The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
Nightmares and dreams of disaster filled both Jandar and Rages sleep. Thoughts of Shayn and Ono hurt on a mountainside kept them both awake. They were so glad Cutter was with them. They knew he and Aramis would protect them with their lives. But still they worried. Tossing and turning Rage found himself with Jandar on the road that led down from the Dragon Memorial. They looked up at the Dragon monument. The flame still burning as they left it. Jandar turned to Rage and saw the tear in his eye.
"You miss them." He said as he took his hand.
"Yes I always will." He said with a smile. "But I have you and the others."
"Yes you do, love." They hugged.
"Rage, are we dreaming?"
"Yes we are." He said. "But it's not a normal dream. I dream of you all the time, but a dragon knows how to dream. We can sleep long periods of time and can direct our dreams. But you can't. I know this is the real you, not the dream you. Someone else is directing this dream."
"What do we do?" Jandar asked.
"Follow the dream."
"And if it's a magic attack?" He asked. "It's been done before."
"I don't think so." Rage told him. "Come on. Let's move and see."
Together they walked down the road. Rage remember the last time he walked here. He remembered the campsite where he found the gold. They stopped and he showed Jandar the site. The gold was still there. He remembered something else. The gypsy Valen and his prophecy and how it had all come true. Rage wondered where he was now.
Jandar and Rage quickly turned and saw him standing there with a load of wood in his arms. He dropped it and formed a fire pit. He looked exactly as Rage remembered him. It must be him directing this dream.
"It is." Valen said.
Rage and Jandar walked out from the mound and to the pit. They wanted answers. What was going on?
"Sit, both of you." He had a serious look in his eyes.
"Who is this?" Jandar asked.
"I think he's someone on our side." Rage sat down and pulled his mate with him.
"Since life began on this planet, I have watched over all its inhabitant to keep them safe. That as you know is the task given to a select group of Dragon. I am Valen of the First Clan. I am the first Dragon."
Jandar and Rage were completely shocked by his confession. Jandar had heard legends, but he had never thought the first could still be alive. Rage knew dragons were protectors, but he didn't know the extent of their task. Jandar and Rage looked at each other and decided it was time to listen; action would have to come later.
"When we met, I knew there was more to you then a wandering gypsy." Rage told him. "But you were right. Everything happened as you said it would. How can we help you now?"
The wind picked up and caused all the foliage in the area to blow. Jandar didn't think it was magic, but it was a bit strange. Valen stooped down and blew on the tinder he had just built in the fire circle. Flames erupted in the circle and blazed up. Valen sat down with them with a weird look. They could tell something was wrong.
"I'm here to help with your problem." He said. "All our futures depend on what may happen."
"Then you know about her?" Rage said. "The Vampire?
"Yes." Valen nodded.
"We don't really know much about her." Rage told him. "Just that she's the most powerful vampire alive."
"It's more than that." Valen found a stick and added it to the pile." What we're fighting is an ancient evil. Older than me even, and so powerful."
"But what is it?" Rage asked. "Some kind of demon?"
"No." Valen said. "It's been in hell, but that's not where it came from."
"You make it sound like it's almost beyond our power to beat."
Jandar stood and walked around the fire. He had fought against overwhelming odds before and with Rage at his side, he knew he'd do it again. But this one really scared him. Valen stood and stopped Jandar's pacing.
"Nothing is beyond your power. You have allies that you don't know of." He said. "Don't worry, it's not evils time to reign. We'll win the day."
"Have you seen that in our future?" Rage asked.
"No, The futures dark right now."
Both Jandar and Rage had a horrid look. Valen knew what they were thinking.
"Calm yourself." He said. "A dark future doesn't mean we lose. It just means I can't see it."
"Then I think we should all get back to New Keanna." Rage told him. "Everybody should hear this."
"We can't do that. We have people scattered all over the world on missions. Important missions, missions that can't be interrupted." Jandar said. "Valkar and the Shadows are about to rendezvous with Athene, Ariel and Toric. Aramis has Shayn and Ono, they're camping now with no destination. We are spread thin."
"My brothers from the cave and a few others are still at home."
"Rage, Jandar, I do need your help." Valen told them. "But I don't think we need an army at the moment. I will be at your gates when you wake. Until then, You rest easy, there's not much we can do."
