Chapter 23: The Northern Rebels
I was floating into the air; the only thing I could remember was his hand on my cheek and his breath close to mine. But then, why? Why did that happen? Why didn’t I foresee the incoming attack? I felt him pulling me to the ground and I felt my face hitting on the stones. Screams and many dying Heart Stones were around me. I moved my hands and felt someone near me; his face was cold and he wasn’t moving. I took him in my arms feeling his hair, the lines on his face, the lips I wanted to touch so much and the next thing I could remember were my screams and the Ebu petals covering me and Darth completely.
Dings and Limon woke up and found themselves into a small, tidy room. Limon’s body was itching when he tried to move and then he realized that his wings were bandaged and he had lost some of his scales on his back and legs. Dings was sitting near him with his left pawn bandaged too and was looking at him with dizziness.
“Where are we?”
“I don’t know Dings, I only remember a great sound and a strong flash and suddenly everything became dark.”
“If we are here, then where are the others?” Dings asked and tried to walk on the floor hobbling around.
“I can’t sense Darth nearby, neither Lily nor Monica!” he realized frightened and tried to move but he fell on the bed again.
The door opened and Monica entered the room. Her face was bandaged in some parts, while her eyes were red from crying. She went to Limon, hugged his head and started to cry.
“Monica calm down, shhh its fine now, don’t cry”
“Limon… Darth… he…” and more tears started to flow.
“Where is Lily?” Dings asked her
“She is fine, she has only some bruises but she is fine. She is together with Fin trying to…”
“Wait a second. Did you say Fin? But he was supposed to…”
“Join the Northern rebels on the Northern Mountains?” a man’s voice came from the door and Limon and Dings saw Elemor standing before them, dressed ready for battle
“It’s been a while” he said and smiled briefly, walking close to the bed
“How the hell did you end up here?” Dings asked surprised
“After the Forest of the Nymphs, I traveled to the North and I got caught by the Rebels. I was sentenced to death but they realized the Priestess’s bracelet (and he showed his hand) existence and since then, I provide information and lead some of the troops to the battles. We were the ones who stole the Selemir Records”
“Elemor what happened to Nebolia? It was peaceful when we arrived and there were no enemy troops there” Limon said with serious and worried face.
Elemor’s expression became painful and he advised them to follow him.
They walked through small corridors into deep tunnels and passed many stairs until they reach a clear opening. They were inside a mountain, in fact three different mountains connected together through three different Ebu trees and three long tunnels which were leading underground from the one mountain to another. Elemor told them that during the change of the night shift all of them appeared in front of the Ebu tree of the Third Mountain in a bad mess. They were taken away into different rooms: Limon, Dings and Monica in the Second Mountain, Lily on the First where Fin and the most of the researchers were staying and Darth on the Third for his medical care. They were now going to the First and Elemor placed his hand on the Ebu’ trunk; they teleported quickly to the other Mountain and now they were standing in front of the entrance of a library.
“Fin, I have brought them!” Elemor said and they entered the library.
“Lily! You are fine!” Dings said happily and ran towards Lily who was sitting in one of the studies and climbed on her lap, licking her cheeks. She was looking fine but it was obvious that she was tired, reading, through the Gods help, every book on the library.
“Please have seat” she said and everyone sat on the round table
“First of all I must say that it is a relief that you have finally arrived my Lady” Fin said
“We know for the Rebels plans! What we want to know is what happened to the Nebolia and where the hell is Darth?” Limon said with rage and Monica placed her hand on his head asking him to calm down.
“The city was attack by the Army, two days ago. Luckily the Topaz Temple survived, thanks to the magic of the Ebu Mother Tree, but there were many casualties… One of them was Darthorian.” Elemor said summarizing what had happened.
“You mean he is…”
“NO! He is not dead Limon!” Lily shouted and held her head on her hands, while Monica was hugging her.
“He got hit by a Soul Arrow” and Limon’s face became petrified from fear and Dings lowered his head
“What is a Soul Arrow?” Monica asked.
“It is a special arrow created by the claws and the scales of the strongest beasts in the Darvil Clan and it’s applied with the poison of Nevol’s blood. Only the best of his warriors can wield such destructive power and anyone who gets hit even from one of these is destined to die.” Elemor finished his explanation and Monica looked at her sister; she was ready to pass out from her emotional load and she held her tightly unable to say anything to calm her.
“Darthorian got hit by three arrows and he still managed to survive, the lucky bastard, but he can’t wake up although we treated his wounds.”
“Since then we have been looking for a way to wake him up, but we haven’t found anything.” Fin said and he looked at Lily worried.
