The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
As they made their way back east to New Keanna, Aramis rode in deep thought. He knew that mountain held a significant place in his past. But he didn't know what it was, or why was it being protected? And by gods? What does that mean? He was flesh and blood, no god. Maybe he swore some oath to some god and he couldn't return until he fulfilled his promise. It had to have something to do with her. That he knew. Then it was time he began his hunt for her. From what he knew of her, she was very powerful and getting stronger each day. Could he match her? He looked over at Jack and he shook his head as if he knew what he was thinking.
Aramis almost fall off Cutter's back when he heard him in his mind.
[You haven't guessed yet?]
[What do you mean?] Aramis asked.
[I'm keeping the others out of this conversation.] Jack told him. [It's just between you and me. I could get in big trouble for this but I can't watch you in pain and so lost.]
[What's going on?] Aramis asked.
[I'm going to give you a small piece of this puzzle whether it's liked or not. I'll accept the consequences.]
[Go on.] Aramis told him. He was ready for something that could help him.
[That brother I'm looking for.]
Clouds began to cover the skies as they talked, lightning flashed and thunder boomed. Jack looked up and saw the frowning face in the clouds.
"He needs to know he's not alone!!" He called out.
Shayn and Ono looked at him, Cutter asked what was going on?
[It's you.] He sent.
Suddenly the skies flashed and there was a lightning flash that almost hit them.
"WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?" Ono shouted.
"A warning." Jack told them. "For me."
[So you are my brother?] Aramis asked.
[Yes.] Jack said. [Here with the dragons to help and protect you. Don't ask for more. The rest you have to learn on your own. Just know I came here because like Ono and Jandar, I'd never abandon you no matter what happens.]
[So what should I do brother?] He asked.
Jack looked at him and shrugged.
[I can't aim your course in anyway.] He told him. [All I can do is aid you in whatever you want to do.]
[Well tell me who we're fighting for?] Aramis yelled.
[Everyone.] He spread his hands out and pointed to the lands below. [We're fighting for life. Don't you see?]
[If she wins, That's it, there is none. Now do you understand?]
Suddenly Jack put his hands to his throat. His eyes opened wide and no sound came out. They all looked at him. What was wrong with him? He point to his mouth.
"Shayn" Ono said. "I don't think he can talk anymore."
Jack nodded and then tried to scream.
[I can't hear his thoughts anymore either.] Cutter said. [Maybe you can heal him when we land.]
[I doubt it, but we can try.] Shayn sent. [We should land and camp for the night.]
Ono pointed to a clearing ahead and Shayn headed for it. Soon they were all on the ground and Shayn shifted and went to Jack. In school he had learned all about the body. Things that would hurt it and heal it with magic and non-magical ways. He used a magic probe on Jack to see if he could discover what was wrong with him. Jack seemed to be in good shape, Shayn couldn't find anything wrong.
"There's nothing wrong with you that I can find." Shayn told him. Jack smiled and lipped thank you. He knew what had happened. He'd been silenced by his father. He'd said too much. Aramis stood next to Jack. Now that he knew who he was, he understood why he was there. But that's all the answers he would get.
The woman was still a mystery to him. All he knew was that she was a powerful vampire connected to him in some way. Well if the mountain was denied him then he'd have to get someone close to her to give him the answers he needed. And the only one close was the Baron and Balthazar.
"How much do you think Athene knows of her?" He asked.
"That's a good question." Ono said as he took the packs from Cutter. "I know she's been dreaming about her, but she said that was the Barons doing."
"Then it's this Baron we need to talk to." He and Jack helped with the tents as they talked.
"You know Eheren and Denner are out trying to free him from her power?" Shayn said. "Until they do, we have to be careful of him. He's hers remember."
"Yes." Cutter said. "But only because of her magic. I don't think he's doing it voluntarily."
“How do you know that?" Ono asked.
"I read spirits too. Not as good as Shine, I mean Eheren does. But I can do it. Shayn can too."
Soon the three tents were up and a fire was burning in the pit Jack dug. Shayn used his white dragon powers to draw water from the nearby river. All they needed now was food. Ono smiled and said he'd be right back. He shifted to wolf and ran off.
