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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Sands of Time - 14. Chapter 14

When Hontel woke, he quickly remembered where he was and why he was there. Looking around, he spotted the female Illorc about the same time that she saw that he was awake. She reached to her collar, which had three tiny crystals, touched one, and spoke a word he didn’t understand. When she next spoke, he did understand her. “Well, good morning, sleepy head,” she said, smiling as she walked over to his bed. “How are you feeling?”

He stretched himself out on the bed, popping several joints as he did so. When he relaxed, he smiled up at her and nodded. “Still a bit stiff, but otherwise, I’m feeling great.”

“Now, that is what I like to hear.” She looked over to where his clothing lay, then back at him. “If you are feeling up to it, why don’t you get dressed and come out to the fire pit? It is almost time for lunch, so you will be able to meet everyone.”

Hontel nodded and swung his legs over the side of the bed. By the time he stood up, she had exited the building. He almost snickered, thinking that she was bashful at seeing him nude, even though she had obviously seen all of him while she healed him. Either way, he got dressed, just a little slower than normal.

When he picked up his watch pin, he thought about checking in. Finally, he shook his head and put the pin under his belt, keeping it hidden more out of habit than anything else. He didn’t really have much to report yet. ‘Well, not very much anyway,’ he thought as he picked up the new Holy symbol.

The sheer wealth that was displayed in this medallion made him shake his head in disbelief. This by itself could clothe, feed, and keep everyone at the orphanage healthy for years and years.

He briefly closed his eyes as he held the jewel and whispered, “Lord Rovnar, favor me with your guidance and protection among these strangers.” His eyes flew open when he thought he heard a gentle snicker, but there was no one else in the room. Finally, with a sigh, he let it settle around his neck, wearing it openly. Normally, he wouldn’t even dare to wear something this expensive, but he figured this group would want to see it.

He looked at his weapons for a moment, wondering if he should wear them. They would not have left them here if they did not want him to have access to them, so with that thought, he picked up his sword and belt. Strapped it on and dropped the light mace through the loop meant for it. Next was a bandoleer of daggers across his chest, and then the knife he put in his boot. He didn’t bother with the crossbow, assuming he wouldn’t have need for it. He took a moment to make sure everything was secure, then turned to leave the room.

That's when something else caught his eye. He wouldn’t have been able to see it from the bed, as the door had always been open, but now… Now, he saw something that made his jaw drop: a mirror. It was not the kind he had seen before, which was just a piece of highly polished metal. No… This was glass. The crystal clear reflection looking back at him was amazing to behold. ‘Was this magic too?’ he wondered as he unconsciously raked his fingers through his hair, bringing some order to the unruly mop. He shook his head, tearing his eyes off the reflection in the mirror, opened the door, and stepped out into the chilly morning air.

“Bet you are glad to see the sun,” Olpha said with a gentle smile that totally belied her large, muscled frame and the twin battle axes strapped to her back. ‘Another pleasant Illorc,’ he thought. Then, the twin battle axes registered. ‘Wait… Isn’t she a mage?

✶✶✶✶✶
 

Syth looked up from his meal as Olpha led the boy towards the fire pit. ‘Well, he is not much…’ Syth thought to himself. However, he knew better than to take things at face value, especially with people in this new time. He put on a smile, knowing that Xavier wanted to keep this kid, and the organization he worked for, from being enemies. Personally, Syth would have sent the kid packing; he was a danger to Xavier, and that's all Syth needed to know. But Xavier made it clear what he wanted, and Syth was bound to follow that… up to a point. Olpha first grabbed a bowl and a mug, filled both, and handed them to the boy. She then pointed over to an open log, opposite of Xavier, and then filled her own mug and bowl, before sitting down next to him.

“Hontel,” Olpha began after she took a sip from her mug. “I would like you to meet the rest of our small group.” She paused as she indicated Xavier right across from them. “First, we have our fearless leader, Xavier.” She paused while everyone chuckled. Hontel noticed that no one corrected her, though.

“Sitting next to him is Lew and his adorable pet Nimbi.” Lew raised a hand in greeting, although Syth was pleasantly surprised to see the mistrust in the Pantherling's eyes. They weren’t wrong about him.

“Next, there is Lucas, and sitting next to him is Killian.” Olpha was about to move on when Lucas spoke up.

“Hontel, is it?” Lucas asked, which caused Hontel to nod in agreement. “I see how you are looking at Olpha, so I will say this just once. She is mine… well, more like I am hers, but either way, you don’t have a chance.” He paused as the other snickered, and Hontel looked completely lost. “Oh, I get it. She is the most magnificent being in the camp, but she is way too far out of your class.”

“Lucas…” Xavier half moaned, half laughed.

“What?” Lucas defensively whined. “Do you know how hard it is to be in love with a creature such as she? Always having to worry about how her beauty will attract others? Always knowing that my sweet is lusted upon by everyone we pass?” Everyone, save for Hontel, was outright laughing at the teen's antics.

Hontel wasn’t sure if the boy was joking or not, but either way, he just could not help but wonder how he and her could… “Lucas, sit!” Olpha commanded, causing the boy to sit down hard and fast.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Lucas said with a grin.

“Just ignore him, Hontel,” Olpha said with a grin of her own. “He is just trying to give me a reason to punish him tonight.” Hontel’s eyes grew wide as he saw Lucas grin and smile broadly.

“Hontel, try not to think about it too hard; it will never make sense,” Killian said, earning him a shot in the arm from Lucas.

“ANYWAYS!” Olpha half laughed before continuing the introductions. “On the next log is Thane with his adorable pets. Suiadan is the Bear Scorpion, and Amakiir is the Gargoyle.” Thane gave a polite nod of the head. “Next to him is Animal Adept Teacher Madelyn. Faelwen is the other Bear Scorpion, and the Kulkodar is named Bruin.”

“Across from them is Garnet, whom you have already met, and his student Aegir.” Hontel’s eyes went wide at the mention of a student, especially since he saw no guild pins on either of them.

“Finally,” She continued before Hontel could focus on that. “We have Syth and Malachi.” Syth gave the boy a small wave while Malachi looked the boy over with a very annoyed look.

Remembering what Garnet had said, Hontel touched the medallion around his neck. “Malachi…” he said hesitantly. “You are the one who made my new holy symbol?” Malachi’s frown was replaced with a bland expression as he nodded. “It is beautiful… And far too grand for the likes of someone like me… But, thank you.”

