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2007-01-09 12:42:11
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The Eye of Midranda


Pristontale: The Eye of Midranda
Chapter F - The Falcorra

The Forest of Spirits was given a beautiful glow by the near afternoon sun, as Tyrank and Roldin led the others further up north. Lovely maple trees bloomed all around, but the region was swarming with monsters, though they did not seem to notice the warriors.
"Not really aggressive, are they?" said Cage, as he frowned at some Beedogs some distance away.
"The sun warms them," smiled Debhora. "And even monsters like that."
Tyrank looked sideways at Roldin, who carefully looked back, but they both said nothing.
"Now where did Ray said those ruins were?" asked Leroy, as he kept looking around them.
"He didn't," shrugged Dylane. "But half sank into the ground, he said. just keep your eyes open."
"It's such a beautiful place," smiled Kayleigh. "Though cursed on the inside, I know."
Tyrank sighed as the sun beamed down on him, but he could not feel anything. He thought of his wife and her home further north. They would not have time to visit her.
They had been walking and searching for hours and finally they had reached the Wood of Hooters, a place covered with hills and rocks, all overgrown with different kinds of moss. They had fought a few monsters groups, but other than that it seemed pleasantly quiet. The only real sound were the hooting birds up in the maple trees and somehow the thought of finding the ruins had become impossible.
"Look over there!" Urani said suddenly and pointed away toward the flank of a hill.
Stones were sticking out of the ground, old and cracked, overgrown with flowers. When the party came closer and examined them, carvings in it became visible.
"What's that?" frowned Debhora, pointing toward a darker spot on the floor.
Tyrank walked to it and knelt down, running his hand softly over the ground. Then he stood up and startled the others, as he began to kick the ground. After a few times, his foot went right through the soil and he almost fell, but was caught by Leroy.
"A tunnel?" said Dylane with wide eyes. "That's easily found."
"I guess we just had our eyes open," mocked Leroy and knelt down beside the hole. "Should we go in?"
"Hold on," said Urani and stepped forward. "Let me just take a lot." The mage bend over the hole in the ground and descended his staff. The ball on top began to glow in a white light and a stone tunnel was revealed, which seemed to be unusually clean.
"This is used recently..." gasped Roldin. "Or isn't it...?"
"Magic?" wondered Cage. "Could be, right?"
"Of course," said Tyrank and frowned, as he examined the walls below. "I'm going in. Anyone with me?"
"What do you expect?" laughed Dylane, as he looked at the others. "Want me to lead?"
"Be my guest," shrugged Tyrank and stood up, stepping back.
"Urani, stay close behind me," said Dylane to the mage. "I will need your light."
"Got it," the mage said and turned to his sister. "Kayleigh, you should be one after the last in the row, using your own light."
"Alrighty," said the priestess exited and raised her wand.
Urani smiled and then watched how Dylane sank himself into the ground, until he hang tight with his legs down. After a while, he dropped himself and he vanished in the darkness, leaving the mage startling behind.
"Are you alright?" said Urani, while almost sticking his head into the ground. "Dylane? Dylane, answer me!"
"I'm alright!" a voice sounded from below and Urani sighed relieved. Even Tyrank heaved a sigh, for his heart had started to pound as well. "Come on down, Urani!" shouted Dylane. "It's alright."
