The NUAC Headquerters

Greeting to all the NUAC members. I hope one day to be fighting along side you on a front against Illuminat, Sungods, and Grimoire. My slogan is from the shadows of others we shall rise and conquer. Together we will march up the front door step of every Overlord from here to Pesty, and then the head of the snake himself. Who is with me?
The NUAC Headquerters

Greetings. Please, please come in. The only way you recieve this message is if you are a member of the Shadow Rangers Coven on Thirst of Night. And if you would please, sign into chat while you are in the lair. Thank you

Working together and cordinating. Get a team of 6 to 9 together, If you would permit, I will send one of my Cptns to you to help train your team with the swarm strike. We just left Blood Red, AC2 Overlord, with nothing but a dead gargy in his city, that was a team of six. If we can get the rest of NUAC trained on the swarm strike taticed, then we can set up three or four waves a day of 6 to 9 covens 6 to 9 mbrs strike team. Complete and total seige for as long as we continue to deploy our waves.

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    The Realms of Kios Book one The Mystery of Larna Part 3

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    Xavier Micheals
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    The Realms of Kios Book one The Mystery of Larna Part 3

    Post  Xavier Micheals

    Chapter Eleven
    The Journal
    The group arrives in Bravado in the four days Larse promised. When they first get to town, they stable their horses, and since they know they will stay here for a few days at least, Xavier asks the stable master if he can stable the wagon and pack horse as well. The stable master agrees. After taking care of the horses and wagon, the group goes to the tavern and gets meals and rooms. They set at a table and as always talk while they eat. This conversation however is not of the normal type they have.“So, in the morning you will go and find the library?”
    “Yes, I think I will take Damon and Galbator with me. Solara, you and Larse could start talking to some of the locals about anything they may be able to tell us about any events in Corsica that may involve the King or one of the other lords of Corsica that are upcoming. Terish, Noric, I’m assume you can find something to keep yourselves occupied.” Xavier tilts his head toward a group of woman in the corner staring and giggling at the two young men.
    “I’m sure a thing or two to occupy our time, eh Terish.” Terish nods in approval, and the group chuckles. “What about me Xavier, can I come to the library with you and the others?”
    “Yes Revale. I would be pleased to have you along with us.”
    The group retires for the night. When they wake in the morning, the group eats there breakfast and then goes onto their respective assignments. When the four men reach the library, they go in separately, Damon being the first to enter. He goes directly to the librarian and asks about the journal of Cuross. The Librarian points him in the direction of legends and folk tales section. The other three men have entered the library by this time, and the casually follow the boy when Damon heads toward the section to find the journal. They reach the section and find the manuscript easily.
    They take it to a table in the back corner of the library hidden by the book selves. As soon as they are there, Revale picks up the journal and begins to shove it up under his waist coat.“No Revale, we are not going to steal the journal. We have no need for it.”
    “Then how are we supposed to find the clues in it to lead us to the map.”Xavier reaches into his bag of holding with the thought of paper. He retrieves a stack of paper equal to the thickness of the journal. “This is how.” He lays the paper on the table and places the journal directly on top of the stack. He passes his hand around the edges of the journal, then in a X pattern across the top. The stack of paper and journal begin to slightly glow for a few moments. Then Xavier hands the book to Damon and says, “There you are, please place this back on the self Damon.”
    On the stack of paper that was blank is now written the words that are written in the book. Damon looks at Xavier, “You got to teach me that one.” Xavier lets out a slight chuckle and says, “In due time my boy. For now, return the book to its self.” The boy returns the book and the group walk out of the library in the same order they came in. They walk back towards the tavern. Xavier begins to talk to Galbator.
    “Galbator, your father was entrusted with scrolls translated from Larna correct?”
    “Yes, he guarded them well I am sure. He probably has them in his study somewhere in the palace of Sorna I’d bet.”
    “Good, when we get in to see him, you need to ask him if you may see them. I will cast the replicate spell again and do the same with them as I have Cuross’s journal. I don’t think we should go past finding the map without first reading those scrolls.”
    “Oh, do you have a bad feeling about something all of a sudden my friend?”
    Xavier tells Galbator about the night of interrogation on the way to Bravado. Galbator agrees with him that it would be best to know what the scrolls say before they even attempt to enter the city of Larna. They also discuss what the riddle of a warning Ardriena had given to them in Jacobs. They concur that if the answer to the riddle is not found in Cuross’s journal, then it must be in the scrolls.
    Once the four of them return to the tavern, they go to Xavier’s room so they can have privacy to read the words of Cuross. “Now we will get the story from firsthand account”, says young Damon. Galbator and Xavier chuckle, “We have been getting the story that way for years now. Cuross is a story teller in Brom in the realm of Dikiny. We have heard his tales of Larna many times.” Xavier reaches into his bag of holding once more with the thought of journal on his mind and retrieves the copied journal from the library. He sets it on the table in the room in front of the group, and begins to read.

