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2006-10-16 21:14:33
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The Eye of Midranda


Pristontale: The Eye of Midranda
Chapter D - The Escape


Daemon jumped to his feet and even Lenaen stood up quickly, when a hard noise sounded outside, like a breaking rock.
"What was that?" breathed Daemon, as he stepped back from the wall.
"I don't know," muttered Lenaen, on his guard. "It's either friend or foe."
What a small comfort that was and Daemon jumped even higher when suddenly the back wall in front of them was cracked and burst open. Bricks and black rock tumbled in, leaving a great cloud of dust filling the room. Daemon covered his eyes while his heart pounded, hearing footsteps crumbling the stone of the floor. For a moment there was silence, but then Daemon could hear a laughter coming from Lenaen, and finally dared to open his eyes.
There between the sides of the broken wall stood a well-build man, a Pike by the looks of his scythe, with a black mask covered the lower half of his face. He said nothing, but breathed heavily, while the moon shone down on him from the sky.
"Beam!" Lenaen cried out, laughing, and stepped forward. "You couldn't have picked a more quieter way?"
The Pike shrugged. "If I had done that I would have already been caught," he said and then laughed, hugging the mage tightly. "Let's go, I've been seen. We must leave now." Then his eyes fell on Daemon as they were scanning the room and the Pike seemed startled. "Who's this?"
"This is Daemon," smiled Lenaen. "He's a prisoner too."
Beam seemed to consider it for a moment, but then agreed. "Alright, you come too, boy." His voice sounded slightly irritated. "But you'd better not get us into trouble. Do exactly as you are told, alright?"
Daemon was still shocked about how fast things went, but his heart leaped when he realised he was being freed. So he nodded quickly and stepped forward, following the two men out of the prison and into the cool air of the night.
"In a few moments we have to run," said Beam quietly, after they had hidden themselves behind a large rock. "The Disciples are very fast, so we mustn’t stop until we reach the city gates. But before that, just one more thing." Then he turned to Lenaen and reached out his hand to him.
The mage examined a little stone inside the Pike's hand and then took it. Daemon thought it looked like a frozen drop of water, though the end was spiky, in the colors of purple and black. Lenaen grabbed it tightly in one hand and closed his eyes, creating a soft wind that began to swirl around him. Daemon stepped back and stared at the sight with open mouth. When the mage opened his eyes they were no longer weary and the stone had vanished from his hand. Beam smiled and suddenly held a stick he had got from under his armor. It was dark-brown with a beautiful green stone attachted in the top. Lenaen examined it for a while with a sparkle in his eye and then took it carefully. He watched his staff from top to the bottom and let his fingers run over the green stone. Then a smile appeared on his face, which grew even wider and he looked at Beam, who nodded back. Daemon could see the happiness in the mage's face, the happiness of freedom.
"Alright," said Lenaen and heaved a sigh. "Let's go."
"You," said Beam and turned to Daemon, who startled. "Run close past the mountain flank to the west and don't stop, got it?"
Daemon didn't know what to say, so he nodded hastily.
"If you get caught," said Beam clearly, "we're not coming back for you. Lenaen and I will try to hold them back, but fighting the Disciples is foolish, understand?"
Again Daemon nodded, though in his mind a dislike for the Pikeman swelled up. Of course he had to do as he was told, in order to survive.
"Now!" said Lenaen suddenly and he and Beam took off with great speed.
Daemon didn't hesitate for a moment and quickly ran after them, close to the mountain flank as Beam had said. The moment they had left their shelter from behind the rock, men in black robes appeared in front of them, and Beam and Lenaen swayed their attacks at them. Daemon's heart froze for he couldn't believe it, when one of the Disciples vanished in a black smoke and evaded the attack, to appear again a few meters sideways. Daemon ran past him without stopping and didn't dare to look back. In front of him, Beam and Lenaen had stopped and waited for him to pass them, before running again and trying to strike the Disciples. Suddenly a black man appeared right in front of him and Daemon slipped the ground to stop, his heart pounding. But the Disciple didn't attack, although it looked like he was trying. Daemon looked around him anxiously and picked up a stone from the mountain flank, throwing it toward the Disciple. It happened like Daemon had expected - the black man vanished and he started running again immediately, while hearing the footsteps of Beam and Lenaen closely behind him.
The sand made it so much harder to take steps and Daemon felt like he had been running for hours. Yet the further they went, the less Disciples seemed to attack them. Daemon felt he was running out of breath fast, but still pushed himself to keep running. He had squeezed his eyes closed to gather strength and didn't see where he was going, for suddenly he bumped into something hard in front of him. He was knocked back to the floor and rubbed his forehead in great pain. He could feel the bump aching as he opened his eyes, and gasped while jumping to his feet. For great walls rose high up in front of him, which used to be white, but yellowed over the years. On the very top, banners and flags swayed on the wind of the night, with all kinds of symbols and weapons on them. Daemon suddenly noticed his mouth was wide open and quickly swallowed, as he turned back to see Beam and Lenaen joining him. The desert behind them was quiet once more, with no Disciple in sight.
"We made it," breathed Lenaen and smiled up at the high walls. "Navisko."
"What?" said Daemon in surprised and gazed at the gate before them. "This is Navisko?"
"So you made it?"
Daemon turned and saw another man approaching from the shadow of the mountain. His hair was red in brown and his armor thick, while he held a large axe in just one hand. The marks on his cheek were the same as those of Lenaen, and probably as those of Beam too, so Daemon assumed they all belonged together.
"Glad you're alright," the man said to Lenaen and shook his hand, who nodded thankfully. "So we spend the night here?"
"Yup," said Beam, heaving a sigh and took off his weapons, laying them carefully in the sand. Then he took off his mask and Daemon almost gasped by the sight of it, though his face wasn't unusual at all. "Navisko is closed now," Beam continued. "We should wait until morning, so get near the mountain, all three of you."
Lenaen patted Daemon on the shoulder and let him into the dark shadow of the mountain side, while Beam stayed in the moonlight on the watch.
"So who is this?" asked the strange fighter, as he sat down, pointing at Daemon.
"I'm Daemon," he answered and shook the fighter's hand.
"My name is Tim," said the warrior friendly. "Easy enough to remember."
Daemon smiled, for he already started to like this man. "Why can't we enter now?" he asked, as he sat down in the sand as well.
"Have you not heard the stories?" said Lenaen, a little surprised.
"Oh... right," said Daemon and sighed, for he indeed had heard the stories. "It's cursed at night time."
"No," said Tim, as he patted the mountain. "It's always cursed, but at night it comes to life."
"Yes well, same thing," said Daemon wearily and then realised how tired he was. "Lenaen..." he muttered after a while. "Why couldn't those Disciples attack us?"
"You've seen them trying then?" Lenaen shrugged as he stared at the sky. "The mountains despise them and provided us with protection."
"I see," said Daemon thoughtfully. "That's why we had to run past the flanks, right?"
"Right," repeated Lenaen and yawned. "Go to sleep, Daemon. Tomorrow we will press on."
Daemon felt his stomach rumbling and didn't assume they had something to eat. So after one last look at Beam, who stood watching the sky, he yawned and stretched himself, laying back into the sand.

