Castle Roland

The Great Skype Hunt

by Jandar Tyr


Chapter 4

Published: 19 May 16

The Great Skype Hunt

Copyright © 2016
by Jandar Tyr

It was late by the time they left the academy and they were all tired. Silvermoon was on the west side of Taggitia, a pretty long flight. Quynn told them he could do it but Mera insisted they stop and rest for the night.

"I don't think we should try looked for the web at night." She said. "Remember what Elan said about those spider things. We should wait until the morning. I'd feel much safer then."

Ranjer whats to argue since both him and Quynn had perfectly good might vision. But he knew she was right and Quynn was exhausted. So they found a nice warm island with no inhabitant and they all went to sleep.

The winds were cold as Quynn sailed through the skies. It was a cloudy day and it was raining litely. Beneath him, all he saw was snow. It went on as far as he could see. He did a roll and zipped up into the clouds feeling free. As he rolled and flipped through the cold air, he heard a noise and looked to his left. To his surprise, there in the sky riding not to far away he saw a beautiful white bird glowing in the sunlight. Quynn knew the moment he saw it what it was. It was a Snow Phoenix. He had never seen anything so beautiful in his life, he couldn't look away as it danced through the clouds. At first he thought it was small like a dove of hawk. Then as he flew nearer, he realized it was almost as big as he was with at least a fifteen foot wingspan and long tail that trailed behind it leaving a frost trail. Its entire body was snow white with sparkling plumage and what looked like a crystal crest on its head also left a trail as it flew. Its head was like that of an eagle, looking regal and proud. As Quynn watched, it turned and looked at him and he saw something in its eyes flash and it turned and flew straight at him. As it approached, he was completely mesmerized. He wasn't scared, he felt no fear, but he did feel something deep in his heart.

Angling his wings, Quynn let it fly up beside him. That's when he heard it call out to his mind.

[Help me!]

The next morning Ranjer hunted a deer and had his fill of its blood then let it go knowing it would recover from the blood lost. Quynn and Mera found some fruit and vegetables to make a nice breakfast. Once they were done, Quynn shifted to Dragon and they were off heading west to Silvermoon and the next ingredient. All the way there, all he could think of was the dream and that handsome bird. Who was he and why did he need Quynn's help? Or was it all just a dream?

High above Keanna in the golden city of Fortis, home of the gods, Tyree the god of the wild and the forest and jungles sat brooding on his throne of stone. He was very angry because some how during the war with Darkshade and the Dragon's, his special place, Silvermoon had been forgotten. What was once a paradise of freedom for the Satyrs, Fauns, and Nymphs was now a horror of spiders, cobwebs and darkness and some of it was his own fault. It had been him who cursed the Dark Elves into the spider form and let them loose on his oasis of nature. He had thought the Dragons and their allies would come to clean out the spiders, and they did. Another of his faithful subjects, Braddoc of Durmista and his clan had come and fought the spiders, but they didn't get them all. They missed two spiders, Pers the spider king and a single queen egg. From these two spiders, hundreds had been born, Enough to over run his oasis and turn it into a place of death and despair. But that was years ago and today a Dragon was heading to Silvermoon and with a little of Tyree's help and some magic, things could all be put right.

As Quynn, Ranjer and Mera headed west, Quynn looked out to see dark clouds covering the entire horizon over Silvermoon. The clouds looked dark, ominous and unnatural. They all could feel something wasn't right here.

"I don't like this." Mera said as she held on to Ranjer and lightning flashed around them. "There's something dark and deadly down there."

"I feel it." Ranjer took her hand into his and held her tightly. "Silvermoon is cursed."

As Ranjer's words faded from their ears there was a great flash of lightning and everything went dark. Seconds later they woke like in a dream. No longer were they riding through the skies on Quynn's back, now they were standing in a grassy field with beautiful summer flowers and butterflies wolves running about. Quynn looked around confused as to where they where and Ranjer and Mera just stood there staring.

"Where are we?" Quynn asked Ranjer.

"Dead?" Ranjer looked at him scared.

"No," Mera said. "We're not dead. Not yet."

"NO." A voice boomed. "YOU ARE NOT DEAD. YOU'RE IN MY GARDEN."

"Who are you?" Quynn asked. "Where are you?"