    Words of Cuross
    Today is the thirteenth moon of the month Saline. We have finally made port in the place we will be building our new world. We could still see the smoke rising from Liotta high into the air until four moons ago. We have all lost and left so much behind. As we were boarding the ships in Sea Reach, we had heard that Vestrel’s army had reached Diarwood and began its siege. Surely the city fell quickly as did Sartan. Liotta is now under Vestrel’s rule. I pray for Nartok to watch over all the humanoid souls that were unable to escape. I pray for my king Zarimec and his queen. Their son Alexander feels much grief and loss, though he shows none. Hopefully he will remember the lessons his father taught him and his brother Tyrene of how to be a righteous and fair king. And he will not allow the loss of his mother and father cloud his judgment. They are calling us to go ashore.
    Today is the fifteenth moon of the month a Saline. We have began the construction of the city of Sorna as it is to be called. We will be finishing our passage thru the mountains to the north so we have a way to explore the rest of this vast new land. The palace is grand, and the palace walls closing it off from the rest of the city are high and thick.
    Constructed of pure methral. The engineers have started the construction of the City walls extending to the islands that make up Sorna Bay. There is to be a water gate placed between the islands. This city will be a very powerful stronghold when it is completed. Many immigrants have started coming to Corsica. Some from Dikiny, and some from Liotta. The ones from Liotta bring stories of a horrible life. Vestrel is cruel and greedy they say. The citizens barely have enough to eat and famine runs ramped. Nartok be with them.
    “Xavier, skip ahead, you will have this book in your magic bag forever, you can do this casual reading whenever you would like. Get onto Larna.”
    “Yes Revale, I do agree.” Xavier looks at the pages with the thought of war. The pages start turning themselves and stops on a page after twenty or so have been turned.
    Today is the twentieth moon of the month of Midar. We have had men, women, and children coming to the city from the outside villages for five moon cycles now, since the second day of Contra. They bring reports of ogres, orcs, and a strange race raiding their homes and farms. The sky is becoming black as night in the middle of the day with the smoke from the fields, forests, and grasslands.
    Scouts report that these raiding parties are coming from somewhere around the Argiena Lake. They saw three large galleon type ships anchor of f the shore of Corsica to the east. Since then, there have been reports of long boats making landings on the coast and unloading hundreds of these three filthy races at a time. Once the long boats are empty, they return to the large ships, and then return again with more. Reports have put the numbers of these invades around fifteen thousand to date. King Alexander had me put together ranger patrols of five to ten to start searching the mountains for caves or caverns that we may go to until this invasion is over. He fears this is Vestrel’s doing and he seeks himself, Tyrene, Richard, and Lady Guinavire to finish his revenge on the two families. I pray our scouts find something soon.
    Today is the twenty fifth moon of the month Midar. Five of the rangers have returned today with news of a valley deep inside the mountains. They report there is a passage to it and it is large enough to build a city the size of Sorna. I am returning with these five men in the morning so I may map the location. There is much to be done before then. The map I will put on the page in this journal following this page, and my notes on the page after. The two pages show just the very edge of themselves as though they would in the actual book the men left in the library. You can see where they have been torn from the binding. There is no more entries by Cuross. The next page that has any writing on it must be the writings of Sabastian, Galbator’s uncle responsible for hiding the map somewhere in Sorna.

    The Riddle
    On the third morning of Contra, when the sun rises in the West, from a place of great grandeur you will see a beam of light that will show you where to begin the search for what you seek. When you begin your decent, beware the walls, things are not always as they appear. To show any surprise of their true form will be the end of you, so show no fear. You must descend in to the ground until you are close to being consumed by the fire at the center of Kios. There you will find several holes in the wall of this burning chamber, you must then reach in the right one at the wrong time. For the true time is mid day of the final day of Contra.

    “Does any of that make since to any of you?”
    “It was my own uncle that wrote the riddle and none of it except we have to go way down into the ground to even get close to the blasted map, Contra last nine days.”
    “And the sun never rises in the West, always in the East. How could it rise in the West?”
    Damon says, “Well we have twenty one days to find out. It is eighteen days by the road from here to Sorna. Plus however long it takes us to get into the palace walls to even try and find this place of great grandeur.”
    “This is true my friends. We must all think long and hard on this. The answer to this riddle is the only way to retrieve the map, and since even Cuross’s notes of his mapping are gone, we have to have that map to even come close to finding Larna.”
    “Let’s find the others and let them know what the riddle says. Eight minds are better than four.”
    “And contra is in thirty one days. So we have thirty four days to get into the palace, find the place of grandeur, and get the sun to rise in the West.”
    “Sounds easy enough.”
    Warnings From Afar
    The group goes and finds the rest of their companions. They all pay for another day of stable and rooms. They make plans to set out first thing in the morning for the long trip to Sorna. Xavier takes care of resupplying the provisions for such a long trip. Since they all have the riddle to figure out, they decide there will be very little cross country travel to Sorna. But they also know that time is against them.
    After the quietest meal the original five have ever had, the group retires to their rooms. It is a peaceful night and they all sleep well. In the morning, they retrieve the mounts and wagon and stop at the mercantile to have the provisions Xavier had ordered the evening before loaded into the wagon.
    Remembering what the boys’ father from Jacobs said, they put Damon in the driver seat of the wagon with his horse tied to the back leading post. Xavier purchases a horse, and the group leaves town. As they get to the edge of town, an old human woman stops Xavier. She looks at him with vacant eyes as she speaks, “Don’t be foolish, stop your quest for things that should stay buried where they are now and return to Dikiny. Nothing but death and destruction awaits you Xavier, this I promise you. Return to your homeland now before it is too late.”
    Then the old woman’s eyes have depth to them, and she looks at Xavier and exclaims, “Oh sorry sir, I didn’t mean to block your way. May Nartok be with you and your friends. Good day.” And she walks off in the same direction she came from.
    Xavier looks at the others who have stopped and witnessed this. They all look at one another, and then proceed to leave Bravado. Nothing more was spoken of this event. But Xavier cannot stop thinking about the vacant eyed woman’s words. What did she mean, and who was that spoke to him thru her lips.
    The group has a mostly eventless travel on the road from Bravado back to Thai. They return to the tavern to get rooms. The bar keep sees them walk in and Solara goes to the bar to order the food and drink and pay for the rooms.“So did you all find what you was lookin for in Bravado?”
    “Yes we did actually. But it hasn’t helped much, if anything it has made things a little more confusing.”
    “I told you, you should just forget about Larna, just as should Cuross. So, how long will you all be staying this time?”
    “Just one night, we will heading out for Sorna in the morning.”
    “Make sure you are stocked up. There is nothing between here and Sorna but forest and grassland. There are reports of bandits attacking travelers about a day and a half south of here, especially out realmers. So stay sharp. And my Nartok be with you.”
    “Thank you. How much do I owe you for the rooms and meals?”
    “On the house this time, just remember me if you do make it back this way. And I don’t say IF lightly”
    “You worry too much. Thank you for the free meals and rooms. I will remember you when we come back thru.”
    “So you are going to continue to try and find Larna huh?”
    “I got out voted.”
    “Just watch yourself. Besides the bandits, there are plenty of other things that would prefer to see a group like yours dead.”
    “We’ll be fine I’m sure.”

