Authors: Brae Wyckoff
The image of the Dark One screamed in contempt of the ordakian’s actions. The face fizzled, and the swirling whirlpool returned. Xan’s eyes flared wide in shock, but since there was nothing he could do, he did not leave his position. For reasons known only to Bridazak, the ordakian was now gone. Xan surely believed he would be seen again when they all went back to Heaven to reunite.
pilf placed his shaky hands upon the pedestal. The Stone of Earth ignited once again. Raina blocked what she could of the whipping, heated wind. Spilf yelled as the pain wracked his body from the protruding broken rib. The beam of light intensified as it shot out into the Dragon Stones, and the green rock exploded, causing the emerald headed beast to fade from existence.
Holding up their arms to shield themselves from the dust and debris, El’Korr and Rondee, leaning into the cyclone, stood their ground and finished off the final rock elemental. The shattered fragments instantly caught in the wind.
It was time to deal with the evil mystic and stop the chaos. El’Korr alerted Rondee with a tap on his shoulder and then trudged closer toward Veric.
Raina closed her eyes and cast a spell. Her voice echoed in the ears of the heroes, “Dal-Draydian’s power grows when you lose focus. All four elements are required to be in unison. Concentrate on the power of the element and your inner strength to destroy the stones.”
One by one, the adventurers turned from the defensive into a resolute determination to end the pandemonium. Strong pulses of energy surged into the remaining Dragon Stones. The black rock split apart and crumbled, and the ebony headed beast writhed and roared in pain as it faded away, being overtaken by the power of the elements. The red dragon, still
spewing its fiery breath into the ceiling, suddenly ended its torrential flames. It reeled back in distress. Shards of red rock flew in all directions. The distinct sound of shattered glass could be heard faintly through the maelstrom as the spirit held captive within was silenced forever.
The final dragon head remained—Dal-Draydian.
Daysho saw that Veric’s back and his target, the nape of the mage’s neck, was to him. The time had come. With the end of his mission in sight, to the point where he could almost taste his reward, he took precise deliberate steps toward Veric.
The violent gale continued to increase, but the air around Veric remained calm and soundless as he held his staff high above his head, causing the vortex beyond his safe zone to appear, from a distance, like looking through blurred glass.
Daysho had come to the moment that would mark his greatest kill. His honed body zeroed in on the distracted mystic with his blade, positioned perfectly, and ready to strike. Standing behind the mage, he quickly flicked his wrist, swiping his weapon at Veric’s neck, but his sword struck the wizard’s staff, which Veric held at a precise position to intercept his attack. On impact, Veric turned sharply to face Daysho, who had stepped out of his invisibility stream in order to take his long-awaited action, relinquishing the magic of his cloak.
The bloody-faced one-eyed wizard smirked, “It saddens me Daysho, that you think me so weak. Did you imagine that I would not be able to defend myself against a lowly assassin like you? Mistress Ravana of the West informed me that you might betray us. She was right, as always.”
Daysho backed away, stunned at the counter knowledge revealed by Veric. His house of cards now tumbled before him, he needed to escape the situation before the mystic incinerated him.
Veric continued taunting him, “What, no words of wisdom from the fool that walks in shadows? I am surprised at your silence. You spoke to me as an equal before and now where is your resolve? It seems, it has suddenly vanished, but don’t be frightened, Assassin.” He snarled, “Death is inevitable,” and pointed his staff at Daysho. Suddenly, Veric was struck from
behind and sent sprawling on the ground. He quickly rolled over and saw the dwarves hulking over him.
“Death is certainly inevitable,” El’Korr exclaimed as his hammer boomeranged back to his hand.
Rondee jumped in the air and brought his mighty maul down to strike Veric, but the mage deftly turned sideways and the weapon struck the rock, blasting fragments in all direction.
Daysho backed toward the tunnel exit as the dwarves fought within the shielded globe of space Veric had around himself.
El’Korr stopped him, “I am not sure of your motives, but if you want to finish what you started, then don’t be leaving just yet. We can be using another sword, right about now.”
Suddenly Veric magically jumped to his feet and chimed, “Yes, Daysho, leaving so soon? After I take care of these minor specks then I will deal with you.” He launched a lightning bolt from the rod in hand. It sizzled through King El’Korr and sent him flying into the wall.
Rondee swung his giant hammer, which slammed into Veric’s right leg, flipping the human in the air and slamming him on his stomach.
Veric looked up, growled at the wild dwarf, and pointed his staff. A black serpent-like pillar of smoke sprung toward Rondee and wrapped around his neck. He dropped his weapon, attempted to pull the summoned creature from his body, and gasped for air. The wild dwarf could do nothing on his own but the wild magic inside finally burst forth. He phased into a ghostlike image of himself. The phantom snake had nothing to grab hold of and dissipated. Rondee reached for his weapon but could not pick it up as he remained in his spectre form and could do nothing until his unpredictable wild magic wore off. Veric popped to his feet and turned toward Daysho at the tunnel opening.
“Where were we? Oh, yes, I was about to destroy your soul.” He bore his staff at him, but before he could utter the command word and release the power held within, the area suddenly was silenced. His lips moved but no sound came forth. Veric twisted backwards as El’Korr’s hammer slammed into his chest and he soared through the air, landing next to Daysho.
Raina had magically silenced this section of the room with her spell just before Veric could do anymore damage.
Veric saw her from his crumpled position, barely able to breathe from the hammer’s impact. He desperately needed his voice in order to cast his invocations.
