Lord of Terror Chapter 4
By Iced Blood
Wake up, Janus. A soft voice entered into my mind, breaking through the blackness. Opening my eyes reluctantly, I looked up into my sisters beautiful face. Reaching out my arms, I pulled her close. She kissed me on the cheek gently, then lifted my out of my bed. I picked up my breastplate from the floor, and strapped it over my chest. My cloak lay near my feet. Picking it up, I draped it over myself. I noticed that my weapon had been attached to my belt throughout the night. Oh well, I didnt notice. What I did notice is that my long sword was still on Nightsongs armor, which I had left in the forest. Going to the window, I called her name. Hearing my clearly, she flew up to the window.
Go into the forest and find your armor. My sword is there also. Retrieve them and report back here. Okay?
Certainly, Master. Good morning, Mistress. She said, looking at Schala.
Call me Schala.
Oh, of course, Mist Um, Schala. Schala nodded, and I waved in dismissal. Nightsong turned and flew off in search of the armor. I closed the curtain and walked to Schala. We walked together down to the Tavern. Glenn, Crono, and Marle already sat at the bar.
Hey. Crono said. You finally got him up, huh?
Yes. Now when do we set off? Schala looked at me.
Uh, Schala. Im not so sure you should come with us. I lost you once, I dont want to lose you again. I said, putting a hand on her shoulder. She smiled.
Im touched, Janus. But last time I was outnumbered. Ill be fine. I started to protest, but she gave me a look that said it was settled. I stopped. The others seemed shocked at this.
Okay. But stay by me.
Sure. She said. But wont I need equipment?
I know just who to ask. Crono said, leaving the tavern. Following him out, I saw him talking to a young woman nearby. I figured it was the blacksmiths shop. We walked up.
Yeah. Im gonna need a breast plate, some chain gloves and plated boots, along with a sword. How much would that be?
Well, The woman said. Since youre going to fight Diablo, I would say nothing, but thats quite a large request, so Ill say 200 gold.
Oh, okay. He said, then looked at me. I took out the pouches of gold I had found on the demons and set them on the counter. She counted through quickly.
Youre a little short, but itll do. Hold on a sec. She walked back and talked a bit with a bald man at the forge, the blacksmith. He nodded, took the gold from her, and walked to the back of the shop and rummaged through some chests, finding the items we had asked for.
Glenn. When the blacksmith gets here, and gives Schala her equipment I need you to teach her the basics of fighting with the sword. Im going to explore the town a little. He nodded, then unsheathed his sword. I turned away, then walked down the field of the town. I sensed strong magic far down this path. Walking across a bridge that led across a small stream, I saw a shack to my left. I quickened my pace to see who or what was letting off the energy. I reached the entrance to the shack to see a woman clad in black robes looking at a few potions.
Excuse me. Madam? I asked softly. She looked up at me, a little surprised at someone being here. She smoothed out her robes and walked to me.
How may I help you? She asked.
Do you practice the magical arts, by chance?
Why, yes. I do. Do you Sir?
Yes. I practice Dark Sorcery.
Dark Sorcery, you say? Then what brings you to this little hovel?
My companions and I plan to vanquish the Terror within the labyrinth.
She seemed startled by this. Oh? Then come with me. I will give you something. She beckoned me to the back of her house, and I went with her. She removed a blanket in the corner to reveal a chest covered by ancient runes. It gave of a slight magical radiance. She chanted a few words of magic and it was gone. She opened the chest and I looked inside.
By the Heavens! I gasped. Inside were many black-bound spell books and scrolls and articles of jewelry. Many I could not recognize as magical, but they definitely were.
You may have one book, four scrolls, and a ring. If you should succeed in your quest, the rest shall be yours. Choose wisely. She gestured toward the contents of the chest. I thumbed through the pages of the books carefully and found one with many spells having to do with the difficult but powerful art of Necromancy. I slipped the book into one of the many pockets in my cloak and began to look at the scrolls. I chose the four that held the strongest of the elements: Inferno, Chain Lightning, Ice Prison, and Black Death. I slipped these in a pouch that hung from my belt. For the ring, I chose one at random.
What properties does this have? I gave it to her.
This would be a ring of Holy Strength. If one of Holy Magic wears it, their spells will become twice as effective. However, since you practice the black arts, it would hinder your abilities to almost nothing.
My sister could use this to great extent. Her magic is whiter than snow. I shall give this to her. By the way, what is your name?
