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Tom Watson
Forever Silent Friend
Posts: 1336
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Location: Novato, CA USA

Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:10 am

<center><a name="#t2">Page 2 Table Of Contents</a>

A collection of the works of Tom Watson, Family and Friends.

<a href="#p006">The Reed and The Sword</a>

<center>******* THE CHOSEN *******
Written in Collaboration with:
'Daughter of the Moon', 'Thief of Dreams', 'Egyptianeyes79'</center>

<a href="#ch001">THE CHOSEN - Part I "Meetings" </a>
<a href="#ch002">THE CHOSEN - Part II "Family Ties"</a>
<a href="#ch003">THE CHOSEN - Part III "Plans" </a>
<a href="#ch004">THE CHOSEN - Part IV "Mt. Tryphid"</a>
<a href="#ch005">THE CHOSEN - Part V "The Chantings" </a>
<a href="#ch006">THE CHOSEN - Part VI "Epilogue</a>

<a href=http://www.poetrypages.com/phpBB2/viewt ... 0">[b]Page 1 Table Of Contents[/b]</a></center>

<a name="#p006">The Reed and The Sword</a>

Steaming urine splashed into the glowing ash of leaves and wood,
creating a cloud jumped up, spitting its arrogant, ammonia smelling
defiance at its source.

His sunken eyes gazed into the surrounding wood with a dark glowering
hatred for the sounds echoing from the canyon beyond. The last spurts
spattered and the dribbled on bare calloused toes, unnoticed.

He moved lightly on thin, scarred legs, through the scattered brush,
carrying the weight of years of hunger and death on his small sloping
shoulders. His face was deeply lined carrying a scar that crossed from the bottom of his sunken left cheek to the height of his slightly bent nose. This seemed to fit in comfortably with the large sword hanging across his slightly curved back.

Large hands, tightly muscular, rested on a broken tree branch, as he
paused to gaze cautiously into the clearing ahead.

Subconsciously, his hand moved easily behind his head to caress the hilt
of the sword, his mind going back a year before and the beginnings of this journey of his life. Usually avoiding larger villages, he had, for some reason decided to stop at Kamamachi to visit its well known bath house and temple....


The flames overhead throbbed in an uncontrollable spasm as seen from
beneath the ash spotted waters of the burning bath house.

Haruo breathed slowly through the end of the reed pipe he carried with
him, the small holes requiring a calm controlled body to draw air through
them. Haruo was a survivor and had always managed what was
necessary to continue being a survivor.

He had been leisurely soaking in a large bath, when the sudden screams
and rush of hoof beats from outside pulled him from his lazy stupor.
Peering through the steam of the water and the sweat in his eyes, he had
seen the torches passing in front of the opening and flames licking at the
walls of the bath house. Always a quick thinker and actor, Haruo had
grabbed at his kimono, shorts and pipe and slid to the furthest end of the
bath, away from the engulfed walls.
The muffled yells and screams told a lot. A raid by samurai mercenaries
was taking place and the safest spot in the village, in spite of the burning
walls, was exactly where he was – under three feet of bath water.

The fire had died down to a few glowing embers when he raised his head
above the cooling water. His lungs burning from the smoke he had
breathed, he eased out of the water, mindful of the hot ashes and spots
of flame that continued to erupt. Soaked, but alive, he quickly dressed
and began searching for his main tool of survival, his sword.

Quietly he moved to where his sword had rested and spotted it hid under
smoldering beams not yet consumed by the fire. Relieved, he pulled it
out, remarkably unscathed, and strapped it behind his back.

Though somewhat quieter, the occasional scream of anguish and pain
told him that the scene beyond the burnt out walls would not be pleasant,
and there as still danger. Stepping out of the rubble of the bathhouse
onto the dirt road he stared, startled, through the wisps of smoke, at the
carnage around him.

Directly in front of him, lay a horse, trembling in death, with its head
hanging away from its body, attached only by a strip of skin and muscle.
Nearby, lay the remains of what must have been the rider, face contorted
and frozen in an agonizing death mask, arms and hands crossing where
his hips should have been, but where only the drying ends of intestines

Haruo winced at the scene and moved down the road, noticing women,
men and children scattered about like so many stalks of dry rice shafts.

Disgust boiled his blood as he wondered, “Why?!”

Then he stopped. A sound caught his attention and his wary muscles
tightened. Quickly noting the position of the sun and where the most open
area was, he continued in that direction. The sounds came closer behind
him each second, until, with the instinct of timing that could never be
taught, he dove into the open street, drawing out his sword in the same
cat quick motion, and rolled to his feet to stand, facing destiny.

He stood in the ready position, awaiting the on rushing gang, quickly
assessing the quality of attack he was about to receive. Surprise and
relief struck him as he realized these were not the gang of samurai
mercenaries that he had expected. They resembled a rag-tag group of
half-starved farmers brandishing swords too heavy, and movement too slow,
posing little threat to his skill, regardless of the numbers. In that
instant of assessment, he also noticed something else about them,
something that just didn’t seem to be right.

It was their eyes. A successful warrior will look into the eyes of the
attacker to read their next move and find the fear and bring it out. These
eyes showed nothing.
It was as if they moved without will of their own – without life.
Haruo caught the glint of sun on blade swinging toward him from the
right, ducked and with a quick upswing decapitated the attacker, following
through in a circular motion to almost halve two other attackers as they
clumsily moved in without hope.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the attack ended, while
In the background Haruo heard the sound of a flute resonating through
the late afternoon air. His attackers lay on the ground. Those he had
done away with were mingled with the many that he had not touched, but
were seemingly smitten down by the sound of the flute as if it were a
gigantic scythe swinging in the air, cutting down his attackers in an

He stood there, eyes wide in disbelief, a chill creeping up his spine. All
around him, in numbers that would have eventually swept over him
regardless of their lack of fighting skill, lay his attackers encircling him as
a target of which he was the bull’s-eye.

Stunned, he slowly turned in a circle, his sword ever ready. It was the
same everywhere.

He knew then that something truly evil had come this way and then left,
suddenly, as the flute echoed into silence. He started walking then
running down the dirt road toward the end of the town where the temple
stood, knowing that whatever evil attacked this town would not enter
temple grounds.

The sun was setting behind the ancient temple bathing it in a golden glow
of mist. He quickly glanced behind him to be certain nothing followed,
then looked back to the temple gates, and stopped short.

In front of the gates was a lady in a flowing white kimono, whisking about
in a breeze that wasn’t felt by Haruo, but seemed to surround the vision
of light in front of him. He stood in awe, not so much of her beauty, but
of the brilliant light that surrounded her and stretched its luminescence
toward him, and of the flute, which she held closely to her breast.

And then the voice, as a sweet song in his head, called out to him.
“Haruo. Be at peace for no harm is to come to you this eve. Do you
not know me? Has your mortal life swallowed up the glory you once
shared with me? We have a need of your services once again.”
He stood, staring blankly at the apparition before him, while images and
emotions began to flood his mind. Memories of an age long passed and
A tremor passed through his body as the truth of who was before him
was realized. He blinked, tears welling up inside his eyes, and then fell to
his knee, bowing in reverence before her light.

“Dear Haruo, please rise.”, her voice sang softly in his mind. “Such
formality is not necessary between us, not since the trials we’ve been
through in that other place.Come near and sit. We have many things to talk of.”

With that, the light emanating from her softened to a glow, revealing a
bench set beneath the tree near where she floated, a few feet off the ground.
Haruo stood, and still overwhelmed with the joy of her presence,
hurried to sit before her.

“Jessica, you are as lovely as the last time I saw you. You obviously have moved on in many ways. The last I remember you were standing with me, back to back, fighting off the demons of …”
“Don’t say that name in this place Haruo.” The lady Jessica interrupted..
“It is enough to know that we survived and the relic we were seeking was recovered.”
As she spoke, the brilliance dimmed and she eased down to stand next to him. She smiled at him as a dear friend from whom she had been separated for many years. “Haruo, do I not deserve at least a greeting hug for the years we have lost with each other?” As she spoke she opened her arms to him and he rose to take her in his.
They remained together for a brief moment and then he stepped back. “Jessica, what has happened to you, may I ask? This magic is so new for you.”
Seeming to ignore his question, Jessica took Haruo’s hand and led him back to the bench where they sat.
She looked into his eyes, remembering the years they had traveled and fought and prayed together as compatriots, friends...but never as lover’s, though that was what she had wanted so much to be during those final years.
With a sigh, she looked away, hiding the tear that was forming.
“Oh Haruo, why did you have to leave me? Leave the mission to which we had sworn our souls too?
Why couldn’t you have stayed with me?! In the centuries that passed since your leaving I had always thought of you, fighting by my side, easing my weariness with your kindness…giving me your broad shoulder to rest my weary head upon…until I could bear it no more and requested that He change my duties to be with Him. Thus, you see me as I am…between spirit and human…separated forever from the mortal existence we endured so long, yet still holding the mortal emotions and pain that, even now, is able to overcome the rift between the two, allowing me to be here, now.”
“Jessica?” Haruo gently placed his hand on her chin and eased her face toward him.
“Don’t you know how much I wanted to stay? To protect you and to be protected by you?”
“Well, then, why didn’t you, Har?” Jessica whispered, her voice catching in her throat, using the nickname she had once used. “I had practically pleaded with you to stay, but you simply turned and walked away! Why?!”
“You know how it was on that last mission, Jess. Where we had hoped for support from the mortals around us there was none. They seemed to care less what could happen to their souls, should we have failed. If it weren’t for the clan that existed then, we would all have been lost …It was then that I lost my belief in the justification for protecting them…I could not stand by while you risked your beauty to the ugliness that was surrounding us. Thinking, if I departed, then your missions would be away from the worst of the legions, I turned my back…”
“What?!” Jessica turned to him, eyes narrowing, “That makes no sense! You knew I had to continue the battles…what of the Clan? Do you think they were risking their mortal lives for nothing? They had, and their ancestors still have, much more to lose than we ever would.”
Jessica sighed, and gently placed Haruo’s hand in hers, and looked him in the eyes.
“Har, I know the truth.”
He blinked, looked off toward the darkness surrounding their protective shield of light, “Truth? What truth?”

Beyond the circle of light and power that enclosed Jess and Har, the darkness swirled about, like a malevolent fog…waiting.

Within the depths of the cave, days beyond the far reaches of darkness surrounding a lonely temple, a glow emanated of reds and yellow, gases swirling about the smoothly worked floor and walls..
“Well!! What do you have to say?!” boomed from the deepest caverns
“Do you have it?!”
“Sir, we had a problem, sir” a voice trembled in response…Gregorian knelt, head bent low shaking with the fear of what he knew would be coming.
“Sir!!? You dare call me ‘SIR?’ You insolent monkey, get it through that ‘created’ brain of yours that I am to be called ‘Lord!’ Do you not understand?! LORD!!”
Gregorian, trembling, fell to his face, “Yes sir.., your Lordship… yes Lord…I do…I beg your forgiveness” his voice quavering in fear.
“Look at me Gregorian monkey!”
Trembling in fear, he raised his eyes, trying to hold back the bile threatening to erupt, from the sight in front of him.
Balzar, as he was known from times before, sat before him, his eyes, yellow-green with red speckles, glaring down upon him. The red pocked face seem to pulse with the movement of the worms infesting what once was skin, green pus ran from the sores scattered on the face, that once was handsome, a magnet for the ladies. But, of these things, only Gregorian knew.
And Gregorian knew also that such things should not be mentioned, or else the demon that now possessed Balzar would completely destroy him, and all chance, all hope of saving what was left of Balzar’s humanity would be lost…Balzar Malden, the man who once was, and remains Gregorian Malden’s brother, will be no more.
“Lord, we went through the entire village, and nothing was found,”
“Impossible!! I know it is there! I felt its burning fire, even from here!” a shudder seemed briefly to go through the frame of what once was Balzar.
“And the temple? That is the main reason you monkeys were sent. Only you are able to access those grounds which are poison to my much more capable soldiers.”
“Si….Lord, we did start for the temple but, uhm, something happened.”
“Yes? Well, what happened?”
“A man, sir, at least he appeared to be a man. He was like a whirlwind of blades…we could not touch him. He decimated our ranks until your soldiers drew in to surround him. He then fled to the temple.”
“And you followed him, did you not? As I said, that is the reason I let you and your soldiers live. You are the only ones who can enter temple grounds. Did you catch this person or thing?”
Balzar had apparently not noticed the “sir” or else its ego had been placated enough for this meeting.
Gregorian shuddered at what may come from his answer, yet continued.
“No sir. We were following closely behind and were about to go through the temple gates when suddenly a bright bubble of light completely covered the temple grounds…it was beautiful” Balzar’s eyes glowed redder and Gregorian stammered, “er, I mean terrifying to us…we could not pass through. When we tried we had this coolness, like a mountain river, and we were stopped.”

Hearing these words, Balzar’s image seemed to momentarily phase out, to be replaced by that of the brother Gregorian once knew. In that moment, which Gregorian saw, a new hope was reborn in his heart and he began to remember the prayers of those many years ago. But that moment was short lived, as Balzar regained his composure and he stood and roared a bellow of rage that shook the mountain they were in.
“NO! You will NOT stop me this time! It will be mine!!”
He then turned, and stomped back into the recesses of the cave, to which only he and his warriors had access.

Gregorian, still kneeling, stared in shock and disbelief and with a glimmering of hope at his departing back, apparently forgotten in the rage of the moment.
“There is someone out there that can stop him?!” he thought, as the image of his returned brother burned into his mind, and heart, giving a new resolve. “There is hope for him and for us, even now?”
Tears formed in his eyes as he rose and turned to return to his people.
“I can not tell anyone about this. The demon will know and feel the new hope in our hearts and will finally destroy us. Yet, I must find this person, this something that he fears so much. But how?”

These thoughts moved, concealed as he has learned he is able to do, through his mind during his journey down the mountain to the remains of his people’s village.

Sarai moved about the little cottage slowly, dreamily adjusting the lamps, checking the pot of rabbit stew. During this time when her husband Gregorian was up the mountain she would often let herself dream of times of the past. Before the arrival of the demon that captured Balzar and enslaved her family. She had to do this or else she would probably go mad with pain. As she moved about, she carried a small book in her apron pocket and she occasionally moved her hand over it.

“Har, I know the truth.”
He blinked, looked off toward the darkness surrounding their protective shield of light, “Truth? What truth?”

She gently pulled his face toward hers, her hand linger on his chin for a moment longer than needed.
"Har, please, tell me what is in your heart. Having knowledge of something through understanding is not enough sometimes. I need to hear that thing that truly lives inside you from you. Look into my eyes and tell me..."
Har, sat quietly, looking into her green pools of emerald fire, eyes that held so much history, no library could ever hold it all. He felt the warmth of her closeness, sitting there in mortal form, and the emotion that he had held in check for so long fought toward the surface.
"Jess, in those many, many years we stood together, protecting His word, I have slowly begun to do the thing that I must not, should not do...I had begun to love you. Knowing the emotion that would bring; understanding how we must have full concentration upon our enemy, I feared that I would do something that would cause your death, or worse, capture.
I had to leave you....I could not bear the burden of your loss because of my weakness...now, seeing you and what you have become, I can not understand my own emotions...I am overjoyed at what you have achieved, and deeply, deeply saddened by my final loss...the loss of hope for us in a time after His return...I am sorry, Jess, for my weakness, for..."
"Shhh...." Jessica said quietly, as she reached gently toward his face, looking into the deep sapphire of his eyes, communicating in a language only their kind could know. "Har, that is enough..."
She then softly pulled his lips to hers, to a kiss both had longed for, unknown to each other over the centuries...a kiss that lingered long after the parting of lips.
Har, emotionally spent from the release of his confession, and the realization of Jessie's own hidden feelings, sobbed as he wrapped his arms around her slim body, pulling her close and holding as if she would disappear should he release her.

"Har..., hehehe, Har..you can let loose now or this mortal breath may never come back..." Jessie whispered in his ear.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," he said as he quickly dropped his arms. "I just, well...was I wrong...I mean did you just kiss me or was that part of my dream returning to me as I sat here?"
His eyes stared into hers as she sat there, close to him, smiling.
"Har, my darling Har. How long have I longed to hear those words come from your lips? When you left me, I thought you were lost to me forever. How could I continue fighting without you near my side? You, my comforter, my protector? What was there to do, but to try to continue, but as my injuries increased, I realized I was not the same without you near me, so I requested a new position in His kingdom. I had no idea, only hope that you truly cared for me."
The light in Har's eyes dimmed with her words....
"Oh, that's right..your new position...in a place beyond my world of emotions...of fear, hate.....love..."
He turned away from her, sighing deeply..."so I have finally lost you...I am too late..."
Jessica placed her hand on his back, moving it against the strong muscles gently, "Har? Har, please turn back to me..."
Har turned slowly to face her again, his face full of the pain of his realization.
"My darling, dear Har, nothing is permanent under His loving embrace. What I was when you saw me first was only a temporary condition, given by him to allow me this chance to see you. I am as I always was, dear Har...a soldier....a protector of the Word...and deeply in love with you."

Har, listening to her words, began to smile and pulled her to him, holding her close, and whispered into her ears, "is this true? You are not of the spirit realm?"
She laughed, trying to catch her breath from his embrace, tears streaming down her cheeks.."Me? A spirit?! No way. I am a simple warrior, as you, fighting to keep this darkness around us away from the very Word of our Lord, and now fighting very hard to not take you down right now, for there still is danger here."
Har released her from his embrace and with hands on her shoulders, pushed her back, slowly to look impishly into her eyes..''take you down' you say?"...smiling understandingly..
Jessica blushed (the first ever he had seen on her face) and stammered
"N-n-now Har, just forget I said that....for now...my goodness, dear God, give me strength....you know our vows...we must complete what God has sent us to do."
Har looked at her questioningly..."Jess, I am so overwhelmed with joy at this moment, I fear to think of anything but you right now, that I may lose this feeling forever..., but you are right, of course. I need to ask, though, what, exactly is it that we have been sent to do here?"
The fun of the moment left Jessica's eyes as she prepared to tell Har of the terrible mission ahead, and around them the strange noises beyond their encircling light seemed to grow to a low guttural growl.

to be continued

Dr. Watson
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User avatar
Tom Watson
Forever Silent Friend
Posts: 1336
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Location: Novato, CA USA

Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:11 am

<a name="#ch001">THE CHOSEN - Part I "Meetings"</a>

ImageZAKTYE (Egyptianeyes79)
Race: Human, sun kissed.
Gender: Female
Age: 24
Hair: Dark Brown w/ natural highlights of red and gold tones.. waste length
Eyes: Blue-Green
Hand: Right
Location: The great Kingdom of Marduke.
Weapons: Poisons, magic, herself.
Image DRANIK (Thief of Dreams)

RACE: lycanthrope (werewolf)
GENDER: male
AGE: 27
HAIR: black
EYES: brown (human), Yellow (wolf)
HEIGHT: 6'2"
WEIGHT: 190 pounds
HAND: right
LIVES: wanderer
COMMON WEAPONS WHEN USED: assorted small arms, explosives (human)
CHARACTER TRAITS/ABILITIES: thief, assassin, bounty hunter and carrier of a broken heart...
ImageDAUER (Tom Watson)
RACE: Grand Wizard
GENDER: male
AGE: 232 +
HAIR: graying
EYES: sky blue with grey
WEIGHT: 177 pounds
HAND: either
LIVELIHOOD: book shop keeper; gatherer and protector of ancient scrolls
COMMON WEAPONS WHEN USED: a small wooden cross, love and magic
CHARACTER TRAITS/ABILITIES: concern for the failing human and spiritual condition - organizer for the continuing fight for the righteous, spiritual leader, protector.....
ImageLAKIA (*Daughter of the Moon*)
RACE: elf, race of Anoria part of the woodland elves
GENDER: female
AGE: over 200 in human years, 19 in Elvin.
HAIR, EYES: Silvery Grey, grey
HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 120 pounds
HAND: right
LIVES: woodland realm
COMMON WEAPONS WHEN USED: bow and arrow, silver sword
ImageSYERN (Thief of Dreams)

RACE: Human
GENDER: Female
AGE: 14
EYES: Green
HEIGHT: 5'1"
WEIGHT: 102 pounds
HAND: ambidextrous
LIVES: dark elfin town
CHARACTER TRAITS/ABILITIES: curious by nature, quick learner, unbounded love for all creatures

A long time ago in a far away land, there lived a maiden. Without much money and no Husband to support her, she relied on her beautiful voice. Every night she held entertainment for the people of the Kingdom….….
Many a night Lakia has watched the lady sing, her voice as clear as the running stream. She had also noticed the sadness in the lady's eyes. Every night when Lakia returned to her woodland home the lady's voice left traces of sadness within her memory. She has lived for many a year and has seen much. Her heart goes to the lady. She is too sad. Lakia wants to help but she has trouble within her own heart. There have been attacks on the border of her home. As a princess, she has been restrained from going to fight. She can fight quite well. She is held like a caged bird. She has to sneak out to hear the lady. Lakia is in despair, her home slowly shrinking, she needs help to defeat them. She doesn't even know who is attacking her home.......