“Elder there is way. I can…”
“No! You can’t Lady Lily! It’s really dangerous!” Fin shouted and everyone looked at him puzzled
“Lily what does that mean?”
“It’s simple Monica. There is a spell the Priestess can cast in order to save someone’s soul, but that requires the Priestess’s soul to leave her body and travel into the depths of the victims body.”
“So in general, you will search for Darth from the inside!” Dings concluded and Limon turned to Elder Fin.
“That’s not a bad idea. She will be able to…”
“Traveling into a normal person’s consciousness is nothing, but Darth has no Heart Stone to begin! She might even disappear and when he wakes up she will be dead!” Fin said hysterical from anger and worry.
“I want to see him.” And Limon turned to Elemor “let me see him Elemor”
“He is resting into the medical faculty but he is guarded too”
“Guarded? Why?” Monica asked angrily.
“Because he is dangerous” he murmured and lowered his head.
Lily got up and walked to the exit, holding Monica’s hand. She asked her to lead her to the Ebu tree and they began walking back the way they came from. As they walked Fin explained to everyone that the Ebu Mother teleported them here, it seems that “she” had sensed the coming danger and thanks to her help they managed to escape.
“But that does not change the fact that they attacked innocent people. The sky will have less stars tonight” Lily said and placed her left hand on the tree’s trunk teleporting them all into the Third Mountain.
The Third Mountain had been transformed, through many spells and accommodations, into a giant connecting network of tunnels, chambers and many storage rooms. Here every injured on battle was able to recover and relax before the next battle. Elemor and Fin guided everyone into the room Darth was; two guards were standing in front of the door and bowed with respect when Elemor and Lily appeared, opening the door for them. Darth was lying on the bed, bandaged all over his half-naked body with his eyes closed.
“He looks like he is sleeping” Monica said and touched his head. He was frozen and he was not breathing; Lily sat near him on the bed and touched his hand, while Dings barked at him waiting for his usual answer, but it was in vain.
“And you say that he is alive?” Limon said indignant to Fin and he took a blanket and covered his body.
“That’s how the situation is. There is no hope for him” Fin said and felt his body heavy, losing his oxygen, and fell on the ground trying to breathe. Lily was using her ribbon angry from his words
“Lily stop!” Monica shouted and grabbed her left hand making the ribbon disappear. Fin got up with Elemor’s help and got out from the room. She sat on the bed again and started to cry.
That night Lily walked outside from the room where she and Monica were sleeping and slowly she headed to the library. She found Fin and Elemor sitting on the study, looking at maps and notes. They saw her standing on the entrance and Elemor called her to come. She sat and looked at Fin’s Heart Stone.
“I apologize for my behavior, Elder Fin.” She said with hesitation
“The fault is mine. In a way I hoped for him to die, everything was his fault to begin with. But my Lady your proposal is dangerous. If you fail you will…”
“I will not fail, because he would never harm me” and she got up heading to the exit
“My Lady, when do you plan to…”
“When I return from my mission, I will carry out my duties. If you are asked by Limon or Dings, you can tell them, since we have come to this. I am sure that Limon will explain the details to Monica better than me.”
“Be careful Lady Lily” Elemor said and she smiled as she walked outside.
She felt Limon’s presence when she reached Darth’s room. She opened the door and the dragon got up when he saw her.
“I knew you would come”
“I had decided that from the beginning Limon” and she sat on the bed. The dragon headed to the exit and before he closes the door behind him he turned to Lily:
“I know there are some things you don’t want Monica to know; I can feel it on you. When you go into his mind you will see many bad things. Please promise me that you will judge him after you see the whole truth”
“I will, thank you Limon”
“If you need anything I will be outside” and the dragon closed the door behind him.
“My Lady, I insist that you should not use that spell. It will be dangerous for your existence.” Azure said to her worried.
“He protected her, even against us all this time. Doesn’t he deserve to be saved?” Clomin said to her brother
“We believe that it would be good to learn the extend of her powers” Bener and Menfor said together
“You gave me all this knowledge. It would be a waste if I would not use it to help others” Lily said with determination and touched with her left hand Darth’s chest, whispering the words. Their bodies were covered with light and shining pillar of light traveled from Lily’s body to Darth’s, as Lily’s soul traveled into Darth’s consciousness.
Monica was running with Dings to Darth’s room; she knew her sister would probably be there. She saw Limon standing outside the room and shouted to him
“Limon! Did you see Lily?”
“Yes she is now traveling to the past…” and showed the locked door.
“What? Don’t tell me you left her do that!” and she tried to open the door but Limon blocked her way.
“Come Monica, let me tell you a story from a long time ago” and he looked at Dings, realizing that the time had come.
