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2007-01-22 22:22:52
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The Eye of Midranda


Pristontale: The Eye of Midranda
Chapter H - Midrandos of Majok

The wind swept softly over the desert and waved the soil forth, while larger pebbles were quietly moving and toppling over. One shadow after the other crossed the land with the wind, but they somehow never touched the ground. Their invisible feet floated only inches from the ground, as their torn, black coats swayed through the air without a sound.
Not even birds cleared the sky with their lullabies of the night, and somewhere a creature hid behind a rock to clear the path of these shadows. The moon seemed to be so less brighter and the night so much darker. And while the wind swept forward, it moved with the rhythm of a beating drum, a hallow sound from behind the mountains. It started quietly at first, softly beating the pebbles on the floor up and down. But soon the ground itself began to shake with every beat, a sound that could shatter both bone and flesh.
Daemon's dreams were horrible that night, for somehow blood red eyes flashed through his head, belonging to a creature in the shadows. The outside walls of the Bellatra were also drenched with blood, and the air filled with horrible screams. Then suddenly his vision passed deserts and a valley of metal, and only stopped when the ground had entirely gone white. There he saw a little girl running through the snow on her bear feet, leaving no footprints behind. Her feet were moving with the beating of a drum, its sound getting closer and louder. Then the girl stopped and screamed as she looked forward, and Daemon screamed as well, when all ice suddenly turned into fire.
A familiar voice, one Daemon was happy to hear. He tried his ultimate best to open his eyes, but the fire before him stayed as clear as crystal. Suddenly all warmth was drawn from him and he shot awake from his sleep, as Tim had emptied a bucket of water on him.
"What..?" Daemon stammered bewildered and dried his face with his sleeve. "What is this all about?"
"Hush!" muttered Tim and then walked away again.
Daemon frowned after him and turned his head, seeing Lenaen sitting beside him.
"What's going on?" Daemon moaned and sat up straight.
"We don't know," the mage said and his face looked puzzled.
Daemon wanted to yawn, but he was stopped by the freezing of his heart. Somewhere in the far distance he could hear the hallow sound of a drum, making the walls and ground shake with each beat. In his thoughts he could see his sister running again, but then quickly shook his head to get the images out. He turned his face toward the great doors, which were only opened by a few feet. People were walking in and out all the time, but all remaining quiet at the same time. They seemed to be in a hurry, and when Daemon's eyes were more used to the awareness, they also seemed afraid.
"Put your gear on," said Lenaen, while standing up. "And follow me. But be very quiet."
Daemon didn't hesitate for a second and quickly got up, putting on his armor and equipment. His boots were a pain in the neck, but Lenaen patiently waited until the boy was ready. Then Daemon followed the mage through the doors and outside, holding his hand lightly upon his blade, ready to grab it if necessary.
Outside half the people of Hellphoenix stood staring at the sky, many holding torches in their hands to lit up the darkness. Daemon turned his face to the moonlight and was somehow annoyed that its light was only a vague dot in the heaven. Lenaen led him through the people and to the front, where Beam stood whispering with Bazz.
"Any news?" Lenaen muttered at the pike, as he lit the top of his staff with a bright light.
"We sent scouts over the stairway to investigate Navisko's state," said Beam quietly. "So far has been reported that there's no sign of the monsters."
"How is that possible?" Lenaen looked at Bazz and slowly shuck his head. "They haven't transformed?"
"No, they are in hiding," said Bazz and glanced over his shoulder toward the stairs. "Something is scaring them off."
Daemon tried to listen closely, but the shaking ground and the distant drum pierced his mind like needle, making it so much harder to focus. With every beat a shiver ran over his spine and he swallowed a few times while gazing at the sky beyond the stairway.
Suddenly two shades appeared on top of the stairs, descending with caution in the light of a torch. As they got closer, Daemon saw it was Tim and Pitar, hurrying toward them quietly.
"Report," said Beam to them as they reached them, and took over the torch.
"Shadows," panted Pitar and tried to swallow, while Tim patted him on the shoulder. "The shadows are coming."
