Onyx Dreams Ch. 27bykitazkitten©
~Kennice, we're here.~
She didn't want to wake up. But the warm voice in her head wouldn't let her rest. Eyes slowly opened, still cloudy with sleep as she tried to obey the request. A moment of panic that was quickly replaced by recognition. A wave of grief ran through her and she choked on a sob.
~Sh, sh. It will be all right. We are landing now. The other riders will help you get settled in. I must meet with Nightseer and my other council members so that we can figure out what to do about today's unfortunate events.~
Dazed she nodded her head. Whatever he said. Right now the pain at the loss of her parents and life as she knew it was beginning to overwhelm her.
Hayden easily landed and swung his wing out of the way so that she could dismount.
From the doorways around her came a few other, older looking riders. "Come fellow rider, let us show you where you will be staying while you are here."
They gently helped her down from Hayden's back, making sure she didn't fall and quietly led her through the archway in to an impressive looking hallway, the corridors seeming like a maze as they arrived at an ornate looking residential suite. "These are the quarters for the King's rider, I hope they please you ma'am."
The riders bowed low for a moment before standing once more. "If you need anything at all, your highness, then we will be at your command."
"But, wait. I do not understand." She looked at the riders. Nothing was making sense. Heat and then cold rushed over her body and she swooned.
Immediately they rushed forth to catch her, quickly carrying her to the bed as they checked her, making sure she was all right. The most experienced of them slipped into a meditative trance, communicating with the dragons while quietly chanting the words of the healing ritual.
The soothing sounds of their chant relaxed her immediately and she felt herself drifting off to sleep again where she was safe and loved.
~Thank you all for your assistance~ Hayden broadcasted to all dragons and riders. ~Now that my rider sleeps, we must make plans.~
They nodded softly, finishing out the ritual and ensuring that she would not be disturbed before silently leaving. The door slid closed with a soft click, the only sound being the clunk of their boots on the wooden boards of the hallway.
* * * The riders and their dragon counterparts made their way to the huge open cavern where important meetings were conducted. Hayden looked at the remaining loyal ones and was happy to see that most had made it. They had lost five to the Dark Riders, three trainees and two older pairs and his heart grieved for his friends. But he would have to put that aside. Kaie and her troops had made clear where they stood and now was a time for action not regrets.
Zathera settled on her perch among the other Council members, looking around at the dragons that had been assembled. long had it been since an issue so important had arisen that called for all dragons to be present. "It is a joyous thing to see so many dragons gathered together once more...but a sadness for the gathering to be because of this."
"Cannot believe old iron pants actually cares," muttered Jayred to his emerald neighbor Tiyred who immediately shushed him.
Hayden felt Nightseer's presence and turned to the right as the recovering foreseer made his way carefully onto the meeting grounds. Waiting until all had settled he raised his wings, a sign for silence. "My people, it is with a heavy heart that I call this gathering. Kaie has been amassing followers for the last twenty years and now with her theft of Brenna's rider, she has made her move. Our battle last night came at a cost and for the moment we are unsure if that cost will be greater."
Zathera turned her head, close to Jayred and whispered as she watched Hayden, still listening with her almost full attention. "What do you mean, 'actually cares'?"
"Oh, lookey, even her hearing seems to be improving in her old age." Jayred attempted to look innocent while whispering, not wanting Hayden to fuss at him.
She turned her head to face the younger dragon and glared at him, rage in her eyes. "Just because you are part of the council does not mean I will not slay you where you stand for your insolence Jayred. Mind your tongue while the King speaks."
Hayden sighed. Those two. Always bickering. Both meant well but Jayred's youthful impertinence combined with Zathera's age and irritableness caused problems. "Silence! We must plan our next course of action. Jayred, Zathera, what was the response from our allies?"
Zathera fell quiet and cleared her throat, bowing her head to her king. "My apologies my king. The unicorns are reluctant to give aide my liege, they no longer associate with the human world and will only take action if the Dark One were to breach our realm."
This did not surprise him. Over the last few centuries the remaining unicorn nations had been withdrawing from around them. "If they wait that long it will be too late. Jayred? What of the griffins?"