"I'm here." The voice said. "Just turn around."

As they turned, they found a tall handsome man with dark brown hair and wild blue eyes dressed in a long white toga sitting on a small bench staring at them. He waved them over as another bench appeared.

"Please, sit down." He said. "I need your help."

"Who are you?" Quynn asked again.

"My name is Tyree." He said. "God of the wild. My brothers said I could trust you to help me."

Ranjer, Quynn and Mera bowed before the god of the wild impressed by his gentle statue and his innocence. Tyree heard what they were thinking and made a sad face.

"Innocence." He said. "No, I'm not innocent. We gods make mistakes to and we regret them just like mortals do. That's why I need your help."

"How can we help you?" Quynn asked.

"Not long ago during the last war." He explained. "Queen Talsara sent her Dark elves into Silvermoon to take possession of my land. I care for all jungles and forest, lakes and wildlife, but Silvermoon is special to me. I love the Satyrs and Fauns that live there and treat them like my own children. Talsara's Elves stole my scepter and used her dark magic to turn my children to statues, then smashed them, I became enraged and without thinking, turned them all to spider things. I had hoped the Dragons would come and destroy my mistake, and one of their allies did come and try. But he missed two and from that, hundreds have been born to turn Silvermoon into feeding ground for the Spiders. I want you to fix that mistake."

"How?" Ranjer asked. "We can't possibly defeat that many spiders, If there are as many as you say, we would need all the Dragons and then some. How can we beat them all?"

"By killing the two that got away." Tyree said. "I will send you back to before Silvermoon was over run and all you have to do is defeat two spiders. A male and a female and you will stop Silvermoon from dying. Will you help me?"

"This is what Silvermoon use to like look?" Mera asked as she gazed around at all the flowers and animals in the field."

"Yes." Tyree nodded."Though much better. All you see here is this field. There are glades and ponds, forests and meadows here with an abundance of life, but I need you to help me save it. This is how it looks now."

Tyree showed them images of dead fields with skeleton like trees where nothing lived but the spiders. There was webbing everywhere high and low connecting trees and anything tall. Cocoons with spider victim hung from the trees and desiccated animal bodies hung trapped in webs.

"We'll do it!" Mera shouted without even asking the others. "What do we have to do?"

Tyree stood up and walked over to where they were standing. He reached out and touched each one of them between the eyes.

"Just go to sleep." He said." When you wake up, you will be in Silvermoon in the past. One more thing. There are friends of your there in Silvermoon. Don't let them see you. Good Luck."

It was dark when Quynn woke up and he was lying in a field of thick grass. He sat up and looked around confused for a moment, then unsure if that was a dream or not. He knew this wasn't the island where the Academy was or the one they had spent the night on. And he hadn't crashed so that left only one possibility. It wasn't a dream, this is Silvermoon in the past. Then he didn't have time for doubt if he was to do what Tyree asked them to do. Where was Ranjer and Mera? He stood up and looked around. Then he heard a groan to his left. There was Ranjer with Mera right beside him. Quynn hurried over and shook him awake.

"Hurry up." He said. "Get up. We have work to do."

"What?": Ranjer opened his eyes. He jumped up looking for Mera. "Mera?"

"I'm here." She said as she sat up. "Where are we?"

"Silvermoon." Quynn said. "Remember Tyree?"

"Oh yeah." She snapped wide awake a jumped up." Come on, we should hurry before its to late. They should be fighting still."

"Where?" Ranjer asked as he looked around not seeing anything.

"Hold on." Mera closed he eyes and cast out again with her mind. After a few seconds she opened them again. "Over there. Beyond the hedges."

Quietly the three hurried across the field a and ducked behind the hedges. Pushing through the hedges, they watched as Braddoc and his centaur clan waded into the battle with the spiders. Sword and spear met twin claws and deadly fangs as they fought. Braddoc and his clan dived into the fight with a ferocity that surprised Quynn and his friends.

On the other side of the field, they watched as small Satyr bellowed his rage then grew three times his normal size and ran at a huge Spider thing. A second before the two met, another spider dived in between them and attacked the Satyr while the big spider scuttered away into the forest.

"That's it!" Mera pointed. "That's the one we're after. We can't let it get away!"