Dranik has been stealthily moving around the Kingdom for some nights now trying to get a feel for the place, staying mostly in the shadows but always watching what was happening in the streets. His curse calls like a sickness inside his head, wanting to be let free. But Dranik is terrified of his own being. He wants for nothing more than to be a normal human being, with normal worries. He wants to be able to look up at the full moon and see only a ball of light, to feel nothing move underneath his skin when his emotions get out of hand...
He was called to this place for his talent of thieving but turned down the job when he found that the man only wanted to steal back his ex wife’s wedding ring and to scare her...
a few nights back as he walked through the alley ways he happened upon a voice that caught his attention. Upon his arrival he saw a lone woman singing, the people that crowded around her were filled with emotions. Some applauded after each song; some lay money down at the woman’s feet, but others just hung their heads and swayed with the voice.
This night he found himself drawn to the voice, without any thought as to why, he found himself leaning against a wall in an alley and listening to her beautiful voice as his own tears fell silently from his eyes.

The little book shop had closed its doors many hours ago yet Dauer still moved lithely about, belying his two centuries on this world. Ancient scrolls cluttered the table and floor as he continued his search, mumbling to himself, his eyes taking in the shelves, leaning as a second skin against the walls of his little shop. Though a tiny shop on the corner of the street, from inside the walls seemed to go on for yards and yards.
As he continued the search, a glow grew in the depth of his eyes. He was becoming aware of a sound emanating from the world beyond his doors.
The sound drew him from the immediacy of the moment, and brought a tear of memory from a soul older than time. "Surely, I am not hearing this music", he thought. "Such a voice has not been heard since the great exodus of beauty from this world." His heart beat a little faster, as the possibilities, and realization, filled him with fear and joy. He suddenly drops the promising scroll he was beginning to open, grabs his cloak and tall hat and leaves through the door, forgetting, in his excitement to open it first. He realizes that it is true! Such a wonderful sound of song unheard in centuries; and coming from where the crowd was gathering. He started there, noticing the figure leaning against the opposite wall, staring quietly toward that same gathering, shoulders softly shaking.

One quiet night Lakia went to hear the lady sing. She noticed a man walk up and drop something. Curious she goes over to it and picks it up. She opens it and reads. It is written in Elfish. What she reads surprises her. It tells of a legend. Her thoughts wander and she rolls it back up and walks up to the man and hands it back. "Here you go, you dropped this." she says in a slightly dreamy voice, lost in her thoughts.

Something about the figure leaning against the wall caused Dauer to slow his approach toward the melodious voice in the square and stop. His keen sense of all forces of nature and the energies that emanate from every being caused him to look harder at the man. A wave of overwhelming sadness and power washed through his mind and understanding, along with a growing purpose, took hold within. While watching in the semi-shadows, he reached into his cape pocket for the wooden cross that was usually hung about his wrist. The touch of it gave him strength and a new certainty. Pulling his hand out, the small scroll he had grabbed as he left his book shop fell, unknowingly, to the ground, rolling a short distance before opening. As Dauer continued his contemplation of the stranger against the wall, a light touch was felt upon his arm.
"Here you go, you dropped this." a light voice spoke gently behind him.
He turned to see an elfin lady holding out the scroll he had brought.
He looked into her eyes, deep, grayish blue, with a sadness of loss and a destiny of great gain. "Thank you...?" he said as took the offered paper and pocketed it, waiting for a name. "You read it? Dangerous times are ahead as you may know. The singer, do you know her? I sense a great importance in her."
"I am Lakia." She spoke in a soft Elvin dialect, of almost hypnotic tones.
“And you are the famous wizard, Dauer? I had heard you were in this town. You should be more careful with such important papers.” she said with a slight smile.
"The legends are coming to be again," Dauer said urgently, "and I need your help!"
Lakia stepped back, eyes widening, realizing the threat involved in this sudden request.
"I'm sorry, but I have more urgent matters to attend to.", and she strode off ahead, leaving him surprised but determined. He stood thinking, watching, as she walked away, colliding with the stranger who had turned suddenly away from the wall, toward the crowd listening to the song, and as suddenly, turned back, toward the brush.

Dranik slowly tore his eyes off of the singer and cast a glance across the way to the man who had joined him in the alley to listen as the voice that captivated them all, pulled stronger and entwined their own beings together in one haunted melody...
After a curious time Dranik slipped into himself and let his feet carry him quietly away from the crowds and the stranger. He found himself lost to his own emotions, feelings that rocked him from one extreme to the next with tidal wave influence. Rage would build to an almost unbearable point when Dranik would want to explode on the first person he saw. He could feel his claws sliding in and out, craving the delicious taste of flesh. His jaw ached for the satisfying snap of bone and cartilage...
Just as fast as it came on the feeling was slapped from his head and was replaced by loathing, sadness and the ever present heartache of days to come...
Tears threatening to fall, clouding his vision till he could only see but a stain of the world around him, he walked...
a job, a reason would be the only thing that could bring all these emotions under control. if only he had something to do, he thought.
Not paying any attention he bumped into someone and felt a shock of lightening run through his body like a whip cracking above his head. He turned and looked into the eyes of a stranger. A stranger that seemed almost familiar...
"Lakia." The name fell from his lips in a whisper and he had no idea how he knew this woman, but he did.
Maybe it was the magic that flowed around her that seemed so familiar, but that didn’t explain how he knew her name. Know her name he did, for when he whispered her name her eyes widened just a touch.
"I'm sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going. Are you okay?"
Dranik stood waiting for an answer as she just stared hard at him, then a small motion drew his gaze from her eyes to the man who had come out of the alley some distance behind her, the same alley he himself had fled from just moments ago. The same man who stood across from him while the lady sang in the courtyard...

She looked deep into the eyes of the man that had bumped into her. He had whispered her name, surprising her. Not many knew her name. She was a quiet elf, though she could surprise her enemies. She sensed the emotions swirling inside of him, along with a wild presence. Lakia knew what he was at once. She pitied him; he would never walk under a full moon free.
She smiled and said, "Its ok. No harm done, I myself was wandering in my thoughts. Just haven't bumped into anyone yet." She chuckled, a clear sound. "How do you know my name? Have we met before?"
He still seemed on the edge. She wanted to comfort him, but didn't know how. She let a small comforting wind swirl around him, caressing his face, soothing and calming.

Zaktye watched the crowd of people as she sang, and the wench poured out more and more drinks of ale to the crowd. During this activity, all she could think of was her only true love, Oric.

As she sang a love song, the last night they had spent together flashed before her eyes; only 17 short months ago. . . .

How beautiful was their special place they had created for themselves; a hollow space in the trunk of a tree, in the middle of the forest kingdom, all lit with candles and with fabrics of silk and satin lay over the ground. While in the moment of intimate play and giggles, a rider on a horse bearing the symbol of the great King Wheypon stopped in front of their tree. “Oric!!! Show yourself! I come in the name of King Wheypon. Surrender and the Lady shall go free.”
"Run as soon as you come out Zaktye. Run home and never speak of this night again, or they will kill you." Oric frantically whispered. Zaktye ran as fast as she could, hearing behind her the painful sounds coming from her lover. Grabbing on to a tree she stops and hides herself easily. She peaks back to see Oric keeping the rider from swinging his sword with the right as he stabs Oric in the heart from the left. Zaktye is silent, knowing that if she makes a whimper over her murdered love she too would die. . . .

Just at this time Lakia, Dranik, and Dauer are gathering to her voice. At the same time Lakia read the scroll from Dauer's pocket Zaktye focused on the crowd again and felt her eyes get heavy, sweat begin to pour, she couldn't breathe as she fell to the ground.

In her unconsciousness, Zaktye heard the voice of Dranik say the name Lakia, heard Lakia ask how do you know my name, and felt the desperation in Dauer's heart while clinching the scroll and walking away.

When Zaktye awoke, she was in a place she had never been before.

A Diversion
Dranik finds her eyes once again and answers, "No, I don’t believe we have met, but something about your aura is familiar. Forgive me, I have to go."
with that Dranik turns and disappears into the shadows, melting away from the revealing lights of the shops and houses as he flees...
a voice in his head halts his advance as someone silently calls to him, the voice of the lady singer... he quickly regains his pace and folds himself into the forests and into the mountains; higher and higher...;
clothes are snagged and torn away from his body but he doesn’t stop, he only quickens his pace as he moves like liquid through the trees... every thing including time becomes a blur until he finds himself nearing the town of dark elves that reside atop the mountain.
He lets his pace slowly return to normal and pulls the remaining clothes, now just rags around his body as he hurries to his destination...
Once safely hidden away in the old decrepit barn, he falls to the floor and is quickly swallowed by sleep...
He wakens to feel some thing stir next to him. Moving on instincts alone he rolls and snaps a hand out at whoever is there, a black .45 semi-auto pistol pointing into the dark next to his make shift bed.
"What do you want?" he growls.
"Only to see who you are." A girl, no more than fourteen years old, moves out of the darkness and Drank lowers his gun, but doesn’t put it away.
"What business is it of yours child?"
"This is my mother’s land so I have plenty of business asking. Call me child again and I will bury you here, seeing as to how you seem to like it and all."
Dranik laughed, "Bury me, will you?" and with that he slid the gun into its holster, dropped the holster in front of the girl along with seven knives, all unique for its own style, two more pistols and a small herb kit. Then Dranik bit down on the inside of his lip and tasted the blood that swelled up out of the wound.
The blood spread upon his tongue and then his whole body stiffened and curled. His bones dissolving along with his organs, his skin itself grew elastic like and then tore open and healed itself in a blink of an eye. Over and over; the whole process smooth, yet painful for Dranik. He could feel the pain of his body killing itself and then nothing...
The next feeling was absolute pain, as the organs were created and then started and his body healed itself as his new form began to take shape. Skin hardening, hands spreading apart and claws form near to daggers; eyes cutting through the mass of a head, legs unwinding, joints popping and snapping bones into place. He could always hold off the jaw formation until the very last. It was by far the most painful. But finally the time came and he let his body go.
The jaw formed in stages; first the bones themselves that graded on his nerve endings like glowing coals, sending smashing jolts to his brain and then the teeth, popping through the very bone itself, one after another...
When the transformation was complete Dranik looked at the girl with eyes of fire.
Surprisingly she didn’t run away. She was scared but you would be mad not to be scared of what she just saw happen. So she tried her best to place her fear far behind and ask, "Does it hurt?"
Dranik could not answer for he didn’t have any vocal chords anymore, but he could understand her and he reached down and dragged a claw through the dirt, 'YES'.
Dranik stepped past the girl and went out into the night. His hairless yet somewhat canine style body dropping to all fours and with two loud pops his knees reversed themselves and his shoulders grew wider and the collarbones reformed to allow his arms to carry him faster...
After Dranik finished feeding he returned to the barn and found the girl still there, waiting...
She jumped up and started throwing questions at him left and right, but Dranik just moved past her and collapsed to the floor in sleep.
When he awoke he was as always back in human form though this time his naked body was covered by a blanket. A pillow rested under his head and the girl lay sleeping at his side, on top of the blanket, fully dressed with an arm draped over his chest.
He nudged her awake and found himself wanting to finally answer the questions that many people had asked him before but that he had shunned so easily for so long...
Dranik found out that the girls name was Syern and her parents were killed by demons when she was eight years old and her dark elfin "mother" took her from her home and raised her here on this non working farm...
"Okay, go ahead and ask your questions that you have been wanting to ask and I will see that I answer them as best I can."
Syern perked up and her eyes slid away as she thought hard about good questions to ask. "What are you?"
Dranik smiled, "Isn’t it obvious? I was born a werewolf."
"Then how come you don’t get all hairy?"
"That’s folklore for you. We don’t turn hairy. I guess the term werewolf isn’t exactly very fitting but it is the animal we come closest to I suppose."
"Oh, okay. What about the sleep thing? You ran out of here and then when you returned you just fell asleep."
"Well, I changed to frighten you. That wasn’t a very nice thing to do but I have become acquainted here and I like it. You took that away from me and I kind of lost my temper and just wanted to scare you but I have to say, you are a lot braver than most."
"Not really, I just was more curious than most I think. I wanted to know about you."
"Indeed. The sleep thing is almost a curse in itself. You see, when I change form, I actually die for a second or two when my body liquefies my organs there is nothing to keep me alive. And as we change our bodies use almost all of the blood and proteins to rebuild itself so the first thing we must do when we change is feed. Or we die."
"Well hang on, your getting ahead of yourself. The reason why I gave in to sleep when I got back was because you were still here and it is really frustrating trying to communicate with someone once we are in animal form so I went to sleep so my body could change back and not use all my strength to do it."
"So, you can change back like you did when you changed into the wolf thingy? But it takes the same hunger?"
"Yes, unless we change in our sleep-"
"YEA! I sat here and watched, it was really neat, you changed very slowly and I was worried at first cause I thought you were just gonna go all gooey on me."
Dranik laughed. "No, you don’t have to worry about that. We don’t go gooey, it just looks that way. Our bodies struggle hard not to let any moisture out during the change."
"What about the myths? Are any of them true?"
Dranik thought a minute, "Hmm. Well, the full moon turning thing isn’t really as strong as they say it is. We do feel drawn to the moon and it does add a certain pull towards changing but for the most part the only way we can change is when we taste blood."
"I bit my lip for the blood."
"Oh. So, any blood? It doesn’t have to be someone else’s then huh?"
"No, it doesn’t even have to be human."
"Wow, so you don’t eat meat very often do you?"
"Well, I wouldn’t say-"
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry."
"Its okay."
Syern stood up and dusted herself off, "I really should be getting back to the house. Are you going to be here again tonight?"
"I don’t know for sure. I think there are some things I need to look into down the mountain."
"Oh, ok, Dranik?"
He looked up at her sparkling eyes, "Yea?"
"You will come back though right?"
"Yes. Yes Syern, I will."
With a smile she was gone and Dranik got to his feet and walked into town. He bought some clothes and took the blanket back to the barn where he found a basket full of breads and fruits.
He tore into the food on his way back down the mountain.
"Smart kid." He said to himself...

The Gathering
Dauer watched the interplay between the stranger he sensed to be a Werewolf and the Elf, Lakia.
"Hm-m-m was that a look of recognition in his eyes I saw?" he thought.
Then abruptly the man ran off into the woods, toward the mountain.
"Curious. I wonder if...." A sudden commotion interrupted Dauer's thoughts from the square, where at the same time the singing stopped.
Dauer hurried to the central stage where he saw a small crowd circling what appeared to be a figure on the ground.
Breaking through, he saw lying unconscious, the one from whom all of the wondrous music had been coming from.
Without hesitation, he knelt down to her, lifted her easily, and turned toward his store.
Walking through the curious stares he sensed a glare of maliciousness from someplace in the crowd. He quickly mumbled a spell of protection to shield him and his new charge from the sight of any evil eyes that may be near, and hurried to his home above the book shop.
Later, while studying several ancient elfin scrolls, he heard a stirring in the back of the room.
"Good. I was beginning to wonder if you would ever return to us." he said cheerfully as he rose to get some herbal tea. "I must say, my dear, you have the most beautiful voice. I don't think I have heard its like since before the reign of King Wheypon darkened this land. Would you like some tea? By the way, I am the Wizard Dauer. And you are called....?"
The young lady, eyes wide with confusion and fear, sat up from the cot where she had been placed. "Wh-where am I?!. What is happening?
Did you say ”wizard'? “
“You'll be fine dear girl. Apparently you fainted during one of your wonderful songs, and I brought you here to be certain no harm came to you while you were so defenseless. Are you feeling alright? A small headache probably? Drink some of this tea. It will help brush some of the cobwebs from your mind." He smiled, offering the hot cup. “As I said, my name is Dauer, and yours?"
She tentatively accepted the cup, sensing the sweet aroma of the contained liquid. She slowly sipped and swallowed the hot tea, and suddenly her vision cleared and she was aware and in tune with her surroundings.
"This is delicious!" she whispered. Then, strength returning to her voice, she said "My name is Zaktye. Thank you for your kindness, but I don't understand why...." A light knocking on the door interrupted her question, and she looked at Dauer, eyes wide with terror, surprising him, causing him to hesitate on his way to answer. The knocking became louder and more insistent.

Dranik stands before the shop door, listening to the conversation from within until he is sure there is no threat inside.
He knocks on the door and waits impatiently for half a heartbeat then bangs on the door. As it rattles back into its normal place he thinks, that knock was a tad excessive
Dauer opens the door and Dranik brushes right past him as he moves deeper into the strangers home. Once he reaches the top part of the store where apparently the man lives he turns to Dauer.
"Sorry to barge in on you like this but where is Lakia and what the hell is going on?"
He looks over at the lady sitting with the cup in hand.
"You’re the lady from the square? The singer? Why did you call to me?"
Dauer moves to stand between Dranik and Zaktye.
Dranik backs into the doorway, "I mean you no harm old man."
The Wizard just smiles, "You couldn’t mark me if you tried, dear boy. Now why this sudden need to threaten?"
"It isn’t a threat. Okay look, I don’t know why but this whole town is about to erupt. I can feel it like smoke curling around my skin. But what I can’t figure out is this: Why I am drawn to her song." He points to Zaktye. "Also, why I have memories of a lady I have never seemed to have met."
Dauer raises his eyebrows, "Lakia?"
"Yes I guess. Something about her seems to be at the center of all this but I don’t know her or why she is so damn important."
Dauer raises a hand and sweeps it through the air as he announces, "Ask her for yourself."
Dranik turns to find Lakia standing behind him.

The Stories
A moment of silence falls over the little gathering. Dranik, in shock, is unable to speak as he stares into the deep steel-blue eyes of Lakia, standing expectantly in the doorway.
"Lakia, my dear, so nice of you to join our little party." says Dauer graciously as he edges around the large framed Dranik to lead her into the room.
Still speechless, Dranik stands back, waiting.
Suddenly recovering from the shock of the proceedings, Zaktye steps from the cot on which she was sitting, and pointedly asks Dranik, "What do you mean I "called" you? I don't even know you! What is going on Dauer?"
"That is a very good question, Zaktye, and one that deserves a quick answer, if this old wizard can do anything quick. And what is this wolf doing here?"
Zaktye steps back, hand to mouth, "Wolf?!"
"Wait a minute there! What you see here is a Man, not a wolf, though one could be brought in, if you wish!” Dranik blurts out, having found his voice, his eyes glaring, in hurt and anger.
"Friends, friends, hold on a moment and just everyone calm down. First things first - this room is too small for us to accomplish what we need." Saying that, Dauer speaks in a deep voice an incantation in a language lost eons ago, waves his hand in a circular motion, pausing at each corner of his little room. Suddenly the air around seemed to ripple and bend into a brief haze of a rainbow, then as suddenly, returned to normal, except that the room, barely large enough for two, was now as large as a banquet room, with large circular table and five chairs around it, sitting in the middle.
Lakia was first to recover. "Not bad for an out of practice wizard", while walking over to a chair and sitting.
"Ahem. Everyone, please take a seat. We have many things to speak of and little time to do it. I am certain that by now all of you know that I am a wizard. Heh-heh, I had chosen to not let it be known for so long that it seems strange admitting it now.
First, let's make certain we all know who we are and, what we are." Dauer suggested, looking pointedly at Dranik.
"I will start, since it seems I already have said much and would like to finish." Everyone at the table stared expectantly at the man standing before them; each noticing the eyes as a light grey, with a deepness that told much about this person before them - about so many years of sorrow and a depth of kindness and desperation.
"I am Dauer. Once called "Wizard Dauer of Dowlfin". That was many years, years beyond count, ago. I am here because by mortal enemy, King Wheypon is here. He is a destroyer of all that once was glorious in this world, and I find that he needs stopping before it is too late. And too late, according to the end times legend is now too soon. I will tell more of my purpose after each of you has had your chance to tell us briefly about yourselves." Everyone sat at the table, staring in curious awe at what they knew from stories out of the ages, what was, to them, a living legend. "Well, who wishes to go next?"