Urani closed his eyes for a second and muttered some strange words, while he loosened his hands. His staff did not fall to the ground, but lightened up a bit more and floated steadily in midair. Then the mage started to descend as well, his staff following him like a loyal dog. Dylane grinned at the mage when they both stood down and shortly after the rest followed. Roldin went in first, followed by Cage, Debhora, Leroy, then Kayleigh and finally Tyrank.
The tunnel started off small at first, but as it sank deeper into the ground the walls broadened, while their magic light reflected against the stones. If was awfully quiet, but for the footsteps cracking hundreds of pebbles on the floor. Suddenly Kayleigh gasped and stopped, while raising her wand higher and Tyrank almost bumped into her.
"What is it, sis?" asked Urani as he turned.
"Look!" breathed the priestess and pointed at the wall on their left.
The light was blinding for a second, but then it revealed strange colors on the gray stone. Red, blue and green in different shapes covered the entire left wall, and to Dylane's surprise the same could be seen on the right. They were drawings, paintings of creatures.
"They're birds..." muttered Cage.
"Not just birds," said Debhora and chuckled, while pointing at one drawing in particular. "They are falcons!"
"By the Gods..." gasped Tryank quietly, as he ran a finger over the wall. "This is a beast."
Dylane, Roldin and Leroy turned to him and they could see a large painting in red, of a horned creature with wings. It was surrounded by the falcons, who seemed to attack it from all directions.
"This is incredible," said Leroy and he gazed up and down the walls. "What a finding!"
"I bet Ray's already seen this," shrugged Dylane and turned back to the tunnel. "Maybe we should go on."
The paintings grew smaller the further they went, though the tunnel continued to expand. Finally they all stopped, when Dylane suddenly hit his head against something hard before him and he rubbed the bump as he sulked.
"What in Pritos...?"
Urani stepped forward and reached out his hand, touching something hard and cold in their path. Then he lay his light on it and they could see it was a piece of a brick wall, broken and very old. In the upper right corner was a huge gap, large enough for them to fit through, but too high to reach.
"Blocked?" frowned Kayleigh, as she moved a little sideways to see what was going on.
"I'll get it," said Roldin and moved through. "Out of my way."
Urani and Dylane looked at each other, before standing back and the Lunan got something from his pocket. It was an oval shaped object, blacker than the tunnel and with a strange texture. Roldin took something from the top of the object between two fingers and pulled. He quickly threw it on the ground and motioned the others to step further back. After a few seconds, a hard sound banged through the tunnel and its echo seemed to on forever. A large cloud of dust appeared while the ground trembled and when Urani looked up, the brick wall before them had been shattered into pieces.
"Whoa," Dylane breathed and laughed. "What was that, Roldin?"
"Just a little bomb," said Roldin and grinned as he started to climb through.
"You're more dangerous that I thought," smirked Urani as he followed.
Tyrank shrugged and sighed, waiting for the others to pass through. When no one was looking, he turned to the way they had came and stared into the darkness. His eyes fell upon the paintings on the walls and suddenly a cold shiver ran down his spine.
"Tyrank, come on now!"
Tyrank turned again when Leroy called his name and shook his head. There would be time to think about it, but the time wasn't now.

