Lord of Terror Chapter 13

A New Breed of Challenge, Kehistan

By Iced Blood

I awoke when Sephiroth shook me. When I opened my eyes, I saw his face was white, his expression urgent. I quickly jumped to my feet.

“Janus! We’re in big trouble!” He exclaimed.

“What do you mean?” I asked, puzzled.

“Look!” He gestured to the outskirts of the shield. It was then I found what he meant. All around the outside of the shield, were monsters. A literal swarm of them were pounding on the invisible barrier.

A monster I recognized, the one that had the laugh of a banshee and the face of a skull, shot spells at it, attempting to break it. Looking around, I saw many of them were in between the gravediggers and... Goat demons? Here?

These, though, were different. They had large, bat-like wings, and carried long-shafted scythes. They looked much fiercer than their mace-wielding counterparts.

“Okay. Wake everybody up. Make sure everyone’s ready before we drop the shield. Stay on your toes!” I said. Sephiroth nodded and proceeded to wake the others.

Once everyone was awake, I looked back at them. “This will be a fierce battle. Everyone, draw your weapons and prepare for the fight of your lives.” I drew the dual-bladed sword on my back and strapped my shield to my left arm. I placed the helm on my head, and braced myself.

“Ready, Schala?” I asked.

“Yes.” She said, and we both dropped the shield. In seconds we were swarmed. Utilizing a technique I had learned years ago, I never let my eyes focus on one opponent. I took in everything, never let myself be caught by surprise.

Time seemed to slow as I watched my blade cut through flesh and bone, its magic allowing it to slice easily and quickly. Demon after demon fell dead at my feet as I twirled the two blades in a dance of death.

Thrusting backward and up, a demon was impaled on one blade and rose like a bloody flag over the others.

Quickly I chanted a spell, letting my energy flow up the blade and into the corpse. The body exploded in a burst of flame, causing bones to fly out in a wide radius, embedding into other demons, setting them aflame. A chain reaction caused an inferno, the smell of charred flesh heavy in the air.

I then heard Marle casting a spell of her own, and soon the fire literally froze, encasing its victims. With another sharp word of command from the rogue princess, the ice shattered.

A blast of white light erupted from behind me as Schala cast Holy upon a group of gravediggers. I turned and saw Sephiroth, moving with a deadly grace as he cut many of them in half, never missing a step.

Glenn tore through a group of the winged goat demons, the Masamune flashing with the righteous rage of its wielder. Scythe shafts broke, blades shattered, wings tore, and everywhere...blood. It rained like a storm over us, as flesh was cut and burned and torn.

Then, suddenly, I saw Stalinth, rising over the remaining demons, her arms spread out, her head held high. She began to glow, and then lightning flashed down from her body in a white-hot fury, tearing through the rest of our opponents.

"Good job!" I called, and she flashed a grin. Landing gracefully, Stalinth looked around at our handiwork. She bent down and picked something up from the floor. "It's a note." She said. "Written in draconic. Looks like it's only part of a note, though. Maybe the other pieces are around here somewhere."

“Alright. Let’s look around.”


Randall Travis walked slowly down the cobblestone street, staring at his feet. He had been like this for a month or so now, ever since the death of his wife, Nadine.

He could still remember her, vibrant, lively, happy...until the sickness came upon her. There were no signs until it had hit. One day he had woken up and saw that Nadine had had a raging fever. The sheets clung to her, her face shining with a sheen of sweat, rocking her head back and forth with delirium.

And it had only gotten worse with time. Randall, whose brother was an expert in herb lore, could not do anything to help her. It was hopeless. He tended to his beloved wife day and night, and at times she would snap into reality and smile up at him, but for the most part she would sleep, mumbling frightfully. It nearly broke his heart.

When she died, he could not grieve, for she was out of her suffering. Still, a part of his heart left with her, a void that would not be filled until he rejoined her, under the wings of Archangel Tyrael, in Heaven.

