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2007-01-09 12:41:10
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The Eye of Midranda


Pristontale: The Eye of Midranda
Chapter E - Loss of the East

Urani gazed up at the birds passing by overhead, while Kayleigh and Dylane stepped up onto the teleporter for their journey to Ruinen. Debhora noticed the mage and lay a hand on his shoulder, as she looked sideways at Tyrank.
"Will Fylla be alright?" she asked. "A flight to Eura isn't exactly safe. What if Yiro is out there?"
"I wish Melocrie were here," sighed Kayleigh. "She's the only one who can talk with the kestrel. Fylla could tell us more than her messages can."
"But she is not here," said Tyrank firmly and stepped further up the bridge toward the platform. "We'd better make haste now."
"When the bird returns I will send word to my people," said Roldin and nodded at Dylane. "But now we must leave."
Dylane thought for a moment and then nodded, taking Kayleigh by the hand. As soon as the wing was placed in the right holder, a white light swallowed them up and they disappeared. Next up were Urani and Debhora, followed by Cage and Leroy. As they vanished into the light as well, Tyrank looked back and gazed over the village of Pillai, heaving a great sigh.
"I know," said Roldin suddenly, but quietly and gazed over the village as well. "If only we could have such peace."
"We will," said Tyrank and turned to the Lunan, examining him slowly. "You know what they say - Beyond the desert lies the promised land."
Roldin shrugged. "I don't think we'd take the Koltans there with us."
"We will go up," said Tyrank. "But Yiro is going down."
With those words he passed by Roldin and stepped up the platform, while the Lunan followed after a few seconds. As the light swallowed them whole, Ray watched them from a distance, his hood clouding his face like always.
Ruinen was so much darker than Pillai and the enviroment so much grayer. Dylane and Kayleigh waited for the others to arrive, before setting off to Ruinen all together. It seemed rather quiet in the desert, maybe too quiet. Urani noticed his hands were sweating while sqeezing his staff hard and Kayleigh took Dylane's hand even tighter.
"Stay close," Dylane whispered to her, as he looked around from the corners of his eyes.
"Nothing is wrong," said Tyrank, but carefully. "Try to relax."
And he seemed to be right, for nothing happened all the way. They reached Ruinen village safely and the people greeted them as always. Roldin visited the blacksmith while Debhora went to see the potion girl for a new stock.
"Nothing has changed here," said Urani, while looking around. "It's just like last time."
"Gloomy as ever," shrugged Cage. "Let's head north as soon as possible."
"I agree," said Kayleigh. "I'm really not used to this tensing silence."
"What's gotten into you?" frowned Tyrank. "You are warriors and this scares you?"
"Can you blame us?" said Urani and he shivered by the mere thought of the Koltans. "Nothing really seems safe anymore."
Tyrank said nothing more, for he understand that the events from Navisko had impacted all of them. The curse he bore himself was preventing him from sharing emotions and he only suffered from his own. Trying to ignore the dark side of his feelings, he waited until everyone was ready, before leading the way to the bridge up north.
"The desert protects this place," said Roldin eventually, as they walked up the hill. "Devastated as it is, this place will never be overrun."
As the mountains began to close around them, the bridge over the abyss came in sight, with a more beautiful land on the other side. Kayleigh gasped when she saw it, though it was nothing unusual to her. It was the contrast that made her eyes grow wide, the gray landscape against the beautiful forest.
"The desert curse ends here," told Leroy, as they all passed over the bridge. "Morion has protected this region well."
"Somehow our magic could not reach beyond this abyss," said Kayleigh. "If it could, we would have flowered Ruinen already."
"Some day it will," smiled Dylane. "Some day Ruinen will be as beautiful as Pillai."

"We cannot stay here," shouted Beam, as they still stood outside the gates of Navisko. "The Disciples roam this land, we must cross to the west for that is the only safe place now."
Daemon watched Beam as nothing made sense and then watched the knight who stood before him. He and Beam had met in the city, but the knight had come with bad news. It seemed that the Oasis was invaded by stronger monsters and no one seemed to know how that was possible. Daemon puzzled as he looked at Lenaen and Tim, who both seemed to be listening carefully.
"We broke up camp and set off for Navisko in small groups, but most fell behind," said the knight. "The Oasis is no longer safe, we must find another place to stay. The Ice lands belong to us, let's go there."
"I am your leader, general Bazz," said Beam firmly, "and you will do as I tell you."
This seemed to strike the knight hard and he stood up straighter, while Daemon could feel Lenaen tensing beside him.