As the sun began to rise into the sky, Shayn woke. He kissed Ono's lips and moved his arm from across his chest. He needed a drink and to relieve himself. He hurried to a tree he let his waters fly in relief. As he went for his drink, Ono came up behind him and kissed his neck and hugged him close.
"Good morning." He smiled. "You want some breakfast?"
"No." Shayn smiled and turned in his arms to face him. "What I want, we can't do right now. Let's run for a while."
"We could find someplace for a little privacy.""As much as I'd like that." Shayn smiled and squeezed the lump in the front of Ono's pants. "I think we should wait."
"What about the others?" Ono asked. " Should we wake them?"
"No, let them rest. We can call them once they're up and let them know where we are." Shayn said as he ran off into the forest. "Come on, catch me."
Once away from the camp, Shayn shifted to his white wolf form and sped away. Ono laughed and shifted to his grey and followed. They ran and played for some time, nipping at each other, chasing birds and rabbits until they both were tired. They stopped to rest on the side of a cliff where they laid down together.
[I'm glad we came on this trip.] Ono told his mate. [Even if it's a failure .]
[So am I.] Shayn licked Ono's muzzle and rubbed himself close. Just then Ono caught a scent on the winds. It was the smell of a dragon. He raised his head and began to take in the scent.
[Do you smell that?] He asked.
[What?] Shayn asked.
[I smell dragons.] Ono put his nose to the ground and tried to find the trail. It didn't take him long until he found it.
[Could it be one of the others?] Shayn asked. [Maybe they're looking for us.]
[ No.] Ono said. [I know the scent of everyone we know. This scents not one of us. It's a different dragons. Come on, let's follow it.]
[First we tell Cutter.] Shayn told him.
[We don't have time. We can call them once we've found the dragons were looking for. Come on Shayn. This is a chance to do something ourselves.]
[Why do I get the feeling we're about to get in trouble.] Shayn bit at his butt.
[What could go wrong?]
With that, Ono took off following the scent, Shayn followed him close behind. All around the cliff they searched until the found a large boulder. There the scent was strongest. Ono thought the dragon must have laid down next to it for a rest. As wolves they sat behind the boulder getting their fill of the scent so they wouldn't lose it. Ono looked to the wall before them and saw a green scaled head poke its way out. It was an earth dragon, just like Dreik but older. Ono looked right into the dragon's eyes. He was sure it saw him, because it wave him away to hide. Then five other dragons came out of what must have been a hidden cave. They looked around to make sure no one saw them, then took to the skies. Slowly the green dragon emerge from the cave. It walked right to the boulder and stopped.
[I know you're there.] She said. [You can come out now, it's safe.]
Ono stepped out with Shayn right behind him. They stood as wolves and stared at the huge earth dragon.
[Dragons posing as wolves?] She said. [How odd.]
[I'm a werewolf.] Ono said. [He's a dragon. My name is Prince Ono Tyr, and this is King Shayn Whitehall.]
[I'm Jade, and I know dragons when I'm near them.] She told them. [What are you doing here? Are you with the gold one trying to destroy the bronze? ]
Ono and Shayn looked at her puzzled. What was she talking about?
[We know of no bronze dragons.] Shayn told her. [And Eheren is the only gold dragon we know of, and he's far away, and not after any dragons.]
They shifted to their human forms. Jades eyes opened wide in surprise.
[I know someone that could do that!!] She said. [Become human, I think.]
[Really?] Shayn asked.
Shayn stepped up closer to the earth dragon and put his hand on her muzzle. As a white dragon, healing is his main ability. But there were other abilities. Sensing and dispelling magic was also one of his abilities. And he saw something in Jade that wasn't right .
[Something's wrong Jade. There's a powerful spell on you. I can see it in your eyes.] Shayn stepped back and shifted to Gabriel the white dragon.
[Ahhhhh!!!!.] She looked on Shayn in awe. [What beauty.]
"Yes he is." Ono ran his hand down Shayn's back showing how much he loved his mate. Shayn blushed as he tried to concentrate on the spell on Jade. Visions began to flash in front of Jade's eyes. She saw Valen and recognized him. Then she saw the bronze dragon and right through her disguise. She saw Muerte, and her anger flared. She roared loudly.
[How dare she!!!] She screamed. [That bitch has played us for fools!! I must find Valen.]