As he walked past the cemetery, he looked up and was surprised to see a large crowd around on of the graves. Hearing the excited chatter, he went over to investigate. True, he was depressed, but curiosity always won out when it came to him.

“What’s going on?” Randall asked the first person he came across. When the man saw him, he went pale.

“Randall, you should go on home. Never mind about this.”

“What’s going on?” Randall repeated, more harshly.


He gave up and pushed past the crowd, until he came across the commotion. He saw what it was: One of the graves had been dug up! The body was gone!

He looked up at the tombstone. “N-N-Nadine...?” He looked around the crowd. He saw a knight standing at the grave, his head low. He rushed up to him, clutched him by his cloak and lifted him up. “Who did this!? I want him found!!!” He shrieked. A smoldering fire was in his eyes.

“S-Sir...I know this is a grievous occasion, but there’s nothing I can...”

“The hell you can’t! Your captain’s mother has been taken from her grave!! I want the one who did this found! I want his head on a pike!!”

The knight drew his blade. “Sir! I warn you, calm yourself!”

Suddenly a gasp went around the crowd, and a path was made. A man in grand clothing, a billowing royal red cloak, and a silver crown strode up to the knight. He bowed on one knee.

“Your Highness!”

“Sir Edwards, this is indeed a massive crime. Your captain Travis has served us well for over a decade, and we owe him at least this much. You and your company will find the criminal responsible for this grievous wrong and deliver justice.” He turned to Randall. “Sir, I have located your son and have sent a letter informing him of his mother’s death. I hope that we will be able to return Nadine Travis to her eternal slumber before he comes here.”

“Thank you, my king. I appreciate your concern. How are you planning on getting the letter to him?”

“We’ve sent some of our finest men to deliver the news to him by use of my ship.”

“I see. Thank you, Your Highness.”


After finding the staircase to the second level of the Crypt, we decided to return to the surface and rest for a day. We were shocked to find five knights of Kehistan waiting for us there.

“Captain Travis.” One addressed.

“Aye.” Glenn said, confused. “What brings you here?”

“We come bearing news from our king, Captain. It concerns your parents.”

Glenn chuckled. “Did Father get himself stuck in the mine again?”

“No, Captain. This is grievous news. Your mother, Nadine Travis...passed away a month past.”

“Mother?” Glenn was dumbstruck. “Dead? H-how?”

“We do not know. A strange sickness took her some two weeks before she passed. Fever, delirium. A very high fever.”

“Were there black blemishes on her chest and stomach?” I asked. The knight was quite surprised to see me, Nightlord of the mystics, with their captain, but he nonetheless answered,

“Aye. Randall Travis did report such findings.”

“I feared as much. The Black Death...” I said softly. “Come, Glenn. We should investigate this.”

“Then come with us. We shall use the king’s ship.”

“No. Too long.” I turned to Stalinth. “We need to get there quickly.”

“Certainly, Master.” Stalinth closed her eyes, mumbled a few words, and soon she was a dragon again, obsidian and majestic. She bent her neck low, and Glenn and I mounted her back.

“The rest of you, stay here. We’ll be back as soon as we can.” With that, Glenn, Stalinth and I made for Kehistan. I had no idea then what I would be getting into.


Randall had returned home in a daze. The shock had still not faded, even after about twelve hours. As he stepped out of his room, his seven-year-old son Steven rushed up to meet him. “Hi, Daddy!” He cried happily, and jumped into his father’s arms. Randall couldn’t help but smile.

“Hi, Steve. What have you been up to?”

“I been practicing to be a knight, just like Big Brother!” Steven brandished a long stick. Randall grinned. Even in his dark mood, the little tyke had a way about him, always was able to make him smile.

Just then, as if on cue, a knock came from the door. Randall turned and opened the door.

There, clad in glowing plate armor, one sword on his back and another on his side, was Glenn, his eldest son. “Glenn, my boy! When did you arrive here?”

“Just now, Father.” Glenn stepped into the room. “I just received word Mother died.”