Both of them were breathing heavily and somehow Daemon couldn't help but thinking of his sister. The shadows, the fire, her screams.
"By the love of the Gods...." muttered Beam and then silence fell.
Daemon looked up at Lenaen, who's face had darkened in spite of the light from his staff, and wondered if all this wasn't just a nightmare.
The drums became louder and the wind started to howl, while suddenly the last bit of light from the moon faded. A hallow screech sounded from beyond the city walls, which made them all jump and Beam quickly turned to his people.
"Everyone prepare!" he shouted. "The shadows are coming! Tal!"
The boy with the blonde hair, Beam's brother, came running to him, wearing an oversized armor and a large sword.
"Tal," said Beam. "I want you to stay inside the Bellatra."
Daemon shrugged and carefully looked sideways at the boy, waiting for the outburst. And it came.
"What?" shouted the boy angrily. "You can't leave me behind, I want to fight!"
"You will get hurt," said Beam, and pointed at the doors. "Wait inside for our return."
"You never have faith in me!" the boy continued to shout. "You never let me do anything! I hate you!"
Then he turned around and ran away, his armor rattling even louder than the drum. Lenaen looked at Beam as if to wait for a comment, but Beam just stared back at him and then drew his sword. Daemon had watched the boy ran away and was highly annoyed by his behaviour. Stop being a baby, he thought. And grow up.

Drums. Drums beyond the distance and a screech that follows. The banners on the city walls swayed on the wind, which turned more into a stagger with each drum. The streetlamps had all died out, one by one, and the only light remaining came from over fifty torches, moving through the gate onto the wasteland in the east. The sound of a horn reflected against the steep slopes of the mountains surrounding the small path toward the desert. A small number of flags showing a burning phoenix raised above the heads of a hundred warriors, their armors rattling softly which each step.
Daemon swallowed as he felt very anxious, and tried not to glance too much at the people beside him. Once he had looked at Beam, who was just staring ahead of him at the darkness. Lenaen had looked back once with a vague smile, which Daemon didn't find highly encouraging.
Once more the horn sounded and suddenly the pace of the drum quickened and Daemon could swear he saw something moving ahead of him. He stopped dead in his tracks, but was motioned forward again by the people behind him.
"Halt," Beam suddenly said and raised his hand, while many others behind him raised theirs.
When the sound of all their footsteps had stopped, Bazz blew the horn once again and suddenly a vague muttering appeared from ahead. Daemon swallowed and was startled by the noise of steel, while everyone around him drew their weapons. He did so too and tried not to hesitate, trying to find thoughts to encourage himself. He still had no idea what was going on, he only knew that something was approaching them. All he wanted to do at the moment was to go home, to see his sister.
And then it hit him. These shadows were the ones that claimed Eura for its own, who hurt the people there and now they were coming for more.
"Home..." he muttered and Lenaen looked down at him, but Daemon didn't notice. "Clear my path to home."
Lenaen stared at the boy for a while and then smiled, turning his face forward again.
Suddenly there it was, a figure just ahead of them. It appeared out of nowhere and softly swept its way toward them. Daemon's breath stopped and tried to step back, but his body remained motionless. It came closer on the beating of the drum and then it stopped, just a few feet away from Beam, and abruptly the drumming stopped, while the echo of the last beat died away. For a moment there was nothing but silence and the figure raised his arms, taking the hood off his head, revealing a scarred face with red eyes, with the most evil grin Daemon had ever seen. His black hair was a thick as see-weed and as long as Lenaen's, which softly swept on the wind, weightless.
"It is Hellphoenix..." muttered its voice and Daemon leaped a little, feeling frozen all over. "The bird has flown right into our cage."
"Who are you?" Beam shouted to interrupt the shadow. "And what do you want?"
The tension of muscles started all around and Daemon tried to swallow his fears away. This creature before him was the most frightening thing he had ever seen, even in his worse nightmares.
