Fire rained from the sky. Blood curdling howls and screams echoed through the abandonned streets. The heartbeat of massive wings pushing through the air soon drowned out everything. From his elevated position Orin could see everything, the downfall of a once majestic republic and the birth of an empire.
Orin's blade was soaked with blood, some of it was human the rest dragon. He stood next to his own dragon, Uruse, who was clad in golden armor with blood dripping from his maw. Orin was the Supreme Mage of this land, but even the most powerful mage in the world could not stop the monstrosity that came today.
The fire that was only concentrated in a few areas soon washed over the entire city, leaving the nation's capital in a fire storm. Even with the efforts of water Mages the heat could not be quelled. The cries of men and dragons who were being slaughtered ripped through the momentary silence. The last of the Vanguards had been annihilated and all that stood between Ragnos and total supremacy was Orin and Uruse.
Orin was old, so old in fact he forgot his exact age. He had lived for centuries, and through this time he had seen many corrupt mages and sorcerors, he had never seen one get power however. This is why mages were taken from a young age, so they could be taught the right moral changes, some of them however learned to tamper with darker arts, and the overwhelming power corrupted them.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, Orin thought as Uruse pumped his wings and they soared over the city. The crackle of unnatural lightning could be heard in the distance. And on the horizon of the raging flames a shadow emerged, its wings pushed it upward and soon it met Uruse's level in the sky. The black figure was about Uruse's size, which happened through forbidden magic.
This black dragon seemed to be Uruse's opposite who had golden scales. Riding on the colossal beast's back was Ragnos, the monster that inspired this Coup D'Etat and killed all of his friends and students.
Ragnos met Orin's glare with a crazed smile, "Well met Supreme Mage." the unholy figure said in a mocking tone.
"There is nothing well about this encounter.", Orin said as he raised his golden sword preparing for a battle. Orin attempted to reach Uruse's thoughts but the dragon was so enraged that he had completely blocked his master out.
The black dragon was wearing dark silver armor, and its teeth were drenched in the blood of his allies. It seemed to carry the same perverse grin as its master. "How could you destroy everything?!" Orin attempted to keep an even tone but failed at the thought of the circumstances.
"Enough talk, let us finish this. I took long enough discussing this with the Vanguard commander.", Ragnos' smile turned to a scowl and the black dragon let out a ferocious roar.
"You are a fool Ragnos. If only I had taught you better." Orin waved his hand and the flames in the city soon gathered around Ragnos and his dragon. Orin clenched his fist and the fire lept inward at the two. Ragnos easily blew the fire away by waving his arms.
"Such weak magic, how could you ever hope to best me?" Ragnos asked while concentrating his power in his hand.
"Manipulation of the elements takes the least strength, I have to conserve mine in order to end this." Orin felt Ragnos concentrating his power and erected a makeshift barrier around Uruse.
"You still have delusions of victory?!" Ragnos laughed, almost hysterically and unleashing his magic. Dark flames erupted from his palm and smashed into Orin's barrier. The barrier held for the duration of the attack and then collapsed, Orin's strength diminished and he found himself gasping for air when the attack finished.
"You're too old to face me Orin, enough of this. If you surrender I will kill you quickly.", Ragnos said in a sickly merciful tone.
The supreme Mage finally caught his breath, "I will end this....even if I have to use my Yuris."
Ragnos suddenly took a defensive stance and fear took hold in his once proud eyes. Orin reached deep down in his conscious mind and pulled out his final attack. His ace up the sleeve, the Yuris. He immediately felt the surge of power, and his physical form began to glow. Uruse calmed down enough to tell relay the telepathic message, Goodbye master. The dragon flew towards Ragnos, flames erupting from his mouth. Orin concentrated his ability and aimed it at Ragnos, with an open hand he released all of his power in the form of lightning and fire. Ragnos struggled against the power, and in his struggle he withdrew his barrier. Allowing Orin to attack his dragon, the magic overwhelmed the young dragon and it fell rapidly towards the ground bringing Ragnos with it.
Orin stemmed the flow of magic from his Yuris, and felt complete exhaustion as he did so. All he wanted to do was lay down and sleep but he knew he had to stay up and finish this. Ragnos let out a cry of anguish as the mental partner he had since he was a child had died. Uruse landed next to the fallen dragon, and Ragnos stood up raising his blade blade towards them.
Uruse roared and the ground trembled under his massive body. Orin felt his mind slipping from his body, he was going to die but he needed to finish off Ragnos first. Ragnos backed away and soon a black aura surrounded him, Orin saw this and raced towards him in a panic. He needed to finish this before he awakened it.
If he could make it there fast enough Orin could finish this, but if he used his Yuris then Orin would surely die. Ragnos exploded with power and his physical features began to change, he sprouted wings and his skin turned black. The evil Mage had become a demon towards all of humanity, Ragnos screamed and sunk his black sword into Orin's chest. The blow was so fast Orin couldn't defend himself, but he felt the pain in his chest. Uruse let out an angry cry and attacked Ragnos, but he too was stopped when Ragnos quickly raked his blade across the dragon's neck.
Blood from both Uruse and Orin drenched the ground and as Ragnos returned to his human form Orin's vision faded into the darkness. "Gods help us now..." Orin whispered as he forfeited his mind to the shadows.
A cool but refreshing breeze brushed along the landscape. A cloudless sky with a bright sun at its center gave the illusion of a peaceful day. This bliss illusion was cut short by a fireball that exploded upon contact with a rock. Aedan felt the heat wash over him as he rolled away from the epicenter of the explosion.
Too close for comfort, he thought. Aedan was a young mage who was experiencing one of his many tests. "You're form is sloppy!" the instructor yelled at Aedan.
The mage instructor began to create another fireball, this one more poweful than the last; Aedan saw him focusing his energy and gave a silent curse. The fireball leapt from the mage's hand and quickly hovered over the ground towards Aedan, this time however he was able to create a barrier barely powerful enough to deflect the blast. An immediate dip in Aedan's strength followed the collision, "Very good" the baldy instructor said.
Aedan fell to one knee and watched his instructor, he did not like any of his teachers but this one was the worst. All of them seemed to dislike him, but then again he was not the best mage here. As he watched sunlight dance upon the teacher's hairless head he struggled to remember the guy's name. "Well Aedan that was a decent start, but this is our last class together." The man had a stern look on his face even saying goodbye, "Tomorrow you will pick your specialty, and you will be assigned to a master. Good luck in your journeys."
Aedan gave a quick good bye and headed off towards the school itself. Although it wasn't so much a school as it was a prison for mages. The main building was a tall spire that was largely extended into seperate buildings at its base. The school itself was surrounded by mountains that created a natural boundary between the mages and the rest of the world.
Aside from this boundary there was a constant perimeter of soldiers that were trained in countering magic that were stationed outside the mountains and withing the schools itself. No one was getting out of here unless the King wanted it. This made Aedan wonder why a mage as powerful as King Ragnos would keep the mages so locked up. If an uprising occured he could end it single-handedly. The King kept a tight grip on anyone in Vernos with power, either political or physical. Some of the people with more power claim he's a tyrant and went insane before his reign began almost a century ago. The King had visited the school a couple of times, mostly to elect people into his Black Guard, an elite group of mages who protect the King himself. However everytime he visits he is adorned in black armor with silver details, an odd choice for royalty in general.
However whenever the King made these personal visits Aedan always had an apprehensive feeling gripping at his stomach, no even deeper than that. Whatever it was always chilled him to the bone and he tried to stay far away when the King arrived. He asked his teachers why he had such a feeling and some said it was because he was so powerful, while others hinted at a darker part of Ragnos that dwelled deep inside.
With a quick shake of his head Aedan brought himself back to reality, he found himself wandering the halls of the schools. The halls were dimly lit giving an eery but serene atmosphere. He passed many people in the hallways as he made his way to his room, most of them teachers others were guards. He only spotted a few students carrying tomes or scrolls from one place to another, each of them too busy to talk.
Aedan barely managed his way up the stairs to the student rooms, he pushed himself down the hall and into his room. The room was dark despite the time of day and empty. Mages not assigned to masters had to share rooms, and Aedan shared his with two others. One of them was named Alim, a short but lanky kid who excelled at healing spells. The other was Ulrek, the top mage in the school. Ulrek and Aedan had a childish rivalry since they were focusing their magic in the same areas. But Ulrek was always the more powerful one, always the one to get all the attention and honors, Aedan always felt a little jealous but he managed to keep others from seeing it.
Aedan collapsed onto his bed, he did not even bother to change his dirty clothes he just closed his eyes and slept. Thoughts raced through his head, all of them were concerned with what his specialty would be.
I could be a Warmage, but that means immediate drafting into the military. Perhaps an Arcane Mage? No too much research. Sorceror? Nah. He was struggling to make up his mind, and then his childhood fantasy beagn to play through his head again. He would walk into that hall and look the Dragon Master straight in the eyes and demand to be a Dracomage. The Dragon Master would be so impressed by his audacity that he would have to accept him.
A practical thought, Aedan gave a faint smile. There has not been a Dracomage picked in over 50 years. This was odd because Aedan had read that long ago there were many Dracomages, in fact they ruled all of Vernos. What happened? Aedan thought.
There was always a gap in the historic tomes between that time and Ragnos' rule. But he dispelled any notions of conspiracies and returned to his thoughts of Dracomages. They were the most powerful mages in existence, their own natural abilities were boosted extensively by the joining with a dragon. And they gained new physical abilities such as super strength and improved senses. They truly were beings of legend, which is why he wanted to be one. But he had his doubts about anyone being picked to be a Dracomage, never mind himself.
His thoughts slipped away and he fell into a deep sleep. Aedan woke up a few hours later, although he had no idea what time of day it was in his own daze. He got out of bed and stretched, letting out a few yawns as he made his way over to his chest of clothes. He grabbed a fresh pair of pants and a light tunic and made his way to the hallway. As he neared the doorway he heard talking, and the closer he got the more voices he heard. He finally stepped out of the room and saw a crowd of people standing around someone. Aedan managed to nudge his way through the tight group only to spot Ulrek holding a piece of paper.
Ulrek looked up at Aedan and gave a wide grin, "Look who woke up to see my success!" he said excitedly.
Aedan raised an eyebrow and pointed to the piece of paper, "What's that?"
Ulrek handed the paper to him and said, "I've been elected into the Black Guard, I'm one of the elites now."
Ulrek spoke the truth, this was a letter signed by the Head Mage and issued by the Black Guard Captain to have Ulrek conscripted after he was assigned to a specialty.
"So you'll be leaving tomorrow?" Aedan asked.
"Yep", Ulrek pulled the paper out of Aedan's hands and examined it over and over again.
"What's your specialty gonna be?"
Ulrek looked up once more and replied, "Probaly a Warmage, I was gonna do Arcane mage but the spell research would be too much for me."
Aedan looked around at all of the students that were gawking at Ulrek's success. Jealousy sparked a wild thought in Aedan, and without fully thinking it through he blurted out something, "Well if you're going to be in the Black Guard then I guess I'll have to be a Dracomage."
All of the young mages sat in the large Proving Hall in the center of the spire. The room had a large ceiling and a circular form, it walls were adorned with pictures and glyphs of mages past. On these walls were torches that gave the room the same eery light as the rest of the tower.
Aedan was placed near the center where the Mage Masters were placed to speak to everyone about specialties. The Head Mage, Jorin was speaking, although the old man was so boring Aedan kept dozing off during his speech. Jorin was an Arcane Mage, which means he specialized in the use of channeling magic into powerful and involved spells. Jorin was a kind Mage, but he was absurdly boring, his monotonous voice was enough to put even the most vigilant warrior to sleep.
There were 9 Masters in the center of the room, each one stood for one of the special areas of magic. These areas are Arcane Magic, War Magic, Healing or Benevolent Magic, Sorcery, Elemental Magic, Nature Magic, Chaotic Magic, Summoning Magic, and of course Draconic Magic. Aedan looked at each master, they were all so different. The Arcane Mage was dressed in a blue robe with glyphs that ran along its hem, the man wore a large necklace with a sapphire pendant. The War Mage wore dark silver armor, with a sword by his side. The sword however was not a normal blade it was red with black veins that ran from the hilt to the tip of the blade, a magic aura could be felt around it.
The Healing Mage was not very interesting, he carried a book and wore a green robe. The sorceror wore dark robes but had a silver chestplate on, his staff has a massive piece of Onyx at the end of it. It was surrounded by a darker type of magic than any of the other items here. The Elemental Mage was interesting merely in his aura, it was so large that Aedan had a hard time discerning its boundaries. He had once heard that Elemental Mages are constantly in touch with the environment and the elements around them, it appeared to be true. The man himself wore light armor and carried a metal staff with a small blade at its tip. The nature mage was odd, he looked younger than the rest of the mages, in fact on closer inspection this mage seemed to be an elf. An oddity indeed since they never leave the boundaries of their country.
The chaos mage was frightening in his aura, it was black and cold. Not only that it seemed to be alive, like something was inside him. The mage had red irises and pale white skin. Aside from that he was dressed in pure black armor, and wielded a Scythe, truly a bringer of death. The Summoning Mage carried a spellbook, and wore a belt that was fitted with brilliant gemstones, his aura was a calm and serene one. Other than that he was unremarkable.
Aedan's eyes fell on the last mage, his heartbeat picked up. The last Mage was the Dracomage, the Dragon Master. This mage was dressed in white and silver armor, his skin was tanned and he had short black hair. On his back rested two swords, and from their auras Aedan could tell they held great power. The man had a strangely benevolent aura for a fierce warrior, it was warm and inviting but wise and experienced. The man had his arms crossed and was waiting patiently until Jorin was done with his speech.
It did not take too much longer until the Masters began to speak, students were assigned to masters while others chose of their own free will. Soon there were only a few students left, Ulrek and Aedan were still waiting. Ulrek nudged Aedan, "Now's your chance to become a Dracomage."
Aedan ignored his attempts to taunt him and stayed focused on the Dragon Master. He had picked no one yet and was standing, almost waiting for something. Jorin moved over to Ulrek and Aedan, "You two still haven't decided?"
Ulrek scratched his head, "Well I was thinking about War magic..."
Jorin then turned his gaze on Aedan, "And you?"
Aedan was so fixated on the Dragon Master he almost did not hear the question. Jorin did not wait for an answer he followed Aedan's gaze and saw what he really wanted. "You might be a decent mage Aedan...but I don't think that's really fit for you. It's dangerous and hard to master."
Aedan stood up and stretched his legs, "Well I've always been up for a challenge."
Jorin seem displeased, "Why don't you speak with the Arcane Master, that would be a good choice."
Aedan did not have time to protest before Jorin was pulling him over. Ulrek had already left to the War Mage, leaving Aedan to deal with this himself. The Arcane Mage was an older man, perhaps older than Jorin; it was hard to tell. Jorin then addressed him, "I have another student for you here..."
The old man looked at Aedan and then gave a slight smile. "Good we needed one more anywa-"
"Excuse me but I have something to ask." a deep voice said from behind Aedan.
Aedan turned and saw the glittering white armor of the Dragon Master, his heart leapt in his chest. "I'm sorry to intrude but I believe this student might be more fit..." the Dracomage started and Jorin gave an annoyed glance.
"Aedan is not fit to be a Dracomage." Jorin said sharply.
The Dragon master seemed to be a lot younger than Jorin, and Aedan was sure that age would be the deciding factor here. "I'll be the judge of that" the Dragon Master replied.
"Aedan" he continued, "If you would please go stand over there."
Aedan followed the man's orders, unsure of what to expect. But the further he went from the mass of students, the more he noticed that he had the attention of almost everyone in the room, including Ulrek. The Dragon Master lifted his left hand and pointed it Aedan, from his hand shot a blue fireball. It was fast, almost too fast but Aedan's instincts kicked in and he raised as powerful of a barrier as he possibly could.
But this fireball was different, it held no heat but did not explode upon contact either. The barrier was sapping Aedan's stength and as the minutes past the fireball turned into an inferno that surrounded Aedan continually attacking his barrier. Soon it bacame too much and the barrier dropped, and so did the flames. The Jorin and everyone in the room was staring at Aedan in utter amazement. The Dragon Master smirked, "12 Minutes" he said to Jorin.
Aedan had no idea what was going on and his confusion grew as the strength it took to hold the barrier diminished. He collapsed to the ground, his eyes heavy with exhaustion, everyone in the room raced towards him. The Dracomage reached him first to check if Aedan was ok, and then he whispered, "Welcome to the order of the Dragon."
Aedan awoke to a dark room, sweat was beading on his forehead and shivers travelled through hiss body. His heartbeat was going dangerously fast and he could not help but pant heavily. A small shimmer of moonlight came through the window next to Aedan's bed and he could faintly make out a figure sitting across the room. He regained his composure enough to pose a question, "H-Hello?"
The figure stood up and stepped into the faint moonlight "Hello Aedan" the man replied. The figure slowly developed into the Dracomage, still wearing his white armor from before. Thoughts were racing through Aedan's head, they were going by so fast that Aedan almost passed out again. He kept himself awake by propping himself up with his elbow and then wiped the sweat off his forehead.
"You might not have heard me before but I wish to welcome you to the Dracomages, we are few now and need every recruit we can get."
A cool breeze washed through the room, Aedan slowly sat up and then threw his feet over the side of the bed. With his head in the palm of his hands he tried to recall the events before he passed out. In fact the only thing he did remember clearly was the welcome.
The Dracomage gave a small chuckle, "You remind me of the first time I overstepped my boundaries with a spell."
Aedan struggled to look up at the man but a wave of nausea washed over him and he almost vomitted right there. The dracomage extended a hand but Aedan ignored it and pushed himself up, "Willpower that's a good trait in a Dracomage.", the man stepped back to give Aedan room but close enough to catch him if he fell.
"I don't believe I was able to introduce myself before...I am Toryn, the Dragon Master." he said.
Aedan was starting to feel normal again and stood up straight "So I-I'm really a Dracomage?"
"Of course, you are the only mage in this building that carries the proper..." Toryn hesistated "Traits."
Traits huh?, Aedan thought knowing the Dracomage was hiding something.
"Well Aedan if you're feeling better then we can leave."
"W-What?" Aedan said still not comprehending the situation.
"Aedan if we are to start your training then we must leave immediately.", Toryn said sternly.
"But I haven't left the tower my entire life, where would we go?"
"We are going to travel north to the Dracomage fortress. From there we will begin your initiation and have you bonded to a Dragon." Toryn walked to the door, "Gather your things and meet me at the school entrance."
Aedan could barely believe what was happening, on one hand he was excited to become a Dracomage but on the other he was frightened to leave the school itself, he knew nothing else but this place, it was his world. He started to throw his clothes and a few other things in his bag when Ulrek walked into the room.
"Well look at you, a Dracomage." Ulrek said.
Aedan smirked, "Told you."
Ulrek laughed "I guess you did."
They both stood there in the dark for a while, the silence was awkward but yet familiar. This could be the end of their friendship, or the beginning of an entire new struggle. The future was not easy to predict.
Ulrek was the first to break the silence "Look at us a Black Guard and a Dracomage and we can't even say bye."
They both laughed and Aedan picked up his bag and headed for the door, "Good luck" he said as he passed Ulrek.
"Same to you." Ulrek said and they departed ways.
