Part 143: Tales of the Lost Kingdom - Rescuing the Princess - Part 9
Tales of the Lost Kingdom - Rescuing the Princess - Part 9
The group had gone into the tunnel without any light. Krasnegar made light with his torch. Sajet was glad that he had made some light. She felt uneasy, because she had to go into another cave again. But now, having made the experience of the cave-system the days ago, she felt stronger now. She didn't want to get intimidated by any tunnel again. At least they had a job to do!
She heard Aidan's dog sniffing. There was a light smell of sulphur.
The way became a long and winding road, but it was quite short, at least shorter than they had expected. They made a rest more often than usual. Everyone felt a high pressure, because they knew that a fight could happen at any minute! It became highly difficult for them to remain quiet.
Aidan's dog, Bearpaw, noticed that, too. He sensed that the two-legged humans were under a very strong feeling of pressure. Although... he didn't quite understand why. He smelled something strange, but wasn't able to tell danger from it.
Just as the air became a bit better, he suddenly stood at the entrance of an enormous cave. In the distance lay a huge animal. He knew what an animal that was.
They had sent the strayer to the front, because he had such good skills in sneaking, as Ulath had said. Alrik felt very uneasy. But no matter how he felt, he tried to fulfil his duty as best as he could. "Goddess of the Amulet, help me.." he whispered.
He tried to remember everything he had ever learned. All the possible tricks, someone could use to intercept intruders. Anything the priests of the god of the thieves and tradership had told him. And anything Xera had told him in the last days.
He knew that his life depended on it.
Xera was just behind him. She had tested her bow and her arrows a last time. Additionally, she had also "improved" her arrows magically so they would strike truer.
Suddenly, the dog went a few steps ahead. The strayer cursed. He couldn't shout to the dog to come back again. They had to remain silent at price, or they were all doomed!
He waved to the others to remain where they stood. The he ducked and crawled a little bit forward, to the dog, which still stood there, where he had stepped to. He looked around the edge. Slowly he stood up. And then he saw him, the Dragon Gezitrdoch.
He lay on his hoard of Gold and Silver (and some other Metals not so valuable), and within the treasures a gem glistened at him! The greed overwhelmed him. Gold! Silver! Incredible gems! Treasures!
Just as he was about to run to the treasures, the Amulet spoke to him.
"Alrik", the Amulet spoke, "Alrik, consider what you are and what you want! What is more important to you - riches and glory - or your life?" Alrik became paralysed.
Xera sensed instinctively that something important had happened inside the strayer's mind. The dog sensed it, too. They wouldn't be able to talk to him anymore. Slowly and carefully, she moved on.
Then she saw him, the Dragon! She waved to the others.
The group came after her. The gesture of Xera signed them that she had sawn the Dragon. Quietly, they all drew their weapons. Krasnegar whispered: "We must be as careful as possible! A single flame could roast us!" "Don't make such a fuss," Ulath said "no Dragon has ever withstood me before." What Ulath didn't say, was, that he hadn't fought against a Dragon before.
Bearpaw made a decision. He ran towards the Dragon.
Krasnegar, who saw how the dog's tail disappeared, cursed silently. The moment of surprise was now gone!
Now Ulath saw it, too. And he made a decision, too. Now or never!
Yelling out loudly - what all Northerner fighters used to do - he ran with his drawn axe forwards!
Xera shook her head. These humans! She could've possibly been able to call the dog back, but now...
She stepped forwards, and shot her first arrow against the Dragon.
The others came after them, passing the strayer who looked paralysed like a pillar made of stone.
Only Aidan stayed carefully back. He got scared as he saw the Dragon. He hadn't imagined him being sooo big! He took a step back, and saw how Xera positioned her second arrow.
