Assassin’s Chronicles: Chapter 21
... 2011 by Lootah Akecheta
Warning! This story contains physical violence, strong language, and bloodshed. It is not intended for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk
Note: While this story will have lascivious moments in it, it is not intended to be an erotic tail. There will be no more of the graphically explicit sex sense as is found in chapter 4 of this story. I’ve chosen to do this because I wish to try and publish this story with a mainstream publishing company for a general audience when I complete it.
A Note for this
Chapter: I appologize for taking so long to get this published for you.
I was stumpped as to where I should take the story from here, but
hopefully I've figured it out now. I hope you enjoy this chapter. Lootah
Disclaimer: This is a story of adult nonsexual content. If you are offended by this type of material then please do not read further. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), then read with parental permissions only. It is strictly intended for mature audiences who enjoy reading material of this content. This is a purely fictional story and any resemblance to any persons is strictly coincidental. It is not my intention in the writing of this material to shed an unsavory light on any person by the use of any names in this material. This material is copyrighted by me and may not be used in part or in whole for group entertainment or education, including class rooms, without first obtaining written permission from me. I would appreciate any constructive criticism, complements, or suggestions my readers may have to share with me, however I will flatly ignore flaming out at my material. You may write to me via: firstname.lastname@example.org. I may also be found on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/lootahakecheta1964
I couldn’t believe what I saw. The island was beautiful but not any more so than any other Caribbean island except this one lacked any evidence of modern society. Vasilias and Azure led the way across beaches and through dense jungle forest. Here and there Century Palms rose up far into the sky displaying brilliant blooms. Too bad they die once they bloom after a hundred years of growth. I mused. It seemed like we walked forever in silence while Vasilias, Azure, and Isaac discussed with one another quietly in a language that I’ve never heard. Their voices rose and fell in a singsong lilting similar to the elf’s own native tongue but it was different enough to notice. Each syllable resonated with tangible energy as though the ocean’s awesome power raged through the words. I knew the elf’s language was one of power, but I had no idea other similar magic languages existed until now.
At least a couple of hours passed as we circumvented the island to the other side winding our way in and out of the forest so that at one point we trudged up the flank of the volcano with jungle encroaching close on all sides and the next stumbling through soft hot sand and wading the surf or across crystal clear rivers and streams. The island’s beauty made it difficult to follow the instructions Isaac told us as we trudged on. “… these people are very generous but you must not make deals with them. If they give you something and tell you outright it’s a gift, then you may accept it gladly. If they don’t specify it’s a gift do not take it or you will owe them. You don’t want to owe them, trust me.”
“Why?” Trent asked.
“Because they will expect payment and none of you can afford their idea of currency. Gold, silver, and precious stones mean nothing to Vasilias and his family. Your clothes and possessions have no value to them. However you are worth a lot. They will try and entrap you into a contract if they can.” I glanced up at the two tall blue men we followed. They both had an amused expression on their faces.
“Laas Lórien is correct. My people are generous, but we love to barter. Our men are harmless for the most part. It is our women you have to be wary of.”
“How so?” Shea asked.
“Do you remember the three daughters of Archelous spoken of in Homer’s Odyssey?” Isaac asked Shea.
“No.” She said and I chuckled. She looked at me. “What’s so funny Galin?”
“I think Isaac is trying to tell you these people are the Sirens of ancient lore.”
“Indeed that is exactly what I’m saying.” Isaac clarified.
“But according to Homer there are only two Sirens and both of them are women.” Rakish added.
“This is true but Homer was an author, a writer of plays, and he was human. Very few humans have ever come to this island and survived to tale the tale.” He did not explain, but my mind drifted back to what Isaac said about what these people thought of Captain Black.
“What about Jacob?” I asked.
“Jacob is only half human.” He said. “He is Halfelven. I would never have brought him here otherwise. At any rate only the women are a danger and only to mortal men. None of us are mortal men.”
“What about us?” Killian asked. We are not truly immortal, only so long as no one kills us.”
“Ah, alas the reason I’ve been nervous about bringing you here. These people have never met wereanimals before so I really don’t know what to expect. In truth I simply don’t know. You are right, although wereanimals are not mortal, you are not immortal either. I guess we shall see. When I brought Jacob here the women promised to leave him alone. He may be Halfelven, but he is mortal for all intense and purpose and will be so until he chooses his path. He’s stronger than mere human men, but I fear he’s still susceptible to the Siren’s song.”
“I thought you said Poseidon created these people?” I asked curious why he’d change his story.
“Poseidon created us but not our women.” Azure spoke for the first time since we started the conversation.
“OK, that doesn’t make much sense.” I said.
“Vasílissa Peisinoe and her sisters were only three. They had no mates and they were lonely. They pleaded with their father to make mates for them, but he refused. In desperation they beseeched Poseidon and after presenting their case he pitied them and created my brothers and me – one of us for each of them. But there was a catch. I am a son of Poseidon and therefore a son of the sea. My wife is a daughter of Archelous and a daughter of rivers and other bodies of freshwater. Our daughters take after their mothers and our sons take after us. It is a true case of opposites attract. We are always together but never truly mingling. I can spend time on shore, but I have to return to the sea. Our women may spend time in the sea, but they must return to freshwater and land. We can each spend time in the other’s elements, but we cannot stay there.
“Wow that sucks.” Pumar said.
“Indeed Pumar, indeed” Isaac agreed and we all fell silent for a bit. Only then did I notice the sun was setting. We’ve only been walking a couple of hours, maybe three at the most, and it was high noon when we arrived. How in the hell can it be sunset already? As though on cue to my musing luminescent globes shimmered into existence about three feet above our heads and spaced about every twenty feet or so apart floating and wafting lazily back and forth in the gentle breeze coming from the sea. They spread a soft blue green light over the path before us. Isaac must have noticed the confusion on everyone’s faces because he explained. “I warned the island defies physics. Time really doesn’t exist here and the cycles of sun, moon, and seasons hold no sway. It can be very disorienting until you grow accustomed to it.”
I got another surprise when we turned one last bend in the road and a large, beautiful, and very ornately carved city rose up the volcanic slope. It was breath taking. As we neared the gates I realized it was built out of the whitest marble I’ve ever seen. It looked like Athens of ancient times might have looked if they never painted their edifices’. As we passed the gates we drew the attention of the citizens of this marvelous city who began gathering along the street to watch us pass. I never guessed an island this size could support a metropolis like this. Just from first glance I’d have to say it boast a population of at least 150,000. It surprised me that the effigies were not painted as they were in ancient Greece. Everything gleamed gold on the side facing the setting sun, but the sun’s rays did not diminish the natural blue-white glow of the city. It was if the buildings shown from within. I realized I was not the only one staring in awe. Everyone in our party stopped and gaped at the gem sitting on the mountain’s flank. Temples, a courthouse, and a Senate building sat side by side with an enormous palace high up on the mountain near the back of the city. It dominated the landscape and looked down upon the village proper where the more common citizens lived. There must have been a thousand waterfalls dotting the visage creating a gentle thrum that echoed through the streets. “Welcome to our home.” Vasilias extended his hand to usher us in as he slightly bowed as the gracious host. He may be king of these people, but he knows the ancient customs of hospitality. We all bowed in return and accepted his welcome.
