The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
It was a quiet night in Prafa as the sleepy guards sipped warm cattle blood on the wall and talked about what was going on in Yadessa. Many of their relatives had been sent to Tir Na by Valkar for their protection. Many had also died in the attacks by the dragons. It had been explained to them how Muerte had taken control of the dragons and made them attack the city. They understood and couldn't hold a grudge against them for some of them had also been controlled by Balthazar when he seized dominion of Vasagi. Remembering the feeling of being held in someone else's power made them cringe. But it was different for the dragons. Dominance for them meant searing pain and dragon's brains fought her for control. But they were free now and couldn't be controlled again. For that, they were all thankful. So it was just another boring night on watch they thought. Unknown to them, things were about to change.
Overhead in the sky many bats flew watching the men on guard. They relayed back their low numbers to those at the edge of the forest waiting to attack. In the forest Balthazar had sent twenty of his altered warriors on a mission to capture his family and bring them back to him.
[Master.] A nightwalker in charge sent to him. [There are no more than three on the wall guarding the gate. What are your wishes?]
[Destroy that city and bring my family to me.] He answered. [Send your flyers down to silence the guards.]
Along the wall three guards patrolled, their eyes almost closed in boredom. At the rear of the gate two vampire bats flew down and came to rest on the deck of the wall behind the guard's post. Shifting form, they stood and slowly crept up on a guard and grabbed him. Pulling a sword with a silver blade, the nightwalker quietly slit his throat and lowered him to the deck. One down, the nightwalker held up the sword and sent a flash of reflected light into the sky to send down the next ambush. Minutes later the second guard was also lying face down dead. All that was left was the guard at the gate. He stood and looked around the wall checking on the others. He saw each of them wave to him. He assumed everything was well. A sudden noise from below the wall caught his attention. He looked down and saw a huge dog down in front of the gate barking.
"Quiet mutt!" he yelled.
Turning around a hand closed on his mouth silencing him as the blade was thrust into his chest ending his life. Hurrying over to the gate controls the invader pulled the switch and let the rest of Balthazar's forces in. Quietly they made their way through town from house to house killing everyone then found. Prafa was falling.
Lost in her dreams, Angela slept soundly until a voice stirred her awake.
[Angela, wake up!!] She heard Alea calling to her. [Prafa is being invaded]
Angela instantly came awake and jumped from her bed. She had to get to Athene and Tanis. Dressed only in her nightgown she ran from the room and down the hall to their rooms. She burst into Tanis's room and touched his forehead. His eyes open and looked up at her.
"Mother?" He blinked. "What's the matter?"
"Trouble my sweet." She told him. "Get Adam and Luther. We have to go now!"
Quickly they both were out of the room and Angela was into Athene's room. There she found a nightwalker bending over her daughter.
"GET AWAY FROM HER!! She screamed.
Looking up the nightwalker hissed at her. Angela raised her hand and sent a bolt of energy at the dead thing and blasted it to dust. As the dust settled she ran to the bed and touched her forehead waking her.
"Mother?" Athene opened her eyes. "I was dreaming we were under attack."
"We are Athene." She pulled back the covers and helped her out of bed. "We have to get to the dragons. Hurry!"
As they made their way to the door, Adam and Tanis came running to them carrying Luther's body.
"Oh no!" Athene cried.
"He's dead." Adam told them. "We found him at the top of the stairs with a sword battling a warrior. He killed two nightwalkers before they got him."
Angela reached out and touched his face and closed his eyes. Suddenly crashing noises came from below them and they heard footsteps on the stairs.
"Leave me." She said. "You have to go."
"No mother I won't leave you!" Tanis cried.
"None of us will." Adam put Luther down then shifted to his warrior form. Coming around the corner, two warriors advanced on them. Sting roared and ran at them. He grabbing one with his claw and pinning it to the wall. His stinger whipped around and stabbed it twice through its hard shell. Tanis leaped at the second one sending a high kick at its exposed face. He knocked it back as his long talon like nails grew and he thrust them into its brain through its eyes. Both warriors fell dead to the ground.
[Angela. I can hold them for a few minutes .] Alea told her daughter. [But I'm still on my nightly ride. I can't come help you. Once my ride is over I will find you. Get out of there now!!]
[Mother I have to get to Arturus.] She sent out. [I'm sending the children away. Can you help them escape?]
[Yes but it has to be now.]
"Adam." Angela called to him. "You have to get them to safety for me."
"No!!" Athene cried. "I can't lose you again!"
"Listen to me all of you." She said. "I love you and I'll come to you in New Keanna. But I have to get Uncle out of here too. Get outside into the moonlight and you will be safe."
"What are you talking about?" Tanis asked.
"I don't have time to explain." Angela kissed all three of them. "Go now or I'll send you myself. Go!!"
