The young couple walked down the narrow dirt path by the sea as they gazed into each other’s eyes. Dusk was approaching and the chilly air became even cooler as the sun began to go down. Susie Piper didn’t care though. She was in the arms of Reggie Miller, most handsome boy in three counties. It was only last year that he had graduated college and had returned to their village a hero. Everyone loved him. But out of all the girls he could have picked he had chosen her. They had been dating for a year now and Susie was sure he was going to ask her to marry him. He had been mysterious all day and now he had pulled her away from her family to go for a walk in the cool autumn air.
He leaned forward and murmured something sweet in her ears. She smiled, delighted. Her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest. It took her a moment to realized it was not her heart that was thumping so loudly but the sound of something big and heavy coming down the road towards them. Frowning nervously she turned around to look behind them. It sounded almost like a horse coming but only bigger. Yet, something didn’t feel right. It was too far away to be making the earth vibrate with it’s approach that much. She could feel something ominous well within her as the vibrations traveled from the ground into her legs and through the rest of her body, getting more intense by the moment.
“Yes, my dear?” He responded almost lazily as his hands played with her golden curls.
“I think we should get off the road. Something big is coming.” Susie tried to keep the nervousness out of her voice. She really wanted to hide.
He looked up annoyed then felt the shaking of the earth beneath his feet as well. A moment later a pungent smell reached his nose.
“Reggie, please! Let’s get off the road!” Susie cried again as she pulled her dainty wrist out of his hand and began to run towards the forest.
He caught her hand and laughed gently at he as he pulled her back to him..
“Don’t be such a scaredy cat, Sue” he chided her gently and smiled as he guided her off to the side of the road. “It’s probably one of the wagons from the nearby farm. We will just move over a bit and let them pass”
Susie didn’t answer his patronizing tone. She couldn’t. Her big blue eyes became bigger as she took on the monstrous beast before her. It had just rounded the bend in the road and was charging towards them like a freight train. A great big head wobbled on a torso much like that of a man, but ten times bigger. On it’s face was a single eye with a burning flame. It’s lower half resembled a horse. Sinewy muscles writhed as it pounded towards them, the foul stench becoming stronger. Bald and hairless it’s entire body was skinless and looked like raw skin pulsing with yellow veins. A piercing scream erupted from Susie’s mouth as she turned to look helplessly at Reggie. But he had already left and was running down the road as fast as he could. Astonished, she ran after him crying out his name. The breath of the beast burned on her scalp propelling her forward in terror. When Reggie stumbled in front of her, she bent to help him up, desperate to get them both to safely. When he turned her around and used her as a human shield her mind shattered. One look at the beast and the pure hatred it held there in it’s grotesque eyes was all it took.
Reggie cowered behind her thin body and when he saw she would not be enough to stop the beast, he shoved her forward and turned to run, hoping that he could get to the fresh water stream that lay just ahead.
Behind him he heard Susie’s terrified pathetic scream cut off abruptly and felt a brief moment of regret. It was replaced quickly by relief that he was going to make it. He could see the stream ahead of him. That feeling was short lived as he could feel the earth move again with the sound of the creatures movement. Muttering a curse against Susie for being so small and not much of a delay for him to get away, he did not hear the sound of the motorcycle right away. Then, just as the nightmarish creature was about to lurch itself for him, a man on a motor cycle skidded in between them. Reggie stumbled back with a cry as the motorcycle sprayed the creature with a wave of dirt.
“Nuckelavee!” The man cursed in disgust as he unhooked a large hammer from his back. “Ugly!”
The Nuckelavee had reared back at the tall man’s approach and covered it’s face from the flying debris.
“I HATE things that are ugly!” The man grinned wickedly and swung his arm back that held the hammer, muscles straining under his black leather jacket.
The hammer came down and struck the ground in front of the monster. Power poured forth like black lightning and traveled through the ground then up into the body of the beast, electrocuting it. Howls of pain and wrath emptied out of it’s mouth as it staggered back.
The handsome man didn’t even pause to look at the damage inflicted. He swung his motorcycle around and rode over to Reggie, leaning over with his hand outstretched.
“Come on! We don’t have much time!” He urged even as he gripped his weapon tighter.
Without a second thought Reggie leaped up behind his rescuer and the two rode away.
Reggie saw upon closer inspection that the man was close to the same age as he was, in his early twenties or perhaps in his late teens. His medium length hair was as black as his leather coat he wore and spiky in the front. His eyes were a startling shade of blue.
Daring to look back Reggie saw the creature roar angrily and start for them once more.
“Oh, it’s a pity you aren’t a woman.” The handsome stranger muttered with wry amusement as he rode expertly away farther from the menacing threat.
A twinge of guilt shot throw Reggie as he once more thought of little Susie. Wisely he decided not to say anything about it to his rescuer.
Up ahead he could see a large freshwater stream. Breathing a sigh of relief, he knew they would make it.
“What is your name mister?” He dared to asked this powerful man.
“My name?” The man questioned him with a raised eyebrow as he rode though the large stream spraying them both with frigid water.. “Thor.”
Thor swung his bike around and looked at the approaching fearsome sight of the Nuckelavee.
“You might want to get off now.” Thor suggested almost lazily as he kept his eyes on the Nuckelavee.
