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The Coming Of The Young One - Fictional Novel


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#51
Kokeshi_Doll769

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well...I do have freedom of speech...

#52
Chalcedony

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Hindus post on this board?

#53
ghurka

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not in this particular forum that i know of. but there are some very fanatical annoying ones in the lyceum... so as long as they dont' come here, you'll be safe from hate mail :) .

#54
Kokeshi_Doll769

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laugh Thanks for the warning. Do you guys think the story is coming along okay, or is it just getting dumb??

#55
ghurka

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i think it's swell :)

#56
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Chapter Fourteen

Almost immediately, the madness gripped him. Gregor gasped at the suddenness of it; it was as if he was been plunged into the coldest water imaginable. He fought against it, driving it from him through sheer will power. With difficulty, he set up a great mental block that kept the forces of the Chaos and its madness out. The Banshees that flew with the great gusts of wind screeched and screamed, tearing at his clothes and his hair.

Gregor retreated deep within himself, going deep down inside where the Chaos could not reach. He summoned all of his magic, all of his knowledge of the teachings of Marlyn the Head Mage. Slowly he brought it awake, feeling it stir within him and pulse to life. He closed his silver-blue eyes and lifted one hand, palm down, fingers straight and stiff, pointing in the direction he knew the Portal lay. He murmured a few short words and felt the magic surge forth, lancing out of his fingers and crackling all about him. The screams of the Banshees rose in pitch and frenzy, and they beat relentlessly on the impenetrable wall of his mind. Gregor grit his teeth and fought to keep his concentration. The magic that surrounded him suddenly solidified, creating a glassy, translucent shield – the wall of his mind embodied. Gregor opened his eyes and nodded in grim satisfaction. Now he could prepare the necessary things in order to construct a Wall of Forbidding. He drew forth from his cloak a slim wand, made of polished rowan and inlaid with ivory. He reached again inside his cloak and this time brought out a large black orb. He held it in his palm, feeling its reassuring weight pressing down. The Magestone. The Twelve had created it in it only imitated, if poorly, the Darkstone, one of the Seven Stones of Power. Elf-Mage Dyloran had created the Darkstone for the purpose of defending his people against the forces of the Chaos. He had made six other Stones as well; the Heartstone, the Icestone, the Songstone, the Lightstone, the Firestone, and the greatest of them all, the Ryllstone. For a time, all seven Stones had been safe among the Elves, cared for and protected by the Elven people. But after the Purge of the Elves, the Stones were lost, scattered far and wide. Since then, those of the Order as well as those of the Chaos had floundered, trying to recreated the balance between the two forces that the Stones had seemed to maintain. Niether side had been able to cancel out the other, and for a time many lives hung upon the edge of peril and destruction. Until now. Now was the time for the return of the Young One. She would restore the balance and make things right. It had been foretold.

Gregor resurfaced to the present, leaving the deeper waters of the past still and untouched. He picked up the slim rowan wand and held the Magestone out before him. He delved into himself again, stirring up the magic within him. He led it gently as one might lead a newborn lamb, and he felt its warmth creep down his arm and into the wand, making the polished wood glow. In his hand, the Magestone’s power suddenly bloomed and spread in every direction, all the colors of the rainbow and more. He held it high, tapping it thrice lightly with the rowan wand. He murmured three words as he tapped the Stone, and its magic spilled forth, growing brighter and brighter every moment. As Gregor closed his silver-blue eyes and envisioned the Portal, he felt the Stone’s magic probe his mind gently. A thin sliver of light shot out of the Magestone, weaving its way through trees and undergrowth until it came to the clearing in which the Portal was. The thin sliver glowed brightly and pulsed outward, and then without warning slammed down on either side, creating a corridor. Its walls were pearlescent and changed color unendingly. When Gregor saw, in his mind’s eye, that the wall had been successfully constructed, he slowly opened his eyes and smiled. He’d done it. He felt the beginnings of pride stir within him, then closed his eyes once more and concentrated on the mental image of the Portal. Toren and the Young One could be coming through any moment now...

