The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
The Moon Goddess Rises
The sun had slipped down from the sky as Aramis and Atol waited for the moon to take its place in the heavens. Arturus came walking from the house and joined them.
"It's a beautiful night." He said.
"Yes." Atol smiled, "Nice and clear for what we plan."
"You sure she's up there?"
"I don't see anywhere else she can be." Aramis said. "It was clever of Muerte to hide her in plain sight like that."
"What do you think you'll find up there?" Arturus sat on a barrel beside the porch.
"Besides Alea and Nestor?" Aramis shrugged. "I'm sure she left something there in case we come looking to free them."
"Do you need any help?" Arturus asked. "This old dog is still pretty good with a sword."
"Thank you my friend. But you couldn't survive where we are going. And I need you here in Prafa looking after things." Aramis shook Arturus hand. "We'll be back soon. If there's any trouble. Call out to Ono and he'll get help here in a hurry."
"We'll be fine." Arturus said as he got up to leave. "Go find your sister and don't worry about us."
Atol and Aramis watched him walk back towards the house then looked back up to see the moon shining brightly.
"Well, let's get on with this." Atol stood next to his brother as Aramis opened his arms to start the magic that would take them to their destination. A globe of light surrounded them until it was too bright for normal eyes. In a flash they took off into the night sky to rescue the moon goddess and her mate.
Hidden in their cave, Fiero, Arik and Maxius lay tortured by the pain growing stronger every day in their head. Muerte's touch was killing them slowly. Only Fiero had any sense of intelligence left. The others were just about reduced to savage beast from the pain. Fiero was finding it very hard to think, so they lay there and did what the sweet voice in their head told them. Deep in the back of his mind Fiero knew she, the bronze was responsible. But he couldn't help it anymore. All he wanted was relief from the pain, and she was the only one that could give him that. He roared out his pain hoping she would hear him and come help. But so far she hadn't. He rose in his dragon form and stumbled to the small lake in the cave for water and drank. It had a stagnant taste he thought, but he drank any way. He looked over in the corner where Arik and Maxius lay trembling. He had to get them help if she wouldn't help them. If only he could remember. He knew there was someone in his mind that could help. He could almost see their faces. Fiero stumbled to the cave entrance and looked to the sky. The cool night air blowing across his scales felt good. He threw back his head and roared out his frustration then shifted back to human and fell to the ground unconsciousness.
There was no air here. No water and no life. No plants grew and the sky was dark even during the day. Nothing moved on the surface of the moon until a flash of light left two tall handsome men standing in the middle of a great crater. Aramis had been to this crater before. It was where Alea built her home, her lunar palace. There it stood before them shining in the mid day's sunlight. It had marble columns with a high ceiling. It looked like a lonely place. There wasn't much decoration or any type of furnishing to be seen from the outside unlike Nestor's palace which had flowers and the love seats in the garden. Alea's palace had none of that. This was her place to be alone. A place for only her and Nestor. Aramis had been inside and seen the lavish furnishing she kept there. Godly palaces usually didn't have many rooms. They didn't need them. I place to rest, a study or library sometimes, and a workshop to work on whatever tasks called they had on their mind. Alea being the moon goddess and the goddess of vengeance kept watch on Keanna and all the races and helped grant vengeance to those that were wronged. Alea and Jax were the heroes patron gods.
[So this is her palace.] Atol thought to his brother. [It's magnificent!]
[Yes, I've been here before with her and Nestor.] Aramis waved him closer as they began walking to the palace. [She built this place to get away from all the battles and trouble on Keanna and on Fortis. You know how she loves quiet peaceful places. And as the moon goddess, what better place for her home to be. I can't believe I didn't think of this place.]
[It's Ok Aramis. You didn't even know who you were.] Atol tried to comfort him. [We're here now.]
They stopped in front of the marble steps. Atol turned to take the first step up. Aramis grabbed him and pulled him back way from the stairs.
[What is it?] Atol asked him.
[We have to be careful here.] Aramis walked over and picked up a stone. He tossed it at the step. It moved slowly as gravity took it and sent it to its destination. As it hit the stairs it burst in a flash and exploded. Atol stepped back surprised.
[This whole place probably has spells everywhere.] He told him.
[So what do we do?]
[We tread carefully.] Aramis waved his hand at the stairs.
Straight and strong my steps will be.
Protect from harm so I can see.
What danger stands here in our way.
Show us the path so we won't stray.
Magic flashed as they watched and a path showed them the way up the stairs. With Aramis in front Atol followed him up and into Alea's palace. As they walked through the bronze doors they slammed shut quietly behind them and a glow began to cover them. Atol went to reach for them to open the doors.
[No!] Aramis sent. [They're spelled. We'll have to find another way out.]
[You sure she's here?] Atol asked joining his brother.
[She's here.] He said. [ I can feel them.]
