Chapter Seven: Two Femme Fatals

Chapter Seven: Two Femme Fatals

A Chapter by Greystone

There were no rougher roads then the Abororiean one that now felt the pound of one hundred Stormbringing feet. There was a cacophony of sounds to accompany that unyielding pound, as well: The intense groans of the exhausted guards (Who had barely slept), the cries of rich children who were enthralled, merely by escaping from their gilded cage-- the anxious screeching of the ravenous birds overhead, perhaps hoping for a bread crumb or two.

 

"I don't think we can take them much farther," Mirage said to Fabien, raising her voice slightly over the apprehensive clattering of a rickety cart nearby.

 

"Don't be so sure, Mirage," Fabien replied with his usual strong will, but Mirage saw him rub his temples, evidance of his building inner
turmoil.

 

"Do you have anything to keep them going?"

 

Here, there was a stretched and seemingly thin silence between the two. Mirage noted he smelt of wind and rain. Fabien opened his mouth to reply, then closed it. Just when Mirage was sure that he was going to stay silent altogether, a clever glint appeared in his blue eyes and he burst into song:


"Merlin was locked in wooden door,
his heart-felt cries did shake the floor.
Natalia! Natalia!
Why don't you seek thine mentor?!
Natalia! Natalia!
You are not his tormentor
."


"What was that for?!" Mirage hissed in Fabien's general direction, angry that he'd taken her plea for help and turned it farce-- but from within the depths of seemingly endless Stormrbringers, a woman answered:


"Arthur fell from noble throne,
far and wide, his cry was known:
with no one to care, with no hero to fight,
England fell, in endless night."


As the woman's beautiful alto voice swept over the landscape, Mirage understood. Raising her voice, for a reason besides yelling at Fabien, she added her fiery soprano to the pool:


"Natalia! Natalia!
Stop Arthur's son from ruling!
Natalia! Natalia!
The fire of Britain is pooling
."


At last, the Stormbringers understood. The fourth verse, they sang together.

"Natalia! Natalia!
The magi all are leaving!
Natalia! Natalia!
Thine mentor would be greiving."


To the rest of the song, they sang as one, a myriad of voices weaving and re-weaving for a magical effect.


"Natalia! Natalia!
What are you waiting for?!
Natalia! Natalia!
Stop Mordred's empty war.

Natalia! Natalia!
Send for Raoul of mountain!
Natalia! Natalia!
He shall steal from magic fountain,
from the ancient gods of eld.

Natalia! Natalia!
The power lies within!
Natalia! Natalia!
Stop Mordred's empty sin.


Natalia! Natalia!
Call your people grand!
Natalia! Natalia!
Make thy final stand.

Natalia! Natalia!
Your victory shines brightly!
Natalia! Natalia!
Your song we sing nightly.

Natalia! Natalia!
Your seal we bare still!
Natalia! Natalia!
We forget not your will.

Natalia! Natalia!
Your Stormbringers we are!
Natalia! Natalia!
You watch us from a-far."


The Stormbringers, now at the greatest cresendo of the ballad, were marching with an energy they had previously thought impossible to access. Fabien had long since stopped singing ["I'm no musican," he joked;] but the Stormbringers had reached their destination:
The mountain of Kalypso.


***


 

"HOW CAN YOU HAVE LOST ONE HUNDRED STORMBRINGERS, WHILE YOU HAD SURROUNDED THEIR ENTIRE CITADEL!" Bellowed Arathas, with John staring, red-faced, at Joshua, the messenger.

 

"My apologies, sirs," muttered the surf commander, twisting a patched and re-patched cap in his dirty hands, "but it wasn't our fault! No one told us about that damned secret passage way, Gods only know where tha--"

 

"A secret passageway?" John Stormbringer inturrupted sharply, "Did you follow it?"

 

"We tried that immediately, Sir,"-- a little bow from Joshua--"but it didn't do us no good. There's a door at the end. We tried to pick it, blast it down, melt it-- it... it didn't do no good, Sirs." He had a sincerly apologetic tone to his voice.

 

"It didn't do any good?" Arathas was interested now, all anger forgotten in thrill of this recent discovery. "Did you summon a magican or sage to see if the door was enchanted?"

 

"Well, yes, sir," replied Joshua, as though it were only common sense, "As we speak." Joshua dared allow himself a second of hope. "Should you like to see the results, sir? They should be along any moment now."

 

"Yes," Said Arathas, and John nodded, "Let us go there now."

 

Thankfully, it was not a very long walk to the secret passgeway. John knew he would not have found it, were it not for Joshua carefully leading him through the endless twists and turns of the musty-smelling tunnels. As they arrived, the local witch, Ariadine (Aria for short), was studying the door carefully. Her hair was red and untambly curly, gleaming from the bright light of the torches. Her eyes were a sharp shade of steel blue, beautiful and a sly betrayer of her lineage. Her skin was pale as the first winter's snow,glowing blue from the dress she wore; a stark contrast to the dark walls and wrought-iron gate.

 

She was, in short, the most beautiful woman John had ever seen. Arathas nodded at her in greeting, the kindest that his soldiers had ever seen him give. It was well known that she had refused his endless attentions over the span of years they had known each other, and apparently he had not yet given up the idea of having the fair maid Ariadine as his wife.

 

"Ariadne!" She smiled, a brilliant glow of white teeth. Her dress, John noted, now that they were close enough, smelled of exotic spices and far-off teas.