“I just used the materials that Rovnar’s priest gave me… But, you are welcome.” Malachi looked the boy over again, and his frown returned. “You have very pretty weapons.” The dwarf said in what Hontel took to be the most sarcastic tone he had ever heard, which confused Hontel, but he wasn’t given time to dwell on it.

“Malachi,” Olpha admonished. “Be nice, or I will beat you over the head with your forge.”

“But he has weapons made out of… out of BRONZE!” He spat the last word out as if it left a bad taste in his mouth.

“Malachi…” Olpha warned.

“Fine.” Malachi groused as he crossed his arms over his chest.

“What’s wrong with Bronze?” Hontel innocently asked. Almost the entire group either groaned loudly or cried out in dismay at his question. Syth, however, literally tackled Malachi to cover the boy’s mouth with his hand.

“Please don’t bring that up around him. He is a bit of a snob when it comes to metals.” Olpha said, having to speak loudly to rise over the noise of the scuffle going on.

“Ged yer han off my mouff!” Malachi growled through Syth’s hand, as the two tousled on the ground...

“Make me!” came Syth’s none too original retort.

With a nod from Xavier, Garnet got to his feet, walked over, and lifted both combatants off the ground by their shirts. “We good?” He asked them both menacingly, “Or do you want me to get involved?”

“Nope!” Malachi barked with his mouth now free of Syth’s hand while Syth just glared at Garnet, finally nodding. Garnet set both back down on the log and stepped back over to his side. With his back turned to them, Garnet failed to notice the quick grin the two exchanged. One thing Hontel did not miss was the silent communication between Xavier and Garnet.

Malachi sat there glaring at Garnet and fidgeting for a moment before barking out, “I can not handle this!” He growled as he jumped up and ran to his cottage.

“Oh by the gods!” Syth cried out as he threw his hands in the air. Hontel was completely confused by what was going on and the snickering next to him, but Olpha was not really making him feel better.

A few moments later, Malachi burst out of his cottage and quickly made his way towards the campfire ring. “Hontel!” He cried as he rushed up. “Take your weapons off!”

“Huh?” Hontel’s confusion was palpable as he looked to Olpha for help.

“You might as well,” Olpha reassured gently. “He will just keep whining until you do.”

“Oh.. okay?” Hontel said as he stood just as Malachi reached him. He hesitated for a moment before slowly undoing his weapons belt, then offered it to Malachi.

“Gods, no!” Malachi shrieked, jumping back like it might have bitten him. “Just throw it on the ground; I’ll deal with it in a minute.” Hontel again looked to Olpha, who just shrugged and nodded. Finally, Hontel let his weapons drop to the ground. “Good. Here!” He shoved the bundle into Hontel’s chest with authority, almost making the taller boy stumble back. “I got you a new weapons belt as well, one that has never touched bronze. There is also a bandoleer since you like throwing knives.” Hontel put the belt on and then the bandoleer. Once he was done, he looked up at Malachi, who was still holding the weapons.

“It is not much,” Malachi started, “But it is what I have on hand and certainly far superior to bronze.” Again, he spat the word out. “Okay, so first is the long sword made from Dwarven Steel, a light mace made of Gnomish Steel, and finally, your throwing daggers made of Elvin Steel.”

Malachi looked up when it was clear Hontel wasn’t taking the offered items. “Well?” Hontel shook his head and finally took the weapons. He was shocked by what the dwarf said they were made of, and seeing the head of the mace, he knew it was indeed Gnomish Steel.

“Uhhh… Uhhh… I don’t know what to say.” Hontel stuttered.

“Thank you, works,” Malachi said with a satisfied grin as he went back to his seat and picked his bowl back up.

“Ummmm, thanks…” Hontel said as if in a trance while he placed his new weapons where they belonged, then he sat down and started to eat. Had he not been so stunned, he would have commented on how good the stew was, but he was just running on autopilot at the moment.

✶✶✶✶✶
 

Hontel ate silently, trying to listen and pay attention to what was being said, but his mind was spinning. First was the holy symbol, now the weapons. What is with these kids? He was used to kids with issues, even those who were a bit touched, but never like this. He’d seen rich people before, but never had they acted like this. Simply giving away so much wealth to someone they didn’t even know is just… incomprehensible.

Part of him wanted to slip away like he always did when things got bad at the orphanage, but the Watch was counting on him. Sir Sasex even suggested this may count as his final mission to become a full member like his best friend, Aster. Mentally, he made an oath to see this mission through, no matter what.

“Teacher Madelyn, this was simply fantastic, as your cooking always is,” Malachi said with great gusto. The rest laughed, and Syth called him a suck-up.

“Aye, that I may be, but you know what Teacher Krandor told us on our last outing. Annoy everyone in the camp if you want, but never the cook.” Hontel couldn’t argue with that and even joined in as everyone laughed. While everyone was finishing the meal, Hontel joined in when everyone did their own dishes, even though he knew the two slaves should have done it; however, he followed what the rest did.

Just as he put his bowl and mug on the makeshift table to dry, he saw Malachi exit his cabin carrying what looked like a pair of thick gloves for handling hot metal. He’d seen Aster wearing similar. He heard Syth groan as Malachi put the gloves on. Hontel’s brow furrowed as Malachi reached down with the gloved hands to pick up the weapons he had dropped on the ground. “If I find out who first thought BRONZE would be good to use for weapons, I swear I would melt down all his bronze weapons and feed them to him, MOLTEN!”

“Malachi…” Xavier said with an edge of annoyance tingeing his voice.

“What!” the Garm smith exclaimed in disgust. “The only bloody thing this shit is good for is to melt it down and make fishing hooks for the youngins.” Malachi turned and stomped back towards his hut, arms holding Hontel's old weapons as far away from him as his short arms would allow. The muttering didn’t stop until the door slammed shut, cutting off something about feeding the bastards to Frexla.

Hontel sat back down at the fire pit, not really sure where else to go. Looking around the camp, he noticed where the strange creatures these kids rode were penned up. Not far from there, he saw Garnet and Aegir talking seriously off to the side of the camp. Madelyn was working with the larger of the Rhinoling slaves, who must have been an Animal Adept judging from the dog he was working with.

Thane was roughhousing with his two ‘pets.’ Hontel had never seen anyone have a gargoyle for a pet, and the Bear Scorpion, well, he’d never seen one of those before, but now that he had, he knew he didn’t want to cross one.