Chapter 24: Chain of the Lost Memories
I felt the radiance of the light covering me and I flew with it; it was like swimming, I was swimming into Darth’s consciousness, searching for him. I heard voices coming from afar, familiar voices like the sounds of the sea, Limon’s wings flapping strongly, the music of Nebolia. I was passing through his recent memories diving deeper and deeper. Suddenly I felt my eyes hurting and I rubbed them, I could see again! Like the last time on Permer’s mansion! I looked around me and a disguising feeling made me want to puke. I was standing into a battlefield completely covered with corpses; someone was there too walking and I walked towards him, as I already knew that this was the past so my presence here was invisible. When I finally caught up with I realized that the hideous man before me was Darth, standing in front of a mount of corpses wielding a strange weapon. His armor was covered with blood and he was smiling, smiling from the pleasure of killing.
“Darthorian! I have finally found you!” I heard Limon’s voice coming from behind.
The man in front of me was nothing like the dragon I knew but I recognized him from his violet eyes. I stepped a little away and listened to this discussion.
“That battle ended quickly, I could say”
“Just small fry, weaklings, no one is a match for my scythe, personal present from his Majesty himself!” and he showed the weapon I saw with pride.
“Come on let’s head back. King Ruben said he wants to speak with us” and I saw them leaving together.
Quickly the scenery changed again. Now I was inside something like a tent where many men were sitting together discussing loudly with intense.
“My Lord! Why don’t we make an attack and take over the Royal Palace at Selemir? We are stronger from them!” one of them said
“No! We will die if we try that. Their weapon is more deadly than all of us!” and someone lifted his hand and everyone calmed down. A man stood up and started to walk around his council
“Leaders of all Darvil Clans your opinions are all right. But this war with Denmor had lasted for more than two hundred years. We and they have lost many of our people. But I have decided to begin negotiations in order to attain peace and live together with them” but quickly everyone started to shout rejecting his words
“Silence you old men!” someone shouted behind King Ruben and I saw frightened Nevol walking near the King “His Majesty is speaking! Watch your manners!”
“Nevol stand back!” King Ruben said strictly and he moved back.
“As I was saying I decided to attend the negotiation conference which will be held on Nebolia, a city of the South, in order to discuss with the Denmorian King Amberforth the Third about our future. The three Generals with come with me and since the time I will return no one will go on battle. Punishment will befall to those who will disobey! Dismissed!” and everyone left the tent talking loudly. It seems that some of them agreed with the Kings words but some others didn’t. Ruben sat on his throne tired and then a boy appeared from somewhere holding a disk with a glass of wine.
“Commander Dings, thank you for your help”
“Not at all your Majesty, but do you really think that there will be peace between us and them?”
“Later my child, now call the Three Generals to come here.” And the boy left the tent and came right away followed by three men who kneeled in front of their King.
“General of the Sky, Prince of the Dragon Clan Limon, General of the Sea, and Commander of the special troops Nevol and also, General of the Earth Darthorian. You will travel with me to Nebolia in order to negotiate with King Amberforth. Also Commander Dings will prepare everything we will need. After that…”
“Excuse me your Majesty but may speak freely?”
“I believe that it would be dangerous to leave the army without a leader. Also I don’t see any good reason why we should negotiate at the first place” he said clearly annoyed, I could tell.
“He will not be alone Darthorian. The Priestess will also be with him” and I saw everyone’s expression changing from surprise to fear.
“The Priestess? She will live the Capital just for that?” Nevol said with hesitation
“I heard that she is not even human and that she is almost one thousand years old!” Darthorian began
“Is she still a woman. Only that counts to me!” and everyone laughed.
I felt the scenery changing again moving me further and further. Now I was standing around many Ebu trees and I heard them singing just like that day. I walked into the crowd, passing through the people like a ghost, without being noticed. I found Darth and Nevol walking together, disguised like normal townspeople. They were heading to the Topaz Temple from what I heard from Nevol and I followed them. We entered the Temple and they stood waiting for their turn.
“I heard that this tree can grant you a wish” Nevol whispered to Darthorian
“If that’s so I want to become the strongest warrior in whole Denmor!”
“Can’t you wish for anything else?”
“There isn’t anything else for me” and they both became quiet when they saw the woman walking to them. She was dressed in white and her head was covered with a hood leaving only her nose and her mouth visible. They made room to let her pass but she tripped and she would have fallen if Darth hadn’t caught her.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, thank you for your help” and she leaned her head thanking them and she left.
“What was that Darth? I didn’t know you were a gentleman!” Nevol teased him
“Shut up and let’s get over with it!”