"The Ice lands were taken by the Disciples when they invaded Eura," continued Beam after a few seconds of silence. "We had to flee, don't you remember? That's when Lenaen was captured and I do not wish to see such a thing happen again."
Daemon had listened closely and his heart had made a weird leap at the name of his home. So the Disciples had taken over Eura... What about his family and friends? What about Farrah? Daemon noticed he had begun to breath heavily and Lenaen looked sideways at him, frowning.
"But there must be some place we can stay," said Tim, thinking. "What about Ruinen?"
"Ruinen is too far away from the Ice lands," said the knight called Bazz. "And we should wait for the rest to arrive here anyway."
"I did not put you in charge to make rash desicions," said Beam angrily. "But because you're so fond of them, why don't you solve this: where should we go now?"
"Beam, would you relax?" said Lenaen eventually and stepped forward. "It's going to be alright, we just need some thinking."
"I am not going to sit here and think while he's sending off my brother into danger," said Beam, pointing at Bazz.
"Tal is big boy," frowned Tim. "He'll do fine."
Beam stared at Tim for a while, then at Lenaen, Bazz and finally at Daemon. Daemon was a little startled, but he wanted Beam to calm too, more so that he could think quietly himself. Eventually, Beam heaved a sigh and sat down on the fence, rubbing his forehead.
"The Disciples are already winning," he sighed. "We need to re-conquer the Ice lands, that's a fact."
"And we will," said Lenaen surely. "But we need time and space. So we first need to decide where we are going to stay."
"What about the Bellatra?" said Tim suddenly. "It's empty now, isn't it? And large enough for us all."
"That's not a bad idea," said Bazz happily. "I'm sure the people would let us, as long as we stay indoors at night."
"But it's at night when the bad things happen," said Beam. "Think of our battle in the Ice lands. A quiet night means danger."
"Oh come on, Beam," sighed Lenaen. "You have nothing to lose, do you?"
Beam shrugged and thought it over. "Very well then," he said finally and stood up, turning to Bazz. "General, make sure our troops are notified and meet us back here at dusk."
"Yes sir," said Bazz and bowed his head, disappearing through the gates.
"Lenaen", said Beam and turned to the mage. "You take the boy and go to Ricarten. Ask permission for the usage of the Bellatra from the Elders. Try everything you can to get it."
"Count on us," said Lenaen and smiled at Daemon, who didn't feel comfortable at all.
"Tim, you come with me," finished Beam. "We need to warn the scouts up the desert."
"We should pass by the northern borders, though," said Tim. "Since the Disciples are in the south.
Beam nodded. "Stay close to the mountain. Alright, move out."
"Bazz did not bring our people in danger," said Lenaen quickly, but quietly to Beam. "He saved them by sending them out of the Oasis. And you know it."
The Pike looked at the Mage but then turned away, disappearing in the desert. He said nothing back, but through his stubbornness he knew Lenaen was right.

Daemon stared up at the many banners on top of the city walls once more, as he thought deeply of home. He did not feel at all like entering the Bellatra with all these strange people, especially after the stories of that place. And that Beam wasn't exactly the guy he would like and Daemon desired to go home, but understood he had to wait for a right moment to come. Heaving a sigh, he watched Lenaen return from the blacksmith and the mage smiled.
"He said the gate between Navisko and Ricarten is open, so we should be free to cross through."
"Okay," said Daemon and gazed up at the banners one last time.
"Some day our flag will be among them as well," said Lenaen dreamily, as he followed Daemon's gaze. "Maybe not now, but one day Beam will allow it."
"But why doesn't he?" Daemon wondered with some dislike. "He really seems to have a problem."
Lenaen looked at Daemon, who felt himself turn red, but then laughed. "I guess he has," said the mage, as he walked up the platform of the warpgate. "I understand that the clouding of your path annoys you," he continued as he turned. "But you just have to be patient."
Daemon sighed and nodded. "I know," he said. "But... do I really have a part to play in this all?"
"You do now, don't you?" frowned Lenaen. "You're accompaning me to Ricarten."
"I'm not accompanying you," shrugged Daemon, as he stepped up the platform. "You're stuck with me. And don't we need a wing for these things?"
"Nope," said Lenaen. "No wing required."
And he was right, for before Daemon could even reply, a white light appeared from under their feet and started to raise, swirling around their bodies. Daemon panicked for just a second, when the light covered all view before him and his own body started to feel as light as a feather. It seemed to last for so long, but suddenly gravity returned and his feet landed hard on the floor, almost knocking him over. Then slowly the light waned and vanished, revealing a sight of a small field of grass surrounded by grey walls..