“What? You are going to leave me here?” Reggie asked, alarmed.
“You don’t expect me let that thing run around the country side do you?” Thor shot back. “Imagine if some pretty young thing was out for a walk. It would be real tragic if anything happened to her, don‘t you think?”
A cold chill ran down Reggie’s spine as he looked into the steely gaze of this modern day warrior. Quickly he got off the bike glad the stranger didn’t know about Susie. If he found out…he shuddered and didn’t complete the thought.
“You are welcomed to join me if you want.” Thor quipped as he revved up his bike. “ No? I thought not. I recommend hiding out in that cottage down yonder and don‘t come out till morning.”
Reggie didn’t have to be asked twice as he raced for the cottage. The monster roared again, it’s stench reaching his nose. Running away he never looked back. If he had, he would have seen Thor leap off the bike and sail into the air, striking lightning bolt after lighting bolt into the Nuckelavee driving it back towards the chilly Scottish sea.
Thor looked down coldly at the beast from midair. “I heard of beasties like you but have never seen one. Boy are you ugly!“
Taking out his iphone he looked up info on the Nuckelavee and whistled as he read the info.
“Well now. This is interesting . It says here that your kind like to go on a RAMPAGE of plague killing crops and cattle.”
Thor looked back down at the mythical monster and spoke to it patronizingly. “Ooooh….Who’s been a bad little Nuckelavee?”
The beast roared again and tried to leap up to grab Thor. Unfazed he remained hovering in the air.
“That’s right. It’s YOU!” He cajoled, pulling a face at the Nuckelavee and held out a hand in warning.. “Now hold on. There’s more.”
His laughter rang through the air as it prowled around underneath him, frustrated.
“It also says you hate running water, which I already knew. You also hate the burning of seaweed. Well I’m with you there big fella! Who wouldn’t hate that? But don’t you think you are taking it to far? I mean, to have a phobia about it. Don’t be such a wimp!”
The Nuckelavee roared again but Thor ignored it as he continued to read the information on his iphone.
“Apparently, according to what this says, you can be stopped only by the Mither O’the Sea. But, seeing as I don‘t have them on speed dial..”
Casually Thor put the iphone back in his pocket as he considered the Nuckelavee below him.
“I can’t say that I totally agree with that info.“ He continued to speak and he pulled his hammer back out. “There is another who can stop you.”
As he descended rapidly on the beast below, his hammer began to glow with power. “THERE IS ME!”
With his words he struck the beast sending it flying far over the water, it’s form exploding everywhere.
“ And that is the end of ugly!” He nodded satisfied, twirled his hammer then strapped it in his back once more.
Returning to his motorcycle he continued on his journey hoping to meet up with his companions soon.
Back in the cast off cottage, Reggie huddled in the corner, wincing every time the beast had roared. When he had felt a surge through the air he knew it was over. Yet he had been to afraid to move. It was not till the next morning he was found by some of the townspeople who were out looking for him. He could never explain the surge of power he had felt in the air that night. It was a phenomenon that no one would believe so he kept it to himself. No one ever asked him about Susie either. It was assume that she had left him and went elsewhere. Now if her name was mentioned, it was with scorn for the girl who would dare spurn the love of someone noble as Reggie.
Back were the body of young Susie lay, still and unmoving, a figure short and slightly plump ambled by. Fizzy brownish gray hair framed a kindly face of a woman.
“Well now. You were not what I was expecting.” She knelt down and gently touched the girl’s cold cheek. “Still alive I see. That is good. But we can’t leave you here. I’m afraid I will have to bring you with me.”
There was no place to hide. Nowhere to run. All around were the rubble, the remains of buildings and homes. Nicolette followed Skylara who ran ahead, easily leaping every hurdle in her wolf form. Young Alicia clutched desperately around Nicolette’s neck, her eyes transfixed on the clumsy giant who followed at a much slower pace, yet seemed to be gaining on them. Above them Aquila fought viciously with the Roc. Her eagle’s cry rang out as she twirled in the air and flipped under the flying monster, slashing it’s throat with her talons. Bewildered the flying beast answered back with it’s own scream of rage, unable to fallow Aquila’s lightning fast moves. Nicolette glanced up at the aerial fight then back at the giant who was almost upon them and made a decision.
“Skylara!” Nicolette called to her friend. “We are going to have to fight this creature!”
“Agreed.” Skylara answered back, not sounding pleased. “But one of us will need to continue on to get the child to safety.”
Nicolette whirled around to face the giant, her weapon already out in her hand. “You take Alicia. I will fight!” She hissed out not taking her eyes off the giant.
Skylara hastily turned back to take Alicia but the giant struck before she could be handed over. Nicolette raised her arm and roared as the giant’s club came down. The whites of her eyes disappeared becoming black instead. A blue glow erupted from her outstretched hand, creating a shield that blocked the blow. The force of the collision caused a deep booming noise but Nicolette stood firm, her biotics protecting her and Alicia.
Puzzled the Giant gazed at them for a few moments, not knowing what to do. It last remembered that it’s prey had always fallen after it’s first blow. Anger replaced the puzzlement as it swung back it’s arm for another strike. Then Leo, Dragona and Israel were there in front of the girls. Nicolette didn’t take her eyes off the giant. Instead she tried to anticipate it’s next move. Even though it seemed to have low intelligence it’s moves were fast and deadly.
