Zarin Testa and the Andrake Academy.
Copyright © 2016 by Jandar Tyr
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
Fear the Seventh
The afternoon sun had dipped and evening would soon be upon the brother and sister elves as they rode away from Winterhaven. Adanar kept his sword ready and a spell in mind for use in case it was needed. He pushed them on as fast and as far as he could. He knew they wouldn't be safe until they could get out of Winterhaven's now dark forest. All day while they rode they had heard things in the forest and knew they were being watched. But by what they had no idea. All Adanar knew was that he couldn't allow whatever it was to stop them. He knew how to defend his sister, but he didn't know if he could or what was out there, so they rode.
But soon hunger had them and they both needed rest and so did their horses. Adanar know it was time to find somewhere they could rest so he pushed on. Then he saw just what they needed, a clearing with a small lake.
"Look Emrel!" He pointed. "There's a spot."
"Are you sure?" She asked worried. "We're still in Winterhaven."
"It's the best we'll do for now. The horses need rest, and so do you."
Together they rode into the clearing. It was beautiful with a nice crystal clear lake with swans swimming around. It smelled of fresh violets, so peaceful and calming. Adanar looked around, he didn't see anything but squirrels and woodland animals. This place looked perfect to them. They climbed down from their horses and led them to the lake to drink. From his saddlebag he took a loaf of bread and a wrap of cheese with his canteen for them. Emrel pulled a bed roll from her horse and spread it out. She didn't want to admit it, but she was very tired. She could feel the calming of this place beginning to affect her. She sat down and yawned. Adanar reached down and gave her the canteen and sat down.
"Emrel." He said. "Are you alright? You look so tired."
"Yes, I'll be fine."She said as she opened the water to drink. She tilted back the canteen and drank deep loving the feeling of the cool liquid soothing her throat. Once done she gave it back to her brother.
"Have something to eat." He said. "You'll feel better."
Emrel took the cheese from Adanar then cut it into pieces and passed some back to him. Adanar looked at his sister. Her face looked tired and worried. What was wrong he asked himself. They had escaped Winterhaven and were on their way home but this didn't seem to give her any relief. Adanar had always been closest to his younger sister and could almost read her mind without her allowing him in. Just a look at her face always told him what was on her mind and today he saw fear.
"Emrel, what is it?" He asked. "We're on our way home. You should feel relieved."
"I know brother, but I'm not." She looked away from him her hands in her lap and the food untouched. "Something is wrong. I don't know what, but I feel it."
Adanar reached over and lifted her face to look at him. He wiped away a tear on her cheek and smiled at her.
"You know I won't let anyone touch you." He said. "Your safe with me here."
"Am I?" She said. She gazed around at the forest beyond the clearing. "Are we really safe?"
Adanar look into the forest. He hadn't noticed how silent it had gotten. A chill ran through him. Were they safe? He wondered.
"We should get some rest." Adanar stood and walked to their mounts and took down the blankets they had taken with them. He bought them back to Emrel and handed two to her. "We can move on in the morning."
"I don't know if I can sleep here." She said. "This forest just scares me to much."
"Try sister. I'll stay up and guard the clearing."
Word had come to Tayor from each gate and the barracks of their victory. Success, he thought. He had only one more objective and one thorn left in his side. Insa had somehow escaped him. He didn't know how, but the dragon was nowhere to be found on the grounds of the building. How could he have gotten out? He was completely incapacitated, unable to move or use any magic. He had to have had help to get away. He paced back and forth in the council building trying to figure out who could have helped him. It could only have come from someone from the Academy. But it couldn't have been that damned Testa boy, he wasn't anywhere in Winterhaven. Maybe another professor or maybe one of the last council members he hadn't found yet. There were still five left at large and he had a feeling he knew where they could be found. In the Academy. there's nowhere else they could be.
