Yettem's Betrayal

Yettem's Betrayal

A Story by J. Fleming Davis
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In a world of powerful magic and great conflict, one man turns his back on his people… while another tries to save them.

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They were a perfect sacrifice. Yettem squinted and focused his purple colored eyes on the city lying down in the valley below him. There was a tremendous forest, stretching high into the air even above the cliff side where he stood. Interwoven in the trees and foliage was a city that almost seemed to grow out of the ground like plant life. Delicate white walls, etched in intricate patterns and symbols peaked out in between the dense trees and heavy vines. The buildings reached up high into the trees, with tower tops that often resembled sea shells.
            Even with the intent to slaughter all these elves, he was impressed. Such large and seemingly delicate architecture was a feat only the dwarven stonemasons could match. There was a quiet tranquility to the city and surrounding forest that Yettem, in all his many years and travels, had never experienced. He closed his eyes and felt the warm afternoon breeze against his pale white skin. Long, sun golden hair tossed about gently in the wind, caressing his face like a lost lover. Like Ellaina. His youthful face twisted in pain. When he opened his eyes, the slight peace was gone. Now a pair of empty caverns scoured the land, searching for what he needed. They came to rest on a magnificent pool of shimmering silver liquid.
            The pool was held by a stonework basin that was more intricately etched than anything he had ever before seen. Standing above the basin were several elves in long, earth brown robes. They held their hands above the silver liquid and spoke in a slow, deliberate chant. The liquid almost seemed to undulate in time with the chanting in a peaceful, natural rhythm.
            Yettem’s face was now split by a wicked, tooth baring grin. He knelt down and put his hand on the edge of an enormous inscription. All across the cliff where he stood was a large, white line drawing comprised of hundreds of symbols and a multitude of geometric shapes. The large inscription surrounded him; a small circle void of any other symbols was immediately around his feet. His small form, one that was childlike and undeveloped, seemed miniscule in comparison to the drawing and the city below.
            He raised his hand and spoke a few words in a strange, lilting language. The end of his fingers took on a soft, white glow. He then touched the inscription again and the lines began to glow. The glow stretched out through the lines and symbols like a fire spreading across a trail of lamp oil. He stood up, raised his arms into the air with his hands spread wide and began to chant in the same rhythmic language.
            It was perfect. So much death would serve his purpose. He watched the elves going about their daily lives, unaware of what was about to occur. They moved to and fro, some bearing great loads, others fletching or tanning leather, some simply enjoying the mild afternoon warmth. He saw a pair of elven children, a boy and a girl, darting through the foliage and large roots of the trees. They laughed and played, chasing one another in an energetic manner that only children were capable of doing. He hesitated for a moment while watching them. They were the picture of innocence. The young girl stopped for a moment and chewed on the end of her braid of honey colored hair. A face flashed in his mind, another young girl but this one with olive skin and black hair. She too chewed on the end of a braid. Then the vision of her face turned into a bloody image of agony.
            Ellaina!
            With a wordless scream of anger, Yettem finished chanting his Formula.  A burst of blindingly bright energy flashed up from the inscription and into him. He thrust one hand towards the pool of silver liquid and a thick bar of purple flame shot forth from his hand. Within seconds the flame tore through the city, punching through walls and trees and elves alike burning all to ash. Finally it slammed into the basin of liquid. The chanting elves were burned to cinders, screaming wildly as the purple flames engulfed the pool. The stonework shook and groaned, and the entire basin crumbled. Then came madness.
            The liquid evaporated into the air as it escaped from the broken basin. A great sound, like the collected chorus of a thousand screaming voices, erupted from the center of the basin and a pillar of light shined up into the air. Soon apparitions with humanoid faces and thin, cloth like bodies began to emerge from the light. They were angry, and they were the source of the screaming. Elves ran in terror every which way. One of the apparitions flew through a tree and struck a fleeing elf. While it seemed to lack corporeal form, when it met with the elf’s flesh, there came an explosion of viscera, blood and bone. The elf was torn into pieces as surely as he would had he been struck by a physical object.
            With little more than a slightly crooked smile, Yettem knelt again and touched a small inscription surrounding a pendant. It was made of large, clear crystal set in a clawed hand of midnight black metal. The same glow spread through this inscription, and he stepped back quickly. Energy began to funnel from the tower of light above the ruined pool and into the pendant. The force of the moving energy sent tremors through the ground, almost enough to shake the cliff apart. Then all at once the funneling ceased. The pendant’s crystal was now a deep, blood red.
            Yettem walked over to the pendant and picked it up. It was done. Now he could avenge her. After retrieving the pendant, he began to trek down the hillside and into the city. The city was in complete chaos, most of the buildings had been destroyed and the inhabitants were all being slowly murdered by the apparitions. As Yettem walked, he stared lustfully at the pendant. An apparition caught sight of him and approached full force. Without so much as looking up from the pendant, Yettem raised a hand, spoke a Formula, and a blast of energy engulfed the apparition. It screamed and writhed for but a moment then was no more.
            A female elf in torn clothes clutching a small baby saw him kill the apparition and came running to him.
            “Save us, Magi! You are the only one who can!”
            He continued to walk, entranced by the pendant.
            “Please,” her voice was loud and ragged, “help us! Do something! My baby!”
            Before she could continue, one of the apparitions plowed into her, ripping her and the child in her arms to pieces.
            But Yettem continued to walk, smiling wickedly.