...A careless breeze swept Alys along, her hand in Toren’s, her soul in a paradise. Images flit through her mind, images of a beautiful, kind woman. Mother. Images of a breathtaking world where children frolicked and happiness reigned. Home. She seemed to be in a sunny meadow, surrounded by sweet-smelling flowers and grasses. She heard the children laughing happily before she saw them, very near, running and playing. Birds wheeled overhead. One passed directly above her head, and the moment its shadow touched her, she went cold. Something was not right here. She looked closer at the children as they turned to her. Alys recoiled in horror. They were faceless! Their bodies were emaciated, thin and skeletal. The flowers they held up were gray and dead, poisoned by something she could not see. The faceless children clutched at her arms and her clothes, crying oddly. She shoved them away in disgust, turning her back on them. She looked for Toren but instead came face to face with a great, muscled man. A hideous yawning skull masked his visage, black horns curving wickedly above it. He stood, bare to the waist and arms folded across his chest, squarely in front of her. She screamed wildly and ran from him, but he was right behind her, reaching…reaching…he caught her wrist in an iron grip and jerked her around to face him. His other hand came up to unmask his face...

...And then Toren was shaking her, hard, and calling to her. She groaned and came awake slowly, pushing through the haze in her mind. Her eyes fluttered open.

"My Lady! My Lady, are you all right? Curse my frail existance! I am a fool twice! I forgot to warn you," Toren said, obviously frustrated with himself. Alys stared at him, confused.

"About what?"

"The Portal passes through the fabric of dreams and nightmares. Sometimes it also carries visions of the past and future. It can realize your worst nightmares. I have been trained to ignore it, but in my haste to get you here, I had forgotten you did not know how to guard yourself. I am sorry." Toren’s voice was honestly apologetic. Alys sat up slowly and brushed the dirt and dry leaves from her auburn curls. Then the Wall of Forbidding caught her eye. She didn’t say anything, simply gazed in wonder at the magic walls that rose high on either side. Toren saw the question forming on her lips and said, "It’s a Wall of Forbidding. The Twelve must have sent one of our Mages out to construct it. Although I don’t know of any one Mage who would be crazy enough to come out here tonight. Tonight is the night of the Otherwyrld’s Summer Solstice. Tonight, the Chaos runs rampant."

Alys gave him a strange look, but merely shrugged and stood. She looked at him expectantly and he moved in front of her and began walking. She followed, trying to peer through the shimmer of the Wall at the forest outside. She had little success, and, after a while, gave it up and simply studied the ground. Toren was silent, and Alys could think of no reason to speak.

In her pocket, the Lightstone began to warm.

* * * * *

Gregor concentrated hard on the feeling of the Magestone’s power coursing through him. He realized dimly that he was a part of this Wall of Forbidding, that the Stone’s magic had melded with his born-magic. In his mind’s eye he could see the light of the shielding magic, pulsing faintly, in time with his heartbeat. A small smile touched his lips, then faded just as quickly as he sensed the Portal opening. The air first shimmered and then split apart, peeling back. Then Toren and the Young One were through. But something wasn’t right. The Young One was limp and pale, and Toren seemed terribly distressed. He shook her until she came awake, dazed and confused, a far away look in her eyes. Then she seemed to come out of it, blinking and shaking her head. Toren knelt next to her, concern masking his features. But then she stood, and Toren assumed the lead. They began to make their way toward him and the safety of Ryu Fortress. Gregor felt a wave of relief wash over him. The Young One was as good as home.

But then the Chaos struck.

* * * * *

Lord Jagganath Maelstrom towered once again above his minions. This time he sat a massive black steed, so black that he blended well with the darkness that surrounded him. Shadows darted around and underneath his flint hooves, masses of writhing black bodies, some soft and furred, some with tough scaled hides. The horse paid them no mind, caring not if one of the unfortunate creatures fell under his steady march. He simply trotted heavily on.