“Just received word? How did you get here so quickly?” Randall demanded, eyes wide. Glenn beckoned his father to follow him outside, and there he saw the most magnificent, and most terrifying, thing in his life. A black dragon stood on his front yard, flexing its wings.

Another figure leapt from the dragon’s back. He wore armor identical to Glenn’s, but he wore the helm, a marvelous shield on his left arm, and an evil-looking blade on his side. At his back were a jeweled scythe, and a dual-bladed kriss sword. A cloak was worn underneath the weapons.

As the second figure approached, he removed his helm, and Randall almost ran inside and slammed the door shut. “M-M-Magus!” He stuttered in fright. Magus looked at him, and to Randall’s shock, said,

“I am sorry for your loss, good sir. It must be a biting wound to lose the one you love.” He bowed low.

“Excuse me...?” Randall was at a loss for words.

“Judging by your wife’s ailment, I conclude that she died of the Black Death, a plague that, though not contagious, kills all who it inflicts. It is a magically produced disease, and that is why it is so exclusive in its victims.”

“So...I and my son are safe from this disease?”

“Correct. Though I must say I do not understand why it would be brought upon your wife. Most times it is inflicted upon a king, or a leader of some other sort. Normally it is not directed at a knight’s mother.” He shook his head. “Glenn, do you know of anyone who may...hold malice toward her? Someone who would wish her harm?”

“Not I. Perhaps you, Father?”

“No. I know of no one who would wish to kill Nadine. She was a kind soul, as pure as could be seen. I could think of no other who did not adore her. But perhaps...someone who would want to strike a blow against you?”

He turned a suspicious glance to the Nightlord.

He said nothing. No emotion passed his face. Glenn shook his head. “No. Janus would not kill Mother, much less with a plague. I know him, Father, and I know him to be honorable.”

A ghost of a smile crossed Magus’ lips. “Thank you, Glenn. But, we might be able to find something at her grave. If indeed this person wished to strike an emotional blow, he may have done something there.”

“He has.” Randall said softly.


“He has done something to her grave.” He beckoned for the two to follow him. He walked swiftly to the cemetery, and then to his wife’s grave. Glenn gasped and even Magus seemed shocked at what he saw.

“Who would desecrate a person’s rest like this?!” Glenn exclaimed. “Who would dare to do such a thing?”

“A necromancer. One who wishes to raise the person from death as his minion. That same necromancer would be the one who inflicted the plague upon your mother, Glenn, most likely to quicken her death.” He shook his head sadly. “Such abuse of the gift...” He looked at Randall. “Do you know of anyone who might practice necromancy, sir?”

“I don’t know much about magic, but Aranh Quereth looks like he may practice dark arts. He always wears black, and some people hear him chanting strange languages in the night. He lives on the outskirts of town, in a small house.” Randall replied.

“A possibility. We’ll visit this Quereth and speak with him.” Magus said. “Lead the way.”

So Randall Travis began walking along the streets of his home, leading the knight captain of Kehistan and the Nightlord of the Mystic Kingdom of Deronach.

As it turned out, Aranh had locked his door and refused to exit. Magus grinned. “As the Nightlord of Deronach and the Highpriest of the Natunari Order, I grant myself warrant.” This said, he crashed the door open with one plated shoulder. He walked inside.

He was surprised to find himself walking in a huge hallway. “He must have used his power to make his home larger without making it appear so to people outside.” He murmured. Glenn nodded, and the two warriors took the lead, leaving Randall to follow.

Magus drew the dual-bladed sword, which now Randall noticed had the same blue glow as his armor. The sorcerer walked slowly, stealthily along the hall.

Glenn drew the sword on his back, and Randall was astonished at the craftsmanship of it. The shining blade stretched to four feet, made of a metal Randall couldn’t place. The handle was beautifully crafted, with a royal crown pommel.

At the end of the hall was a huge central chamber. There stood Aranh Quereth, over a large table. Magus stopped at the entrance to the chamber, holding his sword at his side. He made a gesture with his hand to halt Glenn and Randall.

