Copyright 2011 Mj Grothoff All Rights Reserved
The sun’s morning light began to rise above BataRaul with its dew glistening in the sunlight. Prince Mahtri stood in the council courtyard overlooking the great forest knowing what lie ahead for it and his people. He arrived before the sun entered the sky, for sleep was not an option; his clan’s survival was the only importance.
He turned walking into the council hall where his father sat at the table still reworking the maps strewn in front of him. The King was measuring and planning every move and attack over and over again. The sad look lay on all faces now in BataRaul since word had reached the entire clan of an eventual war with their friends from the south.
Prince Mahtri stood next to his chair at the table.
“Father, I should stay. Someone needs to watch Flued and make sure he is not relaying the wrong information back to his clan,” he said.
The King put the map down and said, “Son, I understand your concern but I need you to be our eyes and ears in EverWing. I need you to gather information about them and their positions within the EverWing forest. We need to know where to expect a raid if one is to come after the war with DasaRaul.”
“Who is to watch the thief that sits among us? Datta is leading the charge in the eastern fields and watching Gavee! Who is to watch Flued?” questioned Mahtri.
“I will watch Flued. Lord Tara¨onquel will watch Flued. The council will watch Flued,” said the King picking up the map again. “You need to go to EverWing. You need to be the guardian in the nest of snakes.”
The Prince stared at his father knowing there was no point in arguing his case. He had never seen his father speak in that matter to him and felt angering him would only do them harm.
“Yes sir, I will leave right away,” he answered.
He turned to leave but was stopped with his father’s hand grabbing his arm. The King stood and walked the Prince to the courtyard where the guards snapped to attention and the King dismissed the guards requesting privacy with his son.
“Mahtri, your travels to EverWing will be a test beyond anything you have experienced. It will bring much danger and sacrifice, but you will have something to protect you from these things,” said the King reaching into his robe pocket.
Slowly he pulled his hand from the opening and a bright blue hue hung around his fist. He opened his palm revealing a magnificent blue gem. Prince Mahtri’s eyes widened with amazement at such a beautiful stone. The King held it out and gazed into its beauty and magnificence as a smile came across his face.
“This is the stone of Mazerth, from the Region of Jatta, out of the mighty cave of Maze. It was forged by dwarves, enslaved by the wizard Mazerth before our ancestors moved from Masu¨ra. This wizard placed magic within the stone foretelling a future for the one holding it. Be wise though for it does not always tell the truth. It will also play a riddle with your thoughts so be cautious on how you use this stone.”
The Prince ripped away his stare and looked at his father who was still staring deep within it.
“Why have you never spoken of this gem before?” he questioned.
The King retracted his stare and looked to his son.
“The stone is spoken only at a time when it will be passed to another and today is this day. You are the new possessor of this great power. Wield it well. Keep it safe,” he answered.
“How do you know when it falsifies the truth?” asked the Prince still cautious with taking such a gift.
“The King smiled saying, “The stone is powerful and it learns its keeper’s strengths and weaknesses. When requesting to see the future you must concentrate and demand the stone, do not let it demand you.”
The King grabbed the Prince’s hand and dropped the gem into his palm. It was cold to the touch and yet it began to warm as Mahtri stared into it. He could see the blue ocean of waves emanating its light from within as images started to become clearer. The vision of Mohes battling several Darq guards came into view than it slowly faded.
Prince Mahtri looked up and said, “How do you see more?”
The King stepped to the courtyard wall looking outward and leaving Mahtri with the gem standing upright in his outstretched hand.
“The stone will only tell you what you request and nothing more. You will have to learn how to ask questions to fully get the answers you are looking for,” he said.
The Prince closed his hand placing the stone in a small pocket within his cloak.
“I shall go then father and do my best for you and for BataRaul,” he said.
“I know you will my son. May your travels be safe,” the King said as he held back his tears.
Prince Mahtri took flight, heading back to his loft looking over the forest and wondered if this would be his last vision of home. He memorized every tree, flower and Masu¨ra that busied about promising he would make the difference and stop EverWing.
He arrived at his loft and rushed through gathering things needed for his journey. He slid the moonblades that were a gift from his father many years ago into their sheaths listening as they made the silent swoosh and final lock. He looked around the room remembering the battle for his life taking place many nights ago and recalling the words of a friend who saved his life. He shook his head and left without looking back, flying to the BataRõhn loft where he picked up several guards and Mohes, Lahd of the BataRõhn.
“Mohes, we need to leave right away for EverWing. I am now a member of their council,” Prince Mahtri said with a sarcastic smile.
Mohes looked at the Prince with an odd smile and said, “How many others will go with us? The journey south will be a dangerous one and assistance will be helpful.”
“Bring five guards. This should be plenty to get us there and to ensure protection,” said the Prince. “When we arrive start to learn the way of EverWing so when the time comes we can use it against them. Our goal is to be BataRaul’s eyes and ears learning about our true enemy for once we enter the snake’s den we will have to fight our way out.”
Mohes agreed and seemed to be more excited with thoughts on traveling to EverWing where they were guaranteed some type of battle. The word was out; Dasa had placed guards along the Lack’s water edge with many patrols going deep across the Lack. He had not seen times like this since the struggle with Manwé in which he led the battle ending the skirmish.