The man who rode atop him was twice as fearsome. His newly acquired countenance was masked by a hideous skull, the jaw gaping open and wide, cavernous eye sockets creating twin pools of shadow against the bleached white bone. The long canine teeth were stained with fresh blood, and they glistened wetly in the half-light of the torches carried by invisible hands. He was bare to the waist, his powerful muscles cording and rippling with every move he made. He held the reins loosely, not bothering to steer his mount but instead giving him his head. A long black cloak billowed out behind him, at times gathering around him and clinging to him like a living thing, wrapping him in a midnight hued shroud. He rode straight and tall, his commanding presence dominating the mood, which was already crackling with black anticipation. The oncoming rush of powerful black bodies covered the ground like some deadly poisoned flood, stopping at nothing to reach its goal. Red eyes glinted with a twisted excitement and pinkish tongues ran over sharp, gleaming fangs.

The creatures who made the forest their home had fallen silent, sensing the great evil that had been unleashed this terrible night. The birds crouched in their nests, spreading feathered wings protectively over their young. The creatures that could not reach the heights of the branches above burrowed deep into the ground, seeking refuge in the concealing soil. And still the terrible dark things came on, their inexorable march of death moving steadily forward to their ultimate goal: the girl they called the Young One.

#57
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Chapter Fifteen

The attack was sudden, swift, and silent. Something large, lithe, and black came at Gregor, hurtling itself into the magic shield that surrounded him. Pain exploded through him, breaking his concentration. He felt the magic of the Wall falter, and he struggled to keep it erect. The black thing outside kept coming, slamming into his bubble of magic again and again. The pain was blinding and intense, freshening with each new attack. Gregor groaned and stumbled to his knees. He fought weakly to stand again, but waves of dizziness and nausea washed over him.

No!

He was failing! The magic was failing…The creature outside came at him again and something inside Gregor gave way. His vision clouded with red and the blackness overtook him...

...And around Toren and Alys, the Wall of Forbidding began to crumble.

* * * * *

Jagganath Maelstrom and his demon army pushed into the clearing that held the Portal. Behind his fearsome mask, the Dark Lord’s nostrils flared. This was where he had fought the old one; here she had died.

The Wall of Forbidding still stood, its glow pulsing ever so slightly in time with its spellworker’s lifesource. Ahead, he could see the two retreating figures of the Young One and her protector. He smirked. If Shadda had done his job, the Wall would be down within moments. His great black mount stamped impatiently, and he patted its neck, murmuring reassuring words. Around him the twisting, writhing mass of dark bodies had congregated, all watching eagerly for the failing of the magic barrier.

Suddenly the Wall’s light dimmed considerably, and its pulse seemed weaker. It slowly began to break apart, pieces of it first shimmering, and then fading completely away. Whines of anticipation rose all about the Dark Lord, and with a sudden surge of impatience he flung some of his own magic at the disintegrating Wall, and it exploded in a burst of black light. Ahead, the Young One and the boy with her whirled around, their silver eyes wide with astonishment that quickly turned to fear. Around the Dark Lord, thousands of black bodies tensed, waiting for his signal. He was still for a moment more, then urged his midnight steed forward. With a furious howl, the writhing mass surged ahead, scattering in all directions. They fanned out into the surrounding forest, seeking the concealment of the trees. The Dark Lord, riding tall atop his massive mount, came steadily on.

Toren felt his mouth go dry. What was wrong? What had happened to the Wall? And if the Wall was down, that meant that whomever they had sent out…Toren stopped himself. There was no time for that right now. He shot a glance at the girl beside him; she was frozen with fear, her mouth working with unvoiced words. And still the horrific vision advanced.

Suddenly finding strength, Toren moved swiftly. He clasped the Young One’s hand; at his touch she turned her face to him. He saw the unspeakable terror in her wide, depthless eyes. She kept trying to speak, but the words would not come. Over her shoulder he saw the Dark Lord raise one hand, a crackling ball of black light forming in his palm. The orb grew, and the Dark Lord raised his hand higher. Toren grabbed the Young One by the waist and shoved her down, shielding her body with his. The stream of dark magic just missed them, slamming into the ground inches away from Toren’s head with incredible force. It left a blackened, smoking crater. He heard the Dark Lord mutter a curse and he was on his feet in an instant, pulling a breathless Young One along behind him. He soon reached the cover of the trees, hearing the Dark Lord magic hiss after them. He darted to the left and then to the right, dodging trees and undergrowth. He heard the labored breathing of the Young One behind him, but he could not risk even one backward glance. His hand tightened on hers, as if to give her strength.