 

****

 

            Mynos the young knelt down over a boy and stroked a hand through the boy’s shaggy brown hair. Half the boy’s face was burned and unrecognizable; it was red and tangled and resembled a mass of meat rather than a face. Tears streamed from the boy’s unburned eye and he whimpered quietly.
            “Hush now, Klevan,” Mynos said softly, “I promise this will not take long.”
            Mynos stood and focused purple eyes on the boy’s small form. Not just his face, but the entirety of his naked body was burnt into ruins. They were now in a side room of a makeshift hospital here in the Lower City in Restale, capital of the Empire and home of the Golden Enclave. The entire room was filled with children in various states of injury. Some merely had broken bones while others, like poor Klevan, were devastating and even life threatening. This place was where the forgotten victims of the war with the dragons were sent. The poor that no one else cared to tend for. Many of these children had been brought by parents desperate for medical help but with no money to pay for it. Not only were these people were forgotten, they were left to die. Mynos looked around him again, at crying, often naked children left to fend for themselves and he clenched his fists in anger. How dare the Enclave do this?
            He took a deep breath and refocused his attention on Klevan. The boy, perhaps in his eleventh or twelfth year, was laid out on a long wooden table. The table itself was a plain oak, unremarkable in appearance, but it was covered in a multitude of interlocked geometric shapes and symbols written with a plain, white chalk. Mynos the young, only in his two hundred and fiftieth year with the Enclave, was well known for his expansive Memory of Healing Formula. Most magi had a Memory of one or two Formula, the powerful Magi-Kings normally four. Mynos was the only magus in recorded history with six. Despite such power, he still had to write out the Formula for such a complex binding. It was going to take every ounce of his power to be able to Heal this boy.
            Mynos bent over, he was tall and looked little more than a young teen himself, and grasped Klevan’s small hand. His shoulder length, fiery red hair obscured the sad but hopeful look in his eyes.
            “Be strong, Klevan. This will be painful.”
            The boy sobbed louder, but nodded slowly. Without any more hesitation, Mynos stretched forth his other hand and began to chant. The tips of his fingers began to glow with a faint blue light and he touched them to the edge of the Formula drawn on the table. Light erupted quickly through the drawing, flooding the room in brilliant blue. Klevan’s sobbing turned into a gasp, and then a groan and he clasped Mynos’s hand with enough force to cause pain. The light began to subside, Klevan’s grasp lessened and then his hand fell away.
            Where once had lain a burnt and disfigured war victim was now the naked form of a fair skinned young boy. Mynos let out a heavy breath, carried Klevan’s unconscious form to a nearby bed and covered him. The boy was breathing deeply in a relaxed, sleeping manner.
            Mynos wiped sweat from his brow and walked to the table again. He would need to clean off the Formula and prepare the next child soon. It wouldn’t be long before the Enclave tried to come and assign him to some important task. He ground his teeth at the thought. They were such cold creatures, living so many years had robbed them of any vestige of humanity. He began to wipe the table down with a damp cloth, but was interrupted by someone calling out his name.
            “Mynos the young,” there seemed to be some emphasis on the latter half, but perhaps Mynos was imagining it, “you are called upon by the council.”
            “Elam of the Council,” Mynos resumed his wiping, not bothering to turn to face the man, “surely you can relate their message to one as unimportant as I.”
            There was a brief pause before a response. The air was heavy with implication.
            “Mynos, now is not the time for arguments and petty squabbles. The-“
            “Petty?” Mynos spun and faced the small, black haired magus, throwing his cloth to the ground, “you call the suffering of children petty? How dare you!”
            Elam stepped back, as if the force of Mynos’s voice was enough to harm him. Mynos’s purple eyes were lit with a fire; his glare cut right to the bone. Elam watched him in silence for several moments. Always cool and collected, the lot of them. They were heartless b******s who didn’t give a damn about the people below them. Mynos quivered with barely contained rage. It was all he could do not to cross the distance and use his fist to put some sort of expression on that cold, childlike face.
            “Calm yourself, Mynos. I did not come to initiate a battle of words with you.”
            “If you don’t give me good reason, it may well be more than words, councilman.”
            The children in the room were edging away from the two, some covering their heads under their blankets, others even crying. Mynos felt a wave of guilt overcome his rage. It would not do to put these children through any more trauma, and he was ashamed of himself for doing so. Elam was again quiet, thinking slowly no doubt.
            “I-I apologize,” Mynos began, “I should not speak to a council member so. Surely you must understand the importance of what I do here.”
            “My dear Mynos,” there was a brief moment of softness to Elam’s eyes, “we are not all monsters in the council. I would be the first to see you here tending to these little ones rather than off on some errand. But my voice is merely one among many and the many have decided to summon you.”
            Mynos let out a heavy sigh. This had to happen sooner or later, it was only a matter of time. His Healing skills were unmatched in the Golden Enclave, perhaps in the entire world. The war with the dragons was being won, but he would be needed to help keep the wounded magi from dying. Normal people were no match for fire spewing beasts, but magi were often more than a sufficient battle force. The problem lay in the lack of numbers. The Enclave was not small by any means, but they could not match the sheer magnitude of battling an entire race. Not if they took heavy casualties in every battle.
            He looked around the room at the children. Most were hurt, but only a few were in a severe condition. He could return for the others, but those so heavily injured would not last long.
            “Then prove to me that not all in the council are heartless b******s.” He motioned to the now clean surface of the table.
            “So be it,” Elam said around a surprisingly warm smile, “if it will get you to come along without protest, I will gladly assist.”

