Lord of Terror Chapter 11
By Iced Blood
Cain, wheres Janus? Sephiroth asked as he approached the elderly sage. Cain looked at him.
In his fathers library. Schala, you practice magic, am I right?
Good. Do you think that you could send your brother a telepathic message? I could only reach him directly after his entrance.
I can try. She closed her eyes, and began to chant. She pictured her brother in her mind, reached out to him. Janus, She said softly. We need you here. Where are you?
Janus, we need you here. Where are you?
I woke with a start. Realizing I was still in Leorics library, I knew what I had heard. I shook my head, stood up. Utilizing a quick spell, I found a book I needed. It glowed softly on the shelf. I called it to me, put it in my cloak, and picked up the staff.
Past the threshold, enter the suns light again. I declared, and the librarys image shifted.
In moments, I was back in Tristram, standing next to Cain. Schala smiled when she saw me. Hi, Janus. She said. Where were you?
My fathers library. I took out the small staff. I have no idea where its geological location is, but I can get there anytime through this staff.
Did you find anything?
Actually, yes. I found a book regarding my heritage. Mostly, the kingdom of my birth.
Zeal? She asked. I nodded. What about?
Not much that I really didnt know already. My birthright as heir to the throne was what I learned of.
You mean the Zealian Crest?
Precisely. I learned what it was, what it did, and more so where it is. I grinned. And what my father did with it.
Your father took it from Zeal?
You didnt know that? Yes, he did. He left when he found out Mother was with child. When he did he took with him the Zealian Crest. He added enchantments to the shield through his own magic, and it was renamed the Zealian Bloodcrest. I am now destined to wield it.
Have you seen it?
Yes. It is hidden in his library. But that is not the matter at hand. Something much more important must be taken care of. I suppose you found Ogdens sign. Sephiroth nodded. Well, I must show you something now that it has been found. I gestured for them to follow me as I walked swiftly to the entrance of the Hive.
What in the ? Sephiroth kneeled before it. What is this?
Im not exactly sure, but my guess is that its an entrance to some sort of hive. I said. He nodded, loosened his blade in its scabbard.
So whats in here? Insects?
Most likely demonic variations of them. I replied. Garnet shivered.
I hate bugs she practically whimpered. I put an arm around her.
Ill make sure nothing touches you. I told her.
Thanks. She smiled. I appreciate that.
I was about to enter, but something crossed my mind. I whistled loudly, and in a couple of minutes Nightsong landed on the grassy ground near me.
I need you to fly back to our lands, speak with Slash Windblade. Im worried about whats happening back home.
About what? Glenn asked. Your side won the war.
True, but your king may use my absence to attempt a takeover of my kingdom. I replied. Glenn thought about this, and agreed that it would be quite possible.
Nightsong nodded in understanding. Ill be back in a few days. She took to the skies, began to fly toward the Mystic Lands. I only hoped to find nothing was wrong.
I put it out of my mind and took Garnets hand, descended into the hive
Slash Windblade stood at the window atop his monarchs, Nightlord Magus Bloodbanes, castle, looking upon the Silver Moon, the symbol of an Ancient Goddess. A Goddess no one knew of anymore, with the exception of himself and his monarch.
That Goddess was called Natunari. She was the Goddess of Magic and Forests. As such, many Mystics of old, with their natural talent in Magic, worshipped Natunari. Nowadays, however many discarded the Goddess as myth.
Sir Windblade? Slash jumped slightly and turned to see a young apprentice mage, whose name, he remembered, was Arian, standing near him. He walked up to him and looked at the window. What were you looking at, Sir?
Of course he could not see the Silver Moon. People not of Natunaris Faith only saw the white moon, could not see the holy symbol of the Goddess. Nothing. He finally said. What is it you want?
Its about His Lordship, sir. Would you happen to know when he will return? Arian replied.