They left their homes heading to EverWing aware of what was to come as they flew high out over Lheter Lack. The Darq presence over the Lack would be heavy and avoiding them would be difficult but it was a cloudy day which would allow them to stay hidden, bouncing from cloud to cloud.
The flight to EverWing would not take them long to complete, except on this trip it would take most of the day as they maneuvered amongst the clouds. They forced their flight deep over the Lack hoping their journey would be in secrecy and avoid any fight.
“I want one guard sent forward and one to stay back so we can prevent a surprise attack from either direction,” said the Prince.
“Right away sir,” said Mohes signaling for positions.
The guards flew into formation disappearing into the clouds as the group moved across the Lack. Moving from cloud to cloud became tedious after a while with the same routine being followed. They would reach a clouds’ edge with the front guard moving across the opening, signaling back to the rest allowing everyone to move forward with their eyes fixed for trouble.
Prince Mahtri looked to the left guard instructing him to swing out away from the clouds’ protection and get a reading on their location. The guard edged his way out then looked back at the Prince indicating things were all well when the sky turned on them with the sudden swoosh of arrows pelting the clouds.
The outside guard held a surprised look of fear on his face grasping at the arrow lodged in his chest, then his wings folded and his limp body fell from the sky. The Prince watched in horror as the Masu¨ra hit the water with a thunder clap and disappeared below. Mohes whistled ahead to the front guard with the alert and the patrol released the use of the clouds as cover since they had been found. As a group diving headlong downward to gain momentum and picking up speed, they blasted from the large cloud with swords drawn.
The Prince watched another of his guard drop from the sky as he, too, fell into the water below, disappearing into the darkness. He looked up to see the Darq guards hovering and waiting for his group to appear, ready for the fight. Mohes looked back to the Prince with anger and dove into the battle with sword already in a swing.
Prince Mahtri released a growl and charged into the battle, striking the first sword he met with great vengeance. The guard dropped his weapon from the hit, surprised at the power the Prince had wielded, but immediately dove after it hoping to catch his sword before it plunged into the Lack. The Prince followed, leaving the flying melee behind and wanting to finish his enemy.
The guard, with wings back, reached the sword faster than the Prince expected swooping down to the water’s edge and coming back up to meet the challenge. Prince Mahtri charged forward with sword extended and met the guard with full force throwing both into a free fall. The Prince felt the guard’s talons dig into his leg and an evil came across his enemy as the guard raised his sword cutting Mahtri’s face. The Prince ignored the pain returning the volley as the two Masu¨ras continued their free fall for life.
The clashing metal was drowned out with the yelling and beating of wings as they released each other’s grip and hovered continuing the sword fight. The guard lunged in with Mahtri moving to the side catching his enemy’s wing with his sword. The guard yelled in pain as the blood began to stain the beautiful feathers red with the fight continuing as the guard charged back in with a rally of poetic swings gaining speed. The Prince was equal to the throws and started to push the fight back to the battle, watching it play out behind the guard.
He watched as the odds were shown, with every Bata guard fighting there were two Darq soldiers answering. They were overcome as the Prince again watched two of his guardsmen fall limp into the Lack. He frantically looked around for Mohes, hoping he was still alive and fighting but could not locate his friend. His fight began to increase with the guard twisting and twirling trying to catch an edge on the enemy. The Prince, finely trained in hand to hand swordplay in the air, met every twist made by his enemy and he answered with the sound of blades clanging.
From a distance, Mahtri caught his eye on Mohes who was stuck in a dual with two Darq guards as they began to increase their pace and move in circles. Prince Mahtri watched as Mohes tried to maintain their speed but two were, too many for this Masu¨ra and in a unified force they both slammed their swords into Mohes. The Prince watched his friend drop his sword and fall from the sky with his body tumbling end over end until hitting the water below. He was alone and shock came across his body until the sting of a sword hit him in the gut. His enemy found his way in with the sword. The guard held an evil smile and removed the sword, leaving Mahtri bent in pain.
The Prince let out a scream and with his might began swinging his sword, catching his enemy with surprise, ending the battle as the guard’s head fell. He watched the head drop from the sky looking back to see the Darq guards watching their companion’s head fall into the water. He took advantage of the distance and flew off, for this was the only option, his people needed him to make it to EverWing and dying in this battle would put them in danger. Diving down towards the water, the Prince gained speed trying to put more distance between him and the Darq soldiers. They followed spreading out and searching every angle to catch the BataRaul.
The Prince flapped his wings harder than he had ever done before as blood fell from the wound now dripping from his talons. The pain began to increase with every wing flap and he could feel his body starting to become numb. He could see faint figures ahead and knew he was close to EverWing since the Darq were not signaling for help. He kept his eyes on the figures as they came clearer into focus recognizing the EverWing symbol on the guards’ shields. The Darq, too, recognized the shields and stopped the chase leaving the Prince and heading back to Dasa.
He continued his pace until he reached the guards who were now in a fighting stance not knowing what was happening. As he approached he yelled out, “Guards of EverWing I am Prince Mahtri and I am in need of your help.” He slammed into them and fell into the one guard’s arms. “I am here to join your council and unite us against our enemy.” With that everything around him grew dark.
Copyright 2011 Mj Grothoff All Rights Reserved