    Chapter Twelve
    The road to Sorna
    The group wakes up in the morning and they eat their breakfast. They retrieve the horses and wagon and leave out on the road to Sorna. They travel almost a full two days without seeing a soul. Then the evening of the second day Noric sees a small group of men heading towards the group. The man in the front of the group is leading a pack horse. One is driving a wagon, and two others are in the back of the empty wagon. As the two groups grow closer, one of the men in the back of the wagon calls out, “Hello fellow travelers, how goes it?”
    The two groups stop when they reach each other. The two men in the back of the wagon jump out. One appears to be not older then maybe twelve. He has a bow strapped crossed his back while the other two are armed with cavaliers. The man leading the pack horse seems to be in charge of this group. He introduces himself as Wesslin. Then he introduces his traveling companions, Lokin, Kamdin, and the young boy is Marcus.
    Wesslin explains they are heading to Thai to do some fur trading. The two groups talk for a bit, and then Wesslin gives a warning of hearing of bandits in this area. Xavier thanks the man and tells him they have heard this as well. The two groups bid each other a good day and safe travel. The four men go up, and disappear around the bend in the road.
    Suddenly out of know where an arrow hits the seat of the wagon barely missing Xavier. The group quickly dismounts and takes up battle stances with weapons drawn. “Did anyone see where it came from?”
    “Not I, I felt the wind from the quills though.” Xavier yells.
    The group is scanning the trees on either side of the road, and the tree tops. “Anyone, does anyone see anything?” Exclaims Solara, about this time three men with cavaliers and scarves on their face come out of the woods to the left of the group.“Surrender your valuables, or die!” one of the men shout as they approach. The man is struck in the chest with an arrow that hits with an explosive impact killing him instantly. All of a sudden lightning bolts fly from Xavier’s fingers striking the other two bandits. They fall to the ground, alive, but unconscious.
    Xavier calls out to the archer, “Come out boy, we wish you no harm. If you need food, we will give you some. No need to steal.”
    “How do I know you won’t kill me on site like you have them?” A voice calls back.
    “Only Wesslin is dead, the other two are only unconscious and will awaken shortly, a little sore, but very much alive.”
    “I’ll come out, but tell that she devil to lower her bow, the half-ling too.”
    Solara and Terish lower their bows. Solara speaks under her breath in disgust, “She Devil?”
    The young Marcus comes out from the tree line, his eyes panning from member to member as quickly as they can move in their sockets. “Yes, she devil. Elves and half-elves are the spawn of Tacknosh. At least that is what I have always heard.”
    “But yet this land is ruled by an Elven king. And from what we have seen, he is more than a gracious king.”
    “Yeah, all you devils stick together.”
    “So what is it that you wish or need that you do not have my child?”
    “Food, gold, water, just the basic necessities of life, Oh yeah, and shelter would be nice.”
    “We can help you with the food and water. We have enough extra provisions that I can give you enough food for three people for three days. And I can fill three of your water skins. But I cannot help with the gold.”
    “Hey beggars can’t be chooser’s, only thieves.”
    Xavier gives the boy nine meals of dried rations, and he fills the three water skins. “Now let me see your quiver boy.”
    Marcus reluctantly hands the elven man his quiver of arrows. Xavier takes the arrows out and snaps them in two over his knee.
    “Hey, now what did you go and do that for!” exclaims Marcus.
    “Because I don’t feel like being shot in the back today,” Xavier’s group regains their mounts and head on their way to Sorna.
    “Can you believe the nerve of that kid, calling me a she devil!”
    “What’s wrong Solara, afraid the ears are to big?”
    “Shut up you grumpy old sawed off jackwagon.”
    “Don’t worry Solara I think your ears are beautiful”, Larse comments as he rides past her.
    Galbator begins his mumbling. “You know, if you would trim that beard Galbator, we could all hear what you are saying.”
    “That is the point you over grown fairy, I don’t want you to hear what I am saying when I talk into my beard.”
    The group lets out a hardy chuckle. They continue traveling until night fall. They set up camp at the edge of the road.
    “Xavier, have you figured out any of the riddle in Cuross’s journal?”
    “No Damon, have you?”
    “I do believe that the wrong time, meaning the right time, is actually Midnight of the last day of Contra.”
    “Kind of like a mirror effec ……”
    “When the sun rises in the West. Of course, there is a room on top of the palace that is filled with mirrors. It is used to send light to the Palace during the day. So as the sun rises on the third morning of contra,…..”
    “It will appear to be rising in the west in one of the mirrors which in the morning sun may reflect a beam of light somewhere other than down into the palace, but out onto a certain, …….”
    “Spot on one of the four palace walls. Of course.”
    As Xavier scribes the partial answer to the riddle on another page of his copied journal, “Damon, we work well together. Thank you.”
    “No Xavier, thank you for the chance to take this journey with you, and learn from you.”
    “It is really beginning to be my pleasure.”
    Solara’s Tale
    At watch change, Xavier wakes Solara and Damon wakes Larse. The two new watch guards come to the edge of the camp fire before they realize who they are on watch with.
    “Hey Solara, how was your rest?”
    “Oh, hey, not bad, thank Nartok we have second watch. At least afterwards we can go back to sleep”
    “Yeah, …. Thank Nartok.”
    They both begin to speak at the same time, “So, oh, sorry.” There is a slight chuckle from both of them.
    “Please, ladies first.”
    “Lady, do you see one of those around here?”
    “Sorry, no offense intended.”
    “I’ve been called many things, but a lady has never been one of them.” Solara says as she blushes slightly, “ I think I kind of like it.”
    There is a long pause of silence as they both kind of look at the ground. Larse finally breaks the silence, “So, what did you think about those dire wolves back there outside of Thai.”
    “I had never seen a creature like that. Tell me that is the largest wolf here.”
    “Well, some say that a few of the giant wolves still run around the mountain peaks. But I have never seen one personally.”
    “And hopefully we don’t see any.”
    “Solara, if you hate Revale so badly, and you didn’t really want to come on this quest, why did you.”
    “Well, a few years back, as my mother was dying, she told me she was sending me to my father Brethany that is in the realm of Dikiny. She told me to take this letter to the inn keeper there, and he would get me to my father. I had not known the man before that. After the bar part of the inn closed, he walked me to the end of the main street to a small hut. He knocked on the door and well, Xavier answered the door. The man gave him the note, and turned and walked away. I found out a few months later the inn keeper was my uncle on my mom’s side. Xavier took me in and explained why I grew up for sixteen years without him in my life. My grandfather was very much against humans breeding outside of the human race. When he found out that my father was an elf, he was furious. He told my mother the only way he would permit her to keep me was if she never spoke to my father again.
    She told Xavier what grandfather had said, and he agreed to leave so that his daughter could have some kind of life. Mom said he packed up everything he had and went to Brethany. Now, it seems that if I don’t follow him on his quests, I hardly see him.”
    “Wait a minute, so you mean, Xavier, your father, and I, wow.”
    “Mind blowing isn’t it.”