Skylara observed Alex , Sarthacus, and Lillivale behind the giant. It was surrounded. Each of her friends held their weapons in their hands.
“Who’s your friend?” Israel asked the girls as his head jerked toward the giant, his gun aimed at where the heart would be on humans.
“We will cover your escape so you can get the girl to safety. “ Leo said lowly. “It’s best that you do not separate in case something else unwelcome is around.”
“I got it.” Nicolette replied. “It would be fun to stay and play, but…”
“Don’t worry. We have got it from here Nicolette.” Dragona said and leaped up to meet the giant’s attack as it swung downwards again.
Israel fired his gun and waited expectedly as the bullets glowing with blue lights raced towards the giant’s torso.
A flash of movement and suddenly Mary was there, blocking the blow with her Shaolin Broadsword. Her magic taking the impact of Israel’s. Down below her friends gasped and their eyes widened in shock. Mary shouted something but the breeze carried her words away.
She shouted something again as she easily evaded the giants slaps and landed on it‘s head. She was pointed to them.
“Did she say something about dogs?” Dragona asked as he cocked his head.
“Bad doggy.” Alicia whispered as she looked behind Nicolette.
It was then that Nicolette realized that Mary was not pointing at them, but what was behind them. The fine hairs on the back of her neck stood up straight as she slowly turned around. There behind them stood a host a large creatures in the forms of dogs. Standing over six feet tall, the dark creatures muscles bulged under their skin. Eyes of glowing ember blazed at them revealing nothing but pure malice.
“The Hounds of Hell.” Mary said grimly, suddenly beside them. Behind her the giant reached up into it’s hair trying to find the invader. “You take care of them. I will take care of the giant. I have a feeling the giant is innocent of this fiasco. It’s just a diversion.”
The hounds did not wait for them to decide. They sprung with deadly white fangs baring straight for them.
With storms in his eyes, Lillivale’s form blurred with a glow from where he was behind the giant, and took his spot between the host of hell and the girls. Right beside him was Necros. Pure energy the color of black with purple edges forms twin swords in his hands. In the center of the swords glowed a dark blue. The swords became a blaze of color as Necros expertly wielded the weapons so fast that no one watching could have followed. Both men crouched low and sprung up to meet the onslaught of the raging hounds, cutting down the fearsome creatures effortlessly. But the wave of demon dogs kept coming.
Nicolette could not worry about that now. She turned to flee the other way, moving back towards the giant. The large creature was busy trying to stand up straight as the smaller figure of Mary attacked it time and time again, pushing it back but not wounding it. Her slender figure would disappear then suddenly reappear at a different spot around the giant. Confused it became easier to “herd” from the remains of the town.
Nicolette easily dodged a large rock that was kicked up by the giant’s stumbling feet and ran past it. She was met by another woman and hung back, suspicious.
“This is Lunar.” Israel said from right beside her.
He had followed her to give her cover.
“She is trustworthy and can teleport. Quick. Give her the child! She can bring her to safety.”
Though she trusted Israel, she did not trust the stranger.
“It’s ok Nicolette.” Israel reassured her, anxious to get back to help his other friends. “I’ve known her for a long time. You can trust her.”
“You can trust me.” Lunar spoke simply, not bothered by Nicolette’s distrust.
Nicolette looked into the kind green eyes of the other woman and knew Israel was right.
“Alicia. Go with this woman. Her name is Miss Lunar and she will help you.” Nicolette spoke gently as she looked at the girl. “You will be ok. Do you understand?”
Alicia nodded solemnly as she was handed over to Lunar.
“That’s a good girl.” Nicolette praised gently. “You are a brave girl.”
Then Lunar and Alicia were gone, as if they had never been there. Without another word, Nicolette and Israel turned back to fight along side their friends. Racing side by side they reached the fray to see everyone in combat, outnumbered by the hellish hounds. Skylara was still in her wolf form, fighting with any hound that was foolish enough to try and take her down. Her rage matched their own but had more power in it. Her rage was justified while theirs were not. He looked up and saw that despite her smaller size, Aquila was gaining the upper hand with the Roc. But she was still young and was visibly tiring.
To Israel it seemed as if the fight were about even, but as he looked into the eyes of a hound that was posed to pounce on him, he saw that none of them were suppose to live. Irritated he jerked up his shotgun and fired it into the beast mid leap. Even as the beast fell, it’s body glowing blue from the weapon, Israel turned and pulled out his phone, dialing one of his comrades.
“Bridget. I could use you here.” He spoke urgently. “I’m going to be sending a friend to pick you up. Her name is Lunar and she will teleport you here. Tell me where you are at.”
From about four hundred miles away Bridget sighed as she stood before a trembling bride in white and answered her phone.
“I was just about to eat Israel. Are you sure this is necessary?”
“Damn, I don’t even want to know.” Israel muttered. “But yeah. It’s necessary. Would I call you otherwise?”
“Good point.” Bridget responded, bored. “I’m at…hold on.”
She turned to the quivering bride. “Hey! Lunch! What is th name of this church?”
“Lunch?” The girl questioned, confusion showing through her fear.
“The name of the church! What is it?” Bridget repeated impatiently then added. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to kill you.”
“Grace Episcopal Church in London.” The bride stuttered out, uncertain.
