The Dragons of Keanna - Book II
by Jandar Tyr
High on the ridge over Balthazar's castle, Valkar woke up. Azeal was on watch observing the castle while Cutter slept sitting in his meditative position. Feeling the fullness of his bladder, he got up and walked around the side of the cliff and relieved himself. He knew they had a decision to make. They didn't have the forces to take Balthazar on himself. Yadessa was in ruins and what was left of his people were being cared for by the werewolves. But they would end this. Either him, or his allies. Balthazar Gaelich would not hold them in his grip much longer.
"FATHER!!" He heard Azeal calling.
Quickly he re tied the fastening on his pants and hurried out to see what his son wanted. As he turned the corner, Azeal waved him towards the ridge where he was watching from.
"Look!!" he pointed out towards the castle. Valkar held up his hand to shade his eyes from the sun and saw what frighten Azeal. There he saw strange creatures he had never seen before heading toward the border of Yadessa. They were going to Tir Na. Valkar knew what was happening. They looked like what Angela had described her friend Sting to look like. These were Balthazar's new warriors. They were huge scorpion like creatures with deadly looking stingers and claws. Their bodies were covered with what looked like grey shells. He could see human parts on the bodies too, arms and legs. Monsters, Balthazar was creating monsters. Valkar thought that knowledge had been lost in the centuries. His ancestors once used magic like this.
"Father." Azeal said. "What the hell are they?"
"Something out of our past that I thought we'd never see again." He told his son. "Go wake Cutter. We have to beat them to their destination. Hurry!"
Azeal ran back to wake the dragon from his sleep. Valkar knew he had to warn Jandar and Drake of what was coming.
[Jandar!] He sent out.
[Valkar.] Came his answer. [How's things in Yadessa?]
[In ruins.] He said. [But that's not the problem. You remember the stories of Baron Valkar's monster warriors?]
[Yes.] He could feel Jandar's confusion.
[They're real.] Valkar concentrated and sent Jandar the scene he had just witnessed. [They're on their way to Tir Na. I'm taking Azeal and Cutter and heading there to help. All my people are there.]
[We're on our way. I'll warn them.]
"Azeal!" Valkar called. "We have to find Cort. He should come with us."
"He was here before we went to sleep last night." Cutter and Azeal came walking out of the small cave shelter.
"We have to get to Tir Na." Valkar told them.
"Father, what are those things out there?" Azeal insisted his father tell him.
"Those are horror's from deep in our past." He said. "Long ago our ancestors learn magic that could make strong deadly warriors by mixing different creatures with men or vampires to make horrors to use in battle. I thought that knowledge had died long ago in the past. But there they are heading to Tir Na. We can't let these things get there. All our people are there. Ranjer's there."
Azeal's complexion was usually pale, but the thought of Ranjer in the path of those things was most frightening.
"You see what I mean now?"
"I understand." Azeal grabbed his scabbard holding Justice and strapped it to his side then looked at his father and Cutter.
"Let's go!" He said.
Cutter shifted to dragon and they climbed on his back. Taking a running leap off the cliff, Cutter spread his wings and they were off for Tir Na.
[Cort!] Valkar sent out. [Balthazar is attacking Tir Na. Meet us there.]
Valkar listened for his answer for a few minutes but nothing came. He thought it strange that one of his most loyal companions didn't answer. But he didn't have time to worry about it now. He had more important things to worry about. So on they flew.
Deep in the dungeon of Balthazar's castle, Angela sat alone in her cell. Balthazar hadn't come down to visit her yet, but she knew he would very soon. As far as he knew, he had her. That meant he had won. And to a point, he was right. He did have her. But he hadn't won and she wasn't the weak wife he had dominated for so many years. She was much stronger now. She had more confidence in herself. At last she knew who she was and he couldn't take that away from him.
Angela stood and walked around her cell. It was the same cell Adam had helped her escape from months ago. Angela looked up and saw all the runes that kept her from using her magic. She wondered if she was strong enough to defy them. She raised her hand closed her eyes and concentrated. In her mind she pictured a light forming in her palm. She opened her eyes and there it was shining brightly. A smile spread across her face as she made it grow brighter. Suddenly the sound of footsteps echoed down through the dungeon. He was coming. She closed her hand and killed the light and sat back down.
"Wake up my sweet wife!" He called as he stepped in front of her cell. "Welcome home my sweet. I've missed you."
"I haven't missed you." She said looking into his eyes. "You sick bastard."
"Ohh!!" He made a sad face. "Is that any way to talk to your loving husband?"
"You never loved me!" She spat at him. "I was just something to use to you. You have no idea what love is. You never did!"
"Don't anger me bitch!" His face twisted in anger,
"Or what?" She looked at him smugly. " You'll kill me now? Your bitch goddess won't like that, will she?"
She could see the anger building on his face and wondered how far she could push him. Her dazzling white hair flowing out making her look radiant, she walked over to the cell door and smiled at him.