Adria. But the people here call me Witch. She said with a laugh. I smiled.
Thank you for your kindness, Adria. I appreciate it immensely. Good day to you. With that, I started to leave. I stopped when I saw Schala run across the bridge and begin in my direction. She stopped in front of me, breathing heavily.
Janus! Its, its Nightsong! Shes been injured. She could barely fly back here. She asked me to get you. She said when she could speak. She looked at me, waiting for me to move. Then, without warning, I pushed past her and ran at top speed toward the town. Leaping over the stream, I ran across the field in just under two seconds. When I reached Nightsong, I put a hand on her neck. She looked at me through one eye. The other was swollen shut.
What happened, Girl? I asked.
I went To get the armor When they attacked me Tried to fight them, but Too many She said weakly, then fell unconscious. I looked around at the people staring at the gigantic dragon, doing nothing.
Goddamn it! Do something! I shouted. Cain looked at a man next to him wearing white robes and a sash that held many pouches.
Pepin? Can you do anything?
Yes. But it will take time. Do not worry, Sir. He said to me, She will be fine, eventually. He then bent down and examined the wounds, searching through his pouches. Satisfied that she would be okay, I turned to Schala and took out the ring.
This is a ring of Holy Strength. I figured if you used it, it would help out. I handed it to her. She put it on and asked me where I got it. I pointed to the shack.
A witch lives there. She gave me the ring as a gift for helping the town. She also gave me these. I took out the spell book and the scrolls. She looked at the book in complete awe.
A book of Necromancy? Wow. She gave me a questioning look. Are you sure you can handle magic of this power? She opened the book and looked at the strange words that would unlock the powers of the dead. I smiled at her.
You have no idea how much power lies within these bones. I said. I closed my eyes and spread my arms in front of me.
Ack-Tyliahsk Demviozlich. I chanted four times, each time putting emphasis on different syllables. By then, I was so far into the magic that Schala wasnt even there. Nobody was, but everyone had gathered around me, watching in awe. Strong winds swirled around me, making my cloak flutter behind me. The clouds in the sky turned black, and rain began to pour. Lightning struck the ground near me, causing many around me to jump back in surprise. The earth split open beneath my feet, and I floated above the crevasse through use of the wind. Fire crackled and blazed out of the crack. Finally, darkness flew over me like a swarm of insects. Then, as the spell ended, the darkness disappeared, the clouds parted, the winds died, and the crack in the earth closed. I landed on the ground and opened my eyes.
The elements are mine to command. I said simply. Schala stared wide-eyed at me.
I-Ive never seen power like that! She gasped. I put a hand on her shoulder and, due to the exhaustion from using the extreme spell, collapsed unconsious into her arms.
Oh, dear God! Schala said, looking at her brothers limp form. Wha-What happened? Whats wrong with him?
Wizards, Adria said as she joined the others, Need either rest or a potion to stay conscious after using their magical energy. Your brother has fallen due to exhaustion. I must say, though, a lesser wizard would have never finished the spell alive. He holds the most magical power I have ever seen.
Will he be okay?
Certainly. Given a day or so, he will be perfectly fine. I must insist that he take many Mana potions with him into the labyrinth. As the potion enters the bloodstream, it will give enough energy for him to use his spells again. If he doesnt, he will need to rest again. Make sure he takes these. She gave Schala a large pouch of potions. The liquid had a dark blue color to it. Laying Janus on the ground, she put the pouch into one of his pockets.
Help me take him to his room. She said to Glenn and Crono, who lifted their leader by his arms and half dragged, half carried him into the tavern and up the stairs to his room (the stairs proved near impossible). Once Janus was lying on his bed, Schala dismissed the two warriors and sat down in a chair and took her brothers hand in her own. She noticed he was so much more at peace when asleep, or unconsious in this particular case.
She yawned. Watching Janus sleep so deeply, she grew tired. Yawning again, she lay her head on the mattress, still holding his hand.
I woke from what seemed like oblivion with bright morning sunlight shining through the open window on my face. Looking around, I noticed that Schala was asleep at my bedside. Her hand was open near mine. Taking it gently, I shook her arm a little.
Schala. I whispered. Hey, Schala. Wake up, sis. She raised her head and blinked a few times, adjusting to the bright light. She smiled in relief to see I was awake.
That spell was incredible, but it drained your power. You were unconsious for the rest of the day, and through the night. She informed. I shrugged. It really wasnt a big deal to me. I began to laugh.
