|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. X: Plague and Cure
by Vipers ©
was split into 12 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
opened her eyes. Darkness welcomed her, as usual. Her nightmare wasn't over.
But one thing was certain. She wasn't alone anymore.
"Very impressive, Miss Freesland..."
She quickly recognized the voice she dreaded. "Gareth Lightbringer... as always..."
"Incredible..." The Lich mused, his fiery red eyes flared beneath his long cloak. "You were sent into the abyss and come back alive."
"You underestimate me, Gareth. You can't just play around with me."
"You're weak, Human!" The Lich snarled. "I can play around with you anytime, for your soul is weak! Your soul is bound with the wheel of time! I," He stretched out his hand, "am immortal! I have the blood of the Gods inside of me!"
"But you've had your chance, Gareth." Anna replied. "You've tried to defeat me, and you failed."
"So what?! Look at you! Your soul may be strong, but you're bound and helpless!"
He was right. She'd been occupied with him that she didn't realize she was still bound spread-eagled in the air by invisible shackles. The shackles were definitely designed to immobilize her completely, for she couldn't move her limbs at all. Her will was strong, but her body could move.
"So can you still defeat me?" The Lich sneered. "Don't worry, we have forever to get to know each other better. Plus, I can assure you that there will be no distraction at all. Anyway, who can save you right now anyway?"
"Atrus will come!" Anna shot back.
"Oh, that hopeless hunk!" Gareth chuckled. "Then why isn't he here right now?"
"Why, I'm here, demon!"
The Lich quickly turned back and found Atrus standing behind him. "You...?! Why? How?"
"Miss me already, demon?" Atrus smirked.
"How could you...? It's impossible! You can't find us here!"
Atrus pointed at the hanging figure before him. "She guided me here."
"What?" Gareth turned to Anna. "How?!"
"Atrus..." Anna choked. "I don't know... but I'm so happy to see you again..."
Atrus swept his hand, and the invisible shackles instantly let her go. She fell on her feet and ran toward him. How she missed his warm embrace. She hugged her tightly as if she didn't want to let him go. Her tears fell like rain.
"Anna... This guy didn't hurt you, did he?" Atrus soothed her.
"I don't care..." She sobbed. "I'm just so glad to see you... You've come for me..."
"I don't think so..." Gareth sneered. "Old Calem sent you here, right? You didn't come for her. You came to get me."
"What?" Anna looked at him, confused. "Atrus...?"
"Don't listen to him." Atrus let her go and drew his sword. "I've come for you, but I still have an unfinished business."
"You can't kill me, Ranger!" Gareth warned. "It will compromise your task."
"Like I care." Atrus replied darkly. "I will make you pay for what you've done to her!!"
"But you're weak! You can't defeat me! My loyal specters, attack him!!"
Numerous ghouls appeared from nowhere and descended toward Atrus. Anna recalled those ghouls in the pyramid as being capable to inflict terrible pain. But Atrus calmly raised his hand and called out his inner power. His body was soon engulfed in bright flame.
"Your trick didn't work, Ranger, and will not work this time!" The Lich cried.
Multiple ghouls went through Atrus' body, but instead of struggling from pain, Atrus stood firm. More ghouls invaded him, yet he was unaffected. His gaze was hard, fixed on his nemesis.
"How...?" The Lich was furious. "My specters...!"
"It's because of your little game." Atrus replied. "I've defeated your trial, and I came out stronger. You can't play around with my soul anymore."
"It can't be! I'm superior!"
"We'll see about that!"
Atrus drew his sword and dashed toward the furious Lich. The faithful Rainbow Sword flared as its magical power flowed through the enchanted metal. A large blue sphere covered him as Anna chanted her magic barrier on him. A similar transparent, dark sphere appeared around the Lich, but that didn't stop him nor slow him down.
The sword made a diving cut, splitting the dark sphere in half and nearly cutting the occupant. The impact produced a massive shock, propelling the Lich backwards. The specters around him descended to assist their master, but this time Atrus dealt with them. His sword danced around, cutting through the ghouls and shredding the foul spirits into nothingness. The Lich released a barrage of magical force toward Atrus, but it exploded harmlessly on the barrier. Atrus raised his arm and formed a fireball on his palm. The fireball shot out toward the Lich and exploded harmlessly a few inches before him. The blast, however, was enough to throw the Lich a few feet behind. Atrus met up with him and raised his flaming sword, ready to strike.