The shadow grinned to reveal his blazing white teeth and released a horrible chuckling. "I am Hamja and we have come for the Midrandos of Majok," said he and raised his head a little, while more shadows appeared from behind him. "Word has said he can be found among your people."
"The Midrandos of Majok...?" Beam glanced over his shoulder, but could see that all of his people were as puzzled as he. Surely if the Midrandos was with them, he would know about it?
Daemon carefully looked sideways to Lenaen, who's gaze seemed to be the only one faced ahead. Yet Daemon could see he was sweating for some reason.
All attention returned to the shadow called Hamja once again, as his chuckling continued.
"Well... if you will not hand him in, I will just have to find him, won't I?"
"What are you gonna do?" shouted Tim over the crowd. "There's no Midrandos here. Go back to the shadows where you all came from and wait there for our blades to pierce you through!"
Daemon knew Tim had pushed some buttons, and the shadow's chuckling suddenly changed into a laughter, a laughter pleasured by many great pains.
"You silly boy," he hackled. "Do you honestly think the Great Majok would be mistaken in this?"
"What are you talking about?"
This time it was Lenaen who spoke, stepping forward with his lightened staff.
"Majok is gone, the Gods defeated him over a hundred years ago."
"There is a Midrandos in Priston." Then Hamja's smile vanished, while the other shadows behind him advanced further forward. "Two of them in fact. One of them we need for our master to rejoin us... And the second one will be annihilated."
"What?" said Beam, but before he knew it a shadow had swept its way very close to him, and raised softly on the wind to his height.
"A mere bird cannot challenge the lion..." Hamja continued, as the other shadow was now face to face with Beam. "And no army of Priston can challenge the Great Majok."
On that moment Daemon wanted to scream, for the shadow had somehow grabbed Beam's face with its see-through hand, who was yelling out in horror. Immediately the crowd around them moved and Lenaen raised his staff, piercing the shadow with its light. It squealed for a moment and then roughly pulled back his hand, swaying back over the sand to his master. Beam moaned on his shaking legs and then fell to the floor, releasing the flag of the phoenix into the dust.
Quickly Lenaen and Tim kneeled down to help him, but Daemon could not move by the horrible chuckling that filled the silence again.
"Midrandos is here," Hamja said horrifying. "And we know who he is. We will take him, with our without your resistance."
For a moment nobody said a word and it was clear that Hamja was waiting for any possible response. While Tim still held Beam in his arms, Lenaen stood up very carefully, not taking his eyes off the shadows before him. Hamja's red eyes flickered in the light of the torches and suddenly they moved, and Daemon froze as they rested on him.
It all happened far too fast, for one moment the shadows stood only but a few meters away, but suddenly they had approached to right in front of him. Daemon had stepped back in utter fear, but fell down when he tripped over Bazz's foot. A horrible hand with green long nails, drenched with blood had been only an inch away from his face, before Lenaen had covered him, raising his staff in anger. The yellow light on its ball grew green and a beam sprang out, piercing right through the hand and Hamja's chest. The shadows shrieked and backed away, but Hamja stayed, only examining the mage with his blood red eyes.
A blue and white kind of arrow shot through the sky, softly zooming through the wind, hitting the master shadow right in the forehead. Hamja shrieked like he had never felt any pain before and swayed back, grabbing his face with both claws. A young knight approached them from behind, his blade shining even brighter than the torches. He was followed by two older men, one of them with a darker skin and heavily scarred. It took a long moment for Daemon to notice he had seen the other man before, at the end of the celebration at the Bellatra.
The three warriors stopped between Lenaen and the shadow, panting, while pointing their weapons ahead of them. None of them said a word, but waited patiently for the shadow to back further away. Finally Hamja removed his claws from his face, but his eyes weren't the same. No nightmare from anyone could describe what they looked like. For a second he released a horrible hissing and even the moon seemed the shiver, before he turned away and vanished in the desert, his minions closely behind.
Daemon could see the faces of the strange warriors as they turned around, but then his vision blackened and the muttering faded, while he felt the sun's first beams of morning touch his face.

