Chapter 14: Recovery and Direction.

Kross walks down the stairs of the tavern. The day has just passed noon and he awoke to find himself alone in the room after a restless night of stress steaming from the task at hand and the reality that they most likely will all die trying to complete it. Having not spoke to nor seen the white raven in days his mind wonders on to what the future could be waiting for him and his friends.

When he enters the lounge of the tavern he is surprised to see all of his friends laughing and gathered around a table in the corner. Argo’s smacks Chuck on the back as they comment on the fight that they barely survived. Their injuries were no longer on them as Kross eyes them closely making his way over to them. Snowy and Ash are listening intently as Kross listens closely making his way over and sitting down in the empty chair as Snowy looks at him and her cheeks turn red as rage fills her eyes.

“That is just like you Kross sitting down taking Cecil’s seat without even asking if it was okay.” Snowy continues to comment on manners. Rumbling on about how irresponsible and rude it was. Kross has a blank expression on his face looking around the room he now notices there is no one else in the room.

“Snowy, I am sorry but where is he?” Kross questions as the voices of the others fade out and Snowy ignores his question and continues her parenting.

Kross now getting annoyed that no one is listening to him begins to speak up and repeats his question to a room that wont listen. IT was at this moment the door is kicked in and the seraphs enter followed by Gilgamesh. They charge the table as Kross stands unsheathing his sword. The others however, continue their conversations as Gilgamesh walks up and stabs Argos through the chest and the seraphs fire arrows into Grendel and Chuck. Kross grabs Snowy who grabs Ash, tries to pull them but they wont budge. Kross goes to block Gilgamesh’s spear but his sword shatters on contact with Gilgamesh’s blade. Kross then watches the spear tip protrude out of Snowy’s throat and is used to tear her head off of her shoulders and the angels stab Ash in the chest. Kross can not move having seen this sight as the three Immortals begin stabbing him in the chest. He looks down to Snowy’s head.

Snowy’s head sits on the floor and begins to speak,” Why Kross…Why? Stop fighting…Let go….LET GO!” This causes the world to fade as Kross lays in a pool of  his sweat and his hand on Ash’s throat.

Kross, sweat drenched and with tears on his face, awakens in panic on the floor of the room he had rented with Snowy pounding away at his chest and his right hand grasped around Ash’s throat. Ash had already gone limp and her lips had started to turn blue before he let go. He sat up almost knocking over Snowy who was historically calling for help at this point. Kross begins to pound on Ash’s chest and commencing crude CPR.

A set of knocks comes on the door and Snowy rushes to open it, on the other side is Cecil. He comes in and looks down at Ash. Cecil nudges Kross out of the way and places his hands over Ash’s chest and neck. A second later she is gasping for breath, her eyes opening wide as Kross’s hand print on her throat begins to fade and her lips return to their normal shade.

“Ash, I am so sorry…I can’t,”Kross says before Snowy slaps his face and rushes over to Ash helping her up and holding her as Ash grasps onto Snowy with the fear of death still in her eyes.

“Snowy, take Ash to the third door on the left Chuck and Grendel should be in there sleeping off last nights bender. Argos has gone to fetch the wagon and supplies we will be leaving soon. I found information on Poseidon we head for the water elves in an hour. ” Cecil orders and Snowy follows the instruction with tears on her face as Ash has tears just beginning.

Cecil closes the door and looks down at Kross before making his way over to the bed and sitting on its edge. Kross looks down ashamed but still confused by what he dreamed.

“Are you alright?” Cecil inquires

“I am fine…I hope Ash will be alright.” Kross responds

“She will be fine, I am far more concerned about you. Must have been an intense dream to have that reaction.”

“Oh you know the death of everyone…”Kross mutters softly before loudly asking,” So where have you been?”

“I have been collecting information on my own, no offense but I tend to travel faster alone. The scent of Natalie is on you, and I am sorry your friends were hurt facing off with the immortals. They are lucky they are not dead. I have come to the conclusion that you all will need better equipment if your going to stand a chance against them. Do you have the key?” Cecil rambles off a series of topics and while his does it his eyes vibrate ever so slightly is barely noticed by Kross who says nothing about it but instead tries to focus on what had been said.

“Scent? Natalie? I have the key but was going to give it to one of the girls. If things go bad they should be able to slip away easier than any of the others.

“Natalie is an Immortal I attempted to lock away, her obsessions are matched only by her complete mastery of the elements. She is one of the strongest of the immortals their are only a few things she can not alter in this world. Down side is she is completely ruled by her emotions and only defies logic and reason. Now giving the key to the girls isn’t a terrible idea but whoever has that key will be the target of the immortals. The enemies you have faced so far have balanced temper and control over their impulses; the others not so much. I have a feeling that eventually the Immortals will break off into factions as Gilgamesh really isn’t strong enough to keep them all in line, but he is a leader…always will be. ” Cecil states.

Kross gets himself up and changes his shirt before taking a long drink from his canteen.

“It will be rough traveling with the girls after this…still can’t believe I almost killed her.” Kross says shaking his head before placing his canteen in his bag and begins collecting his other gear.

Cecil does yeild from doubling down on Kross’s guilt about the true condition Ash was in when he arrived and instead says,”The others and myself will be waiting for you down stairs. Take your time gather your thoughts and nerve.”

It had been about a week since the King had been attacked and his armies regularly search the march throughout the city and Kingdom trying to locate those responsible. A minor panic and hysteria has begun to take hold of the villagers. With the city on edge it appears that defensive measures will not let up any time soon.

Cecil heads out of the room to leave Kross to collect his thoughts. Heading down to Chuck and Grendel’s room knocking on the door. Snowy opens it and he waves the collection to follow him down stairs. They heed to his lead and depart to the tavern lobby. Cecil proceeds to order them breakfast but doesn’t order himself anything. Chuck notices this but says nothing holding onto his head trying to keep his brain from pounding its way out of his skull. Grendel is in similar shape but is shielding his eyes from the poor lighting provided by the local atmosphere.

Argos returns and updates Cecil on supplies as breakfast arrives. Cecil offers his seat to Argos who takes it and Cecil heads out to watch the wagon. Kross makes his way down carrying Snowy’s belongings as well as his own. He takes up a seat next to Chuck and Argos doing his best not to match the Snowy’s glare or Ash’s horrified stare. Argos notices the tension and requests information, though Grendel changes subject to their next mission as to not add to the minor hostilities between Argos and Kross.