She called out in her mind to her friend and of course he answered. He told her where he was and asked her about the others. She let him know they were under Muerte's spell and that she had taken them away and left her to kill him when he came back to the cave. Muerte didn't know Jade was female and that her spell hadn't affected her as she had hoped. She told Valen about meeting Shayn and Ono and how Shayn had lifted the spell. He thanked Shayn and asked where they had went. Jade told him all she knew was that they were after some spell book that she needed. Muerte didn't trust her, so she didn't say much more. But she might be able to find them. Valen thought for a minute. He knew of only one tome of magic that was so destructive that it had to be hidden from all. The spells in that book were so dangerous, the gods stepped in to hide it. If she was after those spells, they were in trouble. They had to find it first
Just then Jandar called to his brother.
[We want you to get back to Cutter and Aramis and not to ever run off like that again.] Jandar's anger and tension could be felt through the rapport. Then Rage spoke to Shayn.
[What was on your mind running off like that?]
"I told you we were gonna get in trouble." He nudged Ono. "We found someone you should all meet.]
[We have been listening and you're not in trouble.] Rage said. [I'm just disappointed.]
[They're young.] Jade told Rage. [The young need time. They did good.]
[We're on our way back to our campsite.] Ono sent. [We're sorry if we caused you any worry.]
Ono and Shayn said they goodbyes to Jade and started to walk away. Jade called out to them to stop them
[Wait.] She said. [Valen, can I stay with them? Do you mind?]
[Yes you can stay.] He said. [We may be joining you. I think we have a problem.]
[What do you mean?] Rage asked. [She's after Ganon's book. A set of spells so strong, the gods feared them, and hid them from the world. If she finds the spells she needs, all's lost]
[I think we have some of those pages.] Jandar said.
He told Valen about what happened in the mines the day Aramis and the others found the beast men searching the mines. He also told him of Eheren's quest to save Baron Valkar. He told him that Eheren's group realized, the only way to save the Baron was to free him. So they were looking for the pages too. He told him about Kalin Ka being an ancestor of Ganon, and how he can locate the pages.
[Find the pages you have.] Valen told him. [And find out from Eheren what spell they found. We need to know. We have to get those pages before she does, it's important.]
Deep in the dark dungeons of Castle Zlenka, someone stirred. She got up from her straw bed and walked to the barred shaft that led to the surface. It was dark up there. That meant he would probably visit again. He was her hated husband and he had imprisoned her more than twenty five years ago because she wouldn't sacrifice her first born to his mad vampire goddess. That and he feared her powers and her betrayal. Instead he found a way to steal and drain them. She sat and felt the air blowing down to her. She missed the night air, and the spring even more since her escape attempt. She had actually made it out before her recapture. She had seen the stars again and the moon. She felt stronger now. Maybe strong enough to cast a spell that could help her out of her hell. Her name was Angela Gaelich, wife to the outcast Balthazar Gaelich and Valkar's most hated enemy. They had met long ago and fallen in love. Oh how she had loved him at first. But his mad ambition was all he cared about, not his wife or his children could stand before that. He wanted to be king in Yadessa and to bring back the old traditions of the vampire. To make them feared again as the superior race on Keanna. As time went by, Angela saw her husband for what he was. Evil, pure and simple. All his plots to overthrow Valkar and the sacrifices. All for nothing she thought. Balthazar would make a terrible leader. He didn't care about people, just what they could do for him. He used people until they were used up and sometimes, that meant dead.
The union between Balthazar and Angela was never strong. She loved him, but he always seemed to be watching her. Probing her powers. He asked her many times about her parent, when she couldn't answer, he always got upset. What was it that he wanted to know? Who were her parents? She needed no answer for these questions and the more he asked, the more distant they became. Then she began to become afraid of him when he took a great interest in her pregnancy. Angela thought it was because he wanted the child, or that he was proud to become a parent. But she later found out that wasn't why.
Many years ago while sleeping, she had learned how to astral project. She couldn't do it for long, but as time went by, she got better at it. At first she couldn't go far from her body, but as she progressed, she learned to connect to those close to her. While pregnant, she began to follow Balthazar when she could, and that was beginning of her hate for her husband.
