Thaylus looks for the Book of Realms after a foul dragon says he was sent to stop him.
The walk to the Tower of Ifria proved simpler than the travel so far. The land surrounding the tower made a circle of dry, cracked plain. Heat from the sun and the terrain caused a dreary, faintness. The heat that saturated the land farther off gave a wavy appearance.
Thaylus drooped over as he breathed through his mouth. His face dripped with sweat. Time slowed to a crawl in the inferno. He sorely missed human companionship. Loneliness afflicted his heart.
After stepping into the shadow of the tower, Thaylus’ face and body cooled. The height, of the tower made him sigh and shake his head. For a moment, he thought of forsaking the mission he felt he had been sent on. Taking the stairs to the top would prove miserable if not undoable.
Thaylus felt relief when he reached the wall. He sighed with a smile and sat against it and took a deep breath. He felt faint and nodded off. When he woke, twilight had come. The sage rose, circled around and found an entryway. “At last.”
He went in and double doors slammed shut; the place was enchanted-or cursed. His heart fell at the empty room, not a single book filled it. Thaylus’ felt his thirst overwhelm him at a fountain inside. Thaylus stumbled forward and fell on the edge of the fountain. He gulped down water so fast he choked. He wiped his mouth. “That is the best water I have ever tasted.”
The round ceiling amused him with its strange designs. He wondered what to do next.
A shriek echoed in the chamber. It sounded like a man getting a limb cut off. The cry came again. The room was empty. Thaylus jumped up and his eyes darted everywhere. He felt a cold chill go through him as something invisible passed behind him. He turned. Nothing. “Where are you?”
Some entity lurked with him in this room. Spirits were said to inhabit Ifria. It appeared he had found the answer. Thaylus felt lonely and vulnerable. Previously there was always company. Strangely, time felt like it was going by fast.
He went to his source of dejection, where was the collection of books? And if they were on a higher level how could he get there? He ran his fingers along the wall. It felt course and cracked.
Thaylus pulled on his beard. “What do I do next?”
A block of stone fell inches from him. Above, a transparent haggardly, woman figure screamed. Thaylus covered his ears.
A jolt went through him and he summoned the Sword of the Spirit and the figure stopped. “Who are you!” it said.
“One who bears the Sword of the Spirit. I am on a quest.”
The ghost-like figure charged at him from above, bearing fingernails three inches long.
“Yield. You have no chance.” Said Thaylus, motioning with his blade. He narrowed his eyes and tightened his grip on the hilt.
“None speaks so to the banshee of the Tower of Ifria as such! Die!”
The banshee lunged for Thaylus. He stood relaxed and coy. With a quick sword thrust, the banshee was impaled. It screamed and reeled back and was vanquished in a plume of black, shadowy mist. It gave putrid smell and Thaylus covered his face.
“That was waste of time.”
Thaylus paced around the room with his head down.
In the center of the chamber, a round insignia of a three headed dragon caught Thaylus’ curiosity. “I’ve seen this before. It is the emblem of Tyrus, the sorcerer who took the Western kingdom.” He stepped onto it and the round platform vibrated. Thaylus was jostled as it rose through an opening in the ceiling and stopped. He froze; would this platform fall or rise higher?
He smiled with a laugh and barged forth like a giddy child. Shelves filled with books lay everywhere.
Thaylus picked out a book. “How amazing! It tells of the first wars of Khrine. Nothing in all the realm of my time goes back nearly as this does.”
He took out another book from the shelf. It referred to the Gate of Vessels, mentioning something curious; the Emissary shall rule on behalf of the Lord of the Gate of Vessels. Who could this “Emissary” be? Thaylus knew only of Vessel Bearers and Celestial servants.
Where could the Book of Realms be? A tall bookshelf interested him and once again he forgot his mission and got lost in the plethora of knowledge.
Thaylus got a knot in his stomach and his body tensed; it was the fearful presence of the Realm Dwellers. Three dark, mist-like figures took form. Burning red eyes looked like smoldering coals. Each one bore a sword of black fire. But how did they get to the realm of Khrine? The Realm Dwellers’ first arrival was farther in the future.
Thaylus had minimal fear, he had the Sword of the Spirit. Perhaps this is the reason why the being in the Temple of the Crown gave him the holy weapon. He squeezed his fist and the sword appeared in his hand.
The three figures backed away. Thaylus heart swelled; they feared him. He lunged at the one in the center with his blade over his head and came down upon the Realm Dweller. It blocked the attack, making a deadlock. Thaylus could feel the burning in his muscles as he bore his sword against the other.
“You wield the weapon of light. But the power of darkness is greater,” said the one holding his sword against Thaylus’.
“Your manipulations will do nothing. Darkness flees in the presence of light!”
Thaylus shoved his foe back. The dark being’s eyes burned stronger. It cried out and swung its sword to the right. Thaylus ducked and thrust his shining blade into the Realm Dweller’s chest.
The stabbed the Realm Dweller fell to the ground and its body blew away like a pile of ash being carried away in the wind.
He took a deep breath and grounded his feet on the floor, preparing for an attack from the other two.
Thaylus was being assaulted from front and behind. He made a diagonal sword stroke and his foe matched his move. He glanced behind and the dark being twirled its blade making a whirlpool. It ebbed closer. The one in front fought Thaylus into the spinning attack behind him.
“Despite what you are, you two fight two against one like cowards!”
“Honor means nothing. Victory is the only thing,” said the one before Thaylus.
Thaylus ducked and made a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree swing and hit the being’s sword out of its hand. It backed off and Thaylus turned to face the spinning blade. “Come at me abomination!”
A wave of tension shot through Thaylus’ body; four more Realm Dwellers took shape! They closed in on him. He jolted to the right, into a row of bookshelves. This way he could not be surrounded. Thaylus fell to his knees, trying to catch his breath. Despite the Sword of the Spirit, he was one man. How could he win? What if more kept coming? If he didn’t die from the Realm Dwellers, fatigue would subdue him.
He collapsed against a shelf behind him and a book fell next to him and opened. Only one passage was in Pyrithian, the rest he could not read. Greater is He who is in us is than he who is in the world.
“Who could “He” refer to?”
It was like a light had been lit. He understood what it meant. How could it be anyone else? It was the supreme spiritual being in the Gate of Vessels. Thaylus did not believe it was a deity, but he felt a power and a peace inside.
He rose and grasped the sword and its brightness grew three-fold. Thaylus felt like the flame of the sword flowed through his body. “You come at me with the power of darkness, I come with the power of the God of the Gate of Vessels,” he said to the Realm Dwellers.
He strode forth and struck down a Realm Dweller. Its body dissipated like the previous one.