Aranh was chanting softly in the language of magic, gesturing over something on the table. It sounded as if the spell was finished, for his voice reached a much higher volume.

“Hold your tongue, Sorcerer!” Glenn shouted, and Aranh ceased his chanting, with a hard jolting of his body. The knight captain rushed forward.

“Mother!” He shrieked, looking at the cold body upon the table. He brandished his blade, held it to the Necromancer’s throat. Aranh calmly grasped the blade, and lightning crackled up his arm and across the blade, throwing Glenn into the far wall of the chamber. He chuckled.

“Honestly, Travis!” He looked at Randall. “Sending only a knight to deal with magic? Such a folly makes me laugh!”

Randall looked around him, and realized Magus was gone. It was then that he felt the wind flowing throughout the chamber. But...the door was closed and the house had no windows!

“He didn’t only send a knight.” Came a disembodied voice. It was Magus’. Suddenly, the Nightlord appeared behind Aranh, floating nearly five feet over the ground. His dual-bladed sword shone with its inner radiance. “He sent me.”

Aranh whirled around and looked up. He looked shocked at first, but put on a cocky smirk. “You cannot match the power of necromancy, fellow Magic-user. I’ll obliterate you.”

“Silence!” Magus’ eyes shone with his rage. Aranh choked back his words. “Such abuse of your gift is not without consequence, Aranh Quereth. You’ll pay for such desecration of this fair woman’s rest. Prepare for the void!”

He flew back into a fighting stance, and shot a blast of fire from his palm. Aranh jumped to the side, but his cloak was hit by the flame, and he was forced to stop and remove it.

Glenn saw his chance and swung his great blade in a wide arc. It caught Aranh in the arm and flung him forward. The necromancer fell on one knee, clutching his forearm. Blood darkened his tunic, flowed on the floor.

“Akt Taras-shalantan alon Dradaxt!” He shouted, bloody palm facing Nadine Travis’ corpse. He grinned sadistically as she rose from the table. “Kill them, my minion! Obliterate them!” He ordered.

The female undead shuffled towards Glenn, of all people.

“Strike her down, Glenn! She isn’t your mother! She is a minion of Aranh!” Magus shouted. Glenn’s sword arm trembled and his sword fell with a clang.

“I...I can’t...” He stuttered. “She still...she’s my mother, undead or no. I cannot strike her...” He backed up, till he was against the wall.

It was then that Magus saw something. Nadine’s clothes, ripped and stained as they were, fell off as her corpse shuffled forward. As a shred of cloth fell from her shoulder, Magus saw a small tattoo. Even from this distance, he saw what it was. A crescent moon and a shining star. The symbol of a Natunari follower. He quickly began to speak.

“One who walks in the path of the Silver Moon’s light

Who has passed already to the realm of eternal night

May she be returned to Natunari’s breast

And may she there find her much deserved rest.” As he finished the prayer, a bright light surrounded the undead woman, and she fell in a heap, the un-life taken from her, leaving her to her rest.

“You’ve crossed the line, Aranh Quereth.” Magus’ voice was low and grave. “I would have destroyed you simply because she is Glenn’s mother. But she is a Sister of the Silver Light. I am honor bound to send you to the grave as well.”

He threw his sword like a javelin. The magic of the swords combined with the presence of a Follower caused it to fly like a bolt of lightning through the air.

It caught Aranh in the chest, flying through him and sinking into the wall, pinning him. He struggled to free himself, but his grip failed him as his blood flowed freely from the two wounds he had suffered, and the righteous rage of the holy sword embedded in his breast shone with its magic, causing the wound to be more damaging than normal.

Glenn picked up his sword and brandished it, before slashing down and severing Aranh’s head from his shoulders.

Magus stepped forward and wrenched the sword free from the necromancer’s corpse. He grimaced as he saw the necromancer’s vile blood stained on his blade. Then, he watched in wonder as the blood dripped off, slowly but surely, and soon the blade shone as if newly polished.