“Aye, Water Elves, had to be them…Gross…You all don’t understand all they sell to eat is seaweed and fish. They have no concept of real food and God do they hate outsiders.” Grendel mention having never actually been to their realm before only regurgitating local folklore and racist remarks he had be exposed to as a child.

“They are not all that bad, and they do sell other food its just a higher price cause they have to have it shipped in. Now they don’t take kindly to dwarfs, do to the fact that dwarfs tend to spread false rumors about them. They also have quite a fascination with Coconuts. “Chuck says trying to dismember Grendel’s illusions on the matter.

” It will be exciting to see a village of Elves…I am sure it will be amazing don’t you think?” Snowy asks Ash trying to bring her around.

“I guess so, ” Ash responds rubbing her throat surprised by the lack of pain she has had eating but also still not over the trauma of being strangled.

Kross feels awful and it shows on his face as he forces some food down not really hungry after the morning activities. He looks around the table at the family he finds himself apart of. A group of people that he may actually care about have included him and gave him a sense of purpose. Images of his dream flash across his mind as he tries to shake the visions from his eyes he looks down and away seeing Snowy’s head on the floor he shoots up sliding whats left on his plate to the center of the table.

“I am going to wait for the rest of you with Cecil outside. Don’t let that food go to waste it will be a long time before we have something prepared for us again. ” Kross turns and departs the tavern.

Each of the members of the table now have their attention focused on the abandoned plate on the table. Each of them shoot a glare at one another planning all reaching for it at the same moment, but with Ash’s speed she slides her hand across the top of the table and aims for the plate pulling it out of the way before the bumbling collection of hands crash into each other above it each after a different item, each one of them ending up empty handed. Ash grins having won the contest for the extra food, causing jealous snorts from the men, and  a pouting lip on Snowy’s face.

Ash divides the food up  in equal shares for everyone to get a little more. Smiling as she does it though not use to being the center of attention, and quietly panics under the sudden center of attention, causing her movements to be rapid to get their gazes focused on the food.

It is not long after that they finish their meals and go out to join and Cecil who have taken the key positions on the wagon’s coach. Causing Chuck and Grendel to grumble over the situation of having to walk for miles after drinking so much the previous night.

They form up and head out of the city passing by a the gated entrance it was Kross who notices one of the soldiers has red eyes. This soldier seems to be glaring at Cecil, and the wagon as it passes. Once they pass the man and Kross loses sight of him for a moment he stands and looks back to find that the soldier was no longer there. Unsure of what he exactly saw Kross disregards it, as his head hasn’t been right all morning. After a few days of traveling and they see the mountain range ahead.

Grendel,” We should stop at the Diamond Castle on our way pass that way we can inform them of what we have dealt with and see if we can convince them to patrol the gate!”

Cecil sighs,” it would be faster if we didn’t go into the mountains the terrain is too rough for the wagon and would delay us. It would be in our best interest to go to Port Goldsalt instead and rent a ship to the village of the Water Elves.”

Argos,” Port Goldsalt? The smugglers paradise? Its a place of thieves and con men. I can help the wagon through the mountains if need be, but as your way may be quicker but it certainly isn’t safer. ”

“Well would you look at that, boy scout is using his brain for once and trying to not head towards danger and glory,” Kross says with a snide tone, the first time he has really said anything since leaving the previous Village.

“Shut it low life, should have known your silent ways wouldn’t last. ” Argos grumbles with an agitated tone.

“How about this baldy, we leave it up to a vote let the group decide which way we head.” Kross offers seeking compromise.

Argos grunts a moment before nodding and speaking up,” All those who want to head the safe route into the mountains raise your hand.”

Grendels hand shoots straight up, as Ash raises her hand weakly and lastly Argos adds his vote in as well. Grendel glares at Chuck who merely shrugs  in response to Grendel’s dismay.

Chuck,” We just left the Diamond City rather not just go running back, besides we can send them a raven from Goldsalt I know a guy out that way and warn your homestead.”

Kross,” then its decided we go to Goldsalt, and put Cecil’s plan into action.”

 

 

 

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Lover’s Contract

Heartbeats increase as we attract

Giving rise to a most intimate act

At the point of lover’s contact

Our lips form a contract

 

AS hands meet like wild vine

Allowing fingers to intertwine

Forming  a supportive bine

Guiding bodies to a line

 

Breathing in as skin meets skin

Eye’s share views far from sin

Fantasy in minds does spin

Soon now, lover’s lives will begin

 

Lust breeds trust with each thrust

Restoring souls from heartaches rust


A Story into Time Chapter 13: The Price of Freedom

“Halt who goes there,” A royal guard draws his sword pointing it at Grendel who leads Kross and the rest to the castle gates of the inner city.

“Lord Grendel Surefoot, of the Diamond Castle seek a brief audience with King O’rick.” Grendel pronounces with authority. Causing the guard to summon another one over to take word to the King.

“If the King will meet with you I will allow you to pass but you must leave your weapons with me no outsiders are allowed armed within the castle walls.” The guard informs the group. Causing the group to reluctantly disarm and hand them their weapons to royal guards man that arrive with word from the King.

“Grendel, is it normal for the escort to the King to be so large?” Kross asks a bit concerned being surrounded by a dozen soldiers as they pass through the entrance.

Grendel only shakes his head in response as the girls look in awe at all of the well fashioned marble stone work of the palaces architecture. Former kings and highly honored knights remain in statue form with judging eyes watching all who enter. The Blessing scripture of various Gods litter the walls and bases of the statues. They enter the throne room where the King sits with his queen taking in requests of common folk. Once a man finishes with a request to be repaid for soldiers raping and killing two of his Elvin half breed slaves which the King orders the release of two of his own personal slaves to go with him.

The guards introduce Grendel who steps forward and introduces the rest of the group.

King O’Rick, was a chubby yet barbaric looking beast of a man. Long hair and marble colored beard cover his mythril armor. His crown was a series of tiny golden skulls with gems in the eye sockets of each one. Each skull is representative of a King or challenge that The O’Rick blood line had slain over their reign. Serving as a reminder to all that see it not to question the kings rule. He sits on a marble and golden infused throne. His wife wears an iron mask replica of her own face as the only one worthy to look upon her true beauty is the King himself. She is wearing a light blue and white dress and in her hand hand she holds a chalice for the King.