Suddenly a howling sound began ringing through the room. the windows began to rattle back and forth as Tayor looked around. Tayor clutched his cane thinking he was about to be attacked when the window exploded and blew in. He braced himself for the attack as the torches all blow out. A loud scream pierced the night as something swept into the window. Looking up, Tayor found a beautiful white haired woman dressed in white hovering in the air in front of him.
"Why have you called me?" Sarella asked her hair blowing in her winds.
"Ah my sweet Sarella." He smiled. "You are as beautiful as you were described by my great ancestor."
"The monster that did this to me." She spat at him. "I hope he rots in the underworld."
"You were no saint yourself my lady. If I remember correctly many died at your hands too." Tayor said. "That's why you're here. Your ruthlessness helped make you the Banshee you are now."
"They were my people to do with as I pleased." She wailed. "Now all I want is to get to the underworld so I can be reunited with your great father to have my revenge."
"And you think Nestor will allow that?" He laughed, "The Lord of the underworld would never let you have your way. He does the punishing there. But I have another choice for you."
"And that is?" Sarella settled down to listen to his offer.
"Serve me." He said. "Serve me and do as I say and I can free you and maybe even give you back Kyan to rule again."
"You can do this?"
"I can." He said. "But you have to swear your loyalty to me. Do you swear?"
"If I don't what happens?" She asked. "I could just kill you myself."
"Then you go back to the hole in the ground I called you from to suffer forever until I decide otherwise. And if you try and kill me, you fade to nothing. But I can do this."
He held up his cane as it began to glow. Power began to radiate out causing Sarella's essence to begin to break apart. She pulled at herself trying to hold herself together, but she couldn't.
"I SWEAR!" She screamed rattling the windows. "I will serve you!"
"Good." He lowered his cane. "I may have a job for you. For now, wait in the chapel until I call. Go now my witch."
"Yes master." She flowed back up into the air screaming and out the window. Tayor smiled, he had her where he wanted her and he would use her to his advantage. He would use everyone how and whenever he wanted from now on. Now for the Academy, then to find that dragon.
An eerie quiet had come over the streets since the fighting had come to an end. The city guard force had been take quickly and mostly unaware by Tayor's forces. It was mostly because the city never really thought it could happen. Winterhaven was thought of as one of the wisest most peaceful of cities. But people forgot that there was still darkness there waiting to make its move. Well today it had. Most of the city's people stayed in their homes during Tayor's move for power. The ones that came out had been taken into custody. Their fate would be decided later by the new king. That left Tabor free to wander and search the city. He started at the docks and moved his way in. Street by street he searched with no indications of its whereabouts. Tabor looked north toward the more noble areas of Winterhaven and saw smoke rising from somewhere. He guessed it was coming the barracks where his father's men must still be fighting. He ignored it and moved on into to a row of buildings Tabor knew were homes to higher businesses. Ship builders, exporters. engineers and the more highly praised artisan. Suddenly there at the end of the row he saw three men. They looked down toward him then started in his direction. Tabor focused his sight on them. From here in the low light he couldn't quite make out who they were so he readied a spell for an attack. As they came closer he realized they wore the Larin house colors and he relaxed.
"Young Lord Larin." They bowed. "We have been sent to bring you to you father."
Just then a warm feeling began to grow from his hand. He looked down and saw a soft glow coming from his ring. It was near, he thought. He looked up at the men facing him. He didn't want to go with them now, but he really didn't have much choice. He had to obey when his father called. Tabor looked around at where he was so he would be sure he could return here and continue his search.
"Lead on." He said.
It didn't take long for them to escort him to the council building were Tayor was. There were bodies of dead guards and Tayor's wounded men in the halls as he was led through the hall. Tabor smiled at his father's success. They had won the city. He was now a prince of Winterhaven and soon he would be much more he thought.
Tayor waited for his son in the council chambers. He had had the council table for twelve removed and replaced with the throne he had brought and kept hidden in the lower parts of their house. It was a great throne made of gold and silver with a high back sitting on a dais he had just had put in.