Alys’s breath was ragged in her throat and her legs began to ache. The fear of the black thing behind them drove her forward, pushing and breaking her limits. Another ball of dark magic slammed into one of the nearby trees, and the air filled with acrid smoke as it began to burn. Alys fell to coughing, the smoke stinging her eyes and searing her lungs. She stumbled and nearly went down, but Toren was there to catch her. She caught a brief glimpse of his face, pale and streaked with sweat and ashes. Then he was pulling her along once more.

Out of the dark smoke a large, hairy body materialized, springing seemingly from nowhere. It caught Toren square in the chest, felling him with a grunt. His grip on her hand was yanked away, and Alys was left standing alone. She could hear the sounds of the struggle, but she didn’t know from which direction they came. She heard Toren cry out, and then a sickening crunch of bone. It was silent for a moment, then a blood-curdling shriek pierced the stillness. Alys swallowed hard and wiped sweaty palms on her jeans. Her hand passed over a hot lump in her pocket. Of course! The Lightstone! She shoved her hand into her pocket and clenched her teeth. The burning was back, this time hotter than ever. She brought the bright orb out, its magic making it glow white-hot. The white fire played up and down her arm, and Alys breathed through clenched teeth. The smoke around her shied away, drawing back its gray black fingers from the pulsing light that enveloped her. It was as if the smoke, a thing born of fire, did not wish to be burned. Tentatively, she lifted her hand and looked about her, searching for Toren. She took a few small steps forward, the smoke curling back from her as she passed. Her foot brushed something soft, and she looked down to see a black, crumpled figure. She gasped and brought her hand to her mouth. Toren...?

He materialized out of the smoke next to her. His face was pale and he bled from a deep cut on his forehead. His right arm hung limp and useless at his side. Alys let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.

"You’re all right!" she gasped out. He nodded silently and winced.

"Put the Stone away, my Lady. There are more of them all around us and the magic is a beacon to them. Though they fear it, it draws them to us."

Alys blinked and nodded, quickly wrapping her hand about the Stone and shoving it deep into her pocket. She drew a hissing breath; she had forgotten about the burns on her hand and arm. Toren glanced sharply at her but she shook her head, knowing that they had no more time to loose. Toren again assumed the lead and they went on, sticking to the trees and their shelter.

Alys could hear all around them small snatches of sound, and she could sense the dark presences that surrounded them. She sensed the malice and utter hatred they radiated, and realized with a start that it was directed at her.

Why me? she wondered silently. Was it because she possessed the Lightstone? Was it because she had encroached upon their territory? No; she sensed it was much deeper than that, and she only knew that their hatred for her had made them what they were: twisted, black creatures who had no place among natural men.

Alys felt as if she could not go another step, but she pushed ahead, sheer determination keeping her upright. She kept her eyes riveted on Toren’s back, knowing if she didn’t she would become hopelessly lost.

Suddenly they broke from the trees, and Alys nearly collapsed with relief at seeing shelter and safety ahead. Toren trudged onward and Alys followed closely, her silver eyes scanning the great fortress ahead of them. It was a great sprawling structure of gray stone, the high walls stretching up to touch the sky. Its battlements stood tall and proud, one at each of the four corners. Alys could see only one way in: two massive oaken doors, carved ornately with trailing vines and leaves. Toren seemed to be heading in their direction.


Toren did not really know in which direction he was headed. The pain in his arm was so great that at times it obscured his vision completely. His head throbbed painfully, making it difficult to concentrate. He wanted to give up, to allow his tired legs to rest, even if it was just for a moment. But he knew he could not, for that would mean the Young One in Lord Maelstrom’s clutches. And so he went doggedly on towards the fortress that loomed up in front of them.

