The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
A Dragon's Pain
Morning dawned as Fiero flew high over Jorania. Muerte would be looking for him when she woke. But for now, he had been traveling for hours and was weary from the fight with Eheren and his struggles within himself. He knew deep down, something was wrong here. But every time they came near her, their free will was completely ripped away and they were under her control. Even from a distance, he could feel her. What was it the beautiful bronze had over him and his brothers? Below him was her castle. He looked down but kept on and passed over it. A few minutes more and he would be at the cave. Angling his wings Fiero started to spiral down for a landing. Outside of the cave, Maxius waited for him. He looked confused, like he had no idea where he was, He was looking around at the landscape, like he had lost something. Fiero landed and shifted to his human form. Maxius saw him and walked over.
"What's wrong brother?" He asked.
"I don't know." He said. "But something is missing, and this is not our home."
"It's her home." Fiero told him.
"Who, Jade?" Maxius still had that faraway look on his stern face.
"Who?" Fiero asked.
He was becoming confused too. That name sounded familiar, but he couldn't quite connect it with a face.
"I don't know." The water dragon said. He reached up and banged his forehead. "What is wrong with me? Why does my head hurt so much? Why can't I clear things in my head? I can't even dream right anymore. Can you?"
"No, I can't." He put his arm around Maxius's shoulder and walked him into the cave. Arik sat in the corner quietly. Fiero was worried. That was the same place he had been before they were called to her. This was not right. Arik should be in the air, not here lost in his head in a cave. This is not how we Dragons exist. He took Maxius over to Arik and sat him down. Arik looked at him with tears in his eyes.
"Who am I?" He asked as tears ran down his face. "I don't know anymore. Help me."
Fiero hugged his brothers close to him. The sorrow in him was tearing him apart. Suddenly he didn't care what the bronze wanted. His brothers were far more important. He had to help them find themselves and be free of her.
"Come brothers." He told them. "Our dreams await us. There we can find peace."
[How?] Maxius asked as he shifted and took his place in their new lair. Fiero and Arik shifted and found their places.
[I will direct our dreams.] He sent to them. [Just sleep and clear your minds. I will do the rest.]
He didn't know it at the time, but that was when the first crack showed itself in Muerte's spell. A crack even she wouldn't notice until it was too late. Fiero had taken the first step to their freedom and the pain in his head was a little less.
As the sun left the sky, Muerte stirred from her sleep. She was hungry. She hadn't fed in two days and her appearance showed it. Her beautiful red hair was greying and she could feel her face was drawing back. Tightening up. That would not do. She got up from her silken bed and made her way down into the castle. There she had certain men from town kept just for her. As she walked, all the nightwalkers in the castle bowed to her. She could feel their fear of her in their minds. Their thoughts were so clear to her. Suddenly a stray thought came to her. But it couldn't be true. She sniffed at the air. She couldn't find any blood scent on the air. They had fed on the men she separated and forbid them to touch.
"YOU HAVE DEFIED ME?" She screamed. "I GAVE YOU IMMORTAL LIFE AND YOU HAVE TAKEN WHAT IS MINE!!"
She grabbed the closest vampire and ripped off his head and threw him against the wall.
"HOW DARE YOU!!" As she grew angrier, her features became more horrendous. Her arms grew thin but powerful. Her hair became totally grey. Talons and long teeth and fangs became needle sharp. She became the devil she always was at heart. With a single thought all the doors in the castle leading out slammed shut. One by one she tore mostly everyone there to pieces. The few that lived she gathered together out in the courtyard.
"YOU ARE ALL MY CATTLE. EVERYTHING YOU DO FROM THIS POINT ON IS FOR ME. IF ANY OF YOU EVER DISOBEY ME AGAIN, THERE WILL BE NO PLACE IN HELL YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HIDE FROM ME." She seethed at them. "NOW BECAUSE OF YOUR HUNGER, I MUST FIND FOOD."
"Mistress." One man stepped up to talk. "We can find you someone if it pleases you." She walked over to him and caressed his face. He smiled then gagged as she ripped out his throat and pushed him aside.
"YOUR HELP IS NOT NEEDED."
She opened her arms and sprang into the air and shifted to a vampire bat and flew off into the night. The village was quiet as Muerte came to roost in a tree in the center of the few houses that the villagers had built. There was no one awake here. Everyone had bedded down to be up for an early morning. There were crops to be harvested. Cows to be milked if they were to survive the coming winter. Everyone there would have to work together. And they all would if they were going to live. But the dark shadow moving from house to house promise them all an undead life from that night on. Muerte didn't leave a soul there to wake the next morning, at least not as a human. They would wake though, as undead nightwalkers. Full and back to her glorious beautiful self, Muerte again took to the air. She was anxious to see what Fiero and Dolon had brought her back. She had sent them after the bindings on Ganon's book, a very important part of the book. The bindings could tell her where to find the most important spells the book held. Spells she needed very much.