“What brings you here Lord Surefoot?” King O’Rick questions.

“That is not a simple question my Grace. I am here with the son of Ares and our band is in search of the remaining Gods. Rumors are that the blood rain was a sign that the Gods had been slain. I know not the truth for sure but we have seen some truly amazing and terrifying things as of late. Those culprits who attacked the God’s are also rumored to attempt to open the Gate. ” Grendel says trying to disregard the Kings lack of interest or care in the statement Grendel has just made. ” I am sure you are aware of roaming orc hoards have begun to localize and organize attacks against small towns and villages. This seems to be happening in your Kingdom as well as mine. ”

“These rumors of dead Gods have reached my ears, but as a God can not be killed: even by one of their own, I find giving life to these claims the acts of a mad men and fools. As for the hoards of Orcs we will dispatch 100 men to each of the boarder towns to act as extra protection.” O’Rick states showing his discontent with the news concerning the Gods.

“Thank you your Grace. ” Grendel and Argos state as Kross shakes his head.

“Regardless if you think its the act of fools to give rise to rumors of Gods dying. It would be wise to at least hide your key to the Gate given that someone may be trying to open it. They are here in your city. Make no mistake they will come here and they will go forth with their agenda regardless of your degrees. Yet you sit here in disbelief doing nothing because this enemy is beyond anything the world has ever seen. You are unable to believe what you have yet to see because the concept is so tremendously scary that believing it would break your concept of the world you built. Denying is so much easier than learning, easier than accepting that everything changed, easier than preparing for something you refuse to identify as real. ” Kross says trying to gain some ground.

“Outsider, re frame from speaking to the King as your voice is not worthy to be heard in this great hall. ” A royal guards man states as the Queen raises her free hand up to the guard.

“Let him speak, As he is a braver soul than you. You see he is willing to travel great lengths in mixed company just to bring warnings to a King that if truth follows his claims we would be wise to listen.” the queen states her voice though muffled rings out in a heavenly tone from behind her mask. ” You guard, have never left the castle let alone the city yet you claim he has no right to speak. You know nothing of anything happening, you sir should not speak.”

The guard goes to argue but with a quick glare from the King he bows and departs from the room. Kross and the others are surprised by the queen’s actions as it is rumored that she never spoke to anyone outside the royal family.

“Thank you your Grace,” Kross mutters in gratitude.

“Now, as for the rumors of death to the Gods the Kings words speak truth and you should not worry about such claims. Though the idea of someone or anyone looking to open the gate should never be taken without caution, but as only certain noble blood lines even have a chance succeeding in that endeavor. I would find it far wiser to conceal the location. Though I do not think it would be safer outside the castle walls from those who seek its power. ” The queen looks over to her husband. His face shows no sign of denial nor acceptance of her claim.

“It would you and it would be safer if you had no knowledge of its where abouts.” Argos states.

It was at this time that Gilgamesh walks in with the Seraphs on either side following behind him. They are all wearing armor and have their weapons though they are sheathed. Turning his head Gilgamesh looks upon the mortals with curiosity and aw at the set up of the palace.

“Whats the meaning of this, I demand you remove your weapons this instant and wait your turn.” King O’Rick shouts as Gilgamesh bows then nods to his companions who recognize the others and go to speak but he hushes them before they can get a word out.

Gilgamesh’s armor and weapon begin to fade shortly their after the Seraphs follow in kind. The King’s eyes widen at this as the queen drops the Kings chalice causing winte to spill over the floor an old slave rushes over to begin cleaning it up and hands the chalice back to her. He refills it then bows back out into the shadows.

“Sorry to interrupt you King and mortals.” Gilgamesh is cut off before he can continue.

“What sort of man carry’s armor and weapon made of magic, and is in the company of a Fallen Archon and one made of gold? ” King O’Rick begins.

Kross chimes in before Gilgamesh responds “These may be the ones we warned you about. That black Seraph I have seen flayed before my eyes and now stands whole before you.” Kross states realizing that this will not work out well for those around.

Unarmed and under powered. Kross pushes the girls behind himself as Argos, Grendel, and chuck form a line along with him. These actions are noticed by the Queen who places her chalice on the ground and moves to stand as the King pushes her gently back down in her seat.

Gilgamesh stands looking over at Kross and the others not seeing 400 among them. His lips form a smirk as he begins,” The name I have chosen is Gilgamesh, I have but one purpose…Freedom. I have come here to ask you for your Key to the gate and that you end slavery and the means of which you empower your people to harm other races. I have already freed you from the oppressing Gods that forced you to pay homage for their praise. I will release everyone, You can be part of the redemption of your kingdom or its downfall.”

The queen leans over and whispers something to the king. The king nods and then turns to the growing audience in his throne room. ” You come here Gilgamesh, claiming to have slain the Gods, and demand we reform our way of life to your vision. You offer no evidence for your claim and demand the greatest King to do your bidding. You request my key for the Gate so you can free the monsters that slaughtered our ancestors and the ancestors of all races. You would be wise to look upon my crown and understand that no man will ever order me, nor give rulings in my kingdom other than I. I deny your request and offer you this one chance to leave my city with your head on your shoulders and never return. ”

Gilgamesh sighs regretting this outcome and waves the golden seraph over to him. The seraph carrying a bag on its back which is just now revealed as the seraph stands in front of Gilgamesh glaring at the King. Gilgamesh removes Zues’s crown and Hera’s chalice and tosses them before the King. This causes whispers to spur among the collective and Kross can not take his eyes off of Gilgamesh. Wondering where the pink haired girl fits into all of this.

“There is your proof, now I would rather not have to make you into an example as well. Free the slaves and hand over the key this is last time I will ask,” Gilgamesh says coldly.

“Guards!!! ” the King shouts causing the room to stir as soldiers make their way in and a horn is trumpeted calling saying the king is under attack. Doors open from behind the throne and in marches even more. The King unsheathes his sword as the Queen makes her way to the back of the room Kross signals the others to follow the queen and they take off as Gilgamesh and his party re summon their armor and weapons and begin disabling the warriors one at a time being careful not to kill any of them as they make their way to the king.

