Chapter Ten: Alexi's Assistance

Chapter Ten: Alexi's Assistance

A Chapter by Greystone

"STOP!" Bellowed Fabien. Mirage's black horse ambled toward the spot, kicking up dust from the road.

 

"What is it, Fabien?" She asked him, blinking in anticipation.

 

"I can see their encampment," explained Fabien, pointing, "Over there."

 

The stormbringers looked.

 

"Amazing," muttered Leberecht, "They can take the best spot in the world and turn it ugly."

 

"The villains are known for making things ugly," Mirage murmured to him in reply, "That is what makes them villains." Then, to the army, she shouted: "WE WILL REST HERE FOR THE NIGHT!"

***

 

The fire flickered uncertainly as Plyn and Talain threw their leftovers into the fire.

 

"It is nearly morning," Talain said quietly, looking at the sinking moon with glistening eyes.

 

"It is nearly morning," said Plyn, his heart racing with excitement for the oncoming battle.

 

"It is nearly morning," said Fabien, running over army facts and figures in his head.

 

"Would you three pull yourselves out of fighting thoughts and help me actually prepare?" Snapped Mirage, uninterested by the tense aura of pain that seemed to encircle the group.

 

"It is nearly morn--Err, of course, Mirage." Leberecht said, catching himself just in time.

 

A strange wailing sound began to come from another part of the forest. While at first seeming quite ugly, it filled the thoughts of the Sharpstars with a sort of hope that could not be shaken-- and then, the creature emerged; gracefully pattering towards Mirage. It had four hooves black as obsidian, radiant blue eyes, and a small pink nose. Two sharp horns, engraved with messages beyond the comprehension of any but the creature itself, rose from the high forehead.

 

"A stag," Mirage whispered, watching as it came nearer into the light, revealing beautiful white fur in pristine condition, "It is a stag."


***

A red sun rose over both Arathas' encampment and Mirage's forest clearing. The birds sang mournfully chilling notes to the tainted air, and the foxes were too ill-tempered to rise from their beds that morning. The trees swayed and groaned, knowing they could not hide from the danger that some small part of their tree minds recognized.

 

The drums of war were sounding.

 

Red-clad soldiers, belonging to Arathas' brute force, beat on crudely-made instruments of animal skin, finding themselves unable to produce the finely made cedar drums that Arathas had spent a month of their wages on. Mirage was using her younger sharpstars to summon a screaming thunder from the heavens, with lightning that struck whispers in frightened soldiers’' ears.

 

"GO!" Roared Mirage at the top of her lungs, and an army of the sharpstars charged forth.

 

***


 

A gust of unwelcome wind snuck in through the stained glass window, blowing Natalia's silvery white hair. She opened her mouth to say something, but Joshua ran inside. With a hasty salute, he whispered something in Arathas' ear. The hunter lost control of his facial expression, something that had rarely-- if ever-- happened to him before that moment. His eyes grew wide as tea saucers, and a seed of fear settled into his soul.

 

"An army of unknown seal is marching toward our encampment this very moment," He said, in a voice of obviously-forced calm. "They outnumber us ten to one."

 

"What is the symbol that their standards bare, dear heart?" Asked Aria, momentarily forgetting Natalia in her excitement to outsmart Arathas in a military game.

 

"A star," Piped in Joshua, "A star that glows light blue, and the rest is black." Aria spun around toward an alarmed Natalia with an inhuman speed.

 

"You!" She hissed, extending a long white index finger, "How dare you attempt to distract us from this!" Joshua and Arathas exchanged a confused glance.

"What are you talking about, Aria?" Inquired Arathas, his visage still baring a confused expression, "She has done nothing."

 

"Luëlí!" Spat Ariadine, "It means 'Blue light' in elven tongue!" Joshua blinked. "IT IS THE STORMBRINGING ARMY!" She screamed, annoyed at the pair's ignorance, (Natalia had a delicate half smile that everyone seemed to miss ;) "The blue light is that which lies within their fingers!" Arathas grew momentarily pale.


 

"Joshua!" He said, in his best leading voice, "How many soldiers are there in that army?!" A mere second went by before Arathas could bare it no longer. "WELL!?" Joshua wished he could sink beneath the floor.

 

"Thousands, my lord," He said in a low, quivering voice, "Hundreds of thousands."

 

There was a second moment when nothing happened at all. Then Ariadine reached into her belt and pulled out a long, thin sword, inscribed with spells for quickness, pain, and poison. She nodded once at Arathas, who pulled out his hand-carved horn and blew.

 

"TO WAR!" Joshua shouted, drawing a short red blade.

 

None of the four noticed the strange trembling that was about them...