    “Well, in a way I am sorry to hear that.”
    “Oh, why is that?”
    “Well because Solara, I, well, I kind like you. But I would not want to upset your father.”
    “Oh, no worries there, he has already expressed his approval when he caught me smiling at you.”
    “Well, that changes everything.”
    The two of them kind of stare at the ground and there is another long pause. At the same time, they both bend over to pick up the same stone. They look at each other when they realize their lips are just a fraction of an inch apart. They start to lean in to kiss each other.“Well it’s about time you kissed someone Solara. I thought you was going to remain a maiden the rest of your hum elf life.” Galbator chuckles as he walks toward the fire to take his watch.
    “Do you ever keep that vulture looking beak you call a nose to yourself you half of a half-ling? Just once Galbator, you sorry old midget!”
    At this Galbator comes straight at Solara, fist ready to go, “You bite your tongue you pointy eared idiot before I tear it out. You can call me anything you like Solara, but midget is not one of them. This is the last time I’m warning you girl. Next time you had better be ready to hold your own.”
    “Sorry Galbator, but come on old friend. You have to stick your two cents in to everything.”
    “I apologize to Solara, I guess I could have at least waited to say something until after he kissed you.”
    At this Larse stands up, and looks at the two of them, “Okay, well, I think I’m going to head back to bed. Galbator, I will send Terish out to take his watch with you. Good night Solara, Galbator. I will see you in the morning.”
    As Larse turns to walk back to the tent, he hears Solara giggle, and Galbator let out a small Chuckle. “Good night Galbator, oh, and thanks for nothing.”
    “Oh Solara, I’m sure it won’t be your last chance. Good night.”
    Timara
    The rest of the night goes uneventful. Solara is actually the first to rise, and surprises every one with a fresh egg breakfast.
    “Good morning Solara.”
    “Good morning Xavier. Would you like some eggs?”
    “So, your evening on watch, alone, with Larse went well I take it.”
    “We talked, that is it. He asked why I followed you here if I didn’t honestly want to be here. I told him how it came to be that I am here with you now.”
    “Do I smell eggs?”
    “Good morning Noric, yes you do, would you like some?”
    “I’d love some, thank you.”
    “Has anyone seen Galbator and Terish. They were on last watch, and was setting next to the fire when I told them I was going out to find something to cook for breakfast.”
    “Here we are Solara, we scouted ahead to see if we were close at all to Sorna. We are close enough that we can see the Gate towers between the mountains with the spyglass.”
    “So would you say a another days travel?”
    “Closer to a half of a day I think Xavier. Good morning Larse and Damon.”
    Both the boys come out of the tent at the same time. They reply with good morning. Then Larse looks at the ground where Solara has piled the empty egg shells. He recognizes the red with black dot shells immediately.
    “Solara, where did you get these eggs? Could you show me if you don’t mind?”
    “Sure, come on I’ll take you there right now.” The two of them walk off thru the tall grass on the opposite side of the road from camp. Moments later, Larse comes running back to camp shouting, “WE HAVE TO GO NOW!”
    Damon looks at his brother, and notices the shells out of the corner of his eye, “Oh, this is bad. How many of them brother?”
    “I counted six nests. Three of the larger ones empty.”
    “Oh, this is very bad.”
    The part of the group that are all out realmers are looking at these two as if they have gone mad.
    “I really don’t see what the big deal is, they are just birds. People eat their eggs…………..” She stops in mid sentence as she see’s Xavier start to stand with eyes the size of tea plates. Then she notices three very large shadows start to stretch crossed the camp site.
    “Oh, too late. All I can say is watch out for their……” About that time, one of the giant birds lets out a deafening Caw, and a ball of fire shoots across the camp site and strikes the pavilion sized tent. It goes up in flames in just seconds. Larse finishes his sentence with one word, “breath.” Solara runs to her horse and in a flying cartwheel over the top her mare she grabs here long swords from their saddle scabbards. She lands on her feet ready and able to reach one of the giant birds. She strikes at the birds legs. “Let’s cut you down to size you over grown pigeon.” The bird lifts it’s leg and lets out a caw with its open beak pointed directly at Solara. Larse yells, “Ameesh Faytar” as he jumps in front of Solara and swings his blue bladed sword in a circular motion, and the fire ball seems to strike an invisible wall. It rebounds back and strikes a tree top above one of the bird creatures head.
    Damon yells, “Cone of cold” and thrusts his hands towards the birds. A whirling cone of ice seems to fly forward from his hands and it swirls around the birds.
    “Force Cage” Xavier cast his spell and a cage appears around the three creatures.
    “Wall of force” Shouts Galbator just as one the creatures let out a caw and the fire ball begins to leave its beak. It hits Galbator's invisible wall and rebounds into the creature’s face.
    From behind Damon, a coin flies towards the prison the birds have found themselves in, “Greater Sign of Sealing” Revale shouts. At almost the exact same moment, a small relic appears in the wall of force with a great might oak stamped into it. The group all looks at each other, and then they look at Larse.
    “What in the name of Nartok are these creatures Larse?” Solara asks.
    “They are Timara. They are giant flightless birds with some really bad breath and an attitude to match. We should really get going before the three big ones that you took the eggs from get here.”
    Galbator looks at Xavier for a moment in surprise, “The BIG ones. What are these, babies?”
    “Now, these are only about a year or too old. They grow half their size for every year they are alive, they live for oh, fifteen years. So, these are small compared……” A echoing caw comes from the grassland.
    “Really, we can finish this talk later, we really need to go, and quickly.”
    The group quickly grabs what is left of the contents of the pavilion, mount up, and start their horses out at a full galloped. Larse and Solara are in the lead. As they ride, they exchange a look, both smile, and then Solara lets out a strong bout of laughter. They run their mounts for about five miles, and then bring them to a walk, and eventually a full stop. “So, is there any other giant animals you would like to tell me about Larse?”
    “Well, there is the giant spiders, they are the size of our pack horse when they get to be full grown. And not as nice as the Timara.”
    “And how often does one see that creature?” Xavier’s voice comes from behind them.
    “Which one the Timara, or the Giant Spiders?”
    “Both actually.”
    “The Timara, this time of year hardly. We just got lucky enough to camp next to one of their nesting grounds. The Giant Spiders, well, stay out of the deep woods at night. You will see at least half a dozen in a mile section. If you are lucky enough to see them at all. You may just stumble into their web, and then all you see is two human man sized legs and two half-ling sized fangs come up from the hole under ya, and it’s all she wrote by then.”
    The group looks at the six foot three human Noric, and the four foot nine Terish. A simultaneous shudder runs thru the whole group at one time. About this time, Galbator speaks, “Look, we can see the bridge over the river to the north gate of Sorna. Not far at all now.”
    “Have you given any thought as to how we are getting our invitation into those palace walls my friend.”
    “Don’t you worry Xavier, I have a plan.”
    “Did I say I was worried?”
    “Then quit bothering me about how we are getting into the palace. We will get in. Just wait, you’ll see.”
    “Okay, I won’t ask again. Grumpy old jackwagon.”