"Father." Tabor said as he stepped up to the throne. "I congratulate you on your success this night. Long live the king of Winterhaven!"
"Thank you my son." Tayor smiled down at him. "And you are now a prince, and as a prince I expect a lot more of you. Tell me, how goes your search?"
"Slowly father." He said. "I am doing this on my own now."
"Your own?" He frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Elan has been summoned by his mother on some task she had for him."
"I have heard of this." Tayor sat back in his throne. "So he is no longer in Winterhaven?"
"No father. They left through our tunnel a few hours ago." Tabor told him. "I gave them horses and a spell to get them safely through the forest. Was that wrong of me?"
"No." Tayor said. "I would have liked to have known, but Talsara is our ally and we must regard her wishes as an importance for now as we may still need her aid. You have done well Tabor."
"Thank you." Tabor bowed to him. "What are you orders for me know my king?"
"The Academy." He told his son. "You know its strengths and its weaknesses. The teachers and students. You will be a great help in its defeat. Find Youron and advise him."
"Yes father." Tabor turned to leave to follow his father's orders.
"Wait." Tabor called. "What of the two Eventide's? Where are they?"
"Gone from the city before Elan even received the message from his mother." Tabor explained. "Would you like me to go after them?"
"No." Tayor waved at him. "I have another for that. You have your orders. Just get me the Academy. And do it fast."
Talsara sat quietly in the lavish room the Eventide's had provided her, deep in thought. She had wicked evil thoughts on her mind and plans to end the Eventide line. As friendly as she had been while here, she was in the home of her enemy and all she could think of was how she could bring them down. She looked down into her lap at the gift she had brought to present the queen mother. A gift which was made entirely to cause the death of her enemy. How she had hated the cursed Eventide's and their damned sacred grove of trees. They were deemed the high ones, over all of the elven kingdoms. Even higher than her family the Darkshades. But their day was coming. Talsara had waited years with her hatred for her chance to bring them down since the day the elven witch had come to her court with her damned prophecy.
She thought back to the cold stormy day in Darkshade palace. She and her mate were holding court, deciding disputes and passing judgements over those before them. The hall was full with nobles and any other with business with their liege lords. She, being the supreme one made all the decisions. Wyn her mate giving advice, but Talsara held her lands with a strict hand. Her punishments were quite severe. After a day long day of rulings, it was told to her that there was just one left to see.
"Bring them in." She told her aid. He called to the guards to let the last petitioner in. The doors open and a tall woman in gray hooded robes entered. Suddenly the great hall became quiet for they all know the Prophetess Hasmira Caldas. Her predictions were known though out Darkshade for their accuracy. All her predictions had always come true. Hasmira had served Talsara's mother and grandmother faithfully in their rule. But her's was a different story. when younger Talsara had caused the prophets lone son Liat to be taken unjustly and executed for something she had done. Talsara had never been caught for her crime. She thought the old woman useless no matter what her grandmother told her.
Walking proudly Hasmira made her way to stand before the throne. There she stopped and bowed. Talsara looked down on her with contempt.
"Why are you here." She asked.
"I have words you must hear Majesty." She said. "So I come before you."
"What could you possibly have to say that would interest me?" Talsara sat back in her throne ready to dismiss the elder Prophet.
"Words that pertain to the fate of the realm." Hasmira pushed back her hood to reveal her aged face. "Does that interest you?"
Talsara opened her mouth to cut her down and order the guards to remove her when Wyn, her mate stopped her,
"We should hear her." He said. "She has always been loyal to the Darkshade. I don't think she would betray us."
"She hates me." Talsara hissed back.
"Hear her." He said. "It's wise to gather all information to make a decision. Your mother always said this."
"Very well." The queen turned back to Hasmira."Speak old one."
"My words are only for your Majesties ears." Hasmira bowed. "Your future is at stake here."