He watched as Lucas, Killian, and Olpha moved into the cabin where he had recovered. That left Syth, Xavier, and Lew still sitting around the fire ring. When he looked up, he noticed Xavier was looking at him. When their eyes met, Xavier smiled. Hontel smiled back; at least, he thought he did, but he was lost in Xavier’s strange eyes that looked more like shifting orbs of sand. Hontel started when he realized they were the same type of eyes that Garnet had. “Hontel, would you care to join us for some after-breakfast tea? I am sure you have many questions.”

“Uhhh, sure.” He said as he stood up and moved closer, taking the log that Garnet had used, putting him across from Syth, and next to Lew, with Xavier to his right. Lew stood, poured another mug of tea, and handed it to Hontel. He’d never really been a tea drinker, but he wasn’t about to refuse. However, when he took a sip, the fruity flavor exploded across his tongue, and he was hooked. “Wow! This is good! Really good!”

“Thank you,” Xavier said with a smile. “It reminds me of home; unfortunately, when we run out of this, it will probably be a long time till I can get more.” Xavier sighed, took another sip, and then put his mug down. “But enough of that. As I said, I am sure you have questions, and I will answer what I can.”

“Okay, well,” Hontel stuttered, not really knowing where to start. He took a sip of the tea, and that gave him his first question. “I guess my first question would be, where are you all from?”

Xavier smiled as he knew his ‘suggestion’ about his home took hold and made Hontel ask about something not too important. “We hail from the Combined Desert Realm,” Xavier said, spinning out the cover story they had created. “Thane’s father is a wealthy merchant and also a friend of Sir Mablin, who is currently in town selling his wares.”

“The Green Dragon that was brought down,” Hontel replied with a smile.

“Would I be correct in assuming that is what brought the attention of the Barony Watch upon us?” Instead of responding, Hontel just nodded.

“If Garnet relayed your words correctly, you volunteered for this mission?” Syth asked softly.

“I did,” Hontel replied quietly, suddenly feeling slightly uncomfortable.

“See Syth, he has courage, that is for sure.” Xavier smiled.

“Or maybe he lacks common sense…” Syth retorted.

Xavier cracked a broad smile as he replied. “The same may be said for someone who intentionally put himself in front of an arrow bound for someone else.”

Hontel wasn’t sure what was going on, but he stayed silent as the two locked eyes for several seconds before Syth nodded and sat back.

“Now, back to your question,” Xavier said as he turned his attention to Hontel. “Thane begged his father to let us come out and learn under Sir Mablin and his teachers. While they may not be able to train all of us in our respective fields, they have been very good about teaching us other things that we need to know while allowing us to progress at our own rate.”

“I see,” Hontel responded with a nod and quickly continued. “So, does that mean you are all trainable?”

“Yes,” Xavier responded simply. He waited to see if Hontel was going to ask, and he knew the boy wanted to but was struggling. Finally, Xavier took pity on the boy. “Hontel, I make you this promise now. You are free to ask anything you wish without fear. The worst thing that will happen is we say that we can not or will not answer something. See, I already know where your confusion comes from.”

“You do?” Hontel asked, feeling somewhat bewildered.

“Yes,” Xavier said with a smile. “I just told you that we are all trainable, yet you have only seen a very few of us with Guild Pins. So you must be wondering why?” Hontel nodded. “That is because most of us have not tested in this land yet.”

“I thought the Guilds were the same everywhere?” Hontel asked, confused.

“They are, and they are not,” Syth answered, taking over for Xavier. This served two purposes. The first is to see how Hontel reacted to Syth being a Drow, and the second is so that Xavier could scan the lad's surface thoughts. “The Guilds are indeed the same, run by the same people, but where we are from, we have different names for the Echelons and an extra one. We also have ten Steps between Echelons, instead of 5. Also, it seems that we have four more fields than you do. At least that is according to Sir Mablin.”

“More fields?” Hontel puzzled.

“Yes,” Syth said, then took a deep breath before he started. “As I said, there are four extra ones that we know about that you do not. They are the Enchanted Archer, Spirit Warrior, Legionnaire, and the Wild Cat.” He paused for a brief moment, then continued. "The Wild Cats are rare and sometimes mistaken for Lycanthropes. They start with a single Patron Animal which they are able to take on the aspects of. The Patron Animal is a spirit that helps to guide the Wild Cat. As they grow more powerful, they gain not only more access to their patron’s abilities but also other Patrons.”

“Wow,” Hontel said softly, thinking that the Wild Cats sounded both cool and scary at the same time.

“Indeed. Next is the Legionnaire; they are masters of martial weapons, much like a Swordsman. However, they are physically the toughest of any of the fields, and the higher their Echelon, the tougher they are. They can also turn their weapon choice magical for short periods of time." When Hontel only nodded, Syth continued.

“Next are the Spirit Warriors. Garnet and Aegir are both Spirit Warriors. They are able to slide in and out of the Spirit Realm, fighting in both at the same time, and are the primary warriors against things like Spirits and the Undead."

Hontel’s eyes moved to where Garnet was running Aegir through some weapons drills. When he refocused on Syth, he saw that the Drow now had a metal rod in his right hand, which now sported an interesting glove.

“Then there is my field, the Enchanted Archer.” He spoke a word, and the rod quickly elongated, then bent, and somehow strung itself with some type of metal-looking bowstring. “We choose a field of Magic to follow, then learn how to project those spells into our ammunition, in my case, arrows and the like.” He reached down to his quiver, pulled an arrow, and nocked it. He spoke softly before he took aim and fired at a tree in the distance. When it hit, Hontel watched as a burst of colors exploded from where the arrow impacted the tree.

“Magic arrows?” Hontel asked breathlessly.

Syth’s head dropped. “You must have already forgotten what I just said.”

“I…I.” Hontel started, but Syth just waved him off.

“I get it.” Syth lied. “When we found your equipment, I noticed you had a crossbow.” Hontel nodded. “I assume you do not have any magic bolts?”

Hontel’s eyes went wide as he shook his head. “Good. Would you mind getting it and a couple of bolts?”

“Uhhh… sure.” Hontel jumped to his feet and ran to and through the door of Olpha’s cabin. A moment later, he slammed through the door again and raced back to where Syth and Xavier sat. “Here!” He said, handing it to Syth.