Jayred straightened his neck as he was addressed, clearing his throat to be heard. "They share a similar stance as the unicorns. however they have pledged allegiance if the attacks erupt in to all out war. To them this appears to be an isolated incident. they wish to hear more evidence to support bringing their people in to a war that so far does not concern them."
"This is better news. Thank you both. " He turned to Nightseer. "You have news for us Elder?"
"Indeed I do my lord, the new seer is coming along well. She is very capable and has made her first prediction of many to come. Her emerald origins have made her powerful indeed, it is likely she will become more powerful than myself when she comes of age." A rumble of surprise and several whispers followed his words. "I believe that her prediction is of great importance to this meeting."
"Please proceed." Hayden settled back on his haunches and gave his full attention to Nightseer.
Nightseer closed his eyes for a moment as he called up the memory from earlier, his wings spreading out a little as he concentrated. "The Dark One...he has learned something dangerous, very dangerous. He has learned of a way to enter our realm, to come straight in to wherever he wishes. He has targeted the high priestess, hoping to draw us out to facilitate his plans."
Hisses and snarls greeted the news of the vision.
"My rider? Or is the high priestess in the vision Erykia?"
"It is the old one. He has sent dragons to every village with the intent to destroy them if necessary to bring her out."
"She is our ally as well. So it is a trap then? Is there no way to circumvent him?"
"If she does not come then he will destroy the five villages used in the fertility rituals. If they are lost then the land will become barren and dead. We cannot avoid this, he is watching personally."
Hayden growled something nasty in unicorn before shaking his head. "Very well. We will have to work on minimizing our causalities. I'll take volunteers for this mission. We have to get to high priestess Erykia. And we have to get any remaining dragon-rider pairs to safety here."
"My Lord, I sense there is something more to this than meets the eyes. We have the new high priestess here and we know the current one has a treacherous streak in her. Perhaps we should see how this plays out?"
"I will put it to a vote. All in favor of waiting say aye."
There were many calls of aye around the halls, most of the elder dragons agreeing to this plan. They had endured Erykia before and she was not pleasant to deal with. they were curious to see what would happen to the old priestess.
"Those opposed?" Hayden was keeping count. Some he knew would be neutral but most would have a stance one way or the other.
There were fewer calls, mostly younger ones, however some of them were reluctant to go against their mentors and stayed silent.
"The ayes have it. We shall wait. For now each much prepare. Riders, it is your duty to begin making the armor you and your partners must use in battle. For the young ones you will begin training in battle tactics with the elders. I refuse to lose more if it can be avoided. We must find another way to end this without huge losses of life."
As the crowd began to disperse, Nightseer raised a claw at Hayden, signaling for him to follow the seer back to the caverns of prophecy where he normally resided.
Hayden followed after his oldest friend and advisor. He had a feeling there was more to come.
As Nightseer entered the Caverns, the air seemed heavier, the weight of concentrated magic bearing down on those who entered. "There is something you should know my lord, it concerns your mate Brenna..."
"She is not my mate yet until her father has given permission. But as her king....Where is she? I noticed she was not among the gathered. I did not wish to cause a commotion."
Nightseer opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by a much smaller female dragon. The female's emerald scales glinted in the light as she flew with surprising speed around her mentor and her king, speaking extremely fast. "My king, she is currently in her lair resting, her thoughts are clouded by her worry over her former rider. I am afraid she will be much worse in the close future due to what is about to transpire."
"Will I lose her?" The very thought made him sick. He had waited for Brenna almost as long as he had been waiting for his rider. To lose either of them would break his heart and soul.
The small emerald dragon flitted back and forth again, looking in books and scrolls. "That is unknown, but not for at least 700 years. She is about to betray us in a way; your orders to not go to the village she will disobey. Her rider is going to call for her. It will be a trap. But it must be allowed otherwise the whole of time itself could shatter and we would be in a very bad place then." She flitted across the cavern again, halting in front of Hayden's snout, her little wings flapping madly. "I have seen it myself my lord. It is a key point in his destiny of becoming an OverLord."
Hayden hissed his shock. "An OverLord? No, that cannot be. There should not even be a chance of that! And I've never tried to stop Brenna at least not by force, reason yes, force no."