"Stay here." Ranjer said. "Quynn and I will go after it. I want you to watch us from here and keep us advised on where it goes."

"I don't like being stuck here." Mera said. "But I'll do it. You just find the spiders, before I get caught here."

"We'll be as quick as we can." Quynn said as he shifted to his wolf form and ran off. [Lets go Ranjer.]

Ranjer kissed Mera and shifted as he ran off.

Through the dark forest they ran. Through the trees and highers as they searched for the spiders. Quynn caught a scent but he couldn't follow it since there had been spiders everywhere, this secent might not be from the two they were looking for.

[Mera.] He sent. [Where are they?]

[There's a lake to your left. Head down that way. They are trying to find somewhere to hide from the centaurs.]

Dodging around trees and over a stream, Quynn and Ranjer raced through the forest. They could hear the battling of the Centaurs and spiders not to far off in the distance and they kept their eyes open for any spider traps and webs. As they leaped over a pile of downed trees, something shot out and snagged Ranjer by the leg. He fell and rolled across the ground banging his shoulder against a rock. Shaking it off, Ranjer sat up and tried to stand only to find there was a long strand of webbing attached to his leg. As he reached down to bite it off, a spider crawled out of the trees and started to reel him in. Ranjer growled and shifted to a form half way between Human and wolf, with strong arms and sharp claws. He grabbed the webbing and with a mighty heave, pulled the spider off balance and toppled it over on its back. With Vampire speed, Ranjer grabbed his sword from his side and drove it down through the spiders thorax then slashed the web strand from his leg and was gone after Quynn.

With a five minute lead, Quynn made it to the lake first. He stopped at the edge of the lake and looked around scenting the air for the unmistakable iron scent that spiders have. Putting his nose to the ground, Quynn wander around the lake with every muscle taunt and ready for any attack. He knew they where there somewhere. The spider smell was so strong it burned in his sinuses. Then all of a sudden, something told him he had to move fast. Quynn leaped to the right just as a spider the size of a small elephant leaped out at him and stabbed at the spot he had been in with its two front legs. Sharp spider claws sank into the ground and ripped out chucks of soil as the spider turned on Quynn.

[So small one.] The spider sent. [You are just in time. I need a snack to hold us until those damned Centaurs go back where they came from. Then we can come out and lay eggs and make Silvermoon the home of a new Spider nation. In a few years we can move on Talsara in Darkshade. We will breed so many children, not even the Dragon will be able to stop us and you will have started it all.]

[I don't think so.] Quynn said as he backed away and started the shift into his dragon form. There in front of Per Lhoris, Quynn became Dragonwolf, a great cross between a timber wolf and a red dragon with all the attributes of both creatures. He had the strength, power and shape of a dragon with wolf features combined with the instincts, bravery and stamina of a wolf. Pers Lhoris stepped back and reared up on his back four legs and held the front two pedipalps ready to battle. Poison dropped down from his fangs burning the ground like acid.

[I don't know how you managed to find me Dragon.] Pers sent his . [But I doesn't matter. You will die and my children will feast on your body to make them strong.]

[We'll see about that.]

Pers shot a string of web at Quynn hoping to tangle him, then wrap him up quick and easy. But Quynn was way ahead of him. He blasted out with his flame and burned the stream of web out of the air then leaped in to attack. With his front paw, Quynn bashed at Pers, beating at his multiple eyed head. Pers slashed back at Quynn trying to use the claws in his tarsus to rip into his dragon hide, but dragon hide was far to tough for spider claws.

Pushing Quynn back, Pers sprayed him with his acid venom. It burned Quynn, searing his scales but it didn't get through them. With a great roar, Quynn grabbed Pers and lauched himself up into the sky. Pers grabbed hold of his body and squeezed trying to crush him as they rose higher and higher into the sky. Quynn held his breath and soared straight up then reached in and tugged at one of Pers eight legs with all his might. As he heard something snap, Pers screamed out in Quynn's mind and stabbed again and again at his side with his other three front legs.

The pain in Quyyn's side was excruciating, He didn't know how much more he could take before his hide split and Pers was tearing into his flesh. But he knew he couldn't stop now. Quynn grabbed two more legs, gritted his teeth and pulled. Pers last leg frantically beat at his head but Quynn kept pulling as hard as he could. As Pers screamed in agony, the two ripped right out of his body. Just then, Pers hit him one more time in his head and everything went black and Quynn fell.