In a sense the detatchment from his friend made this exit easier. Aedan walked down the hall, students were watching him and whispering to each other. Others were bold enough to congradulate him or wish him luck. This was a huge event, a Dracomage wasn'y chose in over half a century and now one of the most unlikely students was chosen to be one of the most prestigious figures in Vernos.
He descended the stairs that lead to the main hall, here he saw all of his old teachers standing ready to wish him luck, at the end of the hall stood Toryn and a massive dark blue dragon. Every teacher wanted to shake his hand or pat him on the back, and everytime he talked to one he was more anxious to leave. He reached the endless line of instructors and finally met Jorin, who was smiling.
Jorin reached into a bag and handed an object wrapped in a cloth to Aedan, "If you're going to be a Dracomage you're going to need an adequate weapon."
Aedan pulled back the cloth to reveal a lump of metal, at first it seemed to be just that but with closer inspection and the view with a magic eye it was alive. The metal held a powerful magical aura and its aura was shifting and reacting to Aedan's. "W-What is this?" he asked in utter amazement.
"It is what we call the Polonus Ore. It was found in a meteor that struck the nation's capital centuries ago." Jorin said.
Aedan recognized the name Polonus, he was told to be the first mage who saved the world from evil and corruption by using power the gods had given him.
"We have saved this ore for a special occasion, and I believe you are fit to have it. Once you find a suitable weaponsmith give them this ore and they shall craft a weapon of legend."
Aedan gave a quick goodbye and walked to Toryn, "Ready?" the Dracomage asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be." Aedan replied.
Almost on instinct the dragon knelt down to allow Aedan and Toryn to climb onto its back. Aedan hesitated a little and Toryn reassured him "Trust me, she doesn't want to hurt you, she's as intelligent as any of us maybe even more so."
The dragon gave a low hum to display its pleasure. And the two mages climbed onto its back. The large animal backed out of the hall and outside of the tower, it raised its massive wings and pushed down to create a mighty typhoon in the dragon's wake. It lifted into the air and headed north towards Aedan's future.
Riding on a dragon was surreal, the landscape raced by below and the air blew heavily on Aedan. Toryn occassionally turned to ask Aedan if everything was fine but other than that the trip was mostly silent. Aedan preferred the silence though, it gave him time to give himself mental closure. I'll go back when my training is done, Aedan told himself.
There was a sudden change in the air, it was cooler and more dry. Aedan was not used to the cooler temperature and pulled his clothes closer to his body. Toryn turned his head, "Don't worry the cold isn't so bad when you get used to it."
They flew for a while, it must have been hours since their departure from the tower. Aedan was looking at a map and their destination was almost on the opposite side of the nation. The fortress was called Gornuk, the ancient Dwarven word for power as Toryn told him. It was told to be the oldest structure in Vernos, made back in days where magic was not so common and Dwarves, Elves, and Humans lived in harmony. Centuries ago.
Toryn's dragon was named Rynne. The massive dragon seemed to express human emotions and responded when Toryn talked. Its intelligence was otherworldly. Aedan thought of dragons as weapons exploited by mages but the more he observed Toryn and Rynne he realized that it was so much more. The thought of being bonded with a dragon gave Aedan an odd feeling but now he was excited to experience it.
Rynne took a sudden dive that scared Aedan, but the dive soon smoothed out and they made a graceful landing on the edge of a small town. Rynne's wings stretched outwards and then they collapsed to her side. Toryn jumped off Rynne and then helped Aedan off, "We will be spending the night here, Gornuk is still many hours away and we don't have much daylight left." Toryn patted Rynne's side, "Instead I will use what's left of our time to try and teach you a few things."
Aedan nodded in acknowledgement and followed Toryn as he moved along the outskirts of the village towards a clearing in the forest. "First" he said "I would like to know you better"
They stopped in the forest clearing and Toryn began to question Aedan on various things about his life.
"How old are you?" he started with.
"16" Aedan answered.
"Where are your parents?"
Aedan never knew his parents, he was found by Jorin as a child outside the Tower's mountains. Anything before that was too distant for him to remember. "I don't know" the answer came after a long pause.
Toryn sensed the sensitive subject matter and did not push it further. Instead he changed the subject "How much do you know about mages?"
Aedan raised an eyebrow at the question "What do you mean?"
Toryn sighed "I was hoping we could just skip this part...do you know why you have the ability to use magic?"
"Because I was born that way..." Aedan was puzzled at the nature of the question.
"But why?" Toryn said still adament to receive the answer he wanted.
"I don't know."
Toryn walked around a bit, Rynne was watching his movements. "Let me tell you a story."
"From the beginning of our kind we have received these abilities not unlocked them." Toryn crossed his arms "We are not special in the sense that we have unlocked something dormant in our nature."
Aedan was still very confused, "Well then how do we use magic?"
"Our abilities come from spirits." Toryn said.
"What does that mean?" Aedan still did not get what the Dragon Master was trying to say.
"From birth mages are bonded with spirits, this is what gives us our ability to manipulate and control the energies of the world." Toryn rubbed the stubble on his chin "Polonus was the first human mage, but he wasn't the first mage. Centuries before him there was a race that ruled all of this world, perhaps even the other realms as well. They were powerful and intelligent. Today we refer to them as the Lost Deities, some of them still exist in spiritual and in physical form. In fact we know of 23 existing ones in this realm, all of them are in a deep slumber however and from what we have heard they were malevolent figures."
Toryn reached into a pack on the side of Rynne and pulled out a large book, "This is a story of how we came to be. Briefly...it explains how Polonus found the arts of the Lost Deities and managed to bond himself to one. With the power of a god and the mind of a human he beagn to wipe out the corrupt Deities, killing them all for the terrible deeds they had committed. The rest he banished to eternal slumber. He became a hero to all of the species in this world as he freed them from oppression. But he too became a burden on the free world, so his apprentice followed in his footsteps and managed to bond himself to a Deity as well. This deity however had special abilities, and so Orin the first Dragon Master was born. He managed to overthrow Polonus and slew him at Gornuk. Orin then created a spell so powerful that it combined the realm of man and the realm of spirits to the point where the mages we know today were born. We still do not know how this happened but the spirits from that realm are now attracted to our souls, binding with only those able to bear the burden. Those bound with spirits who cannot control them become Fiends, they are true abominations in this world, but enough of that for now."
Aedan was having a hard time swallowing this information. Lost gods and corrupt rulers? Was this all true?
He took the book graciously and ravenously skimmed through the pages looking for confirmation on the take he just heard. Toryn laughed at Aedan's curiosity.
"I did the same the first time I heard it." Toryn said still chuckling, "As we train what I told you will become more clear. But for now read the legend and become more aquainted with the idea of what being a mage means."
The once abundant sunlight sank below the horizon and sunset turned to night. Toryn lead Aedan into the village, a few people were on the street but they all seemed to be friendly. They made their way to the village inn, where a husky man greeted them from behind the bar. "How can i help you men tonight?"
"We would like to rent a room for the night." Toryn said with the same tone he was greeted with.
"Alright that will be 4 gold for the two o' ya." the man said with a grin breaking through his thick beard.
Toryn handed the man the coins and followed his directions up the stairs. Aedan followed close behind but kept thumbing through the book finding gold mines of information on each page, he could scarcely believe all of this. He had a spirit inside of him.
The room was pretty large considering the size of the inn. There were two beds, and Aedan placed his bag on one of them and immediately sat down to read. Toryn removed his armor and then turend to Aedan, "There will be time for you to read that when we reach Gornuk, for now get some sleep."
Aedan hesitantly agreed, and blew out the candle on the stand next to his bed. "I can't believe this.." Aedan whispered to himself and then closed his eyes.
A Spirit inside of me, Aedan thought. He let his thoughts wander as his body fell asleep.
The light of dawn flickered through the window. Aedan was pushed awake by Toryn who was already fully dressed and ready to leave. "Get up and get something to eat. I am going to check on Rynne, meet me outside when you're ready."
Aedan rubbed his eyes and yawned. He was always used to early wake up calls, so this did not bother him much. Toryn left the room and shut the door behind him. The room was quiet and peaceful, not at all like the school which was full of activity. In a way Aedan liked the peace, but he missed the company as well. Putting the thoughts out of his mind he got out of bed and pulled out his pack. He reached in and retrieved a piece of bread which he ate as fast as he could. He threw on more suitable clothes and then headed for the door with his things.
Outside Toryn was standing on the outskirts of the village and patting Rynne's side who seemed to be enjoying it. Toryn took his eyes off Rynne and looked at Aedan, "Did you sleep alright?"
"Yes it was quite peaceful" Aedan liked the familiarity from his master but he doubted it would stay much longer, especially when they actually started training.
"Before we take off..." Toryn said as he walked towards the woods "I need to know if you've had any weapon training."
"Weapons? No I've only used staffs to channel my magic." Aedan replied.
Toryn grabbed two thick sticks, and then tossed one to Aedan. "Well if you're going to be a Dracomage you're going to need to know how to fight with weapons as much as with magic."
Aedan held the stick in his right hand, "So we're going to spar with these? What if they break?"
Toryn smirked "They won't."
He raised his hand and a green aura surrounded it, with a bolt of magic his stick changed into a blunt wooden sword. "Manipulation of the elements is the first rule of magic...see if you can change that normal stick into a suitable weapon. I prefer a longsword, so I made one."
Aedan seemed confused at the concept but tied his best to imitate, "Like this?"
He channeled his magic from his center to his hand and envisioned a one-handed sword, he released the magic into the stick and it burst into a green light. The remains of the stick fell into an ashy pile on the ground below Aedan's hand. Toryn laughed at his failure and Aedan was displeased at his master's amusement.
"The key is a balance of magic, to manipulate the elements you need to put in just enough magic to change it but not enough to destroy it." Toryn said.
Aedan found another stick and tried once more, keeping the image of a one-handed sword in his head and trying to find the balance of magic for shape manipulation. He focused longer this time trying to find the perfect amount of magic and then released it into the stick once more. It did not explode this time but rather barely changed at all. The stick only straightened and then took a small point at its tip.
"Try once more, that time you did not put in enough magic." Toryn said.
And once more Aedan attempted to manipulate the stick, channeling his magic, focusing it and then releasing it. The stick took on a sword-like form with distinguishable edges but no noticable hilt.
"Close enough for now." Toryn said "Now we are going to fight until one of us quits, I need to test your prowess in hand-to-hand combat."
Aedan has had no combat training in the past apart from offensive spells. He was nervous when Toryn charged him trying to stand his ground. Toryn swung his sword directly at Aedan, obviously testing his reflexes. His sword was stopped by Aedan's and Toryn smirked, "Good." he said.
Aedan attempted an attack of his own but was forced back to defense by Toryn's superior agility. The fight did not last much longer after that, Aedan managed to block a few more blows but even more hit him. Each blow stung, and each one took more strength out of Aedan. Soon he barely had the ability to lift his makeshift sword.Toryn was stronger and faster than him, and far more experienced. After a minute of losing Aedan submitted. Toryn was not even breathing slightly heavier, he was still calm and relaxed. Aedan was obviously not an opponent for someone on his level.
"Don't beat yourself up, I wasn't picked to be Dragon Master merely because I look good." Toryn said with a reassuring tone, the humor did not hit as intended however and Aedan still thought he should have done better.
"I should have been able to counter attack at least once..." Aedan's voice trailed off as he relived the battle trying to find some opening he could have exploited.
"I have trained with a sword for many decades, you are just learning." the obvious observation was blunt enough to bring Aedan back to reality. "We will train more at Gornuk. There I can teach you more advanced things, like fighting styles and stances."
Aedan nodded and got himself up, he clenched his teeth out of pain as the places where the sword hit each cried in pain. Toryn helped him to get on Rynne and then got up himself. The dragon raised its wings and then pushed down hard enough to lift its massive body into the air. The spectacle of such a large animal flying still amazed Aedan. The dragon flew off towards the mountains in the distance, towards Gornuk.
Aedan used the time in the air to read some of the book Toryn gave him. Since Toryn was sitting in front of him it provided enough resistance to the wind that he could read the book without the wind tearing the pages. He opened up to the first page and beagn to read it.
"A lost culture, a forgotten land, and the long forbidden secrets of Vernos.
Our world was created by beings that are still unknown, of course now we call them 'gods' and worship their mysterious and yet familiar existense. According to our beliefs the entire world was created by the all powerful Idols, who shaped the world in their views. Some of these Idols chose to live in their created realm and others stayed in higher levels of existense.
Those that stayed we called the Lost Deities, who through their own power corrupted each other and this land. Yonor, the most powerful of them ruled the world, using his powers to enslave all humans, elves, and dwarves. He lived in luxury having everything he desired and everything he did not. All of reality was his and he ruled over all realms of the living and the dead.
A being so powerful that even in death you could not escape his grasp. But his bliss existense was but a mere second for an immortal, and the other deities loathed his power. By their magic he was killed, and his body fell upon the north of Vernos, his bones creating the World's Thorns.
Even in the death of a tyrant god there was no freedom, all lesser beings still had to serve mindlessly to their masters who were cold and unforgiving. Their wars for power killed millions, and few of this costly toll was of their own kin.
Thousands of years came to pass where freedom was but a distant dream and the only present was suffering. The most prominent deities were Frast and Lorkin who both commanded the powers of Light and Darkness. The brothers constantly waged wars over territory, destroying everything in their wake with their frightening magics and terrible arts.
They soon began their Deity Civil war, which was so terrible that it destroyed almost all of the dwarves. Frast challenged Lorkin directly and fought him head to head in 7 different realms, and their battle finally concluded in the realm of mortals, our realm. The magics used were of such nature that no mage could ever hope to emulate them. Entire continents swallowed whole by fires, lightning was constantly striking the world, and the oceans raged in the wake of the gods.
The battle eventually reach a conclusion..."
Aedan looked up at his surroundings, they were flying over the mountain range known as the World's Thorns. The sun had reached about midway in the sky and they were finally approaching their destination. Mountains passed below them as they made their way through the chilled air. Aedan was still not used to the frigid temperatures and was shivering quite a bit from the contact with the air.
Rynne stopped flapping her wings and gently descended closer in towards the mountains. She passed between two columns of mountains, and the scenery below them was breathtaking. Green grass was the dominant feature and was occasionally cut off by lakes and rivers that ran rampant between the mountains. If it wasn't for the cooler temperatures from their height Aedan would have enjoyed it.
Rynne swerved between two mountains and headed towards a tall mountain with jagged cliffs. Built into the mountain appeared to be a structure of some sort. As they came closer the structure turned into a castle that rested on a cliff of the tall mountain, the castle was so large however that it merged with the moutain itself at one point. It was amazing to look at, such craftmanship.
In the distance Dragons could be seen circling the mountain itself, Rynne let out a loud roar. Toryn patted her back, "Whoa calm down."
"Amazing..." Aedan managed to say.
Toryn turned to Aedan with a smile on his face, "Welcome to Fort Gornuk."
Rynne's talons clacked upon contact with the stone floor. The main entrance was enormous, it seemed to be able to fit dragons of all sizes, and many of them at that. Toryn was leading Aedan to the Dracomage Elders who were going to decide his fate as a Dracomage. Everytime Aedan pressed Toryn for more information he simply replied, "You'll see."
Putting the frustration aside from his latest attempt he marvelled at the inside of Gornuk. It was massive and had perfectly polished, granite walls. Pictures of dragons and their masters adorned the walls, and each picture had a piece of writing under it that was just scribbles to Aedan. The Polonus Ore in his pack seemed to be going crazy from the amount of magic in this place.
They had been walking for almost a half hour, and saw not a single other mage or Dragon. "Where is everyone?" Aedan asked.
"I told you before we are few in number. Aside from the Elders there are only 10 actual mages here and about 15 apprentices including yourself. There are only 7 mages and apprentices here at the moment however. I will explain more once your bonding has been completed." Toryn replied.
They arrived at a door that spanned the entire wall. It was made of black stoned with veins of red and yellow gemstones within it. Toryn put his hand up to the door and channelled his magic into a large ruby in the center. The stone began to glow with a brilliant red light and then the door split down the middle. There was no line of seperation before, it just appeared in a perfect line. The light traveled from the ruby to the veins which led to smaller stones above the door. As each one lit up the door creaked open and a warm breeze flushed through the opening. On the other side of the door was a large circular room with blue lights on the wall. Upon closer inspection the lights were actually sapphires being illuminated by magic. Aedan could not discern the source of the magic however.
There was a path in front of them that led down to the center of the room, and around the center was a raised granite barrier of sorts. Sitting behind this wall were 12 figures. One of them spoke out "Welcome back Toryn. I see you have found him."
Found? Aedan thought. "Toryn what do they mean 'found'?"
"I'll explain later, for now just listen." Toryn replied in an attempt to quiet him.
The voice echoed out again "Aedan will you please walk into the center."
Aedan swallowed nervously and apprehension gripped at his stomach, he walked forward into the center and three colored orbs were on pedestals in front of him. On the right there was a red one, in the middle a black one, and on the left a green one. Each of them held a great deal of magic, more than anything or anyone Aedan had ever seen.
The same voice came from the elevated position, "Aedan this is where you choose your partner, or rather where your partner chooses you." after a slight pause it continued "Pick up each one individually."
Aedan walked towards the pedestals and picked up the black one, its aura reached out to his but it seemed abrasive and hostile when they touched. It did not seem to fit too well. He moved to the red one, a similar reaction but the aura seemed to retract more than the black one. Aedan moved to the last one and lifted it up. At first he felt no aura so he reached towards the object with his. When it touched the orb it began to glow. A warm light came from within the orb and an aura burst out and attacked Aedan's.
Frightened Aedan put the orb down but the glow did not disappear, nor did the aura. Instead the light grew and its aura grew as well. Cracks appeared on the surface of the orb and light shined out with the intensity of the sun. A piece of the orb flew off and fell to the floor, the aura extended a tendril towards Aedan who resisted it at first and then gently let his guard down. It felt powerful, ancient and yet scared. Aedan walked towards the orb and the light died down, the orb cracked open and it fell to the floor in two halves. Sitting on the pedestal now was a small green dragon.
The dragon was licking itself attempting to get the egg residue off. It looked up at Aedan and then returned to its task. Its color was amazing, it was a deep green that speckled in the artificial light of the room, the dragon's eyes were a darker green that appeared black at first glance. Running fron the top of its head to the base of its tail were ivory colored spikes and at the end of its tail was a piece of hardened skin and bone in the shape of a triangle, the tail spike was completely black and shined in the magic light.
The residue appeared to be completely gone from the dragon and it stood up and stretched its body. It was small and slender, and seemed to be about 2 meters in length. It hopped off the table and approached Aedan, its dark eyes watching him curiously. Aedan cautiously put out his hand to let the dragon sniff it. The dragon rather than sniffing it opened its mouth and bit down on his hand. Aedan yelped in pain and pulled his hand back, he could see his blood on the dragon's teeth. It eye's began to glow and its aura went from restrained to relentless as a surge of magic travelled through the small creature's body.
The pain from the bite intensfied ten fold as the dragon's eyes glowed, and he could feel his own aura wildly reaching out to something, attempting to grab hold of some unseen object. His head began to hurt and his vision blurred, the only pain that disappeared was in his hand. He closed his eyes and grabbed his head, the pain in his head forced him to the ground and while he was there he passed out. The only sensible thought going through his mind was What is happening?