Bridget repeated the info to Israel then shut the phone. “Now, where was I?”
The Bride whimpered.
“Oh yes. Thank you. I was about to have lunch.”
The brides scream was cut off as Bridget leapt for her.
When Lunar arrived she found Bridget leaning against the wall contentedly and a figure of white laying on the floor.
“Oh crap!” Lunar slapped hand over her face and muttered. “He told me I was to bring a vamp but he never mentioned that she would be eating!”
“Relax.” Bridget scoffed. “I’m done eating if that is what you are worried about.”
“I’m not worried about me. I can handle myself. Even against a vampire. “Lunar responded evenly. “I’m more worried about HER!”
She pointed to the figure in white.
“Her?” Bridget nudged the girl with a foot. “She will be alright. She’s still alive. Well, in a way.”
“Lovely. You made another vampire.” Lunar said dryly as she felt for the young girl’s pulse.
“She will make a lovely minion for me. But you know,” Bridget began as Lunar stood up and prepared to teleport them. “She really should not have been wearing white.”
“Dare I ask why? “Lunar raised an eyebrow at her.
“I found her with the best man kissing, right before her marriage.” Lizzy said darkly. “I may be a vampire. But at least I have some honor. I would never break a vow with someone I claimed to love. I did what I had to so to save that young man, the groom some pain. He’s one of the few honest good men out there. He deserves better.”
Lunar grabbed hold of Bridget and transported her the long distance to were the rest of her team was.
“How do you know this?” Lunar could not help but ask when they arrived.
“Because I have watched over him all his life.” Bridget said quietly as she surveyed the battle before her. “He is the last of the decedents of the family I once had before I was made a vampire.”
With out another word Bridget raced past everyone and used her claws and daggers to slice through her opponents. She looked to the sky and saw Aquila up there fighting an incredibly huge and monstrous Roc.
“Dragona!” She called out over to her comrade. “Launch me up into the sky!”
Not waiting for him to answer she charged towards him, straining her muscles and leapt towards him. Dragona went from slicing a hound to brandishing his twin katanas swinging one underneath her in one fluid motion. In perfect timing her left foot landed on his sword and he flung her high into the sky. Soaring up faster then a bullet she grinned showing her sharpened teeth. As Bridget collided with the creature Aquila propelled away. Clinging to the monster Bridget quickly got to her feet as the Roc began bucking and screeching horribly. Slipping her bullwhip from it’s loop she flung it around the beak of the monster and grabbed the other end. Dragon a watched in disbelief as she rode the mythical creature like a woman on a horse at a circus. Shaking his head he swung his left sword arm backwards when a hound tried to sneak attack him. The hound died instantly.
Aquila flew back and eyed Bridget with amusement as she hovered near by.
“How long are you going to play with the Roc?”
“As long as it amuses me.” Bridget responded with a wicked grin.
“Well have fun.” Aquila responded. “I’m going to help our friend Mary.”
The eagle flew over to where Mary was driving the giant back. Her sharp eagle eyes widened in alarm as she noticed another figure coming towards Mary. The figure was human, Aquila could see that. But still suspicious of the stranger she soared over and circled around.
The figure stopped and looked up with a calm but curious expression.
“Interesting. You are not a true eagle.” The woman spoke softly then opened her arms wide to show she was harmless. “Do I pass your test?”
Aquila dropped down beside her in human form. Unfazed by the giants frustrated roar behind her, she continued to look at the woman warily. The stranger was small and dressed comfortably, her mass of brown curly hair was pulled back in a low ponytail. A touch of gray crowed her head in front, a testament of her years and wisdom.
“Who are you and what do you know about what happened here?” Aquila asked politely but firmly.
“I am Ursula Prase. I was notified by a colleague of mine that my skills could be needed here.” Ursula peered around Aquila at the giant. “Always wanted to see a giant. Poor thing.”
She didn’t wait for Aquila to say anything. Instead she walked around th younger woman and headed towards the giant.
Curious, Aquila followed. “What are you going to do?”
“I am going to convince the giant to go to sleep again. It is clear to me that it was wakened most cruelly. No wonder he is upset.”
“He?” Aquila cocked her head as she looked at the giant.
Ursula stood and concentrated on the giant, speaking to it telepathically. Slowly the giant stopped it’s angry roars and turned to look for who was speaking to it. Mary stepped back and also took a moment to look at the newcomer. She had been aware of the stranger’s presence from the beginning and had been glad when Aquila had come to investigate. She watched fascinated as the giants face went from confusion to relaxed. Painstakingly the large figure turned and ambled back out if the remains of the town. It’s heavy footsteps causing the earth to tremble. Mary caught Aquila’s gaze and flung out her arms slightly in a gesture that clearly spoke of her amazement.
Together they followed the giant and Ursula out of town and to a small field. The giant yawned and laid down leisurely. They watched in amazement as the giant swiftly transformed into a large hill complete with trees and bushes.
“Someone very powerful woke up that giant.” Ursula said grimly as she turned to look back at the town. “Someone or something that wanted this innocent giant to take the blame for all this destruction. Are there any survivors?”
“Only a few very young children.” Mary answered. “They have already been evacuated. I have not seen or sensed any other living people about.”