    Chapter Thirteen
    The Death of a Hero
    Five days earlier
    “Sabastian, are you sure it wise to go cross country to Carlyle? What of the sightings of urgals we have been hearing about.”
    “All the more reason to go cross country. They stick to the roads so they can find the villages easier. I would rather take my chances with the dire wolves and giant spiders then with a band of urgals. We only have ten in our group. They never travel in pacts of less than ten with a group of fifteen or twenty orcs or ogres. Now which would you rather come face to face with Leonidas?”
    “The wolves and spiders”
    “I thought so. Now tell the men to mount up, I want to be underway in ten minutes.”
    “Yes my lord.”
    Leonidas gives the order to mount up. The group of ten rangers from Vita making a supply run to Carlyle mount their horses and wagons and the band is underway. They are six days from their destination of Carlyle. They are carrying supplies that were needed there three days ago. Time is definitely against them. They travel at half speed for the next two days, and make up three days. They are camped in the words between Crane and Evans. The night goes uneventful, and this makes Sabastian somewhat uneasy. This time of year, dire wolves are usually very active on the east side of the mountains because they follow the deer during their migration. But for a day and a half now, they haven’t even seen as much as a paw print of the huge wolves.
    “Stay sharp Leonidas. Make sure the rest of the men do as well. It has been to quite on this journey, and something does not feel right with it.”
    “I know what you mean my lord.
    The group of rangers begin their fourth day of travel. They make it about an eighth of a day down the trail when the horses begin to act strangely. The soldiers begin to become uneasy and on edge. Sabastian calls the caravan to a stop. They all block their horse and the wagon teams. The four senior offices and Sabastian stand in a tight huddle discussing the behavior of the animals. Suddenly one of the sergeants begins to call to the captain. He calls three or four times before the captain finally turns and in a stern tone responds, “What is so important that you insist in interrupting your superiors, I should run you thru where…….”
    “General, I think we need some orders.”
    Sabastian looks up from the conversation, and sees at least forty urgals surrounding there resting area. He exchanges looks with one of the urgal generals who has a grin on his monstrous face. As that general raises his sword, so do the rest that are surrounding Sabastian and his men. Galbator draws his short sword, thrusts it into the air and gives out the call, “Long live King Larkin!”
    All at once the urgal generals drop their swords. The air fills with the whistling of hundreds of arrows raining upon the Sornian rangers. They all fall and lay lifeless where they stood. Sabastian lays on the ground looking up at the mid day sun as he is dyeing, he has thoughts of his nephew he has not seen in two decades, Galbator, and of his brother Delamar. As he is picturing a fond memory of the three of them on a fishing trip when Galbator is the young age of twelve, one of the urgal generals comes to stand over him. The creature stands over him with a scowlish look.
    The creature takes his double serrated edged broad sword, puts it slightly into Sabastian’s chest and leans down. “Long live Vestrel!” Is all the creature says as he buries his sword deeper into the dwarven general’s chest and gives a quick twist. Then he stands back straight and raises his hands and sword into the air and yells the words again, “LONG LIVE VESTREL!” This works the orcs and other urgal generals into a frenzy and the cries and sounds of rejoice fill the forest. The creatures take what they can from the lifeless bodies and from the wagons. They march off toward the mountains.
    A small boy that the creatures never noticed comes down from the tree where he witness the massacre. He goes to the Dwarven general, and sees the seal of Sorna on his chest plate. He takes off running east. The closest village to him is Malice. From there, he knows he can get word to Sorna. The boy runs for the whole half day it takes to get to Malice, driven by fear that there may be more of the creatures close by. When he reaches Malice, he tells the city guard what he has witnessed. They have him immediately go to the messenger’s quarters to send word to Sorna.
    They dispatch five hundred rangers for the boy to lead back to the site of the slaughter. When the captain of the city guard and his men reach the clearing and see the bloodshed he can only say one thing. “May Nartok carry their soul’s home without haste.” He orders the bodies be loaded into wagons, and taken to Sorna for burial. The captain’s men do as they are instructed. The message reaches Sorna only hours before Galbator and his companions. The fellow soldiers that Sabastian lead and fought, mourn the loss of a great warrior, leader, and friend in the tavern.
    A Grave Invitation
    The group continues on to the city of Sorna. They reach the bridge at several hours after their encounter with the Timara. The mid day sun is beginning to beat down on them, and the third moon is finally falling out of site. There is only ten days left to the first morning of Contra. They need to be in the palace and in the light tower by the third morning of the moons alignment. They do not have much time to spare.
    They get to the city and find a very nice inn. This is actually more of a hotel type inn, unlike the tavern style inns they have grown accustom to during their travels. There is no ale served here. That can only be found at the tavern a few buildings away. They stable their horses and Xavier goes to the inn to arrange the rooms. Afterwards, he meets up with the rest of the group at the tavern.
