Castle Roland

The Dragons of Keanna
Book II

by Jandar Tyr


Chapter 18

Posted: 21 Apr 16

The Dragons of Keanna - Book II

by Jandar Tyr

Meeting in Jorania

The night before their meeting at Jorania, Rage had Pelic send his shadow beast in to scout the land. They were to look for anything unusual. But what do you call unusual in a town that Muerte once made her home in? Jorania was crawling with nightwalkers after she had left. But once Jayce and the shadows found out, they came in and cleared them all out. That didn't leave very many people. Not enough to even be a village, so everyone packed their things and left Jorania. Jayce and the Shadows helped them move on to neighboring towns. So Altoria was now empty. After their search the shadow beast reported back to Pelic that Jorania was now deserted. The next morning they gathered at Prafa's gate to leave.

"Arturus, I'm leaving you in charge." Valkar told him. "Make sure the wall is always manned, and that the Nightwalker patrols report in. You're going to have to question them carefully, sometimes they don't realize what they're seeing. We will always be in contact. If you can't get us, ask Athene or a Dragon to try. If anything important comes up, call us."

"Arturus, a few of my people may show up." Rage said. " Send them after us, it's important."

"Don't worry." Arturus told them. "The towns in good hands, Go."

Out on the road, Jandar and Rage told Valkar about Jayce's report from the southlands.

"They never saw anything out there, did they?" Valkar asked.

"No, not a thing." Jandar told him as they walked.

"Any ideas?"

"Just one." Rage said. "Muerte, It has to be her."

"Passing out her gift to the masses." Jandar nodded."

"What are we going to do about her." Valkar asked.

"I don't know." Rage said. "Let's take one thing at a time, Balthazar now. He's going to ask to join us against Muerte."

"But that's not his real plan, I'm sure." Jandar said. "He wants us to fight her, and if we get lucky and defeat her, I'm sure he thinks we'll be weakened from the battle."

"That's when he'll make his move." Valkar said. "When we're exhausted and tired. He'll hold back some of his forces for just the right moment. Good plan."

Azeal walked out from the back and joined them.

"Told you not to trust him." He said as he passed.

"Thank you my Prince!" Valkar yelled at his son's back.

[Jandar, Rage!]

[Aramis?] Jandar called. [Where are you?]

[On my way to Prafa.]

[We have to talk.] Rage said.

[Shall I meet you in Jorania?]

[Rage] A new voice joined them. [This is Valen. I have a need for Aramis and his brothers. It's important.]

[More important than Muerte?] Jandar asked.

[It's related and important to them.] He said. [We'll meet you back in Prafa if that's in agreement with you.]

[As you wish Valen.] Rage sent. [Just hurry.]

[I will meet you in Prafa Aramis.]

[We will be there in a moment.]

Noon approached and all was calm in Prafa. Angela sat and got to know Tanis and Athene. They told her all about the things that happened in their lives. Tanis told her about his intense training at his father's orders. He told of the beatings when he failed and how when he succeeded his father didn't even notice. She apologized and hugged him. Then Athene told her of the people that helped raised her and how father killed them and how uncle kept her safe. She told of how Balthazar hunted her for years giving them no peace. How they were always moving to keep from being caught. Together they cried and held each other and promised to make things better for each other. Angela promised to never leave them again. Arturus watch his family and was proud of them.

On the wall, Eheren and Cutter walked and talked about magic and their life as Dragons. Cutter told him about his and Seven's life in Eventide. He talked about the trees and his menagerie of pets. Polan and his black Armors burned parts of his home and killed his father and brothers. Eheren told him about his life before meeting Shine and merging with him. He told about the death of his family at the hands of the nightwalkers and how lucky he was to be merged with Shine.

All of a sudden they both looked up. Something was coming. They stared at the sky looking to find the intruder. Then a warm feeling touched them. It was Valen the first Dragon, followed by Jade. They spiraled down from up high and came down to land in the courtyard. Eheren and Cutter came down off the wall to greet them.

"It's an honor to meet you Valen." Eheren shook his hand. "This is Cutter. What can we do for you?"

"I'm here to meet Aramis and his brothers." He told them. "Have you seen them?"

"No, we haven't." Cutter answered.

Suddenly the wind began to swirl and a dust cloud kicked up. Cutter and Eheren covered their eyes as dust flew everywhere. As the dust cleared, Aramis stood there with his brothers.