"Has anyone ever truly loved you, my husband?" She asked him. "A pet? Your mother? Have you ever even had a friend? No? Doesn't that tell you something about yourself? You're a
fucking monster. Far worse then those things you made and you deserve that witch you call your goddess. She's all you'll ever have and know this. She'll never love you, she ."
Balthazar's eyes glowed with rage as his hands shook and he reached for the door and threw it open. She stepped back smiling and raised her hands ready to do battle with him. He stepped into the cell towering over her with murder in his eyes.
"STOP!!" Thundered all through the castle as Muerte appeared outside the door. Both Balthazar and Angela looked out at the flawless evil goddess standing there them. She was dressed in a long red silk gown the color of blood. Her hair almost the same shade and her eyes glowing red, she stared furiously at them. Quickly Balthazar fell to his knees and averted his eyes from her in fear of her wrath wraith. But not Angela. She stood tall and faced her in defiance.
"So you're here at last." Angela said walking past Balthazar to confront her.
"Yes I am daughter of the moon." Muerte said. "And you should be on your knees before me."
"I have no fear or respect for you." She turned her back to the death goddess. "All you can do is kill me. Then you will deal with my parents."
"HOW DARE YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON ME!!" Muerte raged. "I CAN DO FAR MORE THEN KILL YOU BITCH!!"
"Then do it!!" Angela turned and screamed at her. "Do your worst! My father will welcome me in the underworld. And if you try hiding me like you did to them. I will be found and freed. It may take time but many won't rest until they find me. But you and Balthazar will be put down by then. So do as you wish Hag!!"
"It's not you I want. Well, not you alone." Muerte waved her hand at Angela and bands of magic wrapped around her confining her. "It's your children I want."
Struggling against her bindings, Angela fell to the cold stone floor. She didn't understand. She thought Muerte wanted her for revenge against her parents. What could she want Athene and Tanis for?
"You look puzzled moon child." Muerte smiled at her. "You want to know what I want with your children?"
"It doesn't matter." Angela sneered at her. "You'll never get them. I sent them to safety."
"Oh, I'll have them my dear. " Muerte laughed. "You can bet they'll come to save you. In fact, I think they're on their way now. So why don't we get you ready for a family reunion."
"Nooo!!!" Angela struggled against her bonds. Muerte threw back her head and laughed as she turned from her. She looked at Balthazar.
"As you command." He gestured at his struggling wife and she rose into the air and floated behind him as they left the dungeon. Fear filled Angela's heart for the first time. She wasn't afraid for herself, but for Athene and Tanis. She had to find a way to stop this. She couldn't let them died. In her head she screamed for her mother and the father she had yet and may never meet.
Flying would take too long so Jandar used magic to get them all to Tir Na. In the city center he appeared along with Rage, Dreik, Blink, Icicle, Banshee, Jayce and the shadows. As they took their first steps, Jandar stumbled. He was very tired from transporting so many at once. Rage reached out and caught his mate and pulled him close to him.
"Are you alright?" Rage asked.
"I'm fine." Jandar said. " It just took a lot of magic to get us here."
"Then you should rest at your parent's parent place for now." His arm around his waist they all walked up the cobbled lane.
"I don't have time to rest." Jandar pushed himself away from Rage and tried to walked on his unsteady feet. Rage stopped him.
"You will get some rest and let me take care of this." Rage told him. "This is my family too. I won't let any of them get hurt. You understand me?"
Jandar opened his mouth to answer, but he saw the seriousness in Rage's eyes and stopped. He knew better than to argue with Rage when he looked like that. Besides, he needed to recharge.
"I'll do as you say." He pulled him into a kiss.
"Pelic, take him to the manor." Rage let Jandar go and watched as him and Pelic walked away, then he turned to the others.
"We're about to be invaded by Balthazar's warriors." He said. "You all know what they are. Strong scorpion like creatures fast but stupid. Watch out for their stingers, the poison is fatal and Shayn isn't here to heal us. Jayce, I want you and the shadows in the air. None of them can fly and since the sun's still up for a few hours, we won't have to worry about nightwalkers. I want to know the minute you see them."
"We won't let you down." Jayce and Graym spread their wings and took a running start and launched themselves into the air. Rage knew they would do their jobs well.
"Dreik." He turned to the dwarf dressed in brown. "I want a wall around the Wolve's Lair. I want it high and wide. I want it as impenetrable as you can make it."
"I have a few ideas that will help." Dreik smiled and run off pumping his short legs.
"Blink, Banshee." The dour man cocked his head when he heard his name. "Once it gets dark. The three of us will have the job of protecting everyone left here. I'm going to try and get as many as we can out. But they'll be here soon. So I'm counting on both of on you."
"It's just going to be us fighting?" Banshee asked.
"Hell no!" Rage turned and led them through town. "Drake has werewolf troops and Valkar sent his people here too. We should have plenty of help."
As they talked Jandar's brother Tof walked out of the council building and met them.
"Rage, I'm glad your here." He shook the dragons hand." Where's Jandar?"
"At the manor." He said. As they talked they headed for the manor. "Tof, we have to get the women and children out of here. How's Drake doing?"