Twirling it once and sheathing it quickly, he kneeled by Nadine Travis’ corpse, eyes closed. To his eyes, silver moonlight shone upon her through the walls. Natunari Herself watched the Highpriest and the Follower. “Nadine Travis, Follower of She of the Silver Light, may by my prayer you find your path safely to Our Goddess’ breast.”

He looked up to see Nadine’s spirit before him, as only the Highpriest saw. Kneeling still before her, as she was now in a higher plane of existence, Magus looked into her transparent visage.

My final wish, Janus son of Leoric, Highpriest of the Silver Light, is thus. Please, I beg of you, stay by my son’s side, and protect him when you can.

“I swear by my father’s name and his title I bear that I will carry out your request as long as blood runs through my heart. May you rest peacefully, Nadine Travis.”

May your dreams be not troubled by the shadows of Evil, Janus Bloodbane. Natunari’s light shines on you. Please, give this to my son.

Nadine’s dagger floated into the Highpriest’s hands.

“Thank you, Nadine Travis.” Bowing once more low to the ground, Magus rose to his feet and turned to his comrade. “Your mother’s soul is at peace and is at this moment treading the path of the Silver Light.

“Here. Wear this in remembrance of your mother.” He handed Glenn the dagger. He attached it to his belt. “Sir. Bury your wife in the forest near your town. It is customary in our religion.”

“Will you and Glenn be present?”

“I must be there, as the Highpriest.” Magus replied.

“I will be there.” Glenn said with a small smile. “Since I was not present for her first funeral, I will be there for the second.”

“You also have to see your brother, Glenn. He will be ecstatic.”

“Ah, yes. Steven...” He chuckled. “Of course.”

Back at Glenn’s home, we rested. It was there I met Steven, Glenn’s seven-year-old brother. When we entered the house, the young boy leapt into his sibling’s arms.

“Glenn!” He had shouted. “You came home!”

Glenn, a wide grin on his face, said, “Yes, Steve. I’m home. I’ll only be here a few more days, but for now I’m here.” His smile looked sad now. “I came for Mother’s funeral.”

“Mommy was real sick before she died. I wanted to help her, make her all better. But she didn’t know I was there allot of times.”

Glenn nodded, a tear fell from his eye. “Well, she’s fine now. She walks among the stars.”

“I’m glad she can walk again. She liked to walk allot.”

Glenn laughed. Steve seemed to have a way about him, perhaps the innocence, that made most people happy even in dire times.

As I write this I wonder...What would it have been like if I had been with Albrecht, my own brother, as he grew up? It seems strange to me that as I grew in the Mystics’ kingdom, that I hadn’t even known I had a brother.

And as I watched Glenn and his own brother, another reason for destroying Diablo arose like a wildfire. Albrecht, my only brother, was killed by that demon at only sixteen. Sixteen! It was Diablo who had made sure I would never see my brother in life.

And I swore that Diablo’s hold would never reach Kehistan if I could help it in any way mortally possible. Diablo would not gain a hold on another child, and certainly not the brother of my comrade.

It was here, in the home of my brother in arms, former foe and current ally, that Glenn first noticed that I was writing something.

“What is that?” He had asked.

“As we go upon this journey I plan on writing it down so that I may put it in a book later on.” I had replied. He picked up the sheaf of parchment and thumbed through it.

“I’ll say this much, Janus. It will make interesting reading. Our journey is strange enough as we live it. Just imagine being someone who does not even believe in the demons we fight to end, reading this account!”

“I’ve thought about that. I honestly don’t care who believes me or not. We at least know it to be true. I write this more to look back on it when I am older and have almost forgotten what had happened. When you and Sephiroth and Garnet and Marle, when you all go to the next plane of existence, and I wish to remember, I need only to read this.”

Glenn nodded in understanding. He reached the last page, to see something scrawled in the margin. He couldn’t make it out.

“What is this?”