"No deer's." Cutter yelled after him.
"Why not?" Shayn asked as he sat down by the fire.
"We're not going to eat a whole deer." Aramis told him. "So why kill more then we'll eat. Besides, they're sacred wonderful beasts, they do no harm and they bring beauty to the forest, and you'll anger the gods."
"Tell us of these gods you talk of."
Aramis opened his mouth to talk, but he said nothing.
"I can't remember." He said. "It's like a ghost in my mind pushing the knowledge away when I try and reach for it."
"Strange." Cutter frowned. "What do you remember?"
"It's all flashes." Aramis sat next to Cutter and Jack. Shayn moved closer to listen. He looked at Jack. He held his hand up as if to say, you have to find the memories on your own.
"It's more what I feel than remember." He told them. "I feel a great family. My family, brothers and sisters and responsibilities. I tried to take care of mine, but there was always someone undermining me. Destroying what I do. This lady, I feel I know her, but I can't see her in my mind. All I feel is that she's very dangerous and we have to find her soon."
Ono came running back into camp. He was carrying a bunch of rabbits.
"Anyone hungry?" He dropped them by the fire then got a drink for himself.
Off in the distance, a gray haired man watched them. He knew exactly who they were. He had seen them fly in and Shayn and Cutter shift to human form. But that wasn't what tipped him off. He knew their scent. He'd been following it for a long time. Maybe it was time he met them again. Yes, it was time to get back into the world again for everyone's sake. But how to approach them? He could go and find their leader the Red Dragon, Rage, but did he have time? The threat was close to home now and getting more powerful every day. He knew it was time to try and put a stop to it now. Time to wake his clan, he might need them.
Muerte waited for her guest to arrive deep in the forest. She was ready for him. Ready to add him to her gallery of powers. She heard a rumbling in the sky and looked up to see him arrive. The boulder he was riding floated down, soon they were face to face.
"YOU!!!" He pointed at her. "I thought we were rid of you for all time!"
She had no idea what he meant. All she knew was he had power she wanted. She smiled at him and dropped her cloak. She stood before him dressed only in her black silks covering the most private seductive parts of her body. Her eyes burned with her intoxicating will as she used all her power to force him to bend to her will. Dirod banged his hammer hilt first on the ground. A tremor went out that knocked Muerte off her feet.
"Your hypnotics won't work on me." He said as he walked toward her. She laid there on the ground waiting. Closer he came, his eyes smoldering with hate. For a second, she wondered why he hated her so. But soon it wouldn't matter.
He raised his hammer to strike her. Quickly she released Ganon's spell of containment. The spell swirled all around Dirod, looking like dark stars spinning all around to enclose him sapping his strength and will. He couldn't move to strike her. He couldn't even blink. She stood and held his face still as her gaze over took him. Tears ran from his eyes as she gained control over him.
"I guess the mighty hammer didn't work for you, did it?" She said laughing. "What a strong one you are. I have many uses for that strength. Come and join my gallery."
She cast her second spell on Dirod to add him to the others she collected. Muerte's power took the mountain god and spun him down into something she could added to her magical gallery.
"One more." She smiled.
Muerte grabbed her cloak and covered herself. She looked at the boulder Dirod arrived on. She smiled and raised her hand. The boulder trembled for a few seconds, and then shot up into the air. She was in control of it.
"See this!!" She called to the heavens. "I will take you all!!"
Lightning speared down and struck the boulder. It fell as dust all around her as she watched.
GIVE UP YOUR QUEST FOR DOMINANCE. Boomed a voice. ALL WILL BE FORGIVEN AND YOU CAN REST AND BE HOME AGAIN. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE.
"I see your fear." She said. "Nothing will stop me. Not you or your champions. Soon I will have all I need to finish you all. Then we'll see who forgives who."
After her battle with Dirod, Muerte felt more confident. She now had the power of earth added to her gallery. All she needed was to find the rest of Ganon's book to make her move. Muerte knew the spells were scattered all over Keanna and she didn't have time to search herself. She needed someone she could trust to work for her. But there was no such person alive. She knew bullying someone wouldn't work. Then what? If her power couldn't scare someone into submission, what could she do? She walked back through the deep forest, her mind ablaze in thought when she felt a presence. Enemies, she thought. Who would dare come after her? She knew who. The dragons were on her trail. Well she would take care of them now.