Two red eyes were laughing, but they did not belong to a creature with a black and see-through skin. Its skin was blue, colder than ice, and its eyes sprang out like white on black. Long locks of hair fading from white to grey moved like serpents, as the face suddenly faded to make room for an other. It was even less human than the last, a long snout with great yellow teeth, and the absence of eyes left black holes in its skull. It hissed for a moment, then growled and suddenly it backed away, revealing the image of a golden hourglass.
Daemon noticed he reached out his hand to it, but no matter how he reached, he could not touch it. A sweet laughter sounded through his head, obviously belonging to a girl and it comforted him.
No, it was someone different. An other hand appeared, thin and warm, resting itself on Daemon's. The hourglass seemed to be coming closer and Daemon touched it, making images flashing through his mind. A giant gray creature with stone muscles, a tall and slim figure covered in flames and a girl smiling, a girl who somehow seemed so familiar. Her hair wasn't nearly as red as the flaming figure, but her smile just as warm, though a blue mark on her forehead had something mysterious about it.
"You know who you are," the girl's voice sounded gently and Daemon felt himself smiling a bit. "But will you believe it?"
"I don't know what to believe," Daemon noticed himself answering, while he firmly grabbed the hourglass in his hand. "I believe that I need you... But I don't know who you are."
The girl chuckled and took away her hand, tapping her forehead with her finger. "We are the same, you and me. Though... totally different."
"What do you mean?" Daemon felt sick as nothing made sense and now he reached out to the girl instead of the hourglass, but he could not get even close.
"I have a mission." The girl's voice was fading, as was her image. "And you have one too, Daemon of Eura. Do not forget me."
"Wait!" Daemon shouted and tried to run forward, but he seemed unable to get closer. "What mission? How will I know?"
"They will search for you," her voice said, though nothing but a whisper now. "Search for them instead."
"What?" Daemon stopped and longed to know more, as the girl vanished completely.
Suddenly his vision turned brighter and noticed he opened his eyes, though the girl's last words echoed away in his head.
"We have a mission..."

"They will come back and you know it," Tyrank said, while Beam paced around with folded arms, as they stood near the stairway. "They will not rest until they have him in their claws."
"We cannot give Daemon up!" said Lenaen angrily. "He's a boy, not a.. weapon!"
"See, and that's where you are wrong," said Roldin thoughtfully. "He in fact IS a weapon. For good or bad depends on in whose hands he will be used."
"Well..." muttered Beam and sighed, standing still. "Giving the boy in is absolutely out of the question."
Lenaen smiled and was grateful for this comment, awaiting Tyrank and Roldin to continue.
"Then what?" Dylane spoke after a while. "If he is a Midrandos, he must not fall into the Disciples' hands. If they revive Majok somehow, we are al; surely doomed."
"Hamja said there are two of them in Priston," said Tim puzzled, who had only listening closely before. "What did he mean?"
"Of course there are," said Lenaen as if a light had hit him. "One for Majok and one... for the Midranda."
"Oh no..." gasped Dylane. "I know who it is!"
"Don't be foolish," growled Tyrank. "Of course you do. We all did from the beginning."
Beam's eyes grew wide as he looked Lenaen, who's eyes told he realised as well.
"Is this... the time for the second Enigma?" Lenaen stammered and looked at Roldin.
The Lunan sighed and cast down his eyes. "I am afraid so. No matter how hard the people of Priston prayed, the day has come again."
"What's going on?"
They all turned and saw it Daemon, who sleepily approached them with questioning eyes.
"Beam!" Daemon gasped. "You're okay!" But then he remembered to keep his formality with the leader of Hellphoenix and quickly cleared his throat. "I mean.. ermm.. glad to see you are alright, sir."
For a moment there was silence and Daemon felt his face turning red, but then suddenly Beam burst into laughter and knocked Daemon on the back.
"I am glad to see you are alright too, boy," he said and grinned. "But don't ever scare us again like that."
Daemon shrugged, somehow his words came out without noticing, like in his dream from before. "You're the one to talk..." he muttered and it caused more laughter among the small group.