Talsara looked down at the aged woman before her. She didn't trust her but Wyn was right. She would never betray the Darkshade, not even for revenge against her.
"Clear the hall!!" She ordered. Quickly the house guard showed everyone out. Soon Talsara, Wyn and Hasmira were alone in the great hall.
"What have you to say?" She sat back in her throne getting comfortable.
"In the days of the new dragons and when Winterhaven again has a king. Danger will threaten the light and the dark. One tribe will die. Heed these words.
1 and 2 will die.
3 will be wild.
4 will rule fear.
5 will be king.
6 will find seven.
7 will be the destruction of light or dark.
Of Tide or Shade. Fear the Seventh.
Talsara stood furious at the words she heard. How dare this woman threaten her house. She looked down to Hasmira bringing forth a spell to blast her where she stood.
"Na nin meleth!!" Wyn jumped to his feet and took her by the shoulders. Shaking off her mate she pushed him back and faced Hasmira. Anger blazed in her dark eyes.
"What is the meaning of this?" She demanded. "How dare you witch!!"
"I just deliver the warning." She answered. "I am the cause of nothing that will happen. You yourself will be a large part of coming events."
"Of course I will." She yelled. "I am queen. Nothing happens without my knowledge. But you, you will not. GUARDS!! SEIZE HER!!"
"I will my queen." Hasmira spread her cloak open as the palace guards rushed in to take her. "I may even see the end of you!!"
Hasmira spun around in place and in a deafening flash, she was gone leaving only her cloak in her place. Talsara rushed down from her throne and looked around. Damn the witch she thought. She held up her hand to stop the guards and waved them away.
"Damn that witch." She said climbing back to sit with her mate. Wyn looked at her and started to speak.
"Quiet!" She said. He settled back knowing better then to disobey her. Talsara's anger was nothing to play with. What could her prophecy mean? She thought. Something would happen to one of the two tribes. She would have to keep an eyes on the Eventide's. Their fates may be tied together. Only time will tell.
That was over two hundred and fifty years ago, before Emrel or Adanar's birth. Before Elan had been born. Then the Eventide children numbered only five and King Tanyl still ruled their lands. Men ruling their house. Talsara thought that only made them weak and easy to defeat. But she had known Tanyl, he was a formidable ruler. But Evindel would be no match for her. Neither would his weak mate, but Dasyra was different. She and her elder two children the dragons could be a real threat. But Winterhaven should keep the two dragons busy and her gift will take care of Dasyra. She smiled as she lifted the necklace to look at it. It was beautiful, perfect for the house of Eventide. A beautiful bronze oak leaf fit in the palm of her hand, Tayor Larin had made for her. In the center of the leaf was an acorn with a brown amber shell. Talsara gazed into the crystal and watch the light glint off of it. She knew Dasyra would love it. It represented nature and their scared grove. But once she put it on, Dasyra would be doomed. It would bond to her and sap all her magic and strength. Completely putting her to sleep, eliminating her. In a few hours, she would be bed ridden. To weak to even lift her head, to just die in her bed. Then Talsara would be free to execute her plans.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Talsara looked up to the time candle and knew it was time for her audience with Evindel and Dasyra. She put the necklace back in the pouch and wrapped it tight.
"Enter." She called.
The door opened and one of her aids stepped in and bowed.
"My queen." He said. "The Eventide's await you."
"Very good." She took her dark shift from the hook and wrapped herself. "Lead the way."
By the time Elan and Aron had all their supplies ready and had their horses, the sun had set. Tabor showed them the way to the tunnels and bid them farewell. Elan and Aron rode on hard into the evening light. Trying to find any signs of where Emrel and Adanar had gone. But in the darkening light, it seemed impossible. So they found a place to camp and stopped for the night. While Elan set up camp, Aron went through their food to find them dinner. From the Academy's kitchen they had taken some dried fruit and meat. They had found breads they could take and Aron made a meal for them. Once camp was set, they sat down to eat and relax.