Something whispered, nagging, in the back of his numbed mind. They had gotten away far too simply, and that bothered him. It was unlike the Lord of the Chaos to let his prey slip from him so easily, as they had. Something was not right here.

He stumbled over something soft and dark and he went down hard, crying out as he landed on his broken arm. The muscles in his jaw tightened and excruciating pain shot through him. Instantly, the Young One was next to him, helping him to stand. He shot her a grateful look and then turned to study what had tripped him. It was a shadowed, twisted mass of clothing lying on the ground, dirty and caked with something dark. Toren realized with a shock that it was blood; some of it was still wet. With his good arm and the Young One’s help, he rolled the crumpled mass over. He gave a startled, agonized cry as he recognized the blood and dirt streaked face. It was Gregor!

#58
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Hellooooo...I updated...where are my fans flocking to my thread!?

#59
Richcelt

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They've abandoned you too, huh?

Well, I like it. :D (Better then mine actually. I envy your attention to detail.)

#60
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Ah, the lonely life of a starving (for attention ) writer!!! We are an extraordinary breed, you and I.

On a really way side note, how are Kim and the little one??

#61
Richcelt

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Kim is doing fine. Baby's due in another month. So we're busy cleaning and organizing the house in preparation (read: mad scramble). But so far so good. :D

Back to the story. :)

#62
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Just testing something. I promise to have more soon. *crosses fingers*

#63
Richcelt

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Just to make sure that you understand that some of us out here want you to FINISH THIS STORY, I'm going to "sticky" this to the top of the board as a reminder.

Now where's that update? :mad:

#64
PotterFan

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That is verry good Can you carry on please?

#65
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Eee! I'm sorry! I realyl am. I work cleaning the library from 4-7 Tuesday thru Friday and every other Saturday and I'm going to school full-time too and I know that doesn't sound that bad, but I have a dinosaur of a computer in my room that couldn't even hook up to the internet if I wanted it to and so I have to use the library computers but between homework and work and class and stuff I hardly have any time left for myself anymore! cry I PROMISE (cross my heart and hope to die) I WILL HAVE AN UPDATE BY THE END OF THE MONTH!!

#66
Chalcedony

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Oooo, goody! :)

#67
Kokeshi_Doll769

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Chapter Sixteen

Toren sat, stunned and silent. Gregor had been the one...? Alys saw his strained look and quietly asked what was wrong.

"My friend..." he managed to choke out. He could not look away from Gregor's blood stained face. Gregor lay on his back, his eyes closed and his face pale and drawn. He had been bleeding from the nose and mouth, and his dark hair was matted with half-dry blood that came from several deep cuts on his head and neck. His cloak was in ribbons, as was his belted tunic, and both Alys and Toren could see the deep lacerations caused by raking claws. All of his clothing was blood-soaked and filthy, and it seemed he was still bleeding from some of the deeper cuts.

"Help me," Toren said, his voice husky. He gently eased his good arm beneath Gregor's shoulder while Alys did the same on the other side. They struggled to stand, each supporting Gregor on one side. The battered young man let out a faint groan and his eyes fluttered. Alys saw Toren stiffen and a faint sense of awe washed over her. He was still alive? The young man they supported between them coughed weakly, more blood trickling out of his mouth. Toren shot Alys a worried glance. He may be alive, but they would have to move quickly if they wanted to keep him that way.

Overhead, a deafening thunderclap sounded, and a dark burst of non-light flashed in front of them, barring the way to the fortress. Alys felt the sour taste of fear return to her mouth and she grew cold as she watched the terrible masked personage appear before them. She gave a gasp of terrified recognition: it was the man from her vision, and the one who'd been chasing them just a short time before! Even though he had apparently abandoned his great black steed, he still towered above them. The eyes that stared out at them from inside the cavernous sockets glittered, black and piercing. His skin was smooth and bronzed, and his muscles rippled powerfully beneath it. Bare to the waist, he stood before them, arms crossed over his massive chest. Alys and Toren froze in their tracks, the unconscious Gregor between them.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't Toren Hadwyn," the deep voice said, not muffled by the skull in the slightest. Toren drew himself to his full height, but the masked man still stood a head taller.