            Mynos walked alongside Elam slowly, shaking a little bit. He had saved them all and had even healed the other children. Elam had been against it, but after some convincing he gave in and assisted more. It had taken more strength than he had thought he possessed. It was even a tad difficult to stand or walk at this point, but he had been summoned and the council waited for no one, especially not a petulant young magus such as himself.
            It was a warm, summer evening out. The night sky was filled with stars and a brilliant blue moon. The streets were filled with laughter, music and dancing. It was the midsummer festival and the inhabitants of Restale, young and old, were out enjoying life to the fullest. Bright, glowing spheres washed the streets in a sea of bright color.  The smells of grilled Yanoff, a local fish that was Mynos’s favorite, sweat, perfumes and incense from large, festively painted clay pots on street corners mixed together in an almost overwhelming potency.
            As they passed one drinking establishment, a pair of young lovers stumbled out onto a table set up in front and began kissing and undressing each other. Many courtships would begin, and conversely end, this night. The young man dropped a pint of the local favorite: a thick, dark and malty ale. The contents spilled out all over the ground and Mynos could almost taste the heavy beverage. It was one of the things from his life before the Enclave that he could never give up, despite warnings from his superiors.
            The festivities went on as though no war existed. As if the dragons couldn’t at any moment swoop in and begin a battle right in the midst of the city. This was perhaps the safest place in the world at the moment, guarded by the Enclave and the Magi-King, but safety was an illusion and Mynos knew that. The people here likely did too, but the midsummer festival of Tel’vara was not one that would be missed. The event was older than the kingdom itself, legend saying that it dated back to the dawn of human civilization.
            “We can win this war,” Elam said suddenly, “with the plan the King has arranged.”
            “Plan? It’s always plans with the King and the council.”
            “No, this is different,” his tone lowered so that Mynos could barely hear him above the festivities, “the dragons do not stand a chance.”
            He had heard all this before. They always had some sort of plan, some supposedly well thought out and sure way to victory. It was as likely to send many good men and women to hell.
            A loud explosion shook the ground and split the air. Many of the globes that lit the city suddenly went dark. Mynos swallowed hard and stared wide eyed at Elam, whose face was dark and brow drawn. Many magi had just died.