Daysho watched Veric struggle to breathe; the dwarf’s powerful weapon had partially caved in his sternum. Daysho palmed Veric’s bald head with his left hand, bringing the mage to a sitting position, and then lopped his head cleanly off with his longsword. No blood came from the stump because a pulse of magical energy, a potent enchantment upon Daysho’s blade, cauterized the wound. He retrieved the hairless, tattooed head, and placed the trophy inside the empty sack dangling from his belt.
El’Korr and Rondee watched the assassin as he nodded in thanks, pulled his hooded cloak over his face, and disappeared from their sight.
The sounds of the chamber returned when Raina ended her spell of silence. At that point, the cyclonic wind dissipated and everyone refocused their attention back to the remaining dragon, who was writhing in pain and anger at the elements that held him at bay.
Rondee, still within his phased state of being, saw the blue beast stretch its spirit from its body toward Raina and El’Korr, who could not see the ethereal form. It prepared to attack as they unsuspectingly watched the dragon’s body struggle against the beams of light shooting at it from the positioned heroes. Rondee stepped in front of the beast and it recognized that the wild dwarf could see his true nature. Dal-Draydian knew he was losing. His eyes flared wide in anger, and in a sudden moment of desperation, the blue dragon head lunged for Dulgin, who was still focused on the Sky Diamond before him.
“No!” Rondee yelled, stepping in the path of the attack. The magic contained inside him folded within itself, expanding his ghostlike body into a gigantic shield of energy. Dal-Draydian rammed it and Rondee materialized, bringing the dragon spectre along with him back to the plane of reality. The wild dwarf flew backward, slammed into the chamber wall and slunk to the floor, blood gushing from the horn wounds caused by the dragon. The specter of the beast violently reeled back into the writhing body. El’Korr ran to his bodyguard. Raina waved her hands, uttered a command word, and teleported across the chamber next to her brother, Xan. She touched his shoulder, combining their force. The white beam emanating from the Pearl of the Deep intensified and surged.
Raina said to Dal-Draydian, “I want you to look into the eyes of the one that brought you your demise, Dragon.” The blue headed behemoth swung its scaly face in front of her. It’s silvery glistening eyes sparked with electrical charges. The elf continued, “I am Raina Sheldeen, the great mystic of the Elves.”
Dal-Draydian snarled at her. “My hate for you, Elf, is beyond measure. If there is a way, I will find you, even under the veil of the underworld.” The dragon then reeled back in pain, lurching, contorting, and diminishing in size as the final blue stone cracked and it crumbled into dust.
El’Korr sat, back against the wall, embracing his longtime friend. Rondee’s blood soaked both of the warriors, gushing from the wild dwarf’s chest and waist, where the horns of the beast had punctured his body. His wounds partially closed, and opened up again, as his body phased in cycles between the material plane and the ghostly one. The healing El’Korr had summoned again and again could not overcome the wild magic within Rondee, as it burst out in fits about them. The loss of blood was very great. King El’Korr whispered, holding back tears, “I can’t heal you this time, my friend.” The faithful Rondee phased fully into his physical being for the last time, coming to rest in his king’s arms. El’Korr said quietly to God, “Take good care of him. I expect him in tip-top shape upon my arrival.”
Dragon flesh folded into itself, wings snapped off and fell away, sizzling out of existence. The tail ignited like a fuse and disintegrated along with appendages. Popping of bone curling back within itself echoed in unison with its gurgled cry. Within seconds, a brilliant flash of light caused everyone to look away and then faded, casting the chamber into a low resonating glow from the four elements at their stations.
A high-pitched birdlike screech alerted the group, and Rozelle, in her new hawk form, swooped down and grabbed hold of the unconscious Trillius falling downward into the slow moving portal to the underworld. Rozelle snatched hold of the gnome with her claws and flapped her giant wings, bringing them both to safety on the outer walkway. She instantly morphed back to her true self and held Trillius close to her bosom. Trillius’ eyes were closed, but he was breathing. She looked up with tear-filled eyes and pleaded, “Somebody help him.”
The battered and scorched heroes gathered around as Xan kneeled, whispered his incantation, and then laid hands on the gnome’s chest. The healing was administered, however, Trillius still did not awaken. Xan stood and waited. Rozelle looked around frantically as the heroes watched.
“There is nothing more I can do,” said Xan.
Rozelle, crying, kissed Trillius. She reeled back, suddenly startled when Trillius opened his eyes and stared back at her.
Trillius chimed, “Well, if that is how a gnome needs to garner a kiss these days then I will have to play dead more often.”
Xan and Rozelle couldn’t help but chuckle; Trillius was back to himself once again. The gnome said, “I had an amazing dream of riding a five-headed dragon all over Ruauck-El and then I found myself inside a huge room filled with mounds of treasure as far as my eyes could see and chests laden with gems strewn about. It was truly heaven.”
Again, they laughed and then Xan said, “Nice to have you back.”
Trillius looked around at all the unfamiliar faces, “Where are we, and who are all the new people?”
Spilf approached with panic in his voice, “Where is Bridazak?”
Each of them scanned the room. Xan stepped forward and replied, “He is gone.”
“What do you mean gone? Gone where?”
“I’m sorry, Spilf. He sacrificed himself to kill Manasseh. He has returned to the Lost City. He is now with God and our loved ones. We will reunite with him in the future, when we are called home.”