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Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2208495
The two groups finally meet and a vile plan is finally revealed
         Gorkan's          Brother: A Prophecy Rises                    Comin' Together


Chapter 11

Comin' Together


Darcey arrived at work that morning, to find everything in chaos. There was splattered fruit everywhere along with debris and chunks of rock. She saw a city guard talking to a shop owner and when he saw her, he wrapped things up quickly and came straight to her.

"Where were yeh last night around six Mrs. Nimbledoldt?"

"I's wit Dargus, what happened here an where's Lisa?"

"I think yeh know Mrs. Nimbledoldt." He told her eyeing her with suspicion. "Did yeh have an argument wit Lisa?"

"No, Lisa an I's got along great, in fact, she is one o' me closest friends, where is she? I want te talk wit her now!"

"I's afraid dat won't be possible."

Her heart dropped through her stomach. 'No, no, it can'no be.' Her heart cried out.

"Where is she!? Yeh's be tellin' me now!"

"I's sorry, but this be an ongoin' investigation an I can'no be tellin' yeh anythin'."

"I's be needin' te know, where be me friend?!" She cried out after him as he simply walked away.

'This be all me own fault. Me wantin' me boy home, but at what lengths do I's have te go through te make sure he be bein' safe.' She clenched her teeth and knew. 'He's me boy an I be goin' te any length te git him home alive! I's done lost one son, I's don'na mean te lose another! Snaznock had better come back wit good news.' Her head screamed.

She cut in front of everyone to see a gurney with a sheet full of blood draped over it. She ran over to it almost knocking a guard to the ground. He was quicker though and grabbed her arm. It was a different guard this time, one that looked compassionate and caring, but she had to know. He firmly held her shoulder.

"Yeh don'na want te be seein' what's under dare, let me assure yeh. Please. . . don't." He looked at her with nothing but sympathy behind his caring grey eyes. He let her go. She looked back at him with a pleading look on her face and turned to walk slowly to the gurney which was now being left alone as they were preparing the wagon to put it in. She walked up to it and put her hand gently on the head of the sheet, she felt the coldness of the sheet. She turned and looked back at the guard who was still standing there. She turned and put both hands on the sheet and hesitated. 'Do I's really want te know if this be her? I's have te find out.'

She gently pulled the sheet down, it stuck to the blood-soaked head, but when she finally looked down her heart stopped for just a few beats. There wasn't much left of her face but it was Lisa. She took two steps back and bumped into the guard. He spun her around and held her against him. She held on to him for several moments as the hot salty tears fell from her eyes. She felt him nod his head and then heard the gurney being loaded into the wagon. She looked up at the guard who looked at her with sympathetic eyes. He was so much different from the other guard who came traipsing in just after she looked up at him.

"Let her be, fer all we's knows she be da one who did all o' this, an she jest be checkin' te make sure it be done properly."

"How dare yeh! She be me friend! An a good an true one at dat! I wanna know who did this an so help me, I's-"

"Yeh's do what Mrs. Nimbledoldt? Yeh be killin' him too?" He asked her with a chuckle. She went to go after him but the guard held her fast and she knew why. She let him hold her back but then slowly turned around and walked out of the mangled fruit stand. As she walked away she heard them talking.

"An why yeh gotta go tormentin' da girl like dat? She jest saw her friend wit half her head blown off."

"Yeh jest don'na git it, she be da cause o' all o' this, includin' da bombin' da other night. I gots paperwork all night an it's cause o' her, I be sure of it! She be da cause o' it all. Dat king o' ours has a vengeance fer anyone hurtin' him in da past. She be right up his ally, look into her son Gorkan an yeh be seein'why he be hatin' on her."

At this point she really didn't care, she just wanted to go somewhere and be alone. 'Da banks, I's hope nobody's dare already.' She was planning on going down to the banks later on today anyway. That's where she and Dargus made out the last time. She had a fondness for that place, this relationship was new, it was fresh, and so she liked all the places that he made her feel special, but now she had something else more important on her mind, 'I gotta git me girls te safety. Tonight!'


***



"They be pretty strong te kill off two undead creatures like this. One be a skeleton fer sure, but me's thinkin' dat da other one was also." Graggum says as he kicks the pile of dust in the middle of the narrow room. The other dwarves in the room nodded and looked at each other in an almost fear-like state.