 

****

 

Supernatural cold clung to the swamp Yettem stood in. Strange creatures could be heard far off in the distance, their otherworldly cries echoing through the frosty mists. Ancient black and gray trees with skeletal limbs covered in peat crowded together and drooped down into murky water. The fetid liquid was covered thick with moss and other foliage that looked more dead than alive. Occasional areas void of moss bubbled continuously, often releasing noxious gas into the already choking air of the swamp.
            A dragon that was so large it would not fit under the largest of trees here loomed above the childlike magus. The dragon rested on his hindquarters, his forelegs drawn up almost like arms. His massive wings ended in spiny points much like claws and were nearly the size of a building even folded at his back. A large head that greatly resembled those of his smaller, lizard cousins rested atop a long, serpentine neck. His head was adorned by a twisted mass of horns, sharp and deadly at the ends but nearly crown like in appearance.
            Eyes of the clearest blue watched Yettem with a gaze that could bore holes into a wall.
            “What is this, little magus? Why should I not kill you where you stand?”
            “Kill me,” Yettem’s face was split by a wicked, tooth baring grin, “my dear dragon king I could destroy you where you stand with such little effort.”
            The dragon’s eyes twitched and darted around, he knew Yettem was right. “Fine. Why have you brought me here then?”
            “It is good to see you so reasonable. I have come with a gift, something to rid you of the Enclave forever.”
            “Why would you, one of the magi, betray your own people?”
            “Leave my motivations to me, creature. If you truly wish vengeance, then you shall heed me.”
            The dragon hesitated for many long moments. Yettem didn’t think that the great Archae’thil, king of the dragons, would easily agree to anything with a human, especially not a magus. After all, the entire purpose for Yettem calling him out today was so that he could finally have a chance against the magi.
            “What is this gift you speak of? I see nothing that would aid my people.”
            “That which is powerful is not always seen, dragon king. Indeed, look around you.”
            Yettem waved his hand and a large Formula began to glow a menacing and deep crimson. The Formula was truly immense, stretching off into the swamp like the massive web of some demon spider.
            “Trickery!” Archae’thil stretched his massive wings, sending out a shockwave that uprooted nearby trees, “do you take me for a fool?”
            The blast washed over Yettem, but not a hair on his head stirred. In his hand was a pendant of blood red crystal, and it faintly glowed in time with the Formula. Yettem lifted his tiny hand up, the pendant cradled in his palm, and tilted his head. His eyes almost seemed to glow red from the light of the pendant.
            “O’ Great Dragon King,” his tone was nearly mocking, “I have not tricked you. This is the key to your people’s salvation!”
            Archae’thil moved a step forward, lowering his serpentine neck and massive head within feet of Yettem. His snout was nearly the size of Yettem by itself.
            “Why should I believe you? You are of the Blood. The Blood have always slain the dragons.”
            Yettem could feel the heat from Archae’thil’s breath, and he knew what the dragon king was planning.
            “If I wanted you dead, you would never have known it. Do you forget who it is that is before you? You whelp! I was feeling the power of the Blood when you were but a hatchling!”
            Yettem could feel rage build inside of him. It was a white hot rage that threatened to consume his being. He stretched a finger out, and the dragon king was swept up into the air and bound tightly together as if he was a toy. The powers of the unknown flowed through Yettem. The pendant gave him a direct connection to the raw energy of the ancient gods. It quickly became intoxicating. He had to finish this before his rage and the power burned him where he stood. The Blood’s power, the true, ancient name for the magic the magi used, was a powerful force. If emotion was allowed to surface when a magus was acting as a conduit for that power, the emotion would overpower him.
            “I-I have spoken in error,” the dragon king’s voice quivered like a child’s, “I will consider your offer.”
            “A wise decision,” Yettem let out a short breath and dropped his hand. Archae’thil dropped heavily to the ground, sending a tidal wave of filth surging off into the swamp. It took the massive being a moment to gather himself and regain his footing.
            “Now that you have seen the error of your ways, hear me. What I have begun is something that has been forbidden since the days long before the kingdom. Truly, it was something forbidden even in the time of the first of the Blood.”
            Yettem could sense the terror and anticipation in Arcahe’thil. He savored the terror for several moments before continuing.
            “I have drawn up a pact, if you will, that will bind you to one of the ancient gods.”
            The dragon king gasped, a sound like turbulent wind howling through a cave.
            “Yes, the greatest taboo of the ancient world. And by doing so, my dear dragon king, you shall gain the power of a true god. Not merely the power of the Blood.”
            “Then let it be done! I would have this power. I will crush humanity.”
            Yettem’s face drew up in a smirk. The fool had accepted.