Deep in their dreams Fiero watched Arik sail through the skies riding thermals and laughing. He knew how much his brother loved being in the air. He was happy at last. A warm spring rain began; it smelled of spring flowers now. Arik was watering the field of colorful flower he was over. To the left, Fiero looked to Maxius diving in and out of the ocean. Both his brothers felt so much better now. He was glad for them. Fiero knew hard days were on the way. Soon she would call for them to do something for her. Fiero wasn't sure if he could resist her. He would try, but she was very strong. He sat back and watched them enjoying nature. Suddenly a woman in a pale green gown came walking towards him. Who was she to enter their dreams? But she was beautiful. She was tall with dark hair with streaks of green in it. She was smiling at him as she came closer. Then she stopped. The look on her face changed. Now she looked like she was struggling. She held her hands out and started to bang against some barrier he couldn't see. Fiero stood and started to walk towards her. He wanted to know who she was. Suddenly she vanished and the bronze was there in her place. She had an evil smile on her face. Lightning flashed behind her as she spoke.
"COME TO ME."
From the sky he heard Arik's scream as he plunged to earth clutching his head. Fiero watch him shake as he fell.
"No!!" Fiero screamed out. He got up and ran to him, hoping to catch his brother. Closer and closer to the ground he fell. Then suddenly Fiero jumped up awake. He looked over to his brothers and saw the pained expression on their sleeping faces. Rocking back and forth, Fiero called out for help in his mind. There had to be someone that could hear him. But no one heard his cries.
On a dark mystical island hidden from all but the magically inclined, there was a cave. It's a forbidden place seen only by the dead. There you can find the entrance to the Underworld. This cave is not guarded by any demons or three headed dogs. There are no special spells you need to get in. Anyone can enter, but you have to be very special to get out. On any day you can find a long line of spirits waiting to get in. There was a soul at the gate with a list of who you are and where you're going once in. For most, it's a beautiful, wonderful place to spend your eternal rest. But for some, it's called Hell and Hades and many other names that cause fear to run along your spine and rightly so, because this is the place where you will receive your final rewards. Good or bad. The lord of this place is a just god. Only interested in judgment. He will judge the life in front of him fairly, and give you every chance to explain your deeds. But if evil ruled your life and that's all that was in your heart, his judgments will be harsh and your punishment will be severe. His name is Nestor, and he has ruled here since his brother the high god Rimnar set him there to rule. In all his days here, only one has ever escaped, and today she returns.
Back in Keanna, Aramis, Jack, Jade, Ono and Shayn arrived home. Jandar and Rage were happy to see them back. Valen hugged Jade and then he introduced her to everyone else at the Manor. It was a happy occasion, except for the fact that a few were still out on missions. Denner, Eheren, Kalin and Tanis were on their way back with a new friend. They hadn't said much about her, except that she could help them with Ganon's book. Athene, Cheshire, Ariel,Toric and the Shadows were still in the field with Valkar and Azeal. They were working on freeing Yadessa from Balthazar's grip. Valkar had told Jandar about Angela, Balthazar's long imprisoned wife and what an asset she might be in the coming future. Jandar marveled at how large his family had become.
"We are so many now." He told Rage as they sat in the garden and watched Graym andTomar's children play with other children of town.
"Yes, and to think this town started as a place to hide." Rage said. "Now New Keanna is being placed on maps. We send representatives to council in Winterhaven and Tir Na and other far off places. I never thought our home would get so big."
"Do you mind?" Jandar asked.
"Not as long as we're all together." Rage told him. As they talked, Valen and Jade walked into the garden and came to their table.
"I hope this is good news." Rage said waving them in. "Have a seat."
"We've come to tell you, we know who the enemy is." Valen and Jade took a seat at the table. Jandar and Rage looked at them intently, ready for the news.
"First, call Aramis and Jack to join us." Valen said. "They're going to be important in the coming days."
[Aramis, can you and Jack please join us in the garden.]
"We're right here." Aramis said as he and Jack turned the corner into the garden. Jack smiled and waved as they pulled over chairs to sit in.
"Now Valen." Rage asked. "What's this all about?"
"It's about the two of you." He pointed to Jack and Aramis."