THIS would be the greatest fight of his whole life! He alone against a Dragon! "Well, not really, because the others ran behind him. As Ulath ran towards the Dragon, yelling his worst war cry, he saw how the Dragon turned his head slowly towards him. But - no! He opened his mouth and produced a flame-arrow! Ulath ducked instinctively down, but noticed that the flame passed him. He turned his head, and could just see how the flame consumed an arrow. Ulath stood up and ran further on, through the enormous cave.
Yelling different war cries, the others, who didn't have any weapons for distances, ran across the cave, too.
The Fox was still suspicious. He closely watched the face of the Dragon, as good as was possible for him, from the distance. He hoped that he could learn something about the Dragon's plans and tactics. He didn't run that fast. From the edge of his eyes he could see Eolus, who prepared himself to release a spell.
The Dragon saw this poor bunch of small warriors running towards him. They would surely disturb his plans. In the short time he had to consider the situation, he just decided to knock them over. It would only be difficult to save the dog. He spoke his spell.
As he ran closer, Ulath saw that there was a beautiful woman sitting at a table next to the Dragon. Surely the kidnapped Princess Sahita! Suddenly the Dragon lifted a claw and murmured something in his deep, sounding voice.
Before he got knocked down, Ulath saw two things: First, he saw the young, beautiful woman getting scared and standing up, going to flee, secondly, that in her movement she threw a playing-board to the ground.
Krasnegar saw the claw of the Dragon and threw himself to the ground. In his family there existed many stories about magical spells made by Dragons, and this was surely one of them. Throwing himself to the ground early, he would be the first one to stand up again, he thought, no matter what would happen next.
Eolus was concentrating so much on performing his spell - one of the mightiest he knew - that he got knocked down totally unprepared. What was this? What had happened? Was this Dragon able to perform magical spells?
The Dragon chose that he could stop these humans only through the truth. He nodded to the still scared Princess, who was standing at the entrance of a tunnel leading out of the cave. What a pity he couldn't finish that fine game!
"Listen to me!" his voice sounded like thunder. "Listen to me for a moment!" There was nothing else the prone humans could now do. "I am innocent! I have not captured the Princess! She is here - for her own safety!"
"Yes, that is true!" shouted a young woman stepping out of the cave's entrance. She was dressed in a cape with creamlike colours, carrying two swords with her, which twinkled in the firelight.
"THAT is a thing I want to see!" shouted another woman, who just stepped out of a gap in the cave's wall on the other side. She was dressed fully in black, and looked both cruel and beautiful at the same time. She was accompanied by some of her rascals - and a few demons...
And now, the heroes stood in the middle of them...
Flamjiadi flew to the ceiling. "Haven't I always said that this is dangerous!?"
Aidan could only stare at Princess Sahita. Here was nothing like it should've been. The Dragon protected the Princess? Who was the enemy then? The sister of the Princess? Or was she herself under the influence of something evil?
Ulath stood slowly up. He was irritated. Who was the Princess? And who was the sister of the Princess now? The youngest woman, the one with the two swords, or the one dressed in black?
Princess Sahita looked at the colourful bunch of heroes. She asked herself what could be the reward would be her rescuers would get from her father, the King. It must be something very valuable, she thought, otherwise these different people wouldn't travel so far to her.
"We don't have the time for such things." She heard the Dragon Gezitrdoch's voice in her mind. She hated it, when he used his magic to read her mind. But - alas! - now he was right.
The Princess looked to her dark sister Tira, dressed in black. She was beautiful, but not in her heart. The youngest of the King's daughters did never understand why her oldest sister was so jealous of her. For all of her life she had tried to avoid her darker sister. It wasn't her fault, that her father liked his youngest daughter most.
Sahita had spent quite a while with the old sorceress who worked in the palace. She had learned a lot from her, and she was - like her sister - performing the magic of the old belief. There were only few people who knew that the Old Magic was not gone, and even fewer knew how to use it. Her mother had been a blessed witch, and she had done everything before her death that her oldest sister would study at an old druid. Some years after her 18th birthday the druid had disappeared, and she had always had the suspicion that her sister had something to do with it.