"There you are." Valen walked over to them. "I have something urgent to tell you. Please come with me."

Valen took them off to the side away from everyone else. Atol and Jax wondered what this was all about.

"There's been a disturbance in the heavens." Valen told them. "Your sister Rhee came to warn me and told me to come find you,"

[Rhee?] Jax grabbed him by the shoulder. [What happened?]

[Muerte attacked Fortis, the Cloud City.] He said. [You need to go back and see what happened.]

[Brothers, we have to go now!] Jax pulled them away.

[Tell Jandar and Rage we will return.] Aramis called back. Like stars the four gods streaked up from the ground and into the sky. A trail of sparkling dust trailing behind them.

Down in the underworld, everything was in turmoil. No one knew just what Muerte wanted of them, but many were ready to serve her. Those were the ones sent here for punishment. But it was different for those that were at peace before she took over the realm. Muerte had said only those that sided with her would be safe. But some there were proud noble people, heroes. And some had seen the errors of their past lives and wanted nothing to do with her. These people were being led by Azeal Tyr. Quietly he gathered his forces. He found many of his old comrades from the old days and convinced them it was time to fight again.

"Brothers, it's up to us again to fight for our freedom, and our ancestors. We know Muerte plans to kill all our families that we left behind. We have to help them if we want the world to go on."

"What are we to do?" Asked one of his generals. "She's the god of the underworld since she defeated Nestor."

"We keep everyone here." Azeal said. "She's going to send an army out into the world to help her kill all the people. We hold the gates and let no one out. She can't do this all herself."

"How?" Someone called out.

"By force." Azeal told them. "She may get a few out, but if we fill the entrance with our forces, our allies in the world will have that much less to deal with."

"But what of us?"

"Some of you gave your lives fighting with me to save our people once before. Would you do less now?" Azeal asked. "You're still fighting to save our people, but now it's more than just Werewolves. It's the whole world were protecting and it needs our help."

Azeal looked around at the spirits assembled there. They were frightened for their very souls. But they were warriors too and today was a good day to die, again. A cheer went up as they let him know they would fight.

"Gather weapons." Azeal told them. " Kolos and Petra, I want the two of you watching the entrance. I want to know when she returns. The rest of you look for more to aid us, there were many being punished that will seek her favor and a few that will help us. Now go!"

High noon was on them by the time they reached Castle Jorania. Valkar held them at the gate before they went in. He wanted the castle checked before they went any further.

"Pelic." He called. From the air the shadow man sailed down to him and like a specter floated in front of him.

"They're on their way already." He said.


Jorania castle was completely deserted, and lit by day, but there were plenty of shadow for them to use. Pelic had ordered his shadow beast to search, only when the found Balthazar and his men were they to reported back. There were only five of them in the front hall waiting.

"Pelic stay out here and watch." Valkar told him. "Balthazar may have a surprise in store for us."

"I'll be watching from the tower." He spread his cloak and flew up to his perch to keep watch.

"Let's go." Valkar and the others pushed open the gate and walked in. The front courtyard was wide and spotted with items left behind by the people when they left. Broken carriages, used wheel barrows, chest of clothing that wouldn't fit in over stuffed wagons. They moved around these things and up the steps to the castle proper. The doors were open before them and Valkar went to take a step in when Rage stopped him.

"Let us go in first." He said with his hand on his shoulder. [And don't let him know, we already know about Muerte. Act surprised.]

"I agree" Valkar told him. "And we go in together. A trap for you, is a trap for me, friend."

"Come in." A voice called. "There's no trap."

Jandar, Rage and Valkar looked at each other. That had to be Balthazar.

"Azeal, Stay at the door."

"No father!" Azeal rushed to his father's side. "I'm going with you."

"Protect the exit my son." Valkar looked him in the eyes. "Do as I say."

"Yes my king." Azeal moved back to the door. Together the rest moved into the foyer of the castle. No longer were there rich tapestries on the walls or expensive furniture. Everything was gone now. All that was left was a single table, and that's where they found Balthazar Gaelich waiting. A chair had been brought for him to sit in.

"Greetings." He smiled showing his fangs. "I trust your trip was pleasant?"

With Balthazar stood five enhanced nightwalkers. They were all taller and more massive than Valkar's group and dressed in some kind of dark armor. They were all pretty horrifying to look at. He'd obviously been experimenting again on his guards.

"You called for this meeting." Valkar said. "What do you want?"