* * *
Since Isaac didn’t get agitated during our hike to the city, I could only assume neither Vasilias nor Azure told him what crimes Jacob had committed. But we were soon to find out. Vasilias pulled him aside to speak in private before showing us to our rooms in the palace. When the elf returned he was livid. I’ve never seen him this angry before and his face shown with righteous indignation.
The courts decided to hold Jacob under house arrest until his trial. He was denied access to the city and visitors until we arrived. I found it very distasteful that we were all to share the same wing of the palace with him. Of course the wing was enormous so it wasn’t as though we were under each other’s feet. By luck or design – I’ve never fully figured that one out – I was present when Isaac confronted the big oaf. He walked up to Jacob and with a mighty blow backhanded the man so hard I feared his neck would snap. The strike was delivered with such force that Jacob flew backwards nearly four or five feet before landing hard on the polished marble floor tiles. “What the fuck! What’s the meaning of this?” Jacob whined.
“Shut up and listen!” Isaac commanded and even I fell silent from fear of eliciting his wrath next. “From the moment I found you Jacob you have done everything in your power to slack away from your duties, drinking all day long and staying so drunk that you pretty damned much slobber all over yourself before the sun has even set well. You’ve been living in a state of denial and I’ve taken care of you hoping you would come around to your responsibilities and began acting like a man instead of an insipient teenager. Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”
“Yea, I threw up in a ditch, what of it?” Jacob said wiping blood from his bruised lip. I heard a low grow and looked over to see an almost lustful intensity shining in Pumar’s eyes and remembered how long it’s been since any of us have hunted. I listened to Jacob and Isaac’s discourse but watched Pumar intently watching for any sign that he may lose control from the scent of blood permeating the flat.
“What of it? Jacob said sourly.
“Is that all you have to say for yourself? My god man, you threw up in one of the main water supply trenches for the entire city. As a result of it every canal between where you defiled it all the way to the city walls had to be closed and cleansed before they could resume using them. These people are very particular about their water supply and you have to pollute it by losing your lunch in it?”
“Defile it? It’s a fucking river for pities sake. It was so diluted before it went a hundred yards it wouldn’t have harmed a flea.”
“That is not the point. Vasilias and his people view the aqueducts as sacred and your conduct is not only disgusting to them, but an affront to the gods as well. Defiling the water in this city in any place that is not designated specifically for that purpose is a criminal offense, one that is punishable by death or worse.” Isaac said shaking with rage.
“Oh please! If their precious ‘aqueducts’ are so sacred and must be kept pure, then why are they open to the air for ever bird or animal to shit or piss in?”
“These people have different views of what constitutes defilement. I don’t know why they don’t cover the damned things, but they do not and what you did is paramount to a human taking a deliberate shit in it. Jacob, you may be Halfelven but to these people you are a mere human and humans are looked upon as some of the most loathsome beings on the planet. They considered it a great privation to take you in when I asked them and this is how you repay their generosity?”
Jacob didn’t answer for a moment. “Sorry.” He finally said. “Is that what you want me to say? I was drunk Isaac. To me it looked like the perfect place to do it.”
“That’s just it Jacob, you are always drunk. You’ll be lucky if I can get you out of this and I swear to you that you will never touch another alcoholic drink again so long as you live. This I promise you.”
“The worst they can is killing me Isaac. At least that would put an end to this wretched life you seem to be so proud of. I never asked to be a Halfelven. I don’t want to be a king of any kind either. I just want my old life back, is that too much to ask for?”
“You are what you’re born into Jacob, we all are and we have to accept that rather we like it or not. You are Halfelven and hopefully one of these days you will realize exactly what a blessing that can be.” He turned to leave but stopped at the door. He added one last statement as he looked over his shoulder at the man lying prone on the floor. “The worst they can do to you Jacob is making you their slave. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Slavery to these people is a far worse fate than death.” He left the room letting the door remain open or to close on its own.
I still held my gaze on Pumar who finally seemed to relax somewhat and then he noticed me looking. “What?”
“Come, we need to talk.” I said pulling him toward the door. As soon as we left the room I looked over at my lunar-son. “Are you alright?”
“Yea, why wouldn’t I be?”
“When Isaac busted Jacob’s lip and it started to bleed I thought you were about to attack. I’m glad you didn’t, but I knew by looking at your expression it was not easy for you.”
Pumar was silent for a while. “It smelled incredible dad.” He swallowed hard. “For a moment I nearly lost it, but I remembered what you said about not being able to live with it if I lost control and killed an innocent.”
“Well, I don’t think I said you would be able to live with yourself, but you would find it a difficult thing to get over.” I slapped his back with the flat of my hand before rubbing his shoulders and then pulling him into a hug. “I’m very proud of you son. Not too many as young as you would have been able to control the urge. The scent of the hunt is so overwhelming to one so young. I’ll speak with Isaac to see if there are game we may hunt here. I hope there is for all of our sakes.”
“Thanks.” Pumar hugging me back.
* * *
Jacob’s trial was set for that evening and he and Isaac spent nearly five hours talking over their strategy for it. When I say trial it was nothing like what I expected. It was a tribunal headed by Vasilias since he is king. His wife sat beside him to his right and another woman sat to his left. This was the first time I saw any of their women and I found it interesting that the women looked like any human female where the men were blue like deep water ocean blue. Jacob stood shackled in the center of a stage like arena and Isaac stood beside him. All around the courtroom were layer upon layer of seats creating a semicircle like an amphitheater. The court was not crowded, but it was full. We sat on the same level as the stage where Jacob and Isaac stood. Our seats were slightly off center so we could see both the accused and the judges with ease. The marble seats were amazingly comfortable, at least at first. I had a feeling if this trial lasted very long we’d be shifting in our seats as our butts went numb with sleep. “Jacob Anderson, you have been charged with public drunken disorderly conduct, defilement of our public water system, resisting arrest, and attempted violence upon several citizens of this city, how plead you?” The woman to the left of Vasilias called out.
Isaac stepped forward and announced Jacob’s plea. “The defendant pleads no contest to all charges.” He said looking up at the three judges. “However I would like to plead on the defendant’s behalf that this tribunal would listen to an alternative sentence that would satisfy both our needs.” I wasn’t sure if Isaac meant Jacob’s or his own needs. I’ve never seen the elf as angry as when he found out exactly what Jacob did, but I think it was Jacob’s nonchalant attitude that pissed him off more.
“Does the defendant understand that his crimes against the people of Επικίνδυνες νησί caries a sentence of death or one of lifetime imprisonment and servitude to this city and its citizenry?
“Yes your honors. I made certain he is familiar with the charges, their implication and the possible sentences that may be carried out.” Isaac said.