Dranik steps forward, "Very well. Seeing as to how I have little choice in the matter and you all stare at me as if I am some monster let loose I shall go.
I don’t know if any of you have ever even seen a werewolf before so let me dispel some of the myths. I control my change; the moon has nothing to do with it. I don’t go out and slaughter innocent people when I do change. We are not immortal; we don’t fear silver or crosses. I know of one werewolf that is actually a Priest in Sandier Circle back east. Having said that, let me tell you all a little about me. At the age of ten I was pulled into the army of King Wheypon, had a sword thrust into my young hands and surprised everyone with how easily I could carry it and how gracefully I could swing it. They didn’t learn of my curse until three years later when I was ankle deep in rivers of my fellow warriors’ blood and surrounded by an army we had gone to conquer. Seeing no other escape I shifted and slaughtered sixteen men while the cavalry of our army watched from a small hill. They branded me a demon for they didn’t see how anything else could explain it and caged me in the castles crypt. I stayed down there for ten years, being prodded with spears and told to free the demon from my soul... I never changed for them and they grew tired of me and left me alone for the most part. My meals were brought to me by a lady servant named Rienok who was some bastard child of a whore and a knight. Every day when she would bring me meals she would also bring me words of hope. We began a hard fought battle to find some way for me to get loose and one day she came with a meal and a key...
Having opened my cell I promised her I would come back for her soon and fled to the mountains...
the guards in the castle were not foolish and soon caught on that Rienok helped me. They tied her up, raped her and then cut off her limbs and burned her body. I... I, I heard her call for me in my dreams and returned to find that there was nothing I could do to save her... Instead I found my way to the nearby asylum and once inside I made my way to the bottom level where they keep all the "dangerous" prisoners. I found murderers that cast spells enclosed in nothing more than a steel cage surrounded by salts and thieves who could open any lock and were forever entombed in bedrock cells... one such person was Lyndire, a master of thievery, who I tore loose from the stone... I. I am sorry, someone else please go ahead. I shall tell more later. This is all too much for me now... Let me hear of your stories."

Dranik turns to Zaktye and says, "What about you? Why are you all of the sudden so quiet? Don't have anything to say? Well I would like to hear what you have to say. You know were all here because of you."
Zaktye can barely breathe her eyes pouring tears, she whispers, "I don't know." Dranik snaps, "I heard you!!!!" “I don't know what you’re talking about" Zaktye screams now trembling with fear. She throws her arms onto the table “I just don't know". Dauer steps in and says “Ok, Ok... Dranik try not to lose your temper, we all are here because we don't understand."
“I know, I am sorry.”
“I did not mean to frighten you"
Zaktye screams.
Dauer touches her lightly on the shoulder. As she calms, he gently asks “Why don't you tell us what you are then? Tell us why you fainted in song. What happened to you?" he asked with a warm gentle smile.
Zaktye knew what Dauer wanted from her but was too afraid to say anything. Zaktye had another flash of Oric's face "Don't ever speak of this or they'll kill you". She dropped her head low and began to shake again. "No one will hurt you I promise you that." Dauer said. Zaktye looked up at him. There was something in his eyes about the way he looked at her and for the first time in a long time she knew that she could believe in someone, believe him. Even if Dranik or Lakia were the ones looking for her, Dauer was confident in his power of protecting. Zaktye began telling the three of the night in the forest, what had happened. “I have thought I would like to kill him, but never set out to do it. I've always been living in fear." she said “I awoke the next day and left with the first people I could find on their way out of my village."
“What about the singing then?" asked Lakia
"I don't know what it is that you mean. I can tell you though I did hear your name when I went out. I felt my hand clenching something, but the singing, that is how I make money; I rent a room from a couple in the village. Before I came here I was a servant for another family. Before thh..... wait I haven't sang that song since the night with Oric. I mean if that means anything." Zaktye took a deep breath “I just don't want to anymore, though that's the only way I could make money."
Dauer says “I know" touching her hand.

Dranik turns to Zaktye, "Look, I have never laid eyes on Oric, much less killed him."
Dranik sits down in an old chair that whines under the stress, "Ok. Look I was 23 years old when I freed Lyndire. That was four years ago and in the first two years he taught me all he knew. We spent the first year on education and the second on thievery and through his circle of friends I learned a lot about firearms and explosives. Lyndire was not without opinion and said that by learning these things I would only become a killer. But I refused to listen and sure enough that is exactly what I became. I found that my hunger for blood could be fed with killing even if I was never in a changed form. I could quiet the beast inside me for a short time...
When Lyndire closed his door to me and refused to see me ever again was a night I will never forget. Keep in mind, two years to a person who never had a father is eternity and I felt as though Lyndire was my father. The pain it raised to have my own father deny me his heart was too great and that night I learned two things.
One, the beast can be unleashed without blood if the fear is great enough. And two, I am not always in control of the beast in that state.
I tore open the door to Lyndire's home and killed him... I... I wish every day that I can hold time in my hands and reverse it with enough strength but I can not."
Dranik cupped his head in his hands and cried silently. Finally with a reassuring touch of Dauer upon his shoulder he looked up, "I never want to feel that again. So now I distance myself from everybody but the need to be accompanied is killing me. I fear that if I get too close to someone then I might do the same thing to them that I did to Lyndire. I know you are just a Wizard but you have the feel of a Priest also. You make me feel safe. I don’t understand it and it scares me, but I need to ask for your help."
Dauer patted Dranik on the shoulder before stepping away, "We shall see what can be done."
"Thank you." Dranik says.
"Please continue Dranik, if not for our sakes then for your own. What eats you so?"
Dranik takes a deep breath. "Well, after I.. after... after Lyndire, I ran... I ran like never before and gave in to my beast for almost a full month. It is so amazing to live on animal instincts alone. There is no shame, no questioning, you just let go. But that takes a lot of energy and when that was spent I found myself lying in a barn in the Dark Elves town on the top of the mountain. I thought that the barn was not being used anymore. Actually I knew it was not being used but I didn’t know that anyone cared about it so I used that as my main place to rest and soon enough I grew to like the town itself. There is nothing quite like a thief living amongst a town of thieves." Dranik laughed. "But soon I had an offer to take up my old skills for gain and I needed the money so I did a few jobs and then I got called to kill an elf."
Lakia stepped back and drew a blade.
Dauer looked to her, "None of that please."
Dranik looked to her, "It wasn’t something I am proud of and I will not come against you. Even if you feel the need to come against me."
"No." Said Zaktye, "please, stop."
Lakia lowered her blade but kept it in hand as Dranik continued.
"So I took the job and killed this elf. I had no idea they were so hard to kill, but I won’t go into detail. After that my life became a circus; I got no more calls for thievery but many for slaughter and I turned them all down. Then one day this man comes to me as I sat drunk in a tavern and offered me good money to come down here and steal back some jewelry of his... Easy enough job until I found that he wanted more than that and that the jewelry in question was not his and only consisted of her wedding band and ring finger. So I turned down the job and with that I guess I was thrown out of the town. A thief who refused to steal and a killer who wouldn’t kill anymore is something that people grow to detest, I suppose. I found myself down here quite often, just wandering through the streets and alley ways. Keeping to myself and picking pockets when my money got short..."
Dranik looked up at the room, "that about brings me up to date I guess."

Lakia was floored. "You killed an elf? Why? Who asked you this?"
Dranik looked surprised about the question now forthcoming. "Why is it so important?" he asked.
Lakia then said, "It is time for me to tell you my story. I am an Elvin princess of the Woodland Realm of Anoria. The borders of my home have been under threat for quite sometime though we are at lost on who is attacking us. They have been killing elves left and right. They aren't linked though so we can't find who it is doing this. It is not the work of a werewolf either, though we have found a few that have been killed by one. We believe it is someone with great power over the darkness. I have read the scroll Dauer had dropped and it has become clearer. This all goes back to a legend made long ago. It goes like this; Back in the time of the early world, there lived elves and men and wizards. We all lived in peace with the other. But then the wizards got power hungry, not all, but most. They turned from the light magic they practiced to the dark. Now dark magic is not all bad, I use it sometimes for elves have immunity from being consumed by the dark. Wizards and men do not. The wizards were consumed, and started killing each other. At the time one brave wizard, seeing this also received a premonition of the future. It told of four unlikely souls combining and destroying the darkness, though it might lead to the death of them all. Deep loves and hates would be made between the 4 but they would forever remain together. Then two would lead and show the other two the way to light. These four would be decided when they stand together when the moon hides the sun. A great evil will appear at this same time and grow to great power. This will be their struggle. If they fail the world will be lost.
Now this legend wasn't told in full for the wizard told us only what he believed what he should know. I was the only one he told in full, for I was there when he was struck down. I haven't shared it with you, and I will only with the other three to which it pertains, I am one of the members of the four. So I was told, so I shall be. The day when the moon hides the sun is fast approaching and we must prepare. I have a feeling we are the four to which this legend pertains. It can't be coincidence that we all have met. An elf, werewolf, wizard and human. Now we must prepare to fight, for fight we must if we are to survive."
She finished her tale and silence reigned as she finally sheathed her sword. She looked around at the others, seeing the thoughts running in their eyes.

Legends Reborn
Dranik looked up, "We call it the Phoenix Moon. No werewolf can hide from it, even if buried beneath tons of earth we feel it and change. Nothing can stop the change and I fear I will not be able to control the beast."
Dranik lowered his head again, "I can not be a part of the four you speak of, and it isn’t possible. It isn't rational. I am nothing if not a monster."
Raising his hands out in front of him, where only the memory of blood showed deep in his mind, "I'm sorry."

Dauer leaned against the far wall while the stories were told, expression changing little, until Dranik expressed his doubts.
"Well, those were quite the stories. Now let me clarify some of your misconceptions about what is real and what is the smoke of the darkness.
First of all, let's look at the legend known by a few as the Legend of Mardok. Mardok was the wizard Lakia was referring to. He was also my brother. He foresaw the ties that bound the four as Lakia so correctly described. He also stated that Lakia was to be one of the four, also true. The thing, though, that you may not be aware of is that when Mardok was referring to "the four" he was not including a wizard. A wizard is not a part of an incantation of gathering because the wizard must remain outside of it in order to create the gathering. I will be with you in power and spirit but the true magic of what you must accomplish must come from the chosen four. Dranik, I know you are in pain for the past you have suffered through because of the "curse" placed upon you in the womb. That you would have the nobility of heart to speak so openly of this pain and the misery you have put out to others as a result, tells me, and speaks to the others here, that you are and must be the second of the chosen. Now, it is important that you trust in what I am about to tell you and request of you. You are to leave immediately, prior to the Phoenix Moon rising, and return to the barn that you once claimed. I will explain in a moment.
Zaktye, you are a powerful instrument for the return of the light and all that was right in this world, and most definitely needed as the third of the chosen four. Your music can lift the heavy heart through any darkness because of what your Oric has given you. You and Oric were to marry, were you not?" Zaktye, eyes brimming with tears, nodded.
"Did he not give you a ring of betrothal?"
"Why yes. I wear it close to my heart always." As she said this she reached to hold a previously unnoticed ring, hanging from a gold chain that was around her neck.
"Keep it there, near your heart where it will be safe, for we will have a great need for it in the days to come."
Dauer turned once again to Dranik, placing his hands on the young man's shoulders, as a father on a son's.
"Dranik, as I asked earlier, you must return as soon as possible to the barn you once claimed as shelter. I am aware that you met a young girl there who claimed it to be her property. I am also aware how she has settled into an unfamiliar place in your heart. You need to find her there, talk with her openly and honestly, for she is not what she appears to be.
She will be the fourth of the chosen and the one that will bind all of you together by a force no power of darkness can defeat. Convince her to join us and keep her by your side at all times. You must protect her from any harm, even during the rise of the Phoenix Moon. The strength of her power will prevent any changes that would be harmful to either of you, as long as you believe. Dranik, look at me. Can you begin to believe in the goodness and innocence she presents? You must, for any of our work to succeed."
Dranik, stunned by what he was hearing, looked into the deep blue, shifting to grey and back to sky blue of Dauer's eyes. He shook uncontrollably for a brief moment, and then gained control. "For you, for all of us, I will do my best."
"That is all we would ever pray for my friend." Dauer said softly as he squeezed his shoulders.
"Now, you must leave, for time does not wait for the plotting of man, elf, or wizard. He only continues his march to our destiny." Having said this, Dauer turned his attention back to the Elvin Princess and the sad eyed lady, holding about her neck the greatest gift of love anyone could give.

Dranik stood, "Very well, I shall go and see if I can find Syern. Though what difference a child can make... Ahh yes, I know.. Believe?.. Right."
Dranik stepped past Dauer and stopped.
Dauer glanced back, "Something else?"
"Uhh yea. You did something to this room. I'm not gonna step out over some three hundred foot cliff or anything am I?"
"No." Answered the wizard without even a touch of humor crossing his face.
Dranik shrugged his shoulders and made for the door, stopped and came back to the table.
Dauer looked a little impatient, "Yes?"
"One question for her." He pointed at Lakia, "Why would you carry a sword anymore? I know the armies use them because they are protected by spell from bullets but still, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to carry a gun instead of lugging that thing around?"
Lakia just looked at him, "Don’t question my strength or my practice, child."
Dranik smiled, "Child?"
Lakia stood, "Have you any clue as to how old I am?"
Dranik pursed his lips in thought and then said, "Oh yea, I almost forgot you elves age like dogs."
Lakia drew her blade and looked a challenge to Dranik, "Your the only dog here."
Dauer looked to both of them before throwing up his hands and proclaiming, "I can't believe this. We sit on the forefront of battle, a battle that will decide the fate of the world and you two go at it like siblings!"
Zaktye raised her voice over the quietness that had settled the room, "Dranik go now, you two can dance later."
"Yea yea, I'm going but one more thing, princess; my bullets can not be stopped by your Elvin spells." He turned and left.
Lakia sheathed her blade and muttered, "They would never leave the gun."
Dauer looked around, "Are we done? Good."

Finishing the Four
Dranik smiled as he opened the door and found familiar ground on the other side.
Syern? What he hell is going on? Does this old wizard really know what he is talking about or are we all going to be killed for nothing?"
Dranik turned towards the forest when a voice said, "Halt! Proclaim yourself?"
Dranik turned to find two men, one pointing a blade and the other wearing a royal cloak.
"What do you want?"
"We want your name stranger and a reason why you are in our town."
Dranik took a step towards the men and said, "Ok a name you can have, but when you pick one for me can you make it a good one?"
"You dare insult us?"
"I dare say so." Dranik was starting to enjoy this.
The younger of the two with the blade came to rest the point of the blade against Dranik’s chest. "You will answer our questions without further comment or I shall cut that sarcastic heart out of your chest. Now why were you inside the home of Dauer?"
"It's a shop no? I was there for the purpose of purchasing books, nothing more."
The royal guard said from behind the younger man, "You don’t seem to have any books on you now."
"Uh, that’s right. You are pretty sharp huh?"
The young soldier twitched and Dranik saw his eyes narrow as his mind chose to activate his body and strike with the sword.
Dranik's natural instinct and enhanced reflexes flew to fight and he slapped the blade away a split second before the soldier even knew he was going to use it and fluidly lifted a pistol from its holster and fired twice into the soldiers head before turning and shooting the royal guard.
They both fell almost simultaneously and Dranik heard a sound not far off as he turned in time to see the lower part of Dauer's shop burst into flames, soldiers running from the inferno..
Without thought Dranik burst through the front door and felt his hair burning and his clothes catching fire but he didn’t stop until he reached the top of the stairs and found the other three all looking at him in horror.
"The soldiers, they know! You have to get out!"
Zaktye looked at Dranik, "Your burning."
"I'll heal but you wont so... “He turned to Dauer, "can you get them safe from here?"
Dauer just stood there, mind thinking of all the great works he was going to lose to the fire.
Lakia touched his arm and he jumped, "Yes, yes I can."
"Good, then you three better find another place to hold up cause this is not going to work anymore."
Dranik turned and fled back down the stairs.
"Wait." Called Lakia but Dranik was gone. "How is he going to know where to meet us?"
"Sometime you will need to trust his beast and I think maybe you should realize that he can be more helpful than harmful."
"Ok, can we go now?"

Dranik tore out the front of the shop as a wall gave way and crumbled, sending sparks and ashes floating into the air. He snatched the young soldier up off the ground as he ran into the woods...
he ran halfway until his legs began to question him and then he laid the dead soldier down and rid himself of his own clothes.
He searched his body and found that there were a couple serious burns and his whole left side was in blister.
Dranik stripped the soldier of his clothing and the dropped to the ground and shifted into animal form... once in wolf form he sniffed the air until he was satisfied no one was following him and then fed on the body of the soldier... as he fed his body shed the burned skin and replaced it with new tissue. After he finished healing he grabbed the clothes of the soldier and made his way to the barn, to Syern...

Lakia watched Dranik flee. He calling her princess was getting on her nerves. So she choose to follow him and annoy him a bit. Also, he had said he could not control the beast inside him. He was wrong. Obviously he didn't know what an elf could do. Especially a wood elf. She knew a spell that when combined with a certain charm would help tame the beast so long as he kept the charm on. Without it he would return to his old self. She launched herself in the air in phoenix form and flew high above, so he could not sense her presence as he ate the dead soldier. She was eager to find out the fourth member. She flew high and quickly found the barn in which Dranik had run to. There was a small hole in the roof that she dropped into and landed in the rafters. She watched Dranik approach a young girl. She sensed the young girl’s fear at first when she saw him approach but it quickly faded. Lakia stirred in the rafters, trying not to make any noise. It was hard. It has been awhile since her phoenix form was reborn, which is right to do to keep its strength. She could feel the fire burning within her now. She fought to keep it down but it was putting up a terrific fight. All of a sudden the world burst into a swirl of red and orange and yellow to her eyes and she fell as she burst into flame. Lakia landed just as she had became a baby phoenix, featherless and flightless, in a pile of ashes. Dranik had his gun drawn and pointed at her.
<You can put that thing away.> Lakia said in thought speech.
He jumped.
<Yes, dog, you are hearing my voice inside your head. Sorry about the intrusion, it would've been more graceful if I hadn't been reborn at this time.>
He still looked on edge but he put the gun away.
She breathed a sigh of relief and cycled into her form. She brushed some ashes off of her clothes. It would be 7 days before her phoenix form would be useable again. For now she would have to refer to another form. She then turned to the girl.
"Hello. I am Lakia of the woodland realm of Anoria. Nice to meet you."

Zaktye could see nothing in front of her face. Petrified she softly said "Dauer?" The sound of a single match struck the wall to make a spark.

"Dauer, what happened? Where are we?" turning around Zaktye observed an average sized rectangle table; Candles on the shelves, oils, incense, goblets, and herbs.

"This is my house!! What? How did this happen? The solders of King Wheypon had my house burnt to the ground." Zaktye stood confused.

Dauer stepped closer looking into Zaktye's Blue-Green eyes "You know more than you realize my dear. This is the house where your mother raised you is it not?"
"Yes" Zaktye said.
“This is also the house where she taught you all you need to get by in life is it not?"
"Yes" she replied.
"Then you must go to work and when you are finished you will have many answers for yourself and I am sure answers for us as well"
"This is also the place where I first met Oric. He came looking for work, and I just knew from the moment I saw him that he was my love. Dauer I left this life long ago, I can't go back now."

Dauer said "You can and you must!! The four will not complete without you. The destiny of the universe will not be complete. I know it is painful the memory of Oric. Use that memory to drive you. When all of this is over the pain will be over too. I know that Oric was a practicing Wizard as well; he taught you things now use them!!!!...

Zaktye's eyes widened welling with tears and she could barely speak.
Zaktye grabbed Dauer's arm tightly squeezing "Tell me where he is!!!! How do you know so much? How do you know what I can do? Wizard or no Wizard, I was the only one who knew! The only one. Oric told no one of his Powers. They were his gift; he protected them just as he did me. Tell me Dauer how did you know we were to be married? How did you know I have a ring? “

Dauer began to grow angry.”Do your spells woman we haven't the time for all the love stories." Zaktye ran to the door opening it to leave only to find when she stepped outside this was not her home at all, she stood on top of a mountain so great that no one would even hear her if Dauer wanted to kill her. "Could he be one of Wheypon's wizards? Or could he…?"