While Hontel missed it, both Xavier and Garnet saw a rather upset-looking Olpha leave her cabin and start to walk their way slowly. Hurriedly, Syth cocked the crossbow and loaded a bolt. “LIVE FIRE!” He called loudly, then waited a few moments while the rest of the Seandians seemed to stop what they were doing and focus on him. “Remember the tree you fell out of?” Hontel nodded and looked at the tree that wasn’t too far away. “Say goodbye to the branch that you slammed into.”

“Huh?” Hontel asked just as Syth fired the crossbow. The bolt flew true and impacted the branch just shy of the halfway mark between where it bifurcated from the tree and where it ended. When it struck, the branch exploded in a fireball that snapped the large branch right off the tree, along with several smaller branches that were close by. A chunk of the branch evaporated in an inferno while the rest landed on the ground, enveloped in flame. Thankfully, it was cold out, and the ground was covered in snow, so the fire quickly went out.

“How?” Hontel asked after he picked his jaw up off his chest. He looked back to Syth, who simply handed him back his crossbow.

“Sythranel Shunral!” Olpha barked as she stalked up to the four of them.

“Oh, hells, Olpha! Things are just getting fun…” Xavier giggled, earning him a glare from the formidable Orakin that quickly shut him up.

She kept her glare focused for a few more seconds before she speared Syth with the same glare. “How exactly is Hontel supposed to heal when you have him running all over this camp?”

Syth started to open his mouth to protest but then thought better of it. “I do apologize, Olpha.”

Olpha harrumphed, then simply turned to Hontel. “I think you have had enough excitement for right now. How about we make you a nice soothing cup of tea, and you can rest for a while.” Her piercing gaze took in Xavier, Syth, and Lew, who was desperately trying to look invisible. “As long as the rest of the boys play nice, and will allow you to stay calm, I will allow you to come back out for dinner.”

Hontel knew better than to argue. Having never been mothered before, this was a new experience, but one that he knew better than to argue with. He simply nodded, and then, with his crossbow in hand, he meekly followed her back to the cabin.

✶✶✶✶✶
 

Almost a full sandglass turn later, Olpha came back outside, followed by Lucas and Killian; all three had huge grins on their faces as Killian had learned that Olpha now had all the materials needed to inscribe the tattoos. What he didn’t know yet was that, out of everyone there, only Mablin had the skills and power to cast the spells needed.

Olpha seemed to deflate a bit, but her smile brightened when she saw that Xavier was seated in front of his tent, Sirocco, the Sword of Seandra, across his lap. His eyes were closed, and his breathing was soft and slow. It was the first time she had seen him meditating with the sword.

She looked back at her two companions and spoke softly. “I guess we will have to tell him later that Hontel will NOT be joining us till sometime tomorrow morning.” The other two snickered and shook their heads. “... Well, I did tell him to sip the tea, not gulp it down in one swallow.”

Killian giggled. “I especially liked the part where his eyes rolled up to the back of his head before he fell over backward.”

Aegir and Garnet had entered the Spirit Realm to let the boy get used to it. Madelyn was sitting with Sigvat and Grima, who had their dogs curled up next to them. She was helping them work on their speaking. Thane and Malachi were working with the Sandskimmers, making sure they were doing okay, other than the cold. And finally, Syth was working with Lew on his archery skills.

As the three made their way to the campfire area, they were discussing what to make for lunch. “I say we see if Suidan or Amakiir could find us a Dagger Bore.” Lucas jubilantly voiced.

“A Dagger Bore? By the Gods!” Killian exclaimed, “Do you guys always eat like royalty?”

Olpha stopped and slowly turned around with an arched eyebrow while Lucas gave his friend a sideways glance of incredulity. “That was kinda dumb, wasn’t it?” Killian said as he turned red in the face.

“We had a saying back in our day, but I'm not sure if it is still being used,” Lucas said with a lopsided smile.

“DUH!” Both he and Olpha said at the same time, which caused all three to fall into gales of laughter. Their laughter was so infectious that it caught the attention of almost everyone around them, causing them to start to walk over towards the three. The only one unaffected by this was Xavier, who was so deep into his meditation that it would take more than laughter to interrupt him. Even Garnet and Aegir, who must have just exited the Spirit realm, were grinning, wondering what was going on.

Suddenly and without warning, all the mirth was blown away by a massive shockwave of magic that surged like a hurricane-force wind, crashing into and through the camp, hitting and nearly overwhelming each one of them, save for Grima.

Some of them even felt like they had been hit by a sudden blow that threatened to make them drop to the ground. This was enough to make Xavier’s eyes snap open. Wildly he staggered to his feet and looked around the camp. His sword glistened and flickered like sand in the sun as the magic flowed through and around it.

“What the…” Malachi boomed as he had to steady himself on one of the picket lines holding the Skimmers.

“Pyrothermal…” Xavier breathed out in bewilderment.

“Dead,” Thane whispered as he exhaled and shook his head as if to clear it.

“No,” Olpha said, the shock evident on her face. “Not dead… Destroyed. Utterly and completely destroyed.”

“How is that possible?” Killian asked. He looked at Xavier from where he had dropped to a knee since his legs would no longer hold him.

“A mortal,” Xavier began, perplexity etching his features. “A Mortal defeated him in this realm. In the physical Realm.”

“I have heard the name before,” Madelyn said softly. Had it been a different time, things would have been amusing. Sigvat and Grima were clutching onto her arms like she was made of armor that would protect them.

“He was a very powerful demon, even in our time.” Olpha had brought herself up to her full height and shook her head to clear it. “Some said he was the most powerful Demon who was not a Lord.”

“The only reason he was not was because he did not want to be,” Xavier confirmed. “I do not know how a Mortal could destroy him, but that is what happened.”

Xavier stood and sheathed his sword, “I think it’s over now.” He looked up for a few moments, organizing his thoughts. He could tell by the way the Skimmers were hissing that they needed calming before they bolted. “Thane, would you, Madelyn…, and Sygvat do what you can to calm the animals.” He looked over at Garnet, who nodded in understanding.

Xavier did not have to verbally say that trips to the spirit world with Aegir were to be canceled for the next little while. Garnet looked at his pupil. “Come, Aegir, let us look around. I suspect from your expression that you have some questions.”