Nevertheless, she felt sorry for having to fight against her to overcome the evil.
The Princess thought about how she could lead her supporters out of the cave without getting into a fight. She hoped that the Dragon would find a solution, but just as she was about to drive her thoughts towards the Dragon, a very bright light illuminated the cave through a flash.
Eolus had managed to create a fulminating "flash" of light... only it had been a little bit too bright...so that no-one could see anything anymore...
DumDrum was happy. There was a noise again! He loved noise! He loved making noise! He loved making noise on his drum.
DumDrum was a demon, and his drum was built of squeaking-creaking bones made from undead ones. The skin on the drum consisted of real skin, again made from undead ones, which whined, moaned, when he beat his drum. That the drum produced a cacophony of groaning, moaning, squeaking, creaking, whining and crying didn't disturb him; instead, he liked it very much. It sounded like music in his ears.
DumDrum liked noise. Noise made by his drum.
Eolus was thinking. He hadn't been able to control his flash, because the Dragon had thrown him to the ground before with his magical powers. He felt sorry that he wasn't been able to control his powers, but the magic that "lived" within this field was much more powerful than he had ever experienced before.
As he regained his senses, he noticed that everyone stood there, where he had last seen them.
And he noticed a new sound...something new had come to this place...or better: had manifested itself here...something not from this world...something from the world of demons...
Slowly, all the others could regain sight, and he gestured to his group, so, that the others could see him now. And there was still the Dagon and the Princess... What could he do to restore the order?
Flamjiadi floated nervously over the heads of the others. "Please, I really don't like making clever advises but - don't you thing it would be time for some good PANIC!!!!"
"No. No panic. Not now."
The voice had changed. His hand still held the Amulet tight. He was unrecognizable now, at least concerning his "inner values".
"You have a task now. Fight against the demons." said the former strayer to the fire-elemental.
Not used to this tone, Flamjiadi did as he was told.
Gezitrdoch saw the evil woman and her demons. (Her human companions would be the lesser problem.)
What a mess! Demons - here? How was she able to summon demons so fast?
Also, he was astonished (and a bit saddened) that she had corrupted her soul in such a way that she was able... What a pity for her sister...but it seemed too late for her.
The Dragon had to change his plans. The REAL danger came now from the evil sister of the Princess and her companions - humans and demons.
The formulated a ban for demons...
First, he had to identify these creatures. From the descriptions he identified a poisonous cloud, obviously summoned to irritate others, a slimy, human-shaped fighter-creature, and a huge, tiger-like demon, a heavy fighter!
Having stood up, Eolus was getting upset. "Oh, Gods! There are demons here!" he thought. He had to restore the order of the Gods, because those demons were a kind of perversion of it. He had to do it.
As cautiously as possible he ran towards the tiger-like demon, the heaviest foe he saw. While running, he pulled a gem out of his bag, something he needed for banning the demon. He lay it down near to the tiger-like creature, and ran away, to the Fox. He gave him a piece of chalk.
He had been blind. He had been driven almost mad by this group. Now he regained sight again (both physically and mentally) and had to rearrange his priorities.
The Fox was just getting up, as the magician Eolus came nearer. He gave the Fox a piece of chalk, saying: "You are swift, aren't you? Now you can show us your talents! Draw a pentagram around the tiger-like creature for me! Swift? Nothing was easier!
Holding a incredible heavy, clumsy sword, swinging it around, the huge tiger-demon came closer to the group. The big one over there, that one would be a good opponent! He liked cutting the big ones into pieces, and then tearing the small ones into peaces. While walking and swinging, he didn't notice the small magician running around his feet...
The Fox fulfilled his task. He ran around the tiger-demon, drawing what the magician had wished.
Ulath stood stunned nearby. First, because the demon was walking right up to him, second, because he couldn't believe his eyes seeing a small person (the Fox) running swiftly around the feet of this huge, dangerous demon.
