentlemen. I present to you my son, Prince Azeal Draza Zlenka of Yadessa. Hail Prince Azeal!!!!"
All around them cheers went up and his name was shouted. Ono and Shayn came forward and hugged him congratulating him. Out of the crowd Jandar and Rage walked in. They had just came back into town and Shayn and Ono had broadcast what had just happened. Both bowed to him and hugged him in congratulations. Azeal had tears in his eyes. This was one of the happiest day of his life. Valkar looked so proud of him.
"What of Ranjer?" He asked.
"Ranjer is a prince in two countries." Valkar said. "With us and at his home in Tir Na. And yes, Tir Na is his home. He needs to be with a family and Drake and Tressandra love him very much. We can't take him away from them, he'd be miserable."
"Don't worry." Ono said. "He's happy and always will be."
High in the sky where no one could detect him, Baron Valkar watched. He wanted to be down there with them. Valkar and Azeal were his descendants and he was so proud of what they had done. Muerte had sent him to spy on them. This was the last thing he wanted to do. He knew he had to find a way to break her hold on him. But he knew only one way. A spell of Ganon's that would free his soul for all eternity. He had to get Eheren to that spell, but he also had to do as she directed him. The good point he though was that he didn't have to give her information she didn't ask for. That may be his way out. His way of helping them. Baron Valkar decided that Eheren, one of four people that could detect him would be the one to go too. As a spirit, he couldn't hide things from him. He could see the truth in him. He could go to Athene, but she would have doubt always. Cutter and Shayn could detect him, but not having been spirits they wouldn't trust. Eheren was the only one.
The Baron flew down and went room to room looking for Eheren. He found him in the hall with the rest celebrating with the rest. He moved to his ear and whispered.
[Thank you for doing what I couldn't do.]
[You mean exposing your mistress?]
[No.] He said. [For saving the boys. I see you merged with one of them. I wish it was that easy for me.]
[You have tried?] Eheren asked.
[I tried everything to be noticed, to get them free of her. I couldn't have their blood on my hands, so I came to you, Mags. You and Eheren are my only hope to help. You have to help free me from her. She plans to vampirize the world. Help me stop her please.]
[I can see in your soul you mean what you say.] Eheren told him. [So we will help you. But I must tell Rage and Jandar.]
[You must really trust them.]
[No.] Eheren said. [I love them. They are my family, and families trust each other.]
Through the crowd Eheren caught Ono's eye. He was standing with Shayn watching Azeal being congratulated by all the people of New Keanna. He tapped him on the shoulder and they both turned to look at him. Shayn whispered something to him and they started walking over to him.
[There is something about these two.] The Baron said.
[I know.] Eheren told him. He smiled at them as they came closer.
[I have to tell her what I've seen.] The Baron told him. [But I go now so I can't reveal your plans. I will be back soon as I have a clue where the spell is. Thank you for your help.]
With that the Baron was gone.
"Have you seen Aramis or his friend Jack?" Ono asked.
"Not since you all left my room." He said. "Why?"
"We're afraid he may go after his phantom lady."
"She's no phantom." Eheren told them. "That I can promise you."
"We know. We saw her in your mind and his. "Shayn smiled.
"Listen both or you." Eheren looked at them with a stern look. "I'm not stupid and neither is Jandar and Rage. I know what you have planned, and so will they. Go talk to them first. You hear me?"
"What?" They both said at the same time.
"Don't look so innocent." Eheren told them. "I've talked to Aramis. Without Jandar and Rage's permission. You go nowhere with him."
"We'll talk to them." Shayn said. "We promise."
Jack sat cross legged invisible over the crowd at New Keanna and watched them celebrate Azeal's crowning. He liked these people. With all the death and danger around them, they still had time to show how great life was. He knew there were many dangers ahead of them. Soon the vampires would be on the move and Valkar and Drake's lands would be threatened.
[And what will you do about this Brother?] He heard Alea's sweet voice.
[I will fight with them.] He answered her. [Father was right to pick these people. What noble beings they are.]
[Yes they are.] Alea said. [I have been watching them for a long time.]
[Will you help them Sister?] Jax asked.
[If gods interfere. yes.]
[What of Muerte and the gods she has enslaved?]
[The sun is shining on Tir Na. The early winter will not last for them. And I won't allow them to be put under the beast evil spell. That is all I can do now. Father will not allow any more. Vitale and the dragons must do the rest. What of you Brother?]
[I will stay at Vitale's side.] He told her. [That way I can protect him as long as he needs me.]
[Remember, You can't help restore his memory.]
[I won't.] Jax promised. [What about you Sister?]
[I must ride the skies until the spell is broken and I am free.] She told him.
He could hear the pain in her words. She wanted to be with Nestor, but the spell prevented him from finding her. Jax had tried for years. He could find her on his own he thought. He had a good idea where she may be, he just hadn't had a chance to check it yet.
[Safe ride sister. I go now back to Aramis. Farewell.]
[Jax, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to contact you. It's getting harder every day. Tell Nestor I love him. and watch Vitale. Safe journey Brother.]
Jack waited outside of the manor for Aramis. He watch the people of New Keanna go about their business. What a great people they are. No one here went cold or hungry. They all helped each other out. Even the dragons would go out to tend the fields if necessary to make sure everyone had food. Jack helped Nautica and Ariel earlier clear sewage while Dreik dug lines for the sewage system the men from Winterhaven had designed for them. Even the leaders Rage and Jandar, after their trip, came home and helped Toric with the beast men. They found a home for them on the island of Mythioes. The merman Mortimer found a valley that would be perfect for them. No wonder they were father's champions. He pledged right then to help all he could, even after this was all over. New Keanna would have his protection always.