No. I have no clue when the Nightlord will return. He walks his own path. He may not be back for a year or two. Slash shrugged his shoulders. Arian seemed disappointed and alarmed at his superiors reply. Why do you seem so troubled by this?
Im worried that in His Lordships absence, Kehistan will try to strike back, for their revenge. Without a leader, how will we withstand it? His Lordships magic saved us last time.
Do not fret, young one. Our army is much more disciplined than the Kehistanians. We need not worry about them. Slash said. The mage wasnt convinced.
The doors to the chamber burst open. A female mage clad in leather armor and a white hooded cape ran through.
Master! Arian exclaimed.
Flea? What is it? Whats happening? Slash asked, seeing the frightened expression on his comrades face.
The Kehistanians! Theyve launched an all-out attack upon the castle! Our front guards have fallen!
Slash clenched his teeth. Arians fears had been proven. Arian, go with Flea and gather the mages. We need to keep them at bay, and Magic is our best bet. Go, now! Slash ordered.
Before the two could leave, a low whirring caused him to look out the window, then ducked as an arrow, tip aflame, flew into the room, embedded itself into the wood of a bookcase.
Arian, seeing that the books would soon be set aflame, rushed forward and grabbed three of them, the most important of them all, and ran out of the room, Flea and Slash following him.
Slash drew his sword with his right hand and ran down the stairs and out of the castle, hacking through the Kehistanian soldiers that had been unfortunate enough to be in his way.
Once out on the courtyard, Slash and his comrades stopped. The soldiers behind the first company still hadnt yet reached the castle. Slash bent over, his hands on his knees, breathing hard.
Arian looked up at the room they had been in. Flames had found their way out into the open, flowing out the windows, engulfing the entire room and anything left within it.
The soldiers advanced much more quickly than could have been anticipated. Slash held his sword at the ready, but knew that it was futile. They were outnumbered at least one hundred to one. Prepare to fight. He said, regardless of the odds. If we die, we die for our Lord. We die for our people. We die He looked up at the Silver Moon, for Natunari
However, before the soldiers reached the three, a huge shadow blocked their sight. Upon inspection, Slash saw that it was a Dragon!
The huge black serpent breathed deeply and, as the Kehistanians approached, let out a stream of acid that struck every soldier in the front ranks, causing their armor and skin alike to bubble and melt. Those behind them, upon seeing the pools of melted flesh and bone and steel, turned and fled, dropping their weapons in fright, partly because of the display and partly because of the magically radiated fear the dragon formed.
When the courtyard was again deserted, the Dragon turned and looked down at the three Mystics. Be you Slash Windblade? asked the great creature in a booming voice, and Slash knew this Dragon was a female.
Yes, Your Eminence. Said Slash, kneeling. What would you wish of me?
What has happened here?
The Kehistanians attacked us in our Lords absence. We were caught by surprise. Informed the Mystic General. The Dragon nodded, grunted, as if she had expected this.
I see. Very well. Let those who live inform their king that I am fighting alongside you. If the man has a mind underneath his jeweled crown he will surrender. For now, I suggest that you three come with me. I should think that your Nightlord would wish to speak with you.
Yes, Your Eminence. Might I have the honor in learning your name?
I am called Nightsong the Black, Sir Windblade. Now, climb upon my back and I shall fly us to Tristram, where your Nightlord is currently on an important mission for the inhabitants.
Slash, Flea and Arian, still holding the three books he had recovered from his Lords chamber, climbed upon Nightsongs back, and she took to the air, flying back to Tristram.
The Hive was an experience I immediately began to erase from my memory. It seemed as if the very walls were alive; pulsing, throbbing, green walls that felt like damp flesh.
The demons in the Hive were just as I would have suspected. Insects, demonic insects that caused my stomach to turn lurked behind every corner, waiting to sink their pincers into the flesh of humans. We killed them quickly and turned our eyes immediately away from the corpse.