"Bow before your king!!" One said as he stepped forward sword in hand.

Jandar, Rage and Sting moved in front of Valkar to protect him.

"If he takes one more step." Rage said his eyes blazing and smoke coming from his nostrils. "I'll incinerate him."

"Get back!" He commanded. Lowering his head, the nightwalker did as he was told.

"I come under a truce." Balthazar told them. "We have something that's more urgent than fighting over Yadessa."

"And that would be?"

"I think you know of Muerte." Balthazar folded his arms and leaned forward.

"I'm sorry." Valkar looked puzzled. "Who?"

"Muerte is the goddess of death." He said. "She was my patron goddess, the one that started all this fighting. She aided me in ousting you from Yadessa. And now she's gone rather mad."

"So you're rebelling against your mad goddess now?" Jandar looked annoyed, "If we wait, she'll take care of our problem, won't she."

"She is the problem." Balthazar stood up. "She plans to kill us all. Me, you, everybody in the world. I can't stop her. But together I think we all can."

"And we're to believe you?" Valkar moved to the table. "Can you prove any of this?"

"Look to the south, She's already started her purge." He said. "But we need to act fast before she makes her way here to our lands. Your Dragons are supposed to protect. Will you wait until it's too late to act?"

"Give us a few hours." Valkar told him. "If your story is true, we'll contact you."

Valkar turned to leave. Jandar Rage and Sting followed him out.

"Hurry." Balthazar called after them. "We may not have much time."

As they approached Fortis, Aramis and his brothers noticed the usual bright shining city was covered in gray ominous clouds. They streaked into the lower levels of the city and saw the devastation. All around them the saw torn down marble. All the temples were destroyed. These were the homes of lesser gods. Hurrying to the next level they found their first casuality. The lovely Liset. They found her lying outside of her home. She was dead. Jax ran to her and took her in his arms. His tears fell on her ashen face. He looked up at Aramis.

[How could she?] He cried. [She was so gentle and innocent.]

"We have to go higher." Atol said. "Mother and father!!"

[I'm staying with Liset for a few minutes.] He sat with her in his lap. [Look, her garden is dead.]

All around them they noticed death, all the trees and flowers. There were no birds like there normally would be. Nothing lived here anymore

"We'll come back after we check father's palace." Aramis said. "Stay here Jax. Right here."

Together, Aramis and Atol ran up the staircase for the next level, Things there were just as bad. There was no life. They passed many manses torn down in shambles and found many dead. The sight of all the dead sicken them. They could only hope the top level had fared better. After passing Clara, the goddess of music's manse they came to the golden stairway to the top level. Atol was almost afraid to go on. He wasn't sure he wanted to see what he expected to see. But Aramis urged him on. At the top of the stairs they saw smoke rising from Alee's manse.

"My home burns!!" Alee shouted as he started to run. Aramis grabbed him to stop him

"There's nothing to do. brother." He said as he looked toward their father's palace. No smoke bellowed from there. But the godly glow wasn't shining anymore.

"Come on!" Atol shouted.

As they ran they saw something in their path. It was a body. Atol stopped. He saw jet black hair with the flowers and the blue gown and knew exactly who it was. The goddess of peace.

"PAXI!!!" He screamed and ran to her. "No, no, no, no."

He sank to the ground and held her body as he cried. Pushing the hair from her face he bent down to kiss her cheek. Then a thought came to him and he looked up to Aramis. Tears streaked his face as he tried to find the words.

"I'm sorry Atol." He said. "But I can't. Reviving a god is beyond my powers. Maybe father can fix this."

"If they're still alive you mean." Alee said.

"DON'T SAY THAT!!" Aramis grabbed the front of his shirt. "THEY ARE ALIVE!! YOU HEAR ME!!"

"Yes, Calm down Aramis." Alee hugged him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. They're fine. But let's go prove it."

"I'm staying with her." Atol said. "You go find mother and father."

At the top of the place called Fortis stood Rimnar's palace. The wide double doors were open and the guards were laying in front dead. Aramis and Alee walked past them and into the palace. The palace was torn apart like the rest of the manses of Fortis. There was nothing left of the entry hall but rubble and debris. They walked to the doors to father's hall and pushed them open. Something heavy was holding the door closed. Together they pushed on it and shoved it open. Behind the door lay Jorak the god of the hunt . Aramis walked in and looked at all the carnage. The room was filled with the household of Rimnar and Saila. All the gods that had taken care of their family's needs in years past. Franticly they search the palace for their parent. They looked everywhere but found nothing. Neither one of them knew what their absence meant. But they were way beyond angry now. She would pay for this they thought as they left the palace

After leaving the palace they found Atol where they left him. They gathered Jax and all the dead and laid them in the palace. Fortis the home of the gods was gone. Destroyed by Muerte. Together they stood outside the palace and closed the doors.