“We should stay and help.” Argos yells at the group while reaching for Kross who remains just barely out of his reach with the two girls infront of him. Kross ignores Argos realizing the Queen most likely knows the location of the key. The Queen cuts through one of the doors where the soldiers poor out. Grendel however nods to Argos and slows his pace. Chuck sees his friend slow and follows in kind. Ash and Snowy begin to slow but Kross grabs them by the arm and drags them with him after the Queen. Causing Argos to spit and glare before turning to face the enemy unarmed.

Gilgamesh focuses on cutting legs and arms of the soldiers clean off their bodies filling the rooms with horrified screams. Argos picks up a sword and charges past the King and straight towards Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh locks eyes with Argos noticing no fear as he swings the sword at Gilgamesh who blocks it with his spear. Gilgamesh is surprised by the strength of Argos as each blocked blow pushes him backwards and almost off balance. Though with a quick dodge to the side allows him the to pierce Argos with his spear which Argos grabs with his spare hand and turns his body to tear the spear from Gilgamesh’s Grip. This causes Argos hand to crystallize and Gilgamesh brings forth a kick against the hand of Argos causing his crystallized hand to crack. Though feeling intense pain it does not show. Using his injured leg as balance he brings a kick to the side of Gilgamesh’s face knocking him down to the ground. Argos pulls the spear out of his leg and tosses it at Gilgamesh who fails to catch it until after it has already pierced through his chest. This causes Gilgamesh to fall to one knee shocked by the out come as the crystals on Argos hand begin to fall off showing that his hand had been broken in several places by the kick Gilgamesh lands.

Grendel starts to pull the king back as the seraphs charge forth causing Chuck to jump in their path. Chuck Puts up his fists and begins to systematically stumble about which confuses the seraphs causing them to pause their attack for a moment.
Chuck uses the momentum he gains from a false stumble to bring up a round house kick to the golden Seraphs face Causing her to collide with the Black one. Grendel Continues to pull the king back till the King finally makes his retreat.

Grendel picks up a spear and shield off the floor but first he has to remove the hands still attached to them. Once armed he joins Chuck who’s fighting style is still a puzzle as the black Golden seraph attacks trying to land a blow to Chuck who continues to Dodge by falling on the ground and flipping around her swords. Frustrated she takes flight and pulls out her bow and starts firing arrows at Chuck who dodges a few but is finally struck in the hand then again in his stomach causing him to collapse. Grendel Throws his spear at the seraph who lets it shatter against her armor. She fires her arrows a Grendel puts up his shield to block them as the Other golden seraph closes in behind him running her sword clean through each of his shoulders causing him to drop the shield and be struck by several arrows in his legs. Grendel falls next to chuck who is now coughing up blood.

Argos remains standing and hobbles over to Gilgamesh who is pulling the spear out of his chest, Argos begins punching Gilgamesh in the face with his one good hand and using his good leg to hold him down. The Seraphs begin shooting wave after wave of arrows into his back being sure to miss vital areas. This causes even Argos to eventually fall forward. Gilgamesh heals and gets up looking at the other immortals and glares in rage as he has been delayed.

“Well those three were troublesome.” he kicks Argos in the chest as the sound of more soldiers are heard coming from the great hallway. ” Ellen, Hellen, lets make our leave, the key is gone and so is the King but they will be back and so shall we.

Ellen flies up and begins motioning her hands infront of her till a portal opens. They walk all walk inside Gilgamesh dragging a soldier behind him. The soldier is missing an arm and heavily damaged leg, but is still breathing and begging for help as they disappear into the portal. The portal closes and the room full of dying men stains the marble floors red with their blood.

Kross and the girls manage to catch up to the Queen who has been winded by the sudden need to feel. Taking off her mask helps her catch her breath. They had followed her through the castle and into a hidden tunnel. The poorly lit shaft is littered with the smell of moist stone and mildew.

“Queen O’Rick where is the Key we have to get it you and it out of here as soon as possible. My friends and the King wont be able to hold them back for long. We must keep moving. ” Kross says finally catching up to her Snowy begins punching Kross’s hand as it has been hurting her arm since he grabbed it. Kross apologizes and releases them.

The Queen goes to put her mask on before turning to speak to them, but her breath had yet to return so she remains facing the away from them. ” This tunnel leads to an outpost just on the other side of the city walls. ” She says in a frantic and scared state.

“And the key? Where is that how do we find it so we can take the danger away from you.”Kross asks to try and finally get an answer. The queen shows them the inside of the mask where the key has been secured to by a sealed tiny thin metal box.

“The kings greatest treasures…such a laughable offense.” She turns to look at them and they can see her face had been disfigured to make room for the keys container in the mask. Her cheek bone hand been crushed and the flesh turned scar tissue where they has once cut it off and it had healed. A hole remained by her molars showing off the backs of her teeth.

Snowy winces as Ash looks on in pure awe at the dedication this Queen had given to her king and the people of the world. Kross understands however the cleverness behind such an disfiguring act. No one would have ever had known; even experts, as the mask; when on display, it shows no falsehood to the imperfection of it covered.

So you know the truth now. I have to ask you one favor before leaving, No one in the kingdom knows of this. For the protection of the King and realm I need you to well…hand me your knife…” She says as she realizes what she must do.

“I am sorry they took my weapons away at the door.” Kross says catching on to what is about to happen. Kross walks up to the Queen gently taking her mask from her hand. Placing the mask at a slant against the wall. He places a small flat but sturdy bit of flint at an opposet slant with the base against the floor and wall’s edge and the other end just above where the key is hidden. With a swift kick and some sparks he breaks off a jagged chunk from the mask. He sighs and hands her back the majority of the mask keeping the the concealed key. She looks at the new found edge of her mask. Honestly she feels a bit of relief realizing that another one like it will not be made though the task ahead causes her to force her nerves to steady.

The queen takes a several deep breaths before placing the jagged against her scars and begins cutting through them. removing them completely and making a larger hole in her mouth making, this makes her wound look fresh from the assault. Tears and screams of pain flourish during this process causing snowy to cover her hears as they echoed throughout the canal.

“I think I may throw up…” Snowy mutters now feeling dizzy and nauseous over the ordeal that just happened.

“Shhh…” Ash says as she slams her foot down on snowy’s toes causing Snowy to yelp and take her attention off of the queen.