"Where are we going?" Aron look at his partner. He had a sadness in his eyes.
"Aron." Elan laid down his plate. "You know what I have to do. I don't have a choice in this."
"Then you will marry Emrel?" He asked. "To join your houses?"
"I think I must."
"And what of me?" Aron looked deep in his loves eyes. "Am I to be the sin that you will hide from this day on? Should I just get on my horse and ride into the forest and let it take me?"
"No, you will always be at my side." Elan reached over and took Aron's hand.
"As what?" He pulled away. "Your whore! I can't do that! I love you Elan. We have taken the oath and we are bonded. Can you toss me aside that easy?"
"No I can't." Elan turned him back to look at him. "I know I can't live without you. You know I could never love Emrel. Perhaps I could do away with her in time."
Aron's eyes flew open in shock at what he had just heard and he jumped to his feet. Since he had been away from his mother, Elan had been a different person. Sure when with Tabor he had been cruel to his classmate. But Aron knew what was truly deep in Elan's heart. He could never hurt another unless they were a deadly threat to one of them.
"So you you could just kill her and be done with it?" Aron shouted his pale elven face twisted in anger. "Is that the man I love? A cruel imitation of his mother the dark queen?"
"Your right Aron." Elan stood and took Aron in his arms. "It is my mother talking in me. That's why I can't lose you. I can't go back to the cold uncaring elf the she sent to the academy so long ago. That boy died the day he met you."
"The what do we do nin meleth?" Tears fell from Aron's eyes onto Elan's shoulder.
"I don't know." He said hugging him close. "But I swear to you now, I will marry none ever but you. We will find a way out of this. That I promise."
"And if we can't?" Aron looked up at him. Suddenly something struck Elan. A familiar look on Aron's face. For a second he could have sworn he looked exactly like the princess Emrel. Then he pushed the hair away from his eyes and saw his love staring back at him.
"We walk away." He said as he kissed his lips. "Just like that."
Tayor Larin sat alone in his newly made throne room and thought about his next move. He knew some how Insa would try and retaliate, even in his present condition the dragon held a lot of power. He would have to get others to do his bidding for him until he could find a way to get back in his body. That meant Tayor would be having dragon problems. He would have to strengthen all the guards he had posted in the city. Maybe some kind of spell that would prevent them from entering without his knowledge. But that would take some strong magic and a lot of time to cast the spell. Right now he had other things to worry about. The academy was still a threat to him. There were many powerful mages there and they were all loyal to the dragon. Tabor and Youron would have to move fast and carefully on them. Then there was Talsara, his ally. The task she set for him was of the highest priority. She had to have the Eventide girl in order for her plans on Eventide to work. And if she could take Eventide, her power would more then triple. She would hold the two most powerful elven kingdoms in the world, and if he could help her, she would be in his debt. He smiled at that thought.
For the second time that night the lights in the room began to dim and the howling began. Sarella was answering his call. A window flew open and she came screaming in looking like some kind of ghostly apparition floating down to him.
"You called?" She asked. "What do you what of me?"
"Yes." He sat back on his throne. "I want you to find a few people for me."
"Why?" She asked staring into his eyes. The banshee tried as hard as she could to send the fear into him. But Tayor held tight onto his cane and her stare had no effect on him.
"Don't waste your magic on me." He said. "I have better uses for it. You are to find two elves. A princess and a prince of enemy houses."
"Kill them?" She asked smiling.
"No, bring them back to me." He told her."Unharmed. Can you do this?"
"I can find them." She nodded. "Once I have their magical scent they won't be able to hide from me."
Tayor pulled from the side of his throne some close personal garments of Elan Darkshade and Emrel Eventide and tossed them to the floor in front of the banshee witch.
"Take them." He said. Sarela cast out her hand and the two pieces of clothing flew up and into her hand. She held them close to her chest, closed her eyes and took in the essences left by their owners. A bright light began to consume them as in seconds they crumbled into dust and fell to the floor.