“We should get back to help the others.” Aquila sighed. “Thank you for your help Ms. Prase.”
“You may call me Ursula. That is fine by me.” She nodded her head.
“Who sent you, if you don’t mind me asking?” Mary asked.
“A very powerful and old sorcerer by the name of Octaboona Ambrosius.”
“Never heard of him.” Aquila remarked puzzled.
“I have.” Mary replied. “But I had never met him.”
Ursula looked beyond them at the town. “It looks as if your team has things under control. That is good because I would not be able to help out against the Hounds of Hell.”
In the distance the figure of Bridget could still be seen riding the terrorized Roc, her holler of pure joy echoing across the sky.
Mar sat comfortable on the end of Kallista’s bed curled up in her cat form watching Kallista pace back and forth. The dark haired girl was mumbling while holding onto the echo stone and her family’s heirloom book. Wearily she shook her head and laid it back down. The silly twit had been like that ever since her encounter with the great Sorcerer Octaboona Ambrosius yesterday afternoon . Of course Kallista did not know who he was and Mar was not going to tell her. Octaboona liked to remain anonymous. If he wanted something from someone then he would make contact with that person on his own terms. Otherwise he remained alone.
Mrs. O’Malley bustled by and paused to look at Kallista suspiciously. The matronly maid had spent the better part of that morning getting the wild girl, who was her master’s sister, into a beautiful Chinese inspired dress. The girl’s long black locks were piled artfully a top her head and held there by two exquisite Japanese hair pins. With all the dignitaries coming into town, it was important that Lady Kallista be presentable to do her brother honor.
Slightly annoyed at the check up, Kallista took a moment to give a featherbrained smile and curtsy. Satisfied, the older maid walked on. Relieved to be free from prying eyes, Kallista looked back at her book.
“Aren’t you going to try on the dress your brother picked up for you ?” Mar finally spoke up. “The ball is tonight as you know. For some reason he wants you to go as his date.”
Kallista looked up dazed from what she was reading.
“What? Oh yes. I will try it on later.”
For a moment she looked at the beautiful dress laying at the end of her bed.
“Maybe it’s best you don’t lay on it Mar.” She suggested politely to the shape shifter.
“But it’s comfortable.” Mar replied, but got up anyways and stretched.
Kallista shrugged already focused back on the book.
“Mar! Listen to this. The book mentions something about the last whereabouts of Victrix Aequita!” She shared excitedly. “It was last seen close by to an old estate owned by my ancestors! According to this information, the estate is close by!”
“Oh goody.” Mar responded then sighed at Kallista’s crestfallen face. “Look, Kal. It would be nice to find the sword. But it’s been missing for so long. You brother has read this book. Surely he would have followed the clues and looked there. If it was there then he would have found it.”
Mar changed back into s girl and walked over to Kallista. Carefully she took the book from her hands and set it down.
“Sure it would be nice to have a sword that gives you extra strength. Who wouldn’t want that? But from what I understand is that the sword chooses the person. Not the other way around. If you had been chosen, surely the sword would have called to you .You would have been drawn to it.” Mar shrugged. “It’s just the way magical swords work.”
Mar walked over to the elegant white evening gown and picked it up. She turned to suggest again that Kallista try it on but stopped short when she saw the expression on Kallista‘s face. A desperation shown there mingled with pain and anger.
“ I swear. I WILL find that sword. I will look for it!” She spoke vehemently. “I know there is a ball tonight. But I also know very well about the strange things happening around Ireland. I know that if I have that sword I will be better able to fight against all that is bad and defend the powerless!”
“Kallista.” Mar began gently. “ What is so bad with the strength you already have?”
“It is not enough!” Kallista fumed and turned to leave her bedroom.
“Kal? Where are you going?” Mar asked as she followed her out into the hallway.
Kallista strolled forwards without a glace behind, sweeping around the artisan who was reconstructing the window at the end of the hall.
“I’m going for another walk. I need air.”
Mar sighed and followed her down the grand staircase.
“What about the ball tonight?” Mar asked as they stepped out of the grand entrance way. “Dignitaries have been arriving all day. You brother will be expecting you to come with him.”
“Mar! Don’t you see? It would be far better to go searching for the sword. With all that has been going on, don’t you think it would be wiser to go find the weapon that can turn the tide of a battle to it’s wielder’s favor?”
“I suppose.” Mar answered doubtfully as they walked along the street that was graced by all the beautiful mansions for foreign Diplomats. As she gazed upon them, she briefly wondered if they too were plagued by restless teenage girls. “However, it seems to me that searching for this sword could take some time. Time that we are running out of.”
She was about to say more when she bumped into Kallista who had stopped suddenly.
“Do you hear that Mar?” Kallista asked in wonderment, gripping Mar’s shoulder. Her eyes widened. “It’s so beautiful. Just like my sister used to play!”
“What?” Mar asked bemused as the beautiful girl walked on ahead as if in a daze. “Kallista? Don’t make me use this.”
She held her fry pan in warning, ready to knock some sense into the girl.
“The violin Mar. Don’t you hear it?” Kallista began running now, following the sound and pinpointing it’s location.
Then she was there, standing in front of an old but beautiful townhouse settled in the artsy district. The boy with the flaming hair stood there dreamily out on the ground floor balcony, lost in his music as he played the violin. It was breathtaking.