"This jest happened. Maybe an hour or so ago, we not be far behind them now. If'n we keep goin' we's be catchin' up wit them soon. Let's be goin' but be careful an Tranvock, no threatenin' moves he be gittin' a powerful group wit him."

"Yeh be talkin' right, it would take a. . . Fifth level druid, I believe, or a wizard te turn this skeleton do dust as they did. An fer these bones te be jest layin' around when they supposed te be animated, someone must have blessed them, maybe a fourth or fifth level cleric maybe. They may be jest kids but yer right, they got a little bit o' power in them. Let's not try an make 'em angry if yeh know what I's be meanin'." Halgic said covering his mouth with a disgruntled look on his face. "We may be up against a group dat be as good as us, well, maybe not as good as us, but good nonetheless. Let's not be mincin' words wit them. In other words, Tranvock, down boy!"


***



"So where are you all from, c'mon spill it, spill it, please come sit down." The little man said as he went off into another room. He had led them out of the tunnels and into a narrow passageway to a larger room with tapestries on the walls, expensive rugs on the floor and the furriest furniture any of them had ever seen. Mortog was quite surprised at how remarkably soft and comfortable his green chair was, he also wondered what manner of beast had this color fur, he had never seen or felt anything like it. Surveying the room he thought, 'This be a pretty invitin' house, fer bein' down here anyways.' There were fancy tables like his father used to make back home. 'I's wish I be bein' back home right now, I could be usin' a good 'ole fashioned meat sandwich right about now, an maybe Telis's company fer da night.' As soon as he thought about her he looked over at Ryuul and thought about what it would be like to have an intimate conversation with her, yeah, okay, maybe a little more than a simple conversation. His feelings were conflicting. His other four members of the group sat in similar comfortable looking seats, except for Jackel who refused to sit. Mortog figured it was because he didn't trust what the little human was up too; Mortog couldn't disagree but he was cautious.

"Well, well," The little man came back into the room with a large tray of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and bread all the while giggling and bobbing his head. 'I's guess I can have me dat meat sandwich now.' He thought chuckling to himself. "So tell me where are you all from? Wait, wait, let me guess." He paused for a moment closed his eyes and tilted his head after he had put down the tray of food on the table in front of them all. "Citadel Camfor, am I right? But not you pretty little lady, no, no, no, no, not you, you're from, let me guess. . . Rygone's forest?"

"Very good! How did you know all of that?" Ryuul rightfully asked.

"Magicians intuition my dear, magicians intuition." He said giggling. "Please eat, eat. I'm sure you all have little rations left, so eat up, I have more for you to take with you on your journey."

He was a short little guy, even for a human. He looked like the typical mage, he wore a robe, had a pointy hat with a ball of fabric at the very top. And of course, he walked with a wizard staff; it had a glowing metal sphere hanging in between two pieces of wood. The top piece of wood seemed to float in the air holding up the sphere by a small chain.

'What a weird little man.' Mortog thought but he stood over the large platter of food and made himself his sandwich anyway.

"Please eat, this is a safe place, you can take your armor off and my hand servant can wash your clothes for you if you wish."

"Yeh be waitin' jest a minute, why should we be trustin' yeh, we's only jest met yeh, We's don'na even know yer name an yeh expectin' us te disrobe our armor an clothes?" Jackel pointed out as he picked up his bow that was leaning against the mantel of a huge fireplace.

"You are absolutely right, where are my manners? Where. Are. My. Manners? My name is Bob and I'm an arcane wizard and a simple cleric. I wish nothing but a warm welcome to you all. I have two rooms set up for all of you, I have been expecting you, I just didn't know it would be this soon, so soon it is, yes?"

"Wait, yeh be expectin' us, how can dat be?" Mortog asked. Everyone looked at Bob with suspicion now.

"Why, the prophecy of course. The prophecy told me of your arrival, I have been down here waiting for you for several years now. Or at least I think it's been several years, It's hard to tell with no day or night and those awful Harpies were making it very hard to see the sun or the stars."

"An here I's thought yeh's was this great an powerful mage? Why couldn't yeh jest git rid o' them yerself?"

"To be honest with you, I was afraid of them." He said with his head down. "I have never seen anything like them. You don't know how many people I've seen get drug down here just to get eaten alive. I wasn't about to be one of those people, no chance for me to fall prey to those, those creatures if they never see me right?"

"So yeh never passed them? How'd yeh git down here then?" Branthony asked.

"I found another passage at the other end of these catacombs."

"I knew's dare be another way outta here!" Branthony exclaimed.