"You have no power here," Toren said, his voice strong with conviction and confidence, two things Alys lacked at that point. The man laughed, his long black horns glinting wickedly in the stormlight.

"I have power wherever I choose, boy. I answer to no one, and all answer to me. I am Jagganath Maelstrom, Dark Lord of the Chaos, and Specter King. You cannot stop me from doing anything. You have not the power. Your magic has been weakened because you opened the Portal. Even the magic must take time to gather its strength again. It is time you do not have." The Dark Lord paused, his gase flicking up and down the ragged, torn figure of the young Mage Gregor. Alys could sense more than see the evil man's smirk.

"I see Shadda did his job well. If he's not dead, he soon will be. A werebeast's claws and teeth harbor deadly poison, you know." His gaze came to rest on her and she felt an unpleasant shiver run the length of her spine. The Dark Lord did not speak, simply studied her, measuring her up. Alys stood rigidly and did not look at him as his eyes flicked up and down her body. Finally he turned back to Toren, whose silver eyes blazed with anger and defiance.

"Be gone, Dark Lord," Toren spat. "You have no part here."

The Dark Lord snorted, his eyes going hard and cold. "I come and go when I please. No one can direct me in anything, and those who have tried have paid with their lives. You would do well to hold your tongue, boy," the man said. His eyes flicked over Toren's shoulder at the clouded eastern sky, where, as he did so, it brightened almost imperceptibly. His growl was low and hateful.

"Dawn comes quickly," he said, his deep voice a rumble in his chest. "Fortunately, for you, the natural light, even in its least bit, robs me of my power. And so I am forced to let you go. But you will not be free of me so easily in the future. Beware, Toren Hadwyn of the Order. Beware the power of the Chaos."

Alys blinked once and he was gone. She looked over at Toren. His mouth was set in a grim line and his silver eyes were bright with determination. He turned to her and then looked down at the sagging, battered form of Gregor.

"Come on," he said quietly. "Let's get him inside."

Alys nodded and they started forward slowly. The young Mage was limp and almost lifeless; the only sign he still lived was his shallow, ragged breathing. His face was an alarming grayish color, and perspiration beaded on his ashen skin. The poison was taking hold, slowly establishing its stranglehold on Gregor's already weak lifesource.

They were almost to the great doors when they were beset by a flurry of teeth and claws. It came without warning, screeching and screaming loud enough to wake the dead. Toren let out a startled cry as extended claws raked his shoulder, and Alys jerked involuntarily, caught off guard, and stumbled to her knees. The young Mage they carried rolled to the ground, jerking once and crying out thickly, then going completely still. Alys crawled toward him, but just then something heavy landed on her back, emitting an unearthly scream. She felt teeth and claws ripping, tearing, and red agony seared through her. Then the weight was gone and she struggled to her feet, turning to find Toren in a death lock with the thing that had attacked them. She felt her throat constrict when she recognized it. It was a nightjumper. Whether or not it was the one that had been in her room, she did not know, nor did she care. She felt helpless as she watched the burly creature and Toren fight. Several times, the nightjumper's massive jaws nearly closed on Toren's throat, but Toren somehow evaded the jagged teeth and so the nightjumper ended up with a mouthful of iar. However, it did not discourage the hideous creature; it attacked relentlessly, again and again. Alys could see that Toren was steadily growing weaker. Each time the nightjumper came, it took Toren a little longer to throw the dark creature off, and thrust it away. And still the minion of the Chaos would not give up.

Alys glanced back at the young Mage they had rescued. She hesitated, torn by the possibilities. Should she leave Toren and drag the Mage the short distance to the fortress and get him inside, then come back for Toren? No, he would be dead by the time she returned. At the same time, there was little she could do to help her protector. True, the nightjumper was alone; it had attacked Toren first to distract him, then come for her. But there was a good chance its counterparts were not far away. She was strongly tempted to use the Lightstone; with it she felt invincible, despite the burns she had suffered. But Toren had warned her against frequent use of the Stone; he'd said it was a beacon to the dark things, pinpointing their exact location, and Alys did not want to risk drawing more of these ferocious demons to them.