The only thing of value we found in the Hive happened to be on the lowest level, the fourth. This item was a map, which, according to Cain, was the key to opening a crypt, which was rumored to be just to the right of the cathedral.
We had yet to enter this crypt, as I wished to wait until Nightsong reported back to me before I ventured once again into the depths of evil.
Garnet? Are you alright? I asked. She looked strangely pale. I put an arm around her. She was shivering. Honey?
She mumbled something through chattering teeth. I asked her to repeat it. Im fine. She leaned against me, clutched my hand tightly. We d-dont have to go back in there D-do we?
No. Of course not. I withdrew the map from my belt. This is all we needed from that place. Calm down, its okay. I said soothingly. She smiled a little, looked up as a large shadow loomed over her.
Ah, Nightsong. I said, grinning.
The dragon landed near me, and I noticed that Slash and two of his comrades had ridden with her. He jumped down and the other two followed suit. He bowed. Milord, I come bearing troubling news.
I think I can guess it.
Slash ignored my comment, and continued. The Kehistanians have attacked the castle. Your chamber, so far, is the only portion that has been damaged. A flaming arrow sent the room up in smoke.
Everything was destroyed? I asked, biting my lower lip.
The youngest of the three, an apprentice mage, stepped forward. Not everything, Your Lordship. He informed. He handed me three books. I managed to save these before the flames consumed the rest.
The three books were adorned with the symbol of the Ancient Goddess Natunari: A hawk flying across a full moon. My first spellbooks. I said. I opened one, and instantly recognized my handwriting. The spells within it were simple. An apprentice, such as the young man who had saved the books, could have cast most of them, but still, the value of the tomes were immeasurable. Very good, young one. I said.
He bowed. Thank you, Your Lordship. He said, grinning.
Come. I said, and began to walk to Adrias hut. With three spellbooks plus the two I had already with me I needed somewhere to store them.
Adria stood outside her hut, observing the stars of the night when we approached, She looked in my direction and smiled. So good to see you, Lord Bloodbane. She said.
Please, Adria, my name is Janus.
Ah, yes. What brings you here, Janus?
I was wondering if you would mind storing some items for me. Would you do me this favor?
Yes, of course. Come with me. She entered the hut and the young mage and I followed her. She had walked into the back. She returned with a small chest, set it down in front of me. She muttered an incantation, and the lid popped open. I placed my three elementary spell books inside, then reached into my cloak and drew out my Elemental Spellbook and my book of Necromancy. I placed them inside also. I closed the lid and repeated the incantation Adria had used to open it, except in reverse. I heard a click. The chest was locked.
You study Necromancy, Your Lordship? the young mage asked, an awed look on his face. I nodded slightly. Isnt it evil magic?
Yes, most say it is. But then again, the black arts have come natural to me. Necromancy is simply a step above my current level of study.
Slash eyed the sword at my side. I grinned and drew Demonslayer, swinging it in a tight arc. Slashs eyes went wide. Demonslayer!? How in the world did you come across that blade?!
I came across it in a chest, under the cathedral you can see in the distance, I pointed to it, In a labyrinth. The blades owner, who as you know is Bartuc himself, was overconfident in its security. Though I was required to duel the Bloody Warlord to keep it. I finished and walked past him, back to the town-square. Slash and the mage following me. I sheathed the blade.
It was then that Slash saw the rest of my party. His gaze lingered on Glenn and Marle, and his eyes narrowed. He did not recognize the others.
On instinct, Slash drew his sword. Glenn followed suit, standing in front of Marle. Sephiroth drew his and stepped in front of Schala. I drew mine and stepped in front of Garnet. Do not try anything, Slash Windblade. I said sternly. If you do anything to harm any of these people, your life is forfeit. Each of these people are vital to the survival of this very world
Diablo, the infamous Lord of Terror, youngest of the Prime Evils of Hell, dwells beneath the cathedral you saw earlier. If we do not defeat him, he will no doubt free his brothers and this world will be destroyed.