"Yep, but it's tricky, the wrong path could lead to instant death. That's why you need me."

"So yeh can be tellin' us da right way te go, right? What do yeh want in return, or are yeh jest dat nice that ye be tellin' us da way out?" Mortog asked.

"Yeah, yeh be goin' through a lot o' trouble makin' us feel at home here wit da food an da rooms an stuff." Branthony chimed in.

"Your right, your right, yes, yes I do want something in return, I was hoping that you would get me a very special ring yes, very special indeed; it is in one of the chambers here in the catacombs. We can talk more on that tomorrow, now, eat up and allow my servant to wash your clothes for you?"

"We's need te go out an have a little chat before we go decidin' te stay here an partake o' yeh's wonderful hospitality."

Mortog waves at the others to follow him down the passageway to a smaller entry room that they passed through on the way there.

"Okay guys, I's don'na know what da deal is here but can'no we jest find our own way out, I's be meanin' dat we found our way in, we can surely find our way out, especially if dat little troll made it we should have no trouble." Mortog tried to tell them.

"I's think we should be helpin' him anyway, we not bein' da type o' dwarves te jest let a need go unanswered. I's think we's should help him, it can'no be dat bad can it?" Branthony uncharacteristically said.

"We need te be findin' out how he lost da ring in da first place."

"It sounds simple enough, but I'm wondering what's in that chamber stopping him from going in there himself," Ryuul asked them.

"True enough, he's bein' awfully nice te us, he must really want dat ring," Branthony said.

"Cleary, what yeh be thinkin'?" Mortog asked him.

"I's think yeh be crazy te be doin' this quest te begin wit, but if'n yer tryin' te git yerselfs killed, by all means, go fer it."

"Jackel?"

"I's be thinkin' it be all up te yeh, this bein' yer quest an all. Yeh make this call."

"Thanks Jackel." His tone was less than enthusiastic. "I's be thinkin' dat we can handle whatever be in dat chamber, an besides, what if dare be more in dat chamber than jest da ring? We aint even be checkin' it out yet."

"Okay let's do it then," Branthony said. "We's gots two healers, they be bein' able te heal us from across da room, right guys?"

"To an extent and remember Cleary's is still getting used to his abilities and I'm not sure how powerful I am just yet," Ryuul remarked.

"Well, this may be yer chance te find out," Mortog reassured her. "We all work as a team an we can do this, I's knowin' we can." Mortog looked over at Jackel waiting for his response.

"Yeh knows how crazy I's be bein', let's do this!"

"Good, he can tell's us all's about it tomorrow when we decide te do it, we jest be tellin' him we still be thinkin' about it. Let's see how bad he really wants this thing." Mortog said. "All in agreement?"

"Aye." The dwarves all say at once.

"Whatever you say Mortog." Ryuul added. She didn't sound too happy that they were going on this little side quest and Mortog knew it, but he knew he was good enough to handle whatever they couldn't.

"Relax, everythin' will be alright, think of it as practice fer da more dangerous stuff dat we may find once we be gittin' out'ta here."

She shook her head. 'I've got a bad feeling about this.' she thought.


***



"I's think we should take this little passageway." Graggum, the point-man, said as he led the group up a narrow passageway into a small entry room. He puts his fist in the air and signaled to everyone to stop. He crouched down and motioned for them to stay. He crept his way forward until he could hear what they were saying.

"I's think we be needin' te sleep on it until at least da mornin'." One voice said.

"That's quite alright; you do what you need to do." Said another.

"Yeah, an how did yeh lose dat ring in da first place?"

"I was being clumsy and it dropped from my hand because I was nervously playing with it, you know, just turning it around my finger, when it just fell off, it just fell off! Then it rolled near the back of the cavern, and oh my, a shrill little girl started talking to me so I ran away. I should have never been in that room to begin with, no, not that room."

"We will tells yeh our answer in da mornin', I's not bein' sure we want te go on a side quest right now anyway."

"An I's thinks it bein' a little creepy dat yeh heard a little girl's voice. Mortog, we may have te do a rescue mission." Branthony tells him.

"Oh please!" Jackel said in the background.

"I's highly doubt dat. It was jest a trick te git yeh te go in a little further." Mortog replied.

He crept a little farther up until he could see who was talking but not be seen himself. He watched with a careful eye, the leader, or makeshift leader, talk with a funny looking little fellow with a pointy hat. With a nod to himself, he crept back to his friends as silently as he could until he got to that little entry room.