"How are you feeling?" asked Lenaen eventually and sat Daemon down on the stairway.
"A little fuzzy," Daemon answered, thinking of his dream. "But alright. So what happened?"
Lenaen's face darkened. "Hamja tried to attack you," he said. "But there warriors from the old Navisko fellowship came just in time to save you."
Daemon stared up at the three warriors above him. One only a few years older than he, but with such a merry face it made him smile. One man with black, tight hair, whose face was deep with concern, but yet his eyes were very trusting. And the last man who had saved Daemon already a time before, from an other shadow from the darkness.
"They are called Tyrank," Tim said while pointing them out. "Dylane and -"
"Roldin," Daemon quickly said. "Yes, I remember."
Roldin smiled vaguely and reached out for his pocket, revealing a small, rolled up piece of paper. "This is yours," he said and handed it to Daemon.
Daemon took it without question, but looked up at Roldin and nodded thankfully. But when he had opened it his smile faded completely and he almost felt the ground sinking away from beneath his feet. It was a letter - a letter from Farrah.

Daemon had stood up and walked away after finishing the letter for the fifth time, beyond the stairway and out of the city gates. Just outside he still sat, on a lonesome rock in the sand. Everytime a gust of wind swept past his face he looked up, just to see the number of banners moving in their glory.
In one hand he held Farrah's letter, in the other an older piece of paper. It was the map he and his friends found in those ruins near Eura, before the Disciples had taken him away.
Lenaen had once come to him to see if he was alright, but Daemon had hardly found the energy to talk back. The mage had explained to him what Midrandos was: a Seal of the Darkness.
The Great Majok and Midranda the Terrible... they were locked away so long ago by the Gods of Priston, with the use of two magical Seals and an unknown power called... Enigma. The Seals had been broken due to the pressure of darkness and the power of the Enigma had waned.
He was a Midrandos, Daemon started to realise more and more. He could not exactly explain how, but he felt everything that had happened so far had just put him on the right track. Of course he wasn't at home, of course he was with Hellphoenix now. A Midrandos needs an army to guide him, Lenaen had said. For they draw their powers from others. He was a Midrandos... and so was she.
But Daemon did not understand at first. Where was she? How could he possibly find her? When he had realised he had pulled out the map and examined it many times. One dot on the map found itself just outside Navisko, while the other rested peacefully in Pillai. The mark on the girl's forehead was exactly the same as some on the map and the carving on the hourglass were identical to the writing.
"We have a mission..."
Daemon clearly remembered her words and they started to make actual sense. Of course they had a mission. His father had told him the tale of Priston so many times, about the Great War between the Gods and the Shadows. And how the bravest warriors of Priston had lain down their lives to safe their lands.
But why? Why was he of all people the Midrandos of Majok? Majok, the great conjuror who vaquished the Midranda and Galantia tribes, who cursed Priston to its very roots and had taken away all light. A deamon locked away by the powerful Gods, broken free after all those years. What would happen if the Discples would find their Midrandos?
Nothing, Daemon thought strongly. Nothing will happen, for they will not get their hands on me. One last time he looked down on the map in his hands and stared at the dot resting on Pillai, while the sun slowly sank beyond the mountains again.
"I have a mission," he then said out loud and folded the map back up, putting it away in his pocket. "And I know who I am. And I am starting to believe it."
"Good..." a voice in his head said, though Daemon thought it was just his imagination. "We will search for them together then."
Daemon closed his eyes and sighed deeply, deeper than he had ever done before. He breathed in the fresh air around him, the glory given away by the banners abovehis head and his smile returned while thinking of Hellphoenix, for he finally wasn't afraid to admit anymore.
"Home will have to wait," he muttered to himself, without opening his eyes. "There's only one way to it, and it don't be short."
"Our trains run on the same track," her voice sounded again. "And therefore they will meet. I will wait for you."
"And I know where you are." Daemon opened his eyes and stared at Navisko's gates. "And I will set you free."

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