Aedan jolted upwards, he was panting heavily. What happened?, he thought rubbing his head. There was a small pressure down by his legs and he realized that the dragon was there. The green dragon was looking at him, it seemed to have been sleeping. Aedan's mind was fuzzy, he was having troubling thinking clearly, and he was also hearing and seeing things that weren't of his own creation. His mind seemed to wander without him realizing it, no, that was not it, there was something else. More thoughts came when he expressed his confusion.
Another mind was inside his, that was the only explanation. Aedan was losing it, I'm going insane, he thought. Not insane, a voice said.
The dragon cocked its head at him, Aedan laughed, "Are you talking to me?"
Yes, the answer reverberated in his mind.
"No no no this is not happening. How can you talk?" Aedan said with distress in his voice.
The same way you can. Except telepathically we are bonded now. The dragon said.
Aedan's mind was spinning, he was barely used to the fact that he was chosen to be a Dracomage, and now a dragon was talking to him.
"So I'm not crazy?" Aedan said rhetorically but an answer came nonetheless.
For now, no. But keep thinking like that and you will be.
This was so alien to Aedan, he was not used to sharing his thoughts and yet he was plunged into this whole new world. "I'm hungry." Aedan both thought and said.
They brought food. The dragon hopped up and pumped its wings once and landed on a table next to the bed Aedan was lying in. On the table was a tray of meat with a few vegetable. Some of the meat was raw and the dragon pulled it off and began to eat its meal. Aedan pulled a slice of the cooked meat off and crammed it in his mouth. He suddenly realized how hungry he was. "This is good." Aedan said pleasantly surprised.
It is indeed. The dragon swallowed the last of its food and jumped back onto the bed.
Aedan finished soon after and stood up and stretched, at first he stumbled but quickly regained his balance. "How long was I asleep for?"
A week. The dragon said lazily.
"A week?!" Aedan said surprised.
Keep your voice down. The dragon replied.
"Sorry...so do you have a name?" Aedan asked.
A name? The dragon began to think, apparently it was fishing through names in Aedan's memories. How does one name itself? You pick one.
"Ok well are you a boy or a girl?" Aedan asked.
The dragon looked back at him oddly, not understanding him. Aedan crossed his arms attempting to think of a picture example to accompany this. "Are you a male or a female?"
Male, he replied.
"Ok..." Aedan struggled to think of a proper name.
"How about Lorik?"
No, the dragon said.
No it doesn't fit. he replied.
Aedan thought as hard as he could, trying to recall anything that would fit a green dragon. Green, that's it, Aedan thought. The dragon now looked at him curiously. "How about Vardin?" recalling the elven word for emerald.
Hmm, I like it. Vardin said.
Aedan looked around the room, it was brightly lit by the artificial lights of the magical stones but it was empty. Then a knock came at the door, "Aedan can I come in?" Toryn asked.
"Sure" Aedan replied.
Toryn entered with a small chest under one of his arms, "What's that?" Aedan asked.
"We'll get to it later, for now grab the Polonus ore and follow me."
Aedan walked to the door and he felt Vardin land on his right shoulder. "Nice landing." Aedan said.
Thanks. Vardin said with a low pulsing hum that Aedan assumed to be a laugh.
As they walked Toryn asked Aedan a few questions, "Did you give him a name yet?"
"Yes his name is Vardin."
Toryn smiled and looked at Vardin, "How fitting."
"I'm assuming you two have begun talking to eachother." Toryn said.
"Yea." Aedan replied.
He talks too much, but he seems friendly. Vardin said.
Aedan laughed, "Well it seems he doesn't lack social skills." Toryn said.
They made their way through a series of artificially illuminated hallways. Passing from kitchens to Dragon dens to training arenas. After exploring a bit Toryn finally led them down a long hallway to a large room lit only by a forge. Sitting in front of the forge was a Dwarf with thick brown hair and a long black beard and assisting him with what seemed to be magic was a tall, slim Elven woman with short red hair.
Both turned to Aedan and Toryn when they walked in. "Hello Jorn and Narvia." Toryn said. The Dwarf, Jorn, walked over to Toryn and hugged him fiercely, "Welcome back my old friend!"
Narvia stayed where she was but said, "So you did not bring our masterpieces with you."
Toryn laughed, "I figured I wouldn't need Aos and Ios here...But let's get down to business shall we?"
Jorn walked over to his anvil, "What piece of art shall we make for you today?"
"Not for me" Toryn said and pointed at Aedan, "For him."
Narvia looked at Aedan "Ah yes the new Dracomage. So what weapon do you use?"
Aedan thought about this and then shrugged, "A longsword I guess."
"Choose carefully boy, a weapon is not something to take lightly." Jorn said sternly.
Toryn stepped in, "He needs a longsword."
"Well alright then...what ore would you like me to use?" Jorn asked.
"Polonus ore." Toryn said.
Both Jorn and Narvia burst out into hysterics, "No really what type?" Jorn said as he started to calm down.
Aedan pulled out the piece of metal from its cloth and handed it to the Dwarf, "By the gods! This is Polonus Ore! Narvia look at this."
Narvia shared the same shocked expression and then turned to Aedan, "Where did you get this?"
"It was a gift." Aedan replied. The Dwarf took the ore to his anvil and placed it gently on the iron. Narvia called Aedan over to a long wooden table on the other end of the forge. "My job in this process is a small but crucial one." Narvia pulled out a scroll and handed it to Aedan. "Choose an enchantment you want."
"Enchantment?" Aedan asked.
"Yes I use a type of magic that allows me to alter a weapon's composition so that it can manipulate magic." Narvia replied.
Aedan opened the scroll and looked at the long list of enchantments, Fire Aura, Lightning Aura, Iced blade, Chaos surge, Water essence...; they all seemed to be useful but one caught his eye the most, "Light manipulation?"
Narvia smiled, "Basically it allows you to alter the concentration or wavelengths of light particles around your sword. It has many uses, s many in fact I don't know all of them myself."
"Then I'll have that one." Aedan said, pleased with his choice.
"Good choice kid." Narvia said and then she looked at Vardin who was still on Aedan's shoulder, "So a green longsword with the ability to manipulate light, this will be interesting."
Jorn urged Toryn and Aedan out of the forge, "Give us time to work and I promise you that you won't regret it. I will send word whent he sword is done."
Toryn turned to Aedan, "Now we can start the good part of your training."
Toryn revealed what was in the chest, "Armor?" Aedan questioned.
"Yes armor. You'll be needing it where you're going." Toryn said.
"Need it? Where are we going." Aedan pressed his master for more answers.
"To the arena."
They walked back through a series of halls, each lit by the magic stones. They passed a few people, workers mostly, but all of them seemed to be a different race. So much diversity, Aedan thought. He had never seen a Dwarf before Jorn, and only a few Elves before. Vernos was seperated from the other races as Ragnos preferred human segregation.
Their walk eventually brought them to a large chamber, it had no roof but the walls were so high it hardly mattered. "In the old days of Dracomages there used to be tournaments held in the land's honor. Fights would occur on both ground and on Dragons as each Dracomage competed for the honor of Dragon Master. Those seats you see used to be filled to the brim with spectators from all over the land just waiting to see the tournament." Toryn said.
Aedan looked around the room, in the center was a large circle surrounded by elevated seats. The chamber was so massive that it must have seated hundreds of thousands. Toryn patted Aedan on the shoulder, "Get suited up, you'll be fighting here today."
Daylight faded from the sky and the room was cast in the dim light of dusk. Aedan was wearing silver armor that was light but efficient enough. He was standing in the middle of the arena when his opponent arrived, an elf about his height but more slender. The elf had long white hair, but still looked young, about his age in fact. When the elf approached him Aedan extended a hand to show respect, "Nice to meet you I'm--"
The elf glared at him and spat on his hand, "As if I'd soil my hand by touching a weak mage like you." he said mockingly.
Aedan was unsure of how to respond, so he looked back at Toryn who had Vardin on his shoulder. His master shrugged and Vardin sent him a picture of the elf being torn to shreds by some unseen force. Aedan decided neither was going to work here so he wiped off his hand and looked at the elf with an angry gaze. "Oh did the boy finally grow some balls? I'm so scared..." the elf replied to his new stance.
There were a few workers and mages watching from the outskirts of the arena, all of them anxious to see the new recruits bash each others' brains in. The elf finally said "So are you going to sit there and stare at me like the idiot you are...or are we going to do this?"
"Let's go." Aedan's response was curt, but that's all it needed.
The elf immediately began preparing a spell, but Aedan had not seen this type of magic before. It was darker than usual and powerful. The Elf's aura shifted as it released the magic in the form of a black fireball. Aedan focused his magic to one area of his arm and raised a barrier which easily blocked the spell. The black fireball dispersed on contact and Aedan felt the heat wash past him as it faded into the distance.
"Not bad for a dirty human." the elf spat and tried began another spell.
Aedan decided it was time for an offensive and used a manipulation spell to throw the elf off. He concentrated his magic and grabbed a hold of a stone, and by aiming it correctly he shot it at the elf. The rock raced towards the elf's head but was stopped by an unseen force. "You're going to need more than that *** magic to defeat me."
Now determined Aedan started to use more complicated spells, he started to prepare fire spell but was stopped by the Elf's superior magic abilities, Aedan barely dodged as another black fireball whizzed by his head. "No elf has ever been bested by a human, what makes you think you'll be the first?"
Although the Elf was slightly faster and stronger, Aedan felt like he was on equal ground he could feel the effects of his bonding. His ability to sense magical auras was far more sensitive than before so he could sense even the nature of the spell before it showed itself. He could run faster and his endurance was far greater. Aedan was putting more magic into spells than he ever had and was blocking without even feeling a difference in his strength.
Another fireball crackled against Aedan's barrier, "You're going to need to stop repeating those attacks if you want to win." Aedan said smugly. The elf was not pleased at his remark and began to charge another spell, this time it was a manifestation spell, the hardest type of spell to cast.
Lightning surrounded the elf and soon his entire magical aura was electric in nature, Aedan was amazed at the art, this was like nothing he had seen. A complete manifestation?, Aedan thought.
The elf clenched his fist and then ran at Aedan, but he was extremely fast this time. So fast that Aedan could not dodge, and the elf's fist passed right through the barrier he created and into his stomach. The punch was followed by a severe shock that left Aedan in a curled up position on the ground. The elf raised a boot and slammed down on Aedan's side, the impact was followed by another shock but it continued. The elf was keeping his boot there and channeling the lightning magic into Aedan.
The pain was unbareable, tears streamed from Aedan's eyes and he only managed to block the magic enough to protect his organs from being electrified. With a weak hand Aedan channeled a considerable amount of magic and released it into the air. The result was a huge increase in pressure in front of the elf's chest which sent him flying across the arena. Both Aedan and the elf were down, however Aedan had sustained more damage.
The elf was up first and just stared at Aedan as he struggled to his feet. Aedan's entire body was numb, but the internal damage still echoed in his body. He could barely stand but he forced himself to attempt victory once more. The elf grinned, "Well it seems I need to finish this..."
Aedan could feel the surge of electric magic once more, but this time it was in the form of a lightning ball that formed in the elf's hands. A lightning bolt erupted from his hands and raced towards Aedan. With his increased reflexes Aedan managed to dodge it, but only barely.
A thunderous crash echoed through the arena, in front of him stood a daunting figure but Aedan held his ground. "You managed to dodge that? I'm impressed." The egotistic elf muttered at Aedan.
Magic surged into the elf's hands once more and lightning began to accumulate around his hands, "Now dodge this one weakling."
Aedan got angry this time, and this rage fueled the spell he was preparing, Just as Ulrek showed me, he thought to himself. He built up his magic in his core and prepared for the final blow, "We'll see who the weak one is..." Aedan said through gritted teeth.
The elf released the lightning bolt and Aedan used the spell Ulrek had showed him, the Reflection Shield. The lightning bolt connected with the barrier and then returned to its maker. The elf gave a horrified look as the bolt shot back at him and struck him in the chest. His body fell to the ground with a smoldering chest plate. Aedan walked over to him and spat on the elf's unconscious body and then he collapsed from his own anguish and exhaustion.
The last thing Aedan heard before he drifted to sleep was clapping, Were they clapping for him?
Pain pulsed through Aedan's body with every heartbeat. In fact it seemed to be coming from his heart.
When he opened his eyes he was staring at a black ceiling, even his eyes hurt. He lifted his legs over the side of the bed and heard a familiar squeal as he did so. Why are you awake so late? Vardin asked yawning.
Aedan did not answer he just stared at the dragon's pearl white teeth that shined in the darkness. With much effort Aedan stood up, clutching his side as he did. He walked to the hallway and his body fought his every motion. His path was lit by the magic stones, he followed them blindly. Aedan was faintly aware of the small clacking of talons behind him, he could feel Vardin's presence as he made his way through the large halls of Gornuk.
Where are we going? The dragon asked.
"I don't know..." Aedan whispered weakly.
Something was pulling him, a subconscious thought perhaps or something else. He was unaware of what it was, but it was definitely there. The trail of stones led him to a room lit up by a fireplace in one corner. The door to the room was faintly cracked open and on the inside stood Toryn talking to one of the other Dracomages.
"You can't be serious." Toryn said with calm disbelief.
"I'm quite serious and all of the other Elders agree with me." the man replied.
The man talking to Toryn stood slightly taller than him. He was dressed in Brown and Gold armor and had slightly pointed ears, but lacked the rest of the physical appearances of an elf. The man had black hair and was clean shaven, but the most prominent quality was his eyes. They were dragon eyes. They had a small black slit down the middle surrounded by a deep blue color.
Toryn started to pace and rub his hair, "You're sure then? If we mess this up we'll lose our best apprentice."
"We must wait until he's matured more, if we do it now he will surely die." the man replied.
Toryn bowed to him and said "Of course master."
Aedan made his way back to his room quickly, his curiosity was overrun by apprehension. He started running, he wasn't ure why but he needed to get out of there. Something in his stomach said if he stayed there would be serious consequences. Vardin must have been following close behind because Aedan could feel the dragon's aura close by.
It was not long before they made it back to the room, and Aedan quietly shut the door. He was shaking all over from pain and from something else. So much was a mystery to him right now. The room was spinning and he collapsed. Aedan crawled his way back into bed and lay there shaking, he pulled the blanket over his shoulder and closed his eyes. Vardin curled up at the base of his bed like always.
After a few hours he drifted to sleep.
Light dripped through the room's window and Aedan awoke feeling invigorated. There was no pain anywhere in his body and he could feel energy seeping into his limbs with every second. He jumped out of bed and took off his shirt, he felt around for any wounds or scars from his battle, none were there. Odd...Aedan thought.
Not really. Vardin said with the displeasure of being woken up again.
What do you mean?, Aedan said.
You're a Dracomage now, your healing abilities have boosted tenfold. Perhaps you should talk to that Toryn more he sure does have a wealth of knowledge. Vardin stretched his wings and fluttered out of ben and onto the floor.
Aedan put on clothes and left his room, he made his way towards the kitchen to get food. Enticed by the thought of food Vardin followed close behind. Aedan vaguely remembeed the way but surely enough he made his way to the massive room. Inside there were a few Dracomages and apprentices sitting around a table. They all looked at him when he entered the room. One of them was a large man with a thick beard, he clapped his hands together when Aedan walked in.
"Well if it isn't Toryn's apprentice. Saw you beat the elf yesterday, quite impressive." The man said with a smile on his face.
A woman sitting at the table signalled him to go over and sit down. "Ah your dragon is a fierce one, I can feel it in his aura." she said as Aedan took a seat.
Vardin seemed bored with the mages and made his way over to the cooks who were handling raw meat. The dragon sniffed the meat they held and then snapped it out of their hands. All of the Dracomages burst into laughter at the cook's expression when the dragon ripped an entire roast out of his hands.
"Never get between a dragon and their food." the large man said. "I remember the last cook who was here, almost ended up being the food himself."
Vardin continued to eat himself full and Aedan ate and drank until he was content. He was not really listening to the Dracomages and their stories his mind was focused elsewhere. Occasionally they praised him for his battle and he responded in kind but he was mainly thinking about when he saw Toryn. Who were they discussing?
You, Vardin said in an attempt to throw Aedan off his thought process.
Seriously I want to know. Aedan thought in a response to Vardin.
Then go ask.
It's not that simple, Aedan replied.
Aedan thought about the situation, the dragon's simplicity stumped him. He over simplified things so Aedan ignored him for a while. He decided to leave the kitchen and seek out Toryn himself, if nothing else he needed to train anyway. When they were in the hallway he was approached by a young dwarf. "Master Jorn would like to see you."
"Now?" Aedan asked.
"Yes as soon as possible."
Aedan followed the boy to the forge where Jorn and Narvia stood each sweating from the heat. "Ah there you are." Jorn said as he wiped his forehead.
"Is the sword done already?" Aedan asked.
"Not even close." Jorn said.
"Then why did you call me here?" Aedan asked trying to be respectful but still impatient.
"You need armor." Narvia said flatly.
"We need you measurements." Jorn said.
"But what if I out grow it?" Aedan asked obviously confused at the thought of receiving armor so early in his training.
Both Jorn and Narvia laughed, "Ah there is much you need to learn about being a Dracomage." Jorn said.
Aedan walked through the halls searching for Toryn's presence. There was none to be found, no one knew where he was and no one knew where he went. Eventually Aedan stopped searching and returned to his room. He thumbed through the tome again but found it uninteresting at the time. Now what? Aedan thought.
We wait, Vardin replied.
You've grown a little, Aedan thought as he stared at the dragon.
According to Toryn I'll be big enough for you to ride me at the end of the month. Vardin said.
Really? Aedan got excited at the thought of riding a dragon.
They sat there in silence for a long time, sharing thoughts with each other and memories. Aedan showed Vardin memories of his life and training while Vardin revealed ancestral memories from his parents. Light from outside faded and the sun began to set over the mountains. Aedan's energy faded and he began to fall asleep.
Aedan could feel the dragon in his mind even as he slept. They were forever bonded now, only death could separate them now.
A loud knock at his door caused Aedan to wake up, he walked over and opened the door. Standing in the door frame was Toryn, covered in blood.
The stench of death hung in the air. Black blood stained the Dragon Master's armor and swords. No wounds were visible on his body however. Even covered in blood the Dragon Master kept an even tone. "Let's go"
Aedan hesitated at firstm completely unable to form proper sentences or words. Toryn sensed his confusion, "I'll explain as we move but we need to continue your training."
With a slight pause Aedan followed Toryn out of his room and down the hall. "It seems I must explain to you what Dacomages do."
"What they do?" Aedan repeated his words.
"Yes" Toryn continued walking to what seemed like a preset location "Dracomages were founded on the bases of fighting corruption and evil, as you heard and saw with the story of Orin."
Toryn began wiping some of the blood off but he only smeared it on his pearl white armor. "We fight this corruption no matter where it occurs in the world, it is our duty to protect people from tyrants, monsters, and demons. I have just returned from such a mission." They turned into a narrow hallway that had a light at the end.
"The King allows you to interfere with other countries?" Aedan asked.
"We do not answer to the king. We are above his authority?"
"What do you mean above his authority?"
"There are things I am not able to tell you now but Ragnos is not the benevolent and kind ruler his proposes himself to be. Once you finish the first part of your training you'll be able to hear the story." Toryn said with a slight sense of hatred buried in his tone.
Aedan decided not to press the issue, "Where are we going?" he asked as they approached the light.