"It is true my king. Destiny has chosen him to lead the darkness against the light in the greatest war of all time. Many dark and dangerous things are on the horizon. Many legends and prophecies will come to pass during his time in the human world. For these to pass...Brenna must sacrifice her happiness for now. She will be deeply depressed for many months and her link will come close to breaking, but you must support her, for if her link breaks then all is lost. She is the only hope for the dark one." The horns of the small emerald dragon glowed brightly as she spoke the last, another prophecy predicted from her.
Nightseer felt a smile grace his aged features; it was always exciting watching a new prophet receive visions.
Hayden bowed to the two seers. "You are wise beyond your years young one. I will heed your words, just as I have always heeded Nightseer."
The young dragon flitted about excitedly once more and batted her eyebrows at Hayden and smiled. "Really? Then I think I feel another one coming. I foresee you giving me an extra large bowl of Speed Root...Nightseer seems to have run out."
Nightseer simply rolled his eyes at his young apprentice, she had the unfortunate habit of many of her predecessors. their abilities brought them visions with so much detail that a normal mind would be slow to comprehend, so they turned to Speed Root. it quickened the mind and body and even extended life span. The only problem was the hyper speaking that accompanied its use, making it difficult for others to understand their speech.
"I think, little one that you have had enough for the moment. I will take my leave of you both. I have much to ponder."
Nightseer nodded and bowed, his protégé following suit and almost fell out of the air as she bowed and forgot to keep flapping her wings, "Whoops!"
"Good luck, Nightseer," he chuckled before making his way back out of the cave.
Nightseer turned to his apprentice and raised an eyebrow. "Something troubles you Kayleen. I can sense it."
She sighed and nodded, wringing her claws as she hovered in front of her mentor, "Indeed Nightseer it does, why could we not tell him of his rider's destiny? Of the challenges and dangers she must face? Of the coming of the true dark one?"
He lifted a claw so she could perch upon it and rest her wings, "It is the most important lesson all seers must learn. You cannot let one person know his or her own destiny. To do so would destroy them with paranoia about how to avoid such a fate. We must trust in their judgment and believe their heart will guide them true."
She nodded slowly and folded her wings behind her back, "I understand wise one, I am just worried that she will not succeed in what lies before her...her heart is clouded and such events are not meant for one with such a veil over their hearts."
"We can only hope my dear apprentice that his rider can find her way clear of the veil over her heart for once that veil is lifted she will be powerful."
* * *
The village elders looked at Erykia and Rhys. They had already spoken with Anthony and Elizabeth who had been taken to a home to bathe and rest. Solemnly they looked at the High Priestess and then at Rhys. "Is it true that he brought this calamity on us?"
"It appears that is the truth of the matter Elders. his offense has triggered the vengeance of the spirits of the earth. He has been punished appropriately. We are working towards a solution to once again brining balance to the spirits."
The twelve members of the council began talking quietly amongst themselves. Finally they grew silent. "What must we do to help bring balance?"
"The spirits must be appeased once again. The most effective way to do this would be to find the one who attacked the monastery and violated the sacred grounds and sacrifice him to them." Her face was stony cold, nothing but utter seriousness was radiating from him.
"You can't be serious! I didn't do anything wrong! Yes, I may have looked at Kennice but what man doesn't look at his intended?" Rhys was getting angry. How dare Erykia turn on him!
The retaliation from Erykia was immediate and vicious. She struck him across the face hard enough to knock him back a step. "Don't be a complete fool Rhys, you incompetent idiot! Did you attack the monastery? No, Cyrus did. Use your head for once."
He flushed, realizing that he hadn't listened to her statement. Face still stinging, he grated out a "sorry high priestess," before looking at the floor and dreaming up ways that he could use to speed up Erykia's demise.
Erykia repeated her statement to the Elders. "Once again, before my subordinate so rudely interrupted, we must find this Cyrus and give his life to the spirits of the earth, they will not be placated any other way."
A wizened woman raised her hand. "I have heard that he is very powerful. How do you propose that we give him to the spirits if he is as strong as the rumors suggest?"