The stars twinkled high in the sky, while perfectly white clouds softly passed overhead. Tyrank lay wide awake in his comfortable bed and stared at the ceiling with his arms supporting his head. He heaved a sigh and startled when suddenly a voice sounded from next to him.
"You awake?"
Tyrank looked sideways and saw Roldin sitting up straight on the edge of his own bed.
The moment the Lunan had arrived, he and Tyrank had swapped stories and opinions. Tyrank had noticed Roldin's strange behaviour and knew the Pike feared the future. Nonetheless, they both suffered from the same kind of curse and felt each others pain, as they both were unable to sleep at night.
"Of course I am," said Tyrank quietly and looked back at the ceiling.
"I was thinking..." started Roldin. "Where do you think Yiro could be?"
Tyrank sighed and sat up straight. "Why are you thinking about that now?" he asked a little annoyed. "You should go to sleep instead of worrying like this."
"I know..." muttered Roldin and looked away. "This might be one of the last nights in which we can sleep. But we need to know, Tyrank."
"But I don't," answered Tyrank and thought deeply.
"And now he has taken Melocrie," Roldin continued. "What do you suppose he wants with her?"
"It's an act of vengeance," said Tyrank and rubbed his neck. "I think he wants to destroy her statue."
"What?" Roldin gasped quietly. "No..."
"Don't worry." Tyrank heaved another sigh and looked the Lunan right in the eyes. "She cannot be hurt by him."
"How so?" Roldin wondered.
"Because she's an ascendant of the Falcorra," Tyrank answered. "And Yiro's an ascendant of Midranda."
"Are you saying that the Falcorra are like immune to the Midranda?"
Tyrank raised his shoulders and shook his head. "Not sure..." he muttered. "I wish I knew, because I fear for her. Yet my feelings strongly tell me that she's in no trouble."
"I just hope you're right," said Roldin darkly. "I have no idea where this might lead us too."
"Neither do I." Tyrank lay back on his bed and covered himself with the blankets. "Go to sleep, Roldin."
The Lunan remained where he was for a few more minutes and then lay back as well. His thoughts wondered off to Yiro again, the scarred man with the horrifying laughter, and wondered whether he would be able to sleep at all.