Balthazar Gaelich paced back and forth in front of his throne made of human bone trying to decide his next move. He had sent his people out into the different countries to convert as many as they could. From the reports he had got back, the vampire population was on the rise again moving fast. He was a success there, but his plans for Tir Na, were not going good at all. Somehow all the snow had been melted and they were ready for his invasion. The wolves had watchers surrounding their lands. There was no way to get in without alerting them. This had to be all Tanis's fault. He had betrayed him, his own father. It was obvious he had joined with his sister and uncle and those dogs against him. Balthazar grabbed a vase off a table and threw it a portrait of Valkar destroying it. He would have his revenge on all of them. It was time for the next step of his plan. Stopping the dragons and his cursed family from getting in his way anymore. As he paced he looked around the room and noticed it was getting darker in the room. All the lamps and candles dimmed until it was pitch dark. Then he heard it.
"You have failed me Balthazar." A voice said. "You have not captured the wolves for me. I am displeased."
Balthazar felt the first twinge of pain move through his body. He knew It wouldn't be long before the pain would got much worst. He dropped to his knees and screamed.
"Please my goddess." He cried. "I have increased the vampires and captured more lands. I have the wolves trapped in their lands with no escape."
"BUT YOU HAVEN'T DELIVERED THEM TO ME!!" Boomed the voice. "THAT WAS YOUR TASK. DO YOU FORFEIT YOUR LIFE TO ME?"
"Yes I do." He answered as he bowed. "If you want my life. It is yours to take."
The specter of the old crone appeared before him. She floated down to stand before him. Her anger radiated from her and Balthazar did all he could to be still. He could feel the cold of her displeasure covering him. If he moved, she would kill him he knew
"I WANT THEM ALL." She told him. "DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? I WANT THEM ALL IN MY CONTROL."
"Yes." He said.
"There is a place they are heading for. You find them and bring them to me. Don't fail me."
"I will not fail." he said.
"I will send you help." She said. "Just get there fast."
Her words faded into the distance as the flames on the torches and lamp came back to life. Balthazar stood up and saw he was alone in the room. Well he had his commands, now all he had to do was follow them. She had put the location of the mountain in his mind. He wondered what was so important as to make them head there? It didn't matter to him, all that mattered was that he do what she ordered. Balthazar walked to the door and told the guard to find Decius, one of his main men in his Coven. He was the man for the job. He would have them off in the hour.
After the party for Azeal. Shayn and Ono went up to the study to find Jandar and Rage. They knew they could just call to them to tell them, but that wouldn't do. They had to talk to them in person to show how determined they were. Jandar and Rage had a way of protecting them, like they were children. They both hated that, but they knew how much they cared, so they went along. Together they stood at the door and Shayn knocked.
Ono looked at Shayn and open the door. Jandar and Rage were sitting on the couch listening to Valkar. He was telling them of his plans for how to re take Yadessa. They stopped when Shayn and Ono entered.
"Shayn, Ono. What are you doing here?" Rage asked.
"We came to talk to you about something."
They came in and sat across from them.
"We can finish our talk later." Valkar said. "Azeal is waiting. He wants to talk a bit before he goes to sleep. Goodnight all."
Jandar stood and walked him out. He shook his hand and said good night. Shayn and Ono sat there looking nervous.
[They want something big I think.] Jandar sent to Rage.
[Come back and we'll see what it is.]
"What can we do for you two?" Jandar asked as he sat back down next to Rage.
"Well, you know of Aramis, and the woman he hunts?" Ono said.
"Yes." Rage said. "She's going to be real trouble."
"I found a place deep in his mind that he wants to go and see." Shayn swallowed. "We want to accompany him."
Rage looked at Jandar, then back at them.
[Eheren was right.] Jandar sent to him.
[Yes.] Rage thought. [And it's going to be dangerous. The vampires will be there waiting.]
[They are not boys anymore love, they have pledged themselves to each other. We have to trust them.]
"This will be a dangerous mission." Rage told them. "The enemy knows you're coming."
"Then we better be fast and cunning." Ono said. "Like a wolf."
"If we let you go. Cutter goes with you. And one of the Shadows." Jandar got up from the couch and walked to his desk. He didn't want them to go, but he had to let them. They had to trust them or both of them would begin to doubt themselves and their own worth. Jandar racked his brain. He had to come up with a way to keep them from being bitten. How could he do it? What would stop a vampire from biting them? What could be there salva....? That's it! The Salvation Stone! Jandar pulled open his top draw and pulled out a ornate box
"What's that?" Shayn asked. Jandar looked up and smiled at them. When Rage saw the box, he knew what Jandar was thinking.
"What is it brother? Ono asked.
He opened the box and the beautiful blue glow spread through the room. They could all feel its warmth and protection covering them. Jandar reached in and took it out.
"You both have a ring with the stone set in it." He said. "Give me the rings; I'm going to put the stone in you. That way it can't be separated from you."
Shayn and Ono took the ring off from their finger and handed them to Jandar.
"Rage, give me yours to."
Rage wore his on a chain around his neck. He took it off and handed it to him. Jandar took the stone from the box and held it up.
"This stone is the same size it was when I got it." Jandar told them. "I've taken a piece for each of us from it. Valkar wears it, and in time so will my family in Tir Na."
"You can go on your quest." Rage told them. "Once Jandar sets your stone. Have Aramis and Jack come see us before you leave. We have to talk to both of them."
"YES!!" Shayn and Ono hugged each other and smiled. This worried Jandar and Rage. Neither of them had anything to prove to their elders. They both carried their weight in battle, Rage knew this. So why were they so eager to battle again? Only time will tell.
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