“Very well, we will listen to your argument before passing judgment.” Isaac then went into an address in the native language of the court that lasted nearly twenty minutes. The judges nodded their heads in agreement on several points throughout Isaac’s presentation. After he finished the judges asked several questions and Isaac answered them. Of course, Jacob and the rest of us had no idea what was said since we didn’t understand the language. The discourse ended with Vasilias conferring with the judges beside him before making a statement to the entire court – he’d stayed quiet throughout the trial until now.
Isaac stepped up to face Jacob and translated the court’s decision. “Jacob Anderson the court was willing to listen to my argument and have decided to accept my plea provided you agree. Otherwise you will be tried, convicted, and sentenced in accord with the laws of this land. Do you understand what I’ve said so far?”
Jacob looked like he was about to argue but the look on Isaac’s face made him think better of it and he look down and nodded his head in submission. “Yes, I understand.”
“If you will submit to having a spell cast upon you to curb your cravings and help with your conduct, the judges will allow you to leave with us when we go. If you do not, you will spend the rest of your life as a slave to the people of this city. Understand that time has no meaning here. Seventy human years here will be more like seven hundred. Therefore I urge you to submit to my hand in this matter.” Isaac stood ramrod straight and held his chin up in an almost pious gesture as he spoke.
Jacob looked stricken. “What will your spell do?” He asked.
“It will prevent you from getting so wasted that you do stupid things. It will help you make more wholesome decisions about temperance. It will not harm you.” Isaac stated and I had a feeling he was not being completely honest about the effects of his magic.
“What would servitude to these people entail? Jacob asked. I had to guffaw. I couldn’t believe he’d even consider being someone’s slave over having the elf cast a spell upon him.
“Trust me Jacob. The Christian Hell would be a place of paradise compared to what these people would do to you as their slave. I cannot stress enough the hardships you would face under their yoke.”
Jacob nodded. “Very well, I will submit to your will.” Jacob said. I guess the brute has spent enough time around the elf to understand his council is good. Isaac nodded and withdrew a long double edged sward crafted out of pure obsidian and shown black as the ace of spades. With a word of power and a single stroke of the blade in front of him a ring of fire erupted around Jacob casting an eerie light upon the man. Jacob jumped at the sudden appearance of the circle. The color of the flames shifted from orange, to red, to purple, and then settled to a bright white. With another word of power and another flick of the blade a similar circle of flames erupted in a circle around Isaac.
The elf then held the sward up so the tip pointed toward the sky. He whispered a word and flames danced around its cutting edges. When he let go of it I thought for sure it would crash to the marble floor shattering to a thousand pieces but instead it drifted up into the air above his head and hovered there. Isaac motioned with his hand and it drifted over past the edge of his circle and came to rest directly above Jacob. “What the fuck!” Jacob exclaimed looking at the levitating sward. I wasn’t sure if his expression was one of fascination or horror.
Isaac spoke another word of power towards each direction of the compass and upon completing the fourth and final word the flames around him and Jacob danced so high they obscured our vision. When they died down Isaac no longer stood before us but in his place Laas Lórien Elf Lord stood tall and serene in his power. His blond hair shown with the silver of stars and his eyes gleamed bright tree lichen green as though they were lit from within. His very skin glowed with a soft light shifting between gold and silver making it more like platinum, but shifting ever so gently like a breeze tickling the surface of a placid lake. When he next spoke his voice no longer held the gruffness of humanity but the singsong litany of angels. He started his ritual using his native tongue and I almost had to cover my ears because the sound of his voice both drew and repelled me with such rending certainty that I felt as though my whole body would split in two, but somehow nothing happened to me or anyone else in the arena except for Jacob. Within his circle the white flames crisscrossed to make a pentacle. When all five bars met, completing the sacred insignia, the flames leapt from the circle to consume Jacob. He cried out in fear holding up his arms as though to protect himself from being burnt to a crisp, but it soon became evident to everyone, including Jacob, that the flames were not burning him. He studied his arms and hands in amazement before looking back at the elf in complete awe.
Laas Lórien began a low chant that increased in tempo and volume until he was nearly shouting. Jacob collapsed to his knees and then on down to his hands and knees where he vomited. He continued to vomit until nothing was left to come out and still his abdomen contracted trying to purge the impurities from his system. He then collapsed onto his side and lay in the fetal position holding his body as though experiencing excruciating pain. As he lay there screaming, the flames entered his body through his open mouth and continued to pour in until his body glowed with the white fire. As Laas Lórien’s voice trailed off to a whisper the flames ‘consuming’ Jacob died down until there was just a flicker of blue-white light dancing over his body. When all was said and done the flames died away completely exposing Jacob’s nude sweaty body. He was not nude when the ritual began so the fire consumed the material leaving only the man behind. The Elf Lord looked at me. “Galin, would you please help Jacob back to his quarters?” I nodded and without saying a word I took Jacob in my arms and carried him away from the courthouse. As I picked him up, I realized the fire had completely cleansed the vomit from the marble flagstones.
Pumar and Killian followed me as I made my way though the stunned crowd carrying an unconscious Jacob in my arms. I glanced back at Isaac as I passed through the door and saw he still glowed but the light was diminishing and he slowly began to resume his normal countenance. As I turned to leave I saw Vasilias and his wife joining the elf as they passed through a door on the other side of the amphitheater. “What was that all about?” Killian said in a hushed whisper as though he feared the elf would somehow hear him and seek a divine vengeance upon him too.
“I have no idea, but I plan on getting to the bottom of it as soon as I can.” I said as I toted the comatose man away and down the streets towards our residents. When we arrived at our palace wing I laid Jacob gently on the Ottoman at the foot of his bed while I pulled the sheets down. His skin was cold and clammy as though he had died in the courthouse. The only reassuring evidence that he still lived was the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.
I returned to the living area of his and Isaac’s chambers once I got Jacob settled nice and snug under the covers and waited for Isaac’s return. About two hours passed before the elf came in. “What the fuck was that all about Isaac?” I said and apparently my voice still held an accusatory tone because the elf gave me a sour expression.
“Do not judge me Galin! Don’t you dare judge me. I saved his life is what I did.” He admonished me. “If I had not acted as I did, he would be their slave for centuries until he eventually died from a very exhausting life. He would not have had any of what makes him who he is left after the first year of servitude. He would have been stripped of all personality, dignity, and self worth had I not done what I did.”
“What exactly was it that you did?” I asked. “It looked to us like you were about to present him as a burnt offering.”