Together Aramis and Atol followed the path into the entry chamber. There were statues in the hall depicting different heroes of past ages. Human and other races. There was a statue of Azeal Tyr with a sword in hand striking down Baron Valkar. There also were paintings of scenes from the werewolf/vampire war. Aramis and Atol knew what all the paintings and statues were so the walked on. The path lead on to Alea's study. all around them areas glowed with power. There were spells everywhere. Muerte wanted to make sure Alea couldn't get out. As they walked Aramis saw something that made him stop. Atol almost ran into him.
[Why are you stopping?]
Aramis pointed over to the corner where both Alea and Nestor stood motionless. Alea with a look of pain and surprise on her face. And Nestor reaching for her. All around them the floor glowed with power. Aramis and Atol couldn't get anywhere near them. They both could feel their sister's presence. She knew they were there with them. Aramis try sending to her.
[Alea! Can you hear me?]
[ . . . . . . . . . ]
There was something there, they could feel her. Aramis stopped and looked deeply at the spell glowing on the floor. It definitely was Muerte's magic. He could remember her touch now and the feel of her magic. And he could feel it all around him now. Alea and Nestor's magic could be felt too, but hers seemed a bit stronger. Her spell was woven all through the palace. Aramis knew if he dismantled the wrong part first, he could destroy them all. So he looked deeper. The rich red currents of her spell told him it was meant to hold someone and immobilize them. She knew Alea and Nestor would keep fighting the spell from the inside. It was made to use their magic to strengthen itself.
[I see something here.] Aramis turned to Atol.
[What is it?]
[If we both pour power into this spell.] He said. [We may be able to overload it, then I can use her own spell to free them. But it's going to take all four of us.]
[Agreed.] Atol came closer to where Aramis stood. [How do you want to start?]
Aramis thought for a second. Atol's powers are more emotional and mental maybe he can reach her better.
[Try calling her.] He told him. [Like when you freed my memories. That may get through to them.]
[I can't touch them, so I need to see into her eyes.] Atol said walking around until he could look into Alea's eyes. [This will do. Take my hand and stare into Nestor's eyes. I'll try to take us in.]
Staring deeply into Alea's eyes, Atol saw her spark. He called out to her mind. He could feel Aramis entering into Nestor's mind. A whisper floated around all their minds quietly as Atol pushed in to go deeper and deeper, calling to her. The whisper began to grow louder and louder. Soon he could faintly hear it. Atol pushed harder, he was almost there. Then he heard her.
[I'm here sister.] He told her. [Vitale is with me.]
[We need you and Nestor to blast the spell holding you as hard as you can.] He sent to them. [We will be blasting from out here. Vitale thinks it will work. Start now!]
Atol dropped Aramis' hand and raised his hand, together the sent all their energy into the spell pushing it as hard as they could. It burned brighter and brighter until it throbbed with power. Then Aramis chanted Muerte's spell with his own little twist.
MOONLIGHT SHINES DOWN ON US ALL.
AS THE LADY RIDES HER COURSE.
FREE NOW TO WALK NOT FALL.
NOR TO FEEL REMORSE.
I FREE YOU FROM YOUR LUNAR CELL.
AND BRING YOU BACK YOUR LIGHT.
SO RISE MY SISTER FROM THE HELL.
TO WALK AGAIN THIS NIGHT.
Using his magic sight, Aramis watched as the spell began to burst in explosions all over the palace. Both Nestor and Alea fell to the floor exhausted. Aramis went forward and pulled Alea into his arms and picked her up. Columns began to fall as the spell started taking the place down. Atol grabbed Nestor and pulled him through the palace after Aramis. They reached the front entry way as a part of the roof fell and crashed into the statues. Alea thrust her hand out and commanded the doors to open. As the bronze doors opened, Aramis and Atol ran out carrying the couple to safety. There they watched as the rest of the palace fell to the ground.
[Yes Alea. It's me. I'm here. Can you stand?] He asked.
[Nestor? Where is Nestor?]
[I'm here Alea.] Her husband sent reassuring her.
[I'm ok too.] Atol smiled.
[Thank you both.] She smiled up at Aramis. [ We would have been there forever had you not found us.]
[I'm sorry it took so long.] Aramis said as he helped her to stand.
[That's ok.] She said. [I'm just glad you thought to look up here.]
[I didn't.] He told her.
[Then who?] Nestor asked. He looked completely confused. [Alee?]
[Jax.] Atol said. [He figured you were still up there at night, so that was where you must be trapped.]
[What about Muerte?] Nestor asked. [She holds the underworld now. I have a score to settle with her.]
[So do I.] Alea brushed off her gown then looked up at Aramis. [Don't try to save her this time. She's gone too far Vitale.]
[I know.] He said. [And call me Aramis please.]
[What?] Alea looked at him not understanding.
[We have a lot to tell you. Let's get back to Keanna.]
With a wave of his hand the shining globe appeared and took them back to the beautiful world riding above them
Lying at the cave entrance in a puddle of water, Fiero woke up. His head was still spinning in horrible pain. He looked up and felt rain falling on his face. It felt good, it cooled him off a bit. As a fire dragon he was usually hot, but he knew he had a fever. Fiero looked around wondering where he was. He was at the bronzes cave with his brothers and she wasn't here. He knew what that meant; he had a chance to get them away if he could. He got to his feet and stumbled into the dark cave. Over in the corner he saw Arik and Maxius moaning in their sleep. He walked over to them and touched each one in the center of their forehead. Arik's eyes opened with a dazed look. Maxius woke a second later.