If your mission is so important, Milord, why not use people more He looked at the three women with a critical eye, trained. I honestly do not see anything special in the people you choose as your allies.
Sephiroth grinned, and with a flash of movement, one Slash couldnt see, the coated swordsman stood at his side, his sword aimed at his neck. Oh, you will understand soon enough. Sephiroth said.
Im sure, Said Slash in return, with a calmness in his voice that caused Sephiroth to falter. Slash grinned. A trained soldier never allows his opponent to see his fear. Such is a common cause of death.
Indeed. Sephiroth nodded and stepped back, sheathing his sword as he did.
Now, Milord, would you introduce your allies to me?
He would be Sephiroth Lendell, a member of the Kurast military. Im sure you know Nadia and Glenn. Slash nodded. And these two ladies are Schala Zeal and Garnet Alexander.
Zeal the Lost Kingdom of the Skies? I nodded. And the heir to the throne of Alexandria. Quite a bit of royalty in your group, Milord.
The young mage stepped forward. Schala Zeal if I remember right, she had a brother, did she not? I nodded. He was abducted by our people when he was twenty-four, if the history book was correct. Again I nodded. The reason was that his father was presumably Leoric Bloodbane, king of Westmarch, our peoples greatest enemy. The young princes name was Janus He looked at me, realization striking him like a bolt of lightning. Janus Bloodbane.
Indeed I am he. I declared. Ironic, is it not, that you have followed for years a man who had once been branded an arch-nemesis? I chuckled slightly.
Wait Garnet put a hand on my shoulder. He said youre in a history book? How old are you?
One hundred and twenty-three. I said, and enjoyed the shocked look that came across her face. I am half-elven, Garnet. My elven blood extends my life span.
I myself am two hundred and thirty. Said Schala. Sephiroths eyes widened.
Damn how old you elves have to be to look old?
About seven hundred. I replied. He shook his head.
Great. Im stooped over, my hair white instead of silver, cant even see anymore, and Schala looks exactly the same as she does now. Sephiroth shook his head again.
Dont think about that, Sephiroth. Schala said softly, and held his hand.
Garnet looked at me, and said, Im sorry.
Well, like Sephiroth said, since Im human, Ill age much faster than you will. Im just sorry.
Dont worry yourself about the future, Garnet. If we should feel sorry for anyone, it should be her. I pointed to Nightsong. Shell be alive for another 2000 years at least.
Wow Garnet exclaimed. How old is she now?
Four hundred. The dragon declared. Im still pretty young if you take into account how old my kind can get. The Great One was the longest of the living dragons. He earned his title that way. He was over 9000 when he surrendered his power.
Please, pardon me for interrupting, Cain said as he approached us, but did you find the map?
Oh. Yes. I reached into a pocket in my cloak and produced the piece of parchment. I handed it to him. He took it from me and studied it. It seemed, on first glance, to be a map of Tristram.
It looks like Tristram, but this map has magical properties. Clarines grandmother, she lives with her, you know, says that if this map is placed on the largest grave of the cemetery to the right of the cathedral, a crypt will open. She says that she saw it happen in a vision. Maybe it is true.
Possibly. Well try it. Come on, lets go. I said, and led the way to the cathedral, heading off the road at the end. I spotted the largest grave easily, since it was well large.
Slash came up beside me, watched as I placed the magically enchanted map on the grave. I watched intently as the grave turned in upon itself, opened, and revealed a set of stair leading down into the crypt.
Sir. Slash said, and I looked back. He pointed to the sky. The Silver Moon shines on this grave. She watches you, Sir. He said. I looked up at the symbol of my faith, the Silver Moon, and I could swear I saw the Goddess face smiling down on me. I bowed my head.
Are we ready? Glenn asked, loosing the Masamune in its sheathe. I nodded. Garnet walked up next to me and, taking her hand, I led my group, Slash, Flea, and her apprentice included, down into the depths of the blackness.
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