"Up until this point we have been testing you, from the fireball I threw at you in the Mage school up until your fight with the Elven apprentice. The elders and I have monitored your strengths and weaknesses and now I must do one more thing before we start your training." Toryn said and they stepped into the light. Aedan realized the light was actually the light of the outdoors. In front of them was a steep cliff, Aedan looked over the edge and saw they were above the clouds.
"So what is this? How are you going to test me?" Aedan felt nervous looking over the edge.
"This is the place where young apprentices first learn to ride their dragon--"
"Yea but Vardin isn't big enou--"
Toryn looked at Aedan sternly, "You won't be learning to ride yet."
"So what is this test then?" Aedan repeated the question with more force this time.
"No not a test." Toryn focused magic into his palm, Aedan sensed the influx of magic and prepared himself, "I just need to wake you up."
Toryn released his magic creating a massive pulse of high pressure air that sent Aedan flying over the edge of the cliff. Aedan almost lost consciousness from the blast itself, nevermind not being able to catch his breath while he fell.
Now he was in trouble, he was struggling for air and falling to his inevitable death. Was I supposed to block that? Aedan thought to himself. Did I mess up? Am I going to die?
The questions faded away as panic set it, his heartbeat resounded in his ears and he could not longer concentrate, rendering any spell he could have used useless now. Fear echoed in every sensible thought he had. He was going to die and nothing could stop that now. He fell through the clouds to reveal a green landscape below, far below. Aedan cursed to himself over and over trying to ready himself for impact, but nothing he did got him over the fact that his life was about to end here.
Just when the last shred of hope had fleeted Aedan's mind a light shined forth in his inner thoughts, a calming entity broke forth and took over th situation. Panic started to fade away and hope broke forth once more. Aedan looked at his hands and realized they were glowing, his entire body was. His aura was bursting with power, and it immediately began shifting the environment.
The magic had stopped his falling, he was floating. The air below him was as hard as the ground, and the green landscape was still far below. Despite his amazement he managed to pull himself back up to the cliff. The manipulated air current gently placed him back onto the cliff in front of Toryn who was smiling. Once he landed the warm entity retreated back into the inner depths of his mind and the power that filled his body and aura left with it. Aedan looked up at Toryn. "Wh...What was that?"
Toryn seemed amused, "Most students get it faster than that."
Aedan shirked the teasing comment, he wanted an answer for once.
"All right no need to get angry." Toryn said, "You have just awakened the spirit within you, this technique is a mage's greatest ability and greatest gift, it is known as the Yuris."
Aedan looked at his hands as if they would start glowing at any second. "Now that we have awakened your spirit" Toryn said as he turned back towards the exit from Gornuk, "Now we can start your training."
Aedan and Toryn sat at a table in the kitchen awaiting some food. The entire room was empty aside from a few cooks. Aedan sat with a cup of strange liquid in his hands, just looking at it. The liquid was a translucent blue. Toryn took a long draught from his cup and set it down. "Try it." he said.
The liquid swirled in the cup as Aedan raised it to his mouth, he let it slide around in his mouth as he tasted it. It was sweet with a slightly sour undertaste. "It's good." Aedan said as he swallowed it.
"The Elves call it Forjun." Toryn said "It's created from a special type of berry that is only found in the Elven nation."
"So what exactly is a Yuris?" Aedan asked.
"Basically..." Toryn said and took another sip from his drink, "It's when a mage takes on all of the properties of the spirit within themselves."
"So all mages can do it?"
"Yes but few can fully master it." Toryn replied.
"So how do you learn to use it?" Aedan asked anxious to feel that power again.
Toryn shifted in his chair "You won't be able to use yours again for another couple of months. Unless of course you jump off a cliff."
Aedan raised an eyebrow at the response "Why?"
"If you attempt to use this at your point in training then the spirit within you would overwhelm you and turn you into a Fiend." Toryn cleared his throat "You are not yet experienced enough to handle the flow of magic without allowing the spirit's conscious mind through into yours."
"So I have to wait or be killed?" Aedan stated bluntly.
Aedan looked down at his cup which was still half full. "So how will the training begin?"
Toryn stood up "First I must teach you some spells and things about magic in general, then we move onto combat. And in about a month I will teach youhow to fight on a Dragon."
Toryn left the room and Aedan followed, ready to begin the training. They kept moving until they reached a smaller arena than where Aedan had fought before. "This is where we will meet everyday. After today I want you to come here after you eat in the morning."
"First I will teach you a manifestation spell. Something you have never done before." Toryn's aura began to change gradually. It was slowly turning into fire and soon it became physically visible. "This is the first step in manifestation training. Make your aura into an element."
Aedan watched curiously trying to discern the change that occured, but he couldn't. Toryn's aura turned back to its original state.
"First start by expanding your aura." Toryn said.
Aedan listened and expanded his aura to the farthest it could go.
"Good." Toryn stepped back, "Now imagine an element and its properties and try to match those properties with your aura."
Fire was the first thing that popped into Aedan's head so he tried it. Fire is fierce, unrelenting, and sporadic. His aura became chaotic trying to overpower things and going in random directions. It eventually collided with Toryn's aura and Aedan felt something he had not before. Something odd and sealed away. Toryn sensed the touch and pulled his aura back. "Fire is the hardest element to create. Try something like water or earth." Toryn said.
Aedan put the sensation of Toryn's aura out of his mind and tried water. Smooth, flowing, and cool. Gradually his aura began to cool, it flowed over all everything in the room and was not nearly as rough as fire. However it was not changing. Aedan focused harder trying to eliminate all distractions but it just would not change. He must have sat there for hours trying to mimic water, but nothing worked.
Toryn walked past Aedan and towards the door, "Keep trying but don't stay up too late, meet me here tomorrow morning."
The room was quiet and Aedan thought it would be easier now, but he was wrong. Nothing he did changed his aura from magic to water. Eventually he gave up andwent to bed. Vardin was eating some meat on the floor.
How was training? The dragon asked as Aedan shut the door.
"Awful" Aedan replied and sat down on his bed.
Something's different about your aura. Vardin said as he swallowed the last strip of meat.
"I awakened my spirit today." Aedan put his head on his pillow and closed his eyes.
No its not that I know when that happened, Vardin said, It feels like its watery.
Aedan ignored the comment fell asleep. I'll get it tomorrow.
The next few days for Aedan were pure misery. He was making little progress in his manifestation training and his combat training started as a crash course were he fought various people from around the Fortress. At the end of the fourth day of his training Aedan felt like he was going to die, his muscles were sore, his magic supply exhausted and he was bruised all over. Still he felt like he was progressing, no matter how little. This slight feeling of hope kept him going.
Aedan met Toryn in the training chamber the next day. "Let's start" Toryn said and waited patiently.
And as always Toryn sat in the background and watched as Aedan struggled hopelessly with his training. He had managed to create a little water but not the full blown aura that Toryn was able to make so easily. Water vapor accumlated around Aedan as his aura began to change. However it stayed in this state for the next few hours.
Frustration set in and Aedan's aura began to mimic water less and less. Soon the water vapor faded away and was replaced by heat. Aedan became angry, he was no longer calm. All of his training about concentration and being stoic disappeared with his patience. His aura exploded wih his emotion, and its heat increased. His aura was not at all like water now. It was becoming something else.
Sparks shot out in every direction, connecting with the ground and drifting away. Lightning bolts shot from Aedan's core to the extremities of his aura. Soon everywhere his aura touched was enveloped by an electric storm. Toryn was forced to throw up a barrier to shield himself from the violence of the storm. Aedan's aura became more refined as he pulled it back in trying to tame the lightning.
He looked at his hand which was covered in shimmering sparks that appeared from nothing and returned to the void as they connected with his skin. It tingled but did not hurt. Amazement set in and replaced his frustration. The aura died down and faded as his rage was quelled. Toryn walked to Aedan but on his face was something he had not seen ever. Shock.
"A plasma aura?" Toryn said as he lowered his barrier "Of all the apprentices I've had, none of them have ever mastered lightning first. Lightning and Fire are the two master elements."
Aedan's mouth had dropped from the aura itself, So much power. He thought.
"But didn't the elf mage use a lightning aura?" Aedan asked.
"Not quite." Toryn said "His was electricity, it is a lesser version of what you just produced yourself."
A smirk appeared on Aedan's face "So I'm more powerful than he is now?"
"Not even close." Toryn replied.
"Why? I created a more powerful element than the one he could create. If I can master this then I could easily beat him." Aedan said with confidence in his voice.
"No you couldn't." Toryn sighed "Elves are naturally more gifted with magic. They are born stronger and faster and require less strength to accomplish a spell. Of course a Dracomage is on par with a normal Elf, but an Elf who has been bonded with a Dragon is almost impossible to beat. And the apprentice you faced was bonded to his dragon two days ago."
The words bounced off Aedan's ego "I doubt he could best me now."
Toryn shook his head "Focus on your training for now. Then we'll see about a rematch."
"Fine, I just want another shot at him." Aedan said slightly gritting his teeth at the thought of the over-arrogant elf.
"Now that you know the secret of manifestation..." Toryn said starting to back away "Try to create a water aura once more."
"Secret? What do you mean?" Aedan asked.
"What happened when you switched from water to lightning?"
Aedan thought about it for a minute. "I got angry."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Aedan raised an eyebrow.
"The difference between manifestation and manipulation is..." Toryn stopped talking waiting for Aedan to finish the sentence.
Aedan scratched his head, "Emotion?"
The following weeks were progressively easier from there. He created the elements based on his emotions, he struggled a bit with fire and wind. But eventually mastered them all. Toryn had him focus on spells from there that required manifesting two elements at once and manipulating and manifesting elements together. Aedan's mind was getting stronger, he could feel his magic expanding daily and his aura became as powerful nearly as fast. He was growing as a mage. Perfecting things he couldn't before and going into magic he did not know existed.
The combat training was the area he progressed the fastest however. His body became more built, he gained more muscle but not an overwhelming amount. His body was still slim, but his arms and legs were now lined with muscle and his shoulders became more broad. He was growing in general and he liked this feeling of power. Aedan was no longer the physically and mentally weak mage he was at school.
He was not the only one who grew however. Vardin soon grew too big to stay in Aedan's room. By the time Aedan had mastered the elements the dragon's shoulder was already level with his. Vardin's body was not as well built as Rynne's but he was still a fine dragon. Vardin's wingspan grew twice his body length and he was able to fly for long distances now. Rynne became Vardin's mentor when he was able to fly.
It wasn't long before the child dwarf came to his room once more to bring him to Jorn. Aedan followed the abnormally small child through the halls of Gornuk back to Jorn and Narvia's forge. He had been there a few times so he already knew the way but he followed out of respect for those who summoned him.
The red-hot forge sat in the corner and Jorn sat on a bench gulping some unknown drink. Narvia was sweating on the opposite side and reading some scroll. Jorn put the mug he held in his hand down on the bench and grabbed a long cloth. And handed it to Aedan. Without pulling the cloth off Aedan knew what it was from the aura it had. His sword.
Carefully he pulled the cloth off and revealed a black handled sword that was sheathed in a dark green case. Gently he pulled the sword out and revealed the beauty of the death tool. It shimmered in the forge's light. The blade was dark green and had little indents along its middle, Aedan saw that they were symbols of some unknown language. It was straight from the tip to partway down the blade where it curved a bit inwards and expanded a bit more near the hilt.
Light danced along its edges, the blade was a work of art. Jorn smiled as Aedan examined the sword. "No need for a thanks or anything." the dwarf said joking.
"Sorry I was just amazed by the amount of work that went into this." Aedan said not able to take his eyes off the sword.
"You better be." Narvia chimed in "Almost a month of work on one sword, unbelievable!"
"The Polonus ore was hard to work with, but well worth it." Jorn said.
Aedan noticed a large emerald on the end of the handle. "What's that for?"
"What? You're a mage and you don't know the importance of gemstones?" Jorn sneered.
"No never learned about it." Aedan said.
"Gemstones can store magic when you channel it into them." Jorn said.
Aedan thanked both of them graciously and left the forge. He strapped the blade on his side but he did not like the restriction to his movements so he strapped it onto his back. Much better, he thought.
He returned to his room, and placed the sword by his bed. And then he thought about his progress. He was quickly becoming a powerful mage, in a month he had become much stronger than any of his classmates, even Ulrek. Aedan thought about his friend, Will we ever meet again? Aedan wondered. But sleep washed over him and overrided the sentimentality he felt, Guess we'll have to wait and see.
The month finally drew to close and Aedan felt considerably more powerful than he was when he arrived. He stood out of bed and stretched and flexed his newly found muscles. Every one of his movements seemed easier and he grabbed his sword with ease. Overjoyed by his new circumstances he unsheathed his blade to observe it in the day. Brilliant light danced upon its grooves and the sword was a more impressive green than when he had picked it up last night.
Aedan decided to test the emerald by concentrating magic into it. There was a slight dip in his strength and the emerald glowed slightly and then died down. He touched it with his aura and found the magic stored within. Once more he stored magic within and watched it light up. After he was done testing the sword he put it back in its sheath and got dressed. He strapped the sword to his back once more and opened the door. On the outside was a note.
Meet me at the cliff where you unlocked your Yuris.
The time had finally come, Aedan knew what this was about even before he read the note. Today's the day I ride Vardin.
Aedan walked through the halls following his slight connection with Vardin's mind. Eventually he came to the same narrow hallway Toryn had brought him through when he awakened his spirit. Aedan followed through to the end of the tunnel and exited onto the cliff. Standing on the edge of the cliff was Toryn riding Rynne and Vardin standing next to her.
Vardin very large now, but Rynne still dwarfed him in comparison. Rynne's body was nearly four times the size of Vardin who's shoudlers were now level with Aedan's head. The green dragon was also very slim in comparison to Rynne, she was bulging with muscle in her chest, arms, and legs where Vardin only had slight bulges indicating his still developing body.
Aedan walked over to Vardin, You're really big now. he said.
Of course, this is what living things do, grow. Vardin replied.
"Well it's time for you to fly." Toryn said to Aedan. "Since you won't be able to hear me up in the air I'll be communicating with you through telepathy. This is one of the reatest advantages to being a Dracomage."
"We can hear each other's thoughts?" Aedan asked.
"Only the ones we want to hear. You can shield your inner most throughts but you can extend other thoughts so they reach mine." Toryn said.
You did not know this little one? Rynne said.
Aedan was taken aback a bit by the new voice in his head but quickly realized the situation. The question was somewhat rhetorical so Aedan decided not to answer. Putting everything aside Aedan stood ready to climb up Vardin who knelt to let him on. Placed on the base of Vardin's neck was a saddle for Aedan to sit in, on here was a place for him to strap his sword.
"If you keep your sword how it is it will fall out. Strap it to the saddle." Toryn said.
After Aedan strapped the sword to the saddle he sat on Vardin. The dragon shifted a bit at the added weight. "Now we will fly." Toryn said with a smile and Rynne raised her massive wings.
The large blue dragon pumped her wings and kicked off with her legs to push her into the air. Despite her size she flew gracefully and dived a bit before coming back up with a few more pumps of her wings. Vardin let out a low pulsing grumble that Aedan distinguished as a chuckle. What is it? he asked.
Oh nothing. Vardin replied.
The green dragon followed his mentor. He lifted his wings and pumped them once. This was barely enough to get them over the edge however and Vardin plummeted towards the ground. It took a few seconds for Aedan to realize that the dragon was not falling but diving. Wind slammed into his face as Vardin raced through the clouds and down towards the ground. Aedan could feel Vardin's excitement as he dropped through the sky.
Before they hit the gound Vardin opened his wings and glided across the ground. The landscape was amazing up close, and this was the first time that Aedan realized that there was no clear road to Gornuk, you could only get there by flying. The entire mountain was composed of steep cliffs and straight falls. A perfect fortress Aedan thought.
Vardin pumped his wings a bit and met Rynne's level in the sky. Good youngling Rynne said to Vardin Try not to scare your partner too much though.
Aedan, Toryn said, It's time to start training you to fight on a dragon.
Now? Aedan replied confused by the abruptness.
Without another word Toryn channeled his magic into Rynne who's aura transformed into fire. Aedan sensed Vardin's slight panic but he reassured him he knew what he was doing. Aedan followed Toryn's lead and created a large ball of water using the vapor from the clouds. He shot it at the blue dragon who easily dodged by diving. Vardin chased excitedly and Aedan readied another water ball.
Vardin was much faster than Rynne, that was their advantage for the moment. And as they closed in on their masters Aedan released the water once more. But he missed his target once more as the dragon twisted out of the way.
Nice shot, Vardin said sarcastically.
Ignoring the comment Aedan tried a different tactic. Get in front of them. He said to Vardin.
Acknowledging his request the dragon sped up, racing at the blue dragon. Rynne twisted upwards and turned to face the two of them. She opened her mouth and released a steady stream of white-hot fire at them. Without thinking Aedan raised a barrier but realized Vardin would get caught by the fire. He extended his barrier to include the front half of the dragon.
Rynne however sensed the partial cover and aimed at Vardin's tail. The fire crackled on contact with his scales and Vardin yelped in pain.
Sorry, Aedan said trying to calm him down but Vardin was angry at the attack and headed straight towards Rynne.
The large blue dragon just hovered there as Vardin headed toward them with a vicious snarl. Toryn used his magic once more and created a barrier around one of Vardin's wings. The dragon's wing was rendered useless and he fell helplessly. Aedan panicked and tried to destroy the barrier by attacking it with pure magic. The barrier held strong however as they fell through the clouds.
This might hurt a bit, Aedan said.
Just do something! Vardin responded.
Aedan created a lightning ball, and aimed it at Vardin's wing, he fired it and felt as it collided with the barrier. Slowly it drained the barrier's strength until it broke. Aedan lost a lot of strength however as the barrier faded. Vardin pumped his wings hard to keep them from crashing, and after some stumbling through the air he managed to keep them up.
Too close. Aedan said weakly.
Yes it was, but you're too weak to continue. Vardin said.
No no I'm fine, keep going.
Vardin snarled at Aedan's stuborn nature. Mages who over use magic too much die from fatigue.
I know just keep going I have an idea.
Vardin agreed hesistantly. They flew straight upwards towards Rynne and Toryn. As they raced through the clouds Aedan gathered all of the water vapor he could and covered Vardin in it. Aedan then transformed his aura into plasma and watched as the lightning daced through the water bouncing harmlessly of his dragon's scales. Vardin latched onto Rynne's tail with his front claws and sank his teeth into her tail. Lightning hopped from the water onto Rynne and gave her a powerful shock.
Toryn laughed and blew Aedan and Vardin away with a powerful blast of air. Nice one! Toryn said to the two of them.
Rynne now dropped at them and grabbed Vardin's tail with her massive back feet. She lowered him onto a cliff and held him down with her claws.
Aedan jumped off the saddle before he was crushed and attempted to blow the dragon off the same way Toryn did. But with his current magic he wasn't able to muster anything more powerful then a gentle breeze. Rynne laughed at Vardin's attempt to get free. You are far too young to face me in direct combat. she said.
Toryn hopped off of Rynne and grabbed his swords. Aedan saw the gesture and retrieved his as well. With his sword drawn he charged Toryn who easily deflected his blow with one of his swords and attempted an attack with the other one. Aedan ducked out of the way and brought hi sword around to Toryn's waist. Blocked again.
Their swords clanged together over an over. Aedan attempted to slash down from Toryn's shoulder to his hip but was blocked again. Toryn kicked Aedan's sword away which lodged itself in the ground next to him. Toryn raised one of his swords towards Aedan as a sign of victory. "Do you surrender?" he asked.