Like a stone he dropped, but some how he turned so Pers was on the bottom. Again Pers screamed, Ranjer heard him and watched as they fell. Quynn hit the ground with a splat that crushed Pers killing him instantly.

Seconds later, Ranjer ran out and found Quynn back in his Human form laying in a crater. Ranjer looked down at his bruised body scared to move or go check on him. He shook his head and shifted to his normal form and jumped down into the crater and grabbed Quynn and lifted him into his arms.

"Cousin?" He cried. "Wake up! Please wake up, I can't do this without you."

Ranjer hugged him close to his body as tears ran down his face. He looked up into the night sky and prayed for help.

"Ranjer." A voice. said. "Your task here is complete. The spiders are all dead."

"Yes." Ranjer cried as he looked up into the starry night. "But so is Quynn. Is this what you wanted?"

"No my hero. He is only asleep and you have earned the gratitude of a god tonight. I will always be watching over you three and when you need me, I will be there. Sweet dreams my hero."

As Quynn slept, he saw someone in his dream. It was a young boy about the same age as he was. He had snow white hair and icy blue green eyes. He was dressed in white linen tunic and pants with a cloak made of some kind of white fur. Somehow Quynn knew this was no ordinary boy, this was the Snow Phoenix he had seen the other night in his dream. He looked sad, as if he had been crying. He was sitting alone on a small cot in a room with bars on the windows. He was a prisoner. Quynn reached out and tried to touch him and get his attention, but just as he did, a dark man walked up to the cell door.

"There's no one left to help you." He said. "No one's coming to your rescue. Your family's dead and you are the last one. You are mine now."

"I will never be yours." The boy said. "Not my mind or my body. He is coming for me and I will be free and there's nothing you can do about it."

"Only in your dreams." The dark man laughed as he walked away. "Only in your dreams."

"You are more than a dream." The boy said as he turned and looked straight into Quynn's eyes. "I am waiting for you Quynn."

When Quynn opened his eyes, he was surprised to find a pair of bright blue eyes staring back at him. At first he thought it was the boy from the dream, then he blinked a few times to focus his vision. It wasn't the boy, it was a Satyr standing over him said hello.

"Aiya my young friend." It smiled. "My name is Zinder, what brings you all to my garden in Silvermoon?"

Quynn sat up and looked around. He saw Mera and Ranjer laying just a few feet away just starting to wake up. For a second he was a bit confused, but then he remembered what the Satyr Zinder had said. He was in Silvermoon. Then memories of Tyree and his battle with Pers Lhoris came flooding back to him. He remembered finding the spider by the lake and their battle. He remembered the pain of Pers stabbing again and again into his side and ripping its legs off and crashing into the ground. It all had been real, not a dream. They really did stop Silvermoon from being infested by cursed spiders. He looked down at Ranjer's leg and saw the webbing still attached there. The ingredient they had come here looking for. Quynn smiled at Zinder and got up and unwrapped the web from Ranjer's leg.

"We just stopped here for a rest." Quynn said as he stuffed the webbing into Mera's bag. "Nice garden you have here. Anything to eat? I'm starved. It's been a long flight."

"Why of course I can." Zinder said. "I can offer you a very nice lunch of fruit and vegetables with a nice spring wine. Just follow me."

Quynn helped Ranjer and Mera up then introduced them to Zinder. Zinder was an older Satyr with grey salt and pepper fur covering his lower parts and dusty grey hair on top. He wore spectacles and a short green vest and walked with a staff. He seemed a happy fellow and very knowledgeable as he showed them around on the way to his cottage.

Silvermoon was absolutely beautiful with lust forests and sparkling lakes. They passed Nymphs dancing in the lake while young Satyrs chased Fauns and each other in a game of tag. Everything here was so peaceful and calm, it would be a wonderful place to live.

Zinder led them to a small cottage in a clearing with a well and a fire circle in the front yard. He asked them to have a seat by the fire while he ran inside and gather a tray of fruit, cheese and wine and brought it out to them. While they ate, Mera took out the list and crossed off the web.