“It is in my home tongue. You would not understand it, so I’ll translate it for you. It is a sorrowful tribute. But I believe you should hear it.

Life cut down by unnatural means
Soul moves on, sorrow remains
Time cut short, by hand of death
Iced grip cuts off the final breath
Blackened skin, on flesh the token
Pulled from life by command unspoken
Suffering at hand of the unseen
From the wind torture will bring
To she who has since felt its breath
Unimagined pain until her death

But in death there she finds her rest
As she flies to Natunari’s breast
On a plane of higher being
On a plane of clearer seeing
May she forever keep her sight
To they who follow her to Light

“That is my tribute to your mother, Glenn. Think of it as a means of forgetting grief for her death, for now she looks upon you from Heaven. Death is nothing but a journey to a higher plane, such as your mother’s...or a lower, such as with Aranh Quereth and where his crime sends him.”

“I am honored that you would tribute my mother, Janus. You truly are nothing as so many portray you. Where so many say you live forever in shadow, I know that you are only forced to walk through it. For this I say I am sorry. Such a kind soul should not be associated with evil.”

“Thank you, Glenn. Such words from a former foe are the kindest I could hear. Were that your people could see what you do. Perhaps future war could be avoided.”

He grinned. He turned to see that his father had listened to our conversation. He bowed his head. “In the name of my family, Magus, Nightlord of Deronach, you will forever be considered of the Travis household.

“I thank you for your tribute to my wife, and I also thank you for avenging her death. Though many still are blind, I hope to say I can see.”

“I am honored to hear as such, sir, but I would refrain from saying that to your fellow people, were I you. Most still think me a plague upon this land, even though the war between us has ended.”

“Not exactly, Magus. You see, our king has already started the war anew, and without a leader, I’m not sure your people will survive this onslaught.”

“Oh, has he now?” I asked. “Well then, I suggest we have a little talk with him. Come, all of you. Something tells me I’ll need support.”

And so we headed outside toward The stronghold of Kehistan, a grand castle made of white stone. Banners flew from the towers and hung on the outside walls. The front doors were huge and lavishly decorated, guarded by four armed knights, two on either side.

Glenn took the lead, followed by his father, then Steven, and I followed last. In the company of their knight captain, the guards thought me no threat, so they did nothing as I passed them, though I caught them from the corner of my eye go a shade paler. I grinned.

Glenn walked through the hall and reached the throne room. King Xavier and his queen Leene rose as he approached. He bowed low, as did his father. I bowed my head, but stayed standing.

“Rise, Sir Glenn Travis.” Leene said softly. “What brings you back here so shortly?”

“I have come for the second funeral of my mother. She is to be buried in the forest west of here, as was customary in her religious beliefs.”

“Religious beliefs? What religion did your mother belong to?” Xavier asked. I stepped forward.

“Nadine Travis followed She of the Silver Light, Natunari. It is customary for all followers to be buried in a forest.”

“How would you know this, Mystic?” Xavier’s tone sounded rather bitter, now that he had recognized me.

“I am the Highpriest of that religion, one of the few remaining followers still alive.” I said proudly. “I gained my title from my father, the late Leoric Bloodbane.”

“Bloodbane?” Leene asked. I nodded. “I knew him. He was quite a nice man. But...you have been Nightlord of Deronach for almost eighty years. How could he have been your father, if he only recently passed away?”

“His magic. I remember reading in his journal that in order to extend his life span, most likely to match my mother’s originally, he used his powers as a sorcerer.”

“I see. I never knew Leoric was the Highpriest of a pagan religion...”

“Pagan? No, Madam, the faith of Natunari is an ancient religion, and proof of Her existence comes to Her followers. No other proof exists, I’m afraid, as the clerics of the Silver Light have all but vanished into thin air.”

“It must be hard on you to be Highpriest of a religion that hardly anyone follows. You have my sympathy.”

“Gracious words, Milady, but this is not the matter at hand. We found where Lady Travis’ body was being held.”