Zaktye turned into the house as Dauer said “I am a wizard right? So we need to stay safe. We will be safe up here. Dranik and Lakia will find us because they will find you. They will feel you and they will return when the time is right."
"Dauer Please I beg of you, tell me where is Oric? Is he dead? I watched the soldier stab him and when he never came back for me I thought he must have died. Died so I could live. Who are you Dauer? Why do you know all about me?"

Dauer looked at her, put his arm around her and walked her over to the altar. He sat her down in front of it and kissed her on the cheek. "Do not be afraid. I will sit back in the corner and watch. You will need a spell of protection, a spell of enlightenment, a spell of great wisdom, call upon all the forces of the earth to enter your spirit to give you the strength you will need for this fight. All the powers you will need to protect yourself and the others too."

Zaktye was shaking as she began to light the candles. She looked one last time at Dauer, and, before she began, he said "I promise you I will tell you all I know when the moment is right. A little here a little there. Now continue."

Dauer had no choice but to be firm with Zaktye if he allowed her love for Oric to confuse him with what he had to do now, then they would all fail. He knew that he could tell her in time.. If he tells her now she won't want to go any further...........................

Bringing In The Fourth
Syern found Lakia's eyes and watched as they turned from orange to silver then faded into grey. "I'm Syern, are you like him?"
Dranik snorted. "No, she is an Elvin princess. Ha, saying that should be blasphemy."
Lakia shot a look to Dranik before returning to Syern, "Forgive him, his canine mind is hard to comprehend most things not grown to walk on four legs."
Syern looked a little bewildered but managed to group her thoughts, "I thought you weren’t going to be coming back this soon so I was going to come here and bring some bedding and stuff for you; but I was surprised to find a soldier asleep in here, until I noticed it was you."
Dranik rubbed the back of his neck, "Uh, yea we had a problem. Do you feel anything different when we are around you?"
"Different how?"
Lakia spoke up, "What dog-boy here is trying to say is, you have been predestined to fight a battle with us and we need to know if you are up to the challenge or are we all going to die because you are just some kid with a crush on a werewolf."
Dranik let a low growl tremble from his lips in warning to Lakia, "Do not stand here and insult her like that or I will send you back to your fairies and leprechauns as food for their spring flowers."
Lakia smiled, "Touchy are we? Very well, I did not follow you to argue and fight. If you could even call it a fight."
Dranik reached out and snatched Lakia by the arm and flung her out the door.
Syern took a step away from Dranik and slapped her hands together as a burst of energy wrapped around Dranik and carried him back to the other side of the barn.
"What the hell?" Dranik demanded as an arrow stopped in mid air two inches from his chest.
Syern looked a little frightened and said, "That wasn’t me." and released Dranik.
"It was mine" said Lakia, coming back inside.
Dranik reached up and snapped the arrow in two then stalked towards them.
"Stop." Said Syern, "Just tell me what is going on."
The anger floated out of Dranik's eyes as he shielded himself and his thoughts and looked to Lakia, "Care to fill her in?"

Lakia snatched the broken arrow out of Dranik’s hands and held the two pieces so that the broken ends faced each other. With a slight quiver the arrow melded back together. Dranik looked at it with disbelief.
Lakia laughed, "Have you not heard about Elvin arrows? They can be broken and then put back together when an elf holds each end in their hands. Duh. And I will fill her in as soon as we can settle this little, argument I guess you could say."
Dranik gave a huff and crossed his arms over his chest. "Fine." he said.
"Good boy. Now Syern," she said as turned to the girl, “in an ancient Elvin legend it tells of a day when the moon eclipses the sun and four are bound together to fight an evil that will arise that day. The evil will be great and strong, and we will fight it a long time. But the four must remain strong and beat it. Three of the four have been "chosen" already, you are the final member of this group. At the end of this week, the day of the full moon, the moon will cover the sun. There we will be bonded and the evil will rise. Are you ready for this?"
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:11 am

<a name="#ch002">THE CHOSEN - Part II "Family Ties"</a>

Zaktye sat down in front of her alter. She looked up to see Dauer standing back in the corner. It was still so very dark, she could see the shape of Dauer's face, his arms crossing in front of him there is some type of jewelry that dangles from his wrist. Zaktye suddenly thought of what she was supposed to be doing.

She stood and drew a small dagger from her packet, dropped off her dress and kicked it across the room. Then remembered Dauer and then thought, well he is a Wizard, and went about her work. Slowly she walked about the altar in a perfect circle calling on all the elements of the earth. Once she had created a circle of magic around herself she sat back down. Still not feeling comfortable, it had been so long since she had done this. Not that she couldn't remember anything, there was a feeling of fright that she was not ready for what she was asking for. She stood back up and began to dance around to create energy of her own to unite with the magic. She stood facing her altar and tipped her head back with her eyes closed and began to sing a song. When she sang it was in Latin this time. She always used Latin when practicing magic.

Dauer still sitting in the corner closed his eyes; one tear ran down his cheek. It had been so long since he had heard this song. Zaktye's voice so beautiful, almost sending himself into his own state of meditation.
Quickly he caught himself though as Zaktye's voice went high and to a deep ending.

"Okay I feel better now" she said to herself. She began chanting and meditation and prayer. Suddenly she reached up and fell to the floor. She lay there seeming as if lifeless.

Dauer focused in on her face, he noticed her eyes twitching and relaxed again. He knew that at that moment it had begun. Dranik and Lakia must have found Syern. He knew when Zaktye went out in the square it was because it was the beginning of the beginning. Now that all four are to know what they are to do and who they are themselves, now it is the beginning.

Dauer focused on Zaktye's eyes once again. Still twitching, it had been so long since he had seen her. Her hair now longer than what it used to be. Her skin was paler, but her beauty still there. He was sure that would never fade. Then he thought of Dranik. He looks the same, though he can tell he has grown wise upon his years. Lakia, He had only heard of her birth. He never went to see her. He knew that if he did it might change fate. She was however exactly what he thought she would be.

Zaktye began to whimper and slowly her legs and arms moved. She curled up into a fetal position and began to breath deep and slow. She fell into a sleep. Dauer bent at his knees slid down to the floor and waited..

Dauer sat there for some time, watching Zaktye while she slept, curled up as an infant waiting peacefully, hopefully, to be released into a new beginning of better tomorrows.
A tear again began to form in the corner of an eye and he quickly brushed it away as a mosquito, not wanting its sting to weaken his resolve to what must be done.
"My dear Zaktye, how can I tell you, though I must, what you truly are to me? With more strength in your powers, I know you will be able to handle what is to be said, but will I?"
He quietly stood and walked over to the window overlooking the edge of the forest. His hair, hanging to his shoulders appeared to be whiter and the lines in his face etched a deeper shadow beneath each one. The sudden need for such powerful magic in a short time had aged him considerably, though not dangerously. Wizards, if not released from the physical world, may stay in the world for eons, with signs of age only increasing as the frequency of the use of their powers increase. It had been a busy night.
The sound of gunshots outside his store/home had erupted almost simultaneously to the eruption of flames around them. A moment of weakness that living in the physical world may bring to a wizards heart almost cost them all, dearly. Dranik's bursting in on them when he did, smoking like an escapee from hell, brought him to his senses in enough time to send Lakia out through the window and to wrap Zaktye inside his cloak where he transferred them to their current location, her old homestead. Dauer believed that Dranik was the only one identified as partnered with him, leaving the others relatively safe from recognition, for now.
So now the full circle has come about, and the time for full truths was at hand.
"I need another gathering place to finalize our plans before the final battle", he thought. "When will this war ever end? So many innocents on both sides; all victims of evil's deception. Are we gathering too much power? I know the forces of the king are incalculable, but no match for what we are about to bring to them. That is, bring to them if Dranik can convince the girl/creature Syern to join the battle." Dauer, lost in thought, failed to hear, at first, the moaning behind him. The second cry brought him from his worries and caused him to turn toward the floor where Zaktye lay.
She was now standing and turning slowly while mumbling in various languages bits of spells from ages past, all harmless in their incompleteness. She was still sleeping and experiencing the awakening of forces that flowed dormant in her blood but were now beginning to move. He rushed quietly to her, touched her gently on the forehead, moving his fingers in the shape of a cross. She stopped her circling and collapsed in his arms. He gently lay her down on the mat where she immediately resumed the fetal position she had been in previously. He looked regretfully at her, thinking how sad it was that a heart of such gentleness is to be burdened with a power of such potency.
He then began reviewing the players in his mind, to insure that they were the one's called for in the legend and prophesy.
"At the time evil will again arise
The land will be scoured, many will die
For fear of his symbol in the sky
When the Moon devours the phoenix fire up high.
Only the children of creation
And the parents of devastation
May wipe away evil's manifestations
And thus, preventing the Light's obliteration."
These words were emblazoned on his mind as a mantra. With the prayed for gathering of Syern into their group, the children would be gathered.
"All we need now is a safe meeting place and everyone to be there" Dauer thought while another moan escaped Zaktye's restless sleep and he gazed out at normal moonlit sky on a far from normal night, wondering, too, about the safety of the others.

Syern took a step back and looked to Lakia with astonishment spreading across her face, "No, it can’t be true. Can it?"
"What?" Asked Lakia.
"This." Syern untied her blouse and held it to cover her breasts as she turned her back to them and Dranik and Lakia both gasped. "What is that?" Asked Dranik.
Lakia turned from Dranik and walked to Syern with tears in her eyes, "Scars, burns, brands."
"What? They look-"
Lakia turned to look at Dranik as she put an arm around the girl, "Please leave us now. Listen with your ears through the wall but please just give us a couple of minutes Dranik."
Slightly shocked by the tears and even more shocked at the pleading in her voice Dranik turned and walked outside, closing the door behind him.
Dranik took a quick look around before putting his back to the outside wall and sliding down it into a sitting position with his legs coiled under him in case he should have to move quickly.

Syern rubbed a tear away from Lakia's eye as she said, "It's ok, I don’t remember them happening. My mom used to talk to me about them, but she doesn’t any more, she doesn’t talk to me all that much anymore really... She said they were the markings of angels, that I was marked to carry the child of the new demon when the time came. Something about an evil being that would inherit the souls of all men and women. She is kind of crazy, at least I had hoped... She isn’t crazy is she Lakia?
Lakia wiped away another tear and smiled at Syern, "I hope so."
"Well, mom said that the angels marked me so they could find me again and claim my soul before the time came. She said that some angels have to do little bits of bad things to keep the real bad from ever coming true. I used to try to scrape the marks off when I was younger, hoping that if I got rid of them then the angels couldn’t find me."
Lakia straightened up and ran a hand across Syern’s back, "Can you tell me what they say?"
Syern shrugged, "Mama never knew, said they were some angelic script that no living person could ever read or understand. But she did say that an angel came to visit her not long after she saved me and brought me here. Said the angel told her that if I was to die before they came back for me that the evil would take my soul and use it anyway they wanted to and that there had to be a ceremony of some kind done at my time of death to guarantee my soul would be saved."
Lakia helped the girl back into her top and then held her in her arms.
Dranik dug his fingers deep into the soil and rocked back and forth. He wanted to save this girl with all his heart; he wanted to protect her, to keep her safe. And now Dauer had sent him to collect her and bring her to war...
His hands curled into fists a foot under ground as he wondered not for the first time what Dauer really was.
Inside Lakia pulled away from Syern and told her, "We have a friend who can tell us more about all this, his name is Dauer. I think he knows what is going on, come, we must go to him now."
Syern followed Lakia outside where they found Dranik looking a little less than happy.
"What’s with you, halitosis?" Asked Lakia.
"Nothing." Answered Dranik as he shrugged his shoulders forward and marched ahead of them into the woods.
Lakia and Syern kept a little distance from Dranik so he could sniff the air and do his thing. Like a tracker following a trail so faint it was only a memory he took them through the mountains.
Lakia at one point had said, "Look, I can find it a lot quicker if you would just let me."
With a sigh she and Syern resumed their little bonding as Dranik led on like a good little guide hound.
"So Syern, tell me more about yourself."
Syern told her of her parents death and how she came about to live with her new mother and about the late night conversations and candle lit ceremonies... the priest that came religiously every Sunday and the witches that came every Tuesdays. The bloodletting, the smoke, the water rituals... she told of a child that should have long ago lost all hopes but who saw amazing things in the smallest miracles. "Like the curve of a leave. It is cupped just perfectly to grab a raindrop out of the air and lead it to the trees roots. Isn't that neat?"
"Yes, yes it is."
Dranik listened to it all as his love for this child only grew and solidified. Not the same love you would ask for in a wife, but a daughter? Maybe.
He dealt with his accusations of Dauer along the way, promising himself that he would question the wizard but he didn’t feel it in his heart that Dauer would put this girl, or anyone in harm’s way without a damn good reason.

As Lakia and Syern walked together with Dranik leading she could feel his distress, and knew what distressed him so. It affected her also. Who was Dauer actually? He claimed he was brother of the Good Wizard but why could he not be part of the four? It puzzled her so, but she did trust him. He hadn't given her a reason not too.
<Thinking about Dauer aren't you?> she asked Dranik in thought speech.
He jumped and gave a small yelp. "I'll never get used to you doing that." he said.
"Do what?" asked Syern.
"I can talk in thought speech." said Lakia. Then to Dranik she said <Aren't you?>
"Yes." he said solemnly.
Lakia then said <You should trust him, and that his decisions are good. The dark of the sun is fast approaching. We must prepare. If it is said that this girl may carry the evil foretold or bear the child of the evil foretold, we must prepare. I am not quite sure on what exactly her part in the legend is but maybe Dauer will know.>
"Are you so sure he is good?" asked Dranik. "You seem to place too much faith in him. Anyways, won't you be missed by your family, princess?"
Lakia ignored the princess and said, "My family thinks I am off to the Air realm to have a vacation I guess you could say. But they do know of the legend, though just parts and they don't know yet I am one of the four. In time I will tell them. Maybe after this fight is over; not yet though. The time is not right. I fear that after this battle our numbers will shrink and some of us will leave this land. Hard times are ahead, for all of us. I can feel it in the earth. I feel the trembles as the darkness comes closer. On that day the earth will shake and the fires touch the sky. The water will come to boil and the wind blow hard. Then all will be calm. But not a good calm, a calm before the battles that follow."

Zaktye was coming out of her sleep. Her eyes not open just yet. Dauer knew she was still in non-reality. The slow movement of her arms and legs told them it would be just moments before she was completely alert. Dauer stood to find Zaktye's dress.

Zaktye began to smell the herbal scents in the air, and began to stretch as if awakening from hibernation. She felt something warm and heard a man’s voice speak her name. Quickly opening her eyes she sat up looked at Dauer, "How are you feeling?" he said concerned. Zaktye pulled at her dress and quickly stood up and stepped into it. Once she found her slippers she turned to Dauer "How long has it been? When will Dranik and Lakia arrive? They have Syern...”
“Dauer that girl must be protected. We have to keep her safe until all this is over. She is to give birth to a son named Adaleous. He will make great things happen and all people from everywhere will witness this and declare him king. Once that happens he will turn everyone against each other, creating such destruction in the world. Dauer we have to find a place where we can keep her safe. King Wheypon is going to declare Adaleous as his son. That is what he has been looking for all this time. He knows of the four. That is why he has had elves, Wizards, Witches, and any being that possesses any type of power killed unless they are under his rule. He knows that he can't allow his army to wipe out the entire village of elves. So he tells his men to kill the ones who seem to be the wise. The ones they can tell are powerful."

Dauer stood silent for a moment; it doesn't seem that Zaktye had been made aware of whom he is. "What are the instructions of the four?" he asked.

“Lakia has to stay as far from her village as possible for she will remain closest to Syern. Dranik can protect us all in the beginning until the people of the villages begin to turn on each other. Then we will all need to fight. Dranik can take on any men of Wheypon's army who find us before then."

Zaktye began to cry. "So many people are going to die Dauer." she said. Dauer took her in his arms, still feeling the magic all over her. His senses still heightened. Zaktye looked up at him and said "You must tell me where to begin. I know that you hold all the answers. You have much to tell us all. I remember a flash from when I was out; you telling us four something, though I can't remember the words. Dauer, what do you know?"

Dauer stood there comforting the weeping Zaktye, searching inwardly for guidance he needed. He could see the evil already at work in the minds and hearts of the four. Through the mental energy released from Lakia, he could sense the questioning of his purpose; and now Zaktye, only just awakened to the power within her, was being fed information by the force of evil that wanted so much to fully control this world.
"But the timing of the revelation must be just right and accepted by all four." Dauer thought to himself as he gently smoothed the silky hair of Zaktye as she leaned against his chest sobbing. "Now that she is awakened to herself, there is one thing I can reveal to this dear child at least. She now has the right, even the need to know it."
Dauer walked Zaktye over to a chair set next to the room's little table.
"Sit here and calm yourself young lady. Truth's as such are only based upon the reality of the owner. Some ‘truth's’ are owned by evil and are labeled as deceptions by those with clear minds and good hearts. The other 'truths' are owned by the One who is, by His very nature, Truth Personified, and, as such, are to be accepted with faith by those with clear mind and good heart, while at the same time feared by the evil one and his minions. As you strengthen further you will learn of these things and more. I will need you to bring your new found power to my assistance at the final confrontation and still need you to apply the special powers you have that made you one of the chosen."
Zaktye's sobs had stopped and she sat in the chair, staring at Dauer as if she was listening to words spoken behind those coming from his mouth.
Dauer noticed this and then sighed deeply. The time had come, for she was beginning to hear the hidden world of thought speech.
Even before the words had come out, Zaktye’s eyes widened and again brimmed with tears. "Yes, my dear grand-daughter, it is true. Your father was my youngest son. I have stayed away to protect you from Wheypon's notice, and it has pained me greatly. You are my only remaining relative. All others; my brothers, sister, children, grand-children were butchered at Wheypon's hands. You are the reason I could not be part of the four, because only one wizard was foretold, and you were chosen in your mother's womb. Further explanation must await the final gathering of the four prior the Phoenix Moon's rising."
Zaktye, tears running from her eyes, stood, staring strangely at the old man who stood before her; at the old man who was her grandfather.
"Zaktye, I need you to forgive me for not being with you in your life, but you had to survive. You HAD to; and the only way was for me not to bring attention to you by my presence. I've loved you dearly and it hurt so much at times, that I even began to question my own belief in the one Truth. Now, it is of little consequence who knows of our relationship for you are quickly attaining the power to withstand almost anything that is thrown at you. Granddaughter, I hope you can forgive my absence and silence. It was only for your safety, and the sake of what light was left in this world." Zaktye continued staring at Dauer.
"I have thought of a place for our gathering and will be sending notice to the others by messenger." Saying this, he walked to the double window, opening it wide and letting out a screeching sound so loud and piercing that people at the far end of the village nearby raised their hands to cover ears and looked with wonder at the sky, searching for the source.
Zaktye, unmoved by the sound, still stood, never releasing Dauer from her eyes.
Still at the window, he looked to the sky, his eyes, reddened from the grief and loneliness of the many lost years. Soon his eyes spotted a shadow rapidly growing in the distance and heading toward him. He backed away, and in a moment an immense grey owl landed upon the window frame. Dauer bowed as he approached, reaching out to touch the head plumes. He stood there with head bowed and hand on the huge bird for a minute, and then stepped back. With that, the bird turned and took wing.
Dauer turned to Zaktye. “We must prepare to leave here, but before we do, is there anything you wish to say to your grandfather?"
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:12 am

<a name="#ch003">THE CHOSEN - Part III "Plans"</a>

Dranik stopped and cocked his head. "Did you hear that?" He asked of the other two.
Lakia stepped forward, "Do you even have to ask? I don’t think an animal on earth could have not heard that."
Dranik snatched Syern up in his arms and looked at Lakia, "Can you keep up?"
Lakia laughed and took off in a sprint that surprised Dranik towards the sound of the cry. He shuffled Syern a little then fell in step behind Lakia, the trees and brush blowing past them in nothing short of a whirlwind.
When they reached the cabin they stopped and Dranik let Syern stand on her own as he gave Lakia a questioning look.
"Well come inside, we haven’t got enough time." came the voice of Dauer as the door swung open...