Daemon watched the area from the corners of his eyes and then turned around, seeing the exact design of the warpgate lying behind him. Then he looked up at Lenaen and the mage grinned, waving his hand toward a small passage nearby.
"You will get used he it," he laughed. "We still have a few hours before dusk. Want to go do some sight seeing?"
"Really?" Daemon slowly recovered from their trip and realised he had never went through a warpgate before. If only the people back home could hear about this! Being away from Eura had been terrible at first, but now things didn't seem so bad and all that was left was homesickness. And Daemon was sure that if it hadn't been Lenaen who was with him, he would have already broken down. "Sure!"
Lenaen guided him through the passage on their left and they entered a small street, with a narrow river on the left and grey stairways on the right. People were walking back and forth, up and down the stairs and some even went toward the warpgate. Other went into the same direction as they, as Daemon was fascinated by their looks. They all seemed to be warriors and so different, though most of them seemed to know each other. They all wore extremely detailed battle armors and had the most fearsome weapons with them. Yet they all greeted each other friendly and some even seem to know Lenaen.
"Have you been here before?" asked Daemon.
"Of course I have," said Lenaen, laughing. "I'm the counsiler and official messenger of our people, so I have to travel a lot."
"Why doesn't Beam to those things himself?" wondered Daemon, a little offended for he found it rather unfair.
"Because Beam has other things to deal with," answered Lenaen, and suddenly his voice didn't sound so cheerful at all. "But that's not your concern. Let's go on, I bet you might like the city square."
Daemon didn't really like it when people changed the subject, especially when he was eager to find out. But his next sight changed all thoughts in his head and without knowing he stopped walking, his mouth falling open and his eyes growing wide. For in front of him the passage broadened and joined a huge square of grey stones, filled with all kinds of people. There were shops all around and everyone seemed to be trading, stocking and exchanging stories. Either way they were all enjoying themselves and Daemon would have loved nothing but to join them at the moment.
"Go take a look around," said Lenaen to Daemon's happiness. "But do not wander off, I'm going to see the Elders now. When the sun is going down, meet me back at the warpgate."
"So I have like... three more hours!" said Daemon and gazed over the people. "Incredible!"
"Here." Lenaen reached out his hand and Daemon took a little pouch from it. "There's gold inside. Spend it how you see fit."
"Really?" Daemon couldn't believe it and smiled broadly. "Thanks!"
"No problem, but remember what I told you," said Lenaen sternly.
Daemon nodded. "I won't wander off and I'll be back at the warpgate when the sun does down."
"Good," said Lenaen and smiled. "Don't get yourself into trouble."
Daemon watched Lenaen vanishing from sight over a stairway and eagerly turned back to the square. He had no idea what he would buy, but his longing to socialize was growing and the first steps forward seemed to be the hardest. What was holding him back? Was he nervous?
"No..." he found him whispering to himself. "This is not my home."
He quickly shook his head and lifted his foot, stepping forward. This somehow broke his shield of anxiety and he was able to walk toward the crowd, ready to enjoy himself. But not too much, he said in his thoughts. You belong in Eura, this is not forever.

Lenaen descended the stairs that had led to the other side of Ricarten and his heart started to feel colder with each step. The last few visits in Ricarten had been nothing but to bring and hear bad news, and he wasn't sure if Beam could take another backfire. Still the idea of staying in the Bellatra remained good to him and he was decided to make it happen. As he descended the last step and walked up the street from the grass, a man walked up to him with a grey beard covering his face, a large sword attached on his back.
"Lenaen!" he cried and began to shake the mage's hand enthusiastically. "My old friend! It's been so long."
"Hello, Tark," laughed Lenaen and pulled his hand back, while using the other to pat the man on the shoulder. "How are things going here? Everything quiet as always?"
"Well, not after the incident with Yiro," shrugged Tark. "The people are a little freaked, though luckily they continue living."
"What?" Lenaen startled and frowned. "Yiro?"
"Huh?" Tark stepped back and looked puzzled. "You mean... you haven't heard?"
"Heard what?" Lenaen demanded to know. "Tell me!"
Tark swallowed and looked around, sighing. Then he turned and waved at the mage to follow him. "Let's not discuss this in public."
Lenaen still frowned as he followed Tark up an other stairway, covered with a green carpet. It led them through a passage upon a large stage, toward a great door on the other side. Tark took a great key from his belt and unlocked it, letting Lenaen in and shutting the door again behind him. They had entered a large living room in the colors of green and red, with many kinds of equipment on the walls beside the torches. The room was filled with tables and couches and on the other side stood a large fireplace, with a swirling stairway up next to it.
"Please sit down," said Tark as he took off his gear. "I'm sorry about the mess, though. Yella has been out of town and I'm no good cleaning it myself, so I will just..."
