The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
A Winter's Blight
The moon was full and flying high over the manor in New Keanna as Ono sat and watched Shayn sleep. He smiled at his mate. He loved to watch him sleep. He always looked so handsome and peaceful to him. But lately he'd been worried about him. Shayn had seemed to acquire a new ability. Some kind of far sight. He was seeing things happen far away. Things that scared Ono. He had seen the attack at Relos and Cressca in Azia. Shayn hadn't told him about Cressca, but since they were bonded, Ono could see Shayn's dreams, so he knew. He didn't blame Shayn for not telling, he knew he would worry, but still, these are things he needed to know.
He watched him as he slept soundly deep in dreams. Suddenly things changed. Sweat broke out on his brow, he began to toss and turn in his sleep. Ono knew Shayn's dreams had just gone awry. He leaned back in the chair he was sitting in and closed his eyes. In a few seconds their connection would bring him into his dream.
Far East across the Saprein Ocean in the country of Bravosa, a young girl rose out of bed and rubbed her eyes. Next to her slept her husband. She smiled then leaned over and kissed his cheek. It was too early for him to be up. He still had a few hours before he had to be with his master the city's highest ranked mage. She got up and walked into the kitchen to start breakfast for him. Clea looked out the window and saw it was a beautiful day. She opened the window and let some fresh air in. A cold wind blew in. She shivered and hugged herself. What a change she thought. Last night the temperature was a balmy 92 degrees, now it felt more like somewhere in the 60's. This is the strangest summer she could remember in a long time. She looked up into the sky and saw the dark clouds rumbling in. There was a storm coming in. Maybe she should wake Jona or he's going to be caught in the storm.
Clea shut the window and went to the cold box to begin breakfast. She heard noises coming from their bedroom, so she guessed Jona would be out for breakfast soon. She fixed eggs and sausages with toast for them and had it ready when he came out and kissed her good morning.
Descending from above, a freezing cloud spun itself to the ground and took on the shape of a man dressed in his long white and silver robes with snow crystals sparkling as they caught the light. It was Kearn the winter god and he was a very unhappy god. He was glad to be released from Muerte's prison, but he was still under her power. He wanted to go home to his frozen mountain palace, but she had forbid it. She had death on her mind. She wanted him to turn Bravosa and all the cities and towns around it into a frozen wasteland where nothing lived. And because of her spell, he had no choice but to obey.
Kearn stood and looked out over the sleepy summer town of Orton. Smoke rose from the chimneys as they prepared breakfast and got ready for the day. In front of him he saw the town beside the lake. He walked down to the shore and dipped his finger in. It was warm just as he expected. He looked up to see clouds rolling in towards him. It was a beginning he thought. Kearn raised his hands and began calling the clouds to fill the sky. Soon he would have one of the most powerful blizzards ready to fall on the lands. He thought he would just let the storm keep building until it covered the whole continent and there was no escape for anyone.Shayn woke from his cold dream to find Ono staring at him. He pushed back the covers and sat on the edge of their bed.
"You saw?" he asked.
"Bravosa?" he answered. "Yes, I saw Kearn arrive. He's going to turn the place into another Kensor or worse."
"Most of the people will freeze to death." Shayn said. "And the rest will starve. We have to stop this from happening."
"I know." Ono said as he got up and went and sat with his mate. He kissed him to calm him down.
"We can send our version of fire and ice. Blaze and Icicle." Ono told him.
"We'll need more power than that." Shayn said. "Any ideas?"
"Yes. I have one." Ono's eyes lit up. "Alee. He's the sun god. A major god not a minor one like this Kearn. He should be able to counter his cold."
"We are depending on Aramis and his brothers too much." Shayn said as he got out of bed naked and reached for his clothes.
"We're fighting gods love." Ono watched him dress admiring his sexy body. He was getting aroused. "We don't have much choice. I hate saying it, but even Rage and Jandar would have a problem fighting these gods. That's why Aramis and Jax are here with us."
"I know and I trust them." Shayn finished dressing by stepping into his boots. Then he was ready to go. "I just wish we had the power to handle it ourselves."
"We do." Ono opened the door to their suite. "Aramis and Jax are a part of our clan now. Gods or not, they're family. Their powers are our strength. I'm not sure how this will all turn out, but I'm glad to have them on our side. I think only Aramis will be able to fight Muerte."
"I agree." Shayn smiled. "Let's go find Blaze and Icicle. You can talk to Aramis on the way."
Back in Prafa, Aramis, Alee and Atol had finally found Baron Valkar. A simple call to him was all it took for them to reach him. Seconds after the call Aramis heard the answer in his head.
[Baron Valkar.] Aramis answered. [I am called Aramis. I call to you seeking information to help fight an enemy of us all. Muerte.]