Dranik and Lakia brought Syern in to house. Zaktye could not help but think to herself what a beautiful girl she was. She wanted to hold her and keep her from the torture she was going through.

"Lakia you are going to be in charge of Syern, after tonight only you can be near her. Don't let me, Dranik, or Dauer near her until all of this is over." Zaktye said. Lakia promised she would protect her; she also seemed to be happy about the assignment.

"There is so much that we all need to discuss in such a short time. If you would just give me a moment of patience. I need to speak with Dauer." Zaktye said. "Now hold on just one minute, I want to know," “Ahhmmm”, Lakia cleared her throat. Dranik said "I mean we all want to know what is going on here?" “Why do you want to talk with Dauer alone? I mean we all just met right? We are all confused here right? Or do you and Mr. Wizard here have something going all on your own here? “As he stepped toward Dauer, Zaktye stepped in front of him, ready to turn this werewolf into stone at any sudden threat toward her Grandfather.

Dauer stood back, amazed by the sudden turn of events. Zaktye was suddenly issuing orders, setting plans and sending threats out to Dranik?
With a realization of what was going on, Dauer reached out to Zaktye, gently touching her head, and she stood unmoving, her eyes shut, breathing easy.
"Come, my friends. Close the door, quickly!"
He moved to the door as Dranik walked by to take Zaktye and lead her, still entranced to the back of the cabin. Lakia followed with Syern in her hand, and as she passed Dauer, Syern turned to ask "Who are you, old man?" "Your servant, dear girl. Your servant."
Looking out the window to be certain no one had followed, he pulled the drapes shut.
"We cannot stay here long. We must separate again and head to Mount Tryphid. There are caverns there where we can finalize our plans and..."
"Our plans?!" Dranik shouted. "What do you mean 'Our'? You have been spouting all these "plans" with nothing from us. My plan would be to take Syern as far away from these lands as my two, or four, feet could carry us! She doesn't need this frightfulness." At that outburst, Syern pulled away from Lakia's grip and ran to Dranik, "Please. Stop this. It is enough!
I know I am new and just a child, but I also know that none of us can live without some guidance. Is Dauer not a Wizard? I know that much at least. And as a wizard, he knows, more than any of us, the way out of our troubles, and it is not by running. Dranik, I think of you as a brother and I feel for your personal tragedy, but it must be put aside." She then turned to Lakia, standing off to the side. "Lakia, my dear Elvin sister, you have shown more concern for me than I have known my life. I know you would protect me with your life, as would Dranik. But if this old Wizard has a plan then let’s hear it. For any plan is better than none, is it not?"
She was in tears, moving from Dranik, back to Lakia and back again to Dranik, hands out, pleading. Dranik stood back, surprised by Syern's outburst, moved to silence as Lakia sat with her head in her hands.
"Dranik, my friend, do not take this old man to be so single minded. Any plan we use of course will be our plan with agreement from everyone. For that is the only way we will survive. Lakia, I realize that first in your heart is the plight of your people. It is that strength in your heart that caused you to be the first chosen. There is no way out of our problems but one - the fulfillment of the Legend of the Phoenix Moon. No way!”
He turned to Syern, who was listening intently, her green eyes shining as emeralds as Dauer spoke. "Syern, my lovely girl, it is so sad when times such as these must drag into the forefront children with such bright futures as yours. I am going to repeat to you a legend that you may not know of, but that you will help fulfill.

'At the time evil will again arise
The land will be scoured, many will die
For fear of his symbol in the sky
When the Moon devours the phoenix fire up high.
Only the children of creation
And the parents of devastation
May wipe away evil's manifestations;
And thus, preventing the Light's obliteration.'

You four are the children of creation and will soon be the parents of devastation. All things will be made clear when we meet in the caverns of Mt. Tryphid." He then knelt down to look into the two glistening emeralds, and reaching behind her head with a gentle touch, he said. "Syern, we, I need to know that you are willing to be a part of this history, for that is the only way the legend can be fulfilled." "Oh, yes, please. Let me help."
Lakia moved over to her to hold her close. "We will be beside you and protect you always, will we not Dranik?" Dranik moved over to stand next to them. His hands on each of their shoulders, he spoke in the gentlest tone any of them had heard, “I think that it is she and her strength that will be giving us protection." They looked up at him, surprised, and they began to laugh.
Standing back, Dauer smiled. "Yes, I believe we have it now. All we need is to get to the caverns before all hell breaks loose and the Phoenix Moon arrives", he thought.
"Friends, we really must leave now. Be prepared to fight your way to Mt. Tryphid, for our magic has drawn our enemy close." He went to Zaktye, still silent in her trance, and released her. She stumbled a little while Dauer held her. "Grandfather? What happened? I had the strangest dream. I was being told that I should take over this chore and that Syern should be separated from us with Lakia. That's not right, is it?"
At the "Grandfather", the laughter in the background stopped and was replaced with silence, but not long.
"Grandfather?!" from three voices as one. Dranik: "What is this?" Lakia: "How could this be?!" Syern: "You are his granddaughter? That's great! Does that mean you are a wizard too? Wow!"
Dauer held his hands up, fending off further questions. "I believe Zaktye can explain it all to you on the way. You four will need to travel together, for your bonding must be completed when you arrive, and you each can serve to protect each other on the way. I must go on ahead to clear the area prior to your arrival and if I use too much magic it will attract too much attention, which we do not want right now. Are we still together on this?" Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
"Very well, let's be off. If you feel lost, follow the large grey owl. He will lead you the way. Stay safe." With that he pulled his cloak around himself, and with a moment of a rainbow shimmer, disappeared.
Leaving the four determined that in the same way that four are leaving that place, four will join at Mount Tryphid.

To Mount Tryphid
Lakia had stood surprised at Zaktye's outburst that she and Syern would have to travel alone. Lakia felt she could protect Syern with full confidence, but she did not like the idea of going out, not with the dark moon approaching. She shivered. If it was her own way she would fly in dragon form to the mountain. It would be quicker with Syern on her back, except she would be a nice target flying in the sky. It would have to be done on foot, slower but less of a target. Lakia told the others remaining. "If we split up we'll be less of a target. The legend says four, if we travel as four and someone with knowledge of the ancient legend sees us, then it's over. I think we should go in twos. Dranik, since it seems you are a great tracker and fighter, you should go with Zaktye. Personally I would go with you but there would be no point in combining a fighting force and leaving the others, with one so young in her powers. I will go with Syern as it is told. Now we must leave for I too feel the darkness approaching. The enemy knows we're here!" Lakia grabbed Syern's hand and they both fled out the door and into the woods. When they had run far Lakia stopped and looked at Syern. "We'll go faster if I become a large wolf and you climb on my back." Syern nodded and said,"Ok, but won't the enemy sense the magic?"
Lakia laughed, "This is not magic, young one. This is a talent only a few of my kind can do. It takes over 50 years to fully learn all the forms. No magic is used really. I just reform." Lakia then transformed into a large timber wolf. <Climb on.> she told Syern and she did. <Now hold on!> and with that Lakia sprinted off and towards the mountain.

Zaktye turned to Dranik, "Shall we?" Dranik walked out the door and turned to see Zaktye take one last look at the home she thought she would never see again, the home she now know that she surely will never see again. With that in mind she took comfort in knowing that she now still has someone. Her Grandfather, Dauer. Zaktye ran to the corner where he sat her to recover from her magic and grabbed the blanket he had used to warm her. Still smelling of him, tears formed in her eyes. "No, stop. Now is not the time, he will protect himself and I will be able to tell him how much I love him when all this is over.” Zaktye walked out the door to Dranik. "Let's go we don't have much time" "wait one last thing" Zaktye said. She turned toward the house and with the wave of her hand it was gone. "They may be able to sense the magic but they will never know what or whom it was from."

After walking sometime in silence Dranik said "So Dauer, he is your Grandfather?" “Yes, my Father was his youngest son. I thought he was dead. I had five sisters and five brothers; I was the only one who my parents taught the magic to. After I left my home Wheypon had his army burn it to the ground with my whole family in it. Whenever my Father spoke of his Father to my family he always said that he was a good man and provided well for his family by running a bookstore. I didn't think to put it all together with everything happening so quickly."

"So why you?" asked Dranik.
“I am the baby; I will live the longest of my family. I will learn the most being the one who observes from the others, and I still need to speak with my Grandfather. He said I was chosen in my mother's womb. That means he has known of this happening for my whole life, at the least. My Father did tell me that I inherited great powers from him and that I should never tell the others that I knew he was a wizard. When my Mother gave birth I had a crescent moon birthmark on the small of my back. That confirmed I was to follow my Grandfather in the works of Magic. He also has the same mark. I need to speak with him; I know he knows much more. I need answers; I want to know what happened to Oric."
Dranik growled "You watched him die woman, do you refuse to believe what your own eyes tell you?"
"I don't know maybe."

Zaktye looked up to see the owl. "We are headed in the right direction I can feel Dauer close." With that last word Zaktye went out again, lying in the snow with her blanket in hand. Dranik shook her, nothing but the fluttering of eyes. "Oh, not now Lady! What am I suppose to do with you?"...

Dranik looked to the sky in time to see the owl circle over head as if complaining about the time...
"Give it up old man, I cant do everything. You’re just going to have to wait."
He looked down to Zaktye and shook his head wondering if he should kick her or pick her up...
Giving in, he lifted Zaktye in his arms and almost dropped her at once when images of her past flooded his mind and sent him stumbling back into a tree where he clutched her close and went to his knees with her still in his arms...
"Oh my girl, such pain and misery. Why do you torment yourself so?" He asked in a whisper as the tears filled his eyes and his own past cam back to him in a rush, every sorrow, every fear came rushing out from him and into her. They both yelped and Dranik looked down at the closed eyelids of Zaktye.
"Please wake up."
After a couple of minutes Dranik stood with Zaktye in his arms and started the journey, sometimes carrying her with only one arm around her legs and her hips across his shoulders so he could wipe the tears that kept forming in his eyes..
The owl let out a screech and Dranik crumbled to the ground as an arrow snapped into the tree directly to his right. He rolled Zaktye gently to the ground and came up on both feet with pistols in each hand, firing into the area where the arrow had come from.
Someone cried out and Dranik released the empty clips and reloaded one at a time as he stashed the second pistol and scanned the area around them. Sensing nothing out of the ordinary he walked up to the brush where the cry had come from and found a blood trail leading off into the woods.
To follow or to keep Zaktye safe?
He knew that he couldn’t just keep going knowing that someone was out there hunting them but he also knew that he couldn’t keep her safe if he left her here to hunt himself...
The owl above came down and landed on a branch to Dranik’s left, "What do you think old man?"
The owl rotated his head to look at Zaktye and Dranik relented, "Yea yea, alright. Show us the way."
The owl took flight and Dranik scooped Zaktye off the ground and followed at a slow pace, keeping absolutely silent as he stepped between branches and leaves. Waiting for the enemy to strike again...

Lakia ran far with Syern on her back. She was starting to tire. By herself she would be at the mountain in one day. Now at the close of the day, she was only halfway there. Syern may be a small girl but running in wolf form was tiring her quick. <Syern, I must stop. We must make camp and start again early in the morning. I am tiring fast.>
Syern said, "Ok, I will be able to rest and get some sleep for I am afraid to fall asleep on your back."
Lakia nodded, <Ok. Could you please take the pack off my back so I can switch form?>
Syern scrambled off her back, "Oh yeah!" She took off the pack and Lakia switched.
Back in her original form she stretched out. "Ah that was a long run." She reached out in the wood around her. That's when she stopped. "We're being followed. And not by the others. Evil I sense. Syern climb that tree." she said pointing at a large pine. Syern confused and a little scared stood her ground. "Who is it?" she asked.
"I don’t know," then a great fear and great darkness fell upon her, "Get up that tree!!" she insisted. Syern sensing the urgency in Lakia's voice and face went up the tree swiftly. Lakia then turned around and found herself surrounded by 4 evil creatures. They looked like a sick combination of lizard and man. They were fast though. They carried no weapons but they carried long talons on their fingers and toes. They had wicked teeth.
Lakia drew her sword, its silver metal flashing, eager to bite these creatures.
One jumped at her and she swung, beheading the vile thing.
Then the other three jumped on her. She swung again but they jumped out of the way. One caught her on the back and knocked her to the ground. These were no ordinary creatures; they were enhanced by dark magic. As Lakia tried to get back up a creature slashed at her missing by inches as she rolled. Lakia then summoned a great wind swirling around the things as they were swept away one of them managed to deeply scratch her side as it was caught up in her whirlwind and swept away. Lakia fell to her knees.
Bleeding heavily she crawled her way to the pack to find binding for her wound. Syern scrambled down the tree and stopped Lakia. "Lay there." Syern told her. Syern then opened the pack and dressed the wound on Lakia's side. What she didn't know was that contained within the creatures talons was the darkness, the very dark that would arise in the dark moon. It fought for control of Lakia's very soul. Lakia then fell to the blackness. Syern was shocked. Lakia was now lying like dead on the ground, barely breathing, shadows going in and out of her skin. Help was needed and Syern didn't know what to do. Where was Zaktye or Dranik when needed? She fully trusted Lakia's ability to protect her like she just did, but now Lakia was being taken by an unknown thing. Lakia had the power to heal others but not herself. She knew Lakia could conquer any wound but not being infected by a shadow. She watched the struggle in Lakia, light and dark fighting, who was winning?

Zaktye begins to feel the cold from the harsh winds. Opening her eyes to the pure snow below her. She realized she is being carried. Unable to identify who has her she places her finger on the back of Dranik’s neck. Screaming he falls to the ground. “Oh Dranik I am so sorry" she said as soon as she realized it was him. “Oh glad you could join me, nothing like making yourself known, are you rested enough? Can I get you anything?" Dranik said in vexation
"Shut your mouth, I can't help it. I have no control when that happens, I am given visions when and where I need them, I am only given just enough to get me through for the time being. I usually don't have them as often, it is happening now because we are all together. I don't think it will happen to me if I am going to be in danger though. We need to find Lakia and Syern, we won’t get to them in time, they are going to get her, and Dauer said we should go together as four. DAUER!!! We have to get to Dauer."
"Wait a minute, slow down your going to fast," Dranik said. "First, you will go out, even in a time of danger. Something knows where here and is looking for us. Now tell me what you saw." Zaktye still in a little of her spell, and shocked to hear what Dranik just said "I..... These. These things they were men but reptiles, the teeth,...They are going to get Syern, Lakia is all alone. They will bring her to Wheypon. Dauer I saw him doing magic. He can help us. We have to get to him. “
“Is Lakia ok?" Dranik asked.
”I don't know.” Zaktye answered.

Syern watched vigilant over Lakia, checking her wounds, keeping the bindings fresh. The wounds were healing quickly, as they do on all elves, but her shadowed fever was getting worse. Lakia sometimes thrashed on the ground as if she were fighting off something. As Syern watched she learned. What befell Lakia was a demonic darkness, urging the elf to become part of it. Most creatures would've given in by now. But since Lakia was an elf, most of all a High elf, one of royal blood, she was resisting its slow poison. But for how long? Did Lakia herself know what was going on? Syern, lost in her thoughts did not hear a man creeping up behind her. He quietly lunged and covered her mouth with a cloth, but not before she could let out an ear piercing scream of fear and anger as she was ripped from her thoughts. She put up a terrific fight but he still managed to drag her away. Syern did give up after awhile, conserving her strength. She feared for herself, and Lakia. She trusted the elf with all her heart and cared for her. She did not like the idea of Lakia being alone, swallowed by the darkness. Yet she could not do anything, she could only hope that her scream had traveled far and fast. The man had brought her to a small camp and bound her hands and feet. He threw her into a tent and went to sit with his friends to stand watch over her, so no one would take her. She was meant for Wheypon, no one else. She could not be harmed, too much at least. While they watched, she waited. She hoped the others would find Lakia and find her. As she waited she slept, falling into dreams laced with nightmares.
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:13 am

<a name="#ch004">THE CHOSEN - Part IV "Mt. Tryphid"</a>

Dauer held the cloak around him only briefly. Moving to another place this way is almost instantaneous, but is as risky as it is quick. He knew the risk though, but speed was all important now.
Swinging the cape open he was greeted with a blizzard blowing in his face.
The sudden temperature change momentarily took his breath away. He shivered momentarily as the wind blew about him, until he placed a worming spell around him. When he was comfortable he went over to the opening in the mountain he had appeared on. It was covered by loose brush and a tree branch to hide the entrance. After surveying the area to make sure no one was around he moved away a little bit of the brush and squeezed inside. Once inside he replaced the brushes he had moved and proceeded down a small pathway, the walls glowing and giving off a greenish light, enabling him to see safely. After a short distance he came upon a dead end. At the far wall he took the bracelet he always wore off, and placed the little wooden cross that hung on it into an indention which it fit perfectly. After a second or so, the wall began to swing open, silently, to reveal a short entry that led to stairs that led up.
After retrieving the cross and bracelet he started up the circling stairs, the wall door closing behind. After nearly twenty minutes he exited into a wide open area at the very peak of the mountain. Here he was above the storms and the evening sky was lit with stars. He walked quickly to the circular podium in the middle and reached to a green crystal that lay on the top. He immediately started at what came into his mind, for this was the link to the four.
Lakia was in trouble. <Lakia, hear me!>
Down the mountain, in a wooded area, Lakia lay, still fighting the shadows that threatened her very existence. <Lakia, hear me!> rolled through her mind as it fought for control. <Lakia, reach for the light in your heart and surround yourself with it. Hurry! Syern is in grave trouble and you must regain control!> Lakia’s eyes suddenly blinked and she took a slow deep breath as she reached with her mind into the brilliance of her Elvin essence, the entire meaning of her existence. <Quickly, wrap yourself with it, absorb its power and shake the shadow demons loose, NOW!>
Suddenly she let loose a great sigh and all of the darkness that almost had swallowed her dissipated with a moan and was gone.
She leapt up to look around, searching for Syern. <Dauer, thank you. Do you know where the child is?>
<She is about half a mile from you toward the South in a small camp with six guards of Wheypon's army. Hurry to her, for we do not have much time. I will now contact Dranik to check on them. Be swift and be deadly. Don't leave anyone to talk of your presence. Follow my mind back to the caverns.>
<I am on my way!>
Hearing this from Lakia, Dauer then began his mental search for Zaktye and Dranik. Before long he located them a short distance from the base of the mountain.
<Zaktye? Granddaughter?>
Zaktye jumped as if a lightening bolt had struck her. "What...? Who is that?!" she shouted, causing Dranik to jump up also with weapons in hand.
"What is it, what's wrong?"
<Zaktye, be calm and use your thoughts to talk. It is Dauer, your grandfather.>
"Grandfather! Dranik, its grand.., Dauer. He is in here" pointing to her head, tears welling up in her eyes.
<If you need to talk out loud for Dranik's sake, then that is alright. I can't hear your voice anyway. If I could you would be echoing yourself all the time. Are the both of you okay?>
"We are alright, but I am afraid for Lakia and Syern. Do you know where they are? Are they okay?"
<They ran into some trouble and Lakia was struck down by a shadow demon, but she is okay now. Syern was grabbed by some of Wheypon's soldiers. Lakia is after them now. God have pity on them. Please tell Dranik to put down his mind shield as I would like to speak to him.>
"Dranik, Dauer is asking for you to drop your mind shield. He wants to talk to you."
Dranik looked blankly at her for a second then said "Okay".
<Dranik, are you alright? What has happened?>
"We ran into some of the ugliest creatures and, thanks to your granddaughter, I was able to transform and destroy what was left of them after Zaktye did her fireball trick. She is some little fighter that granddaughter of yours."
Dauer could sense the compassion and love in the words and smiled to himself. <You are okay? I understand that the transformation drains a lot of your energy. Can you travel?>
"I am fine, great in fact. One of your owl creatures dropped a vial of some liquid on me after the fighting was over, and suddenly I felt as if no transformation ever took place. Do you know anything about that?" Dranik asked, suddenly suspicious.
< It was in case of an emergency, and I am happy it worked so well, for it portends of something much more wondrous being possible. You two need to head for me immediately. It is obvious that Wheypon is now aware of you four and all of you must come quickly. The time of the Phoenix Moon is drawing close, and we don't have much time.>
<Granddaughter, you must do this for me: stay emotionally relaxed, and calm your spirit in the manner you have learned. Doing this will not only keep you alert and strong in your powers but also keep Dranik calm with senses alert. In your journey, hum some of your songs, even sing them; they throw confusion to the darkness, making it hard to locate you, and besides, I'm certain it will please Dranik to no end. Travel swiftly and safely. Follow my mind's trail. I will be making things ready while you travel. Oh, and try to let Dranik do the fighting if needed. I am certain that he can handle anything that may come your way. Try not to use your magic for it can draw the darkness like a magnet. Go now! I will be waiting.>
<Dranik, the gathering time draws near. Hurry here. And Dranik, thank you for taking such good care of Zaktye. Remember, be here before the Moon.>

Recovering her strength Lakia scanned the surrounding area. She picked up Syern's mind thought easily. She crept to the edge of the camp and watched. The six guards were not on the guard. They were laughing on talking around a campfire. Lakia searched for a form that would hide her identity. She could not use the phoenix for it was still too young, that left many others. She then decided on a dragon. It was one of her many dragon forms and she loved it. She then quietly transformed into a beautiful red a gold dragon. Its body was longer than some and it had a long snout. Its wings were large and tail was long. The talons were deadly as were the gold horns at the back of her graceful head. As her vision shifted and her eyes turned from grey to yellow she waited and watched. They were not aware of her presence. One went off into some nearby brush obviously to use it as a toilet though he did not get that far. He ended up headless before he could realize it had departed. Now for the others. She slowly crept forward then burst out in to the open scattering the guards looking for weapons. One fired an arrow at her but it bounced right off of her glittering scales. He ended up cut in half. Another tried a gun but it too did not work. He too ended up headless. Lakia caught one as he was running and closed in on the last two. One got down on his knees and was begging for mercy. The other just stared at her coldly. This one aimed a stunning spell at me but it like the arrow and the bullet glanced off harmlessly. It takes more than one spell to pierce the diamond hard, magical skin of the dragon. He ended up in a couple of pieces. The other one too was killed, though more kindly than the rest.
Lakia/Dragon went to the tent and stuck her nose into it for that was all she could really manage, being a little too big. She got a kick in the nose for that.
<Syern calm down, it's me Lakia!>
"Is it really you?" she asked.
<Yes. Dauer helped me conquer the shadows. Now we must make haste.>
"How?" she asked as she came out of the tent. Her mouth dropped when she saw the Dragon form. "You're beautiful."
<Thanks. Anyways Wheypon knows of us by now. We must reach the mountain soon. I'm going to throw caution to the wind and fly us there. It is the only way.>
"Won't you stand out?"
<No. There are many types of dragons and I can change into any of them.> With this Lakia changed color from red and gold to blue and white, while her body grew a little longer and wings broader. <Hop on. We should get there before the sun will set for it is only high time right now. Noon in your language.>
Syern got on and Lakia leaped high into the air and gained speed and set course for the mountain. She hoped against hope she would not be seen with the speed she would travel at.