Aedan panted heavily. "No" he said and channeled his magic into the ground to create a small tremor. This caught Toryn off guard and gave Aedan time to retrieve his sword. He remembered the energy he stored within the emerald and reached out with his aura. The influx of magic was refreshing and gave Aedan the will to continue fighting.
"Clever." Toryn remarked at Aedan's strategy.
Vardin was still struggling against Rynne's grasp. I'll try to use it. Aedan said partly to Vardin and partly to himself.
He reached into his mind attempting to find the spirit that helped him once before. "C'mon..." Aedan whispered to himself trying to concentrate on the battle and the spirit. He felt a faint presence deep within his being who was slowly awakening.
Toryn felt Aedan's struggle and quickly charged him. "You think I'll allow you to use your Yuris?" he said striking at Aedan's chest.
The spirit was almost awake but drifted back into the darkness as Aedan shifted his attention. Since his attention was elsewhere Aedan was not able to fully dodge the blow and received a large cut on his shoudler. Dammit he thought as he felt the blood seep into his shirt.
With one final attack Aedan charged Toryn and focused all of the magic he could into his blade. The blade shined with an overwhelmingly bright light as a response. Toryn shuddered a bit and was knocked back when their swords collided. The light did not bother Aedan but Toryn was struggling to keep his eyes open.
"So that's your enchantment huh?" Toryn said smirking. Aedan felt the Dragon master surge magic into his own blade and power overflowed from it.
Fire flowed from its hilt to its tip, and the sword glowed cherry red. "This is Aos, a blade that uses the pure essence of fire in its enchantment. This particular enchantment is an ancient one that Narvia refuses to do anymore. My other sword Ios has a much more terrifying power, and I vowed only to use it against one person." Toryn explained as he sheathed Ios.
Aedan could feel the heat of Aos even from his position, "It's so hot." Aedan said in awe.
"That's why they call it the Lava blade." Toryn said.
Toryn raked his sword across the ground and the dirt melted easily from its touch. "It can still get hotter."
Aedan looked at his own blade which was dying down, a symbol of his current magic reserves. "So Aedan you can surrender now or we can keep going where you'll have to face my Aos in its full power."
There was a possibility of death if he continued but Aedan hated accepting defeat. Unhappily Aedan agreed to end the battle, and the red-hot Aos returned to its brilliant blue color. "So what is Ios' power?" Aedan asked curiosly.
"Unfortunately I cannot tell you. I fear there will be a day however where you will find out." Toryn said as they watched Vardin get up from Rynne's grasp.
Vardin slowly walked over to Aedan and stood by him and Rynne stood by Toryn. "Well Aedan that was truly impressive. I've never seen a mage progress that fast in a month in my entire life."
Toryn kicked the melted dirt in front of him and a puff of smoke rose up. "That is why tomorrow you will be helping me and another Dracomage on a mission."
A slight breeze drifted through the room as Aedan contemplated what a Dracomage mission was. I know he said fighting evil but what kind? The night was almost over and Aedan had gotten little sleep, he felt energized by all of the thoughts that were going through his head. The main one was about this "mission" but others were focused on other subjects like Ios' power.
Toryn almost seemed afraid of his own sword's power, but how could that be? He chose its power right? And what about Aos? It was so powerful compared to his own sword.
There are many things that are a mystery to him. Aedan wished that he did not live such a secluded life in the school. But Ragnos' policy on mages was strict. He picked up his sword and began to channel magic into the emerald remembering how useful it was in his last fight. And then he curiously pooled some of his magic into the blade, it began to shine once more but not as much. It's light lit up his room and gave everything the feeling of day.
What a lame power. Aedan thought to himself as he remembered Aos.
As his mood shifted the blade's light died down and to his amazement the blade disappeared. Aedan put his hand out and touched something solid and metal were the blade was supposed to be but he couldn't see it. It was invisible.
Aedan shifted his magic once more and the blade reappeared. Maybe it's not so bad...
He surged his power into it again and light erupted from the blade brighter than ever before, and with a large amount of concentration he pulled the light particles created from the blade back inwards. Soon a small bright aura surrounded the blade and it was hot, the collision of particles was making the aura hot and solid. Aedan swung the sword at the floor and was shocked to see it easily pass through the hard stone like a hot knife through butter.
His playtime was cut short by a knock on the door. "Aedan it's time to go." Toryn said from outside.
"How did you--" Aedan stopped himself he knew how Toryn knew he was awake. A person's aura is different when they're asleep. So he grabbed the case to his sword and put it on his back and sheathed the green blade. He walked through the door to meet Toryn who was clad in his normal white armor. "You need armor." Toryn said.
"Yea Jorn measured me for armor a while ago." Aedan said.
"Well I believe it's done. Jorn usually only takes a week to make armor." Toryn headed towards Jorn's forge. Aedan followed and stared at Ios trying to find out its power. Aos' aura was small and bright but Ios' was extremely large and very dark. What is it? Aedan asked himself. There was something so different about this sword, something so abstract that even with his enhanced senses he couldn't make out the source of this power.
Aedan was forced to put it out of his mind as they entered the forge. Jorn was hammering something over an anvil, he placed it back into the forge itself. He turned around to meet Toryn and Aedan but he was not happy like the past times Aedan had been here. Jorn took off his gloves and stared at Toryn, "You know I hate it when you put your life on the line just to save vermin of the King." Jorn said with hatred embedded in his words.
"Fighting corruption is out job, no matter where. Besides what if those beasts managed to make their way further north?" Toryn replied defensively.
"I know...I know" Jorn said scratching his beard "I just wish those damned elders didn't send the man who saved my life to fight em. I know you're the Dragon Master but there are other Dracomages here willing to do it and they send you and this soon to be Dracomage this time."
"So have you finished Aedan's armor?" Toryn asked changing things to business.
"Of course, even managd to make the breastplate out of the leftover Polonus Ore." Jorn walked over to Narvia's usual spot and pulled a grabbed the breastplate. "Now treat it well. It maybe light armor but it will keep you alive."
The breastplate was made of three pieces of layered metal connected on both sides by a thick piece of leather. Aedan put the armor on by sliding it over his head and sliding his arms through the holes. The layered metal made it considerably easy to move, and the armor itself fit tightly against his chest, not constricting but not too loose either. The armor color was a dark silver with green trimmings. The armor for his arms and legs were similar in design and color. Aedan liked how the armor looked and felt it was a perfect fit for him.
"Its great!" Aedan said excitedly.
"Of course it is. I want to protect all of ya from them dirty bastards don't I?" Jorn said with a smile.
"Thanks for this Jorn, we'll be back after the mission. Besides Wein is coming with us." Toryn said.
Jorn laughed at that statement. "He maybe reckless but the size of that brown dragon makes up for it. Twice the size of Rynne is it? That thing's huge."
Toryn laughed this time "Of course Male dragons grow faster than Female ones."
They bid Jorn farewell and walked to the large entrance hall. Here Vardin, Rynne, and the massive brown dragon were waiting. A large burly man that Aedan assumed to be Wein walked to Toryn as they closed in on the dragons. Wein was stoic and watched Toryn carefully "Are you sure it's alright bringing him along?" Wein jutted a thumb at Aedan "You know what happened to the last apprentice we brought."
Toryn dismissed his concerns "It's fine. Aedan is far stronger than that other apprentice."
"Alright then we should get moving." Wein said as he walked to his large dragon.
Aedan followed their lead and moved to Vardin who was shaking with excitement. Aedan put a hand on his shoulder Calm down.
I can't the thought of killing something is getting my blood flowing, Vardin replied.
You really want to kill something that bad? Aedan was shocked at the response.
Of course I do...I'm a dragon it's my instinct to kill.
Aedan just jumped onto Vardin's back and waited for the other Dracomages to take off. Toryn spoke to both Wein and Aedan "The attack was on a village near the capital, meaning that it's only about a half-day's journey from here. Wein you know what we're dealing with so you head in first and Aedan and myself will assist you from there."
"Got it." Wein and Aedan replied almost in unison.
Rynne ran out of the gates to Gornuk and lifted off into the sky. Wein and his dragon followed from there. And then Vardin. Vardin jumped over the edge but did not dive this time but rather flew slightly over Wein's dragon keeping right behind Rynne. As they made their way south Aedan and Vardin decided to finally discuss their training, but Aedan was more interested in Vardin's discoveries than Vardin was in his training.
Your magic is boring. Vardin said.
Boring? I could light on on fire right now.
And I could drop you from this height and leave you to plummet to your death.
So what exactly did you learn?
Well Rynne was a rough teacher. Since the day I could fly she was always forcing me to fly farther than the day before. She made me carry rocks to get accustomed to your weight and she would chase me to make me go faster. If I didn't go fast enough she would bite my tail.
Aedan gave a chuckle and in retalitation Vardin dipped suddenly which thrashed Aedan around. So what was your training like? Vardin said trying to act interested.
Don't act like you care. Aedan said.
Aedan laughed and watched the landscape below. The sun was rising in the sky now and the light revealed the landscape that was racing by below. They had passed through the mountains now and began to fly over a long stretch of fields.
Aedan. Toryn said to get his attention.
I'm going to tell you about what we're facing to prepare you.
We call them Shadows. They are people corrupted by evil spirits. The Fiends I told you about before are one class of them. Fiends are humans or elves who are overwhelmed by a dark spirit and used for the spirit's evil intentions. These fiends however can infect others to create Shades, which are normal humans infected by a Fiend and carry no magical abilities. Sometimes humans can resist the infection but that is rare. Among the Fiends and Shades there are also Demons. Behind every organized attack like this there is a demon. And these creatures are the worst abominations to walk in this realm. I'm not exactly sure what causes or creates them but if the Demon shows itself here stay away from it. Let either Wein or myself handle it. A Demon is the most powerful of all of them and holds great magic abilities.
How do I distinguish a fiend from a demon?, Aedan asked.
Demons usually retain their human traits but have black eyes. Not to mention their auras are immense and attack anything magic they feel. But lately these attacks have become more organized than ever before, which is why the Elders and I have thought long and hard about this and we must inform everyone we can. Normally I wouldn't tell you this but I feel you must know. We believe that there is what we call the Shadow King.
Toryn paused for a bit then continued. Yes, in short it is a powerful Deity that has bonded itself to a human or elf. This creation is an ungodly mess that can control all of the Demons, Fiends, and Shades in our realm. In the unlikely event that you ever come face to face with it you must use your Yuris at its fullest power. There is no escaping it and only a slim chance of winning if you face it in that state.
Aedan became nervous but he quickly put the fearful thoughts aside, I think I understand. he replied.
Good. Now we will be there shortly.
It did not take long for them to spot their destination. The village was letting off a tremendous amount of smoke from various fires that were rampant around the town. Figures were running and screaming through the village. And terrible screeches echoed shortly after. Wein's dragon dived straight towards the village center. Rynne moved towards the outskirts however and landed gently outside the village. Vardin followed her by Toryn's instruction. Aedan jumped off of Vardin as he touched the ground and Toryn was already making his way to the village.
Aedan quickly caught up and followed his master into the war ravaged village. Among the houses were blood stains and signs of destruction. Toryn drew his blades and cautiously made his way through the demolished houses. The smell of death was pungent in the air and it made Aedan gag.
They came into a clearing in the village that Aedan made out to be a trading center. In the middle of the clearing was a large fire with shadowy figures around it. Toryn raised an arm for Aedan to stop, so they just watched as these shadows danced around the fire throwing in unknown objects. Toryn crept towards the figures with his blades ready for a battle.
The aura radiating off of them was the darkest Aedan had ever felt, it was cold too. Almost empty but not quite there, there was still some essence holding the being together. One of them sensed their intruders and let off an inhuman screech. They turned and charged Aedan and Toryn.
"Aedan stand ready!" Toryn shouted as he sank Aos into one of the creature's chest. Aedan raised his blade and waited for the enemies to approach. Of course it was not long before they noticed him standing there and decided to attack him as well.
In total there were 10 of them and most were attacking Toryn who was deflecting their attempts to kill him with barriers. Aedan had three charging him and he stood ready to face them. The frontmost one he struck with a fireball that knocked it back a good 3 feet. The other two ignored the fallen creature and continued onward towards their prey.
Aedan ducked as one of the creatures attempted to claw at his head. He quickly stabbed the figure in the chest and ripped upwards through its shoulder. Foul black liquid rained on the ground as it fell limp. The last of the three tried a similar tactic but on Aedan's right flank. The blow was cut short by a barrier and Aedan concentrated the magic into a lightning bolt that he shot clean through the monster's chest with a wave of his hand. All three lay dead around him.
Toryn had finished off the last of his attackers by sinking his blade into its chest and mumbled "Shades..."
They were not just shadowy figures Aedan realized though, they were humanoid. Their hands were mishapen into claws and they had no eyes. All of the hair on their heads had fallen out and revealed a pale white scalp. Their teeth were sharpened to puncture flesh and spread this awful disease. The skin under their eyes was black which contrasted greatly with the pale skin everywhere else.
Toryn signalled Aedan to moved up, but Aedan turned to see Vardin fly overhead with Rynne close behind. "Where are they going?" he asked Toryn.
Toryn watched them disappear among the houses. "I told them to help Wein at the center, we should hurry to make sure they're fine."
Aedan nodded in acknowledgement and followed. When they neared the fire the smell of burning flesh filled Aedan's nostrils and he coughed viciously. He turned to see the source of the smell, a woman who's body was half in the fire and stomach was torn open. Inside the fire itself were organs that had turned black from the heat. Fear and apprehension gripped at Aedan's stomach now, these things were truly monsters.
Anxious to get out of there Aedan ran after Toryn who made his way through the houses once more. And once again all they saw were blood stains and destroyed houses as they moved through the streets of this destroyed village. A few more shades met them as they drew closer to the village center. Aedan decapitated one as Toryn shot down the other two with bolts of fire. The village seemed to be a mirror of the outskirts, just blood stains and destroyed houses, no bodies or any type of a Shadow.
The sounds of battle echoed through the village at the center though. Wein was fighting maybe 20 shades at once, he was using a broadsword and sweeping through his foes with one cut at a time. They could not pierce his barrier as he cleaved through them. Black mist surrounded the burly man as he cried out victoriously.
Signs of victory of this short lived battle were apparent as Wein and the three dragons annihilated the Shades. But just as quickly as the signs appeared they disappeared. And shrieking echoed through the alleys of the village as the bulk of the shades made their way to the village center, bent on killing them. And then fireballs rained down from the rooftops towards Wein. They harmlessly exploded on his barrier.
Aedan looked around and saw 10 black figures on the roofs looming over the village center. Toryn saw them as well and muttered to himself "Fiends"
These figures tried the combined spell once more as they created fireballs once more. Aedan created a lightning ball with his magic and took aim at one of the Fiends and released it. The ball struck its target and the figure dropped from the roof to the ground as a smoldering carcass. Vardin snarled at the Fiends and snapped one up between his jaws. He crushed it with on bite and threw it down on the ground. Black blood dripped from his ivory white teeth. Rynne and Wein's dragon took care of the rest of the Fiends and soon they fell dead among the countless Shades around Wein.
The bulk of the Shades finally made their way to he village center though and Wein began his killing spree once more. Toryn ran in to join his friend and sliced through 3 Shades at once. Aedan went to join and felt a disturbing presence as he began to emerge from the alley. He turned around and saw a figure darting across the street. Aedan followed it assuming it was a Fiend.
He shot a fireball as he got close but it fizzled away against a barrier. The figure was wearing a long black cloak. Aedan felt uneasy by its presence but he couldn't sense any aura at all from it. He charged at it with his sword. The figure revealed a long, thin sword from under its cloak. The swords collided and echoed through the street. A sword? Aedan thought.
It pushed him back with tremendous strength but Aedan managed to grab its cloak. As the cloth drifted away from the creature it revealed a tall but well built man dressed in black, leather armor. It stared at him fiercely, with pitch black eyes.
Aedan's heart sunk and he slowly backed away. But the Demon was too fast and quickly caught up with him. It's aura exploded with power as their swords collided again. It snarled to reveal perfectly sharpened teeth. It pushed again and knocked Aedan to the ground. It attempted to impale him but Aedan rolled away and tried to retaliate with a slice of his own but the sword bounced uselessly off its barrier.
"Pathetic." the Demon grumbled.
Aedan staggered to his feet and backed away from the powerful creature. Its eyes revealed that one of them would have to die here for the battle to end, but Aedan wondered if that would be him.
"Sending an apprentice to fight a Demon? The Dragon Mages are truly pathetic." it snarled again.
Aedan attempted to reach Toryn telepathically but his thoughts were blocked by his battle. The Demon raced forward and caught Aedan off guard, the blade sank deep into his shoulder, exactly where Toryn had hit him. Aedan let out an involuntary yelp and backed off. Warm blood trickled down his arm, and the puncture in his armor began to bother his wound. The demon raised its hand and shot a bolt of black lightning out at Aedan. The lightning bounced off a makeshift barrier as Aedan attempted to hold him off.
If I can hold him off long enough Toryn will help. Aedan thought.
The Demon was relentless though it continue to hack away at him, some hits bounced off his sword, others his barrier. Slowly his strength was draining. The Demon became arrogant as its hopes of victory became more apparent.
The Demon's blade barely missed him as he rolled away from its downstroke. "Stop running you pest!"
It shot a black and purple fireball that exploded on Aedan's barrier. I wonder if that will work... Aedan thought as he remembered the magic he did with the sword in his room. And just as he did before he collected the light particles around his sword. For an added measure of defense he created his Plasma Aura and went on the offensive.
His sword hummed as it travelled downward at the Demon. It responded by raising its sword to block the attack and Aedan's blade cut straight through it without much effort. It was stopped by the Demon's barrier shortly after, but he took the victory.
Aedan backed away with a smirk on his face. The Demon tossed the useless sword away and stared at Aedan mercilessly. "Eager to die?"
Suddenly the Demon's aura burst forth with power, like a dam holding back a sea. The black aura was so concentrated around the Demon that he was convered in shadow. Its skin lifted off to reveal dark black flesh underneath. Red horns grew from its head and red claws from its fingers. Black feathered wings sprouted from its back and its teeth shone white against the darkness of its body. The Demon reverted to its spirit form.
Any hope of victory that Aedan had left with the transformation. There was no way he could win, and he couldn't divert his attention to activate his Yuris. He weakly raised his blade in defiance. The demon let out a laughing growl as its wings pumped once and liften it upward. It held its hands together and created a large black ball of pure chaos magic. The dark energy flew from its palms at Aedan. The barrier he created was barely able to block the attack, and it drained all of his strength, even the magic he stored in the emerald of his blade.
If only I had more time...
The thought echoed through his head as the Demon created another Chaos Ball. It laughed hysterically as it shot the ball again. Aedan had no chance to win. He couldn't even raise a barrier to block this. Aedan closed his eyes and awaited his fate.
The light burst forth from the darkness once more, the spirit had come to help its host. The power was immense this time, much more powerful than the first time. When Aedan opened his eyes he was holding the ball of magic back with his hand. He shifted the magic and shot it back with a reflective barrier. It smashed into the demon and the smoldering body fell to the ground. But its aura was still alive and well.
The Demon stood up and roared viciously. "Dirty mage I'll gut you!"
