|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. IX: The War, Won, yet Lost...
by Vipers ©
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
our Salthi friends really kept their secrets well." Aurelia said.
"Let's check it! There might be treasures waiting for grabs!"
"Inside the sewers?!!" Hawk roared. "Treasures inside the sewers?!! Are you awake?!!"
An echoing roar followed by a weird pulsing sound was heard from the hole. Aurelia knelt before the hole and peeked inside. The dark underground tunnel was extremely uninviting, but her deeper feeling told her otherwise. Something was very wrong here.
"I'm going in." The Elf said finally.
"Holgreb, get a torch or two, then get down. Hawk, feel free to join us any time."
Hawk stared at her in disbelief for a while before screaming, "Fine! Five minutes! We'll be down there for five minutes and no more! I can always drag you out!"
"Thank you, honey." Aurelia smiled. "Do you want the honor of going down first?"
Atrus is 'definitely' going to kill me for this...
"They're probing your mind again?" Atrus asked worry noted in his voice.
"The spirits..." Anna replied slowly. "They're now screaming in agony... They... they're trying to speak to me..." Anna looked into Atrus' eyes. "Leave me... You're wasting time with me... Maya's in danger... Leave me and get that demon!"
"I can't leave you here!" Atrus insisted. He thought for a while before continuing. "I want to hear it."
"Go ahead and try to talk to them. Tell me what they're trying to say."
"I'm not sure if I can do it."
"Try it. I'll wait."
Anna cast a large magic barrier around both of them and charged it to the fullest. "Atrus... Sit down in front of me and give me your hands."
Atrus complied and Anna took both his hands in hers, and closed her eyes. "I haven't done this before." Anna said slowly. "The practice of contacting the world of the dead is prohibited in the Order of Lycra, but I have a feeling that the spirits were not of the dead."
"You mean they haven't died?" Atrus asked.
"I don't know. But we'll soon find out. What you will experience is an illusion, but based on something other than the illusion itself. I will have no control over it. The barrier will keep us safe for a while. Are you ready?"
"As long as you know what you're doing."
Anna closed her eyes and fell silent. Atrus did the same, but it didn't help. As a Ranger, he was very sensitive to the nature around him, but not that sensitive. The practice of contacting the dead was also illegal in the Ranger clan. It was in fact illegal throughout Aragon. Only well-trained mages and priests possessed enough talents to do so, but since the Great Magi Wars the practice was assumed lost. He could just hope, as usual, that Anna knew what she was doing.
Atrus saw a flash of bright flare before him. He knew his eyes were shut. He went panic when he realized that he could no longer open his eyes. His panic peaked when he realized that he no longer had any control over his body. His body had gone numb. Yet his mind soared in space like a firefly.
Then he felt nothing.
"Don't worry, Maya..." Roberto soothed her. "You'll be just fine. I will protect you no matter what. Your master will soon come with the antidote and you will return to normal..."
He watched her face in anticipation for responses but found none. Her skin had turned cold and rigid as stone. She was indeed slowly turning to a statue, yet the spell kept her soul alive until the last moment. He couldn't imagine someone could invent such horrible spell.
He moved his head so that his eyes were staring right into hers. Then he noticed it. Her lips ceased trembling. He had finally made contact with her. Slowly he rubbed her hard cheek and smiled. He couldn't hold the tears from falling.
"I know you're listening, Maya... I know you're still there..."
There was no answer but the eerie sound of the sandstorm outside the walls. The tunnel was very silent. Yet his world was also silent. Since he established eye contact with her, he knew that there was no one else but both of them, and he knew he wouldn't let her go.
"I don't know if you're listening, Maya... But I want you to know... You're the first one who understood me... Without you, I won't be like this... I won't see Atrus as he is... I... I..."
He hesitated to say it, yet the feeling was torturing him. He had to say it, or he would burst.
"Maya... I... I just want you to know... I... I admire you... I'm really thankful that I know you... But this is not a farewell or some sort..."
I have to say it... I have to say it...
And in an uncontrollable yet clear voice full of passion and despair, the balance of the cosmos shifted as the words came out.
"Maya... I love you... And I won't let you go..."
Atrus stood on a small hill outside the city, marveled by the view before him. He'd never thought that the ruins he'd seen had actually once been a great city on a green pasture. He'd never thought that such glamour would vanish, replaced by wrecked ruins surrounded by desert parched by the sun.
Then he suddenly saw a long cloud of dust on the horizon. Then a large number of crowds appeared beyond the rising dust, creeping slowly toward the city. A loud cry confirmed his fear.
"THEY'RE COMING!!!" It's an invasion!
Atrus reflexively reached for his sword, but it wasn't there. He realized that he was not being himself. He was in another world. He was another person. He was having a nightmare from the past.