"I have no time for small talk," said Lenaen, as he sat down. "Please tell me what has happened."
"Whoa, you're turning serious all of a sudden," frowned Tark, as he sat down on his own chair. "No time for stories, eh?"
"Not enough life hearts left, you might say," replied Lenaen and sighed. "We are indeed running out of time. Things aren't going so well with Hellphoenix, and if there's anything unusual of importance, I need to know."
"I see," said Tark and also started to become serious. "No time for a wine then either, I guess?"
"No," said Lenaen shortly and tried to keep his patience.
"Alright," sighed Tark and shifted in his seat. "Yiro has returned, escaped from the Ancient Dungeon, with more foul weapons at his side than the Titan and Iyagi."
"What?" Lenaen breathed and bended forward a little. "That's not possible. No one has ever escaped from that place!"
"True," said Tark darkly. "But he did not it alone, though we still don't know what exactly happened. But that's not all... Have you noticed anything strange about the square?"
Lenaen thought for a second and then raised his shoulders. "Nothing special. Wait..!" His heart leaped, but not in a pleasant way. "Something was different, now you mention it. Emptier maybe..."
"Melocrie's statue is gone," said Tark straight. "And Yiro's the one who took her."
Lenaen slowly shook his head as he didn't want to believe it, and yet it pained him for he did. "Gone...?" he voice sank even lower and Tark could see his eyes changing. "Where is he now?"
"He's gone east," Tark said, but carefully.
"No.. no, no!" Lenaen stood to his feet. "Not more in the east!" he breathed. "Darn it all." He sank back onto the couch and heaved a sigh, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "I have to tell Beam."
"I guess you do," said Tark and stood to his feet. "I will give you some wine anyway." Then he walked to the mantelpiece and took some glasses, filling them from a bottle.
Lenaen still sat motionless at he stared into nowhere, barely hearing Tark humming to himself. It was something he didn't like to admit to himself, nor to tell Beam about it, but... it seemed that reclaiming the eastern lands became more and more impossible. Suddenly he looked up, sighed and stood to his feet.
"I have to go," the mage said and turned to Tark, who stood gaping at him with two glasses in his hands.
"But.." said Tark and raised the glasses. "No wine?"
"I must speak with the other Elders," Lenaen said thoughtfully, ignoring Tark's offer.
"What, to have their permission?" Tark sighed and put the glasses back down on the mantelpiece, before grabbing the mage's shoulder tightly. "Don't you worry about that, I will take care of it. Go take a look around in town, it might get your mind off it for a bit."
"Maybe you're right," nodded Lenaen and smiled weakly. "Thanks, my friend."
Tark grinned and they shook hands firmly. "Not a problem, friend."

Ricarten seemed so enormous compared to Eura and there were certainly many more people around. Daemon enjoyed himself as he looked around the shops and eventually he wasn't afraid to talk with people anymore. Once a warrior with a great axe came by and Daemon had the courage to ask him his name, his history and places he had been. The gold he had got from Lenaen was still in his pocket and not a penny had been spend. Daemon sighed as he looked around and found he should really buy something. There had been so many things he wanted to have, but didn't have enough gold for all of them. So he stopped when he passed by the same shop for the fifteenth time to look around. It belonged to two young boys loaded with battle marks and one larger man, who seemed to be their father. When he saw that Daemon was looking through they stuff again, he laughed and leaned forward.
"You looking for something in particular, m'boy?" he asked friendly.
Daemon startled and looked up, but couldn't help a laughter. "I'm not sure," he said and examined the many items. "I need something I can always use."
"Our table is full of them," the man laughed. "What about a sword? Can't hurt to have a weapon with you at all times."
"That's true," agreed Daemon and became exited by the very thought of having his own sword. "Which do you have, sir?"
The man smiled and stood up, leading Daemon around the table. There he had a small collection of short and long swords, all both beautiful and simple. Daemon's mouth fell open as he looked through them, but then his eyes rested on one he liked the most. The blade was broad and yet short, light grey with a blue glow over it. The handle was made of silver and gold, with tiny blue sapphires attached along the edges. At the very tip of the blade was another tiny stone attached, an opal. Daemon liked it so much and he pointed at it, looking hopefully at the man.
"That one is special, boy," the man said thoughtfully. "It's forged in the power of ice and water. A hundred thousand gold it is."
"What...?" Daemon frowned, but then realised it could be a normal price for a short sword. He searched for the money pouch and opened it, counting the money. Then his eyes grew wide and he grinned, looking up at the man. "I have fivehundred thousand gold," he laughed. "I will take that sword!"