What is it? Whats so funny?
I can just imagine who carried me up here. I said when I found time to speak. Schala laughed too. Then, looking out the window, she gasped, and smiled at me. She beckoned me to the window. I walked to her, and she pointed out the window.
Look. She said simply, and I did. Outside, near the healers house, I could see Nightsong walking around experimentally; still disoriented from the attack she had suffered. Still, she was walking, which meant that she was doing better. Grasping my cloak from a hook near my bed, I draped it over myself and left the room. Schala followed me. Jumping down the stairs, my feet never touching one, I passed the surprised Glenn sitting at the bar and went out the door. Seeing me, Nightsong walked over. I noticed a slight limp, but didnt say anything as she approached.
I see youre doing better, Nightsong. I said. She smiled and nodded proudly.
I cant fly again yet, but Pepin says that I should be able to in a couple of days if I exercise my wings a bit. I did get the armor back, though. Its over there. She gestured toward it with one claw. I walked to it, and picked up my sword. Unsheathing it, I swung it in the air a bit, more out of habit than anything. The blade whistled in the air as I cleaved the air. Schala walked up to me and watched. I stopped when I noticed her gaze upon me, and turned to face her.
Schala? Ive been meaning to ask you something. Why were you in the forest of Westmarch anyway? It was a simple question, one out of general curiosity, and that was why I was so shocked at her response to it. Her face paled to the point where I thought she would lose consciousness.
I I wanted to go to Tristram She said when she was able to speak.
To Enter the labyrinth. And before you say anything, you should know why. Do you know the name of your father?
Um I scratched my chin, trying to remember. Le Leo
Leoric. His name was Leoric. And, unlike what you believe, which is that he died when you were born, he disappeared. His body was never found. I know what happened. He fled our kingdom, and entered this country.
So My father, Leoric, is here?
Did you say Leoric?! I heard Cain gasp as he ran up to me. Did you say Leoric was your father? He was pale and out of breath, and I wondered why it was so shocking.
Was? He is my father. I said, crossing my arms. And why is it so important?
Leoric is our king! He died three years ago, driven mad by the loss of his son, our prince, Albrecht. His generals, in hopes that he would find peace, killed him. But if what you say is true, then the entire empire of Westmarch is yours!
Oh? I asked, smiling. That would mean The two most powerful empires in existence would be at my command!
What? The Mystics have never fallen before. How would you gain control of them? Magus would never surrender to one man. Cain obviously had never seen Magus before. I smiled at his praise that was, though unknowingly, directed at me.
Cain. I already control the Mystic Armies. I am Magus. I said proudly. Cain was taken aback by this sudden realization.
I apologize, my lord. He said, blushing in shame.
Id rather you not show any formalities toward me, Cain. I do this out of generosity, not because I intended to take over Westmarch. And I can assure you, that if I do end up ruling this country, you will not be harmed in any way. Your village will be left at peace, because I will not even consider revealing my heritage until Diablo is banished from this realm. And, continue to call me Janus, please.
O-Of course. I apologize. Its just that I didnt know that you were Well
I know. It doesnt matter.
My children. You are close. So very close. Join me
Hearing that voice, I looked around for the speaker, though no one had even said a word. Schala was looking around too, so it was easy to determine who was speaking to us.
Leoric I murmured.
Father. Schala said. Reaching out involuntarily, she held out her hand. I grasped it reassuringly. She gave me a slight smile, drawing closer. She was frightened, as I could tell.
I can give you anything, my children: Power, wealth, immortality even. If only you join me
Id rot in hell before I gave in to your temptation, Father! I snarled.
Then so be it! My master will make sure that both of you will live eternally in the depths of Hell, tortured daily!
Dont you threaten Schala, Damn you! I swear to God if you ever hurt Schala in any way possible you will rot in Hell!
Is that a threat?
Youre damn right its a threat! I was steaming angry now. I clenched and unclenched my hands and my breath was heavy.
I have more power than you, Son. I could kill her now, without even being there.
But you wont.
You wont kill her, because you fear me.
I fear nothing!
You fear me. Because you know that I would give anything for Schala.
Oh, Everything? Are you so sure about that?
As sure as my hair is long, Damn it! Id sell my soul so that she would live! And if you dont believe me, then look into my heart if youre so powerful!
Do you mock me?
What is there to mock? Youre nothing! Nothing!!