 

****

 

            Mynos looked forward with sheer terror, a feeling he had not known in many years. Beside him, Elam’s mouth hung open and worked to form words, but none came. The Golden Enclave, the true building where the council met and the Magi-King sat upon a throne of gold tinted crystal, was a marvel of a structure. The center portion was massive, nearly the size of a city itself. Small towers reached up here and there, and the walls rose up some two hundred feet. The brick work was finely carved, dwarven stone, often engraved with the flowing script used by the magi to write Formula. In the center of the massive structure were three towers that appeared to be made of solid gold. Between each were walkways of gold tinted crystal. It had always been an awe inspiring sight. Or at least, it once was.
            A large section of the building was now in ruins, and atop those ruins was Archae’thil, but he was nearly unrecognizable. Most dragons had scales the color of grass or perhaps clay, but the dragon king was now a midnight black. His eyes burned a fiery red, and a thick slaver dripped from his wickedly sharp teeth. The slaver sizzled as it dripped onto the stonework, melting through it like hot metal through ice.
            The great dragon opened his maw and let out a laughter that shook the ground like an earthquake.
             “Cower! Cower you worms!” Archae’thil’s voice was like thunder tearing at the sky. “I shall make you suffer and perish!”
            Mynos could not believe what he was seeing. This monster was not the dragon king he had heard of. He had heard Archae’thil once described as a majestic, logical being, one whose very presence evoked respect. This thing was nothing but malice and terror. On his flank was etched something very peculiar. A glowing purple Formula was literally eaten into the ragged and rotting flesh near the right side of his ribcage. It was something Mynos had never seen the like of, not in all his years of studying Formula or out in the field as a magus.
            “By the gods,” Elam swore, “that is the mark of Yorm.”
            Mynos’s heart clenched up when he heard the councilman. The Mark of Yorm. He had heard of it once in all of his studies. Yorm was a mythical demon god from the ancient world that had once wreaked havoc and destruction that had nearly torn the very planet asunder. To bear the mark of a god meant you had forged a pact with that god through forbidden powers. This pact meant that not only were you given tremendous power, but that your soul was given to the god in exchange.
            Archae’thil turned his open jaws to the three towers and a bright bar of silver light shot forth. It crossed the distance in nearly an instant and struck with a magical barrier that surrounded the towers with a dazzling shower of light. Within a mere collection of moments the bar of light tore through the barrier and hit the first tower, puncturing a hole through it as easily as a knife would puncture paper. The tower immediately collapsed and screaming magi, some burned half to death, came tumbling out. Many fell and were crushed by the collapsing gold and stonework, others were cruelly impaled on existing debris and damned to die a slow, agonizing death. Archae’thil reared back his head and let forth a terrifying roar. The power of the roar was so great that it knocked Mynos and Elam to the ground, and caused several nearby buildings to crumble into ruin.
            Mynos scrambled to his feet; he had to get away. He had to save the children. Elam was still trying to stand by the time Mynos was already running off down the street. He could hear Elam frantically screaming something in his wake, but he did not care. The children, those like Klevan, they would be forgotten in all this. Mynos was not a fighter and there was no saving the Enclave now. If the Magi-king did not emerge to fight this beast, then Mynos would be as good as dead if he tried to.
            As he ran through the streets towards the Lower City, he witnessed chaos. The dragon king was not alone. Many hundreds of other dragons, all ashen gray and with eyes of burning red and rotting flesh, flew above the city raining death upon all those below. What had only moments ago been joyous festivities was now a mass of mayhem and death. People ran in random directions, some already burnt half to death. At one moment, Mynos tripped and fell to the ground. He looked down to see what he had stumbled on and nearly vomited. A young woman was ripped in half beneath him; her insides were stretched across the ground and had entangled his foot. He frantically kicked his foot until he shook loose and fell back several feet. He stared at the corpse for a moment, fighting the rising bile down, and then reminded himself. The children.
            He got up and began to run. Several times he nearly met his end at the hands of crumbling debris or a beam of deadly light. Then at last he reached it. The building was dilapidated, as many here in the Lower City were, and had obviously fallen into disrepair many years ago. Despite the usual appearance, the building was untouched by the madness. He let out a ragged breath and a tear ran down his cheek.