"A very good choice!" said the man happily. "Why don't you take a look around and see if there's anything else you might want?"
"Alright," smiled Daemon and walked back to the front of the table, rumbling through the items.
He picked out a small stone, a sheltom, like the one that Beam had given to Lenaen. It was a Murky, the man had said. Its usage required a great deal of strength, but Daemon decided to take it anyway. Then his eyes rested on another sheltom, a Raident, but this one had a strange glow among it.
"It's a force," said the man by the look on Daemon's face. "The right mind activates it and strengthens you for a certain amount of time."
"Great!" said Daemon amazed. "I will take this too."
Just when he was about to give over the money, his eyes rested on an other item as they grew even wider. Daemon's heart leaped and he grabbed for it, pulling the other items away for a better look. His heart pounded and his lips were dry, as he stared at something all too familiar. It was a map, brown and yellow from the ancient years. All the names on it were written in a strange handwriting and places were marked in red and blue. A green dot had rested on the place where Ricarten lay, while a blue dot stood higher up and further in the east. It was the map... The same map from Eura and the same from in his dream! Daemon didn't know for how long he had stood there, but he shocked from his thoughts as the man cleared his throat.
"You taking that too, boy?" he said still friendly.
Daemon stared at the man and then quickly nodded, folding up the paper. After handing out the gold, he attached the sword to his belt and stuck the sheltoms in his pocket, while he held the map tightly in his hand. Then he said goodbye to the friendly man, who nodded with a wink, and Daemon set off to see more.
He only had a few thousand gold left as time went by and he had bought himself some more equipment. He now also had a little dagger, in the same colors as his sword, a beautiful, magical necklace and an armor the saleswoman called 'junior plates'. They were in the colors of black and grey, light as a feather, meant for young warriors. Daemon's grinned widened each time he thought of those words. And yet he had still held the map tightly in his hand, without letting go of it for a moment. But suddenly a strange feeling overcame him and somehow he didn't want Lenaen to see this mysterious piece of paper. So he folded it up and put it away deeply in the new bag he had bought, which he had bound to the side on his belt.
The sun was setting and slowly the sky turned darker, which were the signs for Daemon to return to the warpgate. But he had stopped and looked around puzzled, as he had no idea which way he should go. Daemon heaved a sigh and searched for a friendly face is the lessing crowd, and caught one nearby him.
"Excuse me, sir..."
But then Daemon stopped, for somehow the face had mistaken him. There barely was a face after all, for it was covered with the hood of a robe. The man inside held his arms on his back as he smiled friendly, and Daemon was surprised when a soft voice came out, not at all scary as he had expected.
"Yes, my boy?"
Daemon swallowed and sighed again to relieve the pounding of his heart. "Sorry to bother you," he started and found it stupid he was being so formal. "Could you please tell me the way to the warpgate?"
"Why, of course," said the man and pointed his arm toward the right. "Take that passage between the stairways and the grocery grounds. Just go straight ahead and you will see it."
"Right," said Daemon as he stared into the pointed direction. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," said the man and smiled. "Send my best regards to Beam."
"What?" Daemon startled and turned, but to his shock the man had disappeared.
He looked around through the mass of people, but the strange man in the robe had completely gone from sight. For a moment Daemon remained where he was, frowning and as Ricarten grew darker, he became a little scared. Shaking his head, he quickly turned toward the passage and started off for the warpgate, increasing his pace with every step. Finally he broke into a run and people stared at him as he passed by, but Daemon hardly noticed it. His heart jumped in relieve when he saw Lenaen standing near the platform and the mage smiled when he entered the ground.
"There you are." Lenaen's voice sounded different, but then his eyes grew wide. "Whoa, look at you! All dressed up, aren't you?"
"Yes," smiled Daemon while breathing. "Thanks again for the gold, I had a great time."
"That's good," said Lenaen, smiling too. "You can show me all you bought later, but now we have to hurry."
Daemon couldn't agree more and looked back as Lenaen stepped up onto the platform. The man with the hood had still gone and Daemon couldn't be more glad of that. He had enjoyed his stay in Ricarten very much, but still he noticed he wasn't yet used to strange places. He caught himself with the desire to return here again and quickly shook those thoughts from him.
"Daemon, are you coming?"
Daemon turned and looked up at Lenaen, who stood with the wing in his hand, ready to go. Should he tell him? Should he tell the mage about the man with the hood, for maybe it was a friend of them. Somehow the thought gave Daemon the chills and he decided not to. 'Eura is my home, Eura is my home,' he repeated to himself, as he followed Lenaen into the white light for their return to Navisko.

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