"Don't fail me." Tayor said. "You won't like the consequences."
Sarella began to laugh and rose up and sped up and out of the room. Tayor watched as she left. He wondered if he had just made a huge mistake. He wasn't so sure the witch could be trusted. Well, he would find out soon enough.
Sitting quietly with his sword across his lap, Adanar watched his sister sleep. Thoughts of younger days back in Eventide ran through his mind. Memories of his family in days past, before the Shadow dragon wars, came to him. He remembered his father and how he taught him how to ride and listening to his stories at night. And his brothers Shael and Zaoir. He thought about Zaoir's wonderful, playful ways and all the games and jokes he played on his brothers and sisters. How mad Shael and Jake would get at Zaoir and chase him around the palace only to catch him and end up in a playful wrestling match. Adanar smiled thinking of his two beautiful sisters Seven and Emrel. Seven and the toys she always built for him and Emrel to play with. Then there was Evindel. Always the serious one following his father around paying close attention to every word he would say. He remembered the day Emrel had told Evindal he would one day be king. How surprised he was at what she had said. They had been together when she told him. Evindal had sat them down recognizing that Emrel had made a prediction of his future. He made them both promise not to mention this to anyone else. Evindal was also the one to recognizes the Adanar's magic. The way he could move things with his mind and how he and Emrel could see spirits around them sometimes. Evindal was the one that convinced their parents to send them to the Academy in Winterhaven. Father had agreed with him that they needed special schooling that could only be found at the academy.
For a minute, Adanar had closed his eyes, sleep had almost taken him. When suddenly he had an old familiar feeling. Someone was there. He could feel them. Quickly he opened his eyes and jumped to his feet brandishing his weapon. Before him floated a ghostly apparition, a spirit. It was an elder dark elven woman in a cloak. Adanar raised his sword ready to face her. She held out her hands.
"Laev sum." She said smiling at him. "I am not your enemy. I am here to help you and yours."
"Who are you?" Adanar asked.
"I am Hasmira of the Darkshade clan." Her ghostly figure bowed to him.
"Darkshade?" He said. He knew of the Darkshades. Elan was a Darkshade. They were not friends to the Eventide's. "What is it you want here?"
"Right now. To protect you." She told him. "And your sister."
"Why would a Darkshade want to help us?" Adanar didn't trust her one bit. He would be careful.
"Balance." She said. "I may be a Darkshade. But I fight for the light. The light must always win and I fear a shadow is passing over you and yours. I am here to give you the little protection I can and a warning."
"Protection?" He asked. "From what?
"You are not in a safe place." Hasmira sat down in front of him slowly. "This forest is controlled by dangerous people. People that are trying to kill you. I have been keeping you safe since you entered this clearing. In the morning I will clear a way through the forest, then you're on your own. But I promise you, your journey won't be easy. There will be people after you. Dangerous people."
"I don't understand any of this." Adanar stood and stepped away from the phantom woman. He looked at Emrel sleeping, wrapped in her blankets. He knew he would do anything to protect his sister and he also knew they were in trouble out here. Then he thought about what she had just said. Something about a warning.
"You said there was a warning?"
"Yes." Hasmira stood back up and began to rise into the air and fade away. "Listen closely. I will not repeat it and when done, I will be gone."
1 and 2 will die.
3 will be wild.
4 will rule fear.
5 will king.
6 will find seven.
7 will be the destruction of light or dark.
Of Tide or Shade. Fear the Seventh.
Seek seven for seven will destroy you.
Or save you.
And Hasmira was gone. Adanar looked around and out into the forest. He knew there were deadly things out there. But he somehow knew Hasmira was telling him the truth and he could trust her. He felt safe suddenly and very tired. He laid down next to Emrel and closed his eyes. Seconds later he was fast asleep. Hasmira appeared once again over them and smiled. Nothing Talsara could do would hurt them tonight, not if she could help it.
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