Isaac actually smiled at that. “Burnt offering – hardly,” he chuckled. The fire was a consuming flame as all fire is, but its fuel is impurities, nothing more, nothing less. He is purer now then he was when he was born. He shouldn’t have any cravings for things that will make him impure, but just in case he does, I added a bit to the rite to make him deathly ill should he try to drink alcohol or take narcotics or barbiturates. It will eventually wear off but until then it could prove entertaining for all of us – except him of course. Hopefully he will no longer need those stimulants once the spell runs its course.” Isaac sat beside me looking completely exhausted. “I didn’t want to have to do it Galin. It hurt me far more than it did him.” He sat silent for a while, so long in fact that I feared he may have slipped off into a trace or something. “If my intensions had not been pure, had I held even the smallest amount of prideful indignation, I would have become worse than Kesx. She was simply an elf before she turned dark. I’m an Elf Lord…” He trailed off but his meaning was clear. The spell he’d cast could have tainted him and changed him into a dark Elf Lord. “Anyway, thank you for bringing him here and staying until I returned. I need to have some time alone before he wakes so I can recuperate. Practicing my magic here is a lot easier than it is in the mortal world, but it still task me. This place is closer to my world, but it is nevertheless a part of your mortal world.”
I nodded and stood to leave. “Please promise me you will not use that spell on me.” I said. “I won’t take kindly to it.” I opened the door and left a smiling elf behind.
* * *
The next morning Isaac woke me early. To my surprise Pumar and Killian stood behind him looking all nice and chipper. I could have killed them for being so spry this early in the morning. “Ugh, where’s coffee?”
“On the Obsession, but I think you won’t need it once you eat breakfast. The food here has many rejuvenating qualities to it.” Isaac said.
I gave him a dubious look. “Yea right and I’m Queen Elizabeth.” I said.
Isaac laughed. “What, you don’t trust me your Majesty? Have I led you wrong yet?” I had to admit he hadn’t. “We have a lot to discuss over breakfast and then time is truly of the essence now. The discussion I had with Vasilias yesterday after the trial has changed things.”
“Oh joy, just what I wanted to hear. This trip just keeps getting better and better Isaac. You sure you’re not the host of an evil game show?”
He laughed. “Name a game show that is not evil, I dear you.” I couldn’t. I think most all of modern television is useless programming designed to waste time and rot brain cells. Stumbling out of bed I headed for the bathroom. One thing I will have to admit, Vasilias and his kind know how to build a nice bath chamber. Water heated to just the right temperature tumbled over a marble portico on one side creating a fall that sang watery melodies in the spacious swimming pool sized bath. Greek style statues of nude men and elegantly clothed women stood at intervals around the entire room and light from the rising sun shone through the open spaces that would have been walls in a modern building. Instead the ceiling was supported by columns allowing the tropical breezes to freely waft through the place. Upon the eastern end of the long room stood a monolithic statue of Poseidon and across from him stood another one of Archelous. Long tapestries depicting Greek scenes of sailors fighting sea monsters hung between some of the columns and wafted lazily in the morning breeze. Between the other columns hung white sheer fabric which caught the morning light and defused it into a gentle glow. These too were carried on the breeze with a gentle flow. Braziers of incense burned creating an exotic scent that both soothed and energized. I had no idea what scent it was but something between honeysuckle and gardenias.
After taking a morning swim, for that was about all you could do in this bath, I felt better but I still desperately needed my coffee. Isaac was right though, the food here did vitalize as though it were laden with caffeine or something. I found out later the food was never intended for mortals and had been created by the Olympian Gods themselves for immortals to eat. A mortal who eats it will not become immortal, but it will prolong their life by several centuries. I cannot remember any time in my life where I felt more energized from eating a meal then I did this breakfast which consisted of fruits I could not identify. While we ate Isaac explained his visit with Vasilias and his wife the day before. “It would seem my father left me a gift when he last visited this island. We need to retrieve it before we leave and we must be underway as soon as it is in my possession.”
“What sort of gift?” Killian asked.
“It is a rod, but not just any rod. This one is akin to a scepter. I knew my father hid it during the Silicrin War.” He looked at the blank expressions on our faces. “The Silicrin War was fought between the elves. Krueg, the king of the Dark Elves and his followers started it against those of us who refused to succumb to their demands and join their ranks. The Christians refer to it as the war in heaven between Lucifer and his angles against God and the angles that remained true to Him. At any rate, my father hid Brisengale, this rod. No one ever knew where except him, but according to Vasilias, he gave instructions of what to do when the time came for Brisengale to be revealed again. I cannot believe it is here, that it’s been here since the Silicrin War.”
“What do you do with this rod, uh Brisengale you call it? You say it’s like a scepter?” Pumar asked looking a bit skeptical.
“It is the symbol of power among our people, or rather the symbol of the right hand of power, the creative force. The medallion we have to retrieve from Dominica is the left hand of power, the sphere that gatheres energy which is lent to the rod of creation. You need them both to complete the circuit. It is the Yin and Yang of creative power if you will. They are the symbols of the Lord and Lady, of the god and goddess. At any rate, I have to retrieve it and bring it back to our people. According to Vasilias, my father left instructions for the rod to be handed to one who traveled with a group of non-mortals. He said Laas Mailarran left very vague instructions, but one thing was certainly clear. He told Vasilias the party followed an elf Lord and would comprise of thirteen total and they would come by sea.”
“And you’re certain the elf Lord your father spoke of is you and not some other?” I asked.
“Who else could it mean Galin? My father is a seer. He is our king, but he is also an oracle. If Laas Mailarran gives you an omen you can count on it coming to pass. How many other elf lords do you know who are traveling with twelve non-mortals? Notice he didn’t say non-humans because Jacob is by all standards a human until he accepts his role as a Halfelven Lord.”
“But Jacob’s mortal.” Pumar pointed out.
“No not really. He’s Halfelven which makes him a non-mortal like you. Look, Jacob doesn’t even know how old he is. All Halfelvens who have lived long enough go through periods of blackouts, a sort of hibernation, where they lose all memory of their previous lives, but they do not die. Like you they can be killed, but they cannot die of natural causes. Once he accepts his destiny, he will become a true immortal.”
“So all that you said before about Jacob being mortal was nothing more than a lot of bullshit?” Killian asked.
“Yes and no.” Isaac said looking at the werewolf. “I said that because it is very important that Jacob remains ignorant of his true nature until he accepts his destiny and becomes King over humanity. Yes, I told him he is Halfelven, but I’ve never explained to him exactly what that is. I only allowed him to believe he is mortal until he makes his decision to take the scepter over humanity. Even then I only hinted he’d become something more than human. I think all Halfelvens intuitively know who and what they are, but their brain buries it deep into their subconscious because their psyche is about as fragile as that of a human. If they accept the elven part of their being, they go through a transformation that changes their mind, body, and spirit. Jacob is the strongest Halfelven I’ve ever encountered.”
“How many are there?” Pumar asked.
“Not many. I can count on two hands all that have ever been born in the history of our two races and of those only three survive. Anyway, enough of this: if you like we can continue the conversation as we travel because we need to get moving.”
“And exactly where are we going? We are on a mountain island after all.” I felt rather sarcastic and I think it may have carried over my voice.
“Up.” He said.
“Up, uh up where?” Pumar asked. Isaac simply smiled and pointed toward the summit of the volcano upon whose flank we stood. “Up there, the top of the mountain?” He inquired.