"Dat be them. Dare talkin' wit what looks te be a human wizard. They's be plannin' te do a side job down here it sounds like. It doesn't look like anyone is in a fightin' mood right now though."

"See, I's told yeh we' be findin' them soon," Snaznock said. "Now, no fightin', sounds like they don'na want te right now anyways, but mark me words they will if'n they have te. So let's not make them want te raise any weapons, yeh know they be havin' dare sights trained on us as soon as we walk through dat entrance."

With silent prowess, they all head to the doorway that lay ahead of them. They can hear them talking. They stopped and Snaznock put his hand out for everyone to stay put. He was going to make first contact. He walked up to the doorway and stepped through it interrupting what Mortog was saying. Mortog stood up in defiance within a second's time, actually, he stepped up quicker than any trained warrior he has seen to date.

"What are yeh about?" Mortog said demanding an answer and fondling Dragonsbreath.

"Oh good! Your friends are here, well come on now, come come, show yourselves and come out and get some food. There's plenty for everyone, don't be shy now."

Graggum was the first to come out looking for the food tray.

"I's ask again. What are yeh about?" He said a bit slower noticing, for combat strategy, the rather large dwarf coming out to get at the plate of food.

"We's here on behest o' King Keldron, he wants us te bring back da book. We's not plannin' on doin' dat. He wants yer head, we's not be doin' dat either. If yeh truly be da prophesized ones then we be here te help yeh, we has no choice." Snaznock told him.

"Except fer Thodec, our cleric. Yeh killed him!" Came a voice from the back of the group.

"Knock it off Tranvock!" Snaznock said motioning towards the open hallway.

"I aint be killin' no fellow dwarf, not yet anyway," Mortog said. "Now how did yeh find us?"

"He's da greatest tracker in all da citadel, maybe even da world." Graggum said with sarcasm in between bites of a meat and cheese sandwich.

"That doesn't matter now, all come in and sit down, we can all talk." Bob said, but nobody moved. Mortog looked around and saw his team ready to go into battle now if they had to. Ryuul had her staff out, Branthony had both of his swords poised and ready and Jackel had an arrow pointed straight at Snaznock's head. He looked to the other side and saw Graggum stuffing his face, Tranvock with his sword at the ready and Halgic must've been some kind of mage because he had put some kind of spell on either his guys or Mortog's crew. Looking back he saw Cleary doing the same thing.
"Stop it! stop it! you're supposed to be friends!"

"Where does it say dat?" Mortog asked without looking at him.

"It's in the prophecy that your two groups will get along nicely and work well together."

Graggum put his food down and was reaching for his axe, but then withdrew, then reaching for it, then withdrew. He really didn't know what to do. He just knew he wanted to eat.

"Clearly we have yeh Snaznock, yeh be bein' shot wit an arrow before yer friends could git anythin' off. So what do yeh say we's figures this out like dwarves an not kids."

Snaznock waves his hands for everybody to lower their weapons, Mortog looks behind him and nods and his crew lowers their weapons as well.

"Splendid, splendid, let's all sit down and have something to eat and let you guys get to know each other." Bob said stepping in between the two groups. They sat on one side of the room while Mortog's crew sat on the other.

Mortog, yer mother says te tell yeh te come home at once, but she knows yeh won't, so she wanted Graggum here at least te accompany yeh, an I's be sendin' Halgic wit yeh as well."

"Wait. What?" Halgic looked over at Snaznock with a little bit of shock in his eyes. "I's not be signin' on fer this, we's supposed te git da book an try te find da artifact ourselves."

"Yeah, but da situation be different now. I believe these kids be da chosen ones. His team beat two undead skeletons! An besides, he never said we couldn't look fer da artifact wit them, he jest said te retrieve da artifact at all costs, dat don'na mean we can'no be helpin' him git it."

"So we gotta pay fer it?" Halgic clearly did not want to go with them.

"Yeah, we's don'na need no more in our crew, we be doin' jest fine on our own, besides this be me own quest." Mortog said.

"Well kid, dare's now a whole citadel dependin' on yeh. Yeh's got te find this artifact fer our people, an even fer da humans an elves. We don'na want te be at war wit anybody, an surely not da humans or da elves. Keldron wants all dat not da people. Some say he's not workin' alone either, dat he be gittin' some kind o' human sorceress queen an maybe even an orc clan or two. I's hear a lot o' rumors bein' able te be invited te all da big meetin's an all." Snaznock told him. "Jest like I's knows dat Telis be da one te tell da city guard where yeh be. Maybe she be coerced into it. I's not fer knowin'. I's jest be knowin' what me be knowin'."