Soon, he was ready with the drawing. He knew a little bit of magic (he had learned a bit from his friend), so he knew that the magician needed the pentagram to ban the demon...
Blood! Flesh! Parts of flesh! Pieces of flesh! The tiger-demon did what he could do best - fighting and cutting. Soon, he would've reached the big one over there; then would be his time! That would be a happy slaughter, bloodshed!
Ulath was highly frightened. Now there was a far more dangerous enemy - a demon! Even more dangerous than the Dragon, because this being seemed to CONSIST of bloodlust. He hated demons.
He surely tried to recall all of his fighting techniques, but unfortunately there weren't many that would work on a demon.
He held his own axe horizontal for better protection. He didn't know if this would help him, anyway. He saw the mighty sword of the demon coming down...
The dragon couldn't let it happen that innocent humans died from an unholy demon's weapon. He concentrated a bit, and then threw his flame-arrow towards the tiger-creature. That would block him, he knew.
Derlaf Hookhand stayed in the background. It was always safer to stay in the shadows, overseeing the situation.
Even Krasnegar got frightened. Demons! He hadn't seen any of them for more than... about 60 years? Unimportant. Now it was the time to swing his own axe! He was glad that he had made the effort to adopt an axe for his crippled fingers...
There was one other... his plans were different. Lust for the gold filled his mind. It was a good moment. The Dragon was occupied in this fight. The enemies were all bound in the fight against one another. Now was the time. Qarn drew his long knife...
Krasnegar felt a sting in his back. Deep, but not deadly. Who could've done this...a traitor?
Derlaf Hookhand was quick. He soon disarmed the Half-Elf "Galladrion" who had thrown the knife at Krasnegar. He would never be able to hurt anyone with his knife again... He hated traitors; that was why he wished to punish the Half-Elf himself. But no - he had to wait until the fight was over. They had to interrogate him. He put him into the deepest corner of the cave and guarded him.
Xera was irritated. First she had thought the Dragon was their foe, but now everything was different!? The Dark Men over there frightened her. She took aim at one of the dark rascals, and shot an arrow directly into his heart.
She noticed that there was something going on in her back. She turned around and saw a fallen Krasnegar, with his axe laying at his side. Instinctively she saw that he needed help. Xera ran towards him, trying to heal the Dwarf.
Bearpaw had bitten into the leg of the leader of the dark human companions of the evil sister. He was a big, heavy man with a deep voice. Unimpressed, he walked further on; he was far too strong for the dog. Bearpaw looked for a new opponent.
Xera concentrated. This spell HAD to work!
And she made it! Slowly, slowly Krasnegar's wound closed itself... After that, she had to heal the Half-Elf...she didn't like him that much, but she also didn't like injured people...
Sajet stood for a moment still. That wasn't her foe. The REAL and true enemy had come through a gap in the rock. In the back of her mind she called her gods for help...
It rumbled a bit; the earth trembled a bit, but not very much. Everyone stood still - except the tiger-demon, who was just being banished with the help of the pentagram, just collapsing into a cloud of stinking smoke. Eolus had managed to throw him back to where he had come from! He felt a little bit exhausted. Thank God the others demons were far easier to fight. He drew his mighty shield, which he had "enforced" with his magical powers. It was now ideal for his mission.
The Dragon was glad having an able Magician among that bunch of might-be-heroes. Someone who was actually able to banish demons. Although - he had helped him a bit, since he had weakened the tiger-demon with his flame-arrow.
The tiger-creature couldn't stand this banishment. In a wild fury he cried out his anger. Ulath, the Northerner, standing directly before the demon, held his ears shut...
It rumbled; the earth trembled a bit. Out of the ground came a human-high, white Cobra. No-one knew how, why and where this creature had come from. The Cobra hissed loudly, and then turned towards the heavy leader with the deep voice...