“No, up there, the top of the volcano” Isaac interpreted.
“Uh hu, and how exactly do we get up there?” Killian inquired.
“We climb.” Isaac said with a bit of mirth in his voice. He was enjoying this. “Oh come on, you mean to tell me young strapping wereanimals such as you are concerned about a bit of mountain climbing? Please!”
“May we go in half beast form?” Pumar asked enthusiastically.
“You my dear boy may go in any form you choose. If being a humanoid tiger suits your fancy, then be my guest.” Isaac said flashing a smile of brilliant white teeth. “Besides, you may need to be in that form to keep up with me.” He snickered.
“In your dreams pointy ears.” Killian taunted. “Everyone ready to show this pud just how adapted we are at climbing things and sprinting through the woods?”
“Yea, let’s do it.” I said getting up and heading for the door. “Do we need to take things like food or water?”
“Shouldn’t, there’s plenty of water on the island, even in the higher elevations. As for food, there are wild boars here for you to hunt. While we’re doing this, the others are going hunting.” Isaac said as he stepped past me into the spacious corridor outside our quarters. “Go ahead and change if you’re going to guys. These people have never seen your kind before. They may find it very interesting.” He added with a knowing grin. The three of us looked at each other and shrugged as we stripped our clothes off so we wouldn’t shred them in the change. Like quicksilver our bodies shimmered and shifted into our half beast forms. Then we strode off following Isaac through the palace towards the back where the mountain stretched up, and up, and up into the wispy clouds gathering around its summit.
Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch us walk past and stared as though trying to decide if they should be frightened or delighted to see such strange hybrids. One little boy in particular cried out and hid behind his father’s leg but pointed at us from his position of relative safety like he was making sure his daddy saw us. I chuckled under my breath. Eventually we made it to the edge of the forest and started the climb into the forest at the back of the palace. The slopes were steep and traitorous with narrow steps leading up such precipitous inclines that a mountain goat might have trouble negotiating it. “Are the boars up this high?” I asked as we climbed deeper into thick jungle following a small trail that was hardly large enough to be called such. I think a muskrat may have blazed this one.
“There may be some up here but I doubt it Galin. The boars prefer it further down slope, but we should be back around dusk which is, if I’m not mistaken, your preferred time to hunt.” He answered. He is right. We do prefer to hunt in the evening.
Isaac surprised me though. I never realized exactly how nimble the elf was and as we journeyed on he slipped more and more into his Elf Lord persona. There were times when the trail ended at the base of sheer cliffs that reached for hundreds, if not thousands, of feet into the air and Isaac scaled the rock face so fast it seemed as though he ran across flat ground. If it weren’t for our claws and superhuman strength, Pumar, Killian, and I would not have been able to follow him. He reached the cliff tops a good thirty minutes before we scrambled over the upper lip of the vertical rock faces. To make things even more challenging, volcanic rock is not the most stable of surfaces to climb either. More than once we startled nesting birds that flew out screaming at us. It was hard to tell who was more frightened, them or us. Bird scent was all over the rock faces so I couldn’t tell when I drew close to a nesting pare until I was nearly upon them. After the second or third occurrence, I began to anticipate it and soon realized there were tale-tale signs on the wind that broadcast a nesting sight. They were subtle to be sure, like nearly inaudible sounds drifting from just out of sight marking a nest.
After the cliffs the climb didn’t get any easier, if anything it got worse. The slopes were very steep and covered by vines and lichen disguising perfidious shale like rock that slothed off when disturbed. Eventually we made the summit where the slope leveled out into a series of hills and valleys. They were steep but not like the main volcano’s slope. Over near the other side of the island was another volcanic cone which reached at least another four thousand feet into the air and it became apparent that each peak used to be over the hot spot where the tallest peak now stood. Volcanic hot-spots are places in the oceanic crust that allows magma from the mantel to surge up through the middle of a plate tectonic to form a volcano such as the Hawaiian Islands. This one doesn’t move as dramatically as Hawaii where each move creates a new island. Instead this one moves just enough to form new peaks within the same island creating a dragon’s back ridge appearance as they stride in a semicircle to the newest and largest peak. If this visage wasn’t dramatic enough, the current active peak belched black smoke like an ominous omen of death. Even from this distance orange rivers of molten lava wound their way down the slopes. “It’s erupting!” Pumar exclaimed excitedly. “Does it always do that?”
“Yes. It is in a constant state of eruption. That’s why the city is on this side of the island.” Isaac explained. “Come on, it’s getting late and we need to get this over with. The sooner we retrieve my father’s staff, the sooner we can leave this island.”
Isaac sprinted off leaving us behind. “I’ve not been winded since you gave me my gift Galin, but I’m winded now. How does he do that?” Pumar asked.
“I can only surmise it’s because he’s an elf. They have strange abilities and according to legend, they don’t get tired. I’ll have to agree though, I need a break. Maybe the ridges will not be as arduous as the climb up.” I answered as I took off at a nice jog after the elf. I heard my boys following closely behind cussing under their breaths.
Within an hour or so we reached the root of the highest peak and Isaac slowed his pace to make sure we could follow him a bit easier. “The journey is very traitorous from here on out fellows. Be sure to step where I step and do exactly as I say.” He said and for the first time I saw real concern in his eyes. I wiped sweat from my brow using my forearm and wondered at the increase in heat. The island shoreline offered tropical heat, but up here, where it should have been cooler, it felt as though Hell’s doors were left open to wither the landscape. I’ll have to say the ground looked as though it’s been scorched. In fact it was mostly solidified lava that still smoked in places. “This is a lava delta…” Isaac continued. “It is chock full of deadly pitfalls.”
We wound our way through rocky crags and over smooth rolling knolls the lava crust, which looked like scenes from Dante’s Inferno. Occasionally the surfaces where we tread would fall in revealing molten lava flows underneath. On one such occasion Killian almost slipped through and would have died a most horrible death had Isaac not caught him in time. Not a living thing grew anywhere within sight. On both sides of us rivers of lava flowed with amazing speed down slope. Killian fell in behind Isaac. I followed and Pumar followed me. Even though we took it slower and very carefully, we still covered a tremendous amount of ground in the next few minutes. Following Isaac’s lead proved a godsend because either he knew where he was going or he had a very uncanny ability to avoid hidden hazards. It took only about fifteen minutes to reach a cave entrance far up on the side of the mountain. As we entered the ground shook as though caught in the grips of a very powerful earthquake. “Don’t worry about it guys. Hephaestus doesn’t like intruders, or uninvited guest.”
“Oh great! That’s all we need: a pissed off Greek God because we came uninvited.” Killian quipped.
“Yep, I couldn’t agree more.” I said.
“He’s not here. He would have already addressed us if he were.” Isaac reassured us.
The ‘cave’ as it turned out wasn’t a cave at all but an entrance tunnel carved through the volcanic rock. About every twenty feet or so a gold or bronze sentinel, that is a Greek style sculpture of man in his naked perfection, stood guard. “Wow, those look really lifelike.” Pumar whispered.
