Pravus was ready for war. He was dressed in his dark battle
attire. Black robes hung off his shoulders and parted to reveal shiny mail made
of a cold metal. He wore a helmet made of the same material as the mail. His horn
protruded from the center of the helmet, and he had placed a sharp metal barb
on the tip. His hooves were clad in iron and also were armed with sharpened points.
A massive battle axe was strapped across his
back. It was an evil weapon that gleamed sinisterly. The double edged blade
had been sharpened to a keen edge that could easily cleave through what ever
lay in its path. The handle was made of a black wood that had been inlaid with
iron to form the evil, cruel syllables Olum gelmek boyuncha agyz beklemek ganat.
These words burned with hate and malevolence.
Pravus admired his reflection in a polished
shield. He looked the part of a warlord off to conquer. He twisted his lips
into a malicious smile. The eye of the storm was sure to be silenced this time.
This task should have been accomplished a while
ago, but now it would be done right. He would overtake the land and the storm
in one fell swoop. This was the way that these things ought to be done.
He still had to make sure his army was prepared.
He turned and left the room his cloak swirling behind him as he did so. When
he stepped onto the balcony that overlooked his main hall, he was pleased. A
mass of black clad creatures looked up at him and fell silent. They all carried
brutal looking weapons and were fully armored.
His recruits were ready, the only thing had
had to do now was summon the other forces he planned to use. The masses in the
hall shivered slightly as their master left the hall ringing with his horrible
Cassie waited as the Crokabek struggled slightly.
It finally realized that there would be no escape now, so it sighed and began
"Pravus is assembling an army to clear the land
of those who oppose him, and to destroy the Eye of the Storm. We are keeping
him informed of the movements of the Storm and the rest of the land. He is planning
to march a dawn tomorrow and he hopes to take over Agrestis once and for all."
Those near enough to hear gasped. Pravus was
almost ready to march, and he knew of their position.
Cassie remained calm and asked, "How many troops
does he have? What kinds of creatures has he employed to die for him?"
"The fallen ones failed him, so he has turned
to flesh and blood for his army. There are others thought that we do not speak
"If you wish to fly free again, you will speak
of them to me." Cassie had felt a slight chill when the Crokabek had spoken
of these 'others.' They had to be horrible indeed if the dark birds would not
speak of them.
"They... they are those who are the embodiment
of darkness. The Dynin, the walking dead. They will not fall until their master
does. They are neither alive nor dead; they merely follow the will of the one
who has bound himself to them."
Cassie pondered this for a while. Pravus had
bound himself to some undead zombies and was planning on taking over the world.
It was not a pleasant thought.
"How many troops, including the Dynin, does
"Nine hundred troops and five hundred Dynin.
Your small army stands no chance."
Cassie paled slightly at the numbers she had
been given. Pravus's army was twice as big as hers. It was disturbing news,
but she remained calm. "Tell Pravus that we will be waiting for him in the plains
that I have been told lie north of here. Tell him what ever you want about our
forces, supplies, you can even tell him that you got this information from the
The Crokabek looked surprised that he was going
to be let free. He nodded at her words, and then leapt into the sky and flew
off to deliver the news. They all watched him go.
"We have to get more troops," Cassie exclaimed
when the bird was out of sight. Its report had shaken her slightly and she wanted
to get moving again. Time was running out.
They marched on the rest of the day; hardly
daring to stop for fear that other spies would be lying in wait for them if
they did. One of the villagers had told her about a town that would support
them. It was supposedly a fair sized one, and it could offer many troops. They
headed towards it as fast as they could manage.
They reached the town shortly before nightfall,
and were greeted with open arms. The townsfolk gladly welcomed them to stay
the night, and offered to take Cassie to their leader so she could discuss her
plans with him.