She sat down and concentrated on the presence she felt then sent her probe to find out where they were. Through the forest her invisible probe moved, investigating everything it came in contact with. It didn't take long for it to find the cave the feeling came from. This is strange she thought. What were they doing in here? Muerte sent the probe in, confident it wouldn't be detected. The darkness of the cave didn't matter, her probe would sense everything no matter how big or small. From the entrance it glided in until it came to a large chamber. It looked empty, but she knew better. She could feel something alive in here. Four something's to be exact, sleeping. It wasn't the dragons she expected to find, but the closer she came, the more evident it was that they were dragons. She found four dragons sleeping. Earth, water, air and fire. Who were they? Should she try and kill them now? No, this might be just what she needed. If she could convince them to search for her, she could possibly get what she wanted, and rid herself of them later. A plan was beginning to form. Muerte smiled, then got up and shifted to raven and flew off towards the cave. High over trees she flew, daring anything to get in her way. Soon she was standing at the entrance. She could still feel the presence of the dragons inside.
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET.
AND WHAT YOU GET IS A LIE.
FORMS WILL FLOW AND THEY WILL CHANGE.
RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES.
I COME TO YOU AND ASK FOR HELP.
ALL WITHOUT DELAY.
SO HELP THE BEAUTIFUL DRAGON YOU SEE.
NEVER TO BETRAY.
Magic spun all around her as the illusion began to cover her body. The female form changed and anyone that saw her, saw a huge bronze dragon. Pleased with her magic, she made her way into the cave. It was very hot in there and humid. But she was comfortable in her silks. No fear bothered her. She knew what she had to do. As she entered the cave, it split in two directions. Her probe told her the left branch would lead her to the sleeping dragons, so she turned left at the fork in the tunnel. This was an ancient tunnel. The walls were dotted with jewels rubbed out by their passing. It wasn't a quiet place. The vibrations of their rumbling sleep filled the chamber as she came in. It was dark in there, but her vampire vision made it as bright as day.
Muerte had seen many dragons before, but these were the largest she had ever seen before. There were four sleeping before her. One for each of the elements, she could tell by their colors. The green one was closest to the entrance; she walked around it and moved towards the others. In front of her, she saw the other three. A red fire dragon, beside it a blue water dragon. And lastly a topaz air dragon. They would be perfect for her plans. All she had to do was keep them under her spell. As the only female, she didn't see a problem with that. Her fragrance and allure would keep them in line. Muerte smiled and took a place in the center of their group. But how would they react when they woke and found her there? That could be difficult. What would she say? She would need something really convincing. She would have to make them believe her and keep them from the other dragons.
Muerte knew dragons could speak with their minds. Somehow she would have to block that communication. Maybe she could show them false visions in their minds. Yes. She would make up a whole story and project it into their sleeping minds. Then when they woke they would know her. Muerte closed her eyes and began to weave her story of intrigue. This would have to be done very carefully. Piece by piece she picked through their minds. She added herself in places, making long memories of things that never happened. Deep in their minds she found another dragon. Valen, he seemed to be their leader. She wiped his memory from their minds. She didn't want anyone else to compete for their loyalty. Muerte had them now. She sat in the middle of their circle and smiled. Now she was ready for them to wake and take their place next to her.
The forest sped by quickly as the bronze dragon ran. She was trying to reach the protection of her clan. In her mind, she could feel the others behind her, to close for her liking. A ravine was coming up fast; she leaped into the air and spread her wings to sail over it. The bronze one looked back to see the three dragons, two red dragon and a gold crash through the brush and take flight after her. She pumped her wings to add more speed to her flight. Behind her she heard a roar and dodged to the left to avoid the flames shot at her from behind. Muerte tipped her wings and shot up into the air. She hoped her clan wasn't far away because she couldn't keep them off for much longer. From behind fireballs kept coming, she could feel the heat across her back as she dodged from side to side. Up ahead she saw her clan waiting. Maxius turned and rushed to her rescue, firing water blast it her pursuers. Her fear became overwhelming as a claw from the biggest of the three reached out and grabbed her back leg. She let out a roar that shook the trees as Fiero woke from his dream.