"Look at this place!" gasped Urani, as he held his staff high while looking around. "It's enormous!"
The place they had entered seemed indeed like a stone underground valley, filled with old pillars and small, brick walls. Everything was covered with the same kinds of paintings, though these were less detailed, and the ground under their feet was soft from the moss. A few, small beams of light fell down on them from small gaps in the ceiling, but still it was too dark to see without the magical light. Ruins of small buildings stood everywhere around, and of houses and statues. There were even some remainings of a beautiful temple, with very detailed drawings carved in the once white stone.
Kayleigh's attention was taken by a gorgeous statue of an elfish kind of warrior, a female with a great falcon resting on her arm. Debhora was gathering up tiny sculptures that lay scattered all over the floor, while Roldin and Tyrank chose to examine the drawings some more. Dylane was admiring some ancient and rusty equipment, which had probably been there for ages, while Leroy rested his eyes on one drawing in particular.
"It's a village," muttered Cage as he examined some buildings around. "Or more, it used to be a village."
"They're all the same," said Tyrank quietly, as he rubbed his chin. "All these drawings.. they point to the same type of event."
"Birds attacking a horned creature," nodded Roldin thoughtfully.
Leroy sighed and looked around. The place they stood in was totally deserted, but yet it didn't feel empty at all. Melocrie would have loved this place, he thought by himself. The suddenly, as his eyes slit over the walls, he noticed a strange type of drawing and he instantly froze. It was the drawing of a symbol, a mark that had been showed to all during history. The symbol of the Midranda. Leroy slowly walked to the wall and lay his hand on it, as he gazed up with open mouth.
"What in the name of...?" gasped Dylane, as he saw what Leroy was looking at. "It can't be..."
"What is it?" asked Urani and turned, but his eyes grew wide as well.
Eventually, everyone had gathered around Leroy and stared up the wall, at the blood red painting of a circle with many lines crossing each other, all together forming the same horned creature as on the other paintings.
"It's the mark of Midranda," muttered Tyrank. "Though something's different about it. It's less aggressive... somehow it seems so elegant."
"Of course!" breathed Leroy. "This place belongs to the Falcorra, it's so obvious."
"What?" frowned Urani.
"He's right!" said Dylane. "That horned creature is...Midranda. The Falcorra fought with him, remember?"
"It's too long ago for me to remember," shrugged Debhora. "But I know what you mean. The outcome of that battle has been lost from history. No one knows the real facts."
"All we know is that the Gods locked the beast up in the end," said Roldin, thinking. "With a magical seal."
"So.. this is Melocrie's home?" asked Kayleigh as she turned and examined the ruined village. "Is this where she's from?"
"This is where she ascends from," nodded Leroy. "Ray wanted us to see this place."
"But why?" wondered Cage. "What is it that we should know?"
For a moment there was silence in which everyone thought hard, and Leroy kept staring at the paintings around, wondering what was going on. He felt that something was moving, something big and they were failing to see what it was. But then he suddenly began to realise and his turned back to the Midranda on the wall, while sweat broke free and slowly dripped from his face.
"Impossible..." he breathed quietly.
Tyrank looked up, as did the others.
"What's impossible?" asked Dylane carefully.
But then Cage's eyes grew wider as well and his heart started to pound, as his mouth fell open while he stared at the painting. "No.. it can't be!"
"What?" asked Kayleigh, as she became a little frightened. "What's wrong?"
"Yiro..." muttered Leroy and turned to the others, swallowing to recover himself. "How did Yiro escape from the dungeon? The skeleton that disappeared from the Cursed Land... to what did it belong?"
Suddenly it hit Tyrank and he stared at Leroy, as if they both had gone mad. "The Beast will return..." he breathed slowly.
Dylane looked at Urani who looked back, while Roldin stared at Cage and Leroy still couldn't keep his eyes off the wall. Kayleigh struggled for she began to understand, but she really didn't want to. Fear grabbed her heart as she looked up at Debhora, who's eyes seemed frightened as well.
"We must tell Ray..." whispered Tyrank eventually and raised his head to the others. "We must go, now."
No one said a word, but they all agreed and nodded. They just had feelings, guesses, but they were too strong to be denied. If the Beast had indeed returned, Priston's fate would already be crumbling. The party hastily made their way back up to the surface and the sinking sun greeted them goodnight, as neither of them were able to move at the first minute. They stared at each other for some time, before Tyrank took the lead and they moved out, back to Ruinen, back to Pillai.