Sajet was both surprised and delighted. Did SHE do this? Did this mean she was REALLY the last Priestess of her ancient religion? Had she really managed the calling of one of her Gods? Her bracelet looked like it was glowing red. With wide eyes, opened by surprise, she looked at the Cobra, and then collapsed.
An attacker, determined to take advantage of the fallen Sajet, didn't succeed; Bearpaw had been faster.
The heavy man was surprised. What was that? A white Cobra - coming directly out of the Earth? Well, he was sure he would handle this creature, and take it back to where it had come from - to the Earth. He lifted his weapon - a heavy blade, "improved" by a stolen brew made of Tea and demon's blood... In his eyes there was bloodlust. Yelling, he ran towards the Cobra.
The Cobra spit fire. A fireball - or was it a stream? - flew directly towards the heavy man, who could only just avoid the hot fire. His clothes were partially burned.
He smiled. The slow Cobra wouldn't be a match for him....
The Cobra mutated into a huge, white, cat-like Warrior...
Krasnegar felt better now. Xera brought him carefully into a corner.
The other princess, Schima, the middle child of King Fasabar drew both of her blades. Yelling a war cry, she ran towards her bad, older sister Tira.
Sajet regained consciousness. Wondering, she saw an attacker lying at her feet, Bearpaw standing next to her, wagging his tail. She drew her sword, ready to stand by her Gods... Bearpaw followed her.
Eolus felt exhausted. He didn't think that he would be able to use his normal method of banishing a demon in this fight again. So, he specialized on casting spells on the rest of the demons.
Derlaf watched Alrik losing his paralysis. This one also drew his weapon, but also held this mysterious Amulet tight. Something had changed. That was not the way the strayer normally moved...
The strayer couldn't think a single clear thought.
The strayer could think clearer like he never could before.
The Amulet took possession of him.
He ran in a strange way towards the evil Princess.
The blades clinked.
Flamjiadi was an Elemental. Or an elemental ghost. He didn't know for sure. But there was one thing he did know for sure: He hated demons! So he flew to the cloud-like demon and attacked this one with his fireballs. But the creature was good at avoiding them...
Angry about the imprisonment of her half-brother Qarn, Tira weaved a paralyzing (and nearly turning into stone) spell. That was a thing the middle sister Schima was unprepared for. She was only able to reflect her sister's own spell back to her, instead to Derlaf Hookhand, whom the evil sister had taken as a target.
Schima saw how her older sister prepared herself for a spell. She didn't know which one she would use, but she knew that any spell of hers meant no good. She swung both of her blades faster and faster, because she was determined to show Tira her skill.
But suddenly Tira changed her target! Schima was almost stunned, as she realized that she was now in her sister's sights! The only thing she could do was drop her blades fall and then throw herself to the ground.
The spell was cast, but Schima was not there anymore. Instead, her spell was now aimed at one of her human companions. She couldn't stop her spell anymore, with the effect that instead this rascal now got paralyzed...
Ulath saw a great, matching opponent: the leader of the evil group, the heavy man yelling in a deep voice; he had seen him before - at Krasnegar's. He took his big axe, and ran to him.
For Aidan this fight was too much. Harder than he had expected. He hadn't seen a real fight before (except the attack of the Ogres), and he became sick.
From the distance he saw the youngest Princess fleeing into a tunnel. What if someone from the evil group followed her? He had to protect her. So he ran after Sahita, through the cave, carefully avoiding arrows and blades, into the tunnel.
The Dragon Gezitrdoch was now totally displeased by the whole action. He hadn't imagined such a strange fight even in his strangest dreams. First, there was a group which tried to attack him, second, there appeared the evil sister of the Princess with her group, and additionally several demons and one God!
He was astonished to see this strange God-Fighter between the figures. He remembered four Gods of an ancient religion - which had been young when he had been young, too...
He saw his hoard in danger. He had to intercept some of these...