Kross tears off part of his sleeve and offers it the queen who takes it and place over her wounds spitting out the blood that managed to slip into her mouth. The queen then takes the lead and begins showing them the way out of the tunnel.

They make it out by night fall and a short while later they are joined by the King. Who with summons his army to rally around him and charge the castle. The King looks after his wife damning the attackers for her injuries and in private commending her on her actions. He gives Kross full permission to take the Key and tells them that he will spread word that it has been stolen, so to watch his back.

By morning the army is fully assembled and the King leads his march straight into the throne room. Where they find men dead and dying from blood loss. They collect Chuck, Grendel and Argos taking them to the infirmary. Kross takes the girls over to visit them keeping the key in his shoe under padded leather, forcing himself to walk normally as, no one is sure.

Ash looks towards Argos and Grendel as Snowy rushes over to Chuck. Kross however looks at the three of them all wrapped up in bandages on the floor next to several others.

” Was it worth it boy scouts? Almost getting yourself and these two killed over a Fool hardy of an idea.” Kross says with a smile happy to see they are still living anyway.

“Yes…It was I learned a lot from the encounter with Gilgamesh, first he is strong but I am stronger, Second his weaponry with grasped turns you into a crystal, and lastly…we are no match. ” Argos says weakly with defeat in his voice. “Though I did shove his own spear into his chest and had a few good punches in before being covered in arrows. ”

“Chuck are you alright? Say something ANYTHING.” Snowy shouts at a motionless Chuck.

Chuck remains still with eyes closed for a moment before making a request,” Bring me liquor, bring me food…and a night with a good women.” He says weakly forcing a grin only to get slapped by Snowy who then hugs him with a tear coming down her face which she wipes away before he opens his eyes.

Grendel coughs up a bit before he turns his head towards Ash,” Is the King okay…Did he make it out…where is the key?”

“The King is fine and the key is safe for now, just rest and focus on healing, we will be at the tavern, but we need to get moving soon. ” Ash says looking at them worried that Kross may not wait for them to recover before heading out as the key isn’t safe and they are not safe having been exposed to the leader of the enemy.

“Alright Guys good your still alive we have much to discuss but not now focus on resting and healing. We are going to search the black market for some potions to help you all.” Kross says and leads the girls out.

They spend their time in the markets and black market centers not finding much that the King has already seized for his men. Disgruntled Kross takes the girls to the inn and they get a one room for it is safer if they stick together. Kross sits down in front of the door as the girls take the bed and it is not long till all of them are fast asleep.


A Story into Time: Chapter 12 The Things We do for Love.

“Is it a boy or girl?” A man in his late twenties asks as an infants cries echo out from behind a closed curtain. He is a meager individual with an average height and brown hair. His skin is well tanned from working in the fields around his house. His cloths are whole but show many hard days of labor through the sweat and dirt stains. Placing his hand on the wall he digs his already soot filled nails into the wood.

“Glenn, Come meet your son. ” A weak voice sings out in fatigue and joy.

Bursting through the curtain Glenn rushes to his wife who is holding a still blood covered newborn and a vibrant smile shines through her sweat soaked dirty blond hair. She is tall for a women and clearly spends a similar amount of time in the sun as her husband.

“God he is beautiful, Shrawna. The gods have blessed us.” Glenn says with relief and joy that his wife and child are alive and well. He grabs a pan of water and a cloth and asks to hold his son. After carefully taking the child from the arms of his wife he begins to wash his son’s face. The baby cues and squirms do the chill of water.

“What shall we name him?” She asks as her smile narrows a bit as she reaches for a chalice of water, from which her husband Glenn grabs and hand to her keeping movement limited. She sips it a few times before putting it back waiting for a response.

“If you wouldn’t mind my love, I would like to honor my brother and name our son after him,” Glenn says with a bit of caution.

Shrawna sits up a bit a little surprised by Glenn’s choice.

“Kross? Your con man of a brother? Isn’t he a killer?” Shawna asks searching for the reason.

Glenn looks down at the baby who reaches one hand out towards Glenn’s face. “It might be hard to understand, but growing up he suffered a lot for me. He kept me alive; I owe my life to my brother. Granted he could never grow up and build a life for himself. Even though he may not follow the law, he is my brother I love him and miss him dearly.  In all likely hood he was captured or killed long ago and I will never see him again; I will never have the chance to repay him for all he done and sacrificed for me.

“Then the answer is yes, welcome to the world Kross. Now shall we wake Isabel and let her meet her new brother Kross?” she  asks weakly looking away. She had only ever heard vague stories about her husbands checkered past.

“Can’t awaken whats already awake.” he says playfully before standing and mouthing the words ‘Thank You”. Leaving the room with the baby heading towards Isabel’s room. He enters her room which contains a humble collection of hay padded bedding and a small wooden and cloth padded crib.  Cloths and a tiny collection of wooden toys rest in perfect chaos across the floor. He looks down upon his daughter.

“Isabel? I have someone I want you to meet. ” He says trying to contain his joy.

Isabel is a girl around the age of 4 playing with her carved wooden pony and doll made from spare cloth.  Her hair is the color of aged amber and she shares her fathers eyes and ears but the rest belongs to her mother. Once Glenn enters the room she looks a bit frightful and quickly goes to blow out the candle she managed to light in the corner of the room before she is stopped by her father.

“Isabel leave it. It is alright I have known you were up for awhile,” Having seen the candle light from through the cloth door as well as her shadows as she darted from one side to the other. ”

“Sorry papa….momma was screaming and….and..I was frightened and I love her, I -I- what? ” she says quickly and confused as to the whole ordeal that has gone down but notices her Dad is holding a baby and she brightens right up rushing over to him. ” MY BABY…yay play with horsey. ” She goes to tug on the blanket that contains her brother as her father lifts him out of her grabbing fingers.”

“This is your baby brother Kross,  he still too young to play with you, but I promise in no time he will be playing with you every day. You will have took after him and protect him as you are older and know better.  I am trusting you to always do whats best for your family and your little brother.  Now if you calm down and sit down ill let you get a good look at him and maybe hold him.” He says softly and with truth making her eyes brighten even more at the chance to be trusted and given such a huge task. She nods and sits down clapping her hands against the bedding in anticipation.