Fylla moved overhead when she saw about eight people moving south from the Forest of Spirits. She recognized their faces, but the energies they released seemed somehow different. Suddenly the bird make a weird movement and she flinched at a stabbing pain in her chest. Fylla cried out and struck down on top of a ruined pillar to take a breath. What was going on?
Tyrank and the others passed her by, without looking up and that's when Fylla understood something bad was going to happen. The note she bore with her contained some bad news, but the news Tyrank would bring back to Pillai would be even worse.
Fylla shivered at the mere memory of her ancestors and their greatest enemy and it didn't seem lost and forgotten at all. She was sure about it, definitely sure; Priston's worst fear was about to come true.

"Hurry!" Roldin motioned all to pass through the Warpgate, as large grey clouds grew nearer from the distance. "We can't let that storm catch us."
"It's miles away," frowned Kayleigh, as Dylane took her by the hand and they went through the portal.
Leroy and Cage vanished through too, followed by Debhora and Cage. Tyrank joined Roldin and gazed up at the sky, a deep wrinkle crossing his forehead.
"That storm is unnatural," he said to the Lunan. "It will follow us to Pillai."
"It's Yiro," replied Roldin through clenched teeth. "It's an attack. We must warn Ray immediately."
"Then let's go," said Tyrank final and stepped up the platform of the Warpgate, with Roldin following closely.

Daemon gasped while he watched the dark clouds passing rapidly overhead to the north-west, while he and Lenaen arrived in Navisko through the Warpgate. The people of the city gazed up too and were muttered too each other, while Tim came to meet them.
"Welcome back," he said and smiled. "How did it go?"
Lenaen went a little pale, but tried to restrain himself. "I need to speak with Beam."
"Oh." Tim seemed to understand immediately and nodded. "Of course, he's at the Bellatra square. Whoa, Daemon, you look different!"
Daemon grinned broadly and Tim made him turn round for a better look.
"Nice," said the fighter. "You're already startin’ to look like a warrior."
A strange sort of happiness swelled up in Daemon's chest and he and Lenaen followed Tim over the great stairway. On top of it, Lenaen turned slowly and watched the sky again, while a group of ravens followed the dark clouds out of sight. Whatever it was, it was bad news, Lenaen knew. He just hoped their people wouldn't get involved.

"Come quickly," said Ray, as soon as the party arrived in Pillai. "We shall go to my quarters and discuss these clouds."
"You've seen them already?" asked Urani surprised, as they were all motioned over the bridge.
"Our watchers have strong eyes," answered Ray and then suddenly he looked up, toward the south. "There comes Fylla."
"Fylla?" gasped Kayleigh and turned to see as well. "Where?"
"She will arrive soon," said Ray. "Now make haste."
The people of Pillai watched them puzzled as the party passed them by, but Ray made gestures at them not to wonder. He himself was the last one to enter his house and he shut the door behind him, before running to the window to open it for Fylla. Finally he sat down and made the others to do the same, while a gentil maid made them all something to drink.
"Tell me what you saw," said Ray, as he took a glass of wine. "What has happened?"
"Erm.. well," started Dylane and looked at the others. "We figured you had seen it yourself already."
Ray slowly shook his head. "That place is guarded by magic and I cannot cross it. I am not an enemy of the Falcorra, but neither am I their friend and only friends can enter there."
"And we are friends of..." nodded Urani, but then stopped and smiled.
"It was an underground village," said Tyrank, as he leaned a little forward to start his story. "It was ruined and aged, though not destroyed. A beautiful place in a way, covered with ancient paintings of their history."
"We think the Falcorra fought the Midranda tribe," continued Debhora. "For the drawings show falcons fighting a horned creature."
"A horned creature?" asked Ray and his voice sounded thoughtfully.
"The Beast," said Roldin carefully and swallowed. "Midranda. It was drawn on the wall."
"Sir..." said Leroy, as Ray seemed to take this information as a hit. "Who were the Falcorra really?"
"A side-branch of the Midranda," sighed Ray and put his glass down on the table. "They did not wish to join Majok's side, but the Midranda themselves did."
"Did they go into hiding?" wondered Kayleigh. "Is that why the village was underground?"
"Could be..." answered Ray and scratched his forehead under his hood.
"But if that is so," said Dylane. "then there must be more villages around Priston."
"I am sure there are," said Ray. "But they are not found easily. I discovered this one by accident, on one of my walks."
Leroy's mind wondered off, but then quickly shook his head to stay focused. "But first things first," he said and sharpened his throat. "What about those clouds?"
"Evil," said Ray grimly. "Coming to disturb our peace."
"Is it Yiro?" asked Cage.
Ray nodded and this made the party shiver.
"What do we do now?" said Kayleigh a little panicked. "We cannot fight him."
"But I will," growled Dylane and thought of Melocrie. "He's not getting out of here alive."
"Don't be reckless," warned Tyrank. "You'd throw your life away."
"But I should -"
Dylane startled and wasn't able to finish, when something suddenly shot inside through the window and landed clumsily on the table. Feathers were shattered as Fylla cried out painfully and tried to stand up straight. Everyone immediately knelt down by the table and tried to calm the kestrel, but it Ray who took her in his arms.
"Please ease yourself," he muttered and stroke Fylla's feathers. "You must calm down."
The kestrel struggled for a short moment, but then started to relaxed. Eventually she lay her head on Ray's arm and looked at the others from the corners of her eyes, which seemed weary. Ray carefully released her a bit and took the note off her paw. As Fylla stroke down to the ground and rested by the fire, Ray opened the piece of paper and read it. When he had finished, he stared at it for a moment and then passed it on to Tyrank, who began to read it out loud.