 

****

 

            All the death and destruction was beautiful. Yettem smiled as a raging fire on a nearby building lit his eyes with a mad twinkle. He stood atop a watchtower on the southern end of Restale and watched them all die. It was a wish he had held for nearly five centuries. The once cold yearning for revenge was now a white hot iron, burning into his soul. The pendant that hung down to his bare chest beat in a warm rhythm with his rage. His magi robes, in all their multitudes of colors and beautiful reflective material, were torn down to his belt, the remnants sparkling like gemstones in the firelight.
            He turned and searched the city. Thargos was out there somewhere. He would find the Magi-king and he would destroy him. He thought that a slow, excruciatingly painful death would be fitting, a death that those who saw would forever remember. As he planned, he felt it. The Magi-king was near. He raised his hand, spoke a few words and the world around him shifted. Now, rather than facing a burning maelstrom, he was standing on the roof of an old building in relative quiet. He looked around slowly and then spotted his prey.
            Thargos was a tall, impossibly beautiful man. He had long, raven black hair, deep tan skin, and large, gray eyes. The one magus who could be freed from the Binding was the Magi-king, and he was allowed adulthood. It was a thing that many magi yearned for, but were denied. It was something he had ceased to care about many centuries ago.
            “My king,” Yettem laughed, “truly your city is magnificent!”
            Thargos spun to face Yettem. His face darkened and he lifted his hand. Yettem returned the gesture with a smile that was barely short of a snarl. The Magi-king’s hand was ripped clean off his arm, spraying blood through the air. He crumbled into a scream, one that was half in pain half in disbelief, but was straightened rigid by an unseen force.
            “What is wrong, powerful king of the magi? Has even the power of speech forsaken you?”
            “Y-yettem you fool! What have you done?”
            “What have I done? What have I done? Good king I am merely cleaning your stained city, your tainted Enclave from this world!”
            Thargos lifted high into the air, and he groaned in pain as the force that bound him began to bear down on his entire body.
            “I am naught but the lowly stallboy! I am he that cleans out the filth! You,” he laughed, “you surely understand me.”
            “I understand that you are mad. Why would you betray your own people?” Thargos’s voice was weak and pained.
            “You want to talk of betrayal?” Yettem sprayed spittle as he nearly screamed, “what of Ellaina? My betrayal? Your betrayal! You murdered her!”
            Thargos said nothing, only looked at Yettem with wide, wild looking eyes.
            “Oh yes, good king! I know it was you who killed her. Not just an order, but by your very hand! You could not deal with her loving another man!”
            You are not a man,” Thargos laughed, “you are nothing but a very old child. You could not have been with her.”
            “She was the same as I,” Yettem shook visibly as he spoke, “as all magi are. You are filth. Ellaina shall be avenged.”
            The Magi-king opened his mouth to speak again, but Yettem’s finger twitched, and his throat was ripped out. Yettem clenched his fist and the blood was held in by the force that held Thargos aloft. He gurgled and his eyes bulged in pain, but he would not die. Not yet. It was too soon.
            “Can you feel that? This is the concentration of five hundred years of hatred.”
            Thargos’s middle ripped open and his entrails hung down past his feet, dangling in the air like streamers of bloodied meat. Still the blood was held in, but Thargos began to lose consciousness.
            “Not yet, you coward! You cannot escape this torment!”
            The same unseen force pulled the eyelids off his face, but the Magi-king’s eyes rolled back into his head. He was dead.
            Yettem frowned and released the man, who fell from the air and onto the street below. It narrowly missed a group of children being herded out of the building below by a fiery haired youth. For a moment, Yettem reveled in the feeling of Thargos’s death. It had been too short, but it was still pure ecstasy. He had felt the terror in Thargos. It had been so strong he could’ve felt it without the Blood’s power running through him. After a few moments, he looked down at the youth and the children again. It was strange, but the youth, who appeared to be mid-adolescent, was wearing the plain brown robes of a new magus. The youth held a small, naked boy wrapped in blankets in his arms and was trying to guide the group of children to the edge of the city.
            Yettem watched them walk with a smile. He wasn’t finished yet; there were still other magi to kill.