Glenn sits down next to her and shows her the right way to hold a baby which is almost to heavy for her but she puts on her best grown up face and does her duty. Holding her brother and looking at him closely; a toothy grin spread from ear to ear. She begins to hum and rock him to the simple tune. As Glenn has a tear of joy and pride fall from his eye patting her on the back.

“Alright, Isabel its time to let Kross eat and for you to go to bed.  Tomorrow ill be a big day, and starting tomorrow you and him will share a room. I will expect you to teach him whats right and wrong when he is a bit older for now just be patience as you can till then. ” Glenn goes to take the baby away and Isabel instantly gets upset but and protests as Glenn takes Kross out of her hands, and she screams out no causing Kross to begin to cry.

“ISABEL, knock it off right now I know your tired and cranky but now you have scared your brother. You know better; now candle out, and bed for you. Your teaching him to be scared of you and not trust you. Be good; be full of honor and respect. Teach him love and compassion. There will be plenty of time tomorrow for playing.” Glenn says keeping his temper in check with ease.

Isabel grunts and body posture is in protest but does as she is told as Glenn takes Kross back to his mother. Glenn changes the sheets as Kross receives his first meal. Morning came and Isabel comes crashing into her parents bedroom. Glenn and Shrawna lay with the baby in between them and are awaken by the pluck of the morning person in the room.

Glenn gets up to start something for breakfast taking Isabel with him as Shrawna feeds the infant, before carrying Kross into the table to eat herself. She is slow and weak moving but happy. They eat breakfast and a knock comes from  the only wooden door in their home.

Glen stands and grabs his sword which is sitting next to a dust covered dwarf armor. He makes his way over to the door. Opening it a crack he sees teenage boy with an arrow through his arm standing there bleeding.

“SLAVERS!” the boy shouts and Glenn opens the door all the way letting the boy in. Glenn heads out to look around for signs of the boys claim. Shrawna looks towards the strangers wounds as Glenn sees 12 men on horses heading up the path towards his house. Glenn heads back inside with haste moving everything he can find infront of the door. Isabel begins crying and Kross starts to cry out again. This causes Isabel to tighten up and reduce her crys to tears and sniffles, as she attempts to be brave. Shrawna leads the children into the her bed room. Glen charges in and carefully he pushes their bed to the side. He pulls up a hidden trap door and guides his wife and his kids into grabbing the teenage boy a moment before letting the boy go into their hideaway as well. Once they all hide away Glenn closes the trapped door as Shrawna works on getting the children quite. Glenn pushes the bed back over it.

The sound of horses can now be heard as the riders close in. Glenn mind begins to race and he heads over to an old trunk in the bed room he begins shuffling through it till he comes across a small thin box. Opening it he pulls out the sliver coin given to him so many years ago. Then heads out to the living area as the men begin shouting.

“We know your in there boy. To those of you in this house come out now or we will burn it down.”  A man with one eye and a terribly burned face shouts. The twelve men each are wearing  random collections of armor from several houses. They dismount causing a clang as metal boots hit the stone pathway. ” You may see that boy as a child but honestly he is our property  and as quarter breed he is deemed a slave by King Orick. Now I have no desire to destroy such a….well nice looking farm. We just want whats ours shall you refuse everyone in there will sentenced to death.”

Glenn closes his eyes and sits down with his back to the barricaded door. One hand on his sword the other on the coin they begin pounding on the door which causes him to slam his eyes shut and he flips the coin.

Silence falls as the coin continues to flip in mid air. Confused he stands and peeks out the window and everyone is standing still in mid action. Confused Glenn turns to look back at the coin which no longer remains instead the black mage from his youth stands before him.

“You have summoned me, do you have a wish?” The black cloaked figure says in a disconcerting tone causing chills to rise up Glenns spine.

“Glenn I wish for a sword and skills to protect my family from any foe.” Glenn answers in a rattled voice.

“I see…If I grant this wish I will need you to be in this city at this time….”the stranger hands Glenn a piece of paper. Then vanishes for the duration of a blink of the eyes and returns with a black sword covered in black flames. ” Everything you desire you will find with this blade, but the blade comes with a steep price. If you take the blade then you accept the terms of our agreement then the pact is made. Should you break your oath your existence is forfeit.”

Glenn goes to reach for the swords handle but stops a moment noticing writings on it unlike any he has ever known. “What is the price that comes with the blade.”

“That is between you and the sword. ” the stranger says with the same chilling tone.

Glenn hesitates a moment then thinks about his family before reaching out his hand and grasping the sword. Instantly he hears voices and his hand is engulfed in flames burning his flesh but he feels no pain. The whisper of a voice he can not determine is male or female as it echos throughout his head.

“You are barely worthy to lift me. Your soul is one of redemption and reeks of good intentions. I will lend you power beyond what you will ever be able to harness with such low ambitions. Heed me….Feed me. Your soul or the souls of others…either way I will be fed. Though note upon lifting me you have agreed to these terms and thus now we are bound till your death. I will be the last thing you ever hear but until then…..” 

“The terms complete, shall we never meet again.” The stranger vanishes just as abruptly as he appeared.

The voice stops and Glenn looks down at his hand which is now only bone, yet his grip is stronger than ever. The slavers begin to light torches and bang on the door which slowly creeks open. The man with the eye patch readies his sword and looks into the door frame and sees only blackness.

“It’s hungry…it wants fed…you should have never come here.” Glenn’s voice whispers out of the darkness just barely able to be heard.

“Alright men the door is open. Rolo and Plaqet go in first and see if we cant find that little cunt my pecker needs its bath.” Commands the one eyed slaver to the men beside him. They move forward towards the darkness. The hair on the back of their neck raise as they enter. Once surrounded in darkness and out of sight of their comrades  four thuds are heard as a head is tossed out of the front door with such force when it hits,  the leader square in the chest plate it causes the head to explode and the chest plate to cave in  and leader to be knocked 10 feet backwards off his feet. Two bright lights swirl around Glenn as he exits.

“Holy Hell its Gods Save us its a damn Soul Eater!” One of the men shout as it they look at the souls of their friends swirling around the sword. Black flames reach off the blade and engulf the souls and they hear the souls scream in horror.

The leader is coughs out blood as he forces himself to stand. He orders the men to take off and attack. They do, resulting in Glenn cutting them down as if swatting flies. The blade itself cuts through armor, flesh and blood as cleanly as it cuts through the air. Cutting through swords, arms,  and anything else that got in its way. The leader goes to get on his horse and retreat as his men lay dead or dying their souls being pulled from them.  The flames on the black sword chase down the leader who attempts to take off on the horse burning and consuming the soul of the man while it remains inside his body.