The middle sister didn't look particularly impressive. She was pretty, but not beyond the normal measure. Schima had always been different than the other two princesses. The King had never understood why, but he had accepted it. As he didn't want to detract her love for freedom, he did evolve a new profession for her, in which she could work mostly free: The Royal Diplomat. In fact, she acted in this position as a kind of courier.
She had always been a Diplomat, always travelling back and forth between the aristocratic courts.
She didn't mind. Instead, she loved nothing more than her freedom and nature. In the fug of the royal court (at least that was how she considered it), she would have withered like a flower without air and light.
Here, as a Diplomat, she could live her lust for freedom without any restrictions - apart from the missions she had to fulfill - and freedom meant for her to be one with nature. Naturally, the ways weren't without dangers. Especially not for a Royal Diplomat. That was why she realized early on (after several attacks), that she had to learn how to defend herself. She learned several kinds of martial arts, but strangely she was especially skilled in fighting with two swords at the same time. That skill had saved her life several times. A skill which was especially valuable now.
Xera looked after the Half-Elf. She was both astonished and shocked by his deed. Her magical healing did not only free his hand from pain, but also his mind. "What have you done?" she whispered to him. "Was your greed for Gold so great? Did it so totally overwhelm you? You must be very diseased."
The mist cleared in Qarn's mind. Now he had clear sight! How blind had he been! Now he saw what he had done - not only now, but also in the past years. Had this greed for Gold influenced his whole life in such a fatal way? He could hardly believe it. "Please, save me..." he whispered silently. Xera heard it, understood it.
The evil sister's whole life had always been influenced by jealousy and spitefulness. Always had her father preferred his youngest daughter! Never could Tira live her own dreams and wishes! Always only Sahita.
Pain and sorrow drew through her life. Sorrow and pain about missed chances, unspoken words and wishes, pain about a life in continuing self-scorn about her own incapability to just be her self. Pain, which had driven her into bitterness - and to the end into evil.
She had always had the feeling she had to subordinate herself under someone - after the death of her mother. She had been the only one who had really liked her. First, she had to subordinate herself under her youngest sister - which always got what she wanted to - and then under this silly Druid. She didn't kill him, only driven him away; at the moment of her final exam of her druidic education. She had shown the best she could do - and that had been more than her teacher had imagined. She was skilled in that. The only skill she had, she thought with bitterness. And she would surely need it to reach her aim.
Now Tira felt anger that she had been so weak - but her intentions were reasonable; no-one had ever understood her pain. She felt anger that she had been so weak, so that in a moment of deepest despair, hopelessness, bitterness and pain she had made this pact with that demon. And this anger about herself only increased her self-scorn. It was like driving in circles - with no end.
Krasnegar now felt better, and he and Derlaf chose to help the others. The main reasons were that they saw Thorwyn in a heavy fight with four enemies attacking him, while Ulath now attacked the big, heavy man, and Sajet went to help this strange, catlike looking fighter, which had looked like a Cobra before. This one seemed to consist merely of soil. They watched this strange creature turning away from the heavy man, and towards the black-dressed woman.
Aidan reached the tunnel. In a distance he could see the Princess running away. Because he couldn't imagine a better way, he just chose to tell her his situation. "Please wait! Don't run so fast! I must protect you!" he shouted breathlessly after her.
Princess Sahita hesitated. That a voice! Someone had called her; and she was sure that this voice didn't belong to a warrior. It sounded too wrong for that. This man must be an artist, she thought.
She stopped and looked back. There he came! And his movements weren't those of a fighter.
Instinctively his hand took her arm; he did not know why. Maybe something in his subconscious had made him do this. As Aidan and the Princess looked into each other's eyes, it struck them like a thunder coming out of a clear sky: Now they knew that "love at first sight" was... For a moment, the world around them seemed to halt. For a moment, they forgot the world around them...