Later I followed them when they got out from the Temple to a big marble building built at the edge of the city’s boundaries. They found at the central room Ruben, Limon and Dings already on their positions waiting for the arrival of the Denmorian King. They took their positions on the big round table and they stood again when the guard announced the entrance of the King
“I present you His Highness King Amberforth the Third and her Holiness the Priestess of the Four Gods!”
Darth’s expression changed dramatically when he realized that the woman who sat right opposite from him was the same woman he helped back at the Temple. I heard them discussing for quite some time agreeing and arguing at the same time until it was too late to continue. They all returned back to their residents but I followed Darth as he walked into the city which was preparing to rest and I saw him sitting on a bench. I think he was trying to understand about what happened before but suddenly I heard someone singing a familiar melody and I saw Darth walking to the direction the song was coming from. That song was the one I sang back at the shores of the Bone Desert and I saw the Priestess singing in front of a dying Ebu tree. Its petals were black and its branches were falling one by one leaving at the end only a black trunk.
“You must wonder why I am singing into tree” she said
“I heard your song; it’s one of those we say honoring the dead” Darth said and walked closer to her.
“You are not afraid of me? Your men say many stories about me”
“I am the scariest person woman. Don’t blend with our matters!”
The Priestess moved her hands and a long, golden, stick appeared. It had four stones on its top, placed on a golden disk which represented the sun, shining like the day.
“This is my Heart weapon. Every Priestess has one of her own. The Stones on the top are the Four Gods which bear the powers to hold Denmor into balance”
“Why are telling me all these? I could easily use them to destroy you.”
“I will not be destroyed that easy General. I lack the only thing that makes me human”
“And what is that? The pleasure to rule over the Darvil Clan?” he said ironically.
“Love?” and he laughed with her answer “You and I are warriors, we don’t need those things! You protect a world and I protect my Clan. Those with feelings like love are destined to die one day”
“I see, so that’s how you have survived all those years of war” and she smiled. For some reason her smile made him stop talking and he was left gazing at her with curiosity.
“Take off that hood. It’s annoying”
“I can’t. Only when I die anyone will be able to see my face” and she started to walk back leaving Darth astonished behind. Before she leaves the small park and walk back she turned to him and with her gentle smile she wished for a good night’s rest:
“Let us talk again sometime General; you are a really interesting person”
“Darthorian… you can call me Darthorian if you want” he said hesitating for a moment
She bowed and disappeared into the night leaving him behind with a strange feeling appearing for the first time inside him.
The next days passed before me like flying images. It seems that at some point the two Kings were able to agree and decided to sign the declaration of Peace between the two nations. At the same time Darth spent many nights with the Priestess walking into the city and visiting from time to time the Topaz Temple. She liked walking and jumping up and down on the Tree’s roots while Darth was looking at her. His face had changed, his expressions became calmer and his eyes were not that cold anymore.
“Hey Darthorian!” she shouted from afar.
“What is it?”
“When I die I want to be buried inside that tree, I want to become one with the Ebu Mother and bear her children for eternity”
“That’s a stupid wish Priestess. Don’t ever say something like that!” he said angrily grabbing her hand bringing her close to him. He touched her face and kissed her on her lips. She pushed him back and started to run outside the Temple.
“Don’t follow me Darthorian!”
“Why not?” and he grabbed her again hugging her tightly.
“I will make you suffer if you are close to me… I don’t want you to bear my weight too”
“I don’t care, I have already shared your pain since the day I heard you sing”
They were standing alone into the dark square wondering about their future and their feelings without realizing that someone was watching them from the shadows. I saw Nevol’s face transforming into an expression of hate and jealousy.
Suddenly I felt a tremor and started to fall deeper into the darkness. I saw Nevol murdering King Ruben and declaring to the army that he was assassinated by the Priestess. I saw the army heading to Selemir destroying everything into their way, burning the forests into ashes, killing everyone on their way until they reached Selemir. I saw the giant crystal Palace being beleaguered by Nevol’s troops who were leading the way in while Limon, Dings and Darth were fighting fiercely too. Why Darth was fighting so hard? Didn’t he care about her? I saw him breaking into the Palace and I followed him passing through fighting soldiers and climbing on mounts of dead bodies. I ran into the corridors until I reached something that looked like a Temple. There were four columns which were placed around a crystal floor creating a perfect square. On the columns were paintings created from Heart painters, telling forgotten stories from the past. There was a woman who was holding a baby on her arms. I realized that she was the Priestess and I saw her placing the crying baby on the floor and stabbing it with an Ebu branch. Then the baby disappeared into a cloud of Ebu petals vanishing to the skies.