"Us?" Aramis looked shocked. "What do you mean? Jack told me we're brothers. But that's all he could say. Since then he's been stricken mute without speech. Do you know something of what's happening here?"
"Yes." Valen told them. "I have known you and your brother since my younger days. You are brothers and your father is someone that has had a great influence on me and my clan."
Jack sat up straight and gave him his full attention. He wasn't sure if this was what his father planned, but he figured he'd soon find out.
"I'm sure Jack knows what I'm talking about." They all looked to Jack as he sat calmly there and nodded his agreement. Aramis looked at everyone at the table. He didn't know what Valen was talking about. His memory was not much better than the day he had arrived. In his mind, he still saw flashes of her. Her smile and her laugh. But mostly her angry face and how it haunted him. He had this feeling that not many dared to cross her, and those that did, didn't regret it long.
"Tell me who I am if you know." Aramis stood and banged the table.
"You are Vitale, god of life." Valen told him. "Your father is Rimnar, the high father of all the gods. He is Jax, god of celebration and justice, and the woman we fight. She is Muerte, your wife, goddess of death."
Valen sat back and waited for Aramis's reaction. He looked at them in disbelief. He didn't believe them at all.
"I see from your look, you don't believe me." Valen stood and looked around. He saw an apple tree growing in the garden. He reached down and picked the apple from the ground and split it open as he walked back to them.
"Hold out your hand palm up." Valen told him. Aramis did as he was told not understanding what he wanted to do or how he was going to prove his statement. Valen plucked seeds from the apple and dropped them onto his palm. Everyone watched his hand as the seed began to sprout and grow. Roots began to curl out, and then small leaves grew.
"Drop it in the soil there." Jandar told him pointing to a place far enough from the other trees to get all the light it needs. He did as Jandar told him then turned back to them.
"So what," He said. "I have magic. Besides, I don't want to be a god. Gods lived high above everyone, separate from real people. These are my people now. Jandar, Rage and the people of Keanna, This is where I belong. Both Jack and I."
"Then help them Vitale." Valen said. "Or surly she will make this world into a hell none of us ever want to see."
"Call me Aramis." He said. "I may be this Vitale you say I am. But I still don't remember any of it. Until I do, I'll be Aramis. So what now?"
"We need to know what she is up to." Valen said. "We have to be ready for her. So we can plan a way to stop her."
"Then we need someone close to her." Rage said. "I can only think of one person that can get that close to her."
"Who?" Jade asked.
"The Baron!" Jandar told them. "He's the only one that can do this."
Jandar told them about Baron Valkar Zlenka. He told them as much of his history as he knew and that only a few people could find him. Luckily, Cutter was back. He should be able to locate him.
"But it will be dangerous for him." Jandar said. "Even as a spirit there's horrible things she can do to him. She's the goddess of death, just imagine."
"We don't have to," Jade said looking sad. "We've seen her work long ago. We know what she can do. That's why we're so intent on stopping her at all cost."
"I've sent a message to Cutter." Rage told them. "He's going to try and find the Baron. All we have to do now is wait."Yes." Jandar told them, getting up from the table." It's time we all get some rest. We have rooms for both if you're ready."
"I can't sleep in doors." Valen and Jade got to their feet. "We will be in the forest resting. Call us when you have word of the Baron."
Shifting to dragon form Valen reached out his leg for Jade to climb on to. Once comfortable on his neck, he opened his wings and took to the skies. Rage and Jandar watched them fly into the sunset then went into the Manor to rest. The next few days they expected would not be easy. They would all need their rest.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Azeal watched his brother Ranjer sleep. He and his father had gotten word from Pelic of Athene's safe return and the fight. Knowing she was safe gave them a chance to check on Ranjer. Valkar hadn't seen his youngest son since he left for Tir Na with Drake. He stood at the door admiring his two sons. Tresandra walked up and stood beside Valkar at the door and squeezed his arm..
"He's an angel isn't he?" She said.
"Yes. He looks like his mother." He turned to her and took her hand.
"Thank you for taking him." Valkar said with a tear in his eye. "I dread to think what could have happened had he been in Yadessa when Balthazar took over."
"Then don't." She said. "He's safe that's all we need to think about."
"But so many are not." Valkar walked into the common room and sat down and put his head in his hands. "How am I going to get that monster out of my home? How many more have to suffer because of him?"
Tresandra walked over and sat beside him smoothing out her dress as she sat.
"I know people in Yadessa are suffering." She told him. "But there are a lot still in there that support you and your way of rule. You know that. All the killing Balthazar is doing proves it. If you take a stand, they will follow."
[Yes they will my son.]