The sword hung in the air, waiting to strike the helpless victim.
"Atrus... you've made your point..." Anna explained. "Please, let me talk to him."
Atrus stared at his nemesis for a while, then lowered his sword. "You owe her too much."
"Gareth, it's all over." Anna said. "Give it up."
"I... I've been defeated..." The Lich didn't seem to be listening.
"I've been defeated by mortals!!" The Lich growled. "How can this be happening!!"
"What do you mean?" Anna asked.
"I'm immortal! I have a lifetime to perfect my spiritual magic!!"
Anna's brows cornered. "Who told you that?"
"Who else?! That bastard Daemon!"
"Who?" Atrus inquired.
"Supreme Commander Daemon, Lord of the Army of Darkness. He's the one who transformed me into a Lich."
"Why?" Anna asked. "Why did you sacrifice your soul and become an undead?"
"You don't know how it feels..." Gareth answered darkly. "You don't know how it feels, being trapped inside a city filled with beasts, expecting help that will never arrive!"
"You mean your fellow wizards?"
"I served their cause for many years, but they betrayed me!" The Lich growled. "They abandoned me, and I blame them for making me endure such torture! I want my revenge, and if it takes a lifetime to perfect my magic, then I will do it!"
"Daemon tricked you, Gareth..." Anna said sadly. "You will never perfect your skill..."
"What?! I'm immortal! My soul is stronger that yours!"
"Wrong again." Anna said. "When you submit yourself to become a Lich, your soul was animated with magic, and can therefor only last as long as the magic is there. No, your soul is sustained with magic and no magic last forever. Mortal souls, on the other hand, last forever. Only the bodies don't."
Gareth was confused, "Mortal souls last forever?!"
"Our bodies may wither when we die, but our souls will never cease the existence. They will either go to Paradise or Hades. But your soul was magically animated, and when the magic ceased to work... I'm afraid... you have nowhere to go..."
Gareth stared blankly into the darkness. "If what you said is true, then I've been tricked indeed..." His bony hands folded into knuckles. "That bastard has tricked me... But that doesn't reduce the pain I've felt for years!"
"Have you heard anything about the Great War of the Magi?" Anna asked.
"It was a war between the wizards and the allied forces of Humans and Elves." Atrus explained. " The war raged for years, killing more lives than any wars in the known history."
"A war...? The temple...?"
"The Great Temple of Magi was burned down a few years ago..." Anna replied sadly. "The wizards are now the outcast people living in the northern peninsula of the continent."
"It's a lie!" The Lich was furious. "What proof do you have?!"
"The Book of Elements..." Anna said. "I have it now... We found it from the body of a renegade mage east of Aragon, hiding in the Mystic Mountain."
"The Book of Elements..." The Lich imitated. "Then you know that spell..."
"Yes..." Anna replied. "I know the spell to undo your magic."
"Then use it on me!" Gareth declared.
"I can't..." Anna hung her head. "I... I don't want to kill you..."
"After what I've done to you?!"
"After what you've done to me." Anna nodded. "I still won't kill you."
"You are too kind, yet foolish..." Gareth stared at them for a while. "Very well, you have my attention. Now speak."
Hawk watched silently as the Elf released another barrage of arrows, killing another wave of zombies. He couldn't help but admire her skill, but even with her superior talent they were still in danger. The wave of zombies kept on flowing from the nearby forest, crawling slowly toward the castle. He raised his own bow and released the arrow. Missed. I should have listened more carefully in the archery lecture...
He stole a glance to his friends. Prince Roberto stood uneasily next to him, watching in horror as the seemingly unending horde of undead approached the castle. He understood the pressure the young prince was feeling. He was holding the lives of the entire population in Aragon. If they lost the battle, Aragon was lost.
Holgreb, on the other hand, was as eager as usual. He was known not to care about odds. He could march himself toward a group of monster and deal with them single-handedly. But now they're not facing a group, but a horde. For that reason, he'd ordered the Dwarf to stay inside the castle. He believed that a living Dwarf was more useful than a dead Dwarf.
A young soldier ran toward them. "Prince Roberto, we spotted another army coming from the east! They're coming right toward our eastern wall!"