Dranik and Zaktye stood still for a moment staring at one another as if holding conversation themselves.
Zaktye suddenly blinked “We need to go; the sun will be setting soon."
Zaktye remembered her Grandfather telling her that her voice would keep the evil away. She began to sing. Immediately Dranik stopped in his tracks, looked at her and said “you always have sung that so beautifully.”

What do you mean? Zaktye asked. The last time she sang that song was for Oric. Her mind began to race, thoughts of her love, thoughts of Dranik; she didn't want to say too much. She thought for sure that she could trust him. She thought that the possibility of him being a member of Wheypon's army was ruled out, yet maybe she was wrong. Or had she met him before? How did he know her song?

Just as she was about to give in the curiosity had the best of her. She turned to Dranik and just as she began to speak there was a rustle to the right of them. "Keep singing” Dranik told her, “we need to keep them away while we think of a swift way to get to Dauer"

Zaktye disrobed ready to perform Magic, Dranik said " I'd love to but now is not...”.
“Shut up” Zaktye said. “When I say your name approach me and hold on to me, do not let go or you will be dropped out of the travel and left in the woods. I will not be able to recover you if you fall. The magic is to powerful."

Zaktye continued to sing, creating a blue hue of magic around her. “Dranik!” she screamed. Dranik rushed to her, clinging on for dear life, and the two were gone.

Dranik held on so tightly that Zaktye had to tell him to loosen his grip.
He looked about trying not to stare at Zaktye and her perfectly proportioned body, and then squeezed his eyes shut when he saw the ground way too far below them.
Before he could think of anything else his feet touched ground and Zaktye coughed, "Uhm, you can let go now."
"Sorry." Replied Dranik, stepping away.
They were atop one of the highest mountain peeks around and Dranik had no idea where they were. A feeling he didn’t like very much.
Above them a dragon came into view and Dranik grabbed Zaktye and pulled her towards the cave entrance, then stopped when he saw the dragon heading straight for them. Was this the dragons cave?
"Oh shit, this is bad."
Zaktye smiled then burst out laughing as Lakia spoke to her through mind speech. <It is Syern and I, don’t tell Dog Boy.>
Dranik looked amazingly at Zaktye and swore she was absolutely just as nuts as her Grandfather.
"That’s a dragon! I've never fought a dragon! What the hell are you laughing at? We're gonna be slaughtered."
Dranik pulled his pistols and then frowned at them. Not gonna work idiot, think of something quick.
"Ok, I’m going to hold it off as long as I can, you run." Dranik said as he started to shift into animal form.
Then something grabbed Dranik and held him, keeping him from changing form.
Dauer stepped from the cave, "That will not be necessary." and released his hold on Dranik.
A sudden sensation in the air about him had caused Dauer to stop and listen.
Turning quickly, he rushed to the stairway and leaped over the rail, dropped down the empty middle of the circling stairs. Landing softly, he had rushed to the cavern entrance to stop Dranik's charge.

Dranik stumbled around watching as the dragon circled and then landed, Syern dropping off of its back.
"What the hell?"
The dragon folded into itself and with a burst of energy Lakia was left standing there, accepting her pack from Syern.
Dranik glared at her, "You bitc--"
Dauer interrupted, "Not now, there isn’t time. We only have four hours before the moon rises and all evil will be released."
Lakia laughed and walked towards them with Syern in tow. "'You what?'"
Dranik just turned and followed Dauer into the mountain...

The four moved into the cavern, Zaktye trailing, shivering in the cold air.
Dauer pulled from his cape a small lined robe and handed it to her, whispering in her ear "My dear, you are no longer an apprentice; therefore, you no longer need to shed your outer "skin" to perform magic.
You are becoming too much of a distraction for Dranik." At that, he winked and followed the others to the stairs, leaving a blushing and confused Zaktye to pull the robe over her head.
"Distraction? Why should...?", then realization and a smile came to her lips and she started to catch up, humming on the way.

At the top of the stairs, they entered the domed space at the top of Mount Tryphid. Hidden by magic, it overlooked the lands of Wheypon, where even now little fires could be seen breaking out.
"The soldiers of the king are busy already it seems", Dranik spat out as almost a growl as he watched over the edge.

Dauer had moved to the center of the room where the circular pedestal took a prominent position. Prior to the arrival of the four, Dauer had placed four crystals on the pedestal, with a chair in front of each.
Each crystal glowed dully in its own color; gold, blue, red, green.
"We must proceed for I have more to tell you of the tasks you have at hand. Please take a seat here." he said, motioning them to the pedestal.
Each moved to a chair as if it were their own specifically chosen place.
Dranik, to the gold; to his left, Lakia to the red; across from Dranik, Syern to the blue and to Dranik’s right, Zaktye to the green.
As she sat, she caught Dranik watching her, causing the little smile to return as she returned the look.
Dauer's voice pulled all of their attention his way, as they waited to learn of what fate laid ahead.
"My dear friends", as he spoke his words seemed to reverberate around the chamber and in their souls; "the time has drawn upon us. I must make clear right up front. Though many premonitions have appeared to speak of battles, victories and losses, blood letting and years of joy and tears, none of this is to occur for us. You have before you a mission of the spirit. A mission whose success will be determined by, not your fighting heart, but by the love you have in that same heart. That is the reason each of you were chosen -- for the passion for justice and love for those who have never known it."
Lakia began to fidget and Dranik's eyebrows lifted then fell into a furrowed line on his forehead. Syern stared, wide eyed, in awe as Zaktye continued to sit with the same little smile.
"If you fail in your attempt here, you will be destroyed with no battles to fight, and the world below us will be plunged into darkness without end.
If you succeed, the survivors will have a future of light and hope and changes will be forthcoming that will affect all of us."
Drank began; "Listen Dauer..."
"I'm sorry Dranik, there is no time for discussion at this point. Later, after I finish here, please." Dranik sat back in his chair, with an uncomfortable feeling in his gut, glancing in the direction of Zaktye, who continued her gentle smile as she looked toward him, and he suddenly felt more at ease and looked again at Dauer.
"Again, we know what failure means to you --death. For me, I will be pushed on to another world as a failure to my calling.
A victory, though gloriously wonderful to the surviving people of this world, will have deep significance to the four of you though."
He walked over to Syern, still awe struck by the goings-on, placing his hand on her shoulder.
"My dear child, how sad it is to grow up so fast with the chance that it won't last. However, victory here will bring you glory for it is written that yours will be the chore of bringing this world back together in a peace that will last a millennia or more." Syern sat still, with little tears forming in the corners of her eyes, which she wiped away quickly, hoping no one noticed. Dauer then went to Lakia and gently squeezed her shoulders as he began; "Lakia, my dearest Elvin Princess, as noble in the heart and spirit as in title. Your sacrifice for these humans will be greater than all. For your world, as you know it will be erased with what we must do tonight. If successful, not only will the darkness be gone from this world, but also the tools it feeds on will no longer be replenished. No being born on this world will be known again as "Elf", "Wizard", or even "werewolf"" At that, Dranik sat straight up, ready again to speak, but stopped as Dauer raised his hand to signal him to wait. "Lakia, you and your people will be given a world separate from this where you can live at peace with the remaining wizards and creatures of magic. Magic can no longer survive in this world. With victory, only Faith and Love, though the guidance of Syern, may drive the lives of the humans here. I am certain that you were already aware of this; I just needed to state it for all to know the significance of what we must do."
Dauer gently squeezed Lakia's shoulders again as she nodded in agreement. He then walked between Dranik and Zaktye.
"My lovely granddaughter, and oh how wonderful if feels to say that word in the open; for a short while you have known the frightening power of wizardry, and in a short time, it will be gone. At the moment when you call forth the power within, all vestiges of the magical realms will have left you and you will be as human as, as.. let’s say Dranik. For in the same way that the magic will leave, so also will the curses brought about by that magic. This means, my dear Dranik, after this is over and if we can find an eatery anywhere, I would be proud to purchase you the finest steak dinner with the largest and rarest steak you can find, and I would not be worried about anything other than hearing belches of satisfaction from you. All wizards of mixed blood will loose their magic and no child born of such a marriage between creature of magic and human will be able to inherit those abilities." Dranik placed his head in his hands, and allowed a moment of his longed for humanity to escape in quiet sobs, as Zaktye reached over to squeeze one of his hands to give comfort.
Dranik quickly recovered, gently took away Zaktye's hand, squeezing it gently momentarily and placing it back on her lap. "It is my fervent hope" Dauer continued, “that my Syern may be cared for while growing to her important position, by a couple such as you two" as he patted both of their shoulders.
"Well, there you have it. You now know fully what is at stake. The only winning will be done by the humans in the new hope they will gain. Perhaps I am wrong though. Even the creatures of magic will win for they will attain a place in the folklore and legends of the humanity they saved."
Dauer looked around the table and checked the clock, looking to the sky.
"Are there any questions or comments prior to my explaining what you are actually to do to bring about these changes?"

Dranik stood as he let slip his grasp from Zaktye's hand. "A demand more than a question first."
Dauer's smile faltered as he asked, "What is that?"
Dranik slowly looked about the room, meeting everyone’s eyes as he spoke, "First off, I am going into the very heart of the castle. I want Wheypon's soul to touch my hands before it leaves his body."
Dauer shook his head, "My son, there really is no time for such theatrics. I know of the way to defeat this evil but it does not include you sacrificing yourself for no good reason other than hatred."
Dranik looked a good while at Dauer and then sat softly back down, reaching for Zaktye's hand where he found it outstretched towards him.
Lakia smirked, "Oh what big guns you have. Do you really think a bullet can stop any of Wheypon's soldiers and creations now?"
"No." Answered Dranik as he pulled a pistol and ejected the clip, letting it fall to the floor before locking back the slide and ejecting the chambered round into the air. The round tumbled end over end as it fell to the ground where it rolled away and sat against the wall. Dranik did the same with each pistol and placed them all on a table. "I won’t be taking any firearms with me this time. This calls for a thief’s touch and a thief’s walk through the shadows. Silence will be my ally this night."
Dranik then stood and unsheathed two knives from behind him walked across the cavern floor to Lakia and knelt before her.
Laying the two knives before him he asked, "May I ask you to charm these two blades so that they may pierce the flames of evil without being shattered?"
"what do you mean, shattered?"
Dranik took the knife that he had used to stab the demon with in the woods out and showed it to all of them. The blade had turned black and was starting to crumble, the handle already falling apart.
Lakia looked at the knife and shot a gaze to Dauer.
"Your Elvin blades my dear will not be harmed as this one. Elves have a certain blessing over them and all they create that can not be faltered by evil blood. That is also why you were able to fight off the thing inside of you earlier." Answered Dauer.
Lakia nodded and asked Dranik, "you are asking me for help then?"
She smiled then and stood, raising her hands in front of her. the two knives Dranik had laid down jumped into the air and glowed with a shimmering green light that bounced across everything in the room as they twirled, suspended in the air.
"Take them now Dranik."
Dranik looked a little in doubt but slowly reached his hands out and took them in his grasp. The power slowly dissipated and Dranik felt something crawl across the skin of his arms.
Lakia removed a charm from her pack and offered it to Dranik, "This shall keep you from changing during the Phoenix moon tomorrow. Do not remove it for I do not know what will happen then."
Dranik accepted it and thanked her, then found his seat next to Zaktye.
Zaktye's hand found his and something clicked behind his eyes as he pulled away and turned to look at Zaktye. "What? Hey, hang on a second. You?"
Zaktye smiled, "Don’t be afraid of your heart Dranik."
And for the first time in many years Dranik saw that he could possibly have something more than sorrow; that he did indeed feel many things for this woman and for the hope that he and Zaktye might have something very special when this was all over with; a chance at happiness.
He then wrapped his hand around hers and brought it to his lips, "thank you." He whispered before kissing her hand and smiling.
"Now that", Lakia said, "is scary."
"What?" asked Syern.
"Dog Boy over there and that smile of his."
They all laughed, even Dranik as Dauer asked once again if there were any questions...
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:13 am

<a name="#ch005">THE CHOSEN - Part V "The Chantings"</a>

Lakia's heart sang sad songs, even as she laughed at Dranik. This world was too beautiful to leave behind. Now, she did have a chance to move on to another world where magic could survive and be built to stronger powers. But there was another choice she could make. She could remain in this world in any form that was natural to it. Her magic would disappear though her memories would not. Or she could travel to an undying land where she could be truly free. She was scared, though she did not show it. Grateful she is that there was a chance for a new life, she did not want to leave. In her heart, this was her home. Nowhere else would, could she rest. A fire stirred within her then, she realized this would probably be the end for her, she would not survive this coming for what she would have to offer in this battle would be more than her magic force, it would require her life-force as well. The spell that could destroy the evil was eons old. Used only once before, it destroyed the whole mortal world. During the time after only magic survived. Then the mortals recovered. Its ancient chant was long but true. Only one of high blood could wield it, only one of purest heart could say it, and maybe only the light in her could see it. It destroyed its original creator and may destroy herself. She could only use it when the evil was within her sight and with the other three standing with her, with all their thought bent on destroying it. For now though the binding of the four must begin...her red crystal started to pulse with glowing light, growing brighter each second bathing the room in red brilliance...

Dauer saw the red glow on the walls and quickly realized the sudden danger. He rushed over to Lakia and took a hold of her hand as she reached for the pulsing crystal in front of her.
"Lakia, no! Not yet!" She turned to him, her eyes glowing green, with a blue tear formed in the corner of one. "Don't waste our time with your magic on me. I am not susceptible to it, as you well know. I understand your knowledge of the old world's tragedy. And you are correct in that you must initiate the final chant of cleansing. However, you may not be aware that through the centuries since the 'Phoenix Chant' was last read,
I have discovered one of the lost scrolls of the ancients that set a way to prevent the total annihilation of all human life. That is the reason for the added crystals. Try to control the fire in you for a little while longer."
Lakia turned away, nodding agreement, and proceeded to place herself in a mild meditative trance to calm the surge of urgency that burned within.
Syern, always attentive, slid from her chair and walked to Lakia to hug her around her waist.
"I know the pain you must be feeling, though you refuse to show. You have so much more to lose than the rest of us, yet I know that your actions will be those of an Elf of the highest nobility, and I love you." She leaned against her for a moment, and then slowly walked back to her chair. "Dauer? What can I do to help here? I am only 14 and hardly possessing any real magic. Just enough to perform some tricks for my friends. What can I do?" As she spoke, her voice began trail off, choking at the end in sobs. Dauer walked over and knelt down to look her in the eyes.
"Syern, my dear young lady, yours is the most powerful magic in this room. It is called 'Innocence and Love". You are the reason for our gathering here. We cannot have you and your kind to be lost in the foul darkness that wants to swallow you. There is no way we can allow that. My dear, you are our inspiration for great things. And you will continue to be an inspiration for all survivors as your magic inside grows. Your love will bring light to all of the remaining dark corners in this world for humanity to see their way out of the terrors that has befallen them."
He then gently pulled the bangs from her forehead and gave it a gentle kiss. As Dauer started to turn away, Syern took his hand, her bright eyes looking into his, squeezed and breathlessly said "Thank you", her smile lighting the old wizard’s heart as a thousand candles. Giving a wink to her, he turned away to Dranik. "I know the anger that is shaking your soul son." Dauer thought then, "Strange how easily that word comes forth when speaking to him". To Dranik: “I know you would love to strip the meat off of every bone on Wheypon's scraggly body. But we simply do not have the time. Vengeance is for people who have time to cherish it. We do not. I beseech you, rethink this plan of yours. Even now the crystals are beginning to react to the rising moon beyond the horizon."
Even as he spoke, each crystal began to issue a deep hum, their color's brightening slightly. "Dranik, can you hold off that howling beast within you for a final time? Zaktye?” he said pleadingly, looking toward his granddaughter.

Dranik smiled, "Of course old man. Now why don’t you quit playing pops and tell us what it is we must do?"
Zaktye elbowed Dranik in the side as she laughed lightly.
Syern looked too innocent and hopeful and Lakia even while still sitting with them all, had vanished into her thoughts.
Dauer thought to himself. Children, they are all only children. I truly hope this plan will succeed.

Zaktye knew just what her Grandfather was telling her. She grabbed him and held him close, her head in his chest.
”Grandfather, you were just given to me, there is so much we have not said and done. I want so badly to keep you as close as I can. I love you and want to continue to love you everyday, I want to know more, my love could grow more the more time we spend together. Because of your love for me and everyone else, you are willing to sacrifice that. I love you for that too. “ Zaktye stepped up on her toes and kissed him on the cheek.
Dauer felt the tears of his granddaughter on his face. "The magic of your love will always be in my heart" she whispered in his ear, dropping a lock of her waist length hair in his pocket.

Turning to Dranik, “I can not explain what the forces have in store for us, but I know that you will be at my side until everyone is safe. We all must sit before our crystals and my dear Grandfather, the Grand Wizard Dauer of Dowlfin; you will balance out the magic and energy that will move through us all during this time. We all will be given the powers of our crystals and then we must rest for we will go to the Kingdom of Wheypon at dawn. There we all will release what has been given to us and the fate of the world will take place. It is then my love that we will all again be at peace."

Zaktye took Syern by the hand “Come and sit sweet one for you will begin the ritual.” Syern sat in front of her crystal and closed her eyes, suddenly aware of all she must do.

Dauer put his hand on Lakia's shoulder and she stood walking to her seat.
Dauer followed behind to take his place in the center.

Zaktye took Dranik's hand and they walked together, she turned to him and said “We will make it, we have to. You are all I have left."
Dranik's eyes welled with tears; he cupped Zaktye's face in his hands kissing her softly on the lips. “We will."