 

***

 

A plain littered with corpses is a rather sad sight for the morning's grandeur. Some of these morning-destroying bodies were Sharpstars, others the soliders clothed in red from Arathas' encampment. The fighting had moved west, closer to the encampment, and all of the survivors were exhausted beyond measure. They were tired both physically, from their wounds and streching arms, and emotionally, from watching men torn apart by lightning in the name of pride. Fabien had a scratch across his right eye, Alexi had lost a finger (only to have it grow back after a murmur from Persephone), and Mirage was untouched.

 

Ariadine and Arathas were the only other two unscathed by the battle-- but it is not fair to say it was entirely without malice. The Siren was singing, during the entire clash of the battle, her clear soprano voice going up and down in a melody more beautiful than Ariadine herself. Arathas' broadsword was moving with an intense speed killing groups of the amazed Sharpstars, while Aria moved with an impossible grace so that she seemed to be dancing.

 

The battle continued to move.

 

Soon, a small group of Sharpstars, and Arathas' Army, were in the room where Natalia remained. Mirage and Arathas ceased fighting and walked towards one another, swords drawn.

 

"Lle Yava?" Asked Mirage, in a heartless tone that matched her eyes, "Do you yield?"

 

"Do you?" Countered the hunter, raising an eyebrow.

 

"No," Said Mirage.

 

"Nor do I," said Arathas, in an almost cheery tone, "Let us return to the slaying of beasts." He offered her his hand. She shook it.

 

The fighting started again.

 

As the sun sank onto the horizon, there were only a few soliders left on each side: Mirage, Fabien, Persephone (Though she was only there to heal Alexi, who was also present), Leberecht, Talain, and Natalia for the Sharpstars. For the Pugs (the unoffical name for the hunters' forces), there were: Arathas, Ariadine, Phillp, Joshua, Timuir, Pantheras (Who had; of course, remained by his father), Zephyr, and Spirdion, who was now human.

 

These fortunate survivors were postitioned in such a way that each matched his or her equal in fighting.

 

The floor began to quake with uncertainty, and a massive hole was blown into the wall as a beast emerged. A gale of fire, with millions of colours in the flickering flames, burst from beneath its cruelly pointed fangs. An elogated snout, covered with gleaming red scales, lead to sharp cream horns. These horns stuck up from the forehead at odd angles, and they were battered from countless encounters in which it had been the victor. Smaller spikes ran down from the forehead's horns, reaching tender-looking wings littered with arrow-wounds.

 

The skin was thin as parchment on these wings, and bright orange veins stuck out at random places where said thin skin had not yet been peirced. More spikes stuck out from the very tips of these three-pointed wings, covered with old bloodstains.Four stout legs supported the humngous beast, with yet more spikes emerging from along the knee. Bright yellow eyes with dark, dark pupils shone against high, strong brows. And finally, a tail that was thick as a kitchen table swung above it.

The Dragon stood up on its hind legs, streched its long, wicked finger-talons, and roared.

***

 

Joshua dropped his bright red sword.

 

"Crickey," he said shakily, his eye twitching, "That's a fellow whose been sneaking second helpings," and fainted. Alexi laughed loudly, and drew his sword. His pale face drew the dragon's attention, who turned his scaled head toward the boy--Only to stop, as though suspended, in mid-step a moment later. At this point, the only one unalarmed by the mal-functioning dragon was Persephone, who took a protective step forward. She's holding him back, Mirage thought, But why-?

 

"Alexi," she said quietly.

 

"No." He replied, an air of stubborness about the words.

 

"Hades said the fates are certain about this. We have to leave."

 

"No!" It was a louder voice now that stood against the queen of the dead, Alexi's small arms crossed.

 

"Go, Alexi." It was not Persephone who spoke this time, but Mirage. Her face was dirty, her hair greasy from hours of fighting. Though her strong hand still clutched her elven sword, she shook from the effort to remain standing. Arathas had a similiar air about him, and Alexi knew why-- both had lost hundreds, if not thousands, of their people in the skurmishes of the day.

 

"Mirage..."

 

"Alexi, go." Her eyes did not move from the dragon, (whose head was still fixed quite attentively on Alexi), "I will see you again, somehow." Alexi considered this for a moment.

 

"You promise?" Mirage nodded.

 

"Yes," she replied, "I promise." Alexi glanced at Persephone, who snapped her fingers, and the two of them vanished. The dragon blinked once, twice, then fell out of its stupor and unleashed a reign of fire unto a now-screaming Zephyr. In a scream of rage, Spiridon leapt at the dragon, sword drawn--the action hardly left a scratch on the thick scales. Fabien grabbed a spike running down the neck of the massive beast and swung around it with a grace that would make a dancer envious while dragging his blade along the dragon's body.

 

It roared with fury as a few of said scales were dislodged by the force of Fabien's blow. Phillp (who had been fighting Fabien) quickly ran at the breathless stormbringer, only to be shot back by a lightning bolt from Talain.