 

"Arty." Her accent was rich, a sort of grecian tone mingled with french.

 

She turned her tantalizing gaze to John. "New partner in crime, Arty? Tut, tut. You should have had me look into his future first. Why, suppose he dies of heart failure?" She laughed, a melodious sound that sounded anything but normal. John swore he had heard it described before, but he could not put his finger on where.

 

"Ah, he's a client, Ariadne." He chuckled. "So none of your tricks!" Her thin, long fingers swept a fly-away lock of crimson-coloured hair out of her face.

 

"Tricksy Arty, Tricksy Arty, living in his tree." She chorused, sounding as if she were quoting something.

 

Arathas flushed, his vertigo eyes catching the floor.

 

"So, any news on these Runes? I've never seen them."

 

"I believe they are the characters of the old blood," she said shortly, "dervived from the runes of my people. I SHOULD be able to destroy this enchantment, if its new enough I might even be able to spread my magic around." John stared at her blankly, and she winked merrily.

 

"I'm sorry for this, Mi'lady," he said finally, "But... you seem wonderfully familiar. What family do you belong to?"


 

"Hénwí opehë síén ówndá niën ndlëssëth ightnï.
Áen ïrénsá'sen ongsä hállsú éircépé hytën orrowsä,
ndaen rómfä oúryé wnoën úrsëpá ïllwí órrowbú
."


 

Joshua stared at her for a moment, his eyes clouded and empty, and then the hazel colour returned, and at the same time, John cried, "You're a SIREN!?"

 

"Well, yes," she smiled, "of course I am, what else would I be?" John shrugged, his eyes falling to the graceful arch of her neck.

 

"Keep your eyes up, lad," she remarked sternly. John jumped, but she was talking to Arathas, who turned a deeper shade of red.

 

After a moment, Arathas coughed pointedly.

 

"Oh, right." She mumbled something in a strange language that was both familiar and unfamiliar to John. "These runes seem to make up some sort of riddle. Fairly elementary: Solve the riddle, open the door."

 

"Why haven't you solved it then, witch?" Phillp called loudly from across the chamber, and Aria shot him a sharp glance.

 

"Because of the carniverious beast that lives behind here-- unless you would be so kind, Phillp Landalo, to prove, for the sake of my frail female heart, that there isn't anything that will kill, devour, or petrify us lives down yonder?"

 

Silence.

 

"I thought not."

 

"Do you think that this mysterious beast is something we can fight?"

 

"If it's anything from the sea, it'll clear the path for us-- my ancestors were very binding in their laws, no creature of the water will have forgotten that-- but otherwise..." Normally, Aria felt invinceable. To be a descendant of a Siren had always lead her through dangerous paths, emotionally unscathed and, for the most part, completely unharmed. The colour drained from her pretty face.

 

"Ariadne?"

 

She was sick at that very moment, rancid-smelling liquid flooding onto the earthen floor of the tunnel. There was a feeling building in her heart. It was fear beyond fear, dispair beyond dispair's true sentimate. It was fear strong enough to drive her half-mad with anxiety, strong enough to crush the marrow in her bones; to stop her from breathing or stop her heart from beating. Strong enough to temporarily rob her of her power...

 

"Run," she whispered hoarsely, as the aged door began to creak open, unaided, "Run for your lives."

 

***


The king was old.

 

His crusty skin was peeling off in rough-looking sheets, his remaining white strands of hair lonely on top his not-quite-bald head. That ancient head held a tarnished silver crown. Although the crown had surely seen better days, gems of great value shone from within: Emeralds, rubies, saphires. Timuir's dark blue robes looked nearly black in the fading sunlight, the sunlight that streamed eagerly through the thick crystals of solid ice. His hands were freakishly large, and his fingernails were a sallow yellow (they were longer than Mirage's.) Beside his pale yellow eyes, Mirage could see traces of the handsome once man he had once been: The arch of his white eyebrow, the strength in the arch of his chin.

 

On his drooping shoulder, there sat a magnificent white phoenix.

 

Naturally, after living quietly for a very long time, he was surprised to see a large group of people, hogging the space in his cavern.

 

"King of Kings!" A stormbringing child called, "Timuir!" cried another, "Othello's Son!" shouted a third. The procession bowed to him as one.

 

Timuir had not been bowed to in a very, very long time. He smiled his aged, toothless grin; the skin around his lips peeling somewhat, then nodded at the phoenix, who said:

 


"Welcome to the Mountain of Kalypso, Stormbringers: The king will give you council now."



© 2008 Greystone


Author's Note

Greystone
*Ahem*
"H�nw� opeh� s��n �wnd� ni�n ndl�ss�th ightn�.
[Open song is wound in endless night,]
�en �r�ns�'sen ongs� h�lls� �irc�p� hyt�n orrows�,
[Only siren's song may peirce such sorrow]
ndaen r�mf� o�ry� wno�n �rs�p� �llw� �rrowb�."
[We take it to--your wasted gift--your clean, devoted sea...]

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Added on December 23, 2008


Author

Greystone
Greystone

Fort Atkinson, WI



About
I've been writing for about five years. Mostly, I focus on fantasy, although to be honest I've dabbled horribly in Romance, Science Fiction, and modern-day roleplays. I enjoy drawing, painting, wood c.. more..

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