The Great Skype Hunt
Copyright © 2016
by Jandar Tyr
by Jandar Tyr
The Dragon and the Phoenix
Alone in his cell, Sky Petrus sat and looked out at the starry night. He wished he was out there in the night sky dancing beneath the stars or home in Pollex with his family teaching the young ones the ways of the mountains. Anywhere but here in this cell being held by Janx Develos, the Witch hunter that had killed his entire tribe.
It had all started a long ago when one night when Wynter Ceria, one of his tribes hunters, didn't come home. He had been out with a small hunting party and some how had gotten separated chasing a caribou through a mountain pass. The rest of the hunters had gotten worried when he didn't answer anyone's call and the search couldn't find anything. Not a scent or a mental trail of where he had gone.
Returning home, he was reported missing and for three days search parties went out to search for Wynter with no success until two searchers disappeared. In their Tower of Enchantment, the mystics probed the mountains and valleys for a week before they came across a presence they were unfamiliar with. Master Aster claimed it could only be Wynter or one of the other two missing searchers and they must be in some distress but Master Cynus disagreed.
"I have known Wynter a long time." He argued. "And I know his mind when I touch it. The mind I felt out in the mountains is dark and sinister, that is not Wynter Ceria."
"Then who is it?" Aster asked. He he walked around the table his dark feathered robe pushed back over his shoulder to confront the elder Cynus Silas. "There's no one else out in those mountains but the lost three. I've personally checked every cave and trail and found nothing. If you feel something, it can only be that fool Wynter."
"Have a care Aster Telor." Cynus looked up with glowing eyes. "Wynter is no fool. He is one of our senior hunters and a trusted friend. He deserves respect."
"As does Master Cynus." Asam Arryn of Casthor in the east said as he slammed his fist down on the table. "You forget your place here in the Phoenix council of Sun and Snow. You will show respect to your elders whether they be members of this council or not."
Aster looked around the table at the five mystics assembled there and knew he had spoken out of place. He longed for leadership here but it wasn't his time. But soon that could change if plans he had set in motion went his way.
"My apologies." He said as he bowed to the table. His dark eyes never left Cynus or Asam as he watched to see if they had any suspicions in him. "I meant no disrespect to you or Master Wynter. These are just such strange events and I've been so busy with the search my mind is on edge."
"Then you should rest." Jonik Jon, another member from Casthor said from across the table. "You have been working to hard. All those trips into the mountains, one would think you might have found something."
"If I had." Aster said from the door. "You would know."
Then he turned and with a flourish of his robe he was as gone. Jonik stood and walked around to stand by Cynus and Master Chace of Pollex and watched Aster hurry down the hall.
"There's something about him." He said. "I get the feeling he's up to something. Are you sure he had nothing to do with the disappearances?"
"No." Cynus shooked his head. "He is not my first choice for membership in this council, but he has proven he had the power to be here."
"But does he have the wisdom?" Chace asked. He stood and went to look out at the snowstorm raging outside. "He has proven his power and ambition, but I see very little compassion in him. It scares me."
"He has powerful backing." Cynus reminded them. "King Raine himself stood behind him and requested his admission."
"I understand that." Asam said. "But I still have my doubts and my questions. But he is from your city, that makes him your responsibility. I hope he doesn't let you all down."
"So do I" Cynus said as they all got up to leave.
"Asam" Cynus stopped him. "I would like a moment of your time."
Asam told the other to go on without him. He wrapped his gold and red cloak about him and walked with Cynus to his private office. They went in and he shut the door and cast a spell of privacy over the room.
"Asam." Cynus sat down behind his desk. "I think your right. There's something dark going on here and I think Aster is behind it."
"What are you thinking?" Asam asked. "A coup? Is he trying to take control of the council?"
"Maybe." He said. "I'm not sure. One of my apprentices came to me a told me about a dream he had. He said a dark man would come and with help of a Snow Phoenix with dark feather, they would destroy Pollex."
"And you believe him?" Asam pushed his hood down so his bright red hair would flowed down his back. "Has the boy been tested yet?"
"No." Cynus said. "But I know this boy and I trust him."
"But you can't arrest the kings adviser without proof he's done something." Asam frowned. "I see your dilemma. What do you need from me?"
Cynus sat back a thought for a second. There really wasn't enough information for him to do anything yet.
"Just advise." He said. "And maybe to see if you had sensed anything amiss in our city."