Valkar jumped up out of his seat and looked around for whoever had just spoken to him. Next to him, Tresandra also wondered where the voice had come from. Then a blurry outline began to form of a man dressed in fine noble wear. They both could tell this was a spirit. Valkar recognize him as Baron Valkar, his namesake. Tresandra also knew who he was. In Tir Na, he was infamous. The look of horror on Tresandra's face saddened the Baron, so he spoke to her privately next.
[Lady Tyr. If I could become alive again to suffer all the horrors I made your people suffer, I would. I know you won't believe me, but death and the punishments I have endured since my death have taught me so much. I'm here to help in any way I can. I owe your people so much lady. But there is something I can do for the Were folk. There is a spirit I know of that is lost and he needs to be put to rest. He was one of my victims. The one I most regret. He is an ancestor of your family. I don't do this for forgiveness. I know I can never atone of my sins. I do it because it needs to be done.]
"What is going on?" Valkar asks. Tresandra stood there with a strange look.
"Is he accosting you?" Valkar jumped to his feet.
"No." She said. "He wants to help me with something."
[I will show you where Danik Tyr is.]
Tresandra's eyes opened wide with surprise. Danik's Tyr's body had been lost in the war. His father killed vampires until his last day looking for his son's remains to put him to rest.
[Grandson.] Baron Valkar said. [The Lady Angela is free. She awaits you in Prafa in the blacksmith's house. I have to pay back a debt here I never can. I will meet you there after I am done.]
"Valkar." Tresandra called. "Can I trust him?"
"Yes." He said. "Trust him."
Valkar stood and walked to the bedroom and got Azeal. They bid Tresandra good bye and left on their way to Prafa.
Standing in her common room with the spirit of Baron Valkar, the Werewolves most hated enemy. Tresandra asked him an important question.
"What will I need to free his soul?"
[Just a blood relative.] He told her. [I will take you to his remains.]
"I'll get my daughter to watch the little one and then I'll go with you Baron Valkar, but I will have my say to you." She said in a scolding tone." There's not many in the lands that have fallen to your depravity in life. You killed whole clans of my people in some of the worst ways. I remember hearing stories of you using our children in hunts for your enjoyment. How could you hate us that bad? What did we do to deserve it?"
[Nothing.] He said sadly. [It wasn't your people, it was me. I deserve your hate and distrust. There is no punishment severe enough for my deeds and there will be no rest for me ever. When my soul is released, I will go back to my torture. To my hell where I belong. Just let me do these small things that I can, and believe how sorry I am for my whole life.]
"I'm going to call Sharone now." She told him. "While I do that, I want you to go see the young one resting in the room here."
[I don't need to.] The baron said. [I have more than enough pain in my heart then to have to look at a small werewolf like Danik.]
"But I insist you see him Baron." She stood with her hands on her hips. "Go see the child."
[As you wish Lady.] His form floated across the room and entered Ranjer's room. In his bed Ranjer slept looking the part of innocence itself. His youth and his need for protection gripped the Baron. I am a monster he thought to have hurt something as precious is this.
[You have a handsome son there.] He said.
"No." She told him. "You do. That's your grandchild in there, Valkar's son. We are raising him but he is a vampire and we love him with all our hearts. He is also your legacy. No one here blames him for your deeds, no one in this whole city. In fact, there are thousands here that would die to protect him. I see you in him, so I must forgive you. But he will learn better than you did. He will learn love and peace, though I'm sure there will be battles for him in his day, and he will one day learn all about you."
The Baron leaned closer into Ranjer. He could see Valkar and himself in the handsome child. After all he and his people had done to them, these people cared for one of his kind like their own. How wrong he had been about them, about so many things he thought.
[I wish there was a way I could face Azeal Tyr to ask his forgiveness.] The Baron said. [But I can't. Your people are so much more than I ever thought. A noble race. I will not keep Danik waiting any longer.]
"Agreed." She put her wrap around her shoulders and headed for the door to leave. As Baron Valkar waited, Sharone and her husband came running up. Tresandra told them of the errand she was going on and told them to care for Ranjer. Sharone agreed and she and Aggar went into the Manor. Tressandra took her wrap from the door then shifted to her wolf form and took off through town.
The Baron led her on her way through town and off towards a border of Yadessa. The place they were looking for was an old vampire fort on the border. It had been abandoned for centuries. Most of it was in ruins, but there were places in the back area where vampires that had died in battle were buried. There the Baron stopped.
[This is where he is.] The Baron pointed to an unmarked grave. [He lies here.]