Meanwhile, Royal Mage Ray stood upon the highest ground in Pillai, gazing endlessly at the night sky. He seemed to be waiting for something, searching for something. Suddenly a smile appeared from under his hood, as a small figure appeared far away in the distance. It came closer and after a while the flapping of wings sounded softly in the silence. Fylla carefully touched down on a fence and shook her feathers, while Ray stroke her back and whispered words to her. Then he reached out and took a little scroll of her paw, as he kestrel flew up again and landed on the edge of a roof. Ray opened the scroll slowly and began reading the message. His smile faded almost instantly and looked up at the kestrel, who's eyes seemed sadder than ever.
"She's gone," Ray said after a while. "And you know she is."
Fylla made no sound, but shuffled her feathers a bit.
"And you wish to find her." Ray shrugged, folded up the scroll again and hid it underneath his robes. "But you're not going alone, for you are not alone."
This time Fylla made a quiet noise and tilted her head a bit. Ray stared at her for a few minutes and suddenly the kestrel began to shiver, squeaking like a mouse.
"Shh.." said Ray comforting and walked closely to her. "It's alright, I have seen him too. Soon he will be nothing but a shadow once more."
It indeed seemed to comfort the bird and Fylla became still again, lifting her head to the sky.
"Go rest," said Ray and turned back to his own house.
Fylla remained on her spot for several seconds, before taking off toward the tree where Kayleigh had build her a special nest.

A Disciple stood staring at the desert once more, but not toward the north - toward the west. His face had grown even darker, while his muscles tensed in anger. He still couldn't believe his prisoners had escaped and he turned to the mountains, which he despised as well.
The Disciple turned as his general walked up to him, with a thorn banner in one hand.
"The Rogues have been taken care of, sir."
A grin appeared on the Disciple's face and took the banner with a tight hand. "Good work, general," he said in a sinister voice. "They will not bother us anymore. Where have you defeated them?"
"The Iron Lands, sir," replied the general. "At the passage from Railway to Chaos to the Forbidden Land."
"Very good indeed," smirked the Disciple and threw the banner into the sand. "Now that region is claimed for us as well. Soon we will move into the west."
"Sir?" The general's voice sounded somewhat hesitating.
The Disciple turned west again and his grin faded, as he stared into the distance. "Soon my power will overcome that of the Midranda and I shall break all of their curses." Then he turned back to the general. "Prepare our troops. When the sun rises we will march for the Iron Lands and beyond. We will return here again in eight days."
"Yes, sir," the general nodded and returned to the temple.
The Disciples sighed heavily and looked up at the moon, his inspiration and disliked all that was opposing him at the moment.
"Very soon," he said quietly to the sky, "Priston will be mine and they will all pay. They will not live to unite under one banner."