    Galbator goes to the bar and inquires of the bar keep, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I may find the messenger services?”
    “Nowhere on this day. But by mid morning tomorrow, you can find him in the white stone building about four doors south of here. Something I can help ya with?”
    “Yes actually. A city as fine as this is sure to have a few things my friends and I have not had the pleasure of tasting in a while. Do you have any Black Dwarven ale, Elven Spirits, and Elderberry wine?”
    “Of course we do. What do you think this is, a village pub?”
    “ I meant no insult. Could you please have one black ale, three elven spirits, and four elderberry wines brought to our table please?”
    “For that order, you are going to pay a pretty price mister. One hundred seventy five gold.”
    “Here you are. That is cheaper than it is anywhere in Dikiny. Thank you kind sir.”Galbator returns to the table, and joins in on the conversation. The drinks come and Galbator passes them out to the correct person. He raises his stein of black ale, “To the best pointy eared idiot friends, harry webbed toed, insulting stench filled friends a dwarf can have. Cheers.”
    The group all raise their glasses to the toast and throw back there drinks. “Bar keep, another black ale!” Galbator shouts to the bar. “That’s another fifty gold dwarf.” Galbator yells back, “Thank you fine sir. And the name is Galbator, Galbator Greenstone!”
    With this the tavern goes completely silent, and suddenly the group has every eye in the place on them. “Was it something I said?” Galbator asks in a confused manner.
    “Did you say Greenstone dwarf?” from a voice in the corner.
    “Yes, yes I did, and proud of it.”
    “Any relation to Sabastian or Delamar Greenstone?”
    “Sabastian is my uncle, and Delamar is my father. Why do you ask such questions.”
    “You have not heard the news obviously.”
    “I have been in Dikiny the last two decades. What news do you speak of?”
    “Sabastian was killed five days ago by a group of urgals in the forest outside of Dietrich. Does your father know you have come home?”
    “I…..I have only just arrived a couple of hours ago. I have not had a chance to try and get message to him.”
    Just then, a man comes out of the corner wearing armor with the seal of Sorna on the chest plate. “ You and your friends should come with me. I will take you to your father. The rest of your friends will have guest rooms in the palace as well.”
    “Tannin, is that you old friend?”
    “It is Galbator. Come with me. We will go to your father straight away.”
    The group stands from their table, and start towards the door. The bar keep calls out, “Galbator” He tosses a coin purse with all of the gold Galbator spent on this night to the now somber faced dwarf. “It’s on the house for the nephew of a hero and his friends. TO GREENSTONE!” he shouts and the whole tavern response with “HEIR, HEIR” and as Galbator looks around the room, he notices that almost every man in the tavern is one of his uncle’s fellow warriors. He feels his eyes start to water. He looks at the bar keep, and thanks him. Then he looks to the ground, and the group follows Tannin to the palace gates. As they walk, Xavier consoles Galbator. “ I don’t think this was part of your plan.”
    “Announcing my name in the tavern was part of it, but I didn’t see this Xavier. I would have never guess that Sabastian would have perished before I saw him again.”
    The guards outside of the palace gates stop Tannin and the group of travelers. “Weapons must be checked here, you may retrieve them when you leave the palace.”
    “Stand down, this is Galbator Greenstone and his companions. I am authorizing them to pass with their weapons.”
    “Of course general. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
    “General now Tannin. Finally moved up in the world.”
    “Yes, just sorry it came at such a price. I took the place of your uncle Galbator. He was a great man, well liked and respected by everyman that ever followed him into battle. I’m sorry for your loss my friend.”
    “Thank you Tannin, and I could not think of a better man to take my uncle’s place, even if he does have pointed ears.”
    They all walk thru the front doors of the palace. Tannin calls to seven chamber maids. “Show these guests to our finest guest rooms. I will escort sir Galbator to his after we have conference with Delamar.”
    “Yes my lord. Gentlemen and lady, if your will please come with us, we will show you were your guest chambers will be, and were you may take a bath.” The group with the chamber maids ascends a short stair case and goes to the East wing of the Palace. Galbator and Tannin ascend up a much longer stair case and down a hall to the south wing of the palace. They come to a set of double doors with the carving of the four elements on it. A majestic mountain being the largest and in the center with the other three in a half moon below it.
    “I will leave you now. When you finish with your father, have one of the guards’ find me, and I will show you to your guest chambers.”
    “Thank you again Tannin.”
    Galbator opens the heavy double doors of marble and calls to his father. “Father, I am here.”
    “Galbator! My son, when did you arrive.”
    “Just a couple of hours ago to Sorna. I have been in Corsica for close to a month now. I have just learned the news of my uncle.”
    “Yes, tragic. How have you been my son? Is Dikiny treating you well?”
    “Father, we are alone. You do not have to hide your grief.”
    Galbator’s father walks up to him, they embrace. They burry their head in the other shoulder. With the death of Sabastian, they are the only two left of the Greenstone blood line.



