Warning: While this story is independent from the plot line of The Crystal Tower: Edelix, it is recommended reading the book first, HOWEVER, you do not need to read the book first to enjoy this short insight. Remember, the first goal for these stories is to broaden the world and the mythos, and the second goal is to add content to the book.
The evening’s fresh breeze was welcomed by Elesliel, Alestair and Leonor. Their travel had been rough, even though none wanted to admit it, they were all physically exhausted from riding on their Horned Steeds for well over five hours. Horse riding was physically demanding, and although all three were trained in witchcraft arts, none had been trained as horse riding soldiers. So all three sat on the grass, not saying anything about their lack of horse riding training.
Elesliel sat looking over his new wizard’s staff. It was metallic silver, with a rather smooth shaft. There was some resistance in the shaft of the staff, it would be impractical for the shaft to be completely smooth, otherwise it would simply slide off the hands. The little resistance was excellent, it was one of the reasons he had spent quite a while at the Academy’s Wizards Weapons Emporium, he had tested the resistance against sliding, among other qualities.
His previous Wizard’s staff had been wooden. It had been black wood, fitting, since he was a dark mage. Nevertheless, it had almost perfect grip, and it had been such a disappointment when his crystal started malfunctioning and breaking spells rather dangerously, sending waves of a spell in one direction and another in a different direction.
One thing did dawn on him, watching the staff, he knew a metallic shaft was the best fit for what was to come. The inevitable war against King Xious.
Having a metallic weapon would be helpful against his enemies. He had heard the tales, the horrors of the creatures that bid their allegiance to King Xious. He was not going to fight against tough opponents with a weapon that could snap in half anytime during the battle, leaving his life hanging by a thread. Not to mention one with a crystal that could break his spell in half and have one wave hit his an enemy while the other a friend. No, he would not endanger his human allies. Nor would he betray his king by killing men in his army.
The crystal itself was poised in between a complex weave of pure silver and black amethyst. The thin threads guarded the white crystal, which was in and of itself a beauty to behold. All crystals were beautiful, but crystals that radiated magic were by far exquisite. Yes, in Edelix all crystals had a semblance of magic, but just like Elves, their scale measured the amount of magic within them.
Elesliel nodded, knowing he had made the right choice.
“We should set camp, I hadn’t noticed twilight had set,” said Elesliel, bringing both of his companions from their reveries.
“I had a question, are we taking the mountain path?” asked Leonor.
“I think it would be better for us to take the longer path. I have heard the legends regarding the Passage of the Dead, I am not risking my life nor yours, only those in great haste ever take the path,” replied Elesliel.
Alestair nodded. “I heard even the slightest of distractions can make you take the wrong turn, that somehow, distraction is what gets you to the Passage of the Dead. I know our Horned Steeds are intelligent, but I wouldn’t want to chance anything, I am glad you decided against taking the mountain passage.”
“We should sleep then, tomorrow we set off early, I want to be in the Kingdom of Aladar soon, there is much to do,” said Elesliel.
The other two nodded.
When Elesliel woke the following morning, he noticed the bitter cold that accompanied their early raise. He took a sweater from inside his traveling bag and put it under his cloak. He grew weary, his armor was not as strong as he would have liked it to be. He mentally reprimanded himself for not thinking to buy heavy armor, being outside the City of the Elves was dangerous. He knew kingdoms and large cities lived independent from one another, that unity within one kingdom made for a utopia that the citizens could enjoy. Little contact was the norm between kingdoms, especially when there were legends of beasts that lived on the beautiful wilderness and attacked men during their journeys across kingdoms or cities. He had once heard a battalion of one hundred men from the Kingdom of Razz-Owen were reduced to nothing by a beast that found them on their way to the Kingdom of Dolect. It was a legend, but it still made him uneasy.
He decided to get heavy armor the moment he set foot on the Kingdom of Aladar.
Elesliel, Alestair and Leonor rode for the better part of seven hours. On the horizon to the east they spotted the mountain passage. As if it needed further proof of its omnipresent omens, the clouds just above the mountain were black, thunderous roars soon reached their ears.
“We need to find shelter, I think there is a storm coming,” said Elesliel.
After a while of riding, they came upon a stone structure close to the edge of a thick forest. Rain had already started pouring, and their bodies were cold and numb. Never had they experienced rain, and the experience was strongly disliked by all three.
The stone structure created the perfect shelter from the storm. A large flat-stone was poised over them, giving them a roof, and the further they went into the cave, the steeper the floor grew. They wouldn’t have to worry about water running towards them.
The inside of the cave smelled strongly of earth and rust. It was somewhat dark, so Elesliel grabbed his staff from the middle, with the crystal to the top, and thrust it shortly forward, whispering “Incanto Nox Brillia.” The crystal started glowing brighter, and a wave of white light lit the rest of the cave, like lightning traveling down a passage. The staff glowed bright, until the light it had cast disappeared at the end of the cave.