"I am not sure if anyone will ever receive this or if this will ever be read. But if it happens, I am desperately calling for help. The lights in the streets are going out and soon those in our hearts will be burned out too. The shadows that roam here are putting all the lights to a rest and soon we shall all live in darkness.

They are mean men and they're always talking to a silhouette anywhere in a mirror. It gives them orders and pleases them, but in words I can barely understand. It said something about two enemies opposing him, even though those two are not friends. The ice of our lands will melt soon if help does not come!

I pray the best for my dear brother, who was taken by these shadows. My feelings tell me he is alright and I wish I could get a confirmation. Whoever you are, please look out for him. His name is Daemon and I am Farrah, his little sister.

Please, I beg of you, whoever reads this. We need help, we cannot hold out much longer. Our heartily candles are going out, one by one. Soon there will be no more light in Eura, in the east or in all of Priston. If the ice melts we will all die. Please help us!"

A complete silence fell in which Tyrank stared at the others when he finished, and they all stared back at him. Eventually all heads turned to Ray, who sat back on his couch with one hand to his chin, probably thinking. Even Fylla had lifted her head and waited for an answer, but it didn't come. Instead, they were all suddenly shocked when a yell sounded from outside and a loud thundering filled the air. Tyrank and Roldin jumped to their feet and ran to the door, followed by Dylane, Urani, Cage and Leroy. Debhora and Kayleigh stared at Ray, who sat still and silent as a rock.
"Look out!" screamed a young man as he ran past the house.
"What's going on?" yelled Tyrank, as they watched the people running around into all directions.
"People of Pillai!" roared Urani and raised his staff. "Calm yourselves!"
This seemed to help, for most people stood their grounds, thought still breathing heavily, watching the sky. The sun had been completely overshadowed and a strong wind descended down in circles. Kayleigh and Debhora stepped outside as well, with Fylla joining them, as two winged angels stroke down onto the ground near the fountain. One was a cold as ice, while one blacker than shadow. All hearts pounded and breaths were taken away, when a vicious man descended down with them, holding a statue of grey stone caught in a rope of energy.
"Melocrie!" shouted Dylane and wanted to run forward, but Tyrank stopped him.
"Yiro..." growled Leroy through clenched teeth. "Give me back my daughter!"
"Silence!" shouted Yiro and his voice sounded insane. "I am here to bring her back."
"What?" Leroy startled, but tried to remain solid.
"This cursed power," yelled Yiro to all the people, "is preventing me from destroying her!"
He released the statue and it landed softly on the ground, while Yiro lifted his sword and gathered his energy. Then he screamed out and struck it with all his might, as he had done before.
"No!" yelled Tyrank, but was suddenly shocked when Yiro's blade cracked as soon as it touched the stone.
The Koltan stood in his tracks breathing with a monstrous look on face, as angry as the sky itself seemed to be. Slowly the party got back the holds of themselves, but their courage didn't exactly grow. No one dared to say a word and they all waited, while the angels beside the Koltan brought shivers over their backs. Leroy watched his petrified daughter with great longing, but knew he couldn't just run to her.
"You're giving her back?" he dared to say eventually and immediately wished he had said it more carefully.
"I am," spat Yiro. "For I cannot destroy her, therefore she is useless."
Tyrank growled softly, for those words angered him greatly. But the man who stood before him in person brought rage into his chest, a rage which was very hard to control. He felt Roldin tensing beside him and really hoped that the Lunan would be able to restrain himself.