It raced at Aedan and he lifted up a palm and channeled his magic into a lightning bolt. When the creature got close enough Aedan released the magic and the lightning shot clean through its chest and through many houses in the distance until it came to a stop. The demon then fell to the ground with a smoldering hole in its chest. The aura was still there though.
Aedan's own aura was growing more powerful by the second, and soon it exceeded the Demon's. His wounds were healing instantly and on his back he could feel the magic creating something. He turned and saw a large white dragon wing sprouting from his right shoulderblade. Confused by its presence he touched it and he could feel the touch on both sides, it was part of him. The Demon stood up again laughing.
"Amazing isn't it?" it snarled.
"My masters' powers."
"What does that mean?" Aedan said raising an eyebrow.
"You'll find out soon enough."
Aedan decided to finish it, and charged the Demon with his blade shining with the concentrated light. It sank deep into the Demon's chest with a wet crunch. He pulled the blade out and sliced the creature's head off. It fell to the ground and reverted to the pale black-eyed human head. It's body followed the pattern and reverted.
With the disappearance of the dark aura his spirit faded back into his inner depths. Footsteps echoed through the street and Aedan turned with his sword raised. Toryn and Wein both stopped and seemed concerned at the scowl that was on Aedan's face. "What happen..." Toryn's voice trailed off as he saw the demon's body.
His eyes opened wide with shock and Wein had a similar reaction.
"Aedan you killed a demon?" Toryn's voice rattled with shock.
"Seems he can handle himself." Wein said to Toryn.
"What the hell happened here?" Toryn said still amazed at the sight.
"My Yuris...it changed..."
Toryn sighed "I knew this would happen sometime."
"That would explain that monstrous aura we felt. We thought a goddamn Deity dropped in." Wein said laughing.
"We'll discuss this later. Let's go." Toryn said and walked back to the village center.
The ride back to Gornuk was a quiet one. Wein broke the silence occasionally but quickly returned to his silent state. Toryn seemed disturbed by something that Aedan could not make out. Was it his Yuris? Or the fact that he killed a demon?
The only person who seemed to be active was Vardin who continue to pester Aedan about his encounter with the demon. The dragon took an odd amount of interest in the creature, and asked questions like what magic it used and what it looked like. Aedan shared his memories with Vardin and that finally stopped the harassment.
After the sun had sunk beneath the horizon Gornuk finally came into sight, the mountain towered over its neighbors and was covered in shadow by the quickly approaching night. As the dragons landed at the entrance they were greeted by a few elves dressed in golden armor. They carried long curved swords and had an elven insignia on their breastplates. The insignia appeared to be a golden tree with vines branching off in various directions.
Toryn climbed down and approached the elves. The front elf handed him a scroll and then spoke, "Our queen wishes to see you."
Toryn examined the scroll, "For what purpose?"
The elf smiled a bit, "To thank you in person for your aid. I understand you are the Dracomage who freed one of our cities from the control of those accursed Shadows."
Without looking back up Toryn opened the scroll and read it. "I am truly grateful that she wishes to meet me..." Toryn said "Unfortunately I have matters that I must attend to for now, tell her Highness that I will meet her whenever I can."
The elf bowed out of respect "Of course Dragon Master, remember that you are always allowed in our forests."
The elves then turned away and used some magic that was alien to Aedan, with a surge of magic from one of the elves the air around them churned and they disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Aedan would have asked Toryn what that was under normal circumstances but things seemed distant between them now. Toryn led the way as they walked through the main hall and to the Dragons' dens. Vardin and Rynne parted with their partners and Wein left as well. Toryn and Aedan were now standing in the empty hall alone.
With a sigh Toryn broke the silence, "It seems my senses were right after all. And here I thought I was getting old, if only that were true."
The Dragon Master began to pace. He rubbed his head and then looked at Aedan "It appears you are far more important than I originally had guessed."
Aedan cocked an eyebrow and crossed his arms "Important?"
"Yes, important." Toryn sighed again "Remember what I told you about spirits and mages?"
"Well there is also another part to that. Do you remember the story about Polonus and Orin?"
Toryn cleared his throat and continued "Well ever since those days we have not had a Supreme Mage, Orin was our last."
"A Supreme Mage is a mage who's soul has been bonded to a Deity. In other words they are part god." Toryn's pose suddenly stiffened "And Aedan I believe you are the next Supreme Mage."
Aedan's heart pounded in his chest, thoughts raced through his head and questions spawned from them but the only one he could get out was "How do you know?"
"Despite the fact that no apprentice has ever been able to unlock their Yuris to such an extent at your level. Your soul also carries many traits that Orin's carried." Toryn said "Your aura bears an uncanny resemblance to Orin's such concentrated power in a small area it is more than just a coincidence. Your 'spirit' is in fact a Deity."
"How do you know what Orin's aura was like? He died almost a century ago."
"Because..." Toryn's voice suddenly became quiet "I was his Vanguard."
"Vanguard?!" Aedan could not control his voice, the Vanguards were mythical figures who literally had saved the world from terrible things.
"Yes now please quiet down. I was the last Vanguard ever initiated into the order, but I was assigned to protect Orin from danger, unfortunately I failed my duty." Toryn's once proud shoulders sagged as he relived an awful memory.
"What happened?" Aedan asked.
"Ragnos killed Orin almost a century ago and took power." Toryn said "But being the power hungry monster he is he blamed it on the Shadows and claimed a Shadow King had emerged. The tale he weaved to cover his own tail was one for the storybooks indeed."
"Ragnos? Our King? He killed Orin?" Aedan had to stop himself from asking questions.
"In short yes, he killed Orin and then proclaimed himself as a hero once everyone from the old order was dead."
"Why didn't anyone oppose him?"
"A few people did but were quickly killed, I was told by Orin himself to keep the order of the Dracomages alive so I had to return here." Toryn said. "I have told you a little of the true histroy that few ever hear. The only people who know of his treachery are the Dracomages, the Elven King and Queen, and the Dwarven royals. No one else has been told in an attempt to keep the peace."
Anger seeped into Aedan's mind "How can you let him get away with that?!"
Toryn looked at Aedan sternly "Because there was no one powerful enough to fight Ragnos. Until you."
"You want me to fight the King?" Aedan said with a weaker voice, the thought of fighting such a powerful mage was making him fearful.
"It is your duty as a Dracomage, to preserve peace in the land." Toryn replied.
"What if I say no?" Aedan said.
"Unfortunately you don't have a choice, eventually Ragnos will find you and attempt to kill you out of fear. He wants to preserve his power and you are a threat to it." Toryn's voice suddenly became stronger as he told Aedan his fate.
"When?" Aedan swallowed to get rid of the lump in his throat "When will I have to fight him?"
"That all depends on him. It could be tomorrow or in a decade, whenever he acknowledges you as an equal."
The weeks past from that day and Aedan continued his training and dived into more complicated arts. It would not be long until he was considered a full fledged Dracomage. He learned to call on his spirit faster and without as much concentration, and at the end of his second month of training he was able to reach the second stage of his Yuris in five seconds.
His training in combat and magic soon fused with each other as his opponents shifted from other apprentices to Toryn himself. Aedan learned how to infuse magic into his muscles to make his blows stronger and faster. His battles with Toryn became more intense with each passing day however and soon they both had to use all of their power to combat the other.
The gap between their powers narrowed as they battled, Toryn was using magics that were intended to kill Aedan. And Aedan was forced to do the same. Both of them used their weapon enchantments and once the battle was cut short when Aedan's sword cut through half of Aos. After a couple of weeks Aos was fully restored by Jorn.
Toryn's mood soon returned to its original state as they trained, and soon everything was back to normal where they were laughing and enjoying the training. But the joyous atmosphere was short lived when their training was interrupted by a messenger.
Both Aedan and Toryn were bent over panting and struggling to catch their breath when a elven messenger ran into the arena with a piece of paper in his hand, the elf had a panicked look on his face and he repeatedly called out to Toryn.
"Toryn! It's a message from the King!" the elf yelled as he ran over to Toryn.
Toryn stared at the paper, and Aedan watched as his hands began to clench and a grim expression took hold on his face. "Get everyone in the main hall, we need a meeting now." Toryn said to the messenger.
Aedan had regained his composure "What does it say?"
Toryn tossed the piece of paper to the ground "Ragnos demands that we answer for our crimes."
"What crimes?" Aedan asked as he wiped the sweat off his head with his hand.
"Wein killed an Imperial soldier. And they want to execute him and his dragon for it."
"Why did he kill a soldier?" Aedan asked with shock in his voice.
"He didn't." Toryn cursed under his breath "I should have guessed that this would have happened, the last mission we went on the Kings troops were there. The King wants to finish us off."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll explain at the meeting. Let's go."
They exited the arena and walked through the dark, tangled halls of Gornuk. Aedan followed closely behind Toryn as he made his way to the main hall. In the hall itself was a large group of people, everyone who worked, traded, or lived in Gornuk had assembled. Aedan was in awe at the speed of the congregation.
Toryn's voice boomed in the large hall "Alright everyone we have been addressed by the king to atone for crimes we have not committed. We either hand over Wein and his dragon or prepare for war against the nation of Vernos."
Everyone was solemn and respectful as the Dragon Master made his speech "I for one am not willing to just give this damned King a person to pay for crimes he did not commit. The real story is that Wein protected a city valiantly while the King's army sat there watching him. After exhausting all of his magic reserves Wein allowed a small group of Shades to reach the King's army who suffered 1 death in the resulting conflict. The infantry then called out Wein's name as the murderer for not protecting them. Ragnos is using this as a reason to destroy the Dracomages once and for all, so we will stand ready to fight. I want all apprentices and workers to leave Gornuk and seek shelter in the elven forests. And all of the Dracomages will stand and fight this tyrant!"
A few cheers resounded through the hall and the crowd dispersed to prepare for evacuation, Toryn grabbed Aedan's shoulder "Prepare for war Dracomage. We need all the help we can get."
Aedan's armor clanged together as he walked through the empty halls of Gornuk. Toryn had sent him to the Dragon's chambers to await for the King's arrival. It had been over three days since Toryn denied the King's request and the battle was imminent. Scouts were telling of estimates in the tens of thousands of troops, most of which were trained to counter magic. Ragnos was ready to slaughter them.
He reached the dragon chamber and all of the remaining Dracomages were there preparing their Dragons for battle. There were seven of them in total, each dragon was far larger than Vardin who sat in a corner watching the others from a distance. He had been dressed in armor that shined bright silver, all of the places on his body that weren't protected by his scales were covered in thick armor, while other places like his back had little or no armor.
Toryn was already walking to him when he arrived, his armor was the same white armor but this time he wore a silver helmet that covered most of his face. "Aedan I hope you are prepared." Toryn said fixing one of his gloves.
"I'm prepared as I'll ever be before a war." Aedan replied.
"I've requested aid from the elves, who will be able to arrive within three days at the earliest. We need to hold Gornuk until that time."
Aedan dry swallowed, this had escalated far beyond a simple misunderstanding, the mutual contempt had blown this out of proportion and the Dracomages were willing to fight to their dying breath to protect what is just. Toryn sensed Aedan's nervousness and put a hand on his shoulder.
"We'll make it through this." He said calmly.
Aedan nodded and tried to calm himself. Toryn then looked at the sword that was hanging on Aedan's back "It never got a name did it?"
"No, does it need one?" Aedan asked.
"It doesn't but it is tradition to name your sword in the Dracomages, especially one of such craftmanship." Toryn said.
"Alright..." Aedan thought about it trying to think of a good name.
"Typically we use Elven names out of respect for their original designers, the process Jorn uses has been handed down for centuries through the elven bloodline and he managed to learn it from the Elven mastersmith." Toryn then pointed at his two swords, "Aos means 'positive' while Ios means 'negative' perfect names for their abilities."
"Positive? Negative? Isn't Aos' power fire?" Aedan asked.
Toryn unsheathed Aos and presented it to Aedan, runes were running down the center of the blade, elven runes. "Feel its aura."
Aedan touched the blade and felt a wave of light magic wash over him, it was refreshing like a cool breeze on a hot day. He released his grasp on the handle and Toryn sheathed it once more. "Positive magic and negative magic." Toryn said.
"So if those are the names of your swords, I don't know what mine should be..." Aedan said and pulled out the blade.
Toryn smirked from what Aedan could see, "Perhaps 'Star'..."
"Star?" Aedan repeated his words.
"Yes, Star...or in elven Novus" Toryn replied.
The name fit its abilities, "Star..." Aedan murmured as he examined the blade trying to picture its name. "Novus" he said "I like it."
"Good, now prepare for the battle, the King's troops will be here by noon."
The Dracomages all lined up in the main hall. The Dragons waiting excitedly for the approaching battle. Aedan could feel Vardin's excitement as he pictured sinking his teeth into warm, wet flesh. The dragon was shaking when the main doors opened, not out of fear, but out of joy. Vardin was a born fighter, all dragons were. They were created to fight, whether it was among each other or with a partner against different evils, they loved to kill.
Toryn led them out of the hall and into the air, some of the Dracomages let out war cries as their dragons dived over the edge of the cliff at the King's army below. And soon it was Vardin's turn, who dived straight down at the gathering forces. The once green landscape was filled with silver and black as the horde of men gathered to fight. Black arrows shot up at the dragons as they raced towards the ground.
Aedan watched as Toryn used a spell that caused the ground to tremble and crack beneath the soldiers, Rynne then bathed the ground in white hot fire as she pulled back up into the sky. Flames ripped through the King's forces as they struggled to fight flying opponents. A female Dracomage and her red dragon used a combined technique where she created a barrier in front of the dragon's mouth and it shot fire into the barrier to create a supercondensed, super hot fireball that she flung down below.
The cries of men echoed through the valley as the mages rained hell on their intruders. Vardin snapped up a few unlucky soldiers with one pass and crushed them in his massive jaws. Blood spattered on the dragon's silver armor as he spit them out down at the army below. More arrows zoomed at them and Vardin flew low again and grabbed a few archers this time. Aedan had put a barrier around Vardin's wings to protect them from arrows and he felt a slight dip in his strength each time an arrow harmlessly bounced away.
Rynne let out a vicious howl as she dived down towards the archers, the massive blue dragon landed right in the middle of them and began to slash away at the hundreds of screaming men that fled in terror of the massive war machine. Toryn hopped off of her and began to slash through archers himself.
The army struggled to reorganize itself and send the main infantry at Toryn and Rynne, but the chaos gave them time to lift up back into the sky. Toryn charged two fireballs, one in each hand and shot them down at the army, making more rampant fires among their ranks. Wein let out a gleeful cry as he leapt from his dragon's back midair and used his magic to create an air cushion beneath him as he landed in the midst of the chaos.
Vardin landed on the ground and Aedan stood on the dragon's back as he did so. About 20 men were charging him with swords, and he raised Novus and focused his magic into it. The blinding light shot forth and the soldiers staggered back, unable to see as Vardin crushed them with his claws.
Another group began to charge from their left flank and Vardin turned with a snarl on his bloody face as they drew near. Aedan lifted the ground in front of the group causing them to fall. With inhuman speed Aedan jumped off of Vardin and slashed the closest two soldiers as they tried to crawl away.
The rest had made it to their feet and surrounded Aedan who smiled with arrogance. They all ran in at once and sliced at Aedan's body only to find it ineffective as the blows bounced off his barrier. Novus vibrated as the light particles collected around it, the blade shined and Aedan cut clean through one of the soldier's chest. The two pieces of his remains fell limp to the ground as Aedan slayed the other 7 around him. Blood spatter stained his armor, and pools of the foul liquid seaped onto the ground.
Aedan wasted no time and jumped back onto Vardin and they lifted off again. From the skys they could see the damage they had done. Bodies littered the ground and the other troops had begun to retreat. The power of their combined magic had killed nearly half of them, but this was only a small part of the main force the worst had yet to come.
The Dracomages had reassembled at Gornuk's main hall, all were joyous over the quick victory. Wein was boasting tales of how many he had killed, while the female dracomage was contesting him with even greater feats. Aedan was the only one who was not joining them in their small celebration.
He ignored Vardin's attempts to talk to him, and soon Toryn came and talked to Aedan. "What's wrong?"
Aedan shook his head. "I don't know I've never felt like this before."
Toryn simply stayed silent and allowed Aedan to explain what he was thinking, "I'm happy we won for now, but I've never killed someone before. It was an odd sensation, I let Vardin's emotions influence my own and for the battle I felt happy as the bodies fell around me. But now I ca't get over the fact that for the first tim in my life I've killed another human."
"Sometimes it's hard for me even to kill another man." Toryn said "It's a feeling you will never get used to, even with a good reason you will doubt yourself. But you must stay confident in your purpose, you can not hesitate to kill when your own life is on the line."
Unwilling to talk anymore Aedan stood up and began to walk away. "It's usually hard to make the right decisions Aedan."
Aedan was in his room, thinking about today. Toryn's words helped but he couldn't shake the guilt he felt. Night had taken over and no more signs had come from the army camped in the mountains. They must be strategizing, Aedan thought.
A chilling thought entered his mind, What if the king is with them?
A cold shudder ran up his body as he remember Toryn's word's, only he would be able to defeat the king but even he knew he was not ready to face Ragnos. The thought tormented him for a bit before he dismissed it and rolled over in bed. I wonder where Ulrek is...
A fond memory of the two of them training entered his mind, back when things were not complicated. I might have to fight him. Aedan thought as he pondered his fate, a childish thought entered his head Maybe I can convince him to help me kill Ragnos, the two of us...heroes
His depressing future then made itself apparent, he would have to fight Ulrek, because he would not allow anyone else to face his best friend. That way he could keep him alive through the chaos of things.
A surge of dark magic pulsed through the room and four dark clouds appeared next to his bed. Four curved blades whistled through the air and slashed down through the side of Aedan's bed. Aedan barely managed to roll out of the way as the four dark figures attempted to kill him once more. This time he gathered his thoughts and lifted a barrier to stop the blades. As the four of them collided with the invisible wall Aedan felt his strength diminishing, the swords were sucking out his magic.
Aedan rolled away and grabbed Novus at the end of the bed, he raised it to meet the four intruders who looked at him with vicious glares. "Who are you?" Aedan growled through gritted teeth.
"We are your future, we are Wraiths." one of the dark figures replied in a calm tone.
They all pounced at him once more with perfect synchrony, The blades sparked as they collided with the floor where Aedan was standing a moment ago. His increased reflexes allowed him to dodge their blows, so he retaliated with a sweep at the one to his left. The figure jumped back and the other three swiped at Aedan.
Another near hit, but Aedan backed out of the room now, making his way into the hall. He knew he was no match for them in a small room, so he ran. Hoping to find one of the Dracomages as he did, he reached out with his mind and aura trying to find help, but there was no one around. Not a soul. But then he heard something in the distance. Explosions.
Pounding could be heard from outside the fort as explosions clawed their way through the once impervious walls. They were the least of his worries however as Aedan rounded a corner, his heart pounding as he tried to find some place he could gain the advantage. His pursuers were mercilessly on his tail and relentlessly chased him with no sign of giving up.
They chased him into the lower chambers of Gornuk, a place that was alien to Aedan. He ran into a large open chamber, with a spherical ceiling. There were no visible exits anywhere except for the entrance, unwillingly Aedan turned to face his enemies and as they faded from the shadows using the dark magics they were taught.
They all raised their curved blades in a challenge to Aedan who in turn raised Novus as a hesitant acceptance. There was no running now, and he was completely cut off from any support. For the first time in his life he felt alone against a challenge.