He looked out to where Muerte was lying; he had to know if she was alright. Fiero jumped up and leaped over to be beside her. He could see no damage on her bronze body. She was still sleeping. He was glad she was alright, but what was all that? Fiero sat beside her and watched her sleep. Who was this beautiful dragon? He knew she was new to the clan. But where had she come from? And why were the others chasing her. In his mind he could see the three dragons. She had said she was the only one left after the three had waged war and killed her clan. Fiero didn't understand this. That's not the way of dragons. We don't fight clan against clan. Fiero was one of the oldest dragons alive and he knew dragon history. This had never happened before.
[I don't trust her.] He heard in his mind. [Something's not right here.]
It was his sister Jade. She was awake and watching him. Fiero frowned and walked over to her to settle near her.
[I feel the truth from her.] He sent. [She needs our help. Do we turn her away? That's not dragon either.]
[She is beautiful.] Maxius said with a sigh. [I think we should help her too.]
His blue eyes rolled as he spoke to the others.
[Dragons don't kill each other's clans. You all know that.] Jade said. [Never.]
[What about the dragon war?] Arik spoke out. [Dragons did do war then.]
[Not by choice. We didn't fight for conquest.] Jade rumbled. Her emotions were beginning to affect the earth around them. She was getting upset now. In her mind she kept seeing flashes of gold. Something wasn't right here. Someone was missing from their ranks. She could feel it in her head. Dragons had absolute memories, but she had dark areas she couldn't remember.
[The gold one is the reason you can't remember, Jade.] Muerte was awake now. [He has attacked here and wiped your memory of him. Don't you remember? Any of you?]
[I remember something about the gold one, I think.] Arik shook his head. He was confused and didn't like it at all.
[What do you say Fiero?] Maxius asked. [You're our leader. You decide.]
Fiero stretched out his wings and stumped the ground. That was right, he was the leader. He knew he had to make a decision. He looked into Muerte's eyes and his mind spun. There was something about her. Her smell and that smile made him believe her. And he would help her with whatever she wanted
[She's one of us. We'll help all we can.]
He didn't know it, but the males were under her spell. They couldn't resist her charms, But Jade could, and she would. She would watch her very closely. And if she wasn't who she claimed to be, Jade would bury her deep in the center of a mountain.
Night fell and everyone at the campsite fell asleep but Jack. Being who he was, he didn't need much sleep. From afar, Valen watched. He thought in the morning he would make his move and greet them. Suddenly an uneasy feeling fell upon him. There was something wrong back with the others. Valen settled down and called out to Fiero. There was no answer and somehow, he didn't feel any of them. That was strange because he has always felt their presence, always. Even from far away he could feel them. Valen wondered what was wrong. If somehow they had died he would have felt it. So he knew they were still alive. Valen reached out with his mind and tried to find them. He knew where the cave was so he searched the area. There was nothing there anymore. Not even the cave. How could a cave vanish? Was it caved in? Even then, Jade could get out. The earth couldn't hold her. Fiero could blast a new opening. But he would still feel their presence out there. Valen knew he had only one course left. He had to go there and see for himself. He looked back to the camp and noticed Jack in a lotus position. He was meditating, trying to find peace in himself.
Valen stood and walked deeper into the forest. There he began to run. Once far enough away, he shifted to his golden form, opened his wings and took to the skies. Cool night flowed over and around him as he flew back to his home. It was so comforting to be free and in the skies again, but Valen didn't have time to enjoy flying tonight. His brothers and sister were in danger. He had to get to them fast. High over the mountains he flew as fast as he could. His mind turning different scenarios of what could have happened. Soon the cave site was in view and he dropped down to land. There was nothing there. Just as his senses had told him. He searched the walls all along where the cave should have been and found nothing. This was the work of the evil he had been sensing. Somehow she had done this. Now things were even worse. Now he definitely needed Jandar and Rages help. Valen jumped back into the skies. New Keanna his destination, maybe even his salvation.