“Yea, too bad they aren’t real. Those guys are sexy as hell.” Killian added. I just chuckled.
“Cool it down guys.” Isaac admonished the boys. “They look real, because they are. Hephaestus created them. They can hear every word you say and will attack if you give them cause.”
“Homophobic statues”, I asked?
“Not homophobic Galin, but they will attack anything they perceive as a threat, don’t give them cause. Regardless of how formidable your natural weaponry is, you cannot defeat them.”
“Are they living beings?” Killian inquired.
“Of a sort, yes they are. They serve the purpose for which they were created. Do they have feelings, a conscious, or a soul? I do not have the answer for that.” Isaac said. “Really, only Hephaestus can answer that question.”
The tunnel was long, very long, but it went straight and didn’t angle up or down or turn side to side. We saw the end for a long way before we reached it. As we neared the tunnel’s end I realized it terminated in the central flue of the volcano. Surrounding the edge of the pit was a lattes work of bronze walkways that crisscrossed the central vent. The largest of these was a circle that ringed the central part of the vent upon which stood cranes and other machines used to lower metals into the lava far below. “We won’t have long to work because of the frequent eruptions.” Isaac informed us as we strode out onto the walkways that seemed to float in mid air.
“What’s holding all this up?” Killian asked.
“A god’s power holds it all in place Killian. He willed all of this into existence by simply thinking about it. It’s protected from the intense heat of the magma, but I’m not willing to risk your lives, or my physical body, on that protection to extend to anyone walking upon them if the volcano erupts while we are in here.” I swallowed hard looking down at the beautiful orange, gold, red, and white turmoil below us. The heat was intense and I couldn’t help but think how easy it would be for one of us to make a misstep and fall from the walkways. There were not banisters to protect one from it.
As we neared the central ring, which was a walkway at least two-hundred feet wide and about a thousand feet across, a white smoky mist rose up from the molten rock below us. It floated up through the center of the ring and rolled into several shapes much like clouds slowly change form as they float across a blue sky. Eventually the mist solidified from a vapor into a beautiful white dragon that floated in the air in the center hole created by the ring. She studied us for quite a while before speaking. “Laas Lórien, greetings.”
“Greetings, my Lady.” Isaac bowed low out of respect for the specter in front of us.
“How does everybody seem to know him?” Pumar whispered to me. The dragon heard him and turned her gaze in his direction as though she only then noticed the rest of us.
“What are these creatures who travel with you?” She asked the elf.
“This is Galin, Pumar, and Killian. They are shapeshifters. Two are weretigers and one is a werewolf.” Isaac explained. We each raised our hand as he spoke our names. “Guys, this is Adalinda: the noble serpent that protects the realms of the gods.
We all bowed to her as Isaac had. “It is an honor to meet you My Lady.” I said hoping it was a proper response. Apparently it was, or at least it seemed to amuse the dragon because her lips curled into a distinct smile.
“You have such an elegant tongue for a beast.” She purred as her body moved like quicksilver bringing her head close to our edge of the disk upon which we stood. As she moved closer her gaze shifted once more to Isaac. “What brings an Elf Lord to my master’s hearth?”
“My Lady, I have come for Brisengale, my father’s staff.”
“I see. And why do you think it is here?” She asked.
Because Vasilias told me my father left it here for safe keeping during the Silicrin War. He also told Vasilias to surrender when I came with a contingent of twelve companions.”
“Very well, you may have Brisengale if you can pass three riddles.” She said.
“If that is the test, then I will submit to your games. What are they?”
Adalinda looked closely at the elf moving one of her enormous eyes close to his face. “I spread my wings but cannot fly. Four eyes have I to watch all passerbies. My weapons sharp as needles can pierce your skin, and lay you to rest for eternity. What am I?
“A cobra,” Isaac answered.
“Very good: the next one then?” She asked and Isaac nodded his head. “Sticky strands will capture thee hung between branches be. Venom sweet and deadly will hold thee still so quietly. Your essence I’ll drain when my hungers resonate and your winged husk I’ll lay to waste. What art thou?”
“A fly,” Isaac answered.
“Hmmm, I think I’m making these too easy for you. Very well, the last one then?” Isaac nodded his consent. “When death doth call and beckons thee: In the grave thee shall lie. None shall see thee ever more even in the dying sky. Death is jealous and clings with lust to hold thee in thy dust, but even he cannot withstand the call of Brisengale. Your reward is great because it is thy fate and thou shall be reunited with thy mate. So listen close and tell me what thou see, what it is that happened to thee?”
Isaac thought for a moment and I began to think she’d stumped him. The last riddle was rather vague. “Resurrection,” Isaac finally said. The great dragon bowed her head and immediately her body shifted and swirled in upon itself as it coalesced into a beautiful woman standing on the platform beside us. She held a long slender silver rod in her right hand and even I could feel it thrum with power.
“One more question my Lord.” She said. Isaac nodded his consent. “For what purpose do you seek this staff?”
“My father hid Brisengale here during the Silicrin War, as I’ve already said. He did it to prevent Krueg from gaining possession of it. That war has been over for many thousands of years and I wish to return it to my people.” The dragon lady nodded her head and let go of the staff. We all watched in amazement as it rose up about a foot off the platform and hovered there resonating with the power within. Isaac raised his hand as though to take hold of it but he did not reach for the staff. Instead the it glided over of its own accord and slipped into his hand. I’m not sure what happened next because as soon as it touched his palm a brilliant light blasted out from the staff knocking all of us over except for Adalinda and Isaac. It took several moments before my vision cleared enough for me to see anything but white spots everywhere I tried to look.
Adalinda studied the elf for a long moment. “Your intentions are true. If you had any falsehood to you at all, Brisengale would have destroyed you – mind, body, and soul. You may go in peace.” With this she dissolved into mist and drifted slowly back into the depths of the vent from which she came.
I watched her go and only then did I notice movement in the magma that seemed to have intelligent design behind the motion. “What, what is that?” I asked Isaac.
“Those are Salamanders Galin. They are the elementals who live in fire.” As I watched one of them seemed to notice me and began rising up swimming its way towards us. “Move away from the edge Galin, now. We need to leave.” The urgency in his voice broke the spell, one of which I had no idea gripped me until Isaac’s voice broke it. “Nature elementals are very dangerous entities and Salamanders are the most formidable of them all.” He added.
With this we all took off at a dead run for the tunnel through which we entered. As we neared its end four of the sentinels stepped in our way blocking the path. They said nothing, but it was clear they had no intension of letting us go. I looked back the way we’d come and noticed the Salamander swimming lazily toward us. “Uh, Isaac, does this mean trouble?”
The elf looked over his shoulder and hissed something under his breath before he moved to stand between us and the fire elemental rapidly closing the distance between us. “I don’t think we have anything to worry about, but just in case, the Salamander is far more dangerous than the sentinels.”