We're doomed. "Send more soldiers to defend that wall..." Hawk barked the order.
"Wait!" Holgreb stopped the squire. "You said they're coming from the east?"
"I'm coming with you!"
The Dwarf left. Aurelia shot another set of arrows, dropping more zombies to the ground. Hawk fired his own shortly. Missed. Damn...
Soon he saw Holgreb running toward them. "Cancel the order!!" He screamed. "The reinforcements from King Hloffeth are here!"
He could hear a long sigh of relief from the prince. He deserved it. The prince had been in constant stress for a while.
"Dragons coming from the western horizon!" Another scout yelled.
"Archers, shoot anything that moves!" Hawk shouted.
"Wait a minute!" Aurelia spoke up. "That might be the Elves! I lent them Agar's dragons!"
"When we find out who they are, the entire castle could have been in flame!"
"Well, I don't want to see my brothers and sisters killed by friendly fire!"
Whoosh!! A green dragon swept low over them. Sitting on it was a figure Hawk recalled well. He was Farn, Aurelia's not-too-friendly brother. He remembered how that particular Elf had caused problem for the party in Elom.
"You fight the war yourselves?!" Farn cried from the dragon. "I thought we're allies!!"
"You're definitely welcomed to join the fun!" Hawk cried back.
A horde of dragons flew past them and hovered in the air as their Elven occupants began firing volleys of arrows toward the advancing zombies. A large group of Dwarven warriors appeared from the east and charged at the undead ranks.
"Hawk, take a detachment of swordsmen and pikemen. Assist them, but keep the gate open wide. I don't want to lose you there." Roberto ordered. "Aurelia, Holgreb, you're free to join the fight."
"Got it!" They replied.
As the rest of the party joined the battle, Roberto stood silently on top of the fortification. Before him, three races of the realm fought together, side by side. "We're saved... for now..."
"What?!" Anna was surprised.
"Old Calem want to enlist my help?" Gareth asked, then stared into Atrus' eyes. "You know the consequences, right?" He asked slowly.
"Yes." Atrus replied.
"There will be no turning back..."
"Please, Gareth, I know!" Atrus said quickly.
"Atrus, what is this all about?" Anna asked him.
"Anna, I..." He was in total lost of words. "I... I can't..."
"You can't... what?"
"I... I can't say it..."
Tears were formed in her eyes. "Atrus... is there something you're hiding from me...?"
Atrus couldn't look at her in the eye. The hurt in his heart was too severe. He had found her, and he had to let her go again. The time had come. He had fulfilled his task. Now Anna and the Lich would escape the Void, and he had to stay in there, probably forever.
"Atrus, you're hiding something from me..." Anna sobbed. "Why can't you tell me?"
"Because... I can't..." he said slowly, "I... I can't..."
"Atrus, you know I praise you so much... Please tell me..."
"I can't, Anna..." He brushed the tears on her cheeks. "I'm tired of hurting your feeling..."
"I've been hurt all my life..." she insisted, "I will endure it..."
"You've endured something you don't deserve..." he kissed her softly. "I don't want to hurt you anymore..."
Both of them were lost in each other's embrace. He couldn't say it. He couldn't see her face when they had to part once again. Such sight would haunt him forever. Such memory would be an undesirable parting gift for his lifetime stay in his new home. Indeed, it's a love that will never come true... It's not my destiny to be with her...
"Enough of this do-gooders' attitude!" The Lich snarled. "I'm sending you both back!"
"What..?" Atrus quickly said. "You can't... The alliance must be forged!"
"And it will be forged." The Lich said. "You've opened my eyes. I've seen what I've done. You've indeed saved me from my darkest world." He bowed his head. "I have you all to thank for."
"But you must come with us!"
"That's not what Calem said." Gareth smiled. "That smart old man, he wants you to convince me to use the two remaining gates to send you back, therefor trapping me here with the only exit gate in his hand. A very effective, yet well deserved prison for me.
"What are you talking about?" Anna asked.
Gareth ignored her. "You've done your task here, Ranger. I'm a servant of the Dark, yet you've shown me the true Light. However, the curse remains forever, and there's nothing you can do to save me. Now you're more useful elsewhere but here. Void is not a place for the Prophet of the Guardian."
was split into 12 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|