 

"I guess I owe you one!" shouted Fabien.

 

"You sure do!" replied Talain, "Especially since you took that ale--" The dragon blew out more fire, Talain jumped to the side lithely.

 

A rapidly-ducking Fabien came back with, "It was one ti--"

 

"Would you two shut up-- I'm trying to fight here!" cried Arathas, driving his sword into the dragon's foot.

 

"For once I agree with you!" Mirage shouted over the dragon's next roar, "They're like this all the time!"

 

"Are not!" shouted Leberecht, "It wouldn't be half as bad if you were just a little more understand--" An arrowfrom Ariadine's bow went shooting towards his head (he ducked with a curseword), and there was more fire from the irritated dragon.

 

"Arathas is waaay worse then you, Stormbringer!" Phillp called, parrying a particularly strong blow from Fabien, "All he ever does is order us around!"

 

"Yeah, well, we can't all be--"

 

"NOW IS NOT THE TIME!" shouted Ariadine.

 

"Your pretty face does not give you the right to speak, storm-killer!" Shouted Natalia, drawing a short dagger and jumping at the dragon also.

 

"Then your ugly old mug shouldn't be hidden by that dark skin!" Came back Timuir, and tackled her.

 

"Father!" shouted Pantheras over the battle, "You senile old coot! What'd you do tha--"

"You know he's never kept his temper!" Shouted the Phoenix, "That silly old--"

 

"Armide?" cut in an amazed arathas, "You look remarkably well considering what you tried."

 

"Ah, stepson." Said the phoenix coolly, streching a talon to pull Timuir back from Natalia's waiting dagger, "A pleasure." Arathas snorted.

 

"No doubt." Said the hunter, taking her lead in tone.

 

"These niceitys annoy me," said ill-tempered Phillp, "Lord knows we have enough to deal with without your pathetic family reunion." Pantheras roared at him in a way that matched his name, and Natalia decapitated him.

 

"I hate people who can't mind their own buisness," she observed calmly, wiping the blood on unfortunate Phillp's jacket, "Please continue." She did not expect the shouts that were to come.

 

"Spy!" Cried Pantheras, and leapt at her; but Natalia's eyes had turned a firey blue blaze, and she let a god's blue beam of lightning at Timuir's son. It stuck him with a loud (and, to Natalia, satisfying) smack. His eyes widened, and he shook. The lightning rose her up, her eyes still aglow, and a mysterious fog envloped her feet and blurred vision for all in the cabin.
 

But not before Pantheras stuck out his hand, whispered "Father," and died.

 

"Let's dance!" She screamed at the dragon, who turned his attention away from the people who were ravaging damage on him to this new woman. The lightning frightened him, there was a power in her eyes that was beyond his knowledge. He swayed his massive head to and fro, debating-- Should he risk it? She was not that large, was she worth the kill?

 

To help him decide, she rode her near-chariot of lightning toward him and stuck her dagger into his bright yellow eye.

 

Angrily, he shook his head, and she withdrew her dagger-- the filmy eye still clinging to the stout blade. She threw the dagger to the ground, and then gave a rousing battlecry of "Lightning! Wind! And Fire!" The dragon answered with a roar of pure discord and, but the Luëlí and the Pugs took Natalia's lead instead. Suddenly forgetting their differences in light of a common cause, the attacked the dragon in pairs:

 

Arathas and Mirage took the right side, leaping and slicing at an incredible rate. Ariadine went with Fabien (they were doing something clever with Ariadine's bow), and Leberecht went with Timuir. Natalia was still distracting the dragon herself, and recieved no aid at first-- though John did eventually appear to help her down from the almost-chariot of lightning. (Though no-one could say from whence he came, as he had sworn wouldn't fight in this battle.)

 

The dragon had to retreat four times, each time leading the group father and farther into the dark caverns that Ariadine had fought the now-dead Spiridon in. (Fabien had done his job well.) Eventually, the beast had lead the group of Pugs and Luëlí to the edge of a gigantic crevasse. Any of the too-common stones that fell in were not heard to have hit the bottom, though it was true no one was paying much attention to the sound of pebbles during such an important battle. Finally, someone realized where they were.

 

"The pit of Aelstró," cried Leberecht suddenly, "It has lead us to the pit of Aelstró!" Several murmurs escaped as the dragon gave a roar of triumph. To this, the response was differant for all. But it was the most differant for two men: Timuir, and John.

 

John thought,I can't let the remainder of my family be destroyed, and Timuir thought, For Pantheras.With a silent breath each, they both ran at the dragon with full speed. Both leapt at the beast with a passion beyond that expected of mortal men, and, once on each side, sliced open the dragon's neck. The reflexes of the beast were such that the dragon reached out two of its mighty finger talons, gave one final roar, and died:


And thus the fathers fell.



© 2008 Greystone


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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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