"He's a bit lost." Tof looked worried. "I've never seen him like this before. Where can Ono be?"
"We'll find him." Rage told his brother in law. "Don't worry. In the meantime, we have to move these people out of here."
All around the Wolves Lair troop were getting ready for battle. Werewolves and vampires working together for the first time in centuries. Rage was amazed to see it. He knew Valkar would be too. He wondered where Valkar was. Last he had heard; he was on his way to Tir Na. Where could he be?
[Valkar!!] He sent out.
[Where are you?] He asked.
[Following the warriors.] Valkar sent. [We are a few hours away.]
[How many are there?] Rage walked into the manor with Tof. Drake was sitting at a window staring out at nothing. Jandar came over with Sharone at his side.
[Valkar?] Rage held up his hand to stop them from talking for a second.
[Less than one hundred.] Valkar sent back. [We'll slow them down.]
[No, just get here. I want us all together.]
"Sharone." Rage looked at Jandar's beautiful sister. "Why are you still here?"
"I have to take care of father." She walked over to her father carrying a drink for him. He looked up and smiled and took the drink.
"You have to take them and go." Jandar said. "It's not safe here."
"No." She said adamantly. "This is our home. We'll fight for it if we have to."
"And I'll put you all to sleep and send you on your way if I have to." Sternly Jandar faced her. "I mean it. Either you take Mother and Father and get to safety, or I'll send you, and you know I can do it."
"No you won't." She said as her husband Aggar and Tof joined them.
"What's going on?" Aggar asked. Tof looked at everyone in the room. Like Aggar he wanted to know why they looked so upset.
"Aggar." He turned to him. "Take them to safety. I'm putting you in charge. Where's Ranjer?"
"In his room." Sharone said. "Mother."
"We don't have much time." Rage told Jandar.
"Get Blink." Jandar said as he started for Ranjer's room. "He can get them out quickest. Tell him to take them to our manor and hurry back. I'll get Mother and Ranjer."
"Now see here!" Sharone yelled at them. "I'm not..."
"Yes you are!!' Aggar stopped her, pulling her to the side. "They're right. You have to go and now. We're being invaded, you understand? We can't defend the Lair knowing you're here and could get hurt. Take them and go, please."
"OK." She reached up and kissed her husband, "I'll do as you ask."
As they talked there was a knock at the door. Tof answered it to find Blink there waiting. Rage waved the dark man over.
"How are things going?" Rage asked.
"Jayce hasn't seen anything yet." Blink told him. "I told them to fly out further then report back. Dreik built a wall around the Lair that rivals the one we have at home. It will hold them for a while. But we're not in this for a long siege, right?"
"Right." Rage said looking over as Jandar carried Ranjer down the stairs with Tressandra following them.
"Blink, I'm glad you're here." Jandar put Ranjer down. He looked up at Blink and scurried behind his big brother hiding from the stranger. "I need you to take my family back to New Keanna where they'll be safe."
"No!" Ranjer cried. "I'm scared."
Blink knelt down in front of Ranjer, pushed the hair from his face to show the dragon tattoo and smiled. Rage and Jandar looked at each other in surprise. This was the first time they had ever seen him smile. He had a nice smile hidden behind that scowl.
"Little one." He said. " I'll let you fly on my back all the way there. And maybe I'll show you how to hide in the dark. Would you like that?"
"Can I Jandar?" He asked pulling his hand. "Please!"
"You're not scared?" Blink asked. "It's gonna be dark?"
"I like the dark." Ranjer smiled. "I can see in the dark really good."
"You'll hold on tight and be good?" Tressandra asked him.
"Yes Mother I will."
"Then you can go." Jandar said. Ranjer hugged his leg and smiled his thanks. "I don't want him riding on your back through shadow. You hold onto him just in case he gets scared."
"Don't worry." Blink smiled at them. "I'll take care of him as if he were from my own egg. Who else am I taking?"
"Me and my husband and daughter." Tressandra went and stood by her husband in his chair.
"Then let's get you out of here." He walked over to help Drake from his chair.
"Come on dear." Tressandra whispered to him. "We're going on a trip."
"Have you found Ono?" He asked getting more agitated as they tried to get him up. "Where's my boy? We have to find him. Jandar where is he!! Help me find him!!"
Jandar and Tof hurried to their father's side to help him. He was getting stronger as he became more upset. Jandar placed his hand on his father's head.
"Quiet now father." He whispered to him. "Everything will be alright. Sleep and dream of us in better days. Dream of Ono as a cub. Rest now."
Drakes slowly stopped struggling and fell back in his chair. His eyes grew tired and he fell asleep. Jandar bent over and kissed his father's forehead then looked up at Blink.
"Get them out of here." He said. " Mother, ask for Rose. She's Blaze's wife. She'll get you rooms and all settled in. This won't take long."
Jandar stood with his mother and Rage as Blink carried Drake out. With tears in her eyes, Tressandra kissed Jandar good bye.
"Be careful." She said and walked out the door.
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