Syern began to chant the moment everyone was in front of their crystals, and then Zaktye joined, followed by Dranik, then Lakia, all the crystals now glowing in full power, each crystal casting its own magic up and around each one, meeting together in the center above Dauer, casting power to him in the color of Purple.

Once the ceremony was finished Syern began to cry, Lakia quickly went to her aid.
”She is full of magic for the first time in her life. You must keep her safe and she must sleep.” Zaktye said to Lakia.
Lakia picked Syern up and carried her off in a dark section of the cave.

Dauer looked to Zaktye and Dranik he said “we all need to rest. We have just been given the ability to make anything happen and our bodies have not had the time to adjust.” pulling his cloak around himself he was gone.

“Where does he think he is going?" Dranik snapped “we should all stay together"

" And stay together we will" Zaktye replied “Leave the Wizard be to enjoy one last evening of his power here. He knows that he must protect us all. He is still here, we just can't see him. Therefore no one else will be able to either. “

Zaktye began to tremble as she looked into Dranik's deep brown eyes.

Dranik pulled Zaktye into a small room, slapped the door closed as she passed it and wrapped his arms around her. She smiled gently and he leaned in to kiss her.
"I don’t know if we should be so far from the others." She whispered as she pulled her head back,
"They'll be fine, like you said, Dauer will watch over them." Dranik slid his hands down the back of her robe, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
"What if he watches over us too?"
Dranik stopped with his hands cupping her butt, leaned back and raised an eyebrow at her, "He wouldn’t do that." It sounded more like a question than a comment.
"You’re right." The kiss caught him off guard and at first he forgot what he was doing, standing like a statue while her tongue played across his bottom lip.
She breathed a soft laugh into his mouth and he leaned in to her, pushing his body against hers.
Dranik didn’t close his eyes as they kissed this time, he watched as her lips touched his and those beautiful sapphire brown eyes slid slowly under the falling eyelids. Her hands pulled at his shirt and he parted from her just enough to let her pull it up over his head, where he took over and yanked it of, messing up his hair as he did so.
She ran her hands over his smooth chest and moved into him again, his left leg in between her own, slowly pushing against him as his mouth found her neck. "I want you Dranik."
A few hours later there was a knock at the door and Dranik rolled over and fell out of bed.
Zaktye got up and covered herself with her robe as she opened the door to find Dauer waiting. "Would you wake Dranik up? We have a problem." He said before he turned and marched away.
Dranik peeked over the edge of the mattress, "Is Pops pissed?"
Zaktye bent down smiling and then threw his pants at him and headed out after Dauer...

Lakia guided Syern to the room opposite of the one Dranik and Zaktye would occupy. She smiled at the path the two had chosen. It was a good path. Lakia gently lifted and set Syern on the bed where she quickly fell asleep. That left Lakia alone to think. The fire within her still burned hot and fast but she had to control it. Her emotions set it off, and the dark moon would not help it any. She went over the chant in her mind, the elfish words flowing through her. In common speech it roughly translated into this:
Though a darkness may cover all the land,
the light will always shine through.
Through death and destruction,
comes life and rebirth.
As always the flame will burst out,
and burn the evil away.
Leaving only the good that remains strong.
Through it all few will stand strong,
ready to destroy for the common good of all.
As the darkness comes into power,
it will be destroyed.
I am the ancient one,
I have seen much,
and heard much.
You will not prevail so long as I draw breath.
I am the ancient one,
come to destroy you and all with you.
Hear my voice ancient sprits,
hear my call ancient elements,
come to me and give me the power to destroy.
So long as you are my guides,
I will not fail,
for I am the ancient one.
your doom I proclaim!

Lakia sighed; she did not want to think about the consequences yet of this chant. Just then Dauer knocked on the door...

Dauer stood just outside the circle of chairs that encircled the large pedestal in the middle of the room. Each crystal pulsed their own special glow upon the walls while humming, barely audibly, as a quartet stuck on each one’s note, monotonously complementing each other.
The four watched, expectantly, waiting. Zaktye spoke suddenly, startling everyone with the concern in her voice.
"Grandfather, what is that?!" she said as she pointed to the sleeve of his robe. All eyes turned to where she pointed toward a large gash they had failed to notice before. She ran up to him to look closer and saw that there was a trickle of blood running over his exposed hand. "Oh my! What happened? How...?" Dauer gently moved her back as he took a cloth from his never empty robe pocket to dab up the blood on his hand and reach inside the cut on his robe to cover the small gash inside.
As everyone started to move from their places around the pedestal to see what had happened to him, Dauer for a moment seemed to fade then returned to focus. They looked at each other in surprise, except for Lakia, who settled back in her chair, understanding.
Dauer waived them back to their chairs, saying "Please, do not concern yourselves for there is no harm done. See?" as he removed his hand from the cut in his sleeve to show the cut gone. "I am sorry to have worried you. I was in a bit of a hurry leaving the castle and failed to notice the cut. It is perfectly alright now." he said, smiling and putting back the cloth, clean, into his pocket.
Dranik yelled out "What do you mean 'Castle'? When were you there?" with a tone of suspicion in his voice. Zaktye, Dranik and Syern, looked questioningly at each other and back to Dauer. Lakia remained sitting back in her chair, eyes closed and beads of sweat slowly forming on her forehead.
"At the point after you four had decided to go to the castle to invoke the chant of protection as was done last, ages ago, when you decided to rest first, you remember I wrapped myself and left. I had decided to go to the castle to check out what preparation was being made for the arrival of the darkness. It is fortunate that I did, for I found that even now the power of the dark magic had grown immensely. I arrived at a turret that set high off the main castle, thinking I could remain unnoticed there. As soon as I unwrapped, I felt the cold shock of malevolence and power. I knew then that my presence was already sensed by something that had not cursed this land since an age only remembered in the nightmares of the young and old. I saw several guards surrounded me where I stood and there blades were seeking my blood. I whisked them off of the turret, but apparently not before one of their swords struck me. At that point I wrapped myself to reappear far from here, thinking that if the dark power was as strong as I feared, I would be traced to here since we are so close.
I ended up at the other side of the kingdom from here. Wandered around to see it there was any unusual activity by Wheypon's soldiers, saw none, and then cloaked again to arrive here. Apparently the power was not as strong then as I feared. Now will be a different story. We cannot go to the castle as you had planned. You must accomplish what has been tasked to you from here, as I had hoped."
Syern spoke nervously, "Dauer, why didn't you tell us before? Then you wouldn't have needed to be hurt. You sure you are okay?"
<No my dear, I am not sure. My heart aches for what may happen here and I am powerless to stop it. The wheel is in motion and I can only guide it> he privately thought as he said "My dear girl worry not. This old wizard has been though much worse and has survived, believe me. Everything will be fine, as long as everyone does as they must the first time, for there will be no second chances if we fail."
Dranik rose to rest his hand on the wizard's shoulder. "I feel I need to apologize for my lack of faith in you. I have found very little to trust in this world and it was hard to accept that you could be. And about Zaktye and myself..." Dauer reached around him, giving a quick hug, then stepped back. "Don't concern yourself my son.", with a little smile on his mouth. "Your defensive attitude was expected, and if not shown, I would have had doubts about you. You and my granddaughter and Syern will be among a small surviving population of humans when we finish, if successful. And I mean human in all ways. As I said, with the cleansing, all curses and magic will also be cleaned from the tainted humans. Only those whose magic is from pure blood will retain it. Those of us that this includes will need to depart this world. In that way you humans will be able to grow and multiply as your own species and find your place in the plans made at the creation." Dauer walked Dranik over to Zaktye, placing his hand in hers. “We don't have much time but I wish now to tell you I will always be around, somewhere for you if you ever need me. I only ask that you be good to yourselves, Syern, and your children."
Zaktye, tears forming, started “Grandfather, must you leave? Can't you just..."
"My dear, this is not my decision. It is the will of He whom I serve. For any of us non human to remain would only cause us to become strangers, living on and on in a land where magic can no longer be passed on to children of marriage with humans, for no child could ever be conceived again between mortal and non-mortal. As the human population grows, we would become ostracized as weird creatures of legends; then feared for our differences. It is best to leave. But I will not stay away."
Dauer stood a moment, his hand on his newly discovered granddaughter, realizing that this moment may be their last for many years. With a deep sigh, he looked up to the others, when he noticed Lakia.
"Lakia! Can you still hear me?"
Lakia nodded; sweat dripping from her forehead and down her nose.
"Everyone, please, take your seats. We must hurry as the Phoenix is about to rise and we must be prepared." With that he tore the bracelet holding the wooden cross off of his wrist. He held it up with one hand as he pointed to the crystals in front of each chair and person in front. By now they were all vibrating with their humming and the colors were pulsing with the sound.
“ When your name is called, you must take your crystal with both hands from its place and push it pointed end down upon this wooden cross which will be in the indentation in the middle of the pedestal. As you press it you will probably feel words coming into your heart; speak them as if they were your own, for they are. They come from your very soul. Lakia will be first for she is the Phoenix of our world and she must rise to mask the Phoenix Moon. This is her destiny. During this time she will be speaking in old elfin tongue the cleansing chant.
As she speaks pay no attention to what happens for the highest magic will be working. Hold your crystals and as your name is called, place it on the cross. The cross represents the Love that brought us here. I was given it in a land far from this world in a time we have yet to know, but that we will know, for this Love is universal, and when the last Elf, Wizard and human has disappeared from all known worlds, it will still be shining.
You must believe this for I would not lie to you. Have faith in my words and your powers will surround this world in the basic elements of life.
Dranik - yours is the power of the Land: Earth through your actions you will shake the foundations of this world to their core. No structures will remain. Sadly millions may die, yet hundreds will survive. You will see this destruction as it occurs and may need to express what you see. Do so to ease the pain.
Zaktye, yours is the power of the air: wind. From you will be sent winds never seen on this world before. all greenery will be cleared from the soil, all soil will be lifted into the skies for miles. Millions may die, but hundreds will survive. Release the pain from what you will witness through song or words for they will heal your heart.
Lakia is already prepared for her task for she is Fire: from her the heat of the sun will sweep the world bringing to ash all that may be on the world's surface. In mind talk she may relate what she sees or feels to cool her own spirit in the fires within.
Syern, my dear girl, so young with such a burden: Yours is the power of Water: through you the final cleansing will come about for with your power you will release deluges of water from the ash and dirt in the sky, to flood the lands, cleaning the air and washing the filth from the earth and darkness from the world into an abyss created by Dranik. You may speak your sorrow and joy, for yours is the moment of joy, of rebirth to which the surviving humans will return to and rebuild as a new world.
Is there any doubt in any of you now? If so speak quickly so they may be resolved. Time is gone and the Phoenix is ready to rise!"
Plans Made, Plans Changed

Dranik’s eyes pulsed with anger as he stood and snatched Dauer by his robe, pulling him to within inches of his snarl. "You bring me here, bring me hope and maybe love and then tell me that the only reason I am here is to kill millions of people so a couple hundred can live?"
Dauer started to speak; Dranik cut him off, "No. I won’t do this. Not for you, not for her." He flicked his glare to Zaktye then back to Dauer. "You alone can burn in hell you evil mother fu-"
"STOP!" Screamed Syern.
Dranik eased his grip on Dauer and followed Syern’s gaze.
Lakia plunged her crystal deep into the cross and the cross exploded in light as Lakia’s head flew back and words spewed forth from her lips.
Dranik made a move to stop her but was thrown back by the power, left to watch from the cavern floor...

As Dranik fell back, Dauer first glared at him, and then his eyes softened.
<My dear Dranik, do you really believe this is what I want?! For millions to die?! Those millions are the reason for our being here! Evil of itself has little power over the worlds of creation. Only the failure to fight against it gives its power. We are here because these innocents turned their heads from the evil around them and accepted it for the rewards they could gain. With so many blinded by self indulgence and greed, the entire world is ready to be swallowed into the darkness, with what few good people there are being swallowed within it without hope. We are here to save the hope that remains, and the world that can be. What attracts you in the night sky? The areas of empty blackness or the pinpoints of light? We are here to preserve those pinpoints on the world so that they may come close as a fiery sun in their magnificence. You must open your mind and heart, and understand the necessity of our actions, or else no one will survive; neither the millions who are already blind nor those sparks of light that remain. Dranik, open your heart to love, for without you it will be destroyed forever here.>
All of this flashed in an instant in Dranik's mind as he fell back to the floor.

Zaktye could feel all the pain and love that Dranik was feeling. She felt the anger within him. She wanted so badly for him to know that Dauer only meant well. She wanted to tell him better only a few survive than none at all. Her eyes began to well with tears.

She knelt down beside him and rubbed his head, "what will happen if he chooses to go no further? Will we all die? “She thought to herself.

Looking up at Dauer “What can we do? How are we supposed to save the world if he is to turn away? How can I tell him everything he needs to know? Dauer began to speak only to be interrupted by Zaktye again "Grandfather, if all should fail, take me with you. I can't die. I have too much to lose now. We can escape this evil and you can fill me with the magic that you already posses. We can live at peace, away from here. We should just go, leave this all behind us. If he doesn't care for me then I won't allow myself to care for him."
Dauer shook his head chuckling, “My dear, you have no choice anymore. You and Dranik have a future that no longer can be changed. You should have thought about this before allowing your emotions for one another to be shared. You can not stop the life that has already taken place, and you can not bring it elsewhere.

Zaktye turned back to Dranik, confused, not knowing what to think or do. "How do I tell him? She whispered “He will think that I am lying just to keep him here and so he will continue to fight with us."

Dauer touched Zaktye's cheek with his hand, wiping away the tears, “You will have to wait until this is all over, You don't want to alter his train of thought by over loading him with a love he has no idea exists. When our work is done and the world is as it should be, and we are all in the worlds that we belong, then and only then will you tell him."

As Lakia sat watching Dranik’s outburst she unconsciously grabbed her crystal. As soon as she touched it, words began forming on her lips. Fire seemed to spread throughout her body. Her normally grey eyes glowed red; her hair seemed to be laced with graceful flames. Elvin words flowed easily from her lips, tears fell down her face.
Danna e larian ia courn an or archna... she began the chant...

"Dranik, come to your senses man! Do you think I would go to all of this effort to destroy the world? Do you think I would need to?"
With that Dauer took his always present staff, pointing to the far wall and with a mumbling of words only meant for his kind's ears, waved the end of the staff in a line across the wall top. As he did so, the wall began to crumble to dust instantly dissolving then into a puddle of black ooze. Beyond what once was a wall, the bedding of the place Zaktye and Dranik were earlier burst into flame.
Dauer then turned away. "My son, we don't have time for this foolishness. I understand the pain of loosing so many lives for the saving of such a relative few. But those few are to be the forbearers of a bright new world that could only come about by the things we must do! You must make a decision now-- act for the future or surrender to no future! Now! " Pointing toward Lakia, he shouted, "this Elfin Princess is sacrificing everything in this world that is natural to her species, in order to clean it so that yours may prosper and regenerate in a new world of humans with the Light of goodness to lead them on. Is the fire in her going to burn to ashes for nothing? Will the Phoenix Lakia rise again to darkness? Come on, Dranik take your stand! It is too late for more nobility. It is time for honor to stand up and take a stand!" With his eyes fiercely smoldering, Dauer stepped back, absently rubbing the place the wooden cross used to rest on his wrist. "Stand! Or turn away, but do it now!"

Dranik looked to Zaktye one last time, turned and walked out of the cave.
The snow was being whipped around and pushed at Dranik’s very soul as he stood, listening to the groans of the wind and thinking about what had to be done.
Zaktye came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his chest, "Please don’t leave us now."
Dranik turned to her, "I don’t know if I can do this."
"Yes you can. You have to, we all have to. Dranik, this is bigger than us."
Dranik searched her eyes and felt himself get lost as her memories of Oric returned to his thoughts and he spoke slowly, "I can never be Oric."
Zaktye hugged him tighter, "You don’t ever have to be. There is enough room in my heart for you to be yourself."
"Even if Oric is still alive?"
Zaktye's mouth dropped open as she stepped back from Dranik, "What did you just say?"
Dranik shed a tear as he walked away from her, back into the cavernous room where Dauer stood waiting.
"Let’s do it." Said Dranik as he snatched up the crystal and looked to Dauer for further instruction.

As Dranik walked over to his chair he turned to see Zaktye enter with tears in her eyes. So afraid of what she must be thinking, of him or Oric. Can she still love him? What will she say to Oric when she sees him? Dranik’s eyes found the floor just for a moment only to find Zaktye standing over him. His eyes slowly found hers as she bent down to be level with him.

”I love you Dranik, with all my soul. Yes, I will love you even if Oric walks in right now. I hold pain from how he was taken and what we shared. But it is you now and only you.” She took Dranik’s hands in hers bringing them to her trembling lips, Dranik could feel the warmth of her tears. “You are my future, we have a future already determined. We must do this now so I can tell you of this great joy.” Zaktye turned and went to her seat...........

Dranik stood up and listened to the rest of Lakia's chant, even though he had never learned the Elvin language he heard every word in English play simultaneously in his head.
"I am the ancient one,
I have seen much,
and heard much.
You will not prevail so long as I draw breath.
I am the ancient one,
come to destroy you and all with you.
Hear my voice ancient sprits,
hear my call ancient elements,
come to me and give me the power to destroy.
So long as you are my guides,
I will not fail,
for I am the ancient one.
your doom I proclaim!"
Lakia dropped to her knees; Dauer caught her as she fell forward and gently lowered her to the ground. "Now you." He said to Dranik.
Dranik looked down at Lakia and thought, what the hell am I doing? She just dropped like a bag of wet... oh hell, here goes.
He pushed the crystal into the cross and watched as a shimmer of light started to spread from the crystal. a haze of dark light rippled outward and around them, images flashed in Dranik’s mind but there were no words.
The ground shook once and Dranik looked quickly to Dauer, but Dauer just nodded his head and bent to hold Lakia’s head from banging into the ground as it started to shake. Cracks splintered up the cavern walls and for a moment Dranik was sure they would all be crushed. Then Zaktye's voice filled the cavern with song and he watched as the cracks were filled by light and sealed with song.
Dranik was close to giving up all hopes of any chant until something grabbed his chest and squeezed the words from his throat.
"Buried spirits, burning bones rebuild,
drag to form, the once was character,
take the earths nutriment and be healed."
Dranik’s breath returned and he sucked in air as the brown light descended down and into the ground. A hand shot up through the floor of the cavern and Dranik jumped back in time to see the earth start to bulge in ten different places. People rose up out of the very earth and climbed to their feet before turning to stare at Dranik. Clothes of different ages hung torn and ratty from their bodies, some wore nothing at all.
"What the hell is this?" Asked Dranik as he drew two knives and put himself in between the new arrivals and Zaktye.
"My son, you have a gift that you never knew you possessed. You are a necromancer. One who can call the dead."
"Well um, can you tell em to quit looking at me like I’m food?"
Dauer answered, "They await your command. Even the ones outside."
"You have raised quite a few this night my son; these are just the ones who were buried in here."
Dranik shouldered his way past one of the zombies and walked outside, as far as he could see there were zombies standing out as black smudges in the white of the snow. he turned and walked back inside. "What the hell am I supposed to tell them?"
Dauer rapped his staff lightly against the floor, "They will help us fight."
Dranik shook his head, "At least we don’t have to worry about getting them killed."
A dry crackling laugh came from one of the zombies and Dranik turned to look at it. The zombie had shoulder length hair that was clumped together, its body wore a breast plate of old armor and it carried a sword in its skeletal fist. The skin of its face was grey and sunken, yet it held the sword with ease.
"Creepy." Said Dranik as he turned and picked up Zaktye's crystal and handed it to her.
"Everyone who is dead go wait outside." At the command the zombies all started towards the cave entrance, when the one who had laughed walked by Dranik stopped him. "What is your name?"
The zombie looked at Dranik a second before replying, "Canterian."
"Okay Canterian, they wont get cold out there will they?"
The zombie laughed again and headed out the door without answering.
Dranik looked to Dauer, "How come he won’t answer a question but will go and do whatever I say?"
"Because my son, he is an old warrior, a king of his own day. He is bound to do your will, but he still has a little of his old traits."
Zaktye walked up the cross with her crystal and looked back to Dranik, "I love you."
"I love you." He echoed...