“Oh? Where? And by whom?”

“She was being held by the amateur necromancer Aranh Quereth. His first crime was sending the magical plague that took Lady Travis, and then taking her corpse and raising it from the dead as an undead minion. She rests peacefully now, however, as a prayer to my Goddess sent her soul back to rest.

“Aranh Quereth has been killed, his head severed from his vile neck. Glenn himself carried out the deed. We now have but to put Lady Travis’ body to rest.

“It shall be done tomorrow night, when the Silver Moon is shining full.” I drew the Silver Sword, as I had named my dual-bladed weapon. Many guards drew their blades, but Glenn held up a hand.

“Stay your swords, comrades. Janus has not drawn his sword against you. This is a solemn occasion. We, the both of us, grieve for this loss, as my mother would have been under his leadership.”

“Indeed. I hold no malice towards you of Kehistan...” I paused. “Though you seem to hold malice toward my people, still.”

“What do you mean?” Leene asked. The completely unknowing look on her face made this all the more confusing. I raised an eyebrow at Glenn. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I received a report from a couple of my officers near to a week ago. It seems your soldiers, whether by your command or of their own accord, led an attack on my castle in my absence.

“My private chambers were burnt to a cinder. Had I been there, I most likely would have met my end.”

“You weren’t there?” Xavier inquired. A hint of disappointment in his tone gave him away.

“No, King Xavier, I was not there. However, my books and belongings were burned with the room itself. Now, I would like to know why you broke the truce.

“When you were defeated I allowed you to surrender peacefully. Your wife, Sir, had the sense to agree to my terms, which I might add were quite fair. We Mystics left you in peace, for ten years we did nothing to harm you.

“And now, after a decade of peace, you wish to rekindle the flame of war by attacking us like cowards, waiting in the shadows for us to walk past, so you can slit our throats before we can blink.” I crossed my arms, waited for his reply. When he didn’t speak, I said, “I had thought Kehistan was a country of honorable men, not thieves and cutthroats.”

“How dare you say such a thing!”

“I only say what I’ve observed, sir. And I have observed that the truce which we untrustworthy mystics have kept for ten years was broken by the honorable Kehistanians.” A smirk crossed my face.

“You insolent, pompous...!”

“Enough!!” A voice rang out from the doorway. There stood, in black dragon-scale armor, a jet-black cape, and scimitar drawn, Stalinth. “There will be no further arguments here. I have grown tired listening to your attempts at justification, King of Kehistan.”

“And who are you, Drow elf?”

“Who I am is not your concern. What I may do if angered is your concern. But if you must know, I am called Stalinth. Now I remind you that we are not here to argue. We are here on account of Glenn Travis’ mother’s death.

“Or did you happen to forget that?” She arched an eyebrow at the king. I bowed my head.

“Of course, Stalinth.”

A questioning glance was cast at the king. He grumbled a “very well” and crossed his arms. Stalinth nodded.

“Very well. Now, what have you discovered regarding her death, Master Bloodbane? I would like to hear it.” I was relieved that she had added my surname to ‘Master’. Calling me plainly ‘Master’ would have caused another argument.

“We’ve discovered that the plague was a magically-influenced one, brought upon her to quicken Lady Travis’ death. The necromancer, Aranh Quereth, called the plague to kill her and use her as his minion.

“He has been killed, impaled by my sword and beheaded by Glenn’s.” I paused. “She is to be re-buried in the forest to the east of here.”

“I see. And what of our comrades in Tristram? We’ve been gone three days as it is. How much longer will we stay?”

“We must wait until tomorrow night. Then we shall perform the burial. Be patient, Stalinth. We’ll be back in Tristram in three days.”

“Well...I suppose it won’t matter too much. After all, our comrades probably will be able to continue without us. I’m sure Sir Sephiroth will make a fine leader until you return.”

“He’s proved himself in the past. We can trust him.”

“Very well, Master Bloodbane. You know, I have come across a man who claims to be a priest of your religion, if you would wish to speak with him.”