[Yes.] Baron Valkar said. [She is my enemy. Mine and all that lives. She plans to end all life here. I will help anyway I can. But who are you Aramis? I don't know you, do I?]
[I was once called Vitale.] He told him.
[Vitale?] Baron Valkar's mental voice was filled with curiosity. [I know that name. It's the name of her mate, the god of life.]
[Yes, I was Vitale.] Aramis told him. [But I have denounced that name. I am Aramis now and I will use all the power I have to destroy her and all she stands for. Now I stand with the Dragons and all they stand for.]
[That includes my grandsons and myself.] The Baron told him. [How can I help you?]
[We need your help freeing my sister from the prison Muerte put her in.]
[I know of Alea's fate. It is Nestor the lord of the underworlds fate too now. Muerte recently put him in there with her.]
The Baron made himself visible to Aramis and his brothers. Dressed in his regal war armor, Baron Valkar made his way down from the ceiling above to float beside them. [How can I help?]
[I'm glad they're together again.] Alee said. [But we still need to free them.]
[I agree.] Aramis added. [There's only two ways to free them. One is for Muerte to do it herself. That we know she will never do. The other is to find the spell she used. Then I can use it to free them. Were you there when she cast the spell?]
[Yes I was.] He told them. [I was spying on her. She was distracted. I heard the spell and remember it well.]
MOONLIGHT SHINES DOWN ON US ALL.
AS THE LADY RIDES HER COURSE.
NEVER AGAIN TO WALK OR FALL.
BUT ALWAYS TO FEEL REMORSE.
THE SKY WILL FOREVER BE YOUR HOME.
FROM DUSK UNTIL THE DAWN.
FOREVER UP THERE YOU SHALL ROAM.
FOREVER YOU SHALL MOURN.
"Thank you Baron." Alee bowed to him. "Now we have what we need to free Alea and Nestor. Taking Muerte will be next."
"It won't be that easy brother." Aramis frowned. "She's very powerful and she also has some of Ganon's spells."
"But we have Texa." Atol said. "She should be able to counter any of Ganon's spells that she uses."
[ARAMIS!!] A call came to him out of nowhere. It was Ono and Shayn calling,
[Ono? What's wrong?]
[Muerte sent out a new force.] Ono sent. [She's targeting Bravosa across the Saprein.]
[What's she up to this time?] He asked. [Who has she chosen to send out?]
[I know him.] Alee told them. [He's not an evil god, just very cold hearted.]
[Then you go help, Alee.] Aramis told him. [Don't worry. I'll keep you informed about Alea and Nestor. Atol and I will free them.]
[I'll meet you in New Keanna, Ono.] Alee sent as he left his brothers in Luther's house and made his way to the city's gates. There he cast his spell and in a bright flash of sunlight, he vanished on his way to New Keanna.
The cold winds howled down on them as Clea and Jona Metrika left their house for the day. Clea held her husband at the door and looked around. Trees bowed at the strength of the wind. They saw people dressed in cold weather clothing clutching them close to themselves as they hurried through Orton's snow covered streets.
"What's happening here?" Jona looked around. He knew this was all wrong. This cold was the product of some powerful magic. He could feel it deep inside him, and he could feel it was getting colder by the minute.
"Clea, stay here at the house." He pulled her coat closed trying to warm her. "I'm going to find Chuy my master. He may know something about this sudden cold."
"No! I'm going with you." She held his hands as he tried to leave. Jona wasn't sure how dangerous this would be, but he wanted her safe. He also knew her word was law. She would follow him if he left her.
"Then bundle up." He told her. "And stay close to me."
Jona grabbed her hand and led her off through the town. Bravosa was a pretty big town with lots of people, homes, and different kinds of businesses. It was a regular commerce center for the region, and magic was big business here. Jona's master Chuy was the strongest mage in the area. He had connections all throughout the region and in a few others across the sea. Jona had been studying with him like many of the children of Orton since he was small. As a child, Jona had a way of making his toys come to him and do as he wished. They danced for him and played with him. One day his parents noticed and were frightened. There hadn't been a magic used in either of their families in many years. They had made Jona promise to hide his magic and never to let anyone see what he could do. But that wasn't so easy with Clea always around and into everything. But hide it he did as best he could until that night neither of them would ever forget.
From that day on Jona spent most of his time at Chuy's side learning incantations and other methods and uses of his magic. He learned fast and pleased his Master. Now Jona was ready to take over his master's practice and Chuy would move on to a more leisurely way of life and leave the daily practice to Jona.
As it grew colder by the minute, Jona and Clea made their way through the city as quickly as they could. Many tried to stop them to ask about the strange weather, but Jona just pulled Clea away. He had to hurry. He could feel something dangerous was going on and he didn't think he had a lot of time.
On the outskirts of town Chuy had built his tower. It was tall with no windows or doors. Magic was the only way in. As they reached the tower he saw many people crowded around it waiting for him.