Janus! Little brother, please. Schala shook my arm. I looked at her. She was crying. Tears ran from her silver eyes. Stop. Calm down.
I am calm. I said, waving my hand in dismissal. She still looked at me, skeptical. Damn Leoric. I muttered. I take it you heard the little argument by the look on your face.
Yes, I did. She said simply. I shrugged and walked over to Nightsong, who was still near the healer.
Were going to enter the labyrinth as soon as you can fly again, Girl. Keep trying, alright? She nodded, and spread her wings, wincing in pain. A slight groan escaped her lips as she began to flap them.
Dont stress yourself. I said, leaving. Schala looked at her in worry.
Shell be fine. I said. Shes handled a lot for her years, and exercise isnt going to hurt her. I looked back to see that she was now trying to jump upward, attempting to fly. I smiled, and turned back to Schala.
You prepared for this, Schala? Do you have your Magic ready?
Yeah. Im as ready as Ill ever be. She replied. Satisfied, I went back to my room at the inn to study.
Garnet had been preoccupied ever since reaching Tristram. All her thoughts were centered on Magus and she couldnt figure out why. Clarine, her older cousin, had said she was in love. Well, lust is what she said, but Garnet was pretty sure that it had more to it than physical attraction. His serious expression, his piercing eyes, his blue, flowing hair, all these things captivated her. Now, if it were only lust, then why would his eyes have anything to do with it? She couldnt figure that out, and didnt particularly want to.
Wandering around her aunts small cottage, she was once again thinking of Magus, so much that she almost walked into Clarine, who was bringing out a small lunch for the two of them.
That sorcerer on your mind again, Cousin? She asked teasingly with a sly smile on her lively face. Garnet blushed. Ah, so I was right. You were thinking about him. You know, if you cant get him off your mind, maybe you should talk to him.
I couldnt do that! She snapped. What would he think of me?
Hed think you were brave for speaking from your heart. Im sure that underneath that armor is a warm-hearted, caring person. You just need to lure him out.
Sure. Go on. She practically pushed Garnet out the door and towards the inn. She stopped and began to turn back. She wasnt ready for this. But, Clarine had already closed and locked the door. She sighed heavily and let her shoulders droop. She let her feet drag through the dirt until she reached the inn. She opened the door and pulled herself up the staircase and into Magus room, knowing which one it was only by the fact it was open. His feet were propped up on the desk in the corner, leaning back and studying. She was about to leave, when he looked up and noticed her.
Garnet was paler than when Id first seen her. Something was on her mind, and I wanted to know what.
Whats up, Garnet? You look sick.
N-No. Im fine. I wanted to See you.
Why? Something wrong?
No. I just cant get you out of my mind. Im always thinking of you and Well, I think I love you.
What?! I gasped. I jumped back and fell off the chair I was sitting in. My spell book fell to the floor along with me. Ashamed at this shock, I rose to my feet and tried to look dignified. Garnet was looking at the floor, tears dripping onto the floor by her feet. I walked to her and put an arm around her shoulder.
Hey, whats wrong? I asked, lifting her chin so that she was facing me. Her sparkling eyes, which were probably responsible for her name, looked straight into my soul. Its okay. I admire your courage. It probably took a lot to admit that.
It did. B-But if you dont want to Then Ill understand.
Oh, I wouldnt dream of refusing you.
Really? You mean it?
Would I lie to you?
I-I dont know, I mean I
Dont worry about it. I was joking. I may be a heartless warlord, but we Mystics do have a sense of honor, and we dont lie. I assured her. She smiled shyly. I pulled her close and kissed her forehead. Leaning her head on my chest, she began to cry. I stroked her black hair until she had control of herself. She lifted her head and kissed me softly. You okay now? I asked. She nodded. Good. Because we need to prepare.
We? She asked, confused. You mean Me?
Yes. Now, lets go see the others, beloved.
Oh, okay. She said, grasping my hand. I opened the door with a wave of my hand, just to show off, and descended the stairs to the tavern, where everyone had settled down, having a drink.
Hi, Janus. Schala said, waving. I waved back, and sat down at the bar.
Whatll you have? Asked the barkeep.
Liquor. I said simply. He nodded and left. A few minutes later, he came back with the drink. I downed it quickly. Wiping my mouth with one gloved hand, the other ventured toward the magical scythe hanging at my belt, then to the long sword on the other side. This was going to be a long journey. And I knew that we werent all going to make it out alive
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