"Your doom has come Aedan." one of the figures muttered and they leapt at him from the front and sides.
"I don't think so..." Aedan said as he jumped back. The blades clanged on the rock floor, the black metal scraped the ground as they moved towards him again. This time Aedan shot the one on the right with a fireball. The Wraith raised its hand and absorbed it with some strange shift in his aura.
The blades rained down upon him in harmony, making a counter attack impossible as he was always on the run. The open chamber made this slightly easier but without magic he could barely function against four of them. They seemed to be the same speed as Aedan, but he was not able to measure their strength, he guessed it was low because they avoided direct confrontation with his sword, and their strikes were too precise.
Aedan poured magic into Novus, which shook rapidly with the amount of particles surrounding it. The shining blade hissed through the air as Aedan made his first attempt and an offensive move. His intended target dodged with ease, and before Aedan could follow up on his assault another one striked at his side and he was forced to jump away.
The other two charged him as he landed and this time he got hit by one of the blades as it scratched his chest. Blood dripped from his new wound and an instant stinging pain echoed in his chest. Aedan panted heavily and watched the four Wraiths carefully. They lined up facing him. Each one motionless as they held their swords up.
An idea finally came into Aedan's head as he assessed the situation. Their formation had one weakness, and Aedan knew how to pull it off. He charged them, his sword vibrating with collected particles. They held up their swords and right before Aedan reached them he sank his sword into the ground and kicked off with his feet. With his superior physical form he was able to vault over the figures and land gracefully behind one of the middle ones.
They may have been fast but Aedan was still able to catch one off guard and he channeled all of the magic he could into his right arm and shoulder as he punched the Wraith directly in the face. A snap followed after his blow and the lifeless figure flew across the floor like a ragdoll from the power of Aedan's blow. The remaining three shrieked in terror at their fallen comrade. And Aedan used this time to snap up his sword and turned to face the rest of them.
They all hissed and charged Aedan with their black blades raised, they were being reckless now. The one on the right swung his sword before the other two. As Aedan dodged he kicked the Wraith in the chest making it stagger back, as he pursued it the other two missed with their slightly out of sync strikes. Novus sank deep into the paralyzed figure as it regained its balance. Blood stained the floor as the Wraith fell limp from the blow to his heart.
Another inhuman squeal came from the remaining two as they charged, and Aedan ducked under their swords easily and swiped Novus across the face of one of them causing it to cry out in pain. And the other attempted to kill Aedan with a swift stab towards his chest, but Aedan twisted his body and managed dodge the black blade as it flew by his chest. The missed stab caused the Wraith to lose its balance and Aedan twisted back around with his blade moving with him, the outstretched sword cut through the Wraith's neck and a fountain of blood shot out as the head rolled to the floor.
The last remaining one was hold its face in pain, and Aedan ended its life with a quick stab in the heart. The four bodies lay dead with blood pooling around them. Aedan was still panting heavily as he walked towards the exit of the chamber, Toryn and Wein entered the room as Aedan made his way to them.
Toryn glanced at the bodies and then at Aedan. "Wraiths" he muttered with hate in his voice. "I should have known Ragnos would try a dirty trick like this."
"What are they?" Aedan asked.
"Assassins." Wein chimed in.
"Yes, they are assassins trained to use dark magics. Ragnos has been using them to kill off politicians and others who speak out against them, they're notorious for their stealth. I'm suprised you handled yourself so well against them." Toryn remarked.
"What's going on?" Aedan asked remembering the explosions.
"The bulk of Ragnos' army has attacked Gornuk, and the mages are trying to tear it apart." Wein said "We were heading over to the egg chamber when we felt your aura fluxuating while you fought."
"Aedan come with us, we need help getting the Dragon eggs to safety." Toryn said.
"So we're just running?" Aedan asked.
Wein laughed, "Those bastards wish! We're just giving them to one of the Dracomages who will transport them to the Elven capital."
"And who will that be?" Aedan asked.
The two dracomages stared at him for a bit and then said at the same time "You."
"Why me?!" Aedan spoke with an exhausted tone. He could feel a warm trickle of blood travelling down his abdomen. The question was almost rhetorical, but he still expected an answer.
"They're here for you Aedan. There's no doubt about that." Toryn said sternly.
A stinging pain reverberated through Aedan's chest and he clutched at it viciously. Explosions echoed through the chamber and all three mages glanced up at the ceiling as if it was going to collapse on them. Dust fell from the distant top of the room and drifted to the floor. Large bangs rattled through Gornuk as the King's army smashed through the defenses.
Aedan regained his composure and looked at Toryn, "What do I have to do?"
"The King's mages are breaking through our defenses as we speak, the Dracomages here will hold the invaders off long enough for you and Vardin to escape to the Elven Kingdom with the remaining Dragon eggs."
"But that's suicide!" Aedan tried to keep his voice at a normal tone.
"We'll find a way out." Wein said.
"Wein's right and securing the future of the order is far more important than our lives. Which is why we're giving this job to you." Toryn removed Aos from its sheath.
Wein eyes darted from Toryn's sword to Aedan, "We're killing two birds with one stone here. We keep our only chance of killing Ragnos alive while keeping the Dracomages alive."
"How will I know how to get to the Elf cities?" Aedan asked.
Toryn watched more rubble and dust fall from the explosions above and then looked at Aedan, "We're sending a guide with you, another apprentice actually."
Wein grinned widely, "I believe you know the lad, he's about this tall, pointy ears, arrogant..."
Aedan moaned, it was not stressful enough carrying the future of the Dracomages with him but he had to travel with him?
"It won't be that bad Aedan, besides you won't travel with him for long." Toryn said.
Aedan nodded reluctantly and moved towards the stairs to the egg chamber, Things really haven't gone as planned...
After retrieving his armor the group headed towards the egg chamber. Gornuk was more empty than usual, no movement from even rodents that usually roamed the place. Sound hardly registered anywhere with the constant thrum of the explosions going on in the background. They ran down the main hall, not stopping for any reason. They reached the large black door within minutes.
Toryn used his magic and the stones lit up, the large black doors separated and slammed open, the room once filled with elders was now empty as well. Toryn ran straight through the center and to the other end of the room. From here he used his magic once more to open a hidden door. Deep red rubies lit up along the rim of the now visible door and it slid open to reveal a bright light. Aedan followed him through the door into the main holding chamber for the Dragon eggs.
On the inside the room spiraled up to what seemed to be the top of the mountain, along the walls there was indents to hold Dragon eggs in place. On the bottom ring of indents there were 11 Dragon eggs. Each colored differently than the next, Aedan could feel their auras from where he was standing.
Toryn grabbed the eggs and threw them into a sack, he handed it to Aedan when they were all in there. "I wouldn't worry about being careful with them, the shell is harder than any mineral we have in this world."
Toryn hurried out of the chamber and back into the hall, not even bothering to shut the magic doors behind him. His footsteps echoed through the large hall as he sprinted towards the other Dracomages. Wein turned to Aedan as they followed behind him, "When you meet up with the elf you leave got it? No staying here to fight or I'll kill ya myself."
Aedan nodded in agreement and turned his head towards the blackness at the end of the hall. He could sense Vardin's aura as well as the other massive auras of the other Dragons and their mages. As the shadowy outlines of the figures appeared from the darkness Aedan felt an unbearable anxiety set in, What if they all die here? What if I'm the only one left?
He shook his and to clear his thoughts and continued ahead. The large green dragon that met him seemed disappointed to be missing out on the action. Vardin shook with excitement to kill something but he felt angry that they were responsible for the eggs.
Let a weaker mage take care of the eggs. The dragon growled.
We can't, Toryn told us to leave, so we have to. Aedan replied.
Aedan climbed onto Vardin's back and tied the sack of eggs to the saddle. There he waited for his guide, he looked around for the elf but did not spot him. But after a little while Aedan heard the clacking of talons on the stone floor. He turned to see a dark red dragon with a figure sitting on top. The dragon was smaller than Vardin but not by a lot. The rider's aura matched the elf's exactly and he could feel the contempt as he got closer.
The red dragon moved next to Vardin and it stared up at his head, Vardin naturally looked down to meet its gaze, the dragon seemed to carry the same arrogance as its mage. And the elf turned to Aedan with a scowl on his face, he was dressed in gold and red armor, that matched the scales of his dragon.
"A pathetic dragon to match its rider, how fitting." The elf muttered to Aedan.
Aedan gritted his teeth "Look we're going to have to get along until we're at one of your cities, until then back off."
"Oh attitude! This is going to be a joyful ride." the elf returned Aedan's anger.
"So do you have a name or should I just ignore you completely?" Aedan asked.
"Yes but why should I tell a filthy human my name?"
Aedan gave a mental signal for Vardin to move forward. And the red dragon tried to move faster than him to make it seem like it was leading. Vardin's superior size gave him the advantage though and he just blocked the red dragon's path to make it apparent who the leader was. As they trotted along Toryn approached them on Rynne. The red dragon stepped back a bit at her size but Vardin stood tall, another sign of dominance in his eyes.
"Aedan" Toryn said "We are going to open the gates for you two to leave and when we do you must leave quickly so we can cose them once more."
"Ok" Aedan said and followed behind Rynne as they walked towards the exit. The red dragon was now following at a longer distance. Two mages at the entrance began to pump magic into it and the gates slowly cracked open. Vardin prepared to fly off and as the doors opened something was triggered.
It was so fast Aedan couldn't prepare a barrier and a large flash erupted from the entrance. A shockwave pushed him off of Vardin and he smashed his head on the floor knocking him unconscious.
The sounds of battle woke Aedan up. His vision was blurred as he tried to grasp the situation. In front of him were a few dead bodies, and standing over him defensively was Vardin with blood dripping off his exposed teeth. Aedan could make out a few black figures that were coming through the entrance, each one backed away from Vardin's rage.
As Aedan picked himself off the ground he could feel the veins in his head pulsing, the back of his head was in quite a bit of pain as he tried to stand up straight. Now he realized that it was not just Vardin battling over him but all of the Dracomages were pushing the King's army back. Vardin turned around when he sensed Aedan wake up.
Back off Aedan, you're hurt. He said.
No I'll help you fight...
Vardin did not respond he simply moved his tail and pressed it up against Aedan's chest, with a twitch of his muscles he pushed Aedan away from the entrance. The dragon now shifted his attention back to the door, snapping up a few helpless victims as they wandered too close. Explosions lit up the night as the mages shot various forms of magic at the dragons in the entrance, and Aedan could feel his friends' auras surging in response.
Aedan stumbled back, regaining some level of comprehension as he inched towards the door. He slipped past Vardin and joined the others in the fray. Toryn and Wein led the charge, swiping through foes with their enchanted weapons. They were cleaving a path to the mages at the edge of the cliff.
The red-hot Aos ripped through a soldier's chest and Wein's blade sliced through two. The cries of agony and victory echoed in the midnight air.
"C'mon you gutless bastards!" Wein shouted as he killed another soldier.
Aos twirled in the shadows, occasionally disappearing in the flesh of soldier and reappearing moments later. The rest of the Dracomages were fighting on the outskirts of the battle while Toryn and Wein fought in the middle. Aedan raised Novus and ran into the battle. He cut a soldier across the breastplate and then move further into the chaos.
The clanging of metal was the dominant sound with the occasional wet-crunch of someone cutting into flesh. Aedan stabbed one soldier through the chest and the raised a reflective barrier against the other soldier's sword that raced towards him. It bounced off with so much force that the sword bounced back up into its wielder's skull.
The commotion caught the attention of a few more people, and they turned to face Aedan, who used Novus' ability by collecting light particles. The shining blade cut through one man's sword and through his chest, blood splashed onto the ground. Aedan turned and caught another man's blade with the tip of his, slicing clean through it. He finished the disarmed soldier off with a quick jab into his chest.
The numbers around him dwindled as he made his way to Wein and Toryn. It wasn't long before he saw Aos break through one of the soldiers and he ran to meet Toryn as they battled to the cliff. Wein was slicing through a soldier when he turned to Aedan.
"I'd kill you if there weren't so many damned soldiers here!" Wein shouted over the commotion with a grin.
"It's probaly for the best we need help anyway, we never thought they'd set a trap there." Toryn said.
"Yea they blew the doors clean off, clever bastards." Wein said and then turned to another challenger.
Toryn aimed his palm into the middle of the crowd of enemies and unleashed a highly compressed bolt of lightning, creating a massive electircal explosion that threw some soldiers away. Aedan cut upwards through the chest of one soldier and completed with a down stroke through another. The dead bodies fell around them as the endless army kept up the combat.
"Where are they coming from?!" Aedan shouted.
"The mages are teleporting them up, if we kill them this battle is over!" Wein yelled in response.
"Wein...Aedan! Let's blast through them on three!"
The mages nodded in agreement and gathered their magic.
Aedan prepared the most powerful fire spell that he could, trying to hold a barrier up as he did.
His heart pounded as Toryn counted down, all of their auras surged outwards.
The spells combined somewhere along the line, Wein shot a huge blast of wind, Toryn a large amount of lightning, and Aedan a white-hot concentratd stream of fire. The fire was carried by Wein's wind making it more intense, and the lightning danced through the inferno striking soldiers in fatal arcs.
The spell traveled through the soldiers and over the edge of the cliff. Killing a majority of the mages, and the rest scattered out of fear. Wein and Toryn gave a victorious cry as the soldiers backed away, the other Dracomages had cleaved paths to them by now and the amount of soldiers on the cliffside was down to about a handful. All of the Dracomages were cheering once more, another victory but it was also short lived.
Aedan was the first to sense it but everyone soon caught on. A dark aura, darker than even the demon he had fought. And more powerful than anything he had ever felt in his life. There was a large explosion of black thunder and smoke at the edge of the cliff, and the shockwave knocked everyone back, Aedan fell on his back from the sheer force.
Standing on the edge was a dark figure covered in a black cloak, silver armor revealed itself from under the darkness and a manical smile covered the figure's face. A long black blade extended from one of its arms, and a powerful aura surrounded that as well. The figure took a few steps forward, each one causing more fear in Aedan's heart.
He already knew who it was when he had revealed himself from the bottom of Gornuk, from all those times at the Mage school and those visits he made. The infamous demon that plagued the history of the Dracomages, and the current King of Vernos. Ragnos.
Ragnos took two more strides towards the group of awestruck Dracomages; the dragons were sitting in the doorway snarling at the intruder. Toryn stood and held out Aos in defiance, “You have no place here Ragnos!” he roared with fury.
“What’s wrong my friend?” the King replied with an even tone.
Toryn’s aura was filled with his hate and he spat the next words out as if they were diseased “You know the problem traitor.”
“Traitor?” Ragnos chuckled “How is taking what was rightfully mine a betrayal in anyway?”
Aedan’s stomach churned as the black aura made contact with his, he almost vomited but kept himself in check and his eyes trained on Ragnos at all times. Toryn was in a frenzy at this point, he raised Ios now, dual wielding the blades as he charged.
As the two blue swords collided with the black one a massive gust of air pushed outwards in all directions from Ragnos and Toryn. The collision of their massive auras was so great that it managed to shift the air. Toryn shouted as he swung his swords at Ragnos’ chest and head. There was no real technique in his movements, just blind rage, the rage of seeing your friends die at the hands of this monster, the anger of seeing this monster transform a once great nation into a tyrannical empire, and the fury of the last Dragon Master.
Ragnos calmly dodged or deflected the blades, offering no offensive moves and no change in expression. The black blade swerved through the air colliding with either Ios or Aos and then returning to his center. Toryn saw that he was being played with and stepped up the pace, activating Aos’ enchantment making it red-hot and the wave of heat collided with the ground burning the dirt as it did.
Ragnos took a step back and watched the cherry blade travel towards him, he deflected the blade but the heat caused his cloak to light on fire. He tossed it away and jumped away from Toryn now positioning himself to take on all of the Dracomages who were following Toryn’s lead. Wein gritted his teeth and raised his large sword, waiting for an opening.
“There’s so many of you and only one of me. I hardly find this fair.” Ragnos said in his oddly even tone.
Aedan watched Ragnos with Novus raised high; the King’s eyes seemed to travel to him when he picked up his blade. Ragnos stared directly at Aedan, and something inside Aedan began to change. Ragnos was calling out to the spirit inside of him, trying to awaken it.
Aedan struggled against his efforts; not allowing the King to carry out his plans and when Ragnos gave up it caused Aedan to double over in exhaustion with cold sweat running down his face. What the hell was that?
“So this is the child? Interesting. Who would’ve thought you were his child.” Ragnos said as he took a few steps towards Aedan.
Toryn rushed the King’s flank who merely raised his blade to deflect Aos once more. Wein charged from the opposite side and Ragnos grabbed Wein’s sword with his bare hand. The remaining Dracomages rushed in towards him, all raising their weapons, none of them connected. Ragnos’ aura charged and then exploded. The result was a huge burst of what seemed to be pure gravity that blasted everyone away. A few almost fell off the cliff to the valley far below.
The only person left fighting was Toryn who was still slashing away with more intensity then ever before. The King was fighting back now, cutting at Toryn whenever he could. Fire started to ignite in the air wherever Aos traveled, and the temperature was still increasing as Toryn poured magic into it.
Aedan stood in the background paralyzed by the King; he was petrified and angry at himself for not moving. Everyone but himself was moving, but he did not know why. Everytime he sent a signal to his legs they did not respond, anytime he told his arms to move, no response. He was stuck there helpless to watch this fight unfold.
Toryn managed to catch Ragnos’ sword on Ios, he pinned it to the ground and slashed upwards with Aos, piercing through the King’s chestplate and singeing some flesh on his chin. Toryn seemed confused as to why he did not raise a barrier, but the King just returned a maniacal smile to his quizzical gaze.
With a large black boot the King kicked Toryn away and then he turned to one of the Dracomages still recovering from the blast. The man was about Toryn’s height but had light skin with pure black hair. He wielded a large axe and wore gold armor to match his dragon’s golden hide.
Ragnos raised his hand facing the man and his aura imploded this time. The man traveled over the ground and Ragnos raised his black blade in preparation for the man’s arrival. A wet crunch echoed through the clearing as the black blade ripped through the man’s abdomen. Then the black sword’s aura shifted and Aedan watched in horror as it sucked the aura out of the man and transferred it to Ragnos, whose injuries were healing from the added magic.
Toryn cried out and charged Ragnos, who tossed the lifeless body aside. The bloody body slid off the sword and collided with the ground. Aos raced downwards at Ragnos, backed by the fury of its master. Ragnos sidestepped the sword and watched as it plunged into the ground, melting the rock around it as it did.
The blood stained black sword whistled through the air as it slashed at Toryn’s face. He managed to roll back away from the blade as it finished its fatal arc. Ragnos raised a hand and used the same gravity controlling magic as before; he pushed Toryn away with tremendous force causing him to barely hold onto the edge. Rynne ran out to help her mage and she picked him up with one massive claw. Toryn was on his hands and knees, panting as he regained his will to fight. The golden dragon now attacked Ragnos, its teeth exposed and a horrible cry escaped its lips as it lashed out against the man who killed its master.
The black blade moved swiftly as the dragon approached slicing through the front arm of the dragon. Blood spilled out onto the ground and the dragon fell forward, still roaring in rage. Ragnos raised the bloody sword and plunged it into the base of the dragon’s skull, resulting in its instant death.