Daemon shifted uncomfortably as he couldn't get those strange images out of his head. An unknown girl was constantly running toward him, without getting closer at all, with nothing but darkness behind her. Her face kept changing emotion: first it was fierce, then sad, scared and fierce again. Suddenly, behind her a small light began to glow up, then bursting into flame. It followed her every step, though it didn't seem to be unfriendly. The girl did not turn to watch, but suddenly the images were zoomed out, until she was nothing but a dot in the distance. Also that faded, until the image of a yellowed map appeared, with strange markings and writing on it. Somewhere along the words moved a little green dot, going south from Eura. Then appeared another dot, blue this time and both stopped when they crossed paths. Daemon felt himself turn pleasantly warm, but then horribly cold. And after what seemed a long while, the green dot moved further south, while the blue one went north. The green suddenly turned west and stopped by a mark with the writing 'Navyskao'.
Then the map was torn and its pieces burst into flame, followed by a thundering laughter and the ringing of heavy bells. Daemon shot up from the sand and tried to scream out, but his throat hurt so bad and no sound came out. He coughed desperately, while trying to shake the image of a dangerous face from his head. The touch of a warm hand on his shoulder made him jump and his eyes were watering, but the coughing didn't stop.
"Calm yourself!" said Lenaen's voice, urgent but worried. "Take this."
Daemon felt something cold against his hand and took the cup of water from the mage. After swallowing a few times, he began to drink it hastily, in order to lift the pain from his throat. When he had finished, he swallowed a few more times and rubbed his eyes.
"Are you alright?" asked Lenaen and Daemon could now see the expression on his face.
"I'm fine," he breathed and rubbed his head. "It... it was just a bad dream, that's all."
"Not surprising," shrugged the mage and relaxed again. "I too had nightmares."
"Really?" Daemon looked sideways at him, a little surprised and then heaved a sigh. "Right... That prison was nothing fun after all."
Lenaen nodded. "Even one night in there can crack your dreams. But it'll pass in a few days."
"Few days?" Daemon moaned, for he didn't not think he could stand another night like the last. Finally, after recovering himself, he looked around and noticed the desert was highly different by day. Then he noticed something else - it was Tim, staring at them while sitting on the fence by the city gates.
"Mornin'!" he said cheerfully and took a bit from his apple. "Slept alright?"
Daemon wanted to answer, but Lenaen beat him to it.
"Stop your joking!" the mage smirked and gave a laughter. "Where's Beam gone to?"
"Shoppin'", said Tim and swallowed the apple whole, knocking it down it's chest. "Restocking and stuff, it'll save us some time. 'When the sun is higher, we can immediately be on our way,' that's what he said."
Daemon thought for a second and then saw that the gates of Navisko had been opened.
"Fair enough," sighed Lenaen and leaned back against the rocks of the mountain. "Nice morning."
Daemon looked from Lenaen to Tim, and back again. For some reason he admired the way the two men spoke to each other and instantly longed for home again. It reminded him of his own friends, back in Eura... at least, Eura was still there. He would find a way to get back there, though he wasn't sure how and when. Suddenly he grabbed his stomach with blinding pain, which passed in a few seconds and heaved a sigh.
"I'm hungry..." he said, more to himself than to the others. He didn't want to complain much and make himself look like a child.
"Me too," replied Lenaen, to Daemon's relieve. "Beam should be back any minute."
"Yup," answered Tim and lifted his head to the sky. "But don't mind him this morning, though. He's not in the best mood."

The sun raised higher, while gray clouds covered the sky and a heavy wind was swelling in the air. The flapping of great wings made the damp swirl, as two winged angels moved forth in the sky - one as cold as ice, one as black as the night. They were weary, for they had dragged along a heavy object since their last task. On the back of black angel sat a familiar man, his grin widening as he got closer to his goal. Though the thought of opponents didn't exactly make his day, he was convinced that nothing or no one was able to stop him this time.
Yiro motioned his angels lower through the clouds as they approached their destination. Finally, he made them strike down onto a cold, dark field, surrounded by iron flanks. The sunlight couldn't reach the fallen square in which they stood and Yiro's laughter echoed against the flanks, as Melocrie's statue was lowered onto the ground. He enjoyed looking at her face, for her determination had been in vain.
"Rest," he spat at his angels and pointed his finger to a deeper place in the shadow. "Leave us."
The angels bowed and moved away, floating only inches from the ground, and disappeared in the darkness. Yiro slowly walked in circles around the statue, chuckling softly.
"You thought you could break me?" he then said quietly, but his smile never faded. "Well, you almost did."
Yiro lifted the broad and heavy sword up from his belt around the middle, and held it high in two hands, while raising his voice.
"Your bird took down my beautiful Iyagi... You broke my Titan like a wall of bricks... And you broke me, took away everything I had, together with those silly friends of yours..."
He slowly raised his sword higher and tightened his grip, while a green energy started to surround the blade.
"But now I shall break you... and I shall break your friends!"
Suddenly, a green light exploded from the blade and bounced off against the iron flanks, overthundered by Yiro's scream. The Koltan gathered all his strength and swung his sword around, hitting the stone statue with all his might.
This was his hour of victory, the true turn of events and the first part of his revenge would be complete.
But shock overcame him when nothing like that happened. Instead, his sword got stuck in the air, only inches away from the cold stone and was suddenly thrown back. Yiro lost his grip and the blade smashed against the iron, breaking right in half. The green light shot into all directions and then faded, while the angels watched it happen from the shadow.
"No..." Yiro breathed and stepped back, as he just couldn't believe it. "Broke me again... No! No more! You will die!"
In anger, he gathered up all his energy into the palm of his hand and suddenly a flash of lightning shot through the sky, while drops of rain began to fell down. A crash of light smashed an iron rock nearby and Yiro shot his energy at the statue, but was blocked by an other one. The green light was bounced back again and disappeared, while Yiro stood to the ground, breathing heavily in fury. He shook his head and grabbed his hair, screaming out to the sky in anger, which made the world shiver even more.