Soon the elemental closed in on us and the heat radiating from it was blistering. I even began to smell hair singeing and looked down at the fur on my arm closest to it. Small tendrils of smoke wafted up from the hair there. “That is quite close enough. For what purpose do you oppose our departure?” Isaac challenged.
The Salamander stopped its progress and swirled around weaving its body in a loose ball of flame in constant motion. “Laas Lórien, beware the dark lord. Darkness resides in his heart a burning hatred for thee. Follow closely to thy plan or defeat thee shall see. Upon the waters that churn where wind doth blow, and the tempest rage, there an ambush has been set by he.” With that the ball of flame dissolved leaving only the faintest scent of ozone filling the still air of the tunnel. As soon as it dissipated the sentinels fell back to their original places. Isaac looked grave pondering the elemental’s meaning.
“Who did it mean?” I asked.
“One would think Krueg, but Salamanders are never clear. Everything they say have several meanings.” He said as he turned and led us back out into the bright sunshine.
“Wasn’t it later than this when we got here?” Killian observed.
“Yes, but several days probably passed while we were in there. As I’ve said before, time has no meaning here. It is a place without seasons or the laws that govern time.” Isaac said. “Come on, let’s get back down to where you boys can hunt. I need to talk with Vasilias and after that we must set sail.”
Getting down seemed a lot easier than going up, but then sliding is always easier than climbing. It also helped that Isaac used the power in Brisengale to make us fall slowly down the cliffs so we didn’t need to climb down. In short order we found our way back to the palace where Isaac took his leave from us. “Follow this path down to the right and it will lead you to the King’s hunting grounds. You have his permission to kill one boar, and one boar only.” He looked at us before turning and striding off through the gilded doors and added giving us a wink. “Enjoy your hunt.”
* * *
Once again the sun seemed to slip towards the horizon and before we reached an area of flatter jungle it was completely dark. To my surprise the scent of deer, goats, and boar flooded my nostrils before we’d traveled more than a hundred feet onto the dense forest carpet. “I thought Isaac said there was only boar here?” Pumar asked.
“That is what he said, but apparently he wasn’t correct. No boar I’ve ever smelled carried the scent of deer or goat.” I answered. “Well, we may only have one boar to kill, but maybe it will take the edge off our hunger.” My boys nodded their head in agreement.
“Maybe Isaac was pulling our legs by telling us there is only boar on the island.” Killian suggested. “Maybe that means we can hunt any of the animals we find.”
“No, I will not risk insulting our host on a guess. We will kill only boar and only one.” I said firmly. “I will not tolerate any disobedience with this, sons. Understand?” They both nodded their heads as we ventured further into the forest beyond where the trail ended. I shifted into my full tiger form and my boys followed suit. Our paws padded softly over the moist litter from the canopy above. Before too long I caught the cent of our quarry. Smell that boys? I asked. It looks like we got lucky early on. This is good.
Holy shit! Growled Killian mental voice. Standing before us, and completely unaware of our presence since we were down wind if it, stood the largest boar I’ve ever seen. It must have been the size of a small elephant.
Dinner is served, boasted Pumar.
I laughed. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched son. Let’s spread out and catch his flanks. If we’re lucky this will be an easy kill with the three of us. I took off towards the left while Pumar headed right. Killian slowly crept up behind the mammoth beast to try and wound its ankle tendons when the time came for the attack. At some point something must have tipped the beast off because it snorted and looked around nervously. Careful guys, try not to spook him. I cautioned. The closer we crept the more nervous the boar got until it let out a piercing squeal and rutted the ground while looking around for the threat it perceived. NOW! I shouted mentally to the boys and we all charged as fast as we could.
Pumar and I leaped at the same time sinking our claws deep into the tough hide on either shoulder trying to get a killing or disabling bite while Killian snapped his lethal jaws at the beast’s legs. The pig kicked backwards trying to land a killing blow to my adopted son but Killian turned the event to his favor by sinking his fangs deep into the Achilles tendon just above the creature’s right hind leg. The boar let out a blood curdling scream as it tried to escape through the forest running into trees trying to dislodge Pumar and me from his shoulders. Somehow we managed to hang on and Pumar finally maneuvered to a position where he could crush the beast’s windpipe. The boar’s body collapsed to the right pinning Pumar under his massive shoulder and head. It tired it’s best to stand back up but to no avail. Pumar meanwhile was trapped and could not gain the leverage he needed in his present shape to push the beast off him.
I was about to rip the monster’s throat the rest of the way open when a large clawed hand swept under the boar’s head and ripped it off at the neck before it gripped his shoulder and pulled up far enough for him to pull Pumar to safety. I looked at Killian with a new light as he stood there panting in his half beast form drenched in the wild pig’s blood. He had a gash on his left cheek from the beast’s hoof but it healed as I watched. Pumar didn’t fare so well. He limped around on three legs and howling piteously as he tried to straighten his broken leg. Change son! I ordered. Come on make the change Pumar. I wasn’t sure why but for some reason Pumar seemed unable to make the change. What is it Pumar? I asked nuzzling him with my maw.
Oh god dad it hurts. I cannot change, I don’t understand. His mental voice trailed off as he tried to make the change again. His body slipped form for a bit, but then snapped back into his full tiger. Pumar began thrashing on the ground as the enormity of his wounds came into focus. Somehow in the fall he managed to get under the boars tusk and it nearly eviscerated him.
Shit! I exclaimed. I rubbed my face against my son’s head and concentrated on his beast. Come on son, try it again. I urged him. I felt his body began the change and I let my energy flow into him and pushed him along. It seemed to take forever but eventually the change took hold and he slipped into his half human form. Almost immediately the hole in his side sealed and the blood stopped flowing. At the same time the bone in his left leg mended with no visual evidence of it ever happening. Pumar lay there panting like a cow who just delivered a difficult calf. Are you alright son? I asked.
“Yes”, he panted. “But I’m very, very tired.”
Do you feel like the wound is completely healed? I prodded his side with my nose and it brought a soft moan from him indicating it wasn’t healed all the way, or at the very least it was still tender. Come on son, let’s eat and then maybe you’ll have the strength to change completely. I nudged him with my muzzle while Killian slipped his arms under Pumar’s to lift him up. My son wavered for a moment before gaining his balance and then he fell onto dead pig with a vengeance digging his fangs into the fresh hot meat ripping whole chunks out before choking them down. I had to chuckle, but then the smell of the boars fresh blood flooded my nostrils and I attacked the carcass too digging into the tender shoulder meat. Killian soon followed suit at the boar’s flanks. I’ve never eaten a boar that tasted so good. Boar is one of my favorite prey animals but not because of its meat. The kill is everything and a boar is damned hard to kill, especially when only one of us is hunting the creatures. We brought this one down so quickly because there were three of us and we had the element of surprise working for us. After we’d had our fill I sauntered over to Pumar and began grooming the blood off his face and the rest of his body. Once I’d licked him clean I prodded him to try completing the change. I watched him concentrate and moments later a naked young man lay where a weretiger lay before. How do you feel? I thought to him.