As she prepared settle in the chair, Dauer reached to softly hold her shoulder. "Hold, dear girl."
Looking to Dranik, " Dranik, you must issue the command to release these ancient warriors on their mission now!" They will have only a short time once the release is given till they must return to the depths from which they arose. Each is allowed one kill, after which the dust of the earth shall claim them once again. They will have five minutes to take one soul back with them or they shall return alone. During those five minutes we need Lakia back at her place. The touch of her crystal shall revive her, and the final flow of her power will allow her to rise to meet the Phoenix of the Moon, who even now approaches. We just have so little time that I must rush you. I am sorry. When you release the living dead, you must return to your crystal, for your final task awaits you. You know of it now, for I saw it in your eyes. The land must be shaken, mountains torn and canyons filled. For, if the Phoenix Moon looks upon this earth as it is, that shall be the way it is forever for it will be locked in an unyielding darkness." Dranik looked from gazing at the last of the ancient warriors exiting the caves to Dauer with weariness building in his eyes. "But so many. . ?"
"My son, we are at the fork of the road with our destiny laying down each path with many deaths waiting along each way. Continue now and take us to the path that leads to life. Fail and we all follow the path that circles upon itself in a continuing road of darkness and death without hope. Come my son, you have been chosen for this. Now make Him proud of that choice." With a sigh, Dranik helped place the recovering Lakia back in her chair, then took his own place, reaching for his crystal. The Dauer's words echoed in the dust swirled light of their cavern, " As you touch the crystal you will be given the words to release the living dead to their task, then the true power will engulf you. From there you will know what to do and to see what is done. This must be accomplished as Lakia takes wing, for timing is most important. “Glancing toward Zaktye, Dauer saw the fear and love in her eyes. Reaching a soothing hand to her, he spoke in a reassuring smoothness, "Do not worry. Your man has more strength in him, in mind, body, spirit and most importantly in his heart, than we could ever have hoped." "But, grandfather, how will he ever be able to live with such death on his conscience? How could anyone survive that?" Dauer lovingly took her face in his hands, looking in her deep eyes, "Dear, be at peace and fear not. He will survive this because you will be there to calm the nightmares and rid the memory by replacing them with your love.", kissing her on the forehead.
Turning away, he said as he walked to Lakia, "Dranik, fear not during your task, we will come to no harm for we are under the protection of the strongest shield of all: Love. Now, release the horror of the living dead upon the land as I return Lakia to her magnificent task. When she is ready, the shield above us will shatter out and as she rises, you must begin the cleansing of the lands. Are you ready?"

Lakia finished her Elvin chant and the flame engulfed her then went out, back to the burning embers of her heart, gathering strength, waiting for the moment to explode in all destruction and fiery beauty. The phoenix inside her ruffled its wings ready to fly... waiting to be called. It would channel its power through Lakia's Elvin body, the fire will flow through her veins, engulf her in a robe of fire... As the fire went out she wilted, exhausted, barely there...

Zaktye watched Dranik walk toward the door, calmly speaking with the zombie who seemed to be the one in control.

When he finished giving his commands of destruction he looked to Zaktye and said ok, now go. Zaktye looked to Dauer, tilting her head knowing he could see the fear in her eyes, looked to Dranik again and said this is for us. Grabbing Syern by the hand she sat her in her chair and said "Just let the magic tell you what to do ok sweetie?" Syern looked up to see and feel the comfort in her eyes, while nodding her head.

Zaktye sat down picked up her crystal and closed her eyes. The words began to flow in Latin, as did Syern. The Wind began to spin out of control in the room and the chanting became loud and fast. Dauer motioned to Dranik to step up to the circle with him and he did; placing his hand on Zaktye's chair and Dauer’s on Syern's. A tornado of magic circled them viciously, taking them through the running portals of the universe. Then all came to a blunt stop. As they all found them selves at the gates of Wheypon’s castle, looking around to see the army of zombies reaching into the very pits of each member of Wheypon’s army and taking their souls back to their graves to enjoy the sweet pleasure of their fearful torturous company together.

Dauer gazed at the scene with resignation. "And so begins the ending and begins the beginning" his voice booms above the cacophony of screams and yells of terror, as he wave his and across the horizon of terrified eyes, as, one by one, Wheypon's army is dissected and disseminated, with each having their chests torn open where the essence of life is torn from them and pulled into the earth in clouds of dust. While watching the carnage around them he noticed Dranik eyeing a nearby tower, his hand resting on the handle of his long blade. Curious as to what held his interest so close, Dauer peered intently where Dranik stared. Then, at the top of the tower a warrior appeared, his hand holding a uselessly struggling warrior. Dragging his captive to the very top of the tower,
The warrior raised his black tasseled lance as in a salute to Dranik.
It then became clear. Dranik had extended his power to the point that the leader known as Canterian had captured King Wheypon, and was holding in a salute toward Dranik. At that point of recognition, Dranik pulled forth his long knife, raising it to the clouding sky and the sudden winds and toward the warrior king of the undead and pointed toward the heavens at which time all winds ceased, all clamor paused. Dranik's eyes began to glow a golden brown and as suddenly as light his blade was airborne toward the cowering king. The blade struck Wheypon cleanly between the eyes, splitting head in two, each eye falling away from its counterpart, staring in shocked horror. And as they fell, the warrior king reached down the necks opening and quickly pulled out, holding a black oily looking glob which he took into his mouth and instantly vanished into an arrow of dust that shot directly down to the earth and through.
"That was for you Rienok." Dauer heard as he turned to gather the others together. "Come, we must return now. The moon approaches and there is precious little time remaining." At that, he gathered all in the sweeping of his cape.
A second later everyone was standing at the pedestal, where Lakia still sat, motionless, each moment glowing more intensely, a new form welling from within. "Dranik", as he lead the weary man to the golden glowing crystal, "I am glad you were able to accomplish what you needed to do, now we need you to accomplish what this world needs you to do", leaving him at his chair.

Dranik, filled with anger, turned to Dauer, "I was not finished Wizard! There are more lives to be saved and taken. I have no patience for your silly magic! We were there! This could all be over by now." Dauer shook his head in disappointment. "Dranik, son..." He said while placing his hand upon his shoulder. Before he could speak anymore, Dranik flung his arm and screamed "I am not your son! I am not a man and I never will be; it is my destiny, my curse; I am a werewolf!" Turning to Zaktye with tears in his eyes, " I am sorry love. I must do this. Know I carry my love for you everywhere I go; that is what will keep the last drop of human emotion I have in me safe." Dranik raised his hands to the door, just as Zaktye ran to him throwing her arms around him crying. She whispered in his ear. Dranik fell to the floor, embracing Zaktye with both hands on her hips, he sobbed as he buried his head into her stomach. "Don't you understand? This is our love, this is our destiny." Zaktye said with a tremble of fear in her voice, and tears on her face. Dranik closed his eyes tight, and squeezed one last thought of hope into his fate. He stood to find Zaktye's eyes. I will always be near, lingering where you least expect. I will see you always, love you always, and protect you always. But I must do this, for the sake of our destiny, for it is the fate of our destiny as well." Dranik kissed her one last time, "I am always at your side, for I am in you and you in me." He turned and raised his hands again, just as Dauer raised his staff, but it was too late. The wall began to crumble, to find the dead all to have risen again, only now they hold all the power Dranik will give them, awaiting his every command. Dranik turned to Dauer “I’m sorry old Wizard; this is just how it has to be." One last look to Zaktye; “I love you" Then he disappeared in the crowd of the dead as they surrounded him and followed. Zaktye turned to her Grandfather, holding her womb, she whispered. “What do I do now? This child shall forever bare the curse Dranik has given him,"
Syern, terrified, picked up Dranik’s crystal and said “I will do it. We need Dranik so he will be free from his curse, but he has chosen to not part from it, the darkness is too much for him. It is all he knows; it has consumed him, but been generous enough to leave him with love in his heart for you Zaktye.
Syern sat and began to chant again over and over words of a language that hasn't been used since the beginning of man. A great light filled the room, exploding into each one of them, releasing them into their own worlds.

Syern opened her eyes to see Zaktye, the break of a new day beginning. Syern slipped into her arms let out a cry of relief, “Its over.” Zaktye cradled her in her arms. “I hope so Syern, I hope so. “

Time passes, and the survivors of the great battle of Wheypon begin to rebuild their lives.
Syern returns home to Zaktye from a day of play in the meadows. Rushing to hold her new baby brother, Dauer, who bares a birthmark of a crescent shaped moon on the small of his back. Zaktye smiles in love and pain as she watches them together, unaware of Dranik watching through the window with a single tear, he turns away. “My son, my creation, one day you will know me, the day our curse comes to visit you. Then that day I can show my love for you, and once again touch the sweet serenity of your mother's lips.

The End
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:56 pm

<a name="#ch006">THE CHOSEN - Part VI "Epilogue</a>


The dead surrounded Dranik as he moved outside of the cavernous walls, out into the pale rising of the sun. Some of the dead that he had called from the ground were of such an age that their very bones were mostly made of calcium-enriched earth.
He felt the power surging through him and had called deep to raise more dead, ancient dead. He shook the very core of the earth as he did so, shocking even himself when they began to crawl from the grave.
As an army they marched to the castle of King Wheypon, where only demons and a few soldiers were left wandering the grounds. The dead spread themselves out and circled around every entrance and exit that the castle held as Dranik walked straight towards the main gates with three zombies in tow.
Two guards stood and moved towards him but he did not slow his pace, Dranik held the second knife that Lakia had blessed for him in his right hand. He side stepped the first guard and snatched the second guard by the throat, slamming him to the ground. The first guard started to swing his long broad sword but a zombie grabbed him in its arms and sunk its teeth deep into the side of his neck as Dranik sliced the second guard’s throat in one easy motion. He managed to curve the slice up at the far end so that it split the artery and a spray of blood shot from the wound in the side of the guard’s neck. Dranik held him until all the fight left and he sprawled limp upon the ground.
Screams erupted from off in the distance and Dranik fed more energy into his zombies, empowering them with life.
The main gate crashed open and Dranik looked up in time to see a demon slide out from a shadow and hiss at him, teeth like razors gleaming with saliva as it dripped down from the elongated mouth. One of the zombies reached for it but the demon slashed with claws and tore it in half. The zombie dispersed into a cloud of earth as it returned to the ground.
Dranik stood and ran to the demon, pushing the knife out in front of him as he came within arms reach. The blade slipped into the demons chest and it shrieked at him as it whipped its claws through the air, searching for Dranik.
Hate and anger filled every ounce of Dranik and he was able to dodge the demons hands as he stabbed two, three times deep. When Dranik finally felt the knife sink deep beneath the chest plate he pushed with his legs and ripped the blade up with all his strength and the blade tore through the demon, slicing through chest, neck and then exploding out of its skull.
Covered in demon blood and feeling the pull of the animal inside him Dranik stepped past the castle gates and entered as the moon started to slide in front of the sun behind him, the Phoenix sun was rising.
Dranik looked down at the amulet Lakia had given him and found its intricate swirls and designs glowing with a green light as it fought to protect him.
Four guards came running and Dranik fell into a combat stance as they descended on him with blades and fists. He sliced open the stomach of the first guard as a sword bit into his leg and he staggered and managed to rip the throat out of one. A bolt from a crossbow tore into his shoulder and deadened his left arm, yet he still managed to carry the two guards to the ground and kill them swiftly. Dranik used one of the dead guards as a shield as he stumbled to a door and shouldered his way inside, letting the dead guard drop to the ground.
He looked around and saw bags of flour and grain, nothing in the way of weapons. Foot steps came fast, approaching the front of the store and Dranik grabbed his shoulder and limped to the back of the shop, hoping to find a rear exit. He was rewarded by the shriek of another demon.
Knowing he couldn’t fight another demon this soon, Dranik reversed course and slammed into a soldier as he came barreling out of the front entrance, knocking the soldier to the ground. Dranik stomped his face one time and kept moving out into the court yard, not really concerned with the guard but wanting to get as far away as possible before the demon came stalking after him.
Not one, but three demons came pouring out from the shop, charging him with arms extended, claws clicking. Dranik rolled the knives handle down his pants leg to clear the blood from it and give him a better grip, without actually letting go of it.
The first two demons got to him at the same time and he slashed with everything he had but they just managed to stay clear of his blade. As the third one circled around behind him Dranik spun and lashed out with the knife, only to feel his chest sliced upon by a demon.
He felt the call at once as the amulet shifted and then fell to the ground, its leather strap cut clean, and its glow fading.
The beast inside him roared and fought to be freed but Dranik knew if he lost his hold now and changed he would be slaughtered before he could ever manage to shift. So he fought it, with everything he had he held it back as he managed to fight his way to the entrance of the shop once more. As a demon slammed into him he went tumbling back into a bag of flour and something clicked in his assassin brain.
Dranik grabbed two twenty pound bags of flour and tossed them into the fury of the demons grasps and they did just what he expected, they tore the bags apart in mid air, sending clouds of flour floating through out the room. Dranik tore a flint rock from his inner pocket and ran for the back of the store, when he heard the demons coming for him he launched himself in the air and turned back, throwing the flint with all he had at the metal counter top where it hit and sparked.
The fire tore through the floating flour and the explosion slammed Dranik through the rear door of the shop, where he landed and rolled.
Dranik couldn’t fight it any long and he let his beast surface as he lay on the ground.
The beast engulfed him, sucking the air from his lungs as it ate away at his body, devouring every fiber and rebuilding it. When Dranik opened his eyes he saw with animal eyes, with a predators gaze.
His wounds were healed, his hunger flared through him and he pounced on the first demon to come screaming from the burning building. The demons eyes widened as Dranik grabbed it and tore it to the ground, his own claws digging into the demons sides as his teeth tore into its flesh. The demon tried desperately to get away but Dranik held it, feeding his hunger as blood and shrieks erupted from the demon.
The zombies were fighting the guards, but all they could do with the demons were to gang up on them and then hold them as they returned to the earth. They dragged them so far down that the pressure of the earth actually crushed the demons bodies.
Dranik fought into the night, ripping apart anything that crossed his path, demon, human, it didn’t matter to him. He was fighting for nothing save his own sanity, and even once or twice he questioned even that.
After everyone was dead and nothing except rats and animals scurried about the castles walls Dranik fell to the ground and slept…

When he awoke he heard the silent cries of a female and blinked the sleep from his eyes as he sat up to find himself in a loft, deep inside the castle.
“Who’s there?” He asked as the crying silenced its self.
Dranik stood and felt the cool of the early morning wrap itself around his nakedness. He couldn’t see anyone, neither could he smell anyone near.
Softly a voice he recognized entered his mind, “It’s me my love, please come and see your son. He is beautiful.”
Dranik crumbled to the ground in tears…
For he had slept a full year in this place…


Dauer stood in the doorway of his new bookstore. Staring out at the horizon, where a foreboding shadow darkened the morning glow, he appeared only to be an old and tired survivor of the worst horror to strike the world, a horror with no purpose; not now. The lines had deepened on his face, hair a little whiter, but most noticeable, his eyes had deepened and turned a greyer blue, with new sorrow lines.
He turned away and strode to a chair from which he brushed away the always prevalent scrolls. He was still searching for a way out of the terror ahead, but with less hope. Leaning back, watching the early morning sunlight climb his small store wall, he began to review the events; trying to understand how it all got out of hand.
He thought of Lakia. To return from the ashes only to realize all of her pain was for nothing must have crushed her. He feared that the darkness would claim her also for all the anger that must be welling up in her.
He thought of Syern, such a sweet innocent, caught up in such horrible events. He could not blame her for her part. From when she met Dranik, she had a crush on him. Of course she could not stand for him to lose himself to the world of the dead. Of course her only choice was to attempt what she hadn't the power to complete. To her credit, though, she was able to push the back the web of darkness for several years. Enough years to allow a little peace to enter their hearts and better prepare them for what comes.
He thought of Zaktye, his beloved granddaughter. Who can blame her for loving so deeply? Sadly, though, the day Dranik and she consummated their love, a little of her soul was claimed by the dark that was eating away at Dranik. The transformation from Syern's chant had cleaned that out, but too late. An egg within had already absorbed it. If that egg had been seeded by Dranik, then the future of his granddaughter was threatened with more heartbreak. He had been secretly working his magic during his frequent visits, trying to quell the dark that could possibly be within his great-grandchild. His love for Zaktye brought a tear which he pulled from his eye, smiled at, placed between his lips.
He chanted to himself “A tear of love raised fresh to the eye, a drink of love gives cause for fear to fly". He had been repeating this chant a lot as the shadow on the horizon grew.
His thoughts then went to Dranik. "My poor son" he thought, even as those angry words spoken that cataclysmic day echoed in his heart.
"I am not your son! I am not a man and I never will be; it is my destiny, my curse; I am a werewolf!"
Dauer leaned forward, his head in his hands, "Dranik, if only you had been stronger. You would have known that in my heart you were, and are my son, for your destiny is tied to mine; now more so with you being family. If only you would have had faith, you would be rid of the curse devouring your soul. You were, and can still be more man than any world has known. The spark of removal lay within your heart. That was given in Syern's chant. If you would only believe in the magic of faith, you could save yourself and your family so much heartbreak. I know that you fear that I am angry with you for your weakness. How can I be? If I were better prepared for the level of power your necromancy held, I may have been able to protect you from its dark fingers. I failed you, and in doing so, I have failed this world and the millions who die needlessly because of that. For now, I can only start my quest again for the key, wizard legends speak of, that will unlock a portal of purity and light which would dispel all darkness. That is all that is left." Leaning back again, Dauer shook his head slowly; then stopped. As a little spark of light appeared in his eyes, he rose from the chair and moved toward the window, with a new purposefulness in his step, his mind thinking <Lakia!>


Lakia slowly awoke to find herself sitting alone but warm in the ancient cavern. Sadness filled her heart. Evil still lived in the world. One evil was conquered, leaving another to be free. A pearly tear fell down her face. The heart of the mountain swirled around her, trying to comfort her, saying that it has happened many times before. Anger swirled within but it was quenched by unending sorrow. Dauer had said that magic would cease to exist, but now it seemed stronger than ever and more pure. She channeled the power through her body; gaining strength. She was a changed elf now. Her skin now darker, hair spikier and shorter, eyes dark flecked with red like burning embers. She was now dressed in flowing robes of red, gold, and black. She was one of the Phoenix order now. It was a sacred order of elves. They always met in this cave. Now there was only her left of the order. The others had died in the Ancient war long ago, now she was to start anew. Elves still roamed free though not as many as there once was. Yet free they still were. She walked out of the cave and stood looking over the land. She put her hand out in front of her and a flame appeared. It flickered in the swirling wind. She had the power to destroy anything she wanted. The flame would consume all evil, leaving all good, good and pure. She closed her fist. Now was not the time. Now she had the true power of the Phoenix. It was only the first step in her quest to quench evil. Many years may pass yet still she would survive. When she became one of the order, many scenes played in her mind. She saw premonitions of the future. She and Dauer would stand together to fight again. The others would live their lives out happily in this world. Then Lakia glanced up, <Lakia!>. It was Dauer. She smiled and launched herself into the air, in phoenix form, singing a song of joy, and flew to Dauer's book shop. She saw him in the window and she landed outside. As she went to her Elvin form he opened the door, overjoyed and surprised at the change he saw in Lakia. But it was all good.
"So, dear wizard, what news of conquering evil do you bring?" Lakia asked, laughter in her voice, though there was a tone of sadness mixed with determination. One time had passed, another would begin. She had seen it, in the near future.
So it was said, so shall it be.
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Tom Watson
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Post by Tom Watson » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:27 am

Jim, you did an outstanding job on this, and I am so grateful...
Thank you!!! :bow:

(er, which last poem?) Oh, "All You'll Ever Be"? howabout General.
"Whispers of Love" a book of poetry expressing love of the heart and spirit is released worldwide on August 11, 2009. Visit my home page at
Books From Grace for more information or Amazon.com

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Post by negatvone » Sat Aug 13, 2005 12:16 pm


Thanx for the praise, Tom. I left a few ready for future use. I'm pretty sure you'll find a use for them sooner or later. :mrgreen:

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Post by Debbie » Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:41 pm

Tom I really like the way your Archives are laid out. It is very easy to get around in here..I see with Jim's help it is a true success...
Beautiful...and I do enjoy reading all of these poems..as if they were in a book... :thewave: :cheers: to you and Jim Negatvone..

Reach Out And Love Someone
Slow Down And Look around
You Will Find Someone Who Needs You.....

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