"Well, no matter, They aint comin' wit an dats final." Mortog waved his hand to make his point.

"Sorry, I's be leavin' them here wit yeh. I have te report back te king Keldron dat yer not te be found an dat yeh possibly be dead, killed by da elves an they already had yer body."

"I's game." Graggum says, "Don'na worry Halgic, I's be protectin' yeh."

"I's not be needin'- I's don'na want- Yeh's comin' wit anyway aint yeh?" Mortog said reluctantly.

"Aye, but we won't be hinderin' yeh, think o' us as extra muscle. Yeh got a lot o' people lookin' fer yeh te succeed me friend."

"Yer not me friend Graggum!"

"Not yet, but yeh's grow te like me, I's do dat te people, I's grow on them." He says with a smile then takes another bite of his meat sandwich. Mortog's chuckle was all but contained.

"Fine! They can come."

"Splendid! Splendid! And I got to see a friendship blossom on top of everything else." Said Bob.

"But yeh's gonna tell me everythin' yeh be knowin' about da book an da prophecy before yeh leave."

"Yeh bet!" Snaznock said. "What do yeh know already?"

They talked for hours and when they were finished everyone went to bed to get ready for the next morning. This was going to be a real test of their abilities; they just didn't know it yet.


***



The Cherub was darker and there were many more people there than usual. There were murmurs all around her, 'Everyone knows who I's be. I bet they all be talkin' about me.' She thought as she walked through the rancid, mead smelling pub on her way to sit next to Dargus.

"I's got yeh a mead, da one yeh like." He told her.

"Thank yeh." She said. "How soon can yeh be gittin' me family te safety, did yeh hear about Lisa?"

"Yeah, an dat aint da only one dat happened today either. Dare was a cave-in at da mines, thirty-three dwarves were killed an about twenty more unaccounted fer. It be lookin' like an explosion of dare minin' equipment dat caused da cave in. But me's fer thinkin' it be lookin' te much like what Gorkan done all those years ago."

"Yeah, no, yeh need te gather me kids tonight, I's may have jest lost me husband, I's aint losin' me kids too. An this madness seems te be gittin' closer te me. Lisa be a dear friend, an I's seen her wit half her head blown off." She said with tears in her eyes and sobs in her voice as she couldn't contain her sorrow.

"I's has never seen yeh so emotional as I has these last few days, ever since da courtyard incident, tell me what happened? Exactly." He said with all intensity in his voice; this was not the time for romance, this was serious.
He clung to her every word very seriously.

"He pointed straight up in da air an then put his finger te his nose, looked an pointed directly at me an laughed. Dats when I's be gittin' out o' dare as fast as I's could possibly go."

"Apparently not fast enough," Dargus said. "An yer right, we need te git those kids te safety tonight. I's jest hope it no bein' too late."

"What do yeh mean." She asked with a worried look on her face.

"If he be targetin' yer friends an family, he may already have his sights set on yer kids but we won't know until somethin' happens, an by dat time I's afraid it may be too late."

"So they may be screwed either way then?" She almost yelled. She was loud enough for some of the patrons to turn and look in their direction but quickly returned to their own conversations.

"I's swear on me life, I will do everything I's can te protect those kids, ye hear me?" he said looking straight into her eyes. "One thing's fer certain, they know where yeh be at all times, so we's need te kiss an hold hands across da table like lovers would because we want te make them believe dat yeh an I's be jest havin' a sensual rendezvous. I need te git te yer kids, or, me contact needs te git them. Da only way this be workin' is if they keep watchin' us, or should I say, yeh."

"How be yeh contactin' yer guy while were here?"

"Don't turn around but dare's one o' me guys in this pub right now. Since da thing at da courtyard, I be havin' a shadow, an he be here if I's be needin' him, like I's do now. Let's get yer kids te safety. He's goin' te come over here in a minute an try te start a fight then jest walk away after I's gives him this note tellin' them tonight's da night te move yer kids They already be knowin' dat yer kids were gonna be needin' te be moved, they jest didn't know when." He said and then scratched his head and the other guy came over and started yelling causing everyone to turn around and look. Dargus yelled back and passed the note successfully and no one was the wiser. Then the other dwarf left the bar.