    Chapter Fourteen
    A Feast for Kings
    The next morning, the group awakens to music echoing thru the great palace of Sorna. They all end up meeting at the top of the stairs. A chamber maid passes them, and Xavier calls to her.“Yes my lord?”
    “My name is Xavier, no need to call me lord. What is the music at such an early hour for?”
    “Well my lor….Xavier, it is celebration for the passing of sir Greenstone. The dwarven people do not believe in mourning them sir. They would rather there close ones remember them with rejoice, dance, laughter, and feast. Today starts the ten days of rejoice for sir Greenstone’s life.”
    “Just the way the old buzzard would have wanted it to. I hear Hykan Dinem playing in that ball room.”
    “Did you know Sir Greenstone”
    “Her was my uncle, I knew him well.”
    “I rejoice in his life for your then sir”
    She politely bows, and continues on her way.
    “You short people sure have strange customs Galbator.”
    “Listen here you hum elf grave robber, you’re no friend of mine. You will refer to my people as dwarven, and nothing else. One more time Revale, and I will send you to Hilantis myself by way of my hammer.”
    “Sorry Galbator, I meant no disrespect.”
    “Plenty Taken.”
    Galbator walks toward the ball room where he heard the sound of his uncle’s favorite song being played by the bards. He disappears around the corner, and then they hear him start to belt out the words.“Listen Revale, you have not been traveling with us long enough to know when or how to read Galbator. And I can tell you, even though his people don’t believe in mourning their dead the way we do, he is hurting terribly. So right now would not be a good time to start trying to be pals with him. If you’re not careful, he will do what he threatened. And you cannot escape the crater that hammer of his creates.”
    “Sorry Xavier, I just thought I could poke a little fun at him and cheer him up a bit.”
    “Well don’t insult the sawed off grumpy old jackwagon again in my presence. For one, that’s my job, and for two, I will still carry out my threat from the words.”
    “That is enough Solara.”
    “Wow, who’s does everyone hate? Me that’s who.”
    “We don’t hate you, just what you do.”
    “Well hey, some guys are warriors, some are wizards. But you have to have, for a lack of better term, thieves. We make the world go round.”
    “Just mind you don’t let your greedy wit and sticky hands attempt to take anything from this palace. I will make sure myself that you never leave Larna, if we even find it. If not, then you will fall overboard on the way back to Dikiny.”
    “Okay, hands to thy self. Got it.”
    The rest of the group heads to the ball room. At the front end is a tall elven man. He wears a very ordained crown and a robe. Next to him is a very beautiful elven woman. Between them is a young elven man.
    “Larse, is that King Larkin.”
    “Yeah, that is actually his whole family. That is his wife, the Queen Saphira, and the young man with them is their son, Landar. Not sure where Duncan is. Then the tall human in all black to Larkin’s left is lord Malikie, governor of Vita. Then next to him is his two brothers, Andrew and Markeem. Andrew governs Leon, and Markeem governs Carlyle.”
    “So in all honesty, the humans control more land here then the elven king.”
    “Oh no, they just keep order across the land. Trust and believe they to answer to the king.”
    “Interesting.”
    Xavier starts across the room toward the king. He gets about twenty feet away and the queen jumps to her feet and runs behind the great chair she is setting in, five guards surround him, and Malikie’s sword is at Xavier’s throat.
    “What business you have with the king!”
    “Malikie, lower your sword. That pointy eared idiot is with me. He knows no better of the laws of Corsica.”
    “And who are you dwarf?”
    “I am Galbator Greenstone, nephew to Sabastian Greenstone, and son of Delamar Greenstone. We played in the mountains as boys together. Now lower your sword.”
    “Galbator, I care not who you are, or what we used to be to each other. I answer to no one but the king.” Malikie pushes his sword a little closer to Xavier’s throat. “I ask one more time, then I run you thru if you do not reply, What business you have with the king!”
    “I merely wanted to thank him for his hospitality, and compliment him on his home. I meant no harm.”
    “Malikie, lower your sword, guards stand down. Tell me, what is your name wizard?”
    “I am Xavier Arzane. I am from Brom, in the realm of …”
    “The realm of Dikiny. What brings you so far from home Xavier Arzane?”
    Just then, Xavier notices Saphira concentrating, and squeezing Larkin’s hand with every answer he gives.”
    “Well, since your lovely wife is casting detect lie upon me, I suppose I should tell the truth.”
    “That will be enough Saphira. That was a test Xavier. I wanted to see if you would attempt to lie to me. I already know why you and your group has came to Corsica. I have known why you came to Corsica, all of you, since you left the city of Bravado. Word travels fast especially when you go looking for an old blind story teller’s journal. I told Sabastian he should have hid it somewhere other than Bravado, such as out in the middle of the sea. But, like his nephew and brother, he was a hard headed old dwarf.
    Sabastian’s death was just a happen stance at the time of Galbator being back so close to home. He is already missed dearly. Now, if you and your friends would like to continue this conversation, we will retire to my council chambers, and we shall do just that.”
    “Yes sire that would please me greatly.”
    “Very well, Malikie, Andrew, will you accompany us as well?”
    Leave Things Buried
    The group follows the king and his two governors to the royal council chambers. King Larkin takes a seat at the head of the table. Malikie the seat to his left, and Andrew the seat to his right. The group of eight travelers fill the other seats at the table.“I know that you all have come to seek out the city of Larna. Why, I am not sure. Would anyone like to share that with me”
    “Revale, I think you should take that one, you’re the pointy eared hum elf that brought us here.”
    “Um, yes, well, okay. I was told that Larna has a threshold with a treasure larger than any man has ever laid eyes upon.”
    “Well, I know not where you get your information from, but there is nothing but four tombs, thirty seven hundred graves, a dilapidated palace with an EMPTY threshold and forty one hundred and fifty dead bodies in the valley that contains the city of Larna.”
    “Yes well, then where did this come from?”
    Revale gives a quick glance at Xavier, and reaches into his pocket. He slides the Diarwood gold piece across the table. It stops directly in front of the King on the edge of the table.
    “Revale, how did you, get that!”Xavier exclaims knowing full well he had thrown that coin to the bottom of a well in Dowel.
    “Xavier, I’m a thief, with some magic skills. You sleep very soundly, and you aren’t the only one that can cast duplicate…..”
    Suddenly from the end of the table Larkin exclaims, “ENOUGH, Where did you get this coin Revale, I suggest you tell me now before I have you executed for grave robbing.”
    “I didn’t steal it, it was given to me by a man in Dikiny. He said he got it from the threshold of Larna.”
    “Let me tell you this now boy, this did not come from the threshold in Larna. There is only two coins like this in existence. My father, Alexander Diarwood crafted them when he was but a boy courting my mother. They my mother was buried with hers, and I retrieved my father’s from his dead hand in the lower chamber of Larna. Now tell me boy, where did you get this COIN!”
    Suddenly from behind the tapestry on the wall behind Revale, an assassin appears and has a long sword against Revale’s throat. Revale swallows hard, and begins to tremble.
    “Sire, if I may, I would like to speak.”
    “What Xavier?”
    “I have already questioned him about this when Larse here had told me about the great war that happened here in Corsica shortly before Larna became lost. He knew not what the hidden agenda of the man in Dikiny who gave him that coin was.”
    “Do you know who gave him this coin Xavier?”
    “Yes my lord, I do.”
    “Well I still do not, so someone had better tell me before I have you all executed.”At this more assassins appear. One behind each member of the group, and all with long swords poised.
    “It was Vestrel, okay, he is who gave me the coin. He told me he was a treasure hunter, and that the coin had came from the threshold in Larna. He said he found it in the woods near Harris and was close to finding Larna before you ran him out of Corsica.”
    “Malikie, call to arms. Andrew signal general quarters. I am sure he is aware they have made it this far. It is only a matter of time before……”
    “Sire, the a pigeon from the beacon tower in Leon has just arrived with a urgent message.”
    “Well go on boy, what does it say.”
    “Fifty battle galleons seen heading south east from Dikiny. Appears to be filled with urgals and ogres. The flag that is flying is a red shield with a black griffon. Requesting instructions.”
    “Summon Tannin, tell him I want him in my council chambers immediately.”
    “Sire, a message.”
    “Another one, well go on.”
    “It is from the shore watch tower in Vita Sire, Fifty battle galleons seen heading north west from Liotta. Appears….”
    “Let me guess filled with urgal and orcs, and flying a red shield with black griffon banners.”
    “Yes sire. Those words exactly.”
    “Send a pigeon back with this message to Leon and Vita. We are now at general quarters. Launch our battle galleons to intercept. Get all of the citizens inside their palace walls, and seal the them. Ready to arms. Go now.”
    “Larkin, I must go.”
    “Of course cousin, you and your brother go. And tell Markeem to make haste to Carlyle. Now I am kind of happy our brothers left the home land to explore the huge realm to the north. Sad part is they were too young to fight with the first war, and now, they are gone.”
    “We were victorious against this foe once Larkin. We will be again.”
    “I pray so. Both sides has had two decades to build our armies. A hundred battle galleons loaded to the gills that is a lot of the filthy creatures.”
    “And we know hiding somewhere in the mountains is another five hundred already in Corsica, the band that killed Sabastian.”