“Better, much better, thanks dad.” He said.
Do you feel like you’ve healed completely? Killian growled since he was still in his werewolf form.
“Yes, I think so.”
Son, change back to a full tiger, just to make sure. There’s plenty of meat left over if you get hungry again. I said. He closed his eyes and like water flowing through a vessel he shifted fluently into his cat form. Awesome, I congratulated him. How do you feel now?
Like a newborn kitten. He purred pulling his muzzle up into a cat grin before playfully attacking me, rolling me over and kicking out with his hind paws. We tussled a bit and then he jumped up and tore into the remains of the boar. Mmmm, purr.
By now Killian regained his human form and sat there watching his brother devour more of the boar’s meat. “He’s going to have to be cleaned again you know.” He said with a mischievous smile on his face. “Do you want the honors again or would you mind if I take up cleanup duty this time?”
I shifted back to my human form. “Go for it Killian. I was about ready to rape him when I did it last time.”
He chuckled. “Na, you can’t rape the willing. You know that.”
“Yea, but until I figure out where things stand with Martha, I don’t wish to mess things up before they have a chance to blossom.” I said.
“Oh please dad. I know you like her and all that, but are you sure she’s willing to share you with a man? You know as well as we do you cannot curb your natural attractions.” Killian said and he had a point. It was in fact a point that’d been plaguing me for quite some time.
Pumar sat beside the boar’s carcass licking the blood off his chest. He’s right you know dad. I miss the times we’ve had together. I’m not sure she’d understand what we’ve shared. I knew Killian and Pumar were not my real sons, not my flesh and blood sons. I did not sire them, but it still made me a bit nervous to explain that to an outsider. Both my lunar and adopted sons had a valid point. Meanwhile Killian shifted back into a wolf and proceeded to clean his brother. I sat and watched as the cleaning turned into a mutual bathing. Before they were through they’d both shifted back into human form and then things really escalated. It was quite pleasurable to sit and watch. After they were through we shifted back into our wereanimals so we wouldn’t offend anyone as we sauntered back through the palace to our quarters.
* * *
Shea stood by our chamber doors as we approached. “It’s about time. Isaac is about to go lunatic on our asses to get off this island and back to the real world.” All your belongings except for a change of clothes have already been taken to the Obsession. Now clean up and make quick about it. I’ve never seen that damned elf so agitated before.”
“What’s gotten him agitated?” Pumar asked with a slight smirk on his face.
“I don’t know, but if something is bothering him this much, I think we need to take it seriously. Now go wash up and come on. We need to hurry.” We did as Shea bid. Not because she’s our captain, but because we’ve learned to respect her over the time we’ve known each other. It didn’t take long before we slipped out of our door and headed down the road to the other end of the island where the Twilight Obsession was moored. To my surprise it didn’t seem to take as long to reach the boat as it did to reach the city when we arrived and soon we all stood aboard her decks.
“Did you find your kill?” Isaac asked as we boarded the Obsession. He had a smile on his face as he asked the question even if it was strained.
“Yes we did. I thought you said there was only boar here.” I commented.
“Please tell me you didn’t kill anything other than a boar.” He asked with a stricken look in his eyes.
“It was a boar although we did smell deer and goats as well.” I told him.
Isaac visibly sighed with relief. “Good. Vasilias only gave permission for hunting boar. You would have owed him had you killed anything else.”
“You didn’t tell us the boar were so large here.” Pumar admonished. “I thought we’d be starving after the three of us shared one.
“Yea, well, I didn’t want to set you up for a disappointment if you happened to only find one of the small ones. How big was it?”
“He was the size of a small elephant. It was a good kill and it only nearly killed Pumar in the process.” I smiled. “You knew we’d find a big one didn’t you?”
“Yes, the little ones are on this side of the island. I don’t know why they stay apart like that, but they do. It’s just one of the many things about this island that boggles the mind.” Isaac said. “Now that we are all here it is time we set out.” He walked over to the side of the boat where Vasilias and his queen sat atop their aquatic steed the behemoth that towed us into this lagoon. “It has been a pleasure as usual to spend time with you and yours.” He said.
“The pleasure is all ours.” Vasilias said giving a small smirk towards Jacob who looked surly, almost desperate. “What’s wrong with your friend Lass Lórien?” He asked.
Jacob looked over very sullenly as Isaac explained. “The spell I cast on him at the trial prevents him from drinking and it’s taking its toll on him. I’m afraid he’s been drinking long enough that he’s become an alcoholic. The withdrawals are getting to him. He’ll be alright though, once he fully dries out and comes to understand that he’ll never be able to drink again.” This last part Isaac spoke so softly that only the wereanimals and Vasilias could hear him.
“I see, well, take care my old friend and may the gods be with you until we meet again.” Vasilias struck his chest with the clenched fist of his right hand as he spoke the blessing.
Isaac returned the gesture and blessing upon Vasilias and his people. “And may Poseidon bless you my friend.” He added. With this the leviathan surged underneath the Obsessions port bow and soon the boat rocked and turned to follow in the wake of the beast as though magic pulled her along. “It feels good to be underway again.” Isaac said sniffing the salt air.
“Where’s your staff?” Killian asked.
“Safe.” That was all the elf would say about it. We turned to look forward as we moved closer towards the barrier that separates this dimension from ours.
“Do we have to go through the storm again on the way out?” Shea asked.
“No, that is a one way gate. What we have to do now is imagine where we want to be and when we pass the barrier we’ll be within sight of it. Since you are our captain, it is you who need to picture Dominica clearly in your thoughts.”
“Me? I don’t know anything about Dominica. How the hell do I picture it in my mind?” She asked a bit exasperated.
“Simply think the word dear.” He smiled. “There is power in a name.” He looked around as the boat began to slow. “It is time. Set the sails and get her under her own power.” Shea barked the orders and the Obsession lurched forward as the sails filled with wind. “Now think the name Shea. Think Dominica.” In a matter of minutes an island appeared on the horizon in front of us and when I looked behind there was nothing but clear blue water where Poseidon’s Island stood only moments ago. At first I thought we’d turned around until I noticed a cruise ship moored near in a small harbor next to a tired looking town. I guess this is Dominica. I thought to no one in particular.
Indeed it must be. Rakish answered. I wonder what adventures we’ll meet here.
I don’t know, but I’m sure Angela has something planned for us. Keep your sense tuned to anything out of the ordinary. I thought and I felt rather than saw the tension sharpen in my whole family, Rakish, Pumar, Killian, and I stood stoically as we watched to island advance toward us.
* * *
This concludes Chapter Twenty-one. Please feel free to write to me to share what you think about this story so far. I'm not sure how long I'll make it, but I will continue as people express interest in the story. Again constructive criticism, comments, complements, or even courteous complaints are welcome, but if you just want to flame the story, then I respectfully ask you to keep your opinions to yourself. I may be reached at: email@example.com, and also at: http://www.facebook.com/lootahakecheta1964.