“Lucas, you, and Killian spiral out from the camp a couple of times to ensure nothing has changed. Ask Thane to have Amekiir watch from the sky.” He shifted his eyes to Syth and Lew. “I want to check on the wards. I am not sure if that powerful blast of magic would have damaged them.” They both nodded while Lew picked up his dropped bow, and Syth pulled his reduced bow from his belt pouch and commanded it to grow and string itself. Once he was ready, he took up a position a meter or so in front of Xavier while Lew brought up the rear.

Xavier drew Sirocco, sat down, and prepared to enter the spirit realm to check his wards. While he could check them in the physical realm, by checking them in the spirit realm, he could make doubly sure that his magic wasn’t disturbed.

“What is Xavier doing, Syth?”

“He is taking his spirit into the spirit realm to fully check the wards. While he is there, his physical body is at risk should someone attack him. So we guard him.”

Xavier closed his eyes and went into a very familiar type of meditation that allowed his spirit to slip between the realms. When he opened his eyes, he saw exactly what he had expected to see. He was surprised that it took more effort than before, but with how muted magic was, it made sense. As he stood, he saw the landscape was like he was expecting, a duplicate of what was in the Mortal Realm. The one difference was the fog hanging over the land. He never figured out why sometimes it was foggy and other times it was not, but he has learned just to accept it.

It didn’t take too long for Xavier to walk the perimeter of the camp, testing the wards as he came upon them. They were all just as he had cast them. As Xavier turned to return and merge back to his body, he paused to watch the activity in the camp. It was always an odd sensation watching others and knowing that he could not be seen. That was when he felt a large presence behind him. He whirled around, raising Siroco to a defensive posture, only to encounter a wind spirit just outside of his wards.

“Hold, young Shaman! I mean you no harm,” the spirit whispered. “It has been an age or two since I have seen a Sand Dragon.” The whisper faded slightly in the sound of rustling leaves. “I thought the Browns, with their Dark Mages, along with the Greens, had destroyed all of your kind.”

Xavier drew himself up to his full height, stuck out his chest, and proudly proclaimed, “I am Psyen-Raysyn’Xavier, once the Crown Prince of Seandra. Not all of us perished in the fall.” So focused was he on the first part of the spirits comment, that he missed the second part.

“Once? Yet you hold the King's Sigil!” The wind spirit spun around almost playfully, making swirls in the snow as he did.

“Yes, my father died sending me and my friends here. How he did that, I may never know.” Feeling that the spirit would not attack him, Xavier lowered his sword and sighed, “I am here merely to check my wards after the magic was disturbed by the final death of Pyrothermal.”

“Ah, yes. Premier Kandric utterly defeated him in the realm of mortals.”

Xavier's eyes almost popped out of his skull, “Premier Kandric? The red-haired halfelf child?”

“Yes, that would be him. Do you know him?”

“I have only heard of him. I would not like to face the Dragon killer! From what I was told, he has killed more Dragons than Rovnar. And now he has killed a major Demon. He is not a being I would want to meet.”

“Pyrothermal was not the first Demon he destroyed. Cyronia was his first. It was after this that our Premier killed the Great Green female, Gebetthia, and then King Blathamort of the Blacks. That was followed shortly by the True Green Gedatrag. If you felt the death of Pyrothermal, it is likely you also felt the death of the Crown Prince Weraweld of the Whites. Syria says that now even Rovnar is jealous of him, though he would never admit it.” It seemed to Xavier that the wind spirit was chuckling as it said this.

Xavier visibly shuddered in abject terror at one being killing so many dragons, not to mention 2 MAJOR demons. “By all the gods! Is this Kandric truly a mortal anymore?”

“No. But he has not yet figured that out.” The spirit spun around enough to raise some broken twigs in the air. “You really should meet him… he puts on a good show!” Now, Xavier could hear outright laughter coming from the spirit.

“I have left my body long enough, good spirit. I must return, but I thank you for what you have told me about this Premier.” Xavier could not leave quickly enough. Wind spirits were known to be a bit… nonsensical, but to suggest that he would actually WANT to meet this Dragon Killer… That was borderline insanity.

✶✶✶✶✶
 

At the Inn of the Golden Griffin in Silverton, Ardi took one last look around the room. “Slaygo! Get a move on!” She used her best guard commander voice as she strapped the last weapon over her scale mail armor.

CRASH! The sound came from the back room of the inn they were staying at, and Ardi couldn’t help but close her eyes and take a deep, calming breath. “I’m okay!” She heard her son call out. “Nothing’s broken… Very much.”

“Come on, let's go before they make me pay for MORE broken stuff!” Ardi grabbed her pack and Slaygo’s pack before moving out the door. Slaygo followed quickly behind, carrying his mystic equipment.

“Okay, mom. I’m ready!” He caught his toe on the doorsill and stumbled a bit but managed to keep from falling down.

He was both excited and happy to finally be able to get to go on an adventure. His mom was always going on them, and after dad died, she had promised that, as soon as he reached Primary, she would take him with her. That was enough to motivate him to learn as much as he could, practice as much as possible… And do his best to stay away from the bullies.

That was his biggest problem, he was a wimp, he was small, and he wasn’t strong. But now… now he was a guilded mystic, and more importantly, he was an adventurer. The next time he visited this shit hole of a city, he would have made a name for himself.

✶✶✶✶✶
 

Outside the walls, another family was getting ready to leave Silverton, not out of choice but because of necessity. Eros looked over to his eldest, who was loading their meager belongings onto a donkey. Tasos was a large kid nearing adulthood, having fifteen full summers behind him. He was a good kid, if not the smartest, but he didn’t need to be. He simply needed to be strong, which he was. He was already closing in on the two-meter height like his father was; he had the same plain brown hair and eyes and was looking very much like a younger version of his father.

“Der’s nottin' left,” Yanni called as he hobbled out of the shack they’d been living in for the last two years. While Tasos was his father’s son, Yanni was his father’s opposite. The boy was only eight, but he was slight even for that young age. He barely broke a meter tall and 20 kilograms. His hair was brilliant white, and his eyes the color of ice. He was almost an exact copy of his mother, except for his size.

“Let’s get a move on then; we don’t wanna be late; your mother would skin us,” Eros said as he took the lead for the donkey. He smiled as Tasos turned, looked down at Yanni, and ruffled his hair.

“I still think you could ride on da donkey. You ain’t more dana feather anyways.” As he was talking, he turned and squatted down. Yanni handed his brother the crutch and threw his arms around his big brother's neck.