Wein now charged Ragnos, electricity arced throughout his body. His massive sword raked across the ground as Wein cried out in anger, Ragnos dodged the blade and used his gravity magic to push the mage away. A man with two short but wide blades rushed towards Ragnos, with a woman following behind him. The Dracomages were trying their hardest to kill Ragnos, but none of them stood a chance.
The black sword made two quick motions blocking the weapons and then Ragnos used his magic to create a crack in the ground, setting the two Dracomages off balance. He cut the man from shoulder to hip and then stabbed the woman through the heart. Two more dead allies fell to the ground.
Toryn now stood up, his aura becoming more powerful than Aedan had ever felt. His anger was replaced by an intense sensation of justice. Toryn’s body began to glow as magic poured out from his inner sanctum. The light began to take shape as it rolled over his armor. A weird looking armor covered Toryn’s body and a featureless helmet covered his head, only two small slits for the eyes were visible. The chest plate that he wore no longer held the symbol of Gornuk, but had an ancient symbol he could not recognize. The overall look of his armor was bulkier, but more regal than before.
Ragnos took a defensive stance at the change. Toryn grasped at the midnight air with his new gloves.
“I will kill you with all of my power Ragnos.” Toryn said with a slight echo following in a different tone, almost as if two voices were speaking.
“A full Yuris? I never thought that you would manage to unlock one of this caliber.” Ragnos said without lowering his defenses.
“I’m not done yet…I’m going to use Ios to kill you, the blade I swore to only use against you.” Toryn muttered as he walked within fighting distance of Ragnos.
Then the dark aura around Ios swirled and a dark mist surrounded the blade, cold air surrounded the blade itself. “Ragnos do you know why they call this the ‘Shadowslayer’?”
The King did not respond, he only held his blade pointing towards Toryn, watching carefully.
“It’s because I killed the last Shadow King with it.” Toryn said with a monotone voice “But not only that the reason it’s so feared by my enemies is because…”
Toryn raised Ios as the magic collected around it, “Is because I never actually killed the Shadow King with it, I sealed him in here.”
Aedan saw Ragnos’ eyes widen with what seemed to be fear and the aura around Ios exploded with intensity, malevolent magic poured over the rocks and then turned back into the blade. The sword had now lost its form; it was just a mist of black particles around Toryn. The handle in Toryn’s hand still held an absurd amount of power however.
Ragnos raised a barrier as the particles rushed towards him with a life of their own. They all collected around the barrier and began to glow.
“You know what the deity’s name was that resided in the man I killed was?” Toryn asked rhetorically. “It was Glagonos. The god of destruction.”
The particles’ light intensified and they exploded, each letting off super concentrated energy. The explosion covered Ragnos and then died away.
The black particles returned to the handle and formed a black sword, but still the separation between particles was easily visible. Ragnos was now holding himself up with his sword, panting.
The black aura around the King surged, as his Yuris began to take shape. Black feathered wings sprouted from his back and horns bulged out of his head. A scaly tail grew out of the end of his spine. His skin became pitch black, and his eyes matched them, the only difference was the reflection.
Aedan felt a hand on his shoulder as he watched Toryn and Ragnos fight. He turned to see Wein and the elf standing behind him.
“Aedan you still have a duty to carry out, this is getting out of hand we need to leave. I’ll stay here with Toryn to make sure he’s ok but you need to head to the Elves with him ok?” Wein said.
Vardin was perched at the edge of the cliff with the red dragon next to him. Aedan ran towards the dragon, with the elf next to him. His heart pounding from what he saw and what he anticipated. He jumped onto Vardin and gave one last glimpse at the battle he was leaving; dead bodies were lying around with the few remaining dragons waiting to attack Ragnos.
Toryn was now fighting head to head with Ragnos’ Yuris, with bursts of magic erupting from his sword. Ragnos had transformed into a monster, in fact he resembled the demon at this point.
Aedan then looked to Wein who was watching with caution and waiting to help Toryn whenever he could. The elf was now on his dragon and without saying anything Aedan nodded to him and they took off into the night sky.
As the dragons flew to the east Aedan heard an inhuman screech from behind that sent chills through his spine. He looked over to the sac of dragon eggs and something seemed off. Upon closer inspection he saw that one was missing, and the sac was not torn or anything like that. The only place he could think where it would be was back at Gornuk’s entrance, but he could not turn back now. He had to keep flying for the sake of the Dracomages.
The battle between the two powerful mages began to tear apart the mountainside. Rocks and rubble were being tossed around in a magical hurricane surrounding Toryn and Ragnos. The light emanating from Toryn's armor shone brightly in the otherwise featureless night. Black clouds gathered in the sky, blocking out the moon and stars. Ragnos' aura was as black and violent as ever. Wein was barely managing to watch the fight without plummeting off the mountain to his death.
Rynne watched silently as the battle of blades and magic ensued, her wings were clutched tight against her body to avoid being tossed away by the massive winds being created from the friction of the magic in the air.
Toryn clutched his teeth beneath his helmet, he swing of Ragnos' black sword was like being hit with the force of a falling mountain. If it was not for his Yuris his bones would have broken long ago. Ragnos was not only strong but fast as well, his mobility through the air gave him a distinct advantage against the bulky armor of Toryn's Yuris.
With each clash of their swords the ground cracked beneath them, large boulders falling to the ground far below. Toryn noticed that Ragnos' wings were actually controlling the air around them as opposed to actually flying. This allowed him to move faster and respond to Toryn's spells.
Using Aos, Ios, and all of the spells in his reserves were exhausting. He wouldn't be able to keep up the battle for much longer. Ragnos backed off after another collision with his sword. The now demon-looking King snarled at Toryn, revealing white, sharp teeth. The king laughed and then tilted his head forward like a bull ready to charge. Between the two curved horns on his head a small red ball appeared. Toryn clenched his fists, Ragnos was charging pure magic energy, the most powerful and uncontrollable form of power in this realm.
The ball kept fluxing in size, and unnatural lightning erupted from the ball. With a snarl Ragnos took aim at Toryn, his horns pointing directly at him. The magic pulsed and released, a beam of pure magic connected with the ground, erupting in various colored flames. Toryn struggled to dodge, but still the beam connected with his barrier. Shattering it upon contact and proceeding to tear through the ground in front of him. A massive ball of flames surrounded him and he collapsed due to the shear power of the magic he had barely diverted.
As the flames began to die down Ragnos was floating above them, and Toryn struggled to his knees. His armor was now falling apart, a sign he was close to his limit. The king watched him with his cold, black eyes, unrelenting and ungodly powerful.
"Truly a monster..." Toryn whispered to himself as he stood up.
Blood trickeled down his arm, revealing where the beam had managed to hit. He turned slightly to see the damage that had caused. The magic tore straight through the mountain side leaving a scorched trail, flames from it could even be seen off in the distant night, an obvious display of its raw power. Ragnos rushed Toryn once more, his wings creating a monsoon as they pushed through the super heated air. Toryn braced himself, but in his weakened state the black blade pierced his armor and punctured his skin above his heart.
Ragnos ripped his sword upward, cutting through the tendons and muscles in Toryn's left shoulder. As an automatic response Ios fluxed and surrounded Toryn, the power from the sword poured into him, allowing him to uphold his Yuris for a bit longer. The armor around his woundsslowly regenerated and Toryn was ready for a few more rounds. Ios exploded outwards, the black balls racing through the air towards the black king.
As Ragnos prepared to block Ios, Toryn charged a fireball, but this time he waited to release it and instead of just holding it he compressed it. The high amounts of energy surged and created a dense stream of fire that extended slightly past his hand. Ios erupted in a white light once it got close enough to Ragnos. As the king flewbackoutof the explosion Toryn poured his magic into the stream of fire, the fire shot outwards and hit Ragnos' left wing. The white-hot flame burned a holestraight through it and burned the surrounding areas.
The king cried out in pain and flapped his wing in a futile attempt to put out the flames. Toryn took this opening and ran forward holding Aos up high, the blade now white from the heat within. He was mere feet from Ragnos when the king's magic exploded. Toryn was forced to his knees from the sheer pressure of his aura. Ragnos screeched with glee, holding his shimmering black blade up high in preparation to kill Toryn.
Toryn's spirit armor shattered under the magical pressure, his body hurt to be this close, it felt like the gravity was 100x stronger than normal. He saw the glimmer of the black blade raised high and closed his eyes. The end...
Suddenly the enormous pressure leftand Toryn was able to breath steadily once more. He opened his eyes and saw Wein standing next to him and Ragnos on the ground covered in rocks. Rynne trotted over and flared her wings, Toryn pushed himself upwards, and blood poured out of his wounds. Pain surged through his body causing him to collapse to one knee again.
Wein helped him up and led him to Rynne, the massive blue dragon immediately pushed off the side of the mountain and began to fly in Aedan's direction. Toryn's exhaustion caught the best of him and he nodded off, sagging in the saddle. Wein was not far behind on his brown dragon. Ragnos was left at Gornuk's entrance, and he let out an inhuman screech that faded away quickly. Even the divine had their limits.
Rynne pushed ahead eager to leave the bloodbath behind and seek help for her master.
Aedan clutched the edge of the saddle tightly as the screech faded. Thoughts raced through his head, who will win? Will Toryn die? What about Wein?
Vardin took a sudden dive and then returned to level
Aedan shook his head, What?
When you think like that we can't talk.
Sorry... Aedan bowed his head still staring at the saddle's edge.
They won. Vardin said flatly.
Wh-What? Aedan replied to the remark.
They won, what else do you want?
How do you know?
They must have won, I can hear Rynne's wings.
Aedan lifted his head in excitement and instinctively looked around expecting to see something in the distance. He couldn't see nor hear anything.
Where? Aedan asked.
Far behind us, but they're coming.
Relief filled Aedan's heart but what had become of the King? Was it over? No it couldn't be. Aedan looked ahead to the smaller red dragon who was leading the way into elven territory. The dark forest raced by below.
"Hey!" Aedan yelled ahead.
The red dragon yielded no response. This time Vardin roared releasing a jet of flames with it. The dragon turned its head and slowed its pace this time. Soon the elf was level with Aedan, "What do you want?" the elf scowled at Aedan.
"When are we going to get there, if it is going to be long then we should rest for the night and meet up with Toryn and Wein." Aedan said.
"We are almost at the border, we can rest in one of the outer villages."
Aedan nodded and the dragon quickened its pace once more. Aedan was just anxious to see Wein and Toryn once more, alive.
After about another hour the red dragon took a sudden dive and Vardin followed. Aedan spotted their intended destination a faint group of lights down below, barely visible to his eyes nevermind a normal person's.The red dragon lifted its wings right before it collided with the ground. Vardin did the same. Around them were trees, but twisted and curved to create what seemed to be homes. A group of armored elves surrounded the two dragons, standing vigilant for their visitors. Aedan dismounted and an elf approached him, the elf was dressed in golden armor and Aedan noticed it was the same one that delivered the message to Toryn.
"Welcome Aedan and Vardin, it is a pleasure to have the two of you in our company." The elf bowed to him out of respect.
"Thank you." Aedan bowed in return as he was taught in Mage school.
Elves immediately started pulling things off of Vardin and unloading them to the ground. "We shall take care of your things, you two are our guests now and we shall treat you as such, we already have rooms prepared..."
Aedan was led by the elf to a tall tree with a spiral wooden staircase, "We shall talk with you tomorrow, for now rest Dracomage." The elf said as they walked up the stairs. They stopped at the top and the elf pushed open the door to reveal a room lit up by laterns.
"Sleep well Aedan." the elf said and closed the door behind Aedan. Without hesitation Aedan dropped onto the bed in the corner and closed his eyes, he was tired and slept easily tonight. For he knew things were well for now. He drifted to sleep leaving his conscious mind behind, What happens now?
Aedan slowly opened one eye, almost expecting to see the stone ceiling of his bedroom in Gornuk. Hoping that yesterday was a nightmare and that everything was fine. He accepted the situation and rolled over in a daze. His body was sore from fighting and his mind exhausted from the distress.
A knock at the door made Aedan jolt upright searching for Novus. The green sword lay next to his bedpost. When he picked it up he saw that the wooden post was actually part of the floor, like this tree naturally grew that way. He ignored it and walked to the door with sword in hand. As he opened it a thin, pale elf was standing there with a tray full of fruits and bread.
"Good morning Dracomage, it's a pleasure to meet you." The elf said in a flat yet calm voice.
Aedan took hold of the tray as it was handed to him, he looked at the elf and went to open his mouth, but a pain in his stomach stopped him short. Followed by a gurgling sound. The pale elf chuckled as Aedan nearly doubled over from the hunger pains.
"Eat Dracomage, I will show you to your dragon later."
Silently Aedan nodded and the elf bowed and walked out of sight. Aedan placed the tray on the bed and sat next to it looking at the assortment of colorful fruits and pastes in front of him. He grabbed the closest one to himself which happened to be an apple and took a large bite into it. As the juices flowed from the chunk into his mouth he realized how long it had been since he had last eaten.
He hungrily devoured the apple and moved to the chunk of bread. He ate that quickly as well. It did not take him long until he felt rejuvenated enough to venture out of the tree he was staying in. The sun was high in the sky when he left the shade of indoors. Elves were moving around the small cluster of tree-homes outside. Some were performing odd magics, others were sparring playfully, while the rest were preparing for what seemed to be like a battle.
As Aedan walked around for a bit the pale elf from before walked up to him and bowed. "Welcome to our outermost colony Dracomage Aedan. This village is called Thylar by our people and..."
Fast paced footsteps resounded throughout the village behind Aedan. And they soon turned into a fullblown sprint. A surprised look appeared on the pale elf's face. Aedan turned to see who it was and was met by a silver blade glimmering in the sunlight. The sword came downwards towards Aedan's head. He quickly unsheathed Novus as a response and blocked the blade barely. The figure behind the sword was a fully armored elf, who was dressed in green and gold armor. A smirk appeared across the elf's face as Aedan pushed him away.
"Who are you?" Aedan asked with a scowl on his face.
The smirk widened into a smile "Nice reflexes human."
The other elves around were gathering around the commotion. Although none of them spoke out against the fight they merely watched as if they were frozen in place by fear or respect.
"Who are you?!" Aedan repeated but with a more assertive tone.
"Who am I?" The elf sheathed his sword and stood up straight. "I am Hyurin, the Elven King."
Aedan's eyes widened as he looked at the noble elf with awe. However the surrounding elves seemed to be more shocked than Aedan. Hyurin walked over to Aedan and extended a hand. "This is tradition among your people is it not? To shake the hand of a new aquaintance?"
Hesitantly Aedan raised his hand and shook hands with the Elven King. Hyurin grinned widely and let out a loud laugh. The pale elf he was speaking to was bowing down to the King. "It is truly an honor for you to come here my lord."
"Lighten up, if everyone talked to me as such I wouldn''g be able to walk without stepping on someone. We have guests they deserve the special treatment." Hyurin said in response. "Now where is my son?"
The other elves around them looked around looking for the prince. Then the pale elf spoke up as he staggered to his feet "I w-will show to his room my lord."
"Good! Let's get this moving." Hyurin said excitedly and walked behind the pale elf as they headed towards a group of trees. The King stopped about halfway there and turned to Aedan "Are you coming? I shall not leave my guests by themselves, come Dracomage!"
Aedan was confused by the familiarity of the king but decided to follow behind him nonetheless. They moved towards another grouping of twisted trees with massive roots that sprawled out for quite a distance in all directions. As they walked over the tangled roots the pale elf stopped at the entrance to the tree home and turned to Hyurin.
"Should I go up and get him my lord?"
The King looked at the top of the tree and then shook his head, "We shall go you stay here."
The pale elf bowed head and walked away. Hyurin turned to Aedan and gestured to the door, "Shall we?"
The Elf King ventured forward, grabbing what appeared to be a handle. The wooden door effortless slid open on contact with Hyurin's aura, showing no signs of cracking or separation in the wood itself. As Aedan followed closely behind the door slid back shut and connected back with the wood. Hyurin turned to see Aedan looking at the way the door performed and offered an explanation.
"Confused?" Hyurin said with a coy smile on his face, "Most mortal creatures don't understand our connection with nature, it's only natural you are confused."
The two of them walked forward onto a wooden circular stairwell as Hyurin continued his explanation, "Since the elves arrived in this realm we created a strong bond with nature, so much so that we are able to change one another. We also offer each other protection. The trees offer us homes and shelter from the more harsh parts of nature, while we use our magic to protect them from anything that might seek to harm them."
They continued to the top of the wooden stairs as they narrowed into a small platform before a door. Hyurin took his hand and placed it on the door, having the same reaction as the entrance. The wooden door opened silently and Hyurin walked into the open room. On the far corner was a bed with the outline of a body under the covers.
Aedan slowly entered the room waiting for Hyurin to approach the bed before actually going farther in. The Elf King stood over the bed staring at the person lying motionless there, apparently asleep. Hyurin then proceeded to kick the body and yelled loudly in elven tongue, he quickly changed back sensing Aedan's discomfort.
"Get up Riedan, this laziness is most unfitting for the crowned prince."
As the elf sat upwards Aedan saw who the prince was, the blue eyes, the silver-white hair, and a scowl on his face. This was the dracomage elf who Aedan had disliked since they first fought in Gornuk. Riedan's eyes strayed from his father to Aedan, ans the scowl on his face was twisted into a grimace.
"What do you want?" Riedan spat out.
Hyurin grabbed the elf by his arm and tossed him out of bed, "It is impolite to address guests in such a manner, you will show respect."
"But he's only a human he doesn't deserve our respect." Riedan said through gritted teeth.
"Why do you hate me so much?" Aedan asked on impulse.
"Because...because you shouldn't have been able to beat me!" Riedan shouted.
"Beat you?" Hyurin questioned.
Aedan looked at Riedan who was getting up to his feet and then returned his gaze to Hyurin. "Yes we had a preliminary fight at Gornuk, and I won."
The Elf King raised an eyebrow and looked at Riedan, "Is this true?"
Riedan nodded his head. And Hyurin's eyes widened and he looked towards Aedan. "You beat an elf? A Royal Elf at that?!"
The excitement in the King's voice grew as he voiced his now incoherent thoughts.
"There's a difference between elves and Royal elves?" Aedan asked.
"Why of course! Royal Elves are trained at birth to be warriors so they can be worthy of inheriting their parent's kingdom. It is difficult to explain to an outsider but we do not encourage weakness, which is why only the strongest in heart and mind are placed at the top of our hierarchy or society." Hyurin said with much excitement in his voice. "Well it appears I must contain myself, I never thought a human capable of such a feat especially against the second most powerful of our race..."
That last sentence caught Aedan by surprise, he knew Riedan was strong but to be the second strongest of all of the elves? He glimsped at his hands trying to view some physical evidence of his power, How is that possible? Aedan asked himself.
A hand touched his shoulder and broke him from his moment of inner thoughts. Hyurin stood next to him "Come Dracomages, let us go we must visit your injured master."
Aedan turned to follow the king and Riedan followed reluctantly behind. They left the tree-abode and moved about the other trees as the Elf-King was apparently following some invisible path. Aedan glanced back at Riedan, who was slouched with his head down obviously in shame over the earlier discussion.
Aedan no longer held negative feelings towards him, in fact he almost felt pity for stripping him of his pride. But both of them could tell now the power difference between them. Aedan was now far stronger.
"Die?"Kurt laughed."Didn't you know?"he told the Elite. "...Spartans never die."