"I feel tension." He said with his eyes closed. "There is something on the horizon for Pollex and it doesn't feel good. I advise you to keep your eyes on Aster and to find out where he is going out in the mountains. Jonik is right, there is something out there and Aster knows what it is."
"Thank you my friend." They stood and shook hands." I will take your advice."
As the door opened, Cynus's spell of privacy dropped he ushered Asam out to the towers exit where he shifted to his blazing Phoenix form and took off for Casthor.
Returning to his office, Cynus took off his blue and white long coat and hung it on a hook behind his desk, the walked to the great picture window and stared out at the storm. He had a lot on his mind with the missing Phoenix's out there in the mountains. He knew the storm couldn't hurt them but he was worried about what it was that was holding them. Something had to have them or they would just fly home. And what was Aster up to? And then there was his apprentice Sky Petrus and his dreams. What did they mean?
He was late and Sky flew at top speed between the high towers of Pollex. He had been tutoring one of the sons of King Raine and lost track of time. He was supposed to be back at the Tower twenty minutes earlier for a test with Master Aster, and he was not very tolerant of tardiness. That meant Sky should expect some form of punishment. And knowing Aster, that would probably mean pain. That was one of the reasons Sky hated having to take classes or any lessons with Aster. One reason, the other was because he was afraid of Aster Telor.
Master Aster was not like the other six Snow Phoenix mystic masters. He was not a gentle or tolerant man. At least not to Sky he wasn't. He was man of two faces. The one he showed the king and his elders was a mask of obedience and confidence. The face Sky and the lesser apprentices saw was cruel and vindictive. he taught with a hard hand and punished failure swiftly. Sky knew of a few who had worked tirelessly to please Aster and failed and had their powers and abilities bound because of Aster's jealously. But that isn't really why Sky was afraid of him.
Two nights ago while Sky was in a deep sleep, he started dreaming he was running through the streets of Pollex being chased by someone. At first he couldn't see who it was that was chasing him. He ran from his parents house through the streets. He tried to shift and get airborne but for some reason, he couldn't. It felt like there was someone in his head blocking his ability to change forms. He couldn't get his natural Phoenix form or his polar bear form so he kept running trying to get to Master Cynus and the safety of his tower.
From his house he ran through the market place and into the park. Once in the park, he ran into a dark man that reached out and tried to grab him. Sky ducked under his arms and made it out of the park only to find Aster standing at the entrance to Cynus's tower. As Sky approached the tower, Aster grabbed him and held him until the dark man came and bound his hands and feet in chains and they dragged him to the palace. The next thing Sky knew, the royal palace of Pollex was in flames and he could hear people screaming as the rest of the city burned and Aster was standing there watching while the dark man laughed.
Sky woke that morning and screamed as he felt a burning feeling in his arm. As he sat up in bed he looked at his arm and found a huge burn there. For the rest of the night he didn't sleep. He sat up in bed and stared into the night, The next morning, he went to the tower and told Cynus all about his dream. Master Cynus listened while he told him about the dream with interrupting or asking any questions until Sky was done.
"Are you sure it was Master Aster in the dream?" He asked.
"Yes Master." He answered. "I'm sure. I saw his face and his blue, black and white robes."
"And you didn't recognize the dark man?"
"No, I've never seen him before." He said. "But I would know him if I saw him again."
"Maybe it was just a nightmare." Cynus said trying to sooth his mind. "It could just be your worry's about passing your test with Aster."
"I don't think so." Sky said. "This isn't the first time I've had dreams like this. Three times before I've had dreams and in a few weeks, they came true. I dreamed of you two weeks before you found me and took me as your apprentice. Do you remember last year when I came to you and told you that his majesty had had an accident? I saw it in a dream. And there was one more dream, it was about a dragon."
"A Dragon?" Cynus looked at him confused. "There hasn't been a Dragon visit he in a long time."
"Not yet." Sky said. "He's coming for me. My dreams are real master. Master Aster is going to betray us and Pollex will burn."
In a grim mood, Aster Telor made his way through Cynus's Tower of Enchantment pushing anyone that got in his way aside. He went from the meeting room to one of the masters private balconies and spread his robe open and made the shift to his Phoenix form. In feathers of blue, black and white he launched himself out towards his own small tower and sailed off. From high above Pollex he looked down on the city with anger. His will had been thwarted again. Cynus and the rest of those old bastards had smacked him down again and put him in his place as the lowest member of the council. He had even had to apologize for a comment about that old fool Wynter. It erked him that they took so much pleasure in reminding him that they were all his seniors. Well no more he swore. That was the last time he would ever bow to any of them. He was tired of bowing to them and that idiot King Raine and his useless family. Tonight he would step out and take what he wanted.