Glenn  lets out a dark laugh as his eyes turn black and the souls one by one are consumed by the black flame.

 

 

 

 

 


A Story Into Time: Chapter 11 The Gate

 

Gilgamesh holds up his diary considering the value mortals place on memories, and the fact that they often forget the details, or causes that formed them in the first place. Placing it aside he looks up at a scholar who is quietly placing books on shelves in a vast library. The scholar was the keeper of the books and plainly the Rolodex of the information hidden within each one. Gilgamesh has spent the last few hours testing this individuals knowledge by grabbing out random books and asking the man questions about its contents. He found it interesting that a normal mortal could remember so much in details pertaining to books they had not written verse the diary he held which was filled with lost knowledge that had been so clearly written about years prior.

Gilgamesh’s eyes narrow on the scholar and he bellows out in the silence of the library,”Book Keeper, I apologize for interrupting  your work yet again but I was wondering are you actually a human? I on–” He is cut short as the Scholar shushes him before responding in a rather cold manor.

“Yes, for the thousandth time yes…I am a human, I have read all of these books, yes I know the contents of each one, and how many times must I ask you to keep your voice down?”

The Scholar  is wearing a red boarded white cloak with yellow lace and a small hat. He has a large piece of glass dangling down from his neck and without noticeable  reason has flower peddles of several kinds stuffed and slightly protruding out of cuffs and his neckline. His nose is a bit red from sneezing most likely either from the dust on the shelves or the peddles themselves.

“Surely there is more to you than other mortals…for you have the ability to retain the scriptures you have dedicated your life to preserving.” Gilgamesh stands and begins to make his way over to the Scholar before asking,” Whats your name?”

“My name is Soba and yours sir?”

“Gilgamesh” The immortal responds.

“Ah yes, Gilgamesh is a strong name of the first true king and halfbreed…First one to unite the realms; though cruel was his ambition, he ended up saving the realms from the Darkling hoards. He believed the world owed him a debt for his protection and claimed everything he desired as his regardless of who it belonged to. His greed is what drove the alliances apart and eventually returned the power to the darklings which caused the mortals from all realms to reunite again and  create the gate. Granted this is roughly about 200 years after Gilgamesh’s dynasty collapsed. You see never wed instead had a collection of mistresses that would raise his children. Most royalty these days are decedents from  Gilgamesh this is true of most human and Elf races. The dwarfs however purged all mix-breeds in their society and thus ended any chance of a mix blooded heir. I find it comical now days that the races with decedents hate mix breeds of today most houses dont even acknowledging the fact that they are not pure. Granted its such a mass percentage it would never be noticeable.” Soba informs the curious onlooker without even looking in his direction nor being asked too.

“Fascinating, and what of the Gods of those times?” Gilgamesh inquires.

“Gods? Oh those days were full of the Creator, and  the First Gods he created placed in charge of the planet more so then the people on it. Though still worshiped and admired they are not of sound body like ours in this age. The ground, the Earth was a god as well as wind, the sun, and night. Gods of various means, from water to weather. Some stronger than others but they all had to work together for the planet it survive. Granted disagreements would happen resulting in wounds we can see still to this day. ”

Gilgamesh very curious as to what he meant by the scars of their battle questioned what he was referring.

“Well its hard to tell all the marks made, but the Earth God shows the most ruminates, both offensive and defensive. The mountains for instance were clearly an attack against the Wind disrupting their movements and forcing them to slowly tear them apart…over hundreds of thousands of years. Vast dried lakes and rivers a battle between the Sun and Water. Rivers cutting through the Earths skin. Some say these Gods never left and instead became silent letting Zeus and the others run things.” Soba is slightly getting excited about using his knowledge to inform what he deems is an ignorant warrior.

Gilgamesh begins to scour the books on the shelves it was only at this point he realized that most had not been touched in many years as dust had piled high on them. He also noticed he and Soba were the only ones there and had been the duration of his visit.

“I see not many venture into your hallways of knowledge here. Seems like such a waste that only you know the extent of knowledge locked away in here, perhaps you should consider educating the masses on what all can be gained here.” Gilgamesh suggested.

Trying to contain his laughter Soba turns to face Gilgamesh for the first time. “I perhaps would waste my time with such an endeavor if people cared for more for truth over satire, but most of the locals would rather watch a play that has a vague stretched truth verse actually learning the details of history. Its my personal opinion that history has far more to teach us than the present.”

“You sir are by far the most interesting and useful mortal I have come across. I wonder if you would consider writing the lore of the Immortals?” Gilgamesh inquires. ” I would even be willing to offer you the option of witnessing first hand the miracles we will preform for the masses.”

“Immortals? Lore? The way you bring it up sounds as if you are one of them. Either way I have devoted my life to History again I state that is my personal opinion that History has far more to teach us than the present, or those that dream of future conquests. I would be lying if I said you did not brighten my day by being willing to learn but my days as a student have passed many years ago. I am honor bound to remain here and aid others who seek the truth of the past. ”

Gilgamesh is obviously disappointed by Soba’s response yet respects his choice. He does not press the issue further rather changes subject.” What can you tell me of The Gate?”

“The Gate is a door to the worlds largest prison more or less. Old magics of Gods, Elves, and Man combined with the craftsmanship of the Dwarfs creates a force unlike any other ever conceived. Though with all that it was not enough to keep the hoards sealed away forever. Blood magic was the last and most powerful barrier, Making it impossible to open. Each noble race sacrificed and drained dry one of their own to place this seal the door for all times.   The Gate its self is nothing but a massive stone door with three locks and three keys. One key was given to the world of Humans, who raised the armies.  The elves whom magic helped force the darklings inside. The dwarfs for creating the this great feat, but the Dwarf blood line that responsible for opening the gate had perished and their key passed on to the God Hades upon his soul passing. It was once rumored that many had attempted to open the door but the door will not open unless all noble blood lines are present and spill their blood, so any attempt to open the door has all ended in failure and normally death to those that attempted. Common misconception is that every last of the darkling races and kin were locked up inside but this is plainly the thoughts of fool. Not everyone was locked away but those who remain free stay in hiding as they are normally killed on sight…for good reason. ”

Gilgamesh a bit agitated by the complexity of the task he sent Madea on realizing she most likely ended in failure.