Sting grabbed Tanis and Athene and pushed them towards the stairs as they protested. Turning and running the other way, Angela ran to a staircase that went up to the next floor. There in his room she found Arturus with a warrior drooling about to rip into him.
"Oh no you don't!" She whispered a spell that put a force field around Arturus' knocked out body. Again and again the warrior tried to stab through her field with no success. Howling he turned to her. Angela smiled at it.
"Come on." She waved. The warrior charged hard at Angela bringing its claw around swinging at her head. She summoned her shields to surround her like armor and blocked the blow then using her shield as a weapon, she swiped low at its armored leg knocking it off its feet. Scrambling like a crab, it came at her its claws open and ready to snap her in two. Wedging her field in between the claws she grabbed hold and started to force them apart. Wider and wider she forced the edges until there was a loud crack and the warrior howled out in pain. Quickly she raised her hands making the shield needle sharp and bought it down to pierce its shell and cut into its heart. Dropping her shield, she ran to Arturus as the warrior died with a last shudder.
She pulled him into her arms and touched the waking spot. He didn't respond. She shook him, still nothing. Angela laid him down then stood.
POWER FLOWS AND SENDS YOU OUT.
SAFE YOU'LL BE I HAVE NO DOUBT
TO HEAL AND SLEEP THE TIME IS RIGHT.
I SEND YOU OFF TO AVOID THIS FIGHT.
Magic flashed and a glow began to surround Arturus as he disappeared from the room.
"Get better my brother."
Loud crashing noises began to climbed the stairs as Angela turned to the door. She didn't have the time to fashion a spell to get herself free. This was the end and she knew it. Balthazar had found her, but he wouldn't getting the same weak wife he had before. This time, she had the power to fight him. She smiled as the warriors and nightwalkers crashed into the room.
"I am Angela Gaelich." She said. "Take me to my husband."
Running down the stairs two at a time, Sting found the front door knocked in and nightwalker bodies in the entryway. Luther seemed to have fought much harder than they thought. The three ran to the door and looked out. The house was ablaze in moonlight. Angela had said that all they had to do was to get in the light and they would be safe. None of them understood what she meant, but they leaped out into the light anyway. Off in the shadows they saw the warriors running towards them. As they hit the moonlight they were all knocked back. It looked like they had just hit a wall. As they entered the light, magic flowed all around them as it lifted them and took them away to safety.
Standing out on the balcony overlooking the lake, Balthazar watched as his warriors departed for Tir Na. Yadessa was now in ruins so he needed a new place to make his base. Once he removes the werewolves, Tir Na would be perfect. He sent almost every warrior he made into Tir Na. A small army. They had done so well in retrieving Angela this morning. She was now waiting in the dungeon for him to do as he wished with her. And after all that had happened, her death was what he wished. Balthazar turned and walked back into the castle. Different and painful methods to kill her was all he could think of at the moment. Typical vampire deaths were not good enough. It had to be a sacrificial death. Dismemberment on Muerte's altar he knew would please his goddess. But that wouldn't be enough. Athene had to die too. He knew he had to fulfill his original promise to Muerte and sacrifice her. But how would he get her here? Would she be stupid enough to try and save her mother? She tried once. He had no doubt Tanis and that lummox first experimental warrior would try. An evil grin spread across his face as he walked down the stairs towards the dungeon. It was time to see his dear wife. He knew he would enjoy this.
Arriving in a flash of moonlight, Athene, Tanis and Sting looked around to see where they were. Off in the distance Athene saw the dragons Manor. She knew where they were.
[What is this place?] Sting asked.
"This is New Keanna." Tanis told him. "The dragons home."
"Come on." Athene pulled them toward the Manor. "We have to get mother help."
Sting changed his form back to Adam and ran after Athene and Tanis.
[Jandar!] Athene sent out as she ran. [There's trouble in Prafa. We need your help!]
[Where are you Athene?] He sent Back. [What happened?]
[We're in the foyer heading up to your study.]
Jandar and Rage's study was on the second floor of the manor. It didn't take them long to reach it. She knocking at the door and Jandar opened it and ushered them in. Sitting around the table they found Jandar and Rage dressed in their traveling clothes. Jax was there with Eheren.
Jandar looked at them standing in the doorway dressed in their sleeping clothes. Athene in a nightgown, Tanis in short pants and a grey blood stained shirt and Adam in just a loin cloth.
"My god!" He said. "What happened?"
"Prafa is no more." Tanis said hugging himself and shivering.
"Balthazar?" Rage asked.
"Yes." Adam said his face red in embarrassment. "They came just before dawn."
"You're freezing." Jandar waved his hand and clothing appeared on the table for each of them. Rage handed each of them something to put on.
"Tell us what happened." Jax said sitting up listening.
"We're not quite sure what really happened." Tanis pulled on a pair of leathers as he talked. "All I know is mother woke me and said we were under attack. I went to wake Adam and ran into nightwalkers on the way. How they got in we later learned was through the front. We found three dead with Luther downstairs. I had no idea Luther was such a fierce warrior. He killed six before they got him. He was truly amazing."