“You’s can be me donkey ‘cause you’s a better ride,” giggled Yanni causing his big brother to grin.

“Ya set?” Tasos asked gently. When he felt Yanni nod, he stood up. “See, nottin’ but a feather.” Tasos tossed Yanni’s crutch to his father, who put it on the donkey’s back, and they walked away.

They walked away from a life that hadn’t done them any favors lately. For the first time in a very long time, three of them had paying jobs, and as long as the job lasted, they wouldn’t have any expenses for food and shelter. Hopefully, they were walking into a new life that would be better, even if it was on the road.

✶✶✶✶✶
 

‘Why is it that every time I need to get moving, the Gods seem fit to slow me down.’ Mablin thought to himself as he glowered at one of the new drivers who was helping load trade goods into the wagon he would drive.

“Oh, calm down,” Gradon said softly, earning him a glower. “It is not THAT bad.” Gradon chuckled, probably the only person who could get away with that. “At least we were able to find a replacement quickly.”

“I just want to know why one of the best drivers I could hire decided to get into a drunken brawl the night before we were supposed to leave.” Mablin groused, but Gradon was correct. They had a bit of luck when he went to the hiring hall this morning to try and find a replacement. There was someone there who was just posting that he needed work. He might have been a bit on the young side, but he was guilded and agreed to help ‘teach’ the younglings that were traveling with them.

Gradon smiled knowingly. “Who knows, must have been the thought of going out with ‘the dragon killers’!”

Mablin glowered again at the whispered nickname his caravan had gotten. It had made hiring guards a bit more difficult, but he was back to the caravan size he wanted. Ten wagons plus his own and a supply/chuck wagon. Twenty guards, a cook, a few laborers that were the family of the cook, and even a few slaves. Now that he had more coin than ever, he had the right to spoil himself some. As he looked down the line of wagons and all of the activity, he briefly wondered how Frederick was doing with the other caravan and then shrugged off the thought in order to focus on the task at hand.

Several turns of the sandglass later, Mablin’s mood had not improved. It was nearing high noon, and they still were not fully loaded. He had wanted to be on the road by the lunch hour so they could stop at the inn that sits midway between the city and the edge of the slums before it got dark. That was obviously not going to happen now.

He was just about to take another trip down the line of wagons when a wave of magical energy slammed into him, knocking him to his knees. He didn’t know how long he knelt there, breathing deeply, trying to clear his head before he was able to make it back to his feet.

Looking around, he saw that every one of his guards and several of his drivers were still trying to pick themselves up. Knowing that he had felt the death of one of the greatest demons to have never been a Lord did not make him any more comfortable. As a matter of fact, it had the opposite effect.

He moved towards the closest person and helped him back to his feet. It happened to be the youngest member of the caravan and a Mystic at that.

Had it not been for the boy’s mother being an outstanding guard lieutenant and someone Gradon had known, he would not have hired her simply because the kid had to come along. However, Gradon had never recommended someone before, and if he said she would be a good second to him, then it was an easy decision. “You okay, lad?”

“Yeah… Umm… Yes, sir.” He said, shaking his head. Mablin saw the questions in the boy’s eyes and quickly patted him on the head, then hurried on before he could ask them. He wasn’t sure how, but he’d wager a gold coin that the kids he was traveling with had something to do with this… And that meant he wanted to leave… Now!

✶✶✶✶✶
 

“By the Gods, even the SPIRITS have lost their minds!” Xavier exclaimed as he came back to his body. Lew and Syth both jumped in alarm, with Lew actually drawing his knocked arrow.

“What! Where!” Syth cried out frantically, searching for some type of attack.

Xavier jumped to his feet and moved towards the fire ring. “There is no attack!” he barked, “At least not a physical one. An assault on one's sensibilities… certainly!”

“What has you wound up tighter than a sand cat being attacked by murder fleas?” Olpha snickered, earning her a death glare from Xavier. He paced for a few moments as everyone gathered around, then cursed under his breath and snatched his mug up so he could fill it. After filling it for the second time, he finally sat down at his customary place, causing several of the others to sit as well.

Xavier pierced Garnet with a withering glare. “The next time your patron decides to mate with some hellspawn, tell him to keep it FAR from us!”

“What are you talking about?” Sputtered Garnet.

Xavier took a deep breath to calm himself, then another, and finally a third. “A wind spirit approached me while I was checking the wards. Seems it knew of the being that was able to destroy Pyrothermal.”

“Oh?” Lucas asked, sitting a bit forward. “Do tell.”

“Well… If the spirit is to be believed, and I sensed no deception from it. Pyrothermal was not this being’s first major demon kill. He was also responsible for the utter destruction of Cyronia.” Xavier was shaking his head in disbelief.

“Cyronia?” Olpha asked, her eyes wide as dinner plates. “As in Inaxia’s lead demoness.”

Olpha sat back hard, as did several of the others. “Oh, and it does not stop there.” Xavier continued while taking on the tone of a whimsical wind spirit. “We can not forget the Great Green female, Gebetthia, and then King Blathamort of the Blacks. That was followed shortly by the True Green Gedatrag. If you felt the death of Pyrothermal, it is likely you also felt the death of the Crown Prince Weraweld of the Whites. Syria says that now even Rovnar is jealous of him, though he would never admit it.

It was dead silent in the camp for minutes as they all tried to digest the magnitude of what was just said. None of them could. For a mortal to kill that many high-powered beings was just unfathomable. Xavier waited till it seemed like most of them had come back to their own senses before he dropped the bomb on them. “Then the Wind Spirit said that I really should meet this Premier Kandric.

“It is bad enough to think there is another being, such as Rovnar, walking amongst us, but Kandric can not be much older than Aegir!” Xavier’s eyes closed as he tried to wrap his mind around all of this. His eyes sprang open, though, when Olpha muttered a single word.

“Mythlet.”

Before Xavier could reply, his brain almost shattered as the death energy of THOUSANDS of Sand Dragons ripped into his psyche. To make it worse, it felt like they were all traveling on the death wave of someone he knew very well, his Mother.

All reasoned thought was driven out of his mind, leaving only his base instincts to take control. He wasn’t aware of his clothing shredding as his body rocketed back to its natural form. He couldn’t hear the screams of shock coming from the others while his body shifted. He heard a torment-filled roar from somewhere nearby, and he answered with his own.