At the end of the cave: a beast that smiled, knowing its dinner had arrived.
The beast before them shocked the three companions. They stared at the hundreds of teeth in its mouth, the razor-sharp claws, the reptilian body that stood on two feet, the fire-red eyes.
Before they could so much as move, the creature lurched forward, its four meter tall body bouncing like a feline creature. Elesliel retired from his shock, and shouted “Nox Des-esertea,” and a wave of black mater emanated from the crystal. He thrust the staff forward, just before the creature neared him enough to scratch his left hand with one of its claws. The creature was unceremoniously thrown back with the wave of black matter.
Alestair reacted next, taking out a long sword from its scabbard, which he had hung from his waist. He readied his pose, waiting for the creature to stand.
Leonor, seeing Elesliel and Alestair, readied his bow. He strung an arrow, and like both companions, waited for the creature to attack.
The creature fell with a heavy thud. It growled a menacing growl, and stood fast, angling his attack towards Leonor.
Leonor released the arrow, while moving forward to stand by Elesliel and Alestair. The arrow hit the creature in the left shoulder. It stopped, roared a howl of pain that thundered through the cave, and took the arrow out, without a second though. Elesliel cringed as he saw flesh and blood accompany the arrow tip, but he quickly regained his composure, readying a different attack.
He needed a stronger spell, one that could damage the creature greatly. His Incanto spells would be worthless, they were far too weak. He needed the combined power of Nox and Luz, so he geared his attention to Alestair as the creature made his way toward him.
Alestair’s strike was parried by the creature. In turn, Alestair was thrown out to the rain, while the creature angled its body to face Leonor. Leonor released a wave of arrows, one after the other, with little effort, since he was a trained archer. But the arrows were doing little harm, and Leonor was being cornered against the wall.
Elesliel thrust his staff forward, shouting “Nox Fira.”
His crystal glowed red for a second before it began to darken to pitch black. It then released a small sphere that flew towards its intended target with increasing speed as well as increasing circumference. The pitch-black fire struck the reptilian creature in the chest: it had straightened to its full height so as to strike at Leonor, now cornered, with its claws.
The creature did not notice the attack, and for the second time, was thrown a ways off. This time, it struggled to regain its composure, the flesh burnt in places. The creature had flown aver Alestair, who had come back into the cave, while the creature fell out into the rain.
Elesliel, irritated that he hadn’t come up with a way to combine the powers from the realms of Nox and Luz, looked out, noticing his sight was cut short by the heavy downpour. He could hear the creature’s howls of pain, and he guessed he had thrown it a ways away with his spell. He smiled a short smile before turning to Alestair and Leonor. Alestair had several cuts while Leonor had come unscratched. He then looked at his own wound, and sighed, he would tend to them later.
“I need you to cast along with me, we need to combine the power of Nox and Luz to kill this thing. Leonor, I need you to cast Luz Unprotecta, I know it will require some strength, but we need to make it vulnerable to Alestair’s attack and mines. Alestair, I need you to cast Luz Qebra-Blizz, it will shatter my spell and freeze it. On the ready.”
Both of his companions nodded, and looked out the mouth of the cave. The creature’s howls ended. The second that transpired seemed eternal. The creature jumped into the cave, splattering water everywhere.
“NOW,” yelled Elesliel.
“Luz Unprotecta,” yelled Leonor, extending his hand forward, his palm facing the creature. His palm glowed green before a green wave was shot towards the creature.
“Luz Qebra-Blizz,” yelled Alestair, extending his hand forward, his palm facing the creature. His palm glowed blue before a blue wave was sent towards the creature.
“Nox Nocte-Eternum,” yelled Elesliel, thrusting his staff forward, the crystal glowing black before a wave of dark matter was sent towards the creature.
The green wave of magic enveloped the creature while the wave of black mater collided with the blue wave of magic, causing the black matter to shatter noisily into thousands of black spikes that had turned to crystal with Alestair’s magic.
The creature looked at the incoming threat, but its revenge drove it forward. It was impaled all over the body by the black crystal shards and fell with a heavy thug, a pool of blood quickly gathered below the creature.
“Thank you,” said Elesliel.
“No problem, we need to sleep, although I don’t think I will be getting much after what happened,” said Alestair.
Leonor laughed, and soon, all three burst into fits of laughter.
“Now I see why not so many venture outside their kingdoms…this thing was slightly dangerous. Anyway, let me take a look at your wounds, then we can sleep,” he said, looking at Alestair.
Alestair nodded, and sat on the ground.
Elesliel then worked on the wounds, he found a sense of serenity while he worked on what he had studied for a long time. Being a doctor was not bad, but the title could be somewhat heavy, not many talked to him as an equal.
To be continued…
Copyright 2013 by Javier Duenes. All rights reserved.