 

****

 

            Mynos choked down the bile and terror in his throat. Thargos, powerful magus and king of the magi, had been torn into pieces like a broken toy in the hands of some twisted child. The malevolent magus who had murdered the Magi-king truly looked the part. His golden hair was strewn about, blowing wildly in the late evening winds. His robes were torn down to his waist and his eyes were lit with a mad twinkle. The magus seemed familiar to Mynos, but he couldn’t quite remember why.
            “M-mynos?” Klevan said.
            “Hush, Klevan, we must make haste. Quietly.” Mynos ushered the other children forward with his free hand.
            There came a tingling at Mynos’s neck and he froze. He turned his head slowly and saw the murderous magus looking down at them with a twisted smile. The index finger of his right hand twitched.
            “No!” Mynos screamed, but he was too late.
            Things seemed to move at a crawl and Mynos watched helplessly as purple flames struck each of the children around him in succession. He spun to the side, hoping that perhaps he could shield Klevan with his own body, but his quickest motion seemed slow and heavy and a small bar of flame struck Klevan in the back of his head, killing him instantly.
            Mynos crumpled to his knees, holding the limp, lifeless child in his arms. Tears streamed down his cheeks and his face twisted in pain. He had failed. The children had died because of him.
            “How does it feel, magus?” A laughing voice said above him.
            Mynos said nothing, but only looked at Klevan’s wide, empty eyes. They looked straight into his soul, blaming him.
            “You should not cry for such worthless things. These creatures don’t even qualify as humans next to us. But fear not, you shall join them soon.”
            Mynos’s face darkened. He clutched Klevan’s body hard to his chest for a moment and then gently set him on the ground. He slowly stood, blood dripping down the front of his robe and onto the cobblestone street. He stood very still and quiet for several long moments, his fists clenched tight enough to turn his knuckles white. When he looked up at the magus in the air, his eyes were a solid, glowing white.

 

****

 