With those words they took off into the sky as Fortis began to burn. Brighter and brighter until like a everlasting star, it shined its light down. The only thing left was Rimnar's palace. That, only he could destroy. As they left Jax heard something.


"Mother?" Jax called out. He had his voice back again.


And her voice faded away

After turning Fortis into a graveyard, Muerte decided to turn her forces loose on the world. The Dragons would be first. She knew her power over them had increased since she took the underworld. In fact, she no longer needed the gods she held. She would let them rampage against the world too. Then free all the hell bound souls in the underworld. But first the dragons.

In a cave not far from Castle Jorania. Fiero, Maxius and Arik slept with fitful dreams of being attacked by dragons. They didn't understand why they couldn't just wake up. Dragons could control their dreams, but these were out of their control. All they could do was run and fight over and over again. What they didn't know was that Muerte sent the dreams. She showed them Rage and Valen hounding them. Jandar and Eheren sending spell after spell at them as they tried to get away. She give them nightmares to brainwash them into doing as she told them when she was ready. And that time was now.

In his dream Fiero heard her call. He and Arik had just fought off Blaze and Nautica, fire and ice. They had knocked the fire dragon out of the air to be rescued by his water companion. They could hear him bellowing how they would find them again and destroy them.

As they topped the mountain, Valen came flying around the peak sending bolt after bolt at them. Fiero and Arik separated, Fiero going high and Arik low. Valen chased Fiero roaring at him. Fiero lured him toward the cave where Maxius was waiting for them. Shooting blast after blast behind him, Fiero flew as fast as he could. He saw Maxius waiting in the water keeping low so the enemy wouldn't see him. He dipped lower as he passed over the lake. Valen followed close. As they reached the deepest part of the lake, Maxius sent a blast of hard water onto the air. It hit Valen and knocked him into the water. Turning back, Fiero came in and picked up Maxius then pushed himself to gain altitude to join Arik in the heights.

[Brothers. I need you. Come to me.]

[She calls.] Arik sent as a stab of pain entered his head. [ARRGGGHHHH!!!]

The pain was so intense, Arik almost fell from the sky.

[Hold on, Brother!] Fiero sent. [She's not far away. Fly with me. The Dragons no longer chase us, we can make it to her now.]

Muerte followed them in their dream. She planned to wake them, but she didn't want them to know the difference between their dreams and their time awake. Their cave was over the ridge beyond the lake. Muerte sent them back to the cave showing them Valen flying off in the opposite direction. In Fiero's mind he drowned. Something about that seemed strange to him. But he and his brothers did as they were told and landed back at the cave. Inside the bronze dragoness waited for them. In their minds she planted a subtle command to wake. Fiero opened his eyes and shook his head. In his mind, they had just walked back into the cave. Somewhere out there, Valen was searching for them to kill them.

He stood and walked to the entrance. He looked out at the skies, he wanted to fly. But his enemy was up there somewhere? The thought was so strange to him. He had enemies? No, she had enemies. In his mind he saw scenes of Valen and the others attacking them. Why? What did they want?

[To destroy us.] She sent. [They have been trying for years to kill us. Don't you remember?]

Fiero and the others minds spun. They were so confused. They knew Dragons didn't fight each other. But they couldn't explain what was going on. All they knew was that this beautiful dragoness needed their help. But help with what? Every time they tried to remember, pain stabbed into their minds so they stopped trying and just followed. Still, Fiero knew, something was not right.

[I agree with you Fiero.] She sent as she caressed his mind. [I want all the fighting to stop, but they will never stop chasing me, not until I am dead. And I'm tired of it all. Maybe I should sacrifice myself. Give myself to them so they can kill me and get it over with.]

She walked to the cave entrance and looked back at them,

[No.] Arik called to her. [We can protect you.]

[But for how long?] She asked.

[As long as it takes.] Maxius said. Pain ripped into his mind. He fell to the ground in human form rolling in pain.

[We are under attack!!]