"That makes three ingredients." She said. "We need two more."

"Whats next?" Ranjer asked as he bite into a pear then took a sip of wine.

"Either we find the Skype." She said. "Or we figure out what melts but doesn't freeze. Any idea what a Skype is yet?"

"No." Quynn said between mouthfuls of cheese. "Could be animal, could be a person."

"What about the other?" Ranjer said. "What melts but doesn't freeze?"

"Phoenix blood." Zinder said casually. Then he turned and picked up a loaf of bread. "Bread anyone?"

"Phoenix blood?" Quynn said almost choking. He dropped his cheese as they all turned to Zinder. "How do you know that?"

"Of course Phoenix blood." He laughed. "Phoenix blood is very hot, it can melt almost anything but it can never freeze. You know they live up in the frozen north don't you?"

"Yes I do." Ranjer smiled. "Toric taught a lesson on Phoenix's. I had forgotten about the property's of their blood, but you're right. I burns like acid. I also remember he said there are two different breeds of Phoenix's from two different cities. Casthor and Pollex."

"Which is closest?" Mera asked.

"Pollex." Zinder said. "Casthor is out in Kensor in the east while Pollex is in Fresia. It's north of here."

"You seem to know a lot for a Satyr." Ranjer said. He looked at Zinder suspiciously. "Travel much?"

"I use to get around a little in my day." Zinder collected the dirty dishes and took them to a tub for washing. "I do more then dance and chase Nymphs. I've had a few adventures. Would you like to hear about them?"

"Not right now." Quynn stood up and dusted off the crumbs from his pants. "We have to get going. Thank you for your hospitality, maybe we'll be back one day to visit."

"I'll be waiting." Zinder waved as they left. "Be safe, my heroes."

From Silvermoon, Quynn flew on to northern town of Gordan where Mera went into town and bought a pair of heavy coats, pants and boots for her and Ranjer. Quynn being a Dragon was immune to most weather. Cold weather ready, they were back in the air and heading north.

From Gordan they flew northwest and watched as the landscape went from tropical to a more forest type with more oaks, maples and pine trees. The forest became more thicker and the trees grew higher. Then the temperature started to drop and the mountains reached higher and higher. Mera bundled herself in her coat and some blankets she had picked up while shopping.

As Quynn started climbing up and winding his way through the mountains, it started to snow on them. Mera held out her hand to catch some and watched it melt in the palm of her hand. She had never seen snow before. Pentanthin her home planet was much closer to the sun and had no polar region. There was cold weather, there were even nights so cold frost would cover the ground. But snow was and absolute foreign concept to her and from the smile on her face, Quynn figure she liked it.

As he gazed out at the snow covered mountains, his mind went back to the boy. In the last dream at the end, it seemed like he had looked right into Quynn's eyes. Like he could even see him. Quynn knew he could see things in his dreams, but he had never been seen by anyone while he was dreaming. He didn't even see how that was possible. And how did he know his name? Quynn definitely remembered hearing him say I am waiting for you Quynn. How could he know I was coming?

[Cousin.] Ranjer sent. [What's wrong?]

[Nothing.] Quynn answered. [What makes you think somethings wrong?]

[The day you were born.] Ranjer sent straight into his mind. [I was one of the first to hold you. I was seven years old. Your father put you into my arms and made me promise to always protect you, and I've done that haven't I? I've always been there when you needed someone to talk to or if you were in trouble, right?]

[Yes you have.]

[Don't you think I can tell when there's something on your mind?] He asked. [What is it?]

Quynn was quiet for a few moments, then he decided to open up to his cousin.

[What do you dream about when you sleep?]

[I dream of lots of things.] Ranjer said. [Sometimes I dream of running through the forest chasing after Azeal and Tanis, sometimes I dream of flying with my father Valkar. Sometimes I'm with my other father Drake. What does dreams have to d

o with it?]

[I've been dreaming about someone.] Quynn explain. [Its a boy, I think he's in trouble and he needs my help.]

[Do you know who he is?] Ranjer asked [Or where he is?]

[Not really.] Quynn said. [All I know is that he's a Phoenix and he needs my help. He has no one else and someone is holding him. He's in trouble, I have to find him.]

[Ok.] Ranjer patted his side. [Lets go find him.]

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