"Clea," He said. "Take my hand. We have to get past them and in quickly."
He reached for her and they clasped hands then he whispered a cloaking spell that would keep the towns people from trying to question him as they passed. As Clea watched, they began to fade from sight. She held up her hand and watched as it disappeared slowly.
"Now we have to be quiet, and don't touch them or let them touch you." He told her. "If they do, the spell will be broken."
Hand in hand they crept toward the tower. They passed many people huddled by a fire trying to keep warm. Many were crying, afraid of what was happening. Clea understood there fear. All this cold weather in the middle of summer was frightening. She looked up into the sky at the cloud cover. At this temperature she knew the fields would yield almost nothing, people would starve if something wasn't done.
The people didn't understand magic. But they knew magic had to be what was causing the storm. As they reached the base of the tower, they could hear men calling for Chuy and Jona for an explanation. But Jona didn't have one yet. Once they found Chuy they would know more. She wanted to comfort her friends. It troubled her that she couldn't.
Jona gripped her hand and nodded to her as they made ready to pass into the tower. Clea closed her eyes as Jona pulled her through. A warmth spread through her as they entered. She opened her eyes and looked around at the inside of the tower. From outside it looked like a very narrow structure, like it was less than twenty steps across. But on the inside the tower was huge, with all the room the needed. On their left was a spiraling staircase rising high into the structure. There were many floors and halls and rooms above them. The towers magic made it as big as it needed to be. It was furnished with magic. All kinds of desks, chairs, couches, tables, tapestries filled the rooms. Both Jona and Chuy had their own study and lab to work in. As they made their way in, Chuy came down the stairs with a worried look on his face.
"Master." Jona called to him. "What magic is this?"
"It's the work of someone very powerful." Chuy said as he reached them. "I've been trying all day to dissipate the storm clouds. Nothing's worked."
"How can I help?" Jona held out his hand to help Chuy down the last steps and into a high chair in the entry hall.
"We have to find out who's behind this." The elder mage said. " Then we'll have a better idea how to fix it."
"I can try sending out a probe." Jona said.
"I've tried that. It didn't work. Someone Is masking the spells." Chuy tried to get up but fell back in his chair.
"Master, your exhausted." Clea said. "You have to rest."
"I can't rest now. There's too much to do." Chuy pushed himself up out of the chair. Exhausted, he grabbed Jona's arm for support.
"Help me to my study." He told them. "I want to use my crystal. There may be others that know something of what's going on."
"What about all the people outside?" Clea asked. "Someone has to warn them. Tell them what to do."
"That's a job for you my dear." Chuy looked at Clea.
"Yes." He told her. "We will do what we can to discover what's happening here. You can convince them to seek shelter in the caves to the east. Those caves are volcanic, heated. They'll be safe there. Jona will spell you so you can get in and out. Don't worry, they'll trust you."
"You can do this, Clea." Jona kissed his wife. "Just be careful and I'll be watching if you need help."
Clea watched as Chuy and her husband started up the stairs. Then she turned and looked at the wall. That was her way out. She walked toward it and closed her eyes as she passed through. Suddenly she felt the cold envelope her body. Clea hugged her coat close to her and opened her eyes. Huddled around the tower Clea found many of her friends and neighbors there. They were all freezing in the drab forest waiting for Chuy or Jona to come and dis spell the storm. When they saw Clea they rushed to her side. Clea backed up; afraid she would be trampled by the crowd of people.
"Help us!" A man called out. "What's happening here?"
"Calm down all of you!" Clea held up her hands. "Please don't panic."
"This is impossible Clea." A woman wrapped in a blanket called to her.
"They are." She told them. "They're trying to find out who's behind this."
As the crowd grew more agitated they called out many questions. Questions she couldn't answer.
"What are we to do?" The woman asked. "We'll freeze if it gets any colder."
"There's someplace you can all go that will keep you warm." Clea told them. "The eastern caves. They'll hold everyone. Gather as much food as you can and go there."
"What about our homes?" A farmer asked. "My cattle will die and my crops will wilt in this cold."
"Would you rather your family freeze?" She asked. "All of you go. Find safety. I think it's going to get much colder."
As the people left, Kara wrapped in a thick blanket walked over to her. Kara and Clea had grown up in the same village and married in the same time. They were always close and trusted each other with all their secrets. Kara looked scared.
"I know Jona's doing all he can," Kara said. "What can we do to help?"
Clea smiled at her then hugged her.
"I need you to keep all these people safe in the caves." Clea told her.
"They're going to be scared and unsure. Some may not want to go, but if they don't, they'll die."
"I understand." Kara said.
"Hurry, I don't think there's much time." Clea kissed her friend and hugged her again.
"We'll see you when it's over." Kara turned and ran off.
"I hope so." Clea whispered as she turned back towards the tower.
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