Tresandra stopped and made the shift to back to her normal form. She looked down and found an old tombstone with faded writing on it. Tresandra took her wrap and wiped away years of dust and dirt and looked closer at the writing. It read in Yadessian.
HERE LIES OLEG MAJKA OF PRAFA.
LIEUTENANT TO KARL BELENOFF WARCHIEF
DIED OF HIS WOUNDS IN THE BATTLE OF
"Oleg Majka of Prafa?" Tresandra looked up at Valkar. "I don't understand.
[Oleg Majka didn't die at Dresslina." He told her. "He lived many many years after that battle in hiding. His brother claimed the body and put up the stone. Oleg was a coward. His brother Alec was trying to hide his disgrace by hiding Danik's body. This is where Danik lies, trust me.]
Tresandra had her doubts but there was a way to prove if he was right. All she had to do was call Drake and have him call Danik up. If he was there, his soul would rise.
[Drake!] She sent out. [Hear me my husband.]
[Tresandra?] He answered. [Is something wrong with Ranjer?]
[No.] She told him. [But I need you to come to me, It's very important.]
[I'm on my way.]
There was much she could have said to the Baron. But what would be the point. She could see by the look in his eyes he was sincere. His pain was his to endure, so why add to it? The place they were in was a small cemetery filled with his dead allies. These were people that killed her ancestors; a shiver went through her as she stood there.
[Yes,] He said. [They were my warriors. I hope all of them found peace on the other side.]
"That depends on what's in their hearts." Tresandra walked over and stood over Danik's grave. "If they were as black hearted as you were, you know the answer."
[Yes, I do.] He settled near her. [I'm the cause of all you see here. That damned war was all my doing. My anger, my pride. All of it, me.]
"Then you know what you must do." She took her wrap and put it on Danik's unmarked grave. "For Ranjer and for Danik, you have to help put things right. Help get Valkar back on his throne. Make Yadessa safe again. Give Ranjer a reason to be proud of you."
"Who are you talking to?"
Tresandra turned and saw her husband and her son standing on a ridge over the cemetery. Drake and Tof hopped down and walked over to her. Tresandra kissed and hugged them both with tears in her eyes.
"Mother, what is this place?" Tof asked.
"It's an ancient cemetery from the war." She told them. "Most of these people were our most feared enemies."
"I see." Drake said as he stooped to read the grave markers. "Most of them are high ranking vampires from Baron Valkar's court. Why are we here, Tres?"
"For this one." She put her hand on the stone covered with her wrap. Drake took off the wrap to read the stone. But he didn't recognize the name. He knew it was the resting place of a vampire, but he still had no idea why they were here. He looked at his wife in confusion.
"I don't understand." He said. "Who's grave is this?"
"It's the grave of Danik Tyr." She said.
Drake fell to his knees. He couldn't believe what she was saying. They had searched for years after his death for his body but never found it. It was thought that the vampires had destroyed it out of contempt for their enemy.
"Could it be true?" He asked. "Could this be our lost one?"
[Have your husband call him up.] The Baron told her. [Then you have to remove the remains and place him in a grave of your choice. Next to his father if you can. That's where they deserve to be. Then he will have final rest.]
"It's him Drake." She put her hand on his shoulder. "We have to take him home."
"How is this possible?" He asked. Both Drake and Tof looked at her in disbelief.
"How did you find him?"
"I had help. I'll tell you all about it later." She said. "For now, call him to you."
Drake removed the wrap then put his hand on the gravestone.
"Danik Mihai Tyr, lost son of Azeal Tyr. I am Drake Tyr. You are our lost son. Come to us so we can take you home to the rest of your family. Your father awaits."
A soft glow started to appear from all around the grave. It grew brighter and brighter until it was blinding. Then in a flash it was gone and the transparent form of a little boy floated over the grave. Danik Tyr had risen. With a sharp intake of her breath Tresandra fell to her knees in tears. Wide eyed in surprise, both Tof and his father stared at the spirit.
"He looks like Ono when he was younger!!" Tof said.
[Father?] Danik called.
"We are your kin." Drake told him. "We will take you home to rest."
Danik moved from the grave and floated over to Drake.
[You look like my father, but I know you are not him. Please take me home.]
"Come with us little one." Tresandra held out her hand to him. He came over and took her hand.
It didn't take them long to dig up Danik's remains and collect them. Drake took Tresandra's wrap, laid it out and wrapped his bones. Carefully Drake passed him to Tof and smiled.
"Let's go home."
Danik looked back over his shoulder as the made there way back up the ridge.
[Thank you Baron.] They all heard him say.
"Yes." Tresandra called. "Thank you very much Baron. You have done a good thing today."
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