"He'll be honored in the underworld." Jax told him. "Go on."
"After we found Luther." Athene continued. "Mother insisted we leave. She refused any help from us. She told Adam to get us out into the moonlight. Why? What's moonlight got to do with anything?"
Jandar, Rage and Jax looked at each other as if they shared a secret some of the others knew nothing about.
"Why didn't she come with you?" Jandar asked sitting down next to Rage.
"She had to get Uncle out." Athene said. "He was still upstairs. He's here right?"
"No he's not." Jandar gave it some thought. "Arturus has never been here. Neither has your mother. She would send him somewhere he feels comfortable. Like to my father. They're close friends."
"We have to save her." Athene pleaded with them. "Father will kill her. I know it."
Suddenly a bright flash of illuminating light filled the room and surprised them all. When it faded Alea was standing there among them. Jax climbed to his feet and held out his hand to her.
"Gentlemen. This is Alea, goddess of the moon."
Everyone stood and bowed to her showing their respect. Jandar and Rage stepped forward hands held out.
"We're all glad your free Lady."
"Thank you all." She said. She looked at Athene and Tanis, then back at Jandar and Rage. "But we have more important problems to handle."
"We know sister." Jax said. "What do you want to do?"
"Take my grandchildren and free my daughter." She walked over to Athene and Tanis and smiled at them.
"Us?" Tanis looked shocked. "Your grandchildren? What's she talking about?"
"This is your grandmother." Jax came and stood with them. "There's a lot you should know. Your mother just learned of this too. But it's true."
"It's why he took your mother." Alea looked from one to the other. She could tell they still didn't believe her. "Listen to me. For years I've been watching you both. Helping out as much as I could from my ride across the sky. Athene, your dreams. Where did you think they were coming from? And Tanis. At night whenever you fought. Didn't you feel so much stronger at night than during the day? Did you think that was because you were a vampire? You're only half vampire. Neither of you every really needed blood to live. You're the grandchild of the goddess of the night and the moon. That's where your power really comes from. Adam, when Balthazar changed you, he tried to wipe your mind clean so only he could command you. Take away your will. Why do you think it didn't work? Why do you think you still had a connection to Angela? I interfered with his spells and kept your mind from being totally overwhelmed. Now it's up to the three of you to trust me. Can you?"
Athene, Tanis and Adam looked around the room for help. They weren't sure what they should do.
"Give her your hand." Jax told Athene.
"You'll see." He said. "Please."
Athene reached out and placed her hand in Alea's. As they touched she felt something familiar come over her. Visions began to run through her mind. She saw Alea curse Muerte and the birth of her daughter. She saw Alea and Nestor give the baby to someone to hide her. Then she saw her own birth and Alea looking down on her and uncle as he took her into hiding. It was all true she knew at that moment. This is her grandmother. Athene released her hand and threw her arms around Alea.
"It's true!" She cried. "You are my grandmother. Tanis it's all true."
Tanis walked over and hugged them both rubbing Athene's back.
"This is all great and fine." Adam broke in. "But Lady Angela is still in Balthazar's dungeon waiting to be executed. How are we going to get her out?"
"Simple." Came a voice from nowhere. In a swirl of magic, Aramis appeared. "We give him what he really wants."
"Aramis!!" Jax hugged his older brother and squeezed him tight. "Where have you been?"
"I had a few errands to take care of." He smiled as Jax released him. "So things aren't going so well I see."
"Muerte is out there somewhere." Rage said. "And Shayn and Ono are missing."
"The prophecy." Aramis looked at Alea. She nodded her head. "I know about Muerte. I was with Nestor when she yielded power to him in the underworld.
"He's safe?" Alea asked.
"He's in power and repairing the damage she did down there." Aramis went and sat with Jandar and Rage. "I'm sorry about Shayn and Ono, that's my fault. I should have woken you myself."
"Nonsense." Rage said. "They probably would have gone anyway. Jax has an idea how to find. We're trusting him to find them."
"We'll talk about that later." Jax said. "What did you mean by giving him what he wants?"
"What's he really want?" Aramis asked.
"Power." Tanis said.
ok"And who's he getting power from?"
Everyone looked at each other a little puzzled by the question he asked.
"From her." Alea said. "I think I know what you mean."
"What?" Jandar asked.
"She wants me." Alea told them. "She wants to be free of her curse and to kill me. Only I can free her. So I'll give myself to him for Angela."
"This will work." Eheren smiled. "He's so power mad he thinks she won't kill him if he gives her what she wants. But we know better."
"Yes we do." Aramis said. "She plans to kill us all."
"Does she have that much power?" Jandar asked.
"YES!!" Jax, Aramis and Alea said together.
"But I have a plan." Aramis smiled.
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