As he dropped down onto his towers top balcony, Aster shifted back to his Human form. Aster Teler was a tall man at six foot two inches. He had black hair and a trim mustache and goatee with dark brooding eyes and a long straight nose. He wore a robe of blue then black then white feathers that was long almost to the floor. Beneath that, a deep blue tunic and pants of linen.
From his roof entrance, Aster took the stairs down and into his office and grabbed a chair and threw it against the wall and screamed out his rage then swept everything off his desk.
"Something on your mind?"
Aster spun quickly with a spell ready to blast the intruder to find Janx Develos leaning against the wall by the door. He lifted his hand to let the spell fade and picked up his chair.
"Tonight it ends." He said as he sat down. "Gather your hunters. Tonight they all pay and I take want should be mine."
"Then you agree to my terms?" Janx said. "You get what you want, and I get what I want."
"Yes." He said. "Just make me king here and you can have anything you want."
"Then it starts at midnight." Janx turned his dark coat whipped around and smoke erupted all around him. "Be prepared."
He disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
As the Spider and the Dragon plunged to the ground, Sky tossed and turned in his bed. He could tell the Dragon was no longer conscious. Then with a loud crash, they hit the ground and Sky leaped up from his dream with a scream.
He wiped the sweat from his face and leaned forward with his head in his hands. He was worried about the Dragon after that fall. Was he alright? His heart beat like a drum when he thought of the handsome boy the Dragon was. Sky prayed to Rimnar, Saila and Atol the god of love that he was. Then something caught his attention, it was a smell. He jumped to his feet and run to the window when he realized that the smell was smoke. Something was burning. As he looked out the window he saw smoke rising from the palace, and Cynus and Denil's tower. In fact all the towers except Aster Telor's was burning.
Grabbing his fur cloak, Sky ran from his room and ran down the hall to the stairs and headed for Master Cynus's quarters. He had to try and save him from the fire. His quarters were two flights up from Sky's and he took the stairs two at a time until he reached his floor and pushed open the hallway door. Smoke bellowed out as Sky opened the door. With a wave of his hand, he forced the smoke back and ran in. As Sky ran down the hall, shadowy dark figures darted around from room to room. When he reached Master Cynus's room, one of the shadows grabbed at Sky. He leaped up and kicked out and felt his foot connect with something as he knocked it back out of his way. Landing back on his feet, he cast out with his cold energy and sent a frigid blast of ice at the intruder then turned as another came in from behind him. He ducked under a swing and grabbed the intruder and tossed him back out of a window.
With the way clear, Sky dashed into Cynus's quarters and hurried in to look for his master.
"Master!" He called. "Master Cynus, where are you?"
"Here." Came a weak answer from the side of his desk. Sky hurried over and found Master Cynus laying there bleeding from a dozen stab wounds to his chest and body. Sky picked him up and started to try and take him out of the tower.
"No." Master Cynus said. "I'm to weak to shift. I can't fight or fly anymore. Leave me here to die in my home."
"No Master." Sky cried. "Please let me save you."
"Go Sky." He said. "Get out of Pollex. Go find your Dragon, I will rise again in time and see you again. You were right, Aster betrayed us. Go before he finds you. Help your Dragon to avenge us."
"I will Master." Sky hugged him then laid his body down and went to the window and looked back.
[Go my son.] Cynus sent weakly. [Go and stop him and the dark man from getting to Casthor.]
Sky leaped from the window and shifted to his Phoenix form and took off high into the sky.
As he flew he saw that all of Pollex was a blaze. His next thought was of his parents. He had to go and help them get away.
Diving down, he soared through the towers and to the area where his parents lived. Beneath him he could see the shadowy figures all over the city setting fires and attacking and slaughtering his people of Pollex. There were hundreds of them. Somehow, Aster had let them into the city during the night and just like in his dreams, they had set the city on fire.
With his parents house in sight, Sky dropped down to land and shifted as he ran around the side of the small house. As he approached the front door, he didn't notice the smoke seeped from under the door or the cracks in the windows. He reached for the door and started to turn the knob then something in his head started screamng and he erected a force bubble around himself just as the house exploded.
Like a leaf in the wind he was thrown back to land 30 feet away. As he shook his head and sat up he looked out to see the houses all around had been demolished by the blast. Then he realized what that meant. His parents were dead, and since they had died in the explosion, they wouldn't be coming back. Sky got up on his knees and looked around to see the dark things rushing forward at him. He was so angry he screamed out his rage and sent a pulse of icy energy out freezing the attackers.