“You again?” The boy snapped suddenly and stopped playing when he spotted her. “Why are you following me?”
The man in purple was out there in a split second. Kallista was almost afraid as she looked into his stern eyes so full of power and wisdom. But the ache in her heart prompted her to speak.
“Please!” She whispered as she sank to her knees and begged. “Please let me listen. It has been so long since I last heard music so beautiful as that being played in a violin. I don‘t mean any harm.”
The boy who’s name she knew as Pyro still looked doubtful. But the great sorcerer in swirling purple robes softened his gaze slightly as he studied her.
“I believe you child. Tell me. Who is it that you know who has such great skill as my apprentice here?”
“My sister.” Kallista bowed her head. Even after two years the pain of her loss was still raw.
“I’d like to meet her. “ Pyro lit up. “I would like to have a challenge to see who is better!”
Octaboona looked at the stricken face of the girl before him and knew then that that was not possible.
“Pyro.” He spoke gently. “Wait for me inside.”
“Really?” Pyro began to protest then stopped at the look on Octaboona’s face. “Alright. I’ll just go on inside.”
He shrugged and walked inside the apartment giving Kallista one last curious look.
Mar walked up then and appraised the situation quickly.
“I’m sorry Octaboona. I tried to stop her but she is very wild and hard to deal with.”
Kallista glanced at her incredulous. “You know this sorcerer?”
“Of course I do. “ Mar responded primly.
“Well, if it isn’t Miss March.” Octaboona smiled with pleasure. “It is good to see you again.”
“And you as well.” Mar smiled back then turned back to Kallista. "Are you done graveling on the ground?"
As Kallista got to her feet a figure shot out from the alley way and tackled her throwing her against the building on the other side of the street. Twisting in mid air she repelled off the side of the building and dove back for the figure. In shock she recognized the figure. It was the same one who had tried to steal her family book.
"You!" she shouted as she grabbed the would be thief by the shirt front and looked at her more closely. This time around the thief has no face covering.
A single black rose graced the brown hair of the young girl, pulled back into a fishbone braid. A flame of red colored hair fall loose about her face framing it perfectly. Her beautiful eyes the color of the storm sea glared at her furiously.
Rosella cursed to herself. She had acted rashly and was now outnumbered. She didn't mean to have this happen. One minute she had been walking along on her way to meet with her friend Nyx and then she spotted the girl she hated. There on the ground kneeling before some old man in purple was Kallista. Before she knew it Rosella had charged at the other girl in a rage. Feeling the impact her punch had on Kallista was gratifying. But it was short lived. Kallista had rebounded off the wall as effortlessly as the ninja she was. Her training took control.
Pyro came back out when he heard the commotion and stood by Octa. He saw that Mar had changed into a cat and was perched on Octa’s shoulder keeping a close eye on the fight. Turning his head he looked at the two ninjas battling it out and wondered if Octaboona would do anything. But the master seemed more interested in observing. There was something deep in his eyes as he gazed at the newcomer. His eyes reflected a strange light as if he was reading their souls.
It seemed as if the girls where evenly matched as they viciously fought one another, one with pure hatred and the other with a calm righteous anger. With the commotion they made, Pyro was glad they lived on an abandoned street.
“I hate you!” The thief hissed at Kallista as she unsheathed a golden sword and charge at her.
“Oh really? I hadn’t noticed.” Kallista arched an eye brow as she dodged the elemental weapon easily, sent it flying with her own samurai sword then pressed it against the other girl’s slender throat. In the back of her mind Rosella could not explain the irrational hatred towards this other girl even to herself. As she felt the sword at her throat she looked wide eyed at Kallista, yet to proud to admit defeat.
“ROSELLA!” A voice shouted out in panic.
Nyx Dawn race over in a rage to see her dearest friend at the mercy of someone so vile. Boldly she stepped in between the sword and her friend.
“Don’t you dare touch her. She is worth one hundred times more then you!”
“That may be true.” Kallista began to say coldly as she recognized the other girl as the one who helped her the other day. “But at least I don’t go around pretending to help people only to betray them later.”
“How dare you.” Nyx began but Octaboona’s voice stopped them all from speaking.
“ENOUGH!” He roared and glared at Kallista, his robes billowing out with power. Then he turned to Rosella and softened his gaze.
“I know you. I heard your voice, your laughter one day on the wind. It was not so long ago.” He moved towards Rosella slowly, carefully as if in a dance. Then he began to speak. Magic so light and so beautiful spilled from his lips as gazed down at the young assassin.