            Yettem looked down at the red haired magus and the dead children around him. He stood clenching his fists in quiet rage and the pure intensity of his emotions felt palpable to Yettem with his connection to the old gods. Delight filled Yettem, the fool thought he could stand and fight the oldest living magus in history. This would be a great entertainment for him before he continued on to eradicate the rest of the magi.
            With a deliberate slowness, Yettem raised a hand and began to speak aloud a Formula. He needed no written inscriptions now, not with his connections to the old gods, and this Formula’s bound energy alone would be enough to kill a normal human. The end result however, would be a devastation that would remove southern Restale from the world forever.
            The magus looked up at him and curiously his eyes were a solid white. Yettem pondered this for a moment and then realization struck him. This odd looking magus, this new and untested initiate, was in fact a possessor of the First Blood. All magi had the Blood in them to one degree or another, the inheritance from some ancient gods mating with primitive humans, but few had the First Blood, the actual pure bloodline from those gods themselves.
            “You monster!” As the magus screamed, white flames leapt from his mouth. In moments, he was engulfed in these flames. He looked upward and lifted up to float in the air level with the roof top where Yettem stood.
            Yettem knew this young magus was trouble, but it didn’t matter. His Formula was finished. Bright, purple light shot from his hand and into the sky. Within moments the sky darkened, clouds swirling around a center point like a whirlpool of black and gray. A powerful pillar of purple flame fell down from the center opening of the clouds and rushed to strike the magus. Yettem began to laugh, this would consume everything here. Possibly even Yettem himself.
            As the fire struck, the young magus thrust his open hand upwards. With a deafening rumble, the flame absorbed into his palm and ceased to exist. After the skies cleared and the flames were gone, the magus stood unscathed and leveled a murderous gaze at Yettem.
            “Why? Why did you kill Klevan? He was innocent! They all were.” His voice boomed and echoed as if thunder was speaking.
            “Foolish child,” Yettem laughed, “no one is innocent. Not even them.”
            The magus let out a wordless scream and suddenly the very air around him distorted. Yettem swallowed hard and his mirth quickly became fear. He had lived well over two thousand years and he had never seen this sort of Formula before. It was likely to be his end.
            The distortion compressed and then raced across the span between Yettem and the magus. There was little pain at first, but Yettem knew something was wrong. He looked down and saw a line of blood form across his middle. It took a moment to before he understood. A two inch portion of his midsection had been removed so quickly that he had not felt it, nor had he even a chance to bleed. He watched in quiet horror as his own body collapsed, spilling out entrails across the rooftop.
            As he fell in upon himself, Yettem smiled. He would see Ellaina this day.

 

****

 

            Elam coughed up a mouth full of blood. He lay in the center of a major intersection not far from the remains of the towers of the Enclave. Around him were the corpses of a dozen dragons. A large piece of granite was atop his middle, likely crushing his organs into oblivion. Blood pooled out from beneath him slowly, emptying the last remnants of his life onto the street. He had lain here for many eternal moments listening to the sounds of destruction, the screaming and explosions, the crying and shouts of anger, and was surprised when they changed.
            He tried as much as he could to look to the source of the new sounds. Off to the south were the cries of many dragons screaming in agony. He craned his neck and twisted his ruined body as much as the granite and his condition allowed him. Then he saw it.
            A creature enveloped in a white flames slowly moved through the air, using some Formula that distorted the air and ripped dragons and buildings alike in two. Its power was tremendous and none of the dragons could even get near it. An invisible barrier seemed to repel anything the dragons could throw at the creature.
            In what seemed a manner of mere seconds, there were no dragons left. Only Archae’thil, still rampaging at the Enclave’s building, was alive. The creature floated by Elam and he gasped when he got a good look. It was Mynos. How was this even possible?
            Mynos continued to move through the air and the dragon king caught sight of him. Elam held his breath expecting a spectacular melee, but Archae’thil instead retreated.
            “I will not let this stand,” his voice boomed as he fled, “how do the magi have a god in their midst? It matters not! I will return!”
            As Archae’thil disappeared into the distance, the flames around Mynos faded and he appeared to lose consciousness and fell to the ground.
            The Golden Enclave, and even the city of Restale, was no more. Elam felt a warm tear on his cheek. It was truly tragic that the magi had been extinguished, but there was hope for humanity. He had thought all was lost for sure, but now he knew better. Mynos would save them all.
            “Maybe… not all of us.” Elam said with a bitter laugh that turned into a gurgle.

© 2011 J. Fleming Davis


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Added on September 21, 2011
Last Updated on September 21, 2011
Tags: magic, tragedy, conflict, war, dragons

Author

J. Fleming Davis
J. Fleming Davis

Kingsburg, CA



About
I am an aspiring writer from the Central Valley, California. While I write in many genres, my poison of choice is fantasy. more..

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