"Rise brothers." He said. "We have to leave this place now."
Arik focused on his face and recognized him. He closed his eyes and shifted.
"GO?" He groaned sitting up.
"Yes, Come on." Fiero pulled him to his feet and leaned him against the wall.
"Max, get up now."
Maxius shifted still sprawled on the cave floor. Fiero bent and helped him up. Once they both were on their feet, he put his arm around each of their waist and led them towards the entrance. Once outside the rain and weather strengthened them both a little and cleared their minds a bit so they could almost think without pain.
"We have to go brothers." Fiero told them. "She's not our friend. She's the one that did this to us."
"Arik, can you fly? He asked.
"No." He answered. "Too weak."
"Then get on my back and I'll do the flying." Fiero let them go and stepped over and shifted.
[Climb on,] Arik climbed up on Fiero's back behind his wings. Maxius was too weak to climb. He fell back to the ground. Fiero reached over and grabbed him and pushed him up on his back. Arik grabbed him and pulled him up to sit in front of him.
[Hold on to him.] Fiero unfolded his wings and ran and took off into the sky. Higher and higher he flew not caring where he was going as long as it was away from her. The sun was rising and it felt good Fiero thought. They were away! They were away from her!!
"I don't like this Father." Azeal said as they crept along a ridge over Balthazar's castle. "Giving ourselves over to him?"
"We're not giving ourselves to him." Valkar told his son. "We just need to get into his castle to see what he plans."
"Cutter can keep us hidden so we can get a look around." Valkar looked out over the ridge down to the castle.
"No." Azeal said pulling him down. "You can't go. What if something goes wrong? You'll be in his hands again. We can't take that chance. I'll go."
"I can't let you do that Azeal." Valkar told him
"He's right Valkar." Cutter said. "You can't take that chance. It's too dangerous."
"Am I not king here?" Valkar asked.
"Yes you are." Cutter said. "But I hope you take our council in this and stay here."
"Fine." He said. "You will keep in contact with me won't you?"
"Once we're inside we won't be able to send to you." Cutter told him. "He might sense it."
"Then forget it." Valkar walked back towards the trees. "I won't let Azeal take that chance."
"Then what do you propose?" Azeal and Cutter stood there looking at him.
[Baron, We need your help.]
High over the mountains our dragons flew looking for Valen's missing brothers. Jandar on Rage's back in the lead with Denner and Kalin following close behind. Next riding comfortably on a huge boulder with Jade came Dreik. In the rear Valen watching their backs in case anything decided to attack them.
[Valen, can you find them?] Jandar sent to him.
[Yes I can. They're flying not too far from here.]
[Can we catch them?] Jandar asked.
[There not moving every fast. They must be very weak I can barely feel Arik and Maxius.]
[I'm worried about them Valen.] Jade sent. Valen could feel her anguish through their link. She was the caretaker of their clan. Like a mother dragon she cared for them all. Jade could usually sense or contact them all at anytime. Valen knew if she couldn't get them. No one could.
[I know Jade.] He sent. [Keep trying. As we get closer you should have a better chance.]
[I have people looking for them.] Rage sent. [If anyone spots them, they'll contact us. It shouldn't take too long.]
Things were stranger than usual in the underworld. There was no heaven any more, Muerte had change everything in the realm. No more calm beautiful fields or gleaming palaces. Everything was dark and gloomy now. It seemed that was how she wanted her world to be.
She sat in Nestor's palace and did something Nestor would never do. She destroyed spirits to amuse herself. Everyone could hear the tortured echoing through the realm. It seemed no one was safe from her.
Azeal Tyr gathered as many spirits of warriors as he could find. Millions gathered to his call at an old mansion in what was once heaven. From a raised platform he looked out at them ready to address his army.
"As you all know, Nestor no longer resides in his great hall of judgment." He said. "We have a new mistress now and she's quite insane. What she plans is for our descendants is unthinkable. She plans to kill everyone one on Keanna."
He stopped to let his words sink in and see what their reaction was. From where he was, he could hear them all grumbling and calling out questions about her plans.
"Quiet now!" He shouted. Slowly they settled down a bit and waited for him to continue.
"Now it's all up to you what you want to do. We can ignore it all and hope for the best or we the dead of Keanna can do everything we can to save our children. I don't know about you, but I'll be damned if I'll let everything I fought for be destroyed by a mad goddess who cares for nothing but death. I have word that someone in the living world is trying to free Nestor and bring him back to us. So we need to find a way to keep her busy until Nestor can get back. The only thing I know to do is attack her and give Nestor the time to return. Are you with me?"
Cheers went up throughout the crowd. Azeal wasn't afraid anyone would go report him to Muerte. She doesn't take news like that well. She'd probably kill the messenger.
"I'll be sending people out among you to organize our attack." He told them. "Be ready when I give the word."
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