“Really?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. “A priest, you say? Where?” Xavier rose to his feet and interjected.

“I know this man. He lives in a small house in the forest where you plan to bury Lady Travis. He is called Irulan Nandam. You might do well to speak to this man. He is quite wise.”

“I shall do that. Glenn, we shall set out tomorrow morning. I’m sure he would like to meet his newly titled Highpriest.”

He nodded. “Father, we shall sleep in our home tonight. Most likely we will stay a while before seeing Master Nandam.”

In accordance with Kehistanian custom, we both drew our blades, held them with the hilts toward the monarchs. This custom was to show that we would sooner turn our blades on ourselves than the king and queen.

As both dragonblades (as they now would be called) were drawn, they glowed blue, showing their kinship. We then rose them above our heads, held them in a cross.

White against black, the two blades showed the similarity of good and evil, being borne of the same source.

“What blade is that, Nightlord?” Xavier asked.

“This is Demonslayer, the ancient blade of the Warlord of Blood. By chance I came across it, and now I turn it upon its wielder and his kind.” I bowed, sheathed my sword, and left. Glenn, Randall, Steven and Stalinth followed me.

By the time we reached Glenn’s home again, it was dark. Randall showed us in. Stalinth even looked tired. She saw a chair by a table, the one I had sat at while writing my tribute. She sat in the chair, propped her feet upon the table, and closed her eyes, falling asleep quickly. The chair, even tilted as it was, did not budge under her weight.

“A strange woman, isn’t she?” Randall asked.

“That would be my dragon, in her chosen mortal form. She is indeed strange.” I said. “But, though deadly, she is an immeasurably valuable companion.”

“I see. So, that is an example of dragon magic?”

“Yes. They can polymorph to any form they wish. Though usually a dragon will choose one form and use it for all purposes. Some, though, were known to have never used the spell.

“Hardly any exist now, though. Only two I know for sure. There are rumored to be ten left, one of each color, in the world.”

“Ah. Do you plan on finding them all?”

“I hope to, but my quest at the moment is a bit more important. I’ll only say this: If my comrades and I fail, we all will die.”

“Hopefully it will not come to that.” Glenn said, putting a reassuring hand on his father’s shoulder. “We’re confident we can defeat our adversary.”

“Yes, but remember, Glenn, this enemy is not one to be underestimated. If anything, overestimate him. He has overwhelming physical strength, and devastating magical abilities.”

“Aye, but I like to think on the lighter side of things, if you please.” Glenn responded, crossing his arms.

“That’s good. Allow me to worry about it. As the leader of our company I suppose I have the heaviest burden. Still, I’m used to it. I know that you and Sephiroth are also adept at leading, and that puts my mind at ease.

“But remember, treat our enemy as if he has the powers of a god, and prepare for him as such. Though he may not, it would be best to be relieved than to be overwhelmed, if you take my meaning.”

“Aye, that’s true.” The veteran nodded. “Very true.”

I suddenly yawned, stretched. “I think I’ll follow Stalinth’s example and get some rest. Remember, we set out for the forest in the morning.”

I walked over to the corner of the room, leaned against the wall, and wrapped my cloak around me. As I was used to this position, I was asleep within moments.

Randall arched an eyebrow at his elder son. “He can sleep like that?”

“Military tactic. It’s utilized so that if wakened, you don’t have to take time getting out of your bedroll and to your feet. Quite useful. I suppose since he is in the house of a man he doesn’t know, Janus would prefer sleeping here.

“I’ll put Steven to bed, then go to sleep myself. It was nice to see you again, Father, even though it was under ill circumstances.” Glenn picked up his younger brother and carried him on his shoulders, walking down the hall to his bedroom. Randall heard Steve giggling softly.

He smiled and walked into his own bedroom. As he lay down in his bed, he muttered, “A Mystic and a dragon, in the same room. Dear Tyrael, what a day...” He then drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 14

Chrono Trigger Fanfic