“Thank you Soba, I leave this for you to keep here with your books and history. ” Gilgamesh removes a dagger placing it on the table. The inscriptions on it cause Soba to rush over to it with curiosity. ” One day I shall return and wish to speak with you again about the past perhaps I can convince you then to travel with me and teach me even more about the past and what treasures knowledge can be given.

If you do not mind me asking where you managed to find such a unique item? Throughout my years I have never seen anything like this.” Soba lifts up the blade and feels entrancement of  power surge through his body.  Soba hears whispers emanating from the blade causing him to become a bit dizzy as he unsuccessfully tries to figure out what its saying. His hand begins to become numb as crystals begin to form. Gilgamesh knocks the blade from Soba’s hand releasing him from the trance as tiny crystals cover his palm like fish scales.  Soba is a bit alarmed as well as fascinated by the transformation that took place.  Gilgamesh apologies shocked at the outcome and unsure as to the cause. Gilgamesh picks up the blade and wraps a cloth around the handle and returns his gift.

“Study this all you like and if your ever in danger please use it to defend yourself, if you ever need my help just spill blood with the blade and I will return as soon as I can.” Gilgamesh prepares to disembark, ” I have had it ever sense creation and thus have no real idea as to its origin but its purpose…it kills Gods. ”

“I have no use for a weapon Gilgamesh, I look after books and artifacts. This artifact is truly a rare and mysterious piece. It will take months to research it properly, and you say it was designed to kill Gods? I find this unlikely though since I have never seen scripture displayed in layer upon layer on the blade I can not disprove that at this time.” The crystals begin to flake off of Soba’s hand and hit the ground as nothing more than a fine white powder.

“Either way sir I will have many more questions for you the next time we meet and perhaps even more relics for you. ” Gilgamesh states before giving his final fairwells and exiting out into a city where a Monk runs by screaming “its people.” He sees a red eyed Cecil for only a moment in the crowd disbarking from the play that had just finished. Gilgamesh charges forth into the crowd. Its not long before Gilgamesh stands alone looking around confused shaking his head before heading towards the Castle in the center of town.

Madea arrives at the doors that stands over two hundred feet high and about 80 foot wide. A crease in the center divides the doors. She approaches the gate this causes the hair on the back of her neck to rise and she shivers run down her spine. With each step she feels as if gravity itself doubles. This eventually forces her down on one knee and she struggles to stand once again. Finally her hands touch the doors carvings causing her flesh to peel off of her hand. She pulls her hand back and hisses as her wound begins to heal.

“This…is fucking incredible….how did mortals create such an impressive enchanted prison.” Madea grins in excitement and fear.

The door is fashioned from various stones and metals. It looks as though stones had been carved to represent skulls and bones in various patterns and warnings in every language. They run from the top of the door on down. The crease has three small locks on it. Madea only has one key in her possession and this brings her some curiosity as to how one key could possibility open this door. Also above each lock is a finger sized hole. Taking her key she shoves it into the first slot and attempts to turn it. It was at this point the door hisses and the various patterns change on the doors to form words.

“ONLY THOSE WHO CLOSED THIS DOOR MAY OPEN IT.”

Madea reads the statement and growls slightly, placing her finger into the hole above the lock the key rests in, trying to figure out if there as a trigger or release only to find her finger is stabbed then crushed. Shocked by the sudden pain she attempts to pull her finger out but it will not budge. She takes her wand and waves it at her hand causing her skin muscle and bone to peel and break off at the base of its extension.

Blood gushes from her wound only for a moment before a new finger beings to grow. She shakes her hand a few times and glares in frustration. She goes to remove the key but it will not budge. She screams in rage and raises her wand to the door. Knowing her abilities are specialized in organic matter not the magics and barriers that make up this lock nor door.  Mustering up her energies she attempts to cast a spell on the door  to tear apart and crumble. Failure as the door reflects the spell onto her increasing it ten fold. Her body twists and distorts before all her joints dislocate and bones crumble. She screams in agony during the process..then waits a day to heal.

Once Madea can stand again, she grunts and attempts to pull the key out one last time as the sun fades in the sky and gives way to nightfall. She grunts and begins to hobble away without the key still injured each step causes horrific pain but her face shows little sign beside tears that roll down her face uncontrollably. Frustrated by her leaking eyes she waves her wand until her tear ducts are damaged ceasing the flow.  She glares up at the mountain ranges deciding not to take that rout and begins to head away from them and heads out into a vast desert.

 

 


Liar And Chief

Liar and Chief
By Shoeless B. Wonder
Message approved by everyone with compassion.

Lies are clearer than water
Nation plunged in false fear
The earth bleeds black
As greed grins form ear to ear

Dropping a noose around truth
White house cast in shadow
Morals lost their worth
Backwards falls the last domino

Cruel the words a leader spews
Insulting all those who disagree
Wishing to destroy true reality
Enslaving masses through each decree

NO money for the sick,
No money for the poor,
No money for the vets,
ONLY HAVE MONEY FOR WAR

Promises broken go unanswered
Build that wall my fools
The leader forces his demands
Depending on his many tools

Bombs drop far away and innocents die
Stories spin to make it more than race
Truth discredited by liar and chief
Science is loosing to ignorance

Leave it to religious to be jealous
Narrow views brought to light
Burn through every bit of principles
Make no mistake, there will be a fight

Those who live in fear of the unknown
Cowards who call to kill what they have never met
Harming those who look different than you
Will be buried along with ideology you set

I hope you one day realize
Toxic people with horribly toxic ideal
Will only poison the world
That we are all spokes on the same wheel


Losing Love

The saddest sound is and empty house.
Possessed by loved one’s hanging blouse.
When it sinks in she is no longer there.
Understanding that in life, its never fair to care.

Sit here and ponder,
When it was I lost my wonder,
All I know is left in the silence,
Echoing through my house of penance.

Let my spark
flicker in the dark
Memories are a mirage
Flashing a never ending barrage

Alcohol only fuels this madness
Willing to relive the sadness
Trying to numb the truth of reality
Cursing the concept of mortality

Day after day the cycle will continue
For I can not accept this world so new
There is no living without you.