Tira saw that her fight was becoming more and more hopeless. Additionally, she still had to overwhelm the Dragon. In her despair she summoned her mightiest ally: The Archdemon, with which she had made this pact.
Alrik the strayer had finally reached her. In the middle of her summoning he pressed his Amulet onto her skin. She cried aloud.
Immediately a voice appeared in her mind. "Do you still want to destroy life?" the voice asked her. "Do you still want to flee from your own healing by destroying what you love? Come to me, and I can heal you! Come to me, and I will show you a life without pain!" This voice didn't sound seducing at all. Not at all like the voice of the demon. Instead, this one voice sounded clear and pure, clear like a stream in the mountains. This voice sounded like life, like a new beginning, like healing from the past. She sighed. Her subconscious said yes, and that was enough. She fell unconscious, as the Goddess took her over to heal her.
But it was too late. The Archdemon Tira had summoned, manifested itself next to her, in the middle of the enormous cave.
Everyone stood still. Everyone stared at the ceiling of the cave. A colossal demon! Eolus panicked. An Archdemon! That was too much for all of them! But at the same time the catlike fighter grew, too, until he was as high as the black, winged creature. Sa was a Goddess after all...
The huge demon, consisting of unholy stuff, complete with wings and claws, looked around him - with balls of fire located where living being had their eyes. Before him stood an enormous fighter, seemingly consisting merely of soil and/or loam, consisting of earth itself. The demon didn't know fear, but he was near to that. Because this fighter was a Goddess...
Ulath fought against the heavy man. Both were absolutely equal opponents. Their blades met with loud clinking sounds. They moaned under the pressure. Unfortunately the big man knew a few more tricks than Ulath did. With a sardonic smile he brutally struck Ulath's blade several times, shortly one after the other. Ulath lost control over his blade. He hadn't met such a brutal, mean foe before. In an incredible movement - surely supported by magic, otherwise it wouldn't be possible, Ulath thought - the big man struck against his blade, disconnecting the blade from its wooden handle. Ulath was now defenceless.
Just as the heavy man lifted his own weapon for his final strike - which was indeed supported by magic - he heard a shout behind him. He turned around. He looked down.
"Oh, look!" he said with his deep voice. "There is Krasnegar, the cripplehand!" He would only need a short time for him. The Northerner was unprotected now. He lifted his blade.
Finally! Krasnegar thought. Finally had he met his torturer! And finally he could take revenge.
The heavy man wasn't fast enough to realize that the Dwarf hit him.
As the companions of the evil sister and the heavy man saw this, they got panicked.
The rascals had no leader anymore. They fled. Sajet, Derlaf and Bearpaw followed them, while the Fox looked after the wounds of Thorwyn. Four enemies were too many for him. He was glad that his friends had finally helped him.
A was a little bit angry about himself: Don't let yourself be drawn by a group into a fight! He told himself.
Ulath stood still. He had to regain strength from this heavy fight.
Alrik was now awake and himself once again. His Amulet now lay on the black-dressed woman. He drew his weapon to fight against the remaining foes - all of them demons.
As his own weapon broke through, he looked uneasily around himself. His hands were now free.
Suddenly the female warrior with the two swords was next to him. It wasn't Sajet. She gave him one of her blades, and for a moment they were filled by a kind of harmony.
What she didn't know was that her swords were sanctified... They would surely beat the demons with these blades.
The earth quaked under the feet during the fight of the Goddess against the unholy demon.
Gezitrdoch saw that he could support her in her fight. With all his power he cast a demon-ban against this unholy creature, which shook himself, being heavily damaged.
Sa was a Goddess. And the strike of a God or a Goddess was the most terribly powerful thing of anything imaginable. She hit him with her sword, made of earth. The demon was now beaten. With a terrible, unearthly cry the creature disappeared.
The Goddess became smaller again. She wanted to thank Sajet for having called her.