"I's not goin' te see me kids fer a long while is I?" She asked with tears streaming down her face. She knew what she was losing when she did this. Now it was in motion, if she left now she would probably still miss her kids. A kind of void filled her chest. She started to have trouble breathing. Panic set in and Dargus could see it, but had to react quickly before she gave anything away. He reached over and held her hands. They were clammy to the touch, he felt her pain at that moment and understood her fears. He rubbed his thumb gently on her hand as he watched a tear stroll down her cheek. She looked away from him, unable to look into his eyes. He pulled her hands toward him ever so gently and she gave in and looked at him. He knew she was hurting but this had to go off right.

"Now this be extremely important. Yeh must go te da guard an report yer kids as missin' tonight when yeh be gittin' home. Yeh have te be convincin' dat yer truly worried about them."

"What yeh don'na think I's bein' worried about them now?"

"I's be knowin' yeh be, an dat's why we's havin' te act right now. Rise up an kiss me." He said quicker than normal.
She rises and leans across the table to kiss him and sits right back down still with a worried look on her face.

"Can yeh at least try te be lookin' happy? Please?" He begged of her and she smiled just a little bit. "Now, what be yer plan? Yeh know, da one te git rid o' yeh know who?" He asked in a whisper.

"Oh me goodness, I's completely fergot about dat." She said as her eyes began to lighten up again. "I's be thinkin' this could work, but even if it don'na work, we can'no have anythin' bad happen te us."

"Okay then, tell me."

"Okay," She looks around nervously. "we's summon a demon te be killin' him or do some other magical thing te him." She said with a momentous amount of excitement. Now she really did have a smile on her face as Dargus sat back in the booth and pondered her thought.

"Yeh know it be pretty dangerous te be summonin' a demon." He told her after some thought. "It can backfire completely yeh know, but I's also see da good in da plan. I's will bring it up te me boss an if'n he be thinkin' it be good plan then we be bringin' it up te yers. Again, we can work together, but I's can see it workin'."

She smiled brimming with pride at the thought. It would be her plan that would be used in defeating King Keldron. Then her thoughts betrayed her, how she wished she could hold them just once more.


***



Melron stood up after finishing his lunch; his servants would soon be there to clean up his table. It was time to go and see Master Kecktrik about his hand to hand combat lessons. But when he got to his arena room he saw someone else in the room with him. 'A new sparrin' partner? This could be bein' fun.' Even though Melron was a pacifist, all dwarves loved to fight.

"Good afternoon Melron. I has a surprise fer yeh. No hand te hand combat today."

"What we be doin' instead?" Melron asked almost whining.

"Were gonna learn what kind o' magic yeh know." Kecktrik told him.

"I's don'na know any magic." Melron insisted. "Why yeh be thinkin' I's got any magic in me?"

"Because yer brother is a powerful mage an yeh have te have at least some, it be in yer blood; so Trapper here is goin' te try te git yeh te do some magic dat all mages can do. Yeh up fer it?"

"Well yeah, I's can sure try, I's don'na know if'n it be workin' or not, but I's be tryin' it."

"Good." He said. "Trapper." He gives Trapper a nod.

"Now every mage has a group o' spells they can be doin' without havin' a particular school."

"School?"

"Yes, a classification or category o' spells." Trapper tells him.

"Okay," Melron looks at him with questioning eyes.

"Let's try some basic spells, these should jest be thoughts dat yeh channel te become real. Yeh can'no jest be willin' it te be, yeh have te concentrate on da thought an dare be somethin' inside yeh dat bubbles up te make da spell work, I's sure yeh can find it in yeh."

"Can I's use fire?"

"Yes, why don'na yeh try an light dat test dummy over dare on fire." He tells him. "Now concentrate on dat-"

"Yeh mean like dat?" Melron asked after the dummy caught on fire. "Can I's put it out too?"

"Well, I's, I's never been asked dat question before, but, try it." Trapper stood there as the fire slowly went out.

"well, I's bein' damned, yer bein' a natural kid," Trapper told him. "We's gonna have yeh doin' all da cantrips before yeh know it."

"What bein' cantrips?"

"Those be da spells dat every mage knows, dare be some offensive ones an some defensive ones, as well as a few dat aren't either. We're always discoverin' more cantrips. These spells be basic, like throwin' a fireball or, as yeh's jest seen, lightin' stuff on fire." Trapper tells him. "I's be teachin' yeh some o' da basic ones an then teach yeh how te discover more on yer own. Dat way yeh can make yer magic yer own. Let's git started."