To her left, Toren fought a losing battle. To her right, a young Mage was barely hanging on. Inside, Alys struggled fiercely. She looked back and forth between them, and suddenly something inside snapped. Before she knew it, the Lightstone was in her hand, its searing, white-hot power coursing through and around her body. She was crying out strange words, words she didn't know she knew. White fire burst forth, slamming with incredible force into the snarling nightjumper. It caught the startled creature square in its burly chest, and in a flash of blindingly white light, the nightjumper exploded into shimmering, silvery dust. The silver cloud hung suspended for a moment in the still, hot air before dissipating completely. Toren found himself grappling with nothing, and then he saw Alys and gave a small cry of wonder. She stood in a blaze of light, her arm stretched forth, the Lightstone resting lightly in her open palm. Her dark auburn curls were in disarray, falling wildly about her beautiful, bright countenance. White fire still played up and down her extended arm, althought she did not seem to feel any pain. She looked like an angel, Toren thought suddenly. An infinitely beautiful angel. He pushed himself slowly, painfully, to his feet and came toward her. Her silver eyes focused on him and in that instant, the magic dimmed and died. The white blaze around her disappeared, and with an agonized cry, she dropped the Lightstone and fell to her knees, trembling. Toren went to her side and helped her to sit. She was pale and shaking all over, and when her eyes met Toren's, they were wide and bright. Then she looked down at her arm.

Her hand was blistered badly on the palm and fingertips, and there were dark red streaks up and down her arm where the Lightstone's fire had been. Some of the burns stretched all the way up to her shoulder, and she winced when she moved her arm, even in the slightest.

"How did you do that?" he asked, his voice full of wonder and respect and amazement. The girl before him simply shook her head, unable to speak. Toren, still somewhat awed, picked up the Lightstone and stood again, wincing as he did so and drawing in his breath between his teeth. He was bloody and bruised, his cloak shredded, his tunic bloodstained. He gave the beautiful magic talisman back to Alys, and then offered her his good hand. She gave him a weak smile as she took it with her own good hand. He helped her to her feeth and then, both wincing, they stooped and picked up the still unconscious Gregor, supporting his battered body between their own. They reached the ornately carved doors in a few steps and Toren called out hoarsely for someone to let them in. There were several heavy clicks as someone undid multiple locks, and then the door opened a crack. Alys heard a gasp and both doors were flung wide. They stumbled in, bearing Gregor, and collapsed in a bloody, exhausted heap on the floor. Alys was dimly aware of the ponderous doors being closed after them and then warm, gentle hands picked her up and bore her away. She fought against the darkness that sleep brought, trying to speak, asking after Toren and the young Mage. A gentle voice shushed her, and through the waves of sleep that engulfed her, she heard the voice say that they were all right, and would be taken care of. Satisfied for the moment, she let the darkness in, embracing its warm, velvety folds wholeheartedly. She slept.

#68
Richcelt

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My, my, my. Look what else I found. I wonder where the author went.

#69
Emerald

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Please keep going! This is totally awesome! (Have you considered actually getting this published? It's really good.)

#70
ghurka

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wow.. i've forgotten all about this..
but then again, i haven't been reading very much at all.

#71
Pada-Wan Kenobi

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Richcelt is just going to keep reviving old stories until they get finished. Of course, this may take a while :D *looks at own SIB story* Yeah....a while...

#72
Richcelt

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Pada-Wan Kenobi:
Richcelt is just going to keep reviving old stories until they get finished.

yes

You better believe it.

After all, why not? I finished mine. You should finish yours. They're good stories.

#73
Rori Firehawk

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Bump for K_Doll to celebrate her triumphant return. :D

#74
Kokeshi_Doll769

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OMG. I can't believe it's still here. You know...I was working on the sequel...and nothing was working like I wanted it to and it was going WAAAAAY too slowly...so I burned it. It was toward the end of the semester so people thought I was burning homework or something... laugh

#75
Pada-Wan Kenobi

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Burned? No! But this was good! I mean, who starts a long story like this and never finishes it?

*ducks*



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