"Very powerful." Said a voice out of nowhere. "But not powerful enough!"
Janx Delelos appeared from a burst of smoke and started walking towards Sky. Sky jumped to his feet and hurled a blast of ice at the Witch Hunter. Janx waved it off and laughed at him. Janx Develos was a tall man with eyes that were black as coal with no white at all. He was completely bald, pale and hairless and dressed totally in black from his black coat, shirt and pants to the strange shadowy cloak he was wearing.
"Who are you?" Sky asked as he backed away.
"My name is Janx Develos." He said looking perverted and evil. "And I am your new master and owner. Your body and your soul are now mine to do whatever I want with. And I promise you, we are going to get to know each others body very well."
Sky was horrified at the idea of this man touching him. He turned and ran off into the burning city trying to get away from him. Behind him he could hear him laughing.
"Run if you want. You can not escape me!!"
From the ruins of his parents house, Sky ran through the city. He tried many times to shift and fly away but for some reason, he couldn't take either of his mystical forms. At the marketplace he ran into another group of the shadow things and was able to fight them off and run back towards Master Cynus's tower. There, he ran into Aster Telor who with a back hand smack, knocked him back and to the ground. As he scrambled to get up, Janx appeared behind him and grabbed him and sent a burst of some strange energy into him and knocked him out.
"You have done your part." Janx said as he hoisted Sky over his shoulder. "Now you get your reward."
Aster smiled thinking that meant they would be on to Casthor where they would take that city and he would become its king. Instead, Janx blasted Aster and he screamed as he burned without leaving any dust, ash or even smoke.
As the Polidor Mountains came into view, Quynn, Ranjer and Mera looked out and noticed smoke rising from the north end of the range. At that moment, Quynn knew that was where they were supposed to go. That had to be Pollex burning.
"Look at that!" Mera pointed north. "Something is burning out there."
[Yeah.] Quynn sent back. [That's Pollex. That's where we are heading.]
"How do you know?" She asked. "That could be just some forest fire out of control."
"No." Ranjer told her. "I think he's right. That's Pollex burning out there. There's something I didn't tell you. Quynn has been having these dreams about a boy in Pollex. He dreamed the city was burning and we, Quynn at least he's supposed to go help the boy."
"Since when are you having precog dreams?" She asked. "I thought that was my part.?"
[I don't think I'm having the dreams.] Quynn told her. [I think he's sending them to me.]
"Why you?" She asked.
[Because he's special to me.] Quynn said shyly. She could feel there was more but he didn't want to say it yet. [It feels like he's a part of me.]
"Like a brother?"
[Like you and me.] Ranjer squeezed her hand. [Let's just help him save him and don't ask questions for now. He'll tell us when the time is right.]
"Ok." She said. "We'll do anything you want. Do you know where to find him?"
[He's not in Pollex anymore.] Quynn sent. [He's been taken somewhere else.]
"Can you find him?" Ranjer asked.
[I'll try.] He said. [But I can't do it while I'm flying. I'm going to set down there on that slope and try looking for him.]
Quynn spiraled down and landed on a snowfield and let Ranjer and Mera climb down off his back then shifted back to his Human form.
"I'm not really sure how I should do this." Quynn said. "This is new to me."
"If he's been sending dreams to you." Mera said. "Then there's a connection between you too. Think about him and how you feel about him. Get a clear picture of him in your mind then call out to him. If there's a connection, he'll answer. Close your eyes and try it."
Quynn closed his eyes and thought about the boy. He remembered his handsome face and the magnificent Phoenix that he had shifted to. He felt him in his heart. At that moment he felt love for the boy then suddenly he felt pain and he knew the boys name was Sky. He called out to him.
[Sky! Its me Quynn. Where are you?]
[Quynn? My Dragon?]
[Yes.] Quynn answered. [Where are you? I'm here near Pollex. Show me where you are.]
[I'm here.] He sent. and Quynn saw a picture of a small dark castle in his mind. Quynn could feel Sky and knew where the castle was and how to get to it.
[Hold on.] Quynn sent. [I'm coming to get you.]
[Hurry Quynn. Please hurry, he's going to do things to me.]
As he said that, Quynn felt in his mind exactly what he meant and was horrified. He opened his eyes and shifted back to Dragon form.
[Get on.] He told Ranjer and Mera. [I know where he is.]