One night when she was in her eighth month, her curiosity got the better of her. Balthazar had spent the day away. He wouldn't tell her where he had been and he was getting more angry every time she asked. This had been going on all during her pregnancy. She was worried that his absence had something to do with the baby, so she went to sleep and sent her astral self after him.
In a deserted village there was a forgotten temple. The temple was dedicated to the death goddess Balthazar worshipped. He never told her its name, but she knew he was devoted to this goddess. She followed him down into the depths of the temple to the altar room. There she found him with the rest his cult of blood suckers. As she came closer to the altar, she saw three young children chained down. They were screaming for their lives. All around them, the cult chanted. Above the altar she could see a glow. It was the presence of the goddess. From behind the altar dressed in black robes, Balthazar came out holding a long iron athame. As he approached the chanting became louder. Once at the altar, Balthazar began his ritual. He called out to his goddess to accept the gift he was about to bestow on it. Just before he slit the throats and beheaded the children he mentioned his promise to give the goddess his first born. Angela recoiled at that and fled back to her body. Now she knew why he was so interested in the baby. Now she knew what she had to do. She had to get away from him before she gave birth. There was no way she would let him touch her child, ever.
From that day on, Angela didn't want her husband anywhere near her or her baby. And since Yadessa was a male dominated society, she had to find a way to get away, or get rid of him. This meant intrigue. There weren't many people in their household she could trust. That meant, she had to do it herself, and she would have to be careful. She knew what Balthazar would do if he caught her. There was only one thing she knew that would condemn her husband.
For years children and adults had been disappearing from Yadessa. No one knew where they were going. But Angela did. They were going into the temple and never coming out. She had to connect him to that temple and all the bloody things that happened there.
One night as the baby's birth date came closer, she had an idea. Late one night, King Valkar sat in his study going over an agreement he had made with a coven of white witches. He had appointed them lands where they could safely live, and had just finished paying for the construction of their little village. Suddenly he heard his name being called out.
He stopped and looked around, there was no one there. He bent back to his business and he heard it again.
"Who calls?" He asked standing up and pushing back his chair. In front of him the air began to shimmer. A form started to become clearer. It was a beautiful woman standing before him. But not really there, she was transparent.
"What magic is this?" He asked.
[Sire, I don't have much time.] She said. [You are my only hope to save myself and my baby. Please you must listen.]
"Then just come to me." He said. "I'll listen."
[I can't. I'm trapped here in bed. My baby is due anytime now and her father will kill her when she is born.]
"Where are you?" He said. "I will come now. I promise you protection here in the castle."
[Thank you your highness, but there is much more you should know. I am the Lady Angela Gaelich, married to Balthazar Gaelich.]
"I know him." King Valkar sat back down. "He was one of the council members. He opposed me very harshly until he was banished."
[Sire, he is a nightmare still in our midst.] She told him. [He's the reason for all the disappearances for all these years. He has been sacrificing them to his goddess. Men, women and children. He plans to sacrifice our own child.]
In shock Valkar jumped back to his feet. He couldn't believe this. Balthazar was a harsh man who had plotted against him, but he never seemed evil. Valkar knew many were missing, at last count, there was over a hundred missing. If this was true, he needed proof.
"Can you prove any of this?"
[I can show you what I've seen.] She said. [Will that be enough?]
"Show me." Valkar told her. In his mind, she projected a picture of the temple they were using. Then she showed him the scene with the three children. In shock he watched as Balthazar beheaded the children. Valkar's anger was such that if Balthazar stood before him, he would have ripped him apart.
"GUARDS!!" he yelled.
He strode over to the bell he used to call for assistance and pulled it again and again and again.
"Lady Angela, I'm coming for you now." He said. "We will take to the winds in minutes. Just hold on."
[Hurry Majesty.] She told him as she faded away. [He is here and I will give birth tonight.]
Into his study ran the captain of the palace guards with his sword ready. He had never heard his king ring an alarm. He thought maybe he was in danger.
"How can I help you sire?"
"I want the troops ready to fly in two minutes, we have work to do now."
As Angela lay in her bed with the contractions coming faster and faster. She knew Valkar wouldn't be there in time. Not before the baby was born. There was no way she could run and the midwife Balthazar had left with her would take the baby the instant it was born. She knew her magic was the only thing left to her. The midwife opened the drapes and let the room be bathed in moonlight. The second it hit her, she felt its strength. She knew she had time for one spell. But what could she do? Who could she trust? There was only one other that was kind to her. One other that cared enough to help her. Arturus, Balthazar's brother. She knew Balthazar hated him and Arturus would never help him. They despised each other.