The leader of the town was a surprisingly young
white Aisha. He looked up surprised when Cassie was led into the room by and
Cassie thanked the Shoyru and then turned back
to the Aisha. "My name is Cassie, but I have also been called Caesius." At this,
the ashia gasped slightly. "I am here to ask for your assistance in the battle
for Agrestis. I intend to drive the darkness from the land. Will you help?"
The Aisha stared blankly at her for a second
and then spoke, "Anything the great Caesius asks for will indeed be given to
her. The town's people of Fancirith will be glade to help."
"Good. Do you have an army?" The question was
blunt and abrupt, but this made no difference to the awed ashia. He nodded and
told her it would hers to command.
Cassie walked out of the town hall feeling slightly
light-headed. She had just acquired an army of seven hundred able bodied creatures
who would fight with her, and all she had had to do was ask.
When Morgan met her outside the inn, she was
starry eyed and breathless. She told him about the addition to their forces
and the willingness of the mayor to cooperate.
"It was almost too easy," she told him, "This
town needs a stronger leader."
In his office, a white ashia was gazing into
a glass mirror. The reflection was not that of a white ashia though, but of
a sinister black Uni. The ashia quivered with fear, but nevertheless, stared
back into the cold, dark eyes.
"She is here milord," he whispered, "She requested
reinforcements just as you said. I have her in the local inn."
"Good work Lintereg. You have done well. I will
send some one to collect her tonight. Her army will surely fail with out her
at its head." The cold voice oozed honeyed compliments, and the weak leader
reveled in them.
"Your wish is my command milord."
The mood inside the inn was festive as the leaders
of the war party celebrated the addition of seven hundred troops. They would
surely have enough to stand a chance against Pravus now.
Morgan stood up with a glass of mild wine and
said, "I propose a toast to our fearless leader who will surely lead us to victory."
A chorus of here here's filled the room and Cassie smiled appreciatively.
"I thank you all for your loyal devotion to
this cause," She said as her vibrant eyes traveled over the room. "I feel privileged
to have such wonderful creatures behind me, and I will try to do my best to
assure that all of you return home safely. This is not something that I can
promise though, and I want all of you, and those you lead, to know what you
are in for. We are up against forces that are not of flesh and blood. We are
fighting against an evil that wants nothing more than to devour the land that
we hold so dear. It will stop at nothing to accomplish this." She paused to
let this thought sink in.
"Pravus, as some of you my have heard, has bound
himself to the Dynin. The bird told me that they will not fall until their master
does. This means that there will be many of you and your followers who won't
return to see your homes again. I would never wish to force this on any one,
so I tell you now that I will not look down on any one who wishes to leave."
This statement was met with silence. Uncomfortable glances were cast around,
and a few shuffled in their seats uncomfortably.
Finally, a battle scarred Lupe stood up from
his seat. "I think all will agree with me when I say, that our loyalty extends
far beyond the fear of death. We would all love to see our homes again, but
what home would be left if Pravus reigned? I for one am behind you until the
Cassie smiled at the group of seasoned warriors
gathered before her. Scarred heads were nodding at her from all sides. She was
deeply glad that she was backed by a band as good and steadfast as these.
The party ended and all the leaders headed back
to their troops. Cassie was tired, but very pleased. She would be ready when
she met Pravus. Nothing could stop her now.
A dark form waited outside the inn and watched
as the light went out in the Zafara's room. It would wait a little longer to
ensure its quarry had fallen soundly asleep, and then it would make its move.
The stars shone on the shadowy figure as it
stole up to the open window. No sounds issued from the room, so the vague shape
slipped in unnoticed. The sliver fur of its prey rustled slightly in the breeze
that accompanied the intruder, but the sleeping Zafara did not wake.
Striking quickly, the trespasser clamped a broad
paw across the mouth and nose of its victim. She awoke with a start as her air
supply was cut off. She was unable to breath let alone call for help.
Her eyes widened in terror and she began to
struggle as the fog of sleep cleared form her brain in a rush of adrenaline.
The assailant laughed softly as the struggles began to weaken. Soon there was
To be continued…