Under a cacophony of moaning and groaning, the last of the demons disappeared, too. The allied forces consisting of Eolus, Flamjiadi, the strayer and Schima, the middle sister, had won!
The fleeing warriors of the Tira (who originally "belonged" to the heavy man, who was a mercenary), didn't get far. From the entrance of the cave came a signal! A fanfare! The Royal Sign!
King Fasabar himself had come here to rescue his own daughter! But now he met fleeing people and a changed situation.
He had found the way to the cave through a scout, who had told him - through couriers - which way the bunch of heroes had taken. Some incidents had consumed additional time...
The King had come, seen, and won! At least that would have been the way a biographer would have written it, if the King hadn't demanded notice for the Heroes who had been the ones that had actually won the battle.
Aidan had just finished his newest work of art a few days ago: A Ballad about the Rescue of the Princess!
Now he was singing, supported by his lute and the voice of Xera. And the voice of the Princess Sahita!
It had been a successful surprise for the Heroes who were now happily sitting around him!
He had merely invited them "to a small snack". Xera and the Princess had been the only ones who had known about the whole thing - apart from Bearpaw. They had carefully exercised the whole Ballad.
They were now sitting at the Royal Table, some snacks and drinks standing before them.
Now they were all together:
Thorwyn with his speaking sword, which always tried to comment negatively on the singing, but was successfully hindered by Thorwyn.
Sajet, who was now wearing the official vestment of a Priestess of her Religion - so unapparent, that they wouldn't had noticed it, if they hadn't known.
Krasnegar, who was just bumping his drink with Ulath's drink, both seemingly not caring about the fine music that filled the hall.
The Fox, who had come to this place with his old friend, the magician, who had temporarily given him the human shape once again (they all know his little secret now).
Gideon Derlaf, who was about to bump his drink with the drink of Kelendan - the scout the King had sent, too,
Tira, a little pale woman, who had formerly been a Princess, but had just given up her right for the throne to live at a place where she now found peace after all those years.
Qarn, the Half-Elf, her half-brother, who would travel in the next days into the elvish lands, to a place where gold didn't exist.
Schima, the middle one of the three King's daughters, who was carefully listening the music produced by the four musicians - Aidan, Xera, Sahita, and Bearpaw who sometimes howled through the hall, hand in hand with Alrik, the strayer, who would now accompany Schima's missions - as the Second Royal Diplomat.
The morning-dawn came, as the music ended. All of them were a bit astonished that they had listened through all the music without getting tired, a thing that told them much about the good quality of the Ballad.
The audience applauded.
After the applause the King stood up, and said: "It is dawning now. In two hours the sun will rise. I think, it makes no sense getting to sleep now, since we will have a small festivity at sunrise." Like a conspirer he blinked to the musicians. "I think we should rather use the last couple of the remaining hours to talk, drink, and then prepare ourselves, because today, exactly to the sunrise, Aidan and my daughter Sahita will marry!"
The audience was surprised - not about the wedding, but that it would take place so soon.
Nevertheless they were happy, to be able to witness the forthcoming wedding, before the group would part again.
After a while of talking, drinking and singing, a courier unexpectedly disturbed the fellowship.
"What's on?" the King asked the courier, a little bit angry. The courier reported: "Sir, You have a visitor. A Dragon is standing at the Castle's Entrance and wishes to get permission to enter."
"Ah, just in time!" the King sighed. "Go, and let him in!" He waved a sign to the servant, who disappeared quickly. He seemed not to have experience with Dragons.
"And now, I think we should now slowly walk towards the place where the marriage will take place. Follow me!" the King shouted.
Everyone had gathered in a half-circle around the Priestess, the King, the bride and the groom, and Bearpaw. Sajet worked as the Priestess for the ceremony. Over all, the Dragon watched the scenery.
From afar, an old, unapparent magician watched them. A bat flapped by.
The Priestess and all the others waited for the sign.
Now they saw the sunrise...