“A young girl laughs
Running through the sunshine
Through golden dancing motes of dust
She sprawls upon her bed
And stares up at the paper on the ceiling
Written in flowing flowery script
In thick gold ink
Rosella weeps then cries with joy
At the magic on her ceiling
A work by the Purple Poet
How she adores him, longs for his praise
Even to glimpse him, meet him, know him
Would overflow her heart with wonder
And she waits for her own piece of awe
Taken from the cloths of heaven
By the Purple Poet
The Gentle Assassin
Running through the rain
As drops of gray soak her matted brown hair
And gleam in the dual orbs of a storm tossed sea
The single black rose
Shines darkly in the ghostly moonlight
She spots her victim
Unaware of his impending demise
She casually plucks a spinning star of silver and death
A figure in violet robes
Jumps in front of her victim
A crimson stain blossoms from his wrinkled chest
His face full of pain and dismay
As he seeks out the Gentle Assassin
Time fragments into sharp moments of confusion
The tear rolling down his eye
The ever growing pool of redness staining the earth
The flash of silver submerged deep in his flesh
The single black rose
Rosella stares at the Purple Poet in shock
She weeps over his body
Tears mingling with the ebbing life force
Splattered over the ground
His breath comes in short bursts
He mutters a word
I’m sorry I never found the time
Remember me when I am gone away
Then a last froth filled gasp
Sits unmoving by her Purple Poet
As the single black rose falls
The petals disintegrating into nothing
She remembers the young girl
Laughing through the swirling golden reams
Of diamond dust
Picks up her silver star
Closes her eyes
Makes her choice.”
Nobody moved for the next few moments, caught up by the beauty and passion of the Purple Poet. Then he held out his hand for Rosella and then one for Nyx.
“Would you ladies come with me? I have much to show you, and…” He turned to Rosella and touched her face softly were it bled from a shallow wound. “We need to get you patched up. A face as lovely as yours should not be marred.”
He shot a quick glance of disgust towards Kallista then turned to his apprentice.
“Pyro. I need for you to bring us all to my home by the sea.”
Octaboona strolled forward and picked up Rosella’s sword. Bowing gallantly he handed it back to her.
“Your sword, my dear.”
As she took it and sheathed it, Octaboona wrapped part of his cloak protectively over her and did the same for Nyx on his other side. “This may be a rough ride. You will be protected inside my cloak.”
“Hold on Mar. We are about to move.” He warned the shape shifter gently.
Mar nodded and huddled closer to his neck, digging her nails firmly into his robes.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Both he and Pyro looked at Kallista with irritation. “You need to stand behind me.”
Sighing Kallista hastily sheathed her sword and did as he asked. Not sure what to except she kept a sharp eye on Pyro.
“What about my things here?” The boy asked slightly worried.
“Pyro. This place is bound and guarded by magic. Your precious violin will be safe here.” Octaboona spoke kindly to him. “Now this is no longer training Pyro. This is a test. Do you think you can transport all of us back to my home?”
“I do. “ Pyro nodded and stepped closer to all of them. He held out his hands and Kallista watched with wonder at the pure magic that flowed from his hands. Glowing with a beautiful golden light a small sphere emerged and rapidly grew bigger and bigger until it encircled all of them. Then the sphere rose off from the ground and whirled them all across the sky faster then lightning. A shriek of fear rose from Kallista’s throat as she staggered to the bottom of the sphere, pressing herself to the side and fought to breath in between whimpers. But both Pyro and Octaboona wore expressions of pure rapture, enjoying every moment. Nyx and Rosella, shielded away safely in the master’s robes were aware only of a quieting bliss, a balm to their troubled souls.
“This is a delightful way to fly.” Octaboona sighed happily.
Then they were there, on top a grassy cliff overlooking the mighty ocean. Pyro withdrew the sphere back into himself just as easily as he had brought it forth.
“Well done Pyro!” Octaboona praised his apprentice.
“Are you ladies alright?” Octaboona gently asked Nyx and Rosella as he uncovered them from the protection of his cloak and steadied them. “ How about you Mar? Are you ok?”
Mar jumped off his shoulders and began to prowl around.
“I’m alright Octa." She answered distracted.
Rosella and Nyx looked at each other in quiet astonishment. This was all so unexpected.
“How about we all go into my house for a bit of tea and to talk for a moment.” He suggested and grandly swept his arms aside to let Mar, Nyx, and Rosella go first. “There is something I want you to see.”
Kallista barely heard anything that he said. A ringing noise sounded within her ears and threatened to blow her head apart. She must have made a noise because Octaboona looked back in surprise
“Oh! You are still here!” He exclaimed. “Interesting. Well, get up. What are you waiting for?”
She could only whimper as she tried to peel herself from the ground. The rest of the group went on ahead of her and into a cozy little cottage. Grabbing a nearby stick she used it to drag herself up. Looking down she saw her dress was torn in several places and stained slightly with her own blood. She knew her hair was no longer pinned up neatly. Long strands curled down on either side of her face, getting into her eyes.
"Hmmm..I wonder if Mrs. O'Malley will notice." She muttered as she walked to the front door.
When she tried to open the door she found it was locked. Feeling foolish she knocked on the door.
"Yes?" Pyro raised an eyebrow at her as he opened the door an inch.
Octaboona came up behind him and opened the door wider. She thought for a moment he would let her in but instead he thrust a bucket at her.
"We need some water." He ordered and glanced down to the ocean. "Miss Ember was injured doing your fight. I need to tend to her wounds that you inflicted."
Kallista looked down the cliff at the water incredulous.” You expect me to fly down there get you water and fly back up?"
"You could. You have magic don't you? " Octa said coldly. “Or you could use the pathway."
The door closed on her face once more.
Sighing she took the bucket and made her way down the path, kicking off her ruined shoes as she did so.
Inside the house, brightly lit with the sunlight shining in through the many windows, Pyro watched as Octaboona tended the minor cuts of Rosella. As he did so the Purple Poet spoke again.
“Words of magic flowed from his lips.