The people all over the city were scrambling for protection, something they couldn't afford. The city was totally defenseless. From a distance, smoke began to rise from the outer farms unlucky enough to be on the raiders' path. Behind them three tall towers strode across the land, heading toward the city. Siege engines! Atrus had never heard such advanced technology being used by barbaric tribes. Although the siege engines couldn't do anything due to the city's lack of town walls, they had won the psychological war. The citizens were definitely running for their lives.
Then the anomaly began. A large, dark cloud appeared from nowhere and covered the city centered at the town center. The cloud was so menacing that the huge band of raiders ceased their advance. Lightning crackled across the dark sky, adding more terror to the civilians. Then another dark cloud rose, apparently from the east part of the town. Then with a loud roar, the cloud soared through space and toward the raiding parties.
Numerous blasts and explosions appeared inside the invaders' ranks, scattering the raiders. The dark cloud flew through the land, sending massive destruction on the invading armies. One of the siege engines suddenly exploded in flame, sending tiny debris that could even reach where Atrus was standing. It was apparent that the raiding parties began to retreat, but the dark cloud showed no mercy. Multiple lightning bolts blasted the ground, killing more raiders. A small yet powerful whirlwind appeared from behind, scattering the raiders and tumbling another siege engine down on the ground with a crash.
For some people, the scent of victory might be sweet. Yet for Atrus, the view before him was horrible. He did not approve raiding innocent people, but he couldn't approve the method used before him. He could never approve such hideous magic. He stared helplessly as the raiders were utterly destroyed.
Then his attention was brought back when he saw that the cloud had turned its attention and moved toward him. He knew he was defenseless. He tried to move but his feet were frozen in place by his fear. The view of mass destruction had paralyzed him. He just watched in terror as the cloud swept past him. A terrible pain washed over her body. He raised his hands and screamed in terror and pain as he saw his hand melting. The heat was immerse and agonizing. His vision went white as the air around him exploded, shredding his body into pieces.
Just to find Anna holding his body tight.
They were back at the ruins of Salthi. The blue magic barrier still covered them both. There was no one around but Anna. She appeared into view with a small cloth and began wiping the sweat off his face. He realized that he was drenched with sweat. Yet he was pleased to find that his body was intact.
Anna placed her finger on his lips before he began to speak. "I know..." She said. "You don't have to tell me. I was there too, so I know what happened."
"You were there?"
"Yes... I... I was in one of those tall towers... I remember how the tower exploded in balls of fire. I remember how the fire consumed the other people's body... including mine..."
She tried to be brave, yet her body was shaking from the experience. Atrus held her close, his mind working hard. Yet there were things he couldn't understand.
"The spirits did that, right?" He asked.
Anna nodded slowly.
"But why? Why did they show us that?"
"I knew this is the reason..." Anna said slowly. "I knew it from the start..."
"What do you mean?"
Anna stared at him, grief hinted in her eyes. "The spirits had shown us the terrible mistake they had done... They had made an agreement with the demons to protect their city and its citizens... They had erected a Gate and invoked its power when the raiders came to loot their city... Then the demon turned against them and attacked them... The eternal alliance had been made, and they couldn't break the seal..."
"Neither can I..." Hawk muttered. "I never thought I will ever meet that thing ever again..."
"I know... but..." Holgreb paused to think. "By the way... what the hell is that?!"
They were crouching behind a large boulder at one corner of a large room. The room seemed to be the junction of all tunnels in the underground sewer network. It could contain enough water to please an entire city if it's only clean enough. Instead, the room smelt like rotten flesh. And in the center of the room a large black circular swirling hole hovered on the ground. The hole produced eerie hiss, the sound they had been hearing since they entered the tunnel.
"It's the Gate." Aurelia whispered. "It's the passage from the demon world to our realm. It is also apparently the main source of our trouble."
"Can it be that the demons are the one that actually destroyed the city of Salthi?" Hawk asked.
"Good point, but I don't know." Aurelia answered. "We have to get out of here quickly."
"What? Can't we close it?!" Holgreb protested.
"No. Once the Gate is opened, it can only be closed from the other side." The Elf explained. "You want to volunteer to go to the other side?"
"Good. Now let's go! We have to warn Atrus about..."
The word was interrupted when a sharp hissing sound was heard from behind. The Dwarf turned around first and was hardly fast enough to deflect the vicious claw attack with his axe. Hawk retaliated but the creature withdrew as soon as his attack failed. But standing behind it were another dozen beasts, all wielding malicious claws on their fingers.
"Damn... this is bad..." Aurelia cursed.
And it was getting worse. Behind them, the Gate produced another loud, piercing sound. The swirling cloud within rotated faster and faster. And to their horror, beasts popped out of the hole one by one.
"The Gate is opened..." Hawk muttered.
And they were trapped...
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
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