Without another word, Ranjer and Mera climbed on and held on tightly as Quynn started to run and took off.
Develos Castle was not that far from Pollex. He had been watching the city for years and lusting after some of the handsome young boys he had seen there. For years he had snatched one or two of the young ones or hunters if he found them alone out in the snow. He had gotten tired of hunters and stragglers and wanted something better. Then he saw Sky and decided it was time he took a Snow Phoenix to keep and use whenever he wanted. Janx had probed Pollex and found Aster and read his jealously and his thirst to rule and knew he could use him to get the boy he wanted. Now he had him and he had plans to use the boy then move on to Casthor where there was another supply of handsome young Phoenix boys.
After he had returned to his castle, Janx locked Sky away went to his study to rest and set up his torture instruments for a busy night. He didn't plan to kill Sky just yet. He wanted him to last as long as he could, weeks or months depending on how strong the boy was.
After getting so rest and doing all the preparations on his torture room. Janx had Sky brought down and chained up to the wall.
"Are you ready to begin?" He asked as he went through his assortments of whips and picked out the one he wanted. Sky fought against the chains and tried to get loose.
"Relax." Janx smiled licking his lips. "You might like this."
Janx walked behind Sky and ripped the shirt from his back. "Your skin is so beautiful, so white and lovely."
He struck out with the whip across his back. Sky screamed, he hit him again and again as the member in Janx's pants started to swell. Sky screamed sending his pain out to Quynn. Janx laughed hysterically as he beat the boy. Then he put down the whip and stepped to Sky and ripped off his pants and stared at his naked body.
Just then he heard a great roar as Quynn came tearing through the wall. Janx dived back and held out his hands and sent a bolt of power at Quynn. Quynn folded his wing in front of him and deflected the bolt off to crash into a wall. Janx ran over and dived out the window,
[Get Sky out of here.] Quynn sent as he followed the dark man. [Leave him to me.]
"No Quynn." Ranjer shouted. "I can help you in this fight."
[No.] He sent, [This is my fight. I have to fight for Sky. I think I'm in love with him and I saw in the dark man's mind what he wanted to do to him. His mind was disgusting and he has to be stopped. Keep him safe until I get back.]
With that said, Quynn dived through the hole in the wall and flew out into the night.
As Quynn sailed out through the hole, he scanned the sky for his enemy. A flash of darkness gave away Janx's position, He was there high over Quynn flying with bat like wings spreading out from his back. Janx dived down and shot a bolt of power to him, Quynn ducked and spun around and lashed out with his tail to strike at the dark man and almost knocked him from the sky. Janx formed a series of power balls and launched them at Quynn. Like arrows they streaked down at him, he used his wings to bat each one away from him then roared and blasted Janx with his flame. Janx did a flip in the air to avoid the flames then pulled a sword and dived at Quynn. As he swing down at Quynn, he hit him in the back and Quynn fell. Janx laughed in triumph as he watched Quynn fall, he thought it was over and he had won but Quynn was only dazed. He spread his wings and caught an up draft then turned and launched himself back at the dark man.
Seeing the Dragon coming back to continue fighting, Janx spread his arms and summoned his power at he thought would finish off the Dragon. With his energy building he waited until Quynn was close enough then launched his bolt at Quynn's chest.
Everything that had happened to Sky flowed through Quynn's mind. The death of Master Cynus, the explosion and the death of his parents, the pain of the beating and the destruction of Pollex and all its people. All this filled Quynn's mind and triggered the power he had inherited from his fathers. Rage's strength and will and Jandar's power as a master mage. His eyes started to glow and it spread all over and through his body. Quynn let out a ear piercing roar as a bolt of power shot out from him to meet the dark mans bolt. As it met the bolt, it pushed it aside and flew straight at the dark man. When it hit him he screamed and exploded in a burst of dark energy then he fall and crashed into his castle and it crumbled around him and sank into the ground.
Exhausted, Quynn flew down and found Ranjer and Mera cradling Sky surrounded by the bodies of about 20 of Janx's dark creatures. Ranjer and Mera had been fighting them while Quynn fought their master. Landing, Quynn ran over and dropped down and pulled Sky away from Ranjer and held him close. As he gazed down at the boy with his white hair in his face, Quynn bent down and kissed his lips. Sky's eyes fluttered open and he looked up at Quynn and smiled weakly.
"I knew you would come." He said with a tear in his eye, "I knew you would save me. I saw you in my dreams."
"You are my dreams." Quynn said as he smiled at him. "And my future."
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