Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Five
It was a hideous green creature. It was lizard-like,
but it stood on its hind legs. Its scales were slimy and several long yellow
fangs protruded from its mouth. It held its overlarge sword with both hands
and swung it around fiercely.
I lunged at it with my own blade that looked
like a toothpick compared to the lizard's. He blocked my attack in a slow and
sluggish manner. I instantly knew that he couldn't move that large sword easily
because of the weight. I would have to play for speed, not strength.
I then went through the most complicated sword
patterns I knew. I jabbed left, right, blocked, parried, spun, lunged, slashed:
everything I could think of. But the lizard didn't tire. He just stood in one
spot and deflected my attacks.
I was getting tired, and unless I came up with
a new plan I would lose. I swung my blade in an arc and managed to pierce the
side of the lizard, but it had little affect.
"Wait, these guys are magic, right?" I said to
myself. "And I'm here to be tested in magic and not sword tactics, right? So
maybe stabbing him isn't the answer."
I sheathed my sword.
"Arla hiyea!" I cried, releasing a ball of magic
from my palm that hit the lizard square in the chest. He tried to move his sword,
but couldn't. I had immobilized him. Permanently.
"Perfect non-violent answer," I said as I walked
up towards the castle, leaving the lizard attached to the ground behind me.
* * *
"Are we there yet?" asked Dykred.
"No, a bit farther!" shouted James through the
blizzard. They were nearing Terror Mountain now and the snow and wind was
making it almost impossible to see.
"I'm frozen to my Uni," grumbled Dykred.
"I've been here before!" yelled James. "There's
a nice cave up ahead that we can rest in until the storm quits!"
James eventually found the cave he spoke of before.
It was large enough to hold everyone and became warm once the fire got going.
It extended far back, and James said he'd never traveled to the end of it, but
it was safe near the entrance. But, still they had watchers that worked in shifts.
Pudding had just finished her shift, which was
at midnight. She stumbled over to Jacob, the red Zafara that she was supposed
to wake for the next shift. She shook him lightly on the shoulder and he awoke,
grumbling. Jacob went over and sat on a rock, half asleep. Pudding was about
to crawl back into her own sleeping bag when she heard it.
"Follow me... follow me..."
"Follow you where?" said Pudding.
"I didn't say anything," said Jacob. "Go to sleep."
Pudding lay down in her sleeping bag, but no
matter how hard she tried she couldn't fall asleep.
"Come to me..."
"Where are you?" said Pudding.
"I'm over here!" said Jacob.
Pudding stood up.
"You mean you didn't hear it?" she asked.
"Oh, never mind."
It was coming from the back of the cave.
"Hey! Where are you going?" whispered Jacob.
"Exploring," said Pudding, who was really starting
to get annoyed. She turned around to face him. "If I'm not back in three hours,
wake the others and come find me."
"Yeah, okay," he said. "And are your eyes always
this electric blue or is it just because it's dark?"
"Family inheritance, long story," grumbled Pudding
as she wandered off into the darkness.
* * *
The castle was dark, magically lit by only a
few glowing torches. It smelled musty, and cobwebs were in just about every
place imaginable. Books and other things lay scattered across the floor.
After traveling through the castle for an hour,
I'd already had enough of it. I'd ran into three overlarge, mutated Meepits,
which I was forced to destroy. I left a couple of two headed, slimy Draik Guards
only one centimeter high, and I cursed numerous mutant Barbats so that their
wings were made of paper.
After walking through several dirty, musty rooms,
I found a staircase. I climbed up it to find myself only one floor farther up
then I was before.
I turned a corner to find myself facing a mutated,
two headed Grarrl. It charged toward me. I panicked. That thing was nearly twice
the size of me. I raised my sword in defense, but then I remembered that I wasn't
supposed to use swords in here. So instead, I called up one of my favorite spells
to use on big, ugly, mutants. With a flash of light, the Grarrl became a baby.