Fiero ran to Maxius side and held him in his arms. Sweat ran down his face as he convulsed in pain. No one noticed the smile on Muerte's face through her disguise.

Arik rushed out of the cave and scanned the skies. There was no one there.

[No one attacks us brother.]

[It's his magic attacking us.] She told them. [The large one you fought earlier. We have to destroy them. Kill them all. It's the only way we can be safe.]

As she spoke, she sent pain into all of their minds. She fell to the ground, faking her own pain and watched them struggle and scream. Minutes later she stopped the pain and got to her feet. Still in the guise of a dragon, she helped Fiero to his feet.

[We have to stop this or they will kill us.] She looked into his eyes. [Take your brothers and attack Yadessa. They will come. Kill everyone you see. Show no mercy.]

[We can't do that.] Fiero told her. [The people there are innocent.]

[NO ONE'S INNOCENT!!} She screamed. [You'll see, they're all monsters. Go before they attack again.]

Confused, Fiero didn't know what to do. But it hurt so much to think, he followed her orders. The Dragons left the cave and took to the air, Maxius riding on Arik's back. They were on their way to do something that went against all their instincts. They were going to attack. Muerte walked outside and watched them fly off. Everything was working out perfectly. She threw back her head and laughed. No one could stop her now.

With the Dragons on their way, Muerte knew she had to move on to her next task. Freeing the trapped gods she captured and releasing all the souls from the underground. She planned to bring all of her powers to bear against the world, no one would survive.


All around her, the ground began to shake and rumble. The skies grew dark and cold. Fissures opened and steam seeped from the ground as they emerged to answer her call. Dirod's eyes were red with anger for being trapped by her. In his hand he held his weapon, his hammer with its long handle. He wanted to rush down and bring it down on her head, but he knew he couldn't. He was totally in her control. Kearn's terrible cold emanated out from her and frost covered the surrounding area. The great bat Cressca came forth next. He screamed out his hunger. He hadn't eaten since his capture and his hunger drove him mad. The last to emerge was Antilles the Beast. Not a god but powerful and savage. He had been a powerful mage in his day and had angered Jandar and been cursed into a mindless beast. Muerte had turned him into a great man beast able to rip down trees with a single swipe of his massive clawed hand. He was covered head to toes with dirty brown fur and his mouth was filled with sharp teeth.

"You called death goddess?" Dirod thundered.

"Yes." She said. "I'm freeing you all to ravage the earth. Bring down mountains and tear up the lands until the Dragons come to stop you. Then I want you to destroy them. Do you understand?"

"We understand Muerte." Kearn said. "And will obey."

"You better." She told them. "Destroy everything, now go and do your worst."

Into the sky flew Kearn and Cressca, on their way to follow their masters orders. Dirod sank back into the ground and Antilles bolted off in a run. Muerte smiled, It was time to watch the carnage.

High in a tower Balthazar positioned a guard to watch the horizon for anything strange. From up there he could scan all around the castle, he could see far out into Yadessa. Nothing could escape his notice. As he looked out, he saw two figures flying towards him. He strained his eyes to see it. It was to big to be birds. What else could it be? As he watched they came closer and closer until he recognized what they were. Dragons, and they were heading toward Yadessa. Quickly he opened the hatch and made his way down the ladder to the top floor. He had to warn Balthazar of the coming dragons .Down he ran, passing guards and servants wondering where he was going. Finally he reached the door to Balthazar's quarters. As he reached out to knock on the door, the castle was rocked by some kind of blast that shook the floors. Falling against the doors, the guard righted himself as the door flew open. There he stood face to face with his lord Balthazar.

"What goes on here?" Balthazar yelled at him.

"Sire, we are under attack by dragons."

"Damn them!!" Balthazar stormed out to the balcony as Fiero flew by sending a stream of flame into the courtyard. As Fiero rose up, he left five burned guards lying on the pavement. The second he saw them, Balthazar knew this wasn't the work of Rage and his clan. These were different dragons. Much older than the Keanna dragons. Quickly he called for his mages and told his guards to man the catapults on the castle walls.

[Tanis!!] He sent out and waited for an answer. A few minutes passed as he watched the three dragons send their elemental destruction down on Yadessa. From his castle he watched the people run from their houses into the streets and into the their deaths.

[Father.] Tanis answered. [What do you want?]

[Yadessa is being attacked by dragons! Tell Rage and Valkar we need help!]

[I will give them your message.]

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