The rest of the day didn't go as planned for Trapper, he hadn't gotten Melron to do any other cantrips at all. Even the fire spell was a dud. He chalked it up to begginers luck, but the boy had magic in him, he was sure of it!


***



Phaebeus sat there in his red shirt and black leather pants, grabbed his blue crystal necklace, and hung it over a crude hand-drawn map of the land surrounding this particular citadel. He chanted his magical chant and held the crystal above the map, it hung in the air by the necklace chain glowing a faint blue color. The crystal began circling the map in all different directions. The crystal's glow grew very bright then tugged itself out of his fingers and landed somewhere off the map.

'Well, shit! That's no help. They must not be close enough to the citadel to do any real harm yet.' He thought to himself. 'I guess it's time to go and finish off Beltron.'

He hiked all day for it took that long to set up the scrying process the night before, which didn't help him at all. He climbed over walls, walked through old buildings he even had to climb over a statue or two which were laying in his way. 'Stupid dwarves.' He finally caught up to Beltron and Jadus. They were in the middle of battling three large spiders. 'Good, maybe the spiders will kill them off for me.' He watched as Beltron threw a fireball and hit the spider dead in the center of its face, when the fireball dissipated the spider was still there, unharmed. 'This should be fun to watch.'


***



"Fire has no effect on these things!" Beltron roared.

"No shit! These are fire spiders, they spit fire! " Jadus yelled trying to hack the leg off one of the creatures.

Two of the creatures froze and Jadus knew exactly what was happening so she took this opportunity to try to do some real damage. If she attacks one creature it will break the spell on both creatures, knowing she couldn't possibly get to both spiders in time she focused on just one of them. She leaped onto the back of a spider near the top of its eyes where it hides its brain and jammed her sword deep into its skull. The creature roared for a very short period and a fireball headed straight for her. She had to dive out of the way quickly and was unable to take her sword with her. The spider's lava blood ate away at the metal, dissolving the sword, but felling that spider.

She heard the screams of the other creature and peeked around the dead spider to see the spider battling a large astral cat. Beltron had done it! He had been trying to cast this spell for a long time and couldn't get it to work right, the last time he tried; he only summoned a small puppy, good thing that was practice. This time he summoned a large astral cat that was now tearing at the spider's flesh.

Jadus now only had one sword, 'We better find an armory soon.' Jadus wished to herself. She looked up to see Beltron and worry immediately took over her mind, he was casting a spell and right away she recognized it to be a protection spell, this one was of custom making, Beltron had made this one specifically for such a need. It blocked magic and physical attacks as well as things like luck spells and the like. He braced himself for another battle while watching the astral cat kill the spider. A fireball hit near her leg from the other spider she needed to kill. She had almost forgotten about that one, but only the stinging reminder of fire had caught her attention to destroy this next spider. Luckily the burn wasn't as bad as it felt. She only had her wits and her one remaining sword to fight with. She watched the spider draw in a breath; she assumed that would be the sign that another fireball was going to be coming her way. 'How do I kill this one, I don't think it will be as easy to jump on his back.' She immediately ran for cover behind a wall. Watching the astral cat battle the other spider was intriguing but she still had her own problem to solve. She could try running underneath the spider to try and gut it, but its lava blood could kill her just as easy as the fireball if it hit her directly.

The spider was on the wall directly behind her and was trying to climb up the wall instead of going around it, 'Stupid spiders.' She knew its back would be towards her if she went around the wall, she jumped into action. She darted around the wall and saw the rear of the spider. She jumped on its back and began stabbing the spider repeatedly as quick as she could so that the flowing lava blood that was going to pour out of it wouldn't burn her. She stabbed in a straight line all across the back of its neck causing it to erupt in a blood bath that eventually began burning the creature to death. As it screeched to its own demise she was able to jump off the side of the spider down the eleven feet to the floor, twisting her ankle as she did so. 'Good thing it's dead, I can hardly move, just walk it off girl, I'll be fine, and how's our ethereal cat doing?' Poking her head around the wall she was seeing the cat rip into its side, luckily it was an astral cat and its blood couldn't hurt it. The cat made one more swipe under its maw and the lava began falling out onto the ground. That was fun to watch, what was on the horizon for them, she did not know.




                   13

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