“Escape my Princess, might the Gods protect you forever” and she stood up looking directly at me. But then I realized that she wasn’t staring at me and I turned around. Darth was standing before her holding that scythe I saw before.
“Why Priestess, why did you betray me?” he shouted with anger and pain
“Look at your Heart Stone Darthorian! You will find the truth really soon!” and moved to his side holding her magical stick. They were fighting each other right in front of me! Why? What happened that made them fight like that. I noticed Nevol standing at the entrance looking at them with satisfaction and he threw with really great power a poisonous spear. I screamed Darth’s name as the spear flew to his side but then I was petrified when I saw the Priestess taking his attack, standing in front of Darth, protecting him. She fell on his arms, bleeding and breathing heavily. The heat from the fire was intense and then I heard her saying:
“I I bestow upon you a blessing and a curse”, she said with trembling voice, “travel to the end of our world without resting until you find the one who will free you and punish you at the same time, but that person will also give you my blessing…”
Her voice became weaker and I could barely hear her. Darth shouted to her, holding her tightly
“My name… is… Freya.” And the hood fell from her head. She was beautiful, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I recognized the star-shaped tattoo on her forehead, which had started to disappear slowly and her long white hair were covered with blood from Darth’s hands.
“Goodbye my love…” and she stopped breathing.
Darth screamed from pain and sorrow. I couldn’t stop crying seeing them like this. He was still holding her when Nevol grabbed him and ripped off his Heart Stone taking away his life.
“This is your punishment for betraying our Clan. Now I am the strongest warrior in Denmor!” and he threw him back, leaving inside the flames which had already started to surround them.
Limon and Dings took them out of the Palace and together they hid into the Forest. I saw them giving to Darth’s dying body a great amount of their magical power reducing their forms into those of a dragon and a puppy. They saw the next day Nevol’s crest on the Palace’s walls realizing that the worst era on Denmor’s history had already began.
“What will we do now Darthorian?” Dings asked the boy who was still holding the Priestess’s body on his arms. He wiped his tears and stood up.
“First we will go to Nebolia and then (and he looked at the Palace) we will search for a way to destroy Nevol!”
They traveled into Nebolia and I saw them into the Topaz Temple. Darth softly left Freya’s body on the water’s surface and the roots of the Mother Tree slowly covered it making it sink completely into the blue water.
“Take good care of her” Darth whispered to the Tree and a gentle breeze, which carried some Ebu petals, touched his face
“Goodbye my love” he whispered and the image disappeared.
The tears couldn’t stop falling, my heart was in pain as I saw Darth, Limon and Dings wandering into Denmor for the next years searching, meeting many people on their way, consulting Fin from the Library of Namur although he knew the whole truth about what happened, until the day they saw a star falling from the sky.
Suddenly a new image appeared before me. There was a road that scenery was not from Denmor. I heard a familiar sound and I recognized the sound of a car running on the road and the people inside it were laughing. Suddenly the car caught fire and tripped from its course making loops on the air and at the end it exploded to the ground. From one corner I saw Nevol smiling with pleasure and disappearing into the Ebu petals and at the next moment Darth, Limon and Dings appeared and ran to the burning car. I followed them as they searched for survivors but I couldn’t see anything from the smoke.
“I can hear someone crying in there! Someone is still alive!” Dings said and Darth together with Limon jumped into the fire, coming back after a while holding something covered with Darth’s cape. Two girls were inside the cape, one unconscious but still alive, and the other was crying calling her mother’s name. They were twins, with the same color of hair, and my heart was ready to burst when I realized that the crying girl was me. I couldn’t see anything, judging from my awkward movements, and I was hysterical; my body was covered with ashes and Darth held me on his arms, trying to calm me down
“What is your name, child?” he asked the small girl whipping the tears from my amber eyes
“Lily… my name is Lily. Where is my mummy? My daddy? Monica?” and she started to cry again
“Darth we don’t have much time” Limon warned him while he was creating a passage with two Ebu branches
“Lily, descendant of the last Princess of the Aimilians, you shall forget about us and live your life peacefully.” And he touched the child’s forehead with his finger putting her to sleep. He kissed her on her forehead and put her near her sister covering both of them with his cape, and disappeared from their sight inside the Ebu petals.
I shouted Darth’s name when that last image disappeared, and I started to run into the darkness. We already knew each other for so long yet we lived so far from each other. How can fate be so cruel with us? Why has destiny drawn us together and at the same time it wants us to lose each other?
“DARTH! Where are you?”
“Li-ly…” a voice came from my back and I saw a man completely trapped inside a tree of thorns. His body was bleeding and I could barely see his face from where I was standing.
“I have finally found you Darth…”