    It’s Not Your War
    “Xavier, you should take your companions with Tannin. I am having him take my sons and a good many number of the citizens of Sorna thru the catacombs to Christan. We have some hidden merchant ships there for just this event. We have always known this day would come. With as strong as Vestrel’s forces are now, I don’t think we are going to win this one.”
    “Sire, my companions and I are more than willing to stay and fight. We have no problem with doing that.”
    “No Xavier, I know I am not your king, but you are in my palace in my kingdom. You will take your companions and leave thru the catacombs with the others.”
    “Yes sire. My Nartok be with you.”
    “You as well friend. Make sure Galbator goes with you as well, the hard headed old fool would stay here and take Vestrel on one on one. And here Xavier, this has been entrusted to the Greenstone family for decades now. Give them to Galbator and tell him to do what his father and uncle has done, guard them with his life. Larna is defiantly better off remaining a lost city of mystery then any one ever setting foot in it again,” Larkin hands Xavier three pieces of paper.
    “Is this…….”
    “why don’t you pull that duplicate book out of your magic bag and find out.” Xavier unrolls the paper, and the pages are blank.
    “Larkin, I think you gave me the wrong……..”
    “Take out your book Xavier, go to the ripped pages in it. Trust me you will see.” Alexander in full armor is walking down the hall way to the stables.
    Xavier takes his copied journal out. He opens the book to the pages that have been ripped out. The three pages of paper Larkin had given him fly out of his hand and bind themselves to the partial pages in the book. Suddenly on the once blank pages appears a map, a legend key and landmark notations, and the fully translated scroll of the relics in the orb chamber.
    Xavier smiles, so it does exist.

    The Landing
    “Sire, they our battle galleons were able to stop only twenty total of Vestrel’s invading ships. The other eighty ships have just landed in Jacobs and Woodren. What was on forty of the eastern ships has started toward Carlyle, and the other forty ships occupants on the eastern coast are heading toward Vita. What was on all forty of the ships that made landing in Jacobs has headed toward Leon. None of Vestrel’s army is heading toward Sorna sire”
    “He is going to do this the same way he did Liotta. He will wait until Sorna is all that stands of my kingdom. Tell the wall smiths to start another layer on the outer walls. I want the whole thing all the way to the islands reinforced. And then tell Kilian to prepare his assassins for war, and Maltrik is to prepare his rangers for war. Go now. They may not be coming now, but they will soon enough.” The king looks out his window towards Vita. Black smoke is already beginning to fill the skies over Eastern Corsica.
    “May Nartok be with you cousin. To Sartan”, the king raises a glass of wine toward the window and drinks it in one drink. He watches as the smoke rises like a cloud into the sky, and remembers when his father was leaving instead of sending him away. But, Larkin’s grandfather had sent his father away. And now, he sends his sons away.



    _________________
    The time is near to destroy all enemies of the coven
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      Current date/time is Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:37 am