Olpha had barely uttered the word “Mythlet…” when she felt another far more dangerous shockwave of magic surge around her. “RUN! EVERYONE GET OUT OF THE WAY! NOW!” Her scream barely registered with those around the campfire, and only their quick reflexes had everyone scattering at the same time that Xavier screamed.

Garnet had no time to think; his gauntleted arm shot out and reflexively collided with Aegir’s chest. The boy was thrown nearly four meters before he hit the ground. To his credit, even though he was stunned by his mentor’s blow, Aegir was able to turn his fall into a roll that left him on his knees. His eyes found Garnet, just in time to see the teen’s armor vanish and scales rip their way out.

Madelyn, who was still working with Grima and Sigvat on their speech, looked up when she heard Olpha scream. She saw Aegir flying through the air, and everyone that had been at the campfire circle was running in all directions… Everyone but Xavier and Garnet. Each of them was screaming as they burst out into their true skins. The screams turned into earth-shaking roars, and suddenly, the central part of their camp was filled with two very large dragons.

“Run! Hide in the trees!” She yelled to the two younglings just as Bruin and Faelwen arrived at her side, ready to try to protect her from this new threat. At the same time, Madelyn was backing up as quickly as she safely could, trying not to trip over anything. She had no thought of turning her back on what was happening, and at the same time, she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene in front of her. She barely caught, out of the corner of her eye, the two Rhinoling kids hiding behind the new wagon she had purchased in the slums. She dismissed that and focused back on the center of the camp.

Of the two thrashing beasts in front of her, one was absolutely huge. They were obviously in distress. Their necks were whipping about like injured snakes, and their flailing wings had raised a cloud of snow, dust, dirt, leaves, and any other debris that was lying about.

Suddenly, as one, they rose to their full height with their necks reaching for the sky, issuing a roar of sorrow and agony. They took wing, each circling the other, roaring their misery. When they were several hundred meters above the camp, they released one more roar that was more of a scream than anything else and flew off to the northwest, where they were soon lost to sight.

Had the few that had the ability been paying attention, they would have heard something else as Xavier and Garnet flew off… The roar of delighted laughter.

Copyright © 2023 Roland; All Rights Reserved.
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"... roar of delighted laughter"  - Rovnar?  

 

Thank you for a new chapter, anyways!  🥰

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What a conclusion--Xavier and Garnet turned quickly into sand dragons as they felt something strong and mind bending and cried out  and flew away. The camp is in mass confusion and terror. The newly emerging sand dragons  felt the death of thousands of sand dragons and Xavier's mother release of her power. Xavier and Garnet were in stunning pain

Kandric who is now a mythlet according to Olpha has killed Pyrothermal and many other powerful beings. The sand dragon queen gave up her spirit and  let go of her saved energy  that healed all near Kandric. Xavier mourned the loss of his mother and felow warriors as it was finanlly made evident.

Will the wind spirit who Xavier met eventually mean his presence will be made known to Kandric and other beings in the spirit realm. Will others seek him out.

Now that the sand dragon presence is known in the caravan , what new cover story will they make?

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drpaladin

Posted (edited)

I wondered what would happen to Xavier when his mother's death gifting hit him. It's good Mablin and the new caravan members weren't back yet, so this can still be kept on a need to know basis. Kandric is already familiar with the legend of Xavier and his group's disappearance and I'm sure this fog spirit will tell him he has met the young Sand Dragon prince.

Hontel is much like Lew and is overwhelmed by the casual way these kids gift great wealth. He totally missed Malachi telling him Garnet is a priest of Rovnar.

Edited by drpaladin
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I'm wondering if Mablin's new driver is a Green dragon in disguise. It's too convenient the other one got drunk and this one showed up.

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I think Garnet and Xavier should check out all the new hires when they come to camp. Any green dragons should be killed right away. When Garnet and/or Xavier shift to killl a hidden or suddenly revealed green dragon, Mablin will find out the secret nearly everyone ( but Hontel)  in camp already knows.

BTW, there was no mention of Mablin bringing in a very powerful mage to transport the caravan to the City of Lucas the Lost. Did he secure a mage?

Edited by akascrubber
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39 minutes ago, akascrubber said:

I think Garnet and Xavier should check out all the new hires when they come to camp. Any green dragons should be killed right away. When Garnet and/or Xavier shift to killl a hidden or suddenly revealed green dragon, Mablin will find out the secret nearly everyone ( but Hontel)  in camp already knows.

BTW, there was no mention of Mablin bringing in a very powerful mage to transport the caravan to the City of Lucas the Lost. Did he secure a mage?

Madelyn will tell Gradon and Mablin about the boys being dragons when they return. It isn't something she can keep secret.

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drpaladin

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, akascrubber said:

During Kandric's fight with Pyrothermal, he told him that he failed to destroy all in Seandra. Kandric ended Pyrothermal's life.

 

"Some say you failed, Pyrothermal, for a child of Greysac, badly burned, but still living, made her way to Seandra with word of your deeds and before her death gave birth to a son. The boy was last seen with Prince Xavier shortly before the walls fell in flames. However, according to the texts within Protector's Keep I was given access to, the Sand Dragons held long enough to allow some from within the great city of the Sand Dragons to escape before you, your Brown Dragon allies, and their undead armies turned the land into a desert of the dead. Among the escapees were a Drow, a disgraced and declared non-child Alphar prince, a Garm, and the grandson of Greysac, a young Highman Mage by the name of Lucas. For, unless there is a tome saying otherwise, the Great Sand Dragon Xavier, son of the King of Seandra, along with those who fled with him, was never located."

 

If Kandric is told Xavier lives now, Kandric may seek him out. He has the pouch with soul stones and the Queen's scepture for him. Xavier needs to find out Kandric does not kill all dragons and some are aligned with him. Xavier should not fear Kandric.

 

But Kandric has a lot on his plate, getting back his brothers and Emroc, and mollifying the King. I also believe Xavier will need to complete the trip to Lucas the Lost before any meeting will happen.

Edited by drpaladin
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I agree drpaladin that Kandic has many goals and different priorities than Xavier. 

I think the King has found out after the dying green confessed the plan of taking over his kingdom to him that his real problem is not Kandric but the green dragons who have hurt his family and have been hidding for a long time in his kingdom. The greens want their land back from him. He will need Kandric and  his forces to fight the greens and also save Rolling Dale from Gambra and her minions who are backed by the greens.