"This is not Midranda magic!" shouted Yiro. "This is different, I cannot break it! The Midranda's magic cursed her, but another is protective. You can have her, to look at her and grieve, knowing you cannot ever get her back." Then he grinned and lifted his hand, which his angels followed as they lifted up from the ground. Yiro climbed onto the dark one's back and laughed loudly. "But I shall not leave you unharmed!"
"What are you going to do?" yelled Roldin as hard as he could, and it seemed Tyrank's fear had come true. "You cannot curse us more than you have cursed yourself!"
Yiro's smile fainted and instantly turned to the Lunan. A force of energy gathered up in his palm and he shot it down, directly at Roldin, who refused to move. Tyrank's fear rose greatly as the energy came closer, but still the Lunan didn't move a muscle and even Dylane cried him to run. Screams sounded all around when the energy hit its goal and a fierce light covered all sight. Tyrank screamed out too and the hard wind swirled around them, as it felt like an abyss had opened beneath their feet. Finally the light faded and all heads turned up with stabbing hearts, with eyes that widened by the sight of it.
It was Fylla, Melocrie's kestrel that had blocked Yiro's magic with her own. She floating steadily in the air with a golden glow around her as a ball, while Roldin stood behind her in shock, with sweat running down his face.
"By Pritos!" muttered the people and started pointing.
"Roldin!" yelled Tyrank and grabbed the Lunan by the shoulders to shake him. "What in the name of the Gods were you thinking?"
"I..." started Roldin and swallowed. "I didn't want to run from him again."
"My, you..." growled Tyrank, but eventually he smiled relieved. "Then next time don't run from him, but do it for me."
Roldin shrugged and smiled as well, a little ashamed for causing them to worry.
"Look!" said Kayleigh all of a sudden and ran forward. "Melocrie!"
"Oh!" gasped Dylane, when he saw the statue. "Melocrie..."
Yiro had gone together with his angels, and even the sky was slowly clearing. Melocrie's statue was surrounded by all the people, either crying, cheering or remaining silent. Tyrank softly touched the stone and managed a smile, though sadness was more that he felt.
"He gave her back..." said Urani puzzled. "I wonder why..."
"He said why," answered Tyrank. "So we can grieve with the feeling of helplessness."
Leroy looked sideways at Tyrank, for he felt that it was true already, but decided not to say anything. Debhora and Kayleigh's smiled fainted too as the minutes went by and eventually Ray came outside his house, still silently and steadily. After a while, the party noticed and joined with him, but waited for Ray himself to say something. Eventually he did and heaved a great sigh, while examining Fylla floating over their heads.
"The Midranda and the Falcorra..." he muttered. "Somehow they cannot be compared. Neither's magic is greater than the other, but they are far too different and yet the same."
"They are born from the same sort," replied Kayleigh quietly. "That's why they cannot harm each other."
"But they can overcome," said Ray, a little warning. "Even without harming."
"Yiro's not up against the Falcorra," said Cage. "But neither is it the other way around. One magic cannot break the other, right?"
"But it can overcome?" asked Debhora and frowned. "So... Fylla could stop Yiro's energy, but she couldn't have defeated him?"
"That's correct," nodded Ray. "And Yiro's magic cannot break Melocrie, for she is protected by Falcorra magic."
"I see..." muttered Tyrank and looked back at the statue. "But we still remain with the same then... We cannot bring her back either."
"Then Yiro was right after all," said Dylane sadly and sighed. "We're left with grieve of helplessness."

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