"I am more powerful Elder. I shall lure him out by capturing one of his members. I have a spy within their ranks. I will use that spy to entrap him."
"We shall do as you instruct, high priestess." The leader spoke again, this time though his tone was soft. "Has your replacement survived this lunacy?"
"It appears she has survived indeed. she is currently missing, however I am sure she is safe, I would know if she was not."
"Then we are agreed. The desecrator shall be lured here and then sacrificed."
"Thank you Elders, I will see to the arrangements immediately, hopefully nothing will cause a disruption before then."
Erykia bowed to the Elders and turning on her heel, headed back out the way she had come. She didn't wait for Rhys. She was confident that he had been properly chastised and would follow.
Rhys shadowed her in almost silence, muttering under his breath as he fell in step behind her. "If I find him first there won't be enough of him left to give to the spirits."
~No one respects you, do they High Priest?~ a sensual female voice echoed through Rhys's mind.
He paused mid-step, his eyes widening as he listened to this new voice. was it another trick by Erykia? ~Who speaks to me?~
~Someone who actually appreciates your thoughts and plans. Someone who also believes that the High Priestess has outlived her usefulness.~
~And who might that someone be? I prefer to know whom I'm dealing with before I say anything about what I believe...~
~I am Nylene and I am a dragon.~
His breath caught in his throat, his eyes widening more in shock. Could it be? Finally, a dragon had contacted him. he was to be a rider! ~Greetings Nylene, I am Rhys. It's an honor to meet you."
~I have been waiting for a time for a male who likes to win as much as I do. I cannot talk for much longer but I would like to meet you.~
~Just tell me when and where. I will be there waiting for you.~
~I will come to you tonight at the far end of the village closest to the river. Come alone. I fear that the others would try to stop you and I from being together if they come with you.~
~Agreed, I shall be there my Lady. I look forward to it.~
A soft chuckle and then silence followed. An irritated cough intruded on his thoughts.
Rhys blinked and looked up at the source of the cough, seeing Erykia's annoyed face before him. "Yes, High Priestess?"
"Hurry up boy. We have to get the things ready for the ceremony. Cyrus is on his way here. The very ground breathes the news of his approach. We must be ready. I also need you for the ceremony to contact the king of the dragons. We need him to return Kennice to us."
He smiled his usual unreadable smile, although his eyes twinkled with something more. "Of course High Priestess. I shall make it my top priority..."
"You have two hours to meditate and prepare. We must begin as the sun is setting."
He bowed low before speaking, "Of course High Priestess, I will begin immediately." Quietly he turned away and headed away from Erykia, feigning a search for a place to meditate.
Anthony stepped up to Erykia. "He's going to be a problem. He should have never been trained to become High Priest."
Erykia nodded. She too was regretting the decision but at the time he was the only one. "No matter, we will make do and hope it will be enough."
Anthony sighed, bowed and went in search of his own area to meditate and prepare for the ceremonies.
* * *
Katherine and Julian glided through the air. They had been searching over an hour and still nothing. She was beginning to worry. If they didn't find Cyrus a royal dragon he would be impossible to deal with.
~Let us switch directions~ Julian suggested as he started moving in a southeasterly direction.
~Switching directions isn't going to help. Cyrus wants us to find the High Priestess and that is what we must do.~ She paused. ~Is anyone following us?~
Casting out with his mind for a moment, he confirmed no eavesdroppers were close. ~There is no one near us at the moment. I do not know how long that will be so however.~
~Take us to the ground then. Quickly.~ Katherine had little time and the game she was playing was a dangerous one indeed.
He immediately began his descent, heading for a semi-covered clearing, the long tree branches hiding his scales in the darkening light. Silently he lowered his wings to allow her to slide off him.
Katherine nimbly dismounted and headed for the cleanest part of the ground where no vegetation grew. She dropped to her knees. She had one more talent that Cyrus knew nothing about. It was handy for communicating to. She placed both palms on the dirt and closed her eyes. She felt the currents move and she merged her consciousness with it. She felt the expansion and then contact. ~~Mistress, are you there? I am fully entrenched in Cyrus's group but things are not going exactly as planned. Where do you wish for him to be led now that the first place has been destroyed?~~