The weather had turned all of a sudden and Daemon covered his head with the hat of his fluffy coat to stop himself from getting too wet. Tim watched the sky rather offended, but nothing seemed to bother Lenaen. He was just staring at the gray heavens, with a light flashing through every now and then. A rumbling sounded in the distance and Tim stood up, moaning.
"Great.. Thunder," he sulked. "That's all we need."
"Don't whine," said Lenaen and laughed. "A little rain won't kill you."
"Excuse me if I'm not as fond of the elements as you are," smirked Tim. "Maybe I'm just not as 'serene'."
"Why don't I get up and kick your non-serene ass?" grinned Lenaen and stood to his feet.
"Bring it on!" said Tim and raised his chest with a broad smile on his face. "Unless you're afraid to break a nail!"
Daemon laughed along, but suddenly his smile faded slowly and felt himself turning red, as Beam had appeared from the gates, and stared at the two men standing in front of each other. Lenaen noticed him too and tried to hold back his laughter, while Tim had actually filled his cheeks with air. When he noticed Lenaen was staring at something behind him, he turned and immediately stood his position again when he saw Beam, frowning at him.
"Sorry, I was just..." the fighter started, but never finished and stepped sideways to let the Pike through.
"They're expecting a great storm that will last until dusk," said Beam, walking up to Lenaen while ignoring their behaviour before. "That means we will have to travel further to the Oasis in bad weather."
"What?" Tim said and moaned. "Seriously?"
"Yes, seriously," said Beam clearly and turned to him. "Unless you wish to stay in this city for the night?"
Tim understood he lost and gave in with a nod.
"And you," said Beam then and turned to Daemon, who quickly got to his feet. "Will you be able to take it?"
"Yes, sir," said Daemon, trying to control his voice. He had been afraid to speak to the Pike at first, but now felt that he could. And he understood he had to remain careful, for Tim was right: Beam was not in the best mood. It seemed best to remain formal.
"You'd better not fall behind," continued the Pikeman. "For we will not turn around to carry burdens. Understood?"
"Yes, sir," said Daemon again and was slightly shocked when he could hear the detest in his own voice.
Beam frowned and him for a second, but then decided to let it go and turned back to Lenaen. "Watch him, alright?" he said quietly.
Lenaen nodded, but Daemon had heard and as soon as Beam had turned his back, he shrugged annoyed.

Their mission was to explore certain ruins in the Forest of Spirits, a task the Royal Mage had given them. But they all had thoughts deep within that delayed them and forced them into conversation. The morning was yet passing further by and time was not stopping, though there still seemed to be a lack of progress.
Dylane paced around the Royal Mage's cabin as he rubbed his chin and thought deeply. Kayleigh watched him anxiously, while Tyrank and Roldin seemed to be far more patient. Urani stood with his back against the wall with his arms folded and Ray himself sat on a chair, waiting for anyone to speak. Debhora was outside, trying to keep Fylla company, as the kestrel seemed to be more stressed than any of them.
"So, to get things straight," Cage said eventually, who stood next to Urani, also thinking deeply. "Yiro has escaped from the Ancient Dungeon and something unknown is with him. His powers has seemed to have grown and now he possesses even stronger weapons, with which he has taken Melocrie. Next to that, there's a group of radicals in the east about which we shouldn't even be worrying, but we are. And there's really nothing we can think of to do about it?"
"That's about it," muttered Tyrank and rubbed with forehead. "It's a problem of forces, I guess."
"As in we don't have any?" asked Urani thoughtfully. "We do have force and many allies who will support us."
"I will not risk my people to the brick of destruction," said Roldin clearly. "I will not let them fight a battle we cannot win."
"I'm not talking about a battle," replied Tyrank. "But about certain action that must take place without risking a war."
"I think war is upon us either way," said Dylane and sighed. "Yiro will not wait for us to strike first."
"I agree," said Kayleigh quietly, for she had thought about her words a long time. "We don't know if the other Koltans still exist, but Yiro's is our largest problem now. We first have to find out what his weapons are this time."
"Of course we do," said Ray suddenly and stepped forward. "Go now."
"What?" Cage shrugged. "But we must come up with a solution."
"I told you to leave for ruins in the Forest of Spirits," answered the mage. "That is all I am telling you."
His voice sounded urgent and Tyrank examined him for a moment, before turning to the others.
"He might be right," he said then. "We will take the teleporter to Ruinen and go north from there."
"Right now?" frowned Urani and looked at Ray, whose expression changed his mind. "Alright then."
Tyrank bowed to the Royal Mage and looked at Roldin one last time, before leading his friends outside. There he found Debhora sitting on a fence, but the sight of Fylla made his emotions even stronger. The kestrel seemed to suffer more of the Melocrie's disappearance then themselves and no doubt about it they should get her back.
'And we will', thought Tyrank, as he watched the bird take off with another message, which Ray had bound to her paw. 'Melocrie is one of us and we will not abandon her.'

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