I climbed up another staircase; this one only
went up another floor, too. I turned a corner and this time, ran into two mutant,
two headed Grarrls. I tried to turn both of them into babies. The spell hurled
towards them, but when it hit them, it deflected off of them and hurtled back
at me. I ducked, and my spell crashed into the wall behind me. Apparently I
couldn't use the same spell twice.
One of them hurled a spell at me. I dodged and
hit them with a sleep enchantment.
"'Night,'" I said as I walked passed them.
I climbed numerous staircases, cast who knows
how many different spells on mutated Grarrls, and got lost at least ten times
before I reached the final staircase.
As I reached the top of the stairs, I saw it.
The Keystone was colored a light green. It lay on a stone table in the center
of the room. I was about to run to it when the biggest, mutated, ugly, creature
in the castle reared its ugly head. It appeared out of thin air. It was a mutated
Skeith, with two pairs of wings and on overlarge head. It's skin was a foul
looking green. Two large yellow fangs protruded from its mouth.
It lunged at me. I jumped to the side, and the
thing crashed into the wall. I shot a shrink spell at it, but it blocked it
and took to the sky. Two sets of wings were strong enough to lift it. It dive
bombed at me. I jumped out of the way again. I sent a spell at it that would
slow it down. It hit the thing before it had time to react. It tried to lunge
at me, but it was a considerable amount slower and I easily sidestepped.
The thing shot a spell at me. I didn't expect
it and got hit head on. I tried to move, but it was hard to move my legs. I
had been hit with a Slow Spell.
After several deflected spells, I managed to
hit it with a shrink spell. It shrank to the size of about half of Pudding.
I drew out my sword. I couldn't destroy anything with enchantment magic, so
I had to eventually use my sword. I swung my blade in a downward arc towards
the creature's neck. Apparently, I was allowed to use it now, as the creature
fell to the ground. I grabbed the Keystone off the table. I put in my pocket
before running from the room.
* * *
"Well done!" said Tal as I came out of Faydor
"I hate mutants," I said and pulled the Keystone
out of my pocket and handed it to him. He wrapped it up in a cloth and put it
in his pack. "Don't take it out," he said. "We don't want anyone to see that
we have it."
I climbed on to Raindash's back. "So where are
we going now?"
He climbed on to Shadowlance. "Let's just get
away from here first; we'll talk about it then. The spell placed on this place
should be resetting everything you cursed for the next person who wants to get
"But if the next person gets through before we're
done with our quest, they're not going to find the Keystone."
"The spell also keeps people from entering until
the Keystone is returned."
"I'm going to sleep for a bit," I said.
When I awoke, it was early evening.
"Good, you're awake," said Tal. "We need to find
a good place to set up camp."
I looked around. Nothing but plains for miles.
There was a forest ahead of us, but it'll be dark by the time we got there.
I looked to the west. There were no trees, but there was a dark lump lying on
"Hey, what's that?" I said to Tal, and pointed.
Tal reached into his pack and pulled out a pair on binoculars.
"It's a Zafara!" he said. "And by the looks of
it, he's injured!"
We rode over to the Zafara. He looked as if something
had attacked him. His fire painted fur was matted and dirty.
Tal jumped down from Shadowlance's back. He went
over and shook the Zafara's shoulder. He then checked for a pulse.
"He's alive and breathing," said Tal. "He's just
unconscious. We'll have to take him with us."
I jumped down and helped Tal lift the Zafara
on to Raindash. I then climbed up into the saddle. Tal mounted Shadowlance.
"Let's get as close to that forest up there as we can get, then we'll stop and
make camp and take a look at this guy."
We rode at breakneck speed until the Uni's were
too tired to go on. We stopped for the night near the forest Tal had been aiming
for. I built the fire and started dinner while Tal took care of the Zafara.
He put the Zafara on some of our sleeping blankets and took out cloth bandages
and some sort of liquid to stop the bleeding.
"He'll live," said Tal who came over to me once
he'd finished with the Zafara. "He didn't have too many wounds. The thing that's
weird about him is that he had too much blood for the wounds that he had."
I shrugged and filled Tal's bowl with stew. I
passed him the bowl of stew which he tore into immediately.