[Arturus, I need your help.] She sent.
[Angela? What's wrong?] He answered. [Where are you? I've been searching for you for years.]
[I don't have time to tell you everything. I'm sending you the baby. Hide her from her father. He plans to sacrifice her. Will you help me save my baby?]
[Of course I'll protect her with my life. I promise you that.] He swore. [That is my blood oath.]
[Be ready, she will be here soon.]
[I'll be waiting, always.]
As she lay there, sweat running down her face. The pain was almost unbearable. She gathered her power and spoke her incantation.
BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON
AND THE FIRST BREATHS OF MY CHILD.
I CALL UPON THE POWERS AT MY CONTROL
TO PROTECT MY CHILD.
TAKE HER TO THE ONE THAT SWORE
HIS AID TO KEEP HER SAFE AND PROTECT HER.
ONE DAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER THAT I PROMISE.
GO MY CHILD AND BE SAFE. I LOVE YOU.
With her eyes wide opened in shock, the midwife watched as Angela's belly began to glow brighter and brighter. Then there was a flash and Angela fell back to relax in the bed with a smile. The midwife took what she thought was the baby and ran from the room to give it to her master. Angela smiled when she thought of what was about to happen. She knew he would be angry when he discovered her deception. Angela hadn't even had the chance to see the baby. But she didn't care, she knew it would be safe. Balthazar could do with her what he wanted, but he wouldn't hurt her baby.
Arturus sat in his study dressed to travel. He knew Balthazar would come here looking for the baby so he was ready to go. Sitting in his most comfortable chair he waited. Then there was a flash of moonlight from the estate window and a beautiful baby girl was in his lap. He smiled at her as she slept.
[Angel, She's so beautiful.] Arturus sent feeling love for his new niece. [She looks like you. I will keep her safe. Aiya, If the gods wish, we will meet again.]
[Thank you.] She sent back. [Now you must go, Goodbye Arturus. Be safe, both of you.]
Arturus got up and found a blanket to wrap her in. It was cold out, so he enchanted the blanket to keep her warm. Then he left his house never to return on his journey to get her somewhere safe. As he rode the moon shined a path for him. He didn't know it, but nothing could hurt this baby in the moonlight. The night would always keep her safe.
Weak as she was, Angela tried to get to her feet. She took a few steps towards the door and collapsed on the floor. She couldn't make it. Her only hope was Valkar would arriving before Balthazar could kill her. She tried to go over all the protection spells she could think of. If she could hold him there, maybe there was still a chance to live. From below she heard a shriek. That had to be Balthazar, the midwife had found him and given him his new daughter. She could hear him climbing the stairs to her. Angela began to laugh, it didn't matter. She had won. A peace began to come over her as he came through the door.
"What have you done?" He screamed at her, his eyes bulging with anger. She smiled back to him and gave him a confused look.
"What do you mean?" She said. "I fell out of bed."
"WHERE IS THE BABY?" He reached down and grabbed her. He pulled her to face him.
"She's safe from you and your evil gods!." She told him. "By now she's far away where not even your evil gods can find her!."
"WHERE?" He shook her.
"I don't know." She said. "I don't care. Wherever it is, it's safe. That's all I need to know."
"You'll pay for this!!" He said as he released her and she fell to the floor. He raised his hand to hit her.
[Balthazar!!] He heard. [Valkar comes with an army. We must flee!]
He looked down on her with such hate. He knew she had done this. He called out to his men waiting down stairs. They came running.
"You think you've won." He snarled. "The baby's safe from me, but you aren't. Take her, we go!"
Angela laughed in triumph as they carried her away into the night.
King Valkar didn't make it in time to save her but he did find the temple and evidence that everything she told him was true. They caught many members of Balthazar's cult and saw the proof of his evil deeds. A room full of the skeletal bodies of their victims. Valkar had the temple burned to the ground. Then and there he swore to search for Angela and the baby until he found them.
[Don't worry about us.] He heard. [My baby is safe and I don't matter. Reign well my king.]
[But you do matter to me.] He told her. [Stay alive Lady Angela, I will find you someday and you will see your baby again.]