My Golden God shines brighter than the sun
Nature pales when it’s compared to him
The wonder of the snow is dull and dun
When Landy sighs the world is bleak and grim.
I have seen galaxies stand still and stare
When Golden God approaches from on high
He has such talent, humour, wit and flair
That lesser mortal writers can but cry.
I love to hear him speak for well I know
That genius resounds in every word
He is the light; from him all dreams do grow
To never hear his name is just unheard.
When Landy laughs his smile can light up skies
And when he weeps then all creation cries.”
Rosella’s face lit up in a way it had not done for many years. Nyx was amazed at the transformation on her friend. Wonderingly she looked over at Octaboona and listened as Rosella spoke.
“I have hear this wonderful poem before.” She whispered. “It’s beautiful, my favorite. How did you know?”
“I know many things child.” Octaboona laughed good naturedly. “I guess that is what happens as we age.”
Pyro stood staring out the window for a moment before speaking.
"When are you going to tell that girl, Kallista that you have running water?"
Grabbing a cup Pyro helped himself to a glass of fresh cold water.
"Oh, I don't know." Octaboona replied slightly distracted as he finished helping Rosella. "I think she can figure that out herself."
Pyro smirked as he looked out the window watching and waiting. He caught Octaboona's eye and smiled.
Rosella and Nyx looked at each other as Octaboona got up to get them each a cup of tea. For Mar he gave a bowl of milk and set it on the table next to the cups of Rosella and Nyx. Jumping up to the table she happily drank the milk, lapping it up with her delicate tongue.
Something else was up. The two girls could tell by the looks Pyro and Octa gave each other. Mar paid no attention what so ever intent on her milk.
“If you ladies will excuse me. I need to check on something.” Octa said to them graciously. “If you would like, you may join us. You will see a spectacle that has not been seen for a very long time.”
“You don’t think she will hurt it do you?” Pyro asked worried as he followed Octaboona out the door.
“No. Not if she is who I think she is.” Octa replied as he crossed the yard to the cliff overlooking the ocean. “But just in case I will watch. I will see that nothing harms our big friend. Ah, there he is now.”
Walking down the path that zigzagged along the cliff to the sandy beach below had not been a problem for Kallista. She had trained many times along cliffs like these under her teacher Dragona Pine. As she tilted her head to face the rare appearance of the weak late autumn sun, she was not even bothered by the sweat that ran down her back, furthering the ruin of her once proud dress. The problem appeared when suddenly a giant tentacle reached out and grabbed her by the waist. The bucket dropped from her hand as she was hurled high into the air then plunged below the bitterly cold water.
Her scream echoed all along the cliff shore.
“Hmm…” Pyro contemplated for a moment. “I would give that scream a nine out of ten!”
Octaboona didn’t say anything but instead watched carefully to make sure his large friend was not hurt.
Despite the frigid temperatures of the water Kallista was too much in shock to feel it. With eyes wide open she got her first full view of the owner of the tentacle. A giant kraken looked back at her, studying her for a moment before lifting her with amazing speed back towards the surface. Breaking through the wave she was lifted high again and took a brief panicked moment to breath. The beast began tossing her about like a ball from one tentacle to the other as screams broke the sound of serenity. No matter how hard she tried, Kallista could not get free from the beast. When she whipped out her sword to fight the creature, her weapon was yanked from her bye a shadowy hand. On hind sight she knew Octaboona had taken it using his necromancy magic. But her mind was dazed and could only think of how her frozen body was turning a nice shade of blue to match her sopping wet dress and, how come she was not dead yet? Then it hit her. A single thought popped out. The monster was not trying to eat her! Startled with the thought she made herself look at the fearsome beast who was peeking out of the water at her from below. It’s eyes seemed to have an expression in them. It seemed…..happy! This realization sent a shock through her and she felt something answer back through it’s tentacles. It was responding to her. It felt like laughter and joy.
“I think she gets it. “ Octa breathed a sigh of relief.
Nyx and Rosella stood side by side watching with fascination the display below. With all they had seen in their young life, never had they seen anything quite so large and strange as this.
Mar trotted out of the house and took a look.
“Well now! If that don’t beat all!” She sat down in amazement.
“Creatures like this are beginning to appear all over the world.” Octaboona began. “But what we must realize and what that girl needs to learn is not every creature is evil. It is important to not judge them based on what they look like.”
“Octaboona?” Rosella asked, curious.
“Yes my dear.”
“What is that thing?”
“That, my dear is a kraken.”
“His name is Steve!” Pyro grinned happily. “And he is not dangerous.”
“That’s right Pyro.” Octa nodded as he turned back towards the house. “The myths and legends have it wrong. The creature only eats seaweed, not people or animals as the tales would have us believe.”
Pyro followed Octaboona back in, anxious to get back to his violin playing.
“What about the girl down there?” Nyx asked, curious.
“Girl?” Octaboona looked puzzled for a moment then nodded. “Yes. The girl. I will call up her Superior to come and fetch her. I don’t think I have the patience to travel with her again.”
Shaking his head in disapproval he went inside with Mar following him.
“Don’t worry about Steve.” Pyro reassured the two girls with a smile. “He will most likely leave her when he is tired of playing. He’s really a very friendly beast!”
*The poems in this chapeter are writen by Octaboona and used with his permission.