Xavier needs to go to Lucas the Lost and hopefully gain the immense magical power available for the right person--him or Lucas. With that power he can move to Scorpion Falls and into the Combined  Desert Realm and find and be enabled to recover Seandra.

At some point Kandric and Xavier could meet. If the timing is right --it may not be--and they are open to to it, Xavier and Garnet could enter the spirit realm to help Kandric fight Frexla to get his brothers back.

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14 minutes ago, akascrubber said:

I agree drpaladin that Kandic has many goals and different priorities than Xavier. 

I think the King has found out after the dying green confessed the plan of taking over his kingdom to him that his real problem is not Kandric but the green dragons who have hurt his family and have been hidding for a long time in his kingdom. The greens want their land back from him. He will need Kandric and  his forces to fight the greens and also save Rolling Dale from Gambra and her minions who are backed by the greens.

Xavier needs to go to Lucas the Lost and hopefully gain the immense magical power available for the right person--him or Lucas. With that power he can move to Scorpion Falls and into the Combined  Desert Realm and find and be enabled to recover Seandra.

At some point Kandric and Xavier could meet. If the timing is right --it may not be--and they are open to to it, Xavier and Garnet could enter the spirit realm to help Kandric fight Frexla to get his brothers back.

As we've seen, battling a demon lord, much less defeating one, is far beyond Xavier's current comprehension. He has a long way to go before he's ready for a fight of this magnitude.

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+

 

 

Note the last out of place remark as Xavier and Garnet flew away. Someone was happy the queen died.

"Had the few that had the ability been paying attention, they would have heard something else as Xavier and Garnet flew off… The roar of delighted laughter."

Is the roar a sign that a green dragon is nearby or hidden in the caravan and will be a threat to it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

r and happiness from  green dragon hidden nearby?

Edited by akascrubber
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16 hours ago, drpaladin said:

As we've seen, battling a demon lord, much less defeating one, is far beyond Xavier's current comprehension. He has a long way to go before he's ready for a fight of this magnitude.

Yes, Xavier and his friends need a lot more experience before they take on a High Demon, let alone a mere Demon Lord.

So it's not just a lack of experience, but a lack of knowing what is going on with Kandric that scares him. Taking out other dragons doesn't scare Xavier too much. After all, he is used to fighting Browns. It is the idea that a mere halfelf taking out so many dragons, including Demons.

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drpaladin

Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, Al Norris said:

It is the idea that a mere halfelf taking out so many dragons, including Demons.

About like they scared Mablin and the others when they killed the green?

Edited by drpaladin
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43 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

About like they scared Mablin and the others when they killed the green?

Exactly like that.

Also remember, although Olpha said, "Mythlet," they had no time to think about that statement since the spirit death of thousands of sand dragons carried by Mom's spirit death assaulted them.

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20 minutes ago, Al Norris said:

Exactly like that.

Also remember, although Olpha said, "Mythlet," they had no time to think about that statement since the spirit death of thousands of sand dragons carried by Mom's spirit death assaulted them.

This is the first they've felt the death. It's finally caught up with them through time. Directly experiencing the horror will take time to recover from.

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33 minutes ago, akascrubber said:

Just wondering if that laugh was from Rovnar who is following his priest, Garnet

There is another candidate from whom the laugh might have come from.

Just saying...

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On 3/6/2024 at 2:48 AM, drpaladin said:

This is the first they've felt the death. It's finally caught up with them through time. Directly experiencing the horror will take time to recover from.

I am not giving anything away by correcting this.  It did not finally catch up with my guys.  It was ripped out of demons and released by Slyanivikia, Queen of the Sands, and Xavier's Mother, who was also a VERY high-powered Sorceress.

From Kandric 33:

Quote

In the center of the portal, a Dragon head appeared. It was nothing like any had seen. The head had a bony plate with three horns sticking forward. It was multi-colored sandy and reflected light caused it to sparkle. The eyes looked like rotating kaleidoscopes of multi-colored sand. It roared loud enough to knock the fresh coat of snow off all the trees within a kilometer. It then spoke in ancient Sand Dragon, a language all who were hit with any of the energy somehow understood. “The Sand Dragons of eons past owe you all for extracting vengeance for the fall of our homeland and destruction of our good and loyal subjects. While we were forced to give our essence to Pyrothermal and others of the Realms of Fire, I Slyanivikia, Queen of the Sands cast one final spell as I was roasted and consumed while alive. Their depravity and lust for power in consumption of my living flesh and blood allowed me to link the Death Gifting of all remaining Sand Dragons from the time of Shieldfall to now to a single event. The Sand Dragon Giftings were granted, but only in small measure to Pyrothermal, Frexla, and their minions who wiped us out. Instead, the vast majority was placed in perpetuity, to be awarded to those who vanquished the consumers of our flesh and destroyer of our final barriers of protection for our subjects. All who have assisted in this battle have my gratitude, even if it be from a grave, eons forgotten. Let it be known, with the destruction of Pyrothermal, and the return of my scepter into Dragon Gifted mortal hands correlated with Pyrothermal’s mortal and immortal downfall, the call of ages and challenge of time my king wove with the assistance of Dawnbreaker, Afterdusk, Earthvoid, Mountraiser, and Rovnar is now complete. Those who Pyrothermal sought to hunt and eliminate may finally emerge into the light to reclaim what was so unjustly taken!”

The Dragon head faded. Hundreds of smaller bolts of shimmering energy shot out as the void snapped shut. The last of the Sand Dragon Gifting was wrenched out of all remaining demons of fire and found those who held even a single demon heart within the forest around Kandric. The portal collapsed. It did so with an unearthly howl of a multitude of terrified and agonized screams as demons who once held any Sand Dragon Death Gifting found whatever gifting they had, along with some of their own essence, ripped out of them. All portals across the field of battle collapsed.

 

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1 hour ago, Roland said:

I am not giving anything away by correcting this.  It did not finally catch up with my guys.  It was ripped out of demons and released by Slyanivikia, Queen of the Sands, and Xavier's Mother, who was also a VERY high-powered Sorceress.

From Kandric 33:

 

Caught up with them or ripped out of demons, it's still the same.

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On 3/16/2024 at 5:35 PM, drpaladin said:

Caught up with them or ripped out of demons, it's still the same.

well... i guess in a very real sense, you are accurate.  lol

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