"So, what are we going to do next?" I asked him
as I poured myself my own bowl of stew.
"You're going to learn Druidic magic next," said
Tal between mouthfuls of stew.
"Uhh, Druidic magic?"
"The ability to harness the forces of nature.
It also will make Elemental magic easier when we get to that point. It's mostly
practiced by Druids, sorcerers that are about the biggest nature lovers there
"Druids? What Druids?" said a voice behind Tal.
The fire Zafara was awake.
"You okay?" asked Tal.
"Who are you?" he grumbled. "And, where am I?"
"We're in the eastern plains of Meridell," said
Tal. "But I'm not telling you our names till you tell us yours."
"I'm Mark Jogan," said the Zafara.
"How did you end up nearly dead on the plains?"
"Attacked by a pack of Shadow Gelerts."
"Okay, I'm Tal, this is Mackenzie, Raindash is
the Rainbow Uni and Shadowlance is the Shadow Uni. Take a rest for a while,
I bandaged your wounds. Mackenzie, help me clean dinner things up, there's a
stream nearby where we can wash our bowls and whatever else we need cleaned."
Tal grabbed the dinner supplies while I grabbed the bag that held all our clothes
"I don't trust him," said Tal once we were away
from camp. "He looks and sounds somewhat familiar, and I've made more enemies
then friends in my lifetime. I tried to probe his conscience with magic, to
see if he was lying, but he blocked me out. It takes serious skill to do that,
and I noticed while I was cleaning the blood off his fur that he didn't have
any open wounds."
"We can't just kick him out onto the plains alone,"
I said. "What if he is telling the truth? And if he is so bad why did you give
him our names?"
"Torono, Yoco, Celestra, Jak and just about every
other evil dictator in the area knows our names and descriptions. We might as
well just give him our names. Anyway, we're all skilled in combat and Shadowlance
can do powerful magic. He just doesn't like use it often. If he wants to attack
us, we can overpower him," said Tal. "But I still think we should just leave
"He can stay with us till his injuries heal,"
I said. "Then we can leave him in some town that we pass through. And as you
said, his injuries weren't that bad."
"Alright, I'll agree to that," said Tal.
"Now about this mind hacking thingy, how exactly
do you do it?" I said.
"First of all, it's not called 'This Mind Hacking
Thingy.' Second of all you're nowhere near powerful enough to do it," snapped
"Well can you just tell me how it works?"
"Well, it can't hurt to do that as long as I
don't tell you the exact words needed to do it. Very well, it's something like
mind reading. In order to begin the spell, you have to concentrate on the magic
words in your head. Once you have the spell started, you need to concentrate
on the person who's mind you want to see. You have to be near that person to
do it. Then, if that person doesn't have any defenses blocking his mind, you'll
get through and memories and thoughts of that person will flash through your
head. Some people even have the power to change memories. But you should never
breach the walls into someone's mind unless you have to. A person's mind is
their last sanctuary."
"Can you tell if someone's attacking your mind?"
"Yep. You start having a killer headache. It
goes away suddenly once the person withdraws from your mind."
"How do you block a person from entering your
"There's two ways to do that," Tal said. "One
of them completely blocks anyone from entering, but it takes years of practice
in order to do it correctly, and it can be broken through. Another way can be
done when a person is already in your mind. All you need to do is think of one
thing such as grass, over and over and over. By doing that, all your other knowledge
and memory will be shut off from prying eyes."
* * *
Narn was falling. The sound of swords clashing
against swords and catapults firing was everywhere. Torono's army was too strong.
Narn was at its last defense now. If they fell here, they kingdom was dead.
Their men were falling, one by one.
Yoco slashed his saber wildly, picking off anyone
who was brave enough to come close. His battle Uni was trampling anyone who
lay in their path. There was now only a small patch of Narn soldiers, all huddled
together in a little circle, ready to fight. Yoco rode towards them, when